Emily Freeman will always be one of my favorite people. Emily and I went to the Philippines together with Compassion International. We rode together on a variety of crazy contraptions (including a styrofoam boat) and she ugly cried right along with me when I met my family there.
She is an incredible writer, a wonderful photographer and a thoughtful friend. She is the author of two books with another on the way. Her blog Chatting at the Sky is one of my must reads. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know her better this week…
1. Intro: Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
Hello there! I’m Emily. My husband and I have three kids – twin girls who are 9 and a son who is 6 – and we live in North Carolina. I write a blog, Chatting at the Sky, where I use photos and story to hopefully create a space for your soul to breathe. I have also written three books, the latest to release in the fall of this year.
2. Tell us your blogging story.Feel free to share anything that might be helpful for growing bloggers.
Growing up, I always loved writing in journals. But once I had twins, I didn’t write very much anymore. Writing helps me process the world, helps me see things that would otherwise go unnoticed. And so when I heard about blogging in 2005, I thought that might be a way for me to begin to try writing again.
I started Chatting at the Sky in January 2006. I posted once or twice a month, nothing very consistent. Over time, I started finding other people writing blogs and developed some friendships that way. My only purpose for the blog back then was simply to get some thoughts out of my head and into a place where I knew they wouldn’t disappear.
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
After writing on the blog for several years, I started noticing which posts got a lot of traffic/comments and which ones didn’t.
By far, my most visited posts where the ones where I talked about my house – before and afters, paint ideas, my kitchen re-do. I started trying to post house-y stuff more because that’s what it seemed people wanted to read about.
As it turns out, there is a big difference between doing things in my house and writing about doing things in my house.
In other words, as much as I liked tinkering in my house, I really didn’t like writing about it. It was exhausting to me.
I learned how to teach people what to expect – that I had to stay true to the kind of writing I do because it’s who I am and what I enjoy rather than try to write something just because people are asking for it.
4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?
I am learning that I have to define “success” for myself rather than try to fit what I’m doing into some generic measure of success that other people come up with.
My blog has changed a lot over the years. It started out just as a personal space for me to practice writing and now that I have made a career of writing, the lines don’t feel as clear as they once were.
My blog has been called Chatting at the Sky since the very beginning, so maybe there is something psychological with the fact that my personal space is also now my professional space. It is sometimes hard for me to tell where one ends and the other begins. I’m definitely learning as I go.
Without my husband, I would have quit writing a blog a long time ago. He respects what I do and cheers me on, especially now that writing (what I love to do) has also become my job.
5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
Oh, balance. Is it every really possible to live a legit balanced life? Here’s a peek into my typical day:
6am – Wake up, coffee, read, pray, time with John
7am – Make lunches, get kids ready and off to school
9am – Prepare blog post for the day. (MailChimp email to subscribers goes out by 11 am EST so I have to have a post ready by 10:30).
11am – Write. (guest posts, work on current book project, articles, etc)
1:30pm – Email. (read, respond, delete things, pull out my hair).
2:30pm – Pick up my kids from school and help with homework. I tend to have work-ish things done by now so I’m not completely distracted while the kids are home. Once they finish their homework, sometimes I’ll do photo editing or email while they play outside and I prepare dinner.
6pm – Dinner, kids showers, family-ish things.
8pm – Kids bedtime. John and I have time together. If he is out for the night or out of town, I tend to open the laptop and either write, edit photos or Google random facts. You know.
Come back Wednesday to read all of Emily Freeman’s Blogging Gadget and App recommendations and on Friday she’ll share her thoughts on social media and writing. Stay tuned!
Q & A with Emily
What questions do you have about blogging for Emily? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!
Read All The Interviews with Emily
1. How They Blog: Emily Freeman
2. Gadget and App Recommendations (Coming Wednesday)
3. On Social Media and Writing (Coming Friday)