Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Year of Changes (Carol Cooney guest post)

I never dreamed of all the changes 2012 would bring into my life.

As the year started, I was working as a property manager and learning to cope with my husband’s recent diagnosis of diabetes. My writing was confined to letters and the editing of my daughter’s graduate school papers.

But I thought I could write a blog. The subject for a blog was right in front of me – I could write about the confusion and changes that diabetes had brought into our lives. So after I made myself write multiple posts, I bought a “how to” book and started my blog, The 9 Inch Plate.

Once I started blogging, I started reading blogs. By chance, I found a blog titled “My Name is Not Bob” (have you heard of it?). In April, there was a platform building challenge. I barely knew what a platform was so I decided that this must be written for me. I followed along each day and tried to participate fully.

There were times that I was more successful than others. I set up my Google+ account and joined Goodreads and Pinterest. There was a lot I did not understand fully but I was at least becoming acquainted with terms I had not heard before.

Wordsmith Studio
Near the end of the month, Robert pointed out that a Facebook group was formed by people participating in the challenge. I was accepted into the group and started meeting more writers. After several months of using the name the “not Bobbers,” the group name was changed and Wordsmith Studio was born.

I am still knocked out by the support that exists in the group. If someone is having a problem, they can ask for help and members will try to help. If someone has had their work accepted, the group cheers for them. If work has been rejected, a group hug and encouragement is administered.

When a call went out to recruit new members for the steering committee, I volunteered. It is wonderful to see the growth that has taken place in the last year. There are now at least three weekly Twitter chats and there are groups on Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Learning New Tools
During the challenge, Robert held two Twitter chats and mentioned Google+ hangouts. Those can be counted as some of the things that I didn’t understand. Now through the Wordsmith Studio community, I not only participate in Twitter chats but I know how to moderate and post a summary of the chat after the session. As for the Google + hangout, our weekly Steering Committee meetings use that medium.

Wordsmith Studio has a web site on Wordpress. Since my original blog was on Blogger, I had to join Wordpress to get on the site. I didn’t think much about it until one day I “googled” myself (come on, you’ve done it too) and discovered my empty Wordpress blog came up in the search. I decided I should put a post there. Then, I didn’t want it to be lonely so I started to put up more posts. My Wordpress blog became a place for me to write about random thoughts.

After having a narrow focus on The 9 Inch Plate, it is fun to have more freedom in my writing.

Opening New Doors
One of the tasks of the challenge was to interview someone for your blog. I was at a loss as to who I could interview for my diabetes related blog. And then it hit me. I could interview a podiatrist I knew. He would have a lot of information for my readers. I scheduled the interview and gave him the card for my blog.

On the day of the interview, I was prepared with questions. As we talked, he mentioned he really liked my blog. I shared with him what I had learned about how much a blog helps to drive people to a website. He then said something along the lines of, “I should think about that . . . ” I replied that I knew someone who could write the blog for him.

At that point he got excited and wanted to know who could write a blog for him. I told him that I could. And that was the beginning of my professional blogging career. It is a great relationship. He allows me a fair amount of freedom – it is not everyone who would let me invent the “Foot Blogger Chick” for their blog.

On December 19, my biggest property management client sold their building. I found myself with some free time on my hands. With the support of my husband and a lot of hope, I am spending more of my time writing and learning. I have never been so busy not earning much money. Granted, I still have some management clients and I am busy with that work but I have more time to devote to writing, learning, and networking.

The MNINB challenge last April set me on a course that has been fascinating and fulfilling. I have written more than I ever have in my life and I have met some of the nicest people. It is truly unbelievable how much I have learned in the last year and how happy it has made me to grow as a writer. And yes, I said I was a writer. I cringe a little on the inside when I say it but I do think it is true.

All this in one year.

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Carol Early Cooney is married and the mother of two children who consider themselves grownups. She graduated with a business degree from Butler University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. You can find her on the web at www.carolearlycooney.com which will give you links to her two blogs. She would love to connect with you on Twitter (@carolearlycoone), Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn.

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Follow Not Bob on Twitter @robertleebrewer

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Check out previous Not Bob posts:

17 comments:

Nichole L. Reber said...

Good on ya, Carol, for taking a big swing at social media and gleaning some rewards for your efforts. May your words inspire many.

@NicholeLReber
http://www.architecturetravelwriter.com

sabrabowers said...

Enjoyed your essay, Carol. Great job. Yes, you are a writer and a treasured member of WSS.

Anne Kimball said...

Great job, Carol! Way to create your own opportunities! I love it....

bo said...

I can't believe you've done that much in one year! Wow! And I applaud your idea to become the foot blogger chick. It makes me giggle every time I see that title. :)

J.lynn Sheridan said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, Carol. You've been an invaluable member of WSS/Not Bobbers gracing us with your wit and wisdom.

Jeannine B. Everett said...

Sometimes that's all it takes--that go-with-the-moment idea. Go Carol!!

Sarah said...

Carol, a wonderful (and wonderfully inspiring) post. Thanks, too, for putting the past year in perspective for all of us. We HAVE come a long way, all of us new-to-social-media babies in your cohort. Rock on Foot Blogger Chick :-)

Michelle Pond said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Carol. Your participation in the challenge led you to great places. Of course, I'm happiest that one of those places is Wordsmith Studio.

Gerry said...

Carol, what an amazing story! Not only did you learn a lot about the platform, you put it to good use. Profitable, too! : ) Good for you! Proud to call you writer-friend.

Sopphey Vance said...

Fantastic story Carol! I'm so happy for the direction the platform has sent you and I'm definitely loving your new website. All great stuff, <3

Sarah Turnbull said...

Yay Carol! You are too awesome, my dear :)

Linda G Hatton said...

A big smile from me after reading that. You are an inspiration - and a special person! So glad to call you my friend.

Muddy said...

This is lovely! Congratulations on your fabulous year!

Elizabeth Saunders said...

Yay, Carol! Nice to see how you've grown into this - and that you're not finished, yet.

Lauri Meyers said...

What a year! Great job Carol!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I love how writing has taken a larger portion of your everyday life, and that you can trace it back to the MNINB challenge. Being open to opportunities and taking risks is so important to following our dreams. You are a wonderful example of writer bravery!

Jennifer Chow said...

Wow, Carol! Thanks for sharing your story. I'm in awe of all the things you've learned over this past year. I've always checked out The 9 Inch Plate, but now I'll follow your Wordpress blog, too.