Book Deal, Celebrities, And Career: How Blogging Changed My Life
So my blog just cemented my first book deal. And that’s not even the half of it. My blog has empowered me to change the world.
When I started Candid Slice in 2012, I just thought it’d be a fun hobby to share with my Dad, who had recently retired from his career in programming and web design. Becoming a writer had always been my dream, but the world of publishing is a tangled wilderness of competition and crushed hopes.
“Let’s create a platform where you and your friends can post your stories,” he said one day. “I can format them to look sleek and professional.”
When I was a kid, Dad and I used to build lego castles together. Now we’d build a digital home for aspiring local writers. A platform to provide a voice for freelancers, activists, community leaders — and me.
And although I couldn’t imagine why anyone would care to read what I had to say, it turns out that blogs are powerful. If you have your own blog, you can do world-changing things.
Here’s the short list of the incredible ways my blog has empowered me to change the world.
1. I got my first book deal from a major publisher.
And guess what? This book deal means I get to interview celebrities and heroes I never thought I’d meet. We’re talking internationally renowned musicians, local icons and legends, and personal heroes. I don’t want to name drop because these people are people, and they mean more to me than just bragging rights. But it still amazes me that just by starting a blog, I broke a million readers and got a book deal which has allowed me to meet many personal heroes and legends. And I truly believe any good blog has the potential to grow into a book — you just need to find your niche, grow your readership, and establish yourself as an authority in your arena.
2. After ten years of teaching preschool, I broke into a major marketing career.
When my blog went viral, my paper resume stopped being as important — because a blog or website is a living resume. It’s digital evidence of its owners power to draw an audience. A blog with a solid following proves your ability and expertise to potential employers and publishers.
3. This career change drastically improved my salary.
People worry a lot about monetizing their blog. But there’s another way to monetize your success — by using it to grow your career.
4. I raised thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations.
When Amendment One was passed in my state, I was deeply wounded and enraged. I was jealous of the news writers and magazines, who had a powerful voice to speak out against it and enact change. But I felt powerless. Now, the publicity and large following of my site means it’s easier for me to draw attention to causes I’m passionate about. When Moral Monday was protesting, I could amplify their voice. When Same-Sex Marriage was still not legal in my state, I could rally people to raise money for the Human Rights Campaign.
5. I freelance for many of my local magazines.
I used to ask, “How do you become a writer?” And my mentors would answer, “Write.” This baffled me. What I really wanted to know was how to break into the publishing world. It turns out the answer really is that simple: Write. If you write enough, and if it’s good, you will build a following. Book and magazine publishers really prefer to publish writers who have an established following.
6. I make a much deeper community impact.
Writing for local magazines has connected me to the local entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and creatives that build my community. This direct connection to inspiration on a monthly basis not only brightens my life, it empowers me by giving me a built-in group to team up with to improve my community and even create large scale events.
7. I got the big three: Huffington Post, UpWorthy, and Buzzfeed.
Again, this kind of resume-booster really helps with getting into magazines, publishers, and good jobs. Plus, in this case, the article that went viral was about one of my student’s letter she wrote to a homeless person during our Week of Volunteerism and Kindness. She was blown away to see her small act of kindness go viral. At only 10 years old, she saw the power she had to make a difference. As a teacher, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime lesson, and it couldn’t have happened without my blog.
8. I was on national television.
Imagine my surprise when an old article of mine caught the attention of a producer from CMT! He contacted me to request my assistance finding other cool things they might film while in my city, since I seemed like an expert. Out of sheer helpfulness and passion I, of course, sent him a detailed list. He then asked me to be on their show. In the end, the best part of it wasn’t even being on TV (although it was cool). The best part was taking a film crew through all these abandoned and historic buildings, and just having a huge adventure together showing them some of my favorite urban exploring locations. In the end, it’s all about sharing the journey with awesome people.
9. I explore cool places I’d normally never be allowed inside.
When you’re a writer, you get invited to do a lot of cool things you wouldn’t normally get to do. For example, I once wrote an article about an abandoned underground mall in our city. I knew I’d never get to go down there, as it’s off-limits, but as an urban exploration junkie, I’d always wanted to see it. Two days later my article went viral, and my local news station asked me for an interview — inside the abandoned underground mall! Whatever your passion is–children, teaching, art, gaming–writing about it can get you into conventions or sitting down for interviews in places you’ve always dreamed of!
10. I meet heroes, dreamers, and inspirers; and we are changing the world.
When you’re out there making a difference and living your dream, you naturally attract other people doing the same thing. I honestly feel like this is the biggest benefit of running a blog or digital publication: You’re doing it. Even if your progress is slow, you’re living your dream instead of just dreaming it. And bit by bit, or maybe all at once, you’ll grow your audience, connect with readers, and meet other people who are working towards their dream, too.
When you start meeting other people living their dream, eventually someone hits it big, and you were part of their journey. I believe this connection is how we all change the world.
There have been so many little moments. I meet the people trying to achieve a dream–an artist, a musician, an indie gamer–and I write about them and promote them. They do the same for me. Sometimes it’s a person who’s just starting out; but as your blog gets bigger, sometimes it’s a television show or even a music hall of fame legend. Once, Buzz Aldrin sent an e-mail for one of our articles, complimenting and sharing how it moved him. Famous or not, it doesn’t matter. We’re all doing the same thing — we’re trying to create our passion!
And by creating a blog with my Dad four years ago, I connected myself to that wide web. By blogging each week, you’ve connected yourself, too. It opens you up to the potential for criticism, and for failure. But it also opens you up to working alongside amazing people and changing the world.
When Dad told me this blog would change my life, I didn’t believe him. Boy, was I wrong.
Thanks, Dad. I couldn’t have done it without you.