Today I wanted to tell you how I got here. It's important to know because pretty soon I'm going to finally reveal something Michael and I have been personally working on for the past 5 or so years. Or maybe, I've been working on it my whole life.
Anyway, the blog is a vital piece of this. And I've never really sat down to write why I started. So here we go.
I was a bit bored in my day job, working in Special Events at Dave and Buster's headquarters in Dallas. The job wasn't glamorous, but I had an exceptional boss, the kind that makes you feel important and smart and wanting to reach for more. I liked the job a lot so I tried to work hard, but there were of course times where I wanted a break, so I turned to reading blogs.
There was one in particular that I loved. It was about a girl who met a foreigner and the blog follows her journey of falling in love. There was something about it that made me instantly hooked. I couldn't WAIT for this girl to post again. I'd check her website hourly to see when she posted. Suddenly it hit me: I want that.
So I started a blog. This blog was called Helene's Notebook and it was utter rubbish. It was written diary style and I tried to echo what the fairy-tale blog so eloquently executed above. I didn't go well. So then, I started a new blog. This one was called Do Dallas Cheap. I scoured the internet for deals of the day. And then I got sick of doing that. I finally realized that I craved the personal nuances along with the educational element.
The stars aligned and I formed Helene in Between. I decided on the name in the middle of the night. I got out of bed, purchased the domain name, and stayed up until 4 am transferring and redirecting and tweaking. I was so jazzed.
Then something horrible happened. I fell 20 feet rock climbing and broke my ankle and leg. At the time I thought this was the worst thing to happen to me. Trips were cancelled, work wages were lost (I was out of the job for 4 months), and I spent most of the day on the couch unless I hobbled on my gray plastic walker to retrieve honey nut cheerios and a diet coke. I was depressed and lost weight. Then depressed and gained weight.
I turned to the blog. I started posting on it more and more and got a response. People actually seemed to read what I wrote, which was weird and totally thrilling. I was obsessed. I started checking analytics, I commented like a mad person (seriously I commented on everyone's and their mom's blog) and I couldn't believe that I could write what I want and people would read it.
Almost daily, I would talk to my Mom about my posts. My parents are both writers (ones that I have forced to realize I will never live up to) but they helped me to understand the mechanics of writing a great article. And my Mom was very quick to tell me when something sucked or that I embarrassed her.
I had ups and downs in my life and on my blog, but it was almost as if my blog was someone to turn to. It sounds silly, but it felt like confiding in a friend. Like when my Dad got cancer or when I moved to Nashville. It was like I could tell someone who actually wanted to hear the juicy details or just be there to listen.
And then there was the whole community aspect. Many people get frustrated by the negativity or “clique” like mentality but I found that ignoring worked and to focus on the good. And there is so much good. I found that if you ask a question people will answer. That if you create something great people will respond. And that you can even make lifelong friends.
After seeing others really monetize I decided I just couldn't take it anymore. I knew there was a way for me to do it, but I wanted to do it the right way, and on my own terms. So I put my head down and started to think- what could I do that would make me standout that would actually help bloggers? (This is how Blog Boss Babe was born.) I knew, from experience, that if I didn't actually pay for something, I usually didn't pay attention. Plus, I liked things laid out neatly in a way to access the pertinent information, and I didn't see anything else like that online.
In August of 2015 I started blogging full time. Well, not just blogging, but doing a million things to grow my blog, my community, and help others, too. I work a lot. Most people that own their own businesses do. But it's never work when you love it.
All the while I was writing. I have over 400 posts in draft and two unfinished (almost complete) novels as well as dozens of other not even close to complete. Writing, for me, is therapeutic. Recently, I was in an argument with my sister. I was absolutely furious at her. So I went in my room, got under the covers, and wrote. It wasn't some life-altering post, but it just helped me to strum my fingers across the keyboard and think about nothing else.
I think I've been very true to myself. A blog can't reveal a person completely, but it can give you a pretty good idea. My blog “persona” is my real life one. Which is rambunctious, passionate, energetic, and kind of weird.
I started this blog for me, and it's still is.
Thanks for reading, whether you're brand new or a long time reader I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I mean that more sincerely that I can express. I am honored that anyone would want to read what I have to say.