How They Blog: Kat Lee

It feels a bit awkward to feature an interview with myself on my own blog, but I figured some of you might be interested and it’s less awkward to hide it in the archives than feature myself for a whole week once the blog is live. So, for those of you curious about how I blog…here you go. 🙂

Intro

1. Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
I’ve been married for 15 years to my college sweetheart. We have three kids ages 10, 8 and 6 and we live in Texas. I write at inspiredtoaction.com, where I am passionate about encouraging moms and making sure they know they’re “kind of a big deal.” I started ITA in 2010 and have just recently started HowTheyBlog.com.

Kat-Lee-Family

2. Tell us your blogging story. 
My first “blog” was actually an html site that I created for the grandparents shortly after my first daughter was born. By html site, I mean that every entry was an html page that I had to handcode.

My how times have changed. I soon moved to WordPress and had a personal/family blog called  TheSecretLifeofKat.com (no longer active) that had a couple hundred readers. I wrote about everything under the sun there and I made some wonderful friends that I still connect with today.

At one point I also had a blog called BloggableMusicNetwork.com (no longer active). It was a site all about music, specifically Christians who make music. I’d find artists and then ask them to record a little video for the site and then I’d spread the word to my blogging friends. Having featured only 3 artists, one of whom went on to win a Grammy and the other have a hit single on national radio, I’d say it was a success. But I felt like the site pulled me away from my primary work of motherhood. So I shut the site down.

Note: Ok, so I’m pretty sure the blog had nothing to do with the Grammy, but I like to think I found her first. 🙂

Then, in 2010 I started Inspiredtoaction.com and it has been the perfect fit for me. My blog life and my home life are symbiotic. Blogging about motherhood helps me be a better mom and being a better mom helps me blog about motherhood more effectively.

This site has far and away been the most popular blog I’ve worked on. It currently has about 16,000 readers subscribed to receive posts via email with another several thousand signed up for my regular mailing list.

I never would have set out to write a blog about motherhood, but it is the place that God has led me and I am so glad I followed His leading instead of my own. InspiredToAction.com has opened doors I never, ever, ever would have imagined possible, including meeting my mother’s family and my sponsor child for the first time because of Compassion International.

Meeting on of my aunts.

Meeting one of my aunts.

All these family members traveled over 24 hours just to meet me in Manila.

All these family members traveled over 24 hours just to meet me in Manila.

The process of laying it all down, trusting and following God (who was I to start a motherhood blog?!) was the single most important factor in any growth I’ve had personally or professionally (blogging, speaking etc).

Lessons Learned

3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
Well, I think the BloggableMusicNetwork.com site was a good example of both a blogging “success” and “failure.” The site was relatively successful. I had good readers, connections and ideas for the blog. It was headed quickly toward success, but I knew in my heart that I didn’t have time for it if I wanted to also be the best mom I could be.

So, in a sense, what looked like a success on the outside was a failure in integrity. Then, when I shut the site down, what looked like a failure on the outside was a success in integrity.

4. What are the intangibles (perspective /determination /character /planning /supportive family etc) that have helped you succeed?
Right now, I’m learning so much about perseverance and focus. I am learning about the importance of having a plan and sticking to it no matter how hard it is.

There are so many things we can be doing each day as bloggers. We can fill our days quickly with “stuff.” We could work 10 hours a day and not move our dreams forward OR we could work 1 hour a day and move forward massively.

It’s about doing the RIGHT things and not just doing something. The right things aren’t always going to be easy or fun, but they will be effective.

So, I’d say, learning to recognize the “right” is something that has helped me. It’s definitely still a process, though. (Hello, youtube music video binges…)

Blogging Balance

5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
Frankly, it’s much easier now than it used to be. This is the first year all my kids are in school each day. My son only goes half days, but I can get quite a bit done in three hours. So, I don’t have as many late nights as I used to when I had all the kids at home 24/7.

My time with God keeps everything on course.

My time with God keeps everything on course.

I usually get up at 5:30am and spend time with God reading the Bible and praying. (Sometimes I get up early and just spend an hour surfing Instagram, but let’s not talk about that…) I’ll (usually) do some kind of workout at this time as well. At 6:30, I wake up my kids and get them ready for school, make lunches and such. I take them to school at 8:00.

When I get home, I head to my cozy little office/closet, pour a cup of tea or coffee, put on my headphones and get to work.

My happy place.

My happy place.

I also, plan my work time the night before. I’ll list the key things I need to do and then put them on the calendar like an appointment. I try to estimate how long each thing will take me and when I sit down to work I look at my list and do my best to stay on track.

If I don’t plan and calendar my to do list like that, I have a tendency to get distracted very easily.

My Motto
The one thing that keeps me (somewhat) in balance most of the time is a motto I adopted a few years ago:

Do as little as possible, as well as possible.

I’m the sort of person who is interested in and gets excited about anything. I have a million ideas a day and I love starting projects. Finishing them, is another story.

I decided that I need to do as little as possible…as well as possible. I want to harness all that energy and creativity into doing just a few things as well as I can.

  1. Following God.
  2. Being a loving wife.
  3. Teaching and having fun with my kids.
  4. Staying healthy.
  5. Encouraging others (this is where blogging fits in).

Those are the things I want to be good at and if they are out of order, then I’m off balance. When I feel overwhelmed I retreat to item #1 until that relationship is right, then I move down the list until each of these areas are well tended.

That might mean that my kids watch an extra tv show while I read my Bible or catch up with my husband. That might mean that I don’t blog on a day when I normally would because I spent that time reading to my kids instead of writing. That might mean not staying up late to finish a post because I know that I need my rest to do anything well.

kat-lee-kids

Having those clear priorities and not adding to my plate until I’ve done those well, really helps me stay sane and, hopefully, be a blessing to those around me. It’s not always perfect, but it helps me to know exactly what I’m working towards.

Read All of Kat Lee’s Interviews

1. How They Blog: Kat Lee
2. Kat Lee’s Gadget and App Recommendations
3. Kat Lee on Social Media and the Writing Process

Q & A with Kat Lee

What questions do you have for Kat about blogging? She’ll be answering questions all week, so feel free to ask away. Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!

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Comments

  1. So appreciate you, Kat. The simple reminder of regaining balance by working through the list sequentially, starting at #1 is such a good reminder for me. It’s that simple. I try to make it so much more complicated and can then become even more overwhelmed. But doing this takes faith — to let go of all the things I THINK I need and focus on what He has called me to do — and trust Him with the results. Those are the only results I want anyway. 🙂

    • Erika,
      So simple, yet so hard. I think that’s really the irony of it all. Sometimes I KNOW it’s hard so then I run all around looking for a better solution, only to come back to this one thing. And I find that doing the scariest thing (trusting Him…instead of me) brings the most intense and immediate peace.

  2. Kristi Veitenheimer says:

    Thanks for the reminder of priorities, and especially that our relationship with God affects all the rest. I’m considering taking up blogging, but I’m afraid that I won’t spend the time and attention that I need to on the other priorities in my life. You’ve helped reassure me that it is possible! I’m excited about your new site! It looks great. Congratulations!

  3. Wonderful Kat! You put into words exactly what I feel and one of the reasons behind my soon to launch blog.

    “My blog life and my home life are symbiotic. Blogging about motherhood helps me be a better mom and being a better mom helps me blog about motherhood more effectively.”

  4. I think my biggest question, I have a ton, is in regards I how you got your blog out there to so many people. I love to write and have good feedback from those who read it, but I’m basically limited to facebk friends and WordPress dashboard…how did you acquire so many followers? And how did you move them from viewers to followers?

    • Lacey,
      I’d say that the three key things I did were – 1. I commented a lot on other blogs and got to know people in the blogosphere. 2. I wrote the Maximize Your Mornings ebook and gave it away free (that really drew people in) 3. I did a lot of guest posting on other blogs.

      I think focusing on providing tons of value and then going beyond our blogs and providing value on other people’s blog (via comments and guest posts) naturally increases our influence and impact.

  5. Yes, I love your goal: Do as little as possible, as well as possible. I too am long on ideas and short on follow-through. This is the perfect way to harness that limitation! thanks for the permission to do as little as possible- in order to do those things really well.

    Is there any way to shift your audience without starting a whole new blog? Right now I write for family and our supporters (we’re missionaries), but I’d love to broaden my horizons.

    • Kelly,
      Honestly, I’d say just go for it. You could write a post letting them know about the switch, or you could take a bit of a blogging break and then slowly switch your content, but I think your audience will naturally grow and change with you.

  6. I love your motto! And I loved your blog back in the Secret Life of Kat days and have enjoyed seeing your ministry expand. So excited for you and this new site!

  7. You are great. Wish we could hang out.

  8. Wow, you are an inspiration tho this newbie! Thank you laying out your priorities and explaining the process. I appreciate your work!

  9. Kat, I’m dropping by to thank you for your blog planning kit. I purchased one a month or so ago. I have to say it’s been a blessing. It’s helped me to be more organized and focused in my blogging. Thanks!

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