It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am about this week’s featured blogger. Melanie’s blog is on my short list of “must reads.” I am completely fascinated by her ability to write about her perfectly normal life (well, except for the fact that she is now a New York Times Bestselling author) and keep me captivated and coming back for more every day with her extraordinarily witty and downright hilarious writing.
Without further ado…Melanie Shankle. Enjoy!
1. Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
I live in San Antonio, Texas with my husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline. I graduated from Texas A&M in 1994 while possibly on scholastic probation. I began blogging in July 2006 when I started my blog, Big Mama. I’m also a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman blog.
In my spare time I like to shop good sales, watch too much television and laugh at things that are sometimes inappropriate. My first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, was released in February.
2. Tell us your blogging story.
I began blogging on a total whim back in July 2006. My daughter Caroline was just about to turn three years old and there were so many moments that seemed to be passing me by. I thought about making a scrapbook for about thirty seconds and then realized I’d have a nervous breakdown.
So I started a blog instead. I created a blogger account, decided Big Mama was a funny name without thinking of the long-term implications, and here I am almost seven years later.
I always tell new bloggers that I think it’s best to start small. Use a free template with a free design until you know if you’re going to stick with it or not. Blogging every day is harder than it looks!
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
I don’t know that I’ve ever really looked at anything on my blog as a success or failure because I honestly just created it as an outlet for myself. I really wanted a place to write and keep memories and so it may not appeal to everyone, but it’s what I want it to be.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to realize that everything you write is out there for public consumption. If you want something to remain a secret, don’t blog about it. If you have something to say that could hurt someone’s feelings, there’s a good chance that person will read what you wrote. I have learned to err on the side of caution.
4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?
I think part of the reason I’m still blogging after seven years is because I just genuinely love it. You can’t do it for money or success or a huge platform because that will only lead to disappointment in most cases. There are a million bloggers out there (literally) and most people have only heard of a handful of them. The joy I get from making a story out of nothing has kept me going. I also happen to have a family that totally supports what I do and the time I spend writing.
I also believe that it’s a gift God gave me and a way to point people back to Him. Not in any profound way, but I just hope that I demonstrate a general contentment with my life, in the good and the bad.
5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
This has never been a huge struggle for me because I am a night owl. I am up way past every one else’s bedtime and that’s when my mind really comes alive and I start to write.
So most nights I get on my couch at 10:00 p.m. and just write and delete and edit until I come up with a post. But I’m also not afraid to take a day off every now and then when it just seems like too much or we have a lot going on.
I decided long ago that I never wanted to be so busy writing about life that I didn’t really live my life.
Q & A
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