(About the Blog Planning Bootcamp: Each days’ post will go up on the How They Blog Facebook Page at 9am CST. If you were thinking about getting the Blog Planning Kit, please note that the sale on the kit ends Friday. The coupon code is BOOTCAMP.)
(Liz is a dear friend and a fantastic writer. You are in for a treat today!)
HowTheyBlog.com Interviews Liz Griffin
Liz calls herself a naptime abolitionist. And that’s not an exaggeration. She fights human trafficking, talks with law enforcement while making peanut butter sandwiches. She lived in Siberia, rounded up goats in Mongolia on a horse with a stranger and she once babysat for a murderer.
These aren’t sensationalist statements. This is her life. And the beauty of it all is the wisdom she gleans and shares from every crazy experience life throws her way. The basis of any good blogger is a life well lived. Liz passes that test with flying colors.
(Stop here and go read those posts I just linked to up there. They are so. good.)
She is a fantastic writer.
I know you’ll enjoy Liz’s fresh perspective on life and blogging today! Today, think about your stories and your life experiences and how you can use those to bring hope, encouragement and truth to your readers.
Meet Liz Griffin
1. Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
I like to think of my husband and I as the white version of Jay-Z and Beyonce…except we are not.
We live in Texas, not NYC. Jady is a pastor, and I don’t have any hair extensions ( if only wishing made it so… ). I met Jady in 2000 and we married in 2003. Our oldest daughter Sophie is 6 and our son Tait is 4. Soon we will be adding two Ugandan children to our mix.
Seattle was home for most of our married life. We planted a church in downtown, and then God called us back to Texas. That is when my blog, Lark & Bloom, started. I wanted a way to keep in touch with my friends after we moved. Come to find out, none of them really read it. Other people did though, so I kept writing.
2. Tell us your blogging story.
I started writing my first blog on New Years Eve 2009. I had food poisoning and was laying on a couch in our basement while a party unfolded upstairs. Bored out of my mind, I pulled out my website and set up a blog.
It was called “Something Pink For Thursdays”. I guess that is the best name you can think of after you eat a bad batch of Indian food. It lasted one post. Yes. ONE post.
Fast-forward to January of 2011. This is when Lark & Bloom was born. I didn’t have a goal or a specific audience in mind when I wrote. About a year into blogging I decided I wanted to really focus and grow my blog. I began to look at the analytics for my blog and came to a discovery that almost made me stop blogging entirely.
I had the most hodge-podge group of readers. Liberals, conservatives, Christian, non-Christian, missionaries and gay couples I’ve never met. I totally froze.
All the blogging tips I found told me to identify my niche and write to that focused audience. Which is good advice, I’ll admit. But what in the world kind of niche has lesbian couples and Baptist grandpas???
I was stumped. It took me several months to realize the one truth that has navigated me through this blogging journey. Blogging is an art and art is always messy.
Blogging is an art and art is always messy. <-- Click to Tweet!
I embraced the mess and looked for what all these readers had in common. Ultimately, they are all people. Humans, no matter their views, have a lot of things in common. I write about those things. We all have fear, dreams, questions, a need for laughter, a desire to know our purpose and to share our stories.
That is what Lark & Bloom has become. A place to connect that common part of humanity with Jesus.
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
Blogging failures? Go ahead and refill those coffee mugs ladies. This could be a while. I have a bazillion and three failures. Most of them come from my being insecure in who I am and what I have to offer.
I am constantly having to fight the desire to blog like someone else. I’ll see their 16K blog readers, get jealous and decide to do what they are doing. This usually leads to me blogging about something that I am not really passionate about. My heart isn’t in it, and my readership drops.
People want us, not formulas.
I’ve learned to call my insecurity for what it is and obey what God has asked me to do. I only check my stats once a month to make sure that people are still reading, but I don’t check them every day. Which is hard because they are so addicting!
4. What are the intangibles (perspective /determination /character /planning /supportive family etc) that have helped you succeed?
There are so many roads to take with blogging. Ads, sponsorships, product reviews, ebooks, link ups… tons of things to choose from. These things can be helpful or distracting.
I think that it is important to know what the goal is for my online life. This helps me navigate offers and dictates how I spend my time. If a sponsored post doesn’t help me achieve my goals, then I don’t care how much it would pay.
Relationships with other bloggers is also a must for me. I love getting to connect with other writers and learn from them. You know, be nerdy and talk blogger. If it is just me and my computer I can easily feel alone and isolated in what I am doing.
5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
If I had an answer to this question, my life would be easier. Balance looks like whatever works that day. We are involved in a lot as a family, so blogging gets wedged in whenever possible.
Sunday evenings I look at my calendar & plan out the best writing windows for that week. Activities change, so my writing schedule changes each week along with them.
My kids have very little capacity for me to be on the computer when they are around. They want my attention and this means I usually blog after they go to bed.
10pm-12am is my sweet spot. In general though, I find that if my family relationships are thriving it is much easier for me to write. So, I try not to write until I have had a good connect with Jady and the kids before sitting at my desk.
Plus, I find a good Pandora station helps.
Come back Wednesday to read all of Liz’s Blogging Gadget and App recommendations and on Friday she’ll share her thoughts on social media and writing. Stay tuned!
Q & A with Liz Griffin
What questions do you have about blogging for Liz? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!
Read All The Interviews with Liz Griffin
1. How They Blog Interviews Liz Griffin.
2. Gadget and App Recommendations (Coming Wednesday)
3. On Social Media and Writing (Coming Friday)