How did you start blogging?I was living in Iraq, working for a humanitarian organization. The folks back home liked hearing from me, but I stopped being able to access the email account I was using to send out mass email updates. A friend of mine had been blogging for about a year at that time and it seemed relatively easy, so I started blogging instead of emailing (after one final mass email which was painstakingly sent out to about 15 people at a time).
Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?Well, yes, and no...initially, as I just said, my "following" was those from my email list who successfully a) _read_ the email (a surprisingly small number), and b) actually went to the effort to continue to keep up with me. I was surprised with the number of people who complained to me when I got back that I "just stopped writing!" There's no real polite way to tell people that if they had actually _READ_ what I wrote, they would have known how to continue reading updates from me!
In any case, when I got back, I was blogging just for me essentially. Most of my "following" gradually lost interest (life in America isn't as exciting, I guess). Now it's down to a few family members and friends (to the best of my knowledge), but that's ok. It's really just a chance for me to tell someone the crazy things that run through my head without having to actually sit down with a person and _talk_ about them.
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?Originally, the purpose was to make sure my family and friends knew that I was still alive, and to keep them apprised as to what I was actually doing and how things were actually going "over there." Now, it lets me easily share pics and stories about AJ with friends and family, in addition to giving me an outlet for my thoughts. I think I'm mostly successful. Now that there _is_ a "little man" in my life, I need to be better about writing about something besides him from time to time. I may be a "mommy blogger" now, but that doesn't mean that there are no thoughts in my head other than him!
Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?Gosh...these questions didn't seem quite so redundant when I read them through. I guess I don't travel as much anymore (and certainly not to such exotic places), now I've got a husband and baby (originally I was just longing for the day when I'd meet my husband), I've definitely matured some over the past few years.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?How it was all going to end. Very shortly after I began blogging, we left Iraq for some training and I was never allowed to return. While I still carry some of that angst, I can definitely see how HE was working in all of it. If I hadn't come home exactly when I did, I literally would never have met my husband.
Do you make money with your blog?Currently, no, but I've thought about it. I'm just not sure that I've got enough traffic to support it. Would be nice to make some money for "free" though!
Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?I know they at least _knew_ about it back in the day, but I'm not sure how many other than my mom (hi, Mommy!) still read it. Now I'm letting the in-laws in on the secret too, so they're starting to read (hi, in laws!)
What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?Um...write for you, not an audience, and don't name your cat Monkey because you'll end up with very confused toddlers.