The Journey – Part 2 | Believers, Building and Beginnings

(This is part two of my journey into blogging.  If you missed The Journey – Part 1 | What’s In Your Hands, I invite you to get caught up here.)

As with most things in life, my blog didn’t start instantaneously.  There were a lot of little things that started pointing like arrows in one direction.

Surprised by the Believers

I literally could not have started this blog without a few key people in my life.  You know those people, the ones who go beyond patting you on the back saying, ‘I believe in you,’ but the ones who hold up your hands like Moses on the mountain because they see the thing in you that you were made to do.  The believers in my life have been an integral part of this blog, it has not been a solo effort by any means.

My main supporter has been my husband.  I am beyond grateful for him.  He has given me time, space, practical coaching, and incredible encouragement to invest in a crazy dream. Beyond my husband, my mom believed in the creative parts of me before I even knew they were there.  (See this post for more.)  I also knew my mom would read every post even if no one else did.   Additionally, I have a dear friend who often edits, provides feedback and coaches me on how to become a better writer.  For all of these I am incredibly grateful.

the journey part 2

However, even with this wonderful support in place, I still had the biggest barrier of all, a technical barrier called a website.  The biggest gift in the process is that I didn’t have to search the internet for someone who was great at web design, a friend and mentor who built websites saw what was in me and wanted to see it come out.  I was astounded he too was believing in me, “I see something great in you, and I will help you build it.”

Believers are the ones who see something in someone enough to invest a part of themselves into another.

That thing of being believed in was amazing and scary!  What if I failed?  What if I didn’t follow through and was one of the average bloggers whose blogging career lasted only 6 months?  What if this whole thing bombed? What if it was cheezy?  What if no one read it?  Then the people who believed in me would have lost too.

alterations

Gathering and Building

Despite my list of fears and the great cloud of what-ifs, the work of building began.   Gathering ideas of what I liked on other blogs; everything from their navigation, to pictures, layout, fonts and headers.  I started researching like crazy; the things you should and shouldn’t do, social media, what hosting site to use, taking photos with a DSLR, photo editing, and the list could go on.  Starting a blog that was quality also had costs; buying a domain, webhosting, graphics, technical help, and photo editing software just to start.

As I built my website, I was also working on producing content.  Everything I read had encouraged bloggers to have a back log of 3-6 months of content in their queue.  So I wrote, and took photos.  I read more articles on blogging and photography.  I wrote more, I took more photos.  It was a whirlwind of building.

I quickly realized this blog was a tribute to those who not only cheered me on, but held my arms up through the process.  I was, and continue to be astounded by those who believe what God put inside of me, that He could go beyond the broken pieces of me and shine His glory through.

Launching and the Blog Honeymoon

I launched my first post on May 8, 2015, a little more than four months after my surrendered “yes” to the blog.  I titled the post, When Beauty Invades the Process. In a short post I summed up the purpose of my blog, a place to share about restoration and creating beauty in the process of life.  I was giddy and I was scared.  But having an outlet for all of who I was, not just segregated parts of me, felt so freeing.  In the first six months I shared about furniture I restored, thrifted finds I repurposed, I shared what restoration looks like in the walk of faith, I shared my sewing – the form of art most fluent in my life since the age of four.

Cheryl at Ruffles and Rifles

I shared not only on social media, where a lot of you joined in, but also on blog linky parties, (where bloggers get together and share their favorite posts of the week and in turn the blog host the next week picks 3-5 of their favorites to feature).  I was featured on many occasions in my first six months.  Every time, I was giddy.  Like the little shy girl in the back of the class, not wanting to put my hand up, but knowing I had something to share.  I was featured by French Country Cottage, Savvy Southern Style, The Curator’s Collection, among others; but the one that I cried when I saw the picture of my blue chair on her featured post one Friday morning was Miss Mustard Seed.  I felt so blessed since she such a huge part in starting my blog in the first place.

Surprised in the Process

As I blogged I found out how much I enjoyed all of it.  I enjoyed creating, but I soon found out I enjoyed staging photos almost as much as creating the project itself.  It was another creative outlet.  I also was surprised by how much I loved writing.  As first, even my best attempt at fumbling words came out a bit feeling like an awkward teenager, and yet, I knew I had something to give away.  I also found it was a safe place to practice and hone my skills.  I discovered I really loved the art of blogging.

I also realized each post took a LOT longer than I had anticipated, and that the three posts I hoped to publish each week was quickly diminished to one.

I was surprised by the incredibly supportive blogging community and the blogger friends I was making.  I became acquainted with a world that was so encouraging to one another and rather than being threatened, for the most part, they valued and promoted what each individual brought to the world.

Velvet Tufted Ottoman

Six months into the blogging gig, I was gaining momentum, and my Coffee Table that Became a Tufted Ottoman earned a round of applause from many blogs and a noteworthy stack of new subscriptions.  I was growing slowly but steadily as a blogger, as a creator, as a photographer and as a writer; and I was excited for the journey to unfold into something greater.

to be continued…

Cheryl