How They Blog Interviews Kristen Strong!

Kristen-headshotKristen Strong

Blog: chasingblueskies.net

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A Note from Crystal: I had the chance to spend some time with Kristen this past weekend at Allume and she is the real deal, y’all. Kind, generous, encouraging, and authentic – it was pure joy to watch her love well and easily. You are about to feel like you just received a big hug from a friend who “gets” you!

Meet Kristen Strong

1. Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.

Hello there, lovely you! I am an Air Force wife and a mama to twin sons who are 14 and a daughter who is 10. We live in the Rocky Mountain country of Colorado, and Chasing Blue Skies is where I do my best to use authentic words and inspiring pictures to tell of the fresh-air hope that is Jesus.

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2. Tell us your blogging story.

I’ve been writing since I was little, but it fell by the wayside when busy life and frequent moves and twin babies came along. I didn’t get back into writing regularly until my husband deployed. During those long months, writing became a faithful friend on quiet evenings, and I fell in love with it again. I decided to start a blog to help me practice and improve. However, I was too scared to send my words into the wild blue internet all by myself. So, I sweet-talked three good friends into creating the blog Moms Sharpening Moms with me. When my friends stopped blogging, I put on my big girl undies and started writing at my own space, Chasing Blue Skies, in March 2011. I’ve been blogging for 4 years total, but regularly for 2 years.

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3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.

A couple things come to mind right now:

When in doubt, hit publish.

Sometimes, the posts I think aren’t any good are the ones most well received (Sometimes the opposite of this is true, too. But anyway.). More than once I’ve almost deleted a post because in my mind, it was too unfocused, too irrelevant, too (fill in the blank). But often it’s those posts that resonate most with others and take off. So if you’re on the fence about publishing something, make like Nike and just do it. Your perspective on your experiences might be just the flavor of hope someone needs to digest.

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Put together an e-book and give it away.

Recently, I wrote an e-book called Serving You: 31 Days of Encouragement for the Military Wife. On Memorial Day weekend and July 4th, I offered it free to new and existing subscribers. I was *shocked* at how many new subscribers I received, especially since the e-book is written for such a niche audience. But there aren’t words for how much I adore these women , and I genuinely wanted to bless them in some way. I worked hard on the book and hired Mary Carver to edit it and Erin Ulrich to design the cover . I put in a lot of time to make something of quality, and I think this came through. In the end, I more than tripled my number of subscribers in only a few days time.
4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?

Supportive Family

My family is crazy supportive and just about the only reason I keep on keepin’ on at this. They respect what I do and give me the space to do it. My husband also gives me the gift of interest by sometimes reading my stuff and asking questions about projects.

Kid Helpers

One of my sons likes to read my posts (probably to see if I’ve written about him 🙂 ), and I always ask him what he thinks of them. I want him to know I value his opinion. My other son is a techy boy and often designs graphics for me.

Show Your Struggles

When you show your struggles, you make yourself approachable. — > Tweet this! 

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Gadget and App Recommendations

1. What are your most useful computer/web apps?

Hmmm. I’m not sure if these are apps, but I use Bible Gateway for most Scripture references. I edit photos in the iPhoto program on my Mac, although I use Photoshop Elements (PE) for resizing photos and adding text. My son also uses PE to do some fancy graphic stuff for me.

2. What are your most useful phone/tablet apps?

For photos, I adore adore adore Instagram, and I use Snapseed for editing and PhotoCollage for grouping photos. I recently downloaded Rhonna, and I’m excited to start playing with it, too.

I am a big Voxer fan. I love that it lets me talk on the phone without having to talk on the phone (heh).

For making lists, I use an app called Listomni.

3. What other tech do you use? (Camera for photos, mic for podcasting…etc.)

I love my Canon EOS Rebel camera I’ve had about 4 years. It works beautifully. I have 3 lenses for it, but my favorite (and most versatile) is the Canon 50mm f/1.4.

On Social Media and Writing

1. How do you keep social media from running your life? Is it a struggle for you? Any social media management tips?

I was pretty much the last person on God’s green earth to get a smart phone because I figured I’d be an avid screen-checker. I finally got one around Christmas, and it’s been easier to put down than I thought. Oh, I do struggle with relying on it  – and social media in general – too much sometimes, especially if I’m expecting something important (cue checking email waaay too often). But unless I’m spending the majority of my time living life in eye to eye contact with my people, I don’t have much to share in the first place.

2. What is your writing process? When do you write? How long does it take you to create a post?

I do my best writing in the morning and early afternoon, before I’ve had a chance to take in the world’s words and opinions. Also because after 9pm, my brain is in slo-mo. From start to finish (including editing, choosing pictures, the whole shebang), it takes me anywhere from an hour to days to write a post. And when I say days, I don’t mean I work on it all day for several days, but rather a little each day. For me, some posts just cook crockpot slow, a little at a time.

3. Do you have a blogging mentor or accountability group (formal or informal)? How have you created and fostered those relationships?

The (in)courage writers are wonderful blogging mentors to me. They are super savvy and collective experts at everything. I’m also a member of a smaller writing group that is a great source of information, advice, and encouragement. I can ask the dumbest of questions, but they never make me feel dumb.

4. What is the best blogging advice you have received? (OR) What is the best blogging advice you could give?

I heard Lisa Leonard say she used to wait for inspiration to strike before sitting down to sketch a jewelry design. But now she’s learned to sit first and coax the inspiration out. I think this is true for writing, too. I used to only sit down to write when I felt I had something to say. But now I sit down to write whether I feel inspired or not, and usually I am able to coax the words out.

Here are two reliable tips that help me write better.

One is regular {okay, semi-regular) exercise. Five-ish days a week, I usually run or power walk/run on the treadmill or do Pilates with the help of YouTube videos. Sometimes I’ll take the dog out for a walk. Whatever activity I choose, movement and sweat make my thoughts and words clearer and sharper.

HowTheyBlog.com Interviews Kristen Strong!

The second thing that works is getting close to nature. I’m blessed to live in Colorado where breathtaking views sit at every turn. If it’s too cold to enjoy them outside (which is often the case) then I’ll find a pretty spot inside by a window. It helps clear the cobwebs.

Q & A with Kristen Strong

What questions do you have about blogging for Kristen Strong? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!

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Comments

  1. Great interview! As a blogger, I’m often surprised at the sometimes random things I throw into a post that cause people to leave a comment. Fun surprises! I’ll check out your blog!

  2. This was wonderful and so helpful! Great tips…feeling convicted now to coax words out instead of waiting for them to fly out by themselves. 🙂

  3. I just think you’re awesome Kristen. Thanks for sharing your words and wisdom with us!

    • kristenchasingblueskies says:

      You are the awesome of the awesome, Kat. Thanks so much for inviting me to your lovely space here. Love you!

  4. You’re one of my favorites out on the big ‘ole Internet. You’re welcoming and real.

  5. “Put together an e-book and give it away.” So…just like that, huh? I’ll have to come up with a topic, quick! 🙂 I loved that you shared that you can take an hour or days to write a post. That happens with me and sometimes I think it’s ridiculous that it happens, but it does. :p

  6. LOVE this! Kristen Strong is brilliant and lovely.

  7. I love the idea of “show your struggles”. I’ve been thinking about that a lot and wonder if it would help for my readers.

  8. Kristen,
    Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!! I love your writing and it was great to get a behind the scenes peek at your whole process, inspiration and tips.
    Love ya,
    Bev

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