Should You Take The Training Wheels Off Your Blog? (Growing & Stretching!)


baby-photo-with-computerIn 2014 I was a newborn blogger and WordPress was my comfortable, cozy crib where I felt safe to kick, cry, and reach out to bat my hands at my colorful dashboard to learn new tricks. Getting “Freshly Pressed” was the only playpen I wanted to hang out in and every day I delighted in adding a couple new followers with names like Strained Carrots and Creamed Corn.

Now that I’m a toddler blogger, crawling around and getting into everything — I think it’s safe to take down the child safety gates.download (2) Okay, the creepy baby analogy can only go so far.  But the point is there’s a whole big Blogger park out there to explore!

I frequently get questions from people inquiring how I started publishing outside of my personal blog. I can give a long, detailed answer that will probably seem boring and circumstantial because it happened in a very specific way based on my particular lifestyle and personality type. Or I can just say this . . . absolutely NOTHING ever would have happened if I didn’t stretch outside of my comfort zone.

My fear of rejection was keeping me small. But somehow I developed a new tolerance for taking risks when I turned 50 years old in 2014. (Yes, I realize I was just wearing diapers and shaking rattles three paragraphs up!) My new mantra was suddenly, “Go big or go home!”  After all, what was the worst that could happen?

I hope everyone will ask themselves that same question as they begin to stretch out, reach up, and SUBMIT!  Yes, there is a life of “Submission” outside of Fifty Shades of Grey. Please don’t wait until you’re my age to try!

If I could recommend just doing three things to start out, they would be:

1.  Start going to any and all blogger conferences.  (I went to BlogHer 2014 because I was named a “Voices of the Year” in the humor category and Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker which eventually led to my getting on The Huffington Post!)

2.  Go HERE and read anything and everything you can. Take a deep breath and email some words you’re proud of to one (or more!) of the places mentioned. I live here and on the Facebook page she moderates, which you can request to be a member of.

3.  Write as if you already have a HUGE audience of readers. There’s something about feeling like you have lots of people waiting with bated breath for your next piece that elevates your writing and makes you rise to the occasion.

Here are four recent categories of publication I’ve ventured out into trying:

1. Pitching:  Did you know that you don’t even need a finished post to submit –you just pitch them your idea! Sell it and make it sound good. That’s what I did to this major online magazine and was astounded when it was accepted and I had to go write it up. Gulp! And it was a serious article about growing up with large breasts, too. Ugh…What had I done? You can see how it turned out right here.   XO JANE

2. Guest Posting on Another Blog: This is a terrific way to gain exposure and you never know what else it will lead to! Here is just one blog I adore and admire and was thrilled to write something that actually went up. It’s my adventures as a Snoopaholic!  Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

3. Syndication:  There are many big websites that you need not write something brand new or original for.  You can simply submit some of your best (or favorite!) stuff that’s already been on your own personal blog. Or do what I do and send posts that are older and perhaps went up before you had many followers.  It’s a great way to breathe new life into them. Here is one such place where I am able to recycle some of my older stuff.  Midlife Boulevard

4. Anthologies:  I used to think you had to be a famous writer to get your work into an anthology.  Uh, nope!  There are tons out there that publish according to themes.  Find one that correlates with what you like to write about, then think to yourself — “If the theme does fit, you must submit!” Here’s an anthology book I just found out I was published in from a website called Story Shelter which is a great website anyone can have their writing appear in right now.  I AM HERE!

Good luck and let me know when you take those first steps or eat solid food!

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35 thoughts on “Should You Take The Training Wheels Off Your Blog? (Growing & Stretching!)

  1. I feel like a grandmother. My, have you grown!

    Great to see you posting so often. I regret that I haven’t been able to keep up with you like “the old days”.

    I, too, have taken the training wheels off of my blog. I am getting ready to submit to a third place while I reach the end of my novel. Such a thrill! I’m looking at the Poets & Writers free online database.

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  2. What a wonderful post! It’s funny how that 5-0 milestone has a habit of kicking our butts into the stratosphere. So freeing when we’re willing to take on a little risk, isn’t it? Great advice for everyone, Stephanie – “Go big or go home!”

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  3. Thanks for the great advice! Sadly, I am waiting until I’m 50 to do these things (since I also turned 50 in 2014) but hey, at least I’m going to try, right? 🙂

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  4. Stephanie, congratulations on your reach! You really spread out 😉
    I’m bookmarking this one. I’m up to my ears in projects right now, but I know I’ll want to look into some of these opportunities. Thanks for sharing.
    And I agree, you’ve got to take risks if you want to go far.
    High five! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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  5. This was very well written. I like the way you weave the credits into the story and have properly acknowledged many other sites you have worked with along the way. It is very exciting to see the growth and expansion. This is and excellent article. Thank you for sharing with those that are still in diapers.

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  6. So appreciate your words of wisdom and it has been inspiring to watch your blog grow and the same with your stories out into the world. One question I still have is where do you find the time? I’m totally serious about that- because that is where I’m finding myself challenged. Congratulations on your expanding success.

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    • Diahann — that is the $64,000 question! First of all, the syndication publishing is such a blessing because it doesn’t take that long to submit something you’ve already posted on your own blog. And you get a lot more exposure and bang for your buck. Writing new and original material for publication elsewhere saps ALL my time. My kids are complaining, my body is complaining (no more gym!) and my mother is complaining (phone calls were first to go!) All I can say is I have horrible insomnia and so often times 3am is when I am doing this. I think when you have OCD, you get obsessed and MAKE the time to the exclusion of other things. You’re just TOO BALANCED (I can tell!) to become like that!!

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  7. Thanks for offering all your tidbits and links of information. I’m still in the baby crib and trying to build confidence to take that first toddler step!! Love these ideas and enjoyed your xoJane story, as I can relate….somewhat. I only got as far as DD, but had many of the same experiences you did. Thanks for sharing!!

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      • Thank you Stephanie for putting good stuff out there in the blogosphere. I am always happy to help spread good stuff! 🙂 Just wish I had more time to read all posts, but eventually I get there. 🙂 Ironically, I haven’t been getting all your posts, although I ‘follow’, so sometimes I just drop by. 🙂

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    • No, Susan Maccarelli – – thank YOU! Here she is, folks. This amazing (and funny!) writer/woman/editor is responsible for the website “Beyond Your Blog” that I linked to above. She runs both that AND the Facebook page and puts out tons more incredible podcasts where she (with this terrific voice!) interviews these well known editors giving all sorts of inside tips. She is the “Be All to End All” things Blogging!

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    • That is extremely kind of you to say. I seriously have been wanting to pay it forward with what I’ve learned for a long time, but I wasn’t sure that readers would like my veering away from my typical tongue-in-cheek humor posts. I sure need to follow my own advice and take more risks. Thank you very much for giving me some positive reinforcement – – means a lot!
      Stephanie

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  8. As always Stephanie, you are a fountain of knowledge (and I don’t mean trickle, trickle) for those of us who admire your writing. And I promise not to wait until your age to reach out, since I’m 60 and that would be pointless. Great advice all the same. :O)

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  9. The large breasts article was amusing. I don’t think some realize how it can be traumatic. Some female students in high school joked they could share some of mine, as they had so little.

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    • Hi!! Yep, I had girls joke that they wanted my leftovers from my reduction surgery. It’s a typical “grass is always greener” scenario, doncha think? But it was physically painful too! Thanks for reading and coming out to comment!
      Stephanie

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    • Aren’t you the sweetest to say that! I thought I had nothing special to say and kept quiet for many years. I was married to unsupportive people who made me feel that math and science were the only things that mattered. You will break out too, I just know it. Thank you for reading/commenting today since it was a very different kind of post for me.

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