Welcome back to another Blogger in the Spotlight Interview. My interview today is with Susan Cooper. She is a wonderful lady who has a blog I personally enjoy very much. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
Hi Susan, thanks for participating in this interview. Could you please begin by telling the readers a little about yourself?
I am a storyteller and a teacher. My blog allows me the opportunity to share my stories with the lessons I have learned in life and work. I also share recipes that are fun and easy, along with captivating wines I enjoy. One of the newest pages on my blog (upon request from my readers) is where I show how I create my drawings.
What makes my writing and producing a blog more intriguing is I am dyslexic; that makes writing a greater challenge than it is for most. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge and will work hard to overcome my dyslexic eye to deliver a quality and entertaining product for you, my readers.
My goals are straightforward. 1. I would like to create a successful blog. 2. Have fun doing it. 3. Share what I have leaned with others. 4. Make a little money along the way.
What is the name of your blog? What made you decide on that name and the style you chose for the theme?
Life is a journey, which can bring great joy or sadness. In that journey we are all trying to “Find Our Way”. So it was an easy decision to name my blog “Finding Our Way Now”. In my blog I talk about the many demands we face when trying to balance life and work in our daily lives. It is a way for me to share all the lessons I have learned throughout my life, and in my work experiences, in the hope that it will benefit others in some small way.
Several times I have been asked what my logo represents. The logo was a collaboration of sorts by my graphic artist, my family and friends, and of course, myself. The colors are some of my favorites and represents life/new life, being grounded to the earth, honesty and sincerity. When designing the logo, the Chinese symbol was a happy accident, something my graphic artist inserted as an afterthought early in the designing stage. My mother did her doctoral thesis in the Chinese Library system and actually visited China to complete her studies, thus the inclusion of this symbol. The definition for this Chinese symbol is direction. The path in the logo represents my old blog “Finding A New Path” and moving forward in life. The circle is for life‘s continuance. So there it is, “Finding Our Way Now”.
What made you decide to begin a blog?
I am a displaced executive. My company had been acquired by a private equity group, which then resulted in the layoff of all the C levels executives. For the very first time in my life, I had no idea what my next steps would be. I knew what I didn’t want to do. I just couldn’t get my bearings to set a new career course.
That was when I discovered blogging. It was a happy accident. My very first blog entry was more of a letter to myself expressing all my frustration in searching for a job and my desire to choose a different career or direction. One thing led to another and, there I was, totally immersed in the act of figuring it all out. In the process I rediscovered my passion for drawing and now produce all my own drawings and photography on my blog to illustrate my stories or recipes.
How long have you been blogging? Is this your first blog?
I have been blogging since February of 2011. My blog was private up until mid July of that year. At the urging of my friends, I have been blogging openly since mid July 2011. A redesign/re-launch of my blog was on February 1, 2012.
How often do you write a new post or add a new photograph to your blog?
I post 3 to 4 times a week. My posts are varying in interests and content. These posts will include a wine recommendation, an easy recipe and a life story from personal experience. Every now and then I post just my illustrations and how I create them. The one post I find a great deal of fun, is the illustrated favorite quote from a blogger.
What has been your best experience since beginning your blog?
I love all the new things I’m learning. The Blogosphere is like no other place I have traveled before.
The great gifts of all are the new friends I am making in the process.
What has been most surprising to you about having a blog?
The biggest surprises I have found are:
- The amount of work that is needed to make a blog successful.
- That people are enjoying what I produce; in illustrated stories, recipes or wine recommendations.
- I am amazed where my readers have come from. I currently have at least 100 countries that represent where my visitors and reader reside.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting his or her own blog?
The advice I would give any new blogger is:
- Take your time picking your domain name. Make sure it is easily searchable and something that can be easily remembered.
- When you start with an image or look, makes sure it is the way you want to brand yourself.
- Start with WordPress as your platform. I went for a customer setup, but they provide many different free themes to pick from.
- Learn what keywords are and how to use them. There are great tools out there that can help you do that.
- Choose a good “Comment Widget” with a good spam filter to avoid too strong a moderation of your comments. Having to many gates to go through discourages comments.
- Write from the heart and what you are passionate about.
- Make absolutely sure you edit your material carefully. It represents who you are, and you always want to put your best foot forward.
- Promote your blog in every way possible.
- Monetize your blog. You can choose to make the ads as prominent as you desire. If you are going to do the work, why not at least give yourself the opportunity to make a little money.
- Be prepared for the amount of work it takes to make your blog successful.
- Always be a student continuing to look for ways to improve your blog.
- Be patient. When you think it isn’t worth it, push through that feeling and just keep going. Nothing sustainable happens overnight.
Thank you so much for passing along so much great advice and encouragement. Susan had passed along her logo for me to post. Unfortunately, I had trouble transferring it. Please take a look at it when you visit her blog. It’s a really cool logo.
The link to Susan’s blog is listed below.
Here’s a little bit more from Susan along with two additional great links to check out.
My illustrations have become my most popular draw to my blog. As a result I have been commissioned to do several logos. Two of which are currently being traded marked. I also have had an invitation to look at doing a book cover commission and to help illustrate specific stories for difference bloggers.
How I draw on my iPad demo link:
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org