The first time I shared with a friend that I planned to create a blog, I was met with a patronizing grimace, which was then followed by a smirk which then conveyed the ultimate message: Disregard.
But, who could blame her? There are as many bloggers as there are ineligible and commitment-phobic bachelors in the world (perhaps more). In fact, there are as many bloggers as there are broken hearts. While there are an abundance of fantastic, informative sites which showcase brilliant writing, many are sloppy and filled with poorly remixed and uncredible information. Let’s just be honest.
But, my friend had no knowledge of my long-term vision. She could not see that the cultivation of an operable blog with faithful clicks and subscribers – while a goal – was never my desired grand finale; It was never my idea of having climbed the professional Everest. Rather, I saw it as a lily pad. It was a seed I planned to carefully and lovingly water and feed.
I have been a storyteller from the time my parents’ dinner guests were willing to place their forks down and listen. I have been a writer from the time my wobbly fingers could put pencil to paper, and – at the time of my decision to create a blog – I had earned my degree in journalism a few years prior. I even had relationships with writing professors who shouted their belief in me.
While those facts were my armor and I was well-suited, I lacked direction. Contributing something worthwhile to my fellow human beings – by way of my writing – was my dearly beloved “why.”
But, what was I going to do about it?
I was unsure.
So, I began right where I was standing: Having worked in the beauty industry as a regional makeup artist throughout college and a couple of years thereafter, I felt I had been granted a zoomed-lens viewing into the female psyche. I invested hours talking my female counterparts off of ledges, handing them mountains of tissues as they cried off their newly-applied mascara and cradling their broken hearts in a variety of ways. I “counseled” women twice my age – not only through makeovers and product recommendations, but also through messy divorces. During one hair-pulling moment of scribbling down a ramble of advice – along with a list of suggested supplements and workouts – to a client in the throes of emotional crisis, I was struck with an epiphany:
What if I gathered my talent for writing, my educational background in journalism, my passions for holistic wellness and self-care and my experience working intimately with other women (and their vanity-related endeavors); what if I asked that they marry? What if I asked that each firmly clasp the other’s hand and walk side-by-side-by-side into the great unknown?
I asked, and they happily obliged. Alas, The Daily Doll was born.
I concocted a vision for what it would be, and began working tirelessly. I could not see what was on the other side of the hill, but I was determined to remain on quest. I was courting Pinterest long before Pinterest glanced a fleeting eye in my direction. There were countless late nights spent hunched over my computer – writing, researching and submitting – until my eyes could no longer resist the demand for slumber. And, though there were months of agonizing crickets, I refused to give up until I knew strangers were reading my words. In the beginning, absolutely nothing happened.
Until it did.
One day I wrote and published a quirky piece detailing my experience with the product Olaplex (read it here). It garnered a substantial amount of attention and was promoted by the company. The Huffington Post picked it up, and I was then contacted by Mirabella Magazine, requesting to print it for an upcoming issue. The piece garnered such a positive response from readers, I was asked to write for them regularly.
It got weirder. (I’m not kidding.)
A couple of months later, the magazine’s editor asked me to conduct an interview with a high-profile individual for a feature story. That “individual” was the fashion icon Betsey Johnson.
Be still my little undergraduate journalism cherry-print-fabric-wearing and cartwheeling heart.
Soon thereafter, I was offered a position with Mirabella Magazine as one of their newest editors And, I now interview celebrities and public figures for feature stories regularly. Since that opportunity, countless other opportunities have burst into bloom.
I am currently on staff with two print magazines, and have bylines in a variety of credible media sources – including but not limited to – Skirt!, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, Babble, Ravishly and YourTango. I am in the process of writing a book, and am engaged in early discussions with a couple of literary agents.
Yes, all because I created a blog.
Well, that is not entirely true – it was not solely because of my blog. I worked vigorously on my craft during school. And, I have never stopped being a student of other writers and journalists I admire. However, if it had not been for my blog, I may never have received any of the aforementioned opportunities – at least not so rapidly. If it were not for my blog, I may not yet be earning a living doing what feels as lovely and organic to me as stepping outside on an 75-degree weather day.
So, I come to you from my tiny corner of the world – a mere two years after my blog’s launch.
I am doing what I love. Storytelling and, more specifically, illuminating the human experience – is my resting place, and it is also my closest friend. It is where I lay my burdens down, but it is also the stomping ground where I’m at unapologetic, free-spirited play.
I am equally devoted to the essays, interviews and pieces that go nowhere – vanishing into obscurity – as I am to the ones that seem to shoot off like fireworks effortlessly. And, though it has not always been easy to remain on quest, I have known the entire time – in the earliest planning stages of the development of my blog – what I was going to do. Going beyond it was always the bullseye.
Several fellow writers have said to me, Wow, you got lucky.
But, honestly? There isn’t much luck in this equation. There are, however, two simple, yet key components:
One – I have always believed – oftentimes to a delusion degree – that my goals were attainable,
Two – I have consistently shown up for the work (which is so much more than the actual execution of a piece of writing), even when there was not an inkling of reward in sight.
I have been undeterred by rejection. I am unafraid of being ignored, of tedious research and of pouring over frustrating edit requests. I have never been too prideful to ask the humiliating ‘rookie’ questions. In other words, I’m not all wound up and worried about editors and other writers thinking I sound like a perpetual idiot, for I know that – as long as I’m striving for something worthwhile – I’m going to have moments where I do.
I stand in celebration for every high and low. I drink them up and gulp them down with immense pleasure because I am energized by the journey. I love running toward the story. I love exploring the human experience, and that is something I will never stop being driven to do.
From day one – even when in the incubation stage, my plan was always to go far beyond my blog. And, so I did exactly that. And, whoever you are reading this, I am toasting my virtual glass in your direction, and announcing – If you haven’t already, my friend, so can you.