This week, I am so excited to have Elaine Stock, author of the EVERYONE'S STORY blog as my guest. As writers, most of us wrestle with blogging of some type. But why are some so much more successful than others?
While there aren't any "silver bullets" to answer that question, I have found that successful blogs have certain things in common. The most important of which is take-away value. Something Elaine's blog has plenty of. How does she do it? Well, here's a few questions I just had to ask her, to find out...
Welcome, Elaine, it's great to have you here. You have such an uplifting blog, what gave you the idea to have other people's stories as a blog theme?
Oh, thank you so much, Lilly, for your kind words. And thanks for having me as your guest. A couple of years ago as a pre-published author I felt the heated push to establish and grow an internet presence in addition to joining social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I was plagued by the thought: who would really want to know anything about “Me”? So, fascinated by the dynamics of what makes people the way they are, and wanting to encourage others, I started to invite weekly guests. Since I’m a writer and reader, and seem to hang out with other like-minded people, I targeted EVERYONE'S STORY for readers, writers, and all those in-between.
Well, it was an inspired idea, that's for sure. How do you find so many people with the encouraging kind of stories you like to write about?
I have a confession to share: I’m addicted to seeing what has shaped people, and seeing how they’ve risen from unenviable circumstances. Actually, what I think I’m truly addicted to is encouragement. I think one needs more constructive and kind feedback, especially as the world seems to be getting tougher and rougher these days. Hooking up with people and sharing on Twitter, FB, or through one connection or the other, introduces me to many beautiful people. I am grateful when they accept my invitation to be my guest. I also have received queries of people asking to be on my blog…who would have thought?!
With so many positive responses, I'd say it proves you're on the right track. Were you a "novice blogger" when you first started EVERYONE'S STORY, or had you already enjoyed blogging on other subjects?
EVERYONE'S STORY is my first blog—I was definitely a novice. Actually, I’m still learning so much about blogging. For instance, take formatting. If you look at the first year of my blog segments I think the formatting was pretty hideous, or at least unprofessional. I’m not saying it’s gold right now, but I do try to make it presentable.
I’d also accepted guest spots on others’ blogs about the same time as I started blogging, giving me a feel for things on the other side of the table.
That was a good move, too. Mind if I ask why you choose to go with Blogger? Are you happy with that decision?
My neighbor, who sat beside me and “held my hand” while she helped me set up my blog, showed me Blogger vs. WordPress. There are probably other private blogs available via website designers, but at the time I wasn’t ready for that, nor had the means to cover design expenses. I chose Blogger because to my eye, it has a more cozy appearance to it that seems more suited for one’s individuality. But, that’s only my opinion. Many writing industry professionals seem to bow down to WordPress, but Blogger works for me and my present needs. It’s a personal choice.
Definitely the right one at the right time for you. Other than the technical side of things, what factors do you think have contributed most to your success?
Although I receive praise for EVERYONE'S STORY, my head isn’t swelling with “success.” But, thank you, Lilly, for thinking that! Blogging is the proverbial labor of love. I put a lot of sweat into it, though I’ve discovered a few ways to conserve time. I think the biggest tip I can give anyone who wants to blog—since blogging is an invitation to others to comment back—is to thank/acknowledge each commenter for bothering to take a couple minutes of their time to pay a visit. It’s very humbling and necessary. And nice.
It is, indeed. What is your opinion about sticking to one style and subject area for a blog, as opposed to branching out? Do you have any opinions on maintaining multiple blogs?
Power and blessings to anyone who has the time and energy to run their own blog or blogs and engage on multi-contributor blogs. I do not have time. I can only handle so much. Whatever works for you, go for it! Just enjoy it. Have fun.
A very important ingredient, I'm sure. What have you enjoyed most about writing your blog?
The interaction with my guests and commenters. I have been so blessed by their generosity, compassion, support, and the sharing of life lessons.
Sort of one of those "the more you give the more you get" type things, right? You know, Elaine, so many bloggers start out strong, get tired of the same-old-thing, and then fade away. Do you have any advice for staying in it on a long-term basis?
Make it work for you. Enjoy it. If you’re feeling too pressured and bored by it, maybe time to reconsider things—like anything else.
Well, you definitely have a great thing going with EVERYONE'S STORY, and it's a blessing to me whenever I get a chance to stop by. Meanwhile, what are your plans for the future?
I daydream of publishing these stories floating around my head and when I do I’d like to establish an eye-appealing website that is linked to my blog. Maybe somehow expanding on this whole interaction thing that seems to be developing on EVERYONE'S STORY. Please, don’t laugh. Indulge my dreams.
Wouldn't think of laughing, as all success starts with dreams. Thanks so much for visiting with me, Elaine, and here's wishing you many blessings and much success with those dreams!
Meanwhile, dear readers, you can check out some of these encouraging stories, yourself, by visiting EVERYONE'S STORY.