What Keeps You Awake at Night?

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I’m one of those nighttime “chronic pee-ers” and last night I got up as per usual, but this time I couldn’t fall back asleep despite the fact that it was 4 am. I struggled and struggled to get back to sleep but I just couldn’t. Before bed, my mind had been preoccupied with this new business I’ve been planning to start. I fell in love with this idea for a logo just before bed and I couldn’t stop jotting down ideas and notes. So when I woke up at 4 and couldn’t get back to sleep, I figured it was the excitement of the new business keeping me awake.

So I decided to go with it.

It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes I can’t fall asleep or stay asleep because I have ideas running around my head. Last night it was a mixture of the new business and a new novel that apparently wants to be written. I guess last night my mind had a lot more ideas than I expected it to have and it needed me to get them out. At 4 o’clock in the morning.

Usually the best remedy is for me to wake up and take notes. I keep a notepad and pen nearby or I write something up on my phone and email it to myself to read in the morning. Within minutes of writing the ideas down, my mind is at rest and I can sleep again.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been consulting and editing for awhile but in the past few months I’ve been working on creating a solid business plan to move forward beyond what just I can do. About a year ago, I came up with another idea for a second business, but I dismissed it right away. I wasn’t ready to start this business and the concept seemed much larger than what I could manage so I put it out of my mind until yesterday. I needed to start developing the website content, the website layouts and at least pick names so I could move forward with the process of being official.

I figured I would get all these pieces done and just let the websites site in maintenance mode for awhile.

No big deal. Nothing exciting. Just work.

And then it came alive. Kind of like a book idea would for me. I was flooded with ideas for the second business and started imagining the crap out of my website design, logo, and more than that…the logistics of it all. Logistics doesn’t sound magical at all. Nor does it sound creative. But I think it can be. It can be exciting to put something together, even when part of the process is very mundane. When passion is involved, the mundane does get a little bit of magic sprinkled onto it.

After all of this, I knew it was meant to be; me and this second business. It’s funny how I was so hesitant about it and now I can’t sleep because I’m dreaming up logos and all the fun stuff I get to do. It’s amazing what a little passion can do.

What’s been keeping you awake at night? Do you have any big dreams that feel impossible to reach? Tell me about them. Maybe I can help.

you cant use up creavity What Keeps You Awake at Night?

Daring to Set Boundaries

Brene Brown has this great quote about boundaries and disappointing other people:

I’m in the process of getting over a major guilt complex, a martyr complex and some really bad people pleasing habits. In other words, I’m learning to say no.

Saying no is one of the greatest things you can do as a human to love yourself and to be more productive. It’s incredibly difficult as an empathetic person, but it’s simply something you have to learn. If you’re not very assertive, or being assertive doesn’t come naturally, this will be difficult. No doubt.

But saying no is essential as a professional blogger and as a human being: whether you’re a wife and mother, a manager, or earning a minimum wage.

Setting boundaries has a lot to do with saying no and sometimes they’re one in the same. When you set boundaries, you’re saying yes to yourself and to loving yourself. You’re saying no to people who treat you poorly, who use you, who are abusive, or who simply don’t know any better.

Setting boundaries is healthy and it’s essential.

I love my readers dearly. I had a talk with C last night while we were driving home from dinner about local bloggers and how I’d like to connect with some of them but I’m so shy. And then I was reminded of some bloggers who did want to meet with me and I just couldn’t bear to do it because of my shyness. But more than that, there have been times in my blogging career that I’m asked to meet up every day of the week. Could I get anything done if I went out that many times? No.

I brought this up with my lovely Blog Tribe (a blog tribe is a group of other bloggers who are peers that offer support and feedback) and shared how often I’m asked to go out one-on-one. Most of my Blog Tribe shared that they simply don’t go out with anyone they’ve met online unless they’ve known them a very, very long time or know them in person and even then it’s rare. They shared my feelings: meeting up one-on-one just isn’t doable with everything else going on in our careers and personal life.

I got a message one time when I was home for the holidays from someone who wanted to meet up and they asked if I could meet them for coffee. I declined because I was watching a movie with my parents, but I felt terrible. I knew I was disappointing her. She needed support, sort of like therapy actually. It was a difficult time for her. But these were golden moments with my family–moments of holiday memories that were good and happy (unlike some of the others we’d had in the past)–and I wanted to soak them all up like sunshine. I also wanted to relax. It was a rare week off from work and I was enjoying the hell out of it. And that message from her interrupted my time with my family and asked me to pull away to work, to hear some stranger’s issues in her personal life and quite honestly, I knew it was time for me to set boundaries and as a result, I knew I would risk disappointing her deeply. In fact, she stopped following my blog after that. And she’s not the first to do that, nor will she be the last.

But as Brene Brown says, setting boundaries means we have the courage to love ourselves and after spending part of my adult life loving and sacrificing my early twenties for other people (literally, I worked for free as a volunteer for almost a decade in service to a group of ministers and a church), I’ve decided to love myself wholly and to allow myself space away from this blog from time to time. Sometimes that means I break the hearts of readers and that never, ever feels good. I’m sorry that your hearts may have been broken, but I’m asking that you understand what it means for me to have a moment with my family that is uninterrupted by work and completely about me for just one day. And I’m asking that you respect my decision to set boundaries. Without these boundaries I simply cannot write the deeply vulnerable essays you all love and connect with so much.

But before I go, I have to say: I love all of you and if it were up to me, I would sip coffee with you every day and talk about all the deepest things we possibly could. I know you consider me a dear friend and even though many of us have never met, I consider you the same. Without each of you, I wouldn’t have made it this far and for that I thank you.

Learning to be Vulnerable Again

A few weeks ago, I asked my readers to take a survey and tell me what they like about this blog and miss about the other blog. When one reader said they miss my “rawness“, it made me think. And think. And…

I’m still thinking.

What does that mean? What did I have that I don’t have now?

I know exactly what it means but ironically I didn’t think anyone was listening, at least not to those moments. Those posts were very raw and sometimes hard for me to publish. It seemed like they were the posts that were least shared and least commented on. Sure, I got personal emails often, but they rarely called out a specific post. I didn’t know people were listening as earnestly to those posts as they actually were.

Thank you for listening, dear readers.

It’s funny how our low self-esteem can get in the way as writers. I used to be an open book on all levels and now some things feel too personal to share. Too many people started reading. I don’t censor myself but I find myself wondering if certain stories are the best to share so openly because of who is reading. And maybe I don’t share those things right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t share them in the future.

I’m going through a very meaningful stage right now. A season of self-discovery. Regaining my footing. Rebooting, so to speak.

I’m rediscovering myself and I’m on a journey to find my new “niche.” I haven’t found it yet, which is probably why this blog doesn’t feel as focused as the last one. I was dedicated to the cause of preventing spiritual abuse, but there was rarely a place for me, the writer, to share other things. This is that space and I feel empowered in this space.

public domain images free stock photos aureliejouan flowers 1024x682 Learning to be Vulnerable Again

It’s an art form to be able to be vulnerable in the public eye and I’m no Brene Brown. Being vulnerable is easy for me when it’s one-on-one. Talking to a dear friend about my faults or hang ups is easy for me. And that’s what I do when I’m behind the screen: I imagine I’m sitting with my dear friend talking one-on-one and that’s when I’m able to write something really raw and honest and candid. But when so many readers reach out to me, I get scared and nervous and that facade of the “dear friend” sometimes crumbles. I haven’t quite figured out how to have the courage to be so raw in front of so many people and for that I apologize. I’m trying. I really am. I’m just not equipped to do that like some people are.

I’m determined that this year I will make great strides toward making positive steps toward that, though.

I’ve started by getting closer to my family and small group of friends who offer me a lot of support. They make me feel safe.

I’ve also accepted my first speaking engagement with someone who has been a reader for years. I was so nervous and full of doubt about doing it that I almost said no. And then I realized that I can pull from my past blog posts and read from those if I’m overwhelmed by nerves. And I can rehearse like a motherfucker. My friend Wendy taught me that rehearsing is the key to making great presentations.

I was also inspired by Erika Napoletano (again) when she shared that she actually moved to Chicago to pursue acting. She wrote an inspiring blog post that actually made me cry (which I will write about more in the future) and made me remember how much of a positive outlet theatre was for me. I acted in high school and college, but before that I spent years performing monologues around various schools in a competition for kids. I loved every moment of it. I loved feeling the power of the words and moving audiences.

I miss that.

I’ve dabbled in the idea of getting back into some community theatre of sorts. I even consulted an actor friend for names of great playwrights who might have some pieces for me to work on.

Brene Brown has this great quote which made me cry a little bit (yes, I’m a crier):

The very best writing I’ve done (and by that, I mean the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a writer) were when I wrote something in tears and walked away from the page knowing I’d poured my heart and soul onto the page for all to see. most of it isn’t published, but some of it is great and I hope to share it someday. This piece, which I titled “How to Develop a Mental Disorder” is one of those pieces that I wrote while tears poured down my face and I can’t read it out loud without doing the same. I also can’t pronounce some of the philosopher’s names that I included, which sucks when I’m trying to do a reading, but that’s another story. Of course, this type of vulnerable, gut wrenching writing isn’t celebrated, so I’ve written list-sicles (you know the kind) and tutorials and other content that’s SEO worthy but not necessarily raw like my dear reader said she missed.

I love being raw and I know you love it and miss it.

I will bring some of it back to the page. I promise. In return, all I’m asking is that if you see my heart on the page, “like” it or share it, or comment on it. Let me know, somehow, that you see my vulnerability.

I’m going to aim to be more raw in my posts but please bear with me as I re-learn what it means to spread my soul bear on the screen.

My Holiday Vacation Bucket List

My parents are very into traveling and I’ve reaped the benefits of this all my life. We’ve gone on cruises to Alaska, spent Christmas in Hawaii and flown over a snow-covered Arizona in my dad’s airplane. We’ve made memories and visited some of the prettiest places in the world together.

As Charlie and I start talking about next year (and admittedly, I find myself more and more in love with him), I find myself thinking about vacation time we’ll need to take and of course, my mind first goes to dream vacations. If you’re going to plan something, do it big, right? I love staycations and this writer probably needs to take some time away just to write, but why not plan my dream vacation?

I don’t have a holiday bucket list, really, but I have a holiday vacation bucket list. I love putting up my Christmas tree, watching holiday movies, and making hot chocolate at home. I usually drive around town looking at Christmas lights (which is even more fun in New Mexico because of their tradition of luminarias). But one thing I’ve done around Christmas that I would love to do more of is travel. I’ve been to New York at Christmas and have seen Rockefeller Center all decorated. I’ve been to Disneyworld and Disneyland during the holidays, Vegas, New Mexico, and Hawaii. But I haven’t been to Germany during Christmas (which I’ve heard is amazing) or my newest dream spot: Quebec City, Canada.

No one seems to enjoy Canada in the winter (even Canadians), so I love that it’s not everyone’s first choice. A few years ago when we went on the cruise to Alaska, we stopped in Canada and I fell in love. After that one trip, I decided I loved Canada so much that I would keep going back (or maybe buy a vacation home there). So of course, when I was starting to plan my holiday vacation bucket list, I had to include Canada and that’s when I found Quebec City. Not only is Quebec City in Canada, but it has a Winter Carnival and it’s very own hotel made out of ice. It looks magical and even has a reputation as being one of the most romantic vacation spots.

From the photos below, I’m sure you can see why.

Quebec City My Holiday Vacation Bucket List

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quebec city 2 My Holiday Vacation Bucket List Source
Quebec City view My Holiday Vacation Bucket List Source
Dream Vacation My Holiday Vacation Bucket List
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quebec city 3 My Holiday Vacation Bucket List Source
 
 See more on my Vacation Planning and Winter Wonderland Pinterest boards.

12 Days of Christmas

Twelve days of Christmas final 750x297 12 Days of Christmas I’m doing something totally different this year at Christmas! Since I’m such a huge fan of Christmas and Hallmark Channel holiday movies, I’ve teamed up with 11 bloggers from my #BlogTribe this year to bring you 12 Days of Christmas #MerryBlogmas style, with a whole bunch of giveaways at the end of things.

Christmas is my favorite time of year but I’ve never really dedicated so many days to blogging about it. I’m looking forward to it, mostly because this year I’ve gone Pinterest crazy and have about 16 boards dedicated to Christmas. I even have a dream vacation board for winter vacations which I’ll be writing about on December 1st.

Each day during the 12 Days of Christmas, we’re going to be posting about a different topic and you’re welcome to join along with your own posts about the topics below. If you do have a Christmas related post, on the 16th of December we’re going to open the floor up to YOU to link-up your posts.

Dec 1 – Creating a holiday bucket list
Dec 2 – Gift ideas
Dec 3 – Craft
Dec 4 – Movies
Dec 5 – Recipes
Dec 8 – Christmas Kindness
Dec 9 – Traditions
Dec 10 – Home tour/décor idea
Dec 11 – Hosting or Traveling
Dec 12 – Kid Friendly Christmas
Dec 15 – Health/Fitness
Dec 16 – Link Up Christmas Extravaganza – Anyone can link up any Christmas related posts

Today, my boyfriend, Olive and I are sitting around the living room, snuggled up in blankets. He’s watching James Bond and I’m blogging. Olive is guarding her bone. Later this weekend or next week, we’re hoping to go grab a fresh tree and we’ll be spending some time decorating our first Christmas tree together. How romantic is that? (I think Christmas is one of the most romantic times of the year.)

If you want to get a head start by checking out my fellow bloggers, feel free to visit them here:

Alyssa from Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze | Amee from Inspired Housewife | Ana from Mommy’s Bundle | Cajun from Blooming in Bedlam | Denise from StL Motherhood | Joanna from Motherhood and Merlot | Josi from American Mama | Julie from Girl on the Move | Lauren from Twin Tested, Pin Approved | Lisa from Goofball Mommy | Phyllis from Verified Mom

Blogging Better #2: 100+ Blogging and Social Media Resources for All Levels

Last month on October 28th, Julie and I launched a monthly Blogging Better resources link-up. In the spirit of #BloggingBetter, I thought I would share some of my favorite blogging and social media Pinterest boards that highlight resources from around the web for all levels of bloggers, authors and small businesses. I’ve taken a lot of time to cultivate these and I think they’re the best blogging Pinterest boards out there. I also want to give you something to read before the next link up, since so many of you have been interested enough to sign up for email updates and RSVP’d to the Facebook eventGoogle+ event, or Eventbrite (you can still sign up for next month’s link-up on those sites).

But first I want to get to the heart of why I’m doing this link up and why I’m focusing more on the subject of blogging. First of all, I’ve met some new bloggers recently and I find that quite a few of them are stressed over small things: that their stats aren’t big, that they aren’t making any money, or that their social media isn’t growing quite fast enough.

If you’re going to be blogging for a long time, you need to stop stressing over those things. Do they matter? Yes. But if your blog is under a year old, keep doing exactly what you’re doing and keep moving forward.

 These are important aspects of a blog’s authority but they aren’t the only way to be a successful blogger and over the next few months during Blogging Better, I’m going to give you insight into my blog stats and successes and show you how to build a blog that can bring you opportunities most bloggers dream about. One of the keys is to stop getting so caught up in your stats, monetization and the real key? STOP doing what everyone else does.

In blogging, there are a lot of followers and very few leaders. Most bloggers are afraid to lead the pack. They’re afraid to be different. They’re afraid to give advice that differs from what other “successful” bloggers suggest, so they never end up with opportunities of a lifetime.

They do the same damn, cliche thing everyone else does. And no one cares about their opinion.

They aren’t influential.

Sure, many followers have large numbers. But you and I aren’t stupid. Think about it. Anyone can get followers. Sometimes it’s a game of follow/follow back. But in reality, that means next to nothing. It doesn’t mean people are reading your blog. It doesn’t mean you’re being heard. It doesn’t mean much at all.

I tell new bloggers all the time: numbers aren’t everything and as I just said above, successful blogging is about influence, not numbers. It’s about leading the pack; having a strong voice. I was contacted by an NPR affiliate station for an interview when my blog was very, very new. It was 6 months old and I probably had 200-400 unique pageviews a day. But this was one of the defining moments in my career and I had the chance to interview with world renowned experts who had real history to their research.

It was amazing.

It’s still a highlight in my career, and many bloggers with millions of views per month will never see these kinds of opportunities because their blog has devolved into spam for advertisers. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t have millions of views. I absolutely don’t blog like other bloggers. I don’t buy content. I don’t participate in gimmicks. I carefully select advertising and I only publish advertisements on rare occasions because my content matters.

I write. I blog according to what I want to say and I’m focused on making my blog work for my career. I think this has worked well for me because two years into blogging, I was contacted by the CW TV network through a production company. The production company interviewed me and made a pilot TV show out of my blog and the work I did there. Two years in. Guess how much traffic I had? Not much more than 15,000 unique views per month. For many bloggers, they don’t see these kinds of opportunities until 4-6 years in.

And it was because I was strategic about standing out and it was because my blog was unlike any other blog that was out there at the time.

You’ll find that bloggers who have a singular focus: making money and getting thousands of “junk” fans and junk pageviews lose their integrity really quickly. Not to mention, no one wants to read a Walmart ad. That isn’t to say that all bloggers who have a lot of fans or pageviews don’t have integrity (Absolutely not! Some huge bloggers are up there on my list of favorites.); it simply means when a bloggers focus is solely to make money or earn fans, she loses out on big opportunities. It also means when you follow a big blogger, you should take a look at their platform more closely. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Anyone can get 100,000 followers on Twitter, but 100,000 junk fans won’t do anything for your career or credibility. Learn how to be critical of others’ platforms so you can judge who to follow and who not to. (On a related note, today Julie is talking about increasing interaction on your blog in an authentic way.)

My point is, there’s a lot of crap out there and you need to be careful who you emulate and who you look up to as you grow. Amazing things can happen to you as you blog if you let yourself be unique, if you stand out from the crowd and if you create excellent content. There’s no substitute for quality and no amount of inflated fans or pageviews will earn you credibility in the blogging world, especially if your content sucks (or if you buy it).

What ultimately matters is that you find your voice and stick with it. Don’t copycat someone else’s voice, style, etc. Don’t blog about recipes or DIY/crafts just because it seems popular. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog about those if they’re your life or your dream is to be featured in Martha Stewart magazine (but you should only write about that IF it leads to your dream career), or that you shouldn’t write about something popular. The key is, you need to stand out and the only way to do that is to be YOU.

On that note, show some personality. No one cares what you’re wearing or what you’re reviewing. Readers follow blogs because they see a human being behind the blog. It’s that simple. (Not to mention, unless you’re a fashion blog, you shouldn’t be focusing on fashion and unless you’re a junk blog, you shouldn’t be doing free reviews of products.) Show some personality. Stop asking your readers questions and start telling them what YOU think. Write about something that pisses you off. Be human. Be vulnerable.

That’s how you gain readers.

I could write all day and night about blogging and social media. I love both topics and they’re two things I’m passionate about and do professionally. There’s no way I could possibly write about every single topic related to blogging, which is why I rely on really great articles to pin on Pinterest. I take my time cultivating my Pinterest boards and I read through articles before linking them so I can make sure the posts give really great advice. I recently introduced a handful of other bloggers to collaborate with me and share their own resources on a few of these boards. The great thing about having awesome collaborators is that they’re vetting the resources with their experience as a blogger, too, making for a list of trusted resources that will be useful.

If you’re looking for the best blogging Pinterest boards, take a look at these boards and browse through the articles linked. Some of them belong to me, but they’re in an easy to find place, and some of them belong to my Pinterest board collaborators who have a lot of experience blogging. There are 100 plus invaluable blogging and social media resources here for all levels of bloggers, authors and small businesses and it’s constantly growing. 

100 plus blogging and social media resources 1024x1024 Blogging Better #2: 100+ Blogging and Social Media Resources for All Levels

The Business of Blogging

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board The Business of Blogging on Pinterest.

Blogging Tutorials

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Blogging Tutorials on Pinterest.

Blogging Tips

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Blogging Tips on Pinterest.

Blogging: Media Kits

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Blogging: Media Kits on Pinterest.

Social Media Management

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Social Media Management on Pinterest.

Social Media Tips

Follow Lisa Kerr’s board Social Media Tips on Pinterest.

Or just follow my profile: 

Visit Lisa Kerr’s profile on Pinterest.

Visit the Blogging Better archives: 

Blogging Better archive posts

Check out my Blogging Resource Center:

Resource center for bloggers

Now it’s your turn. Join us for the second Blogging Better link-up below:

Once a month, I’m co-hosting a link up on blogging resources called Blogging Better with Julie DenOuden. We would love it if you linked up your best blogging resources below. Our readers are new bloggers, mid-level bloggers, hobby bloggers, professional bloggers, small businesses and social media managers. Our link-up will go live on the last Tuesday of every month. Join us on Twitter using the hashtags #bloggingbetter and #blogbetter.

About Your Hosts

GOTM about me 260x300 Blogging Better #2: 100+ Blogging and Social Media Resources for All Levels Julie DenOuden is my co-host and a fellow Southern California blogger. Julie blogs at Girl on the Move, a blog about traveling, cupcakes and social media resources. She started blogging just over two years ago and truly has some of the finest organizational skills you’ll ever see. Julie is a great resource for social media tips and her 31 Days to Create a Social Media Plan is a must-read for any blogger.

FOLLOW JULIE ON TWITTERFACEBOOKPINTEREST

headshot 241x300 Blogging Better #2: 100+ Blogging and Social Media Resources for All Levels If you’re new here, my name is Lisa Kerr. I’m a veteran blogger of more than four years whose work has been featured on the Huffington Post TED Weekends, HuffPo Live, NPR and more. During my four years of blogging, Oprah’s network contacted me and the CW developed a pilot TV show about my first blog, so I’ve learned a lot about the business side of blogging, blogging beyond monetization and protecting your intellectual property. I now advise companies about how to connect with their clients by creating a compelling story and building community and I also work with new and mid-level bloggers, teaching them how to manage their social media communities, tips and tricks for WordPress optimization, and how to create a professional writing portfolio that will further your career.

FOLLOW LISA ON TWITTERFACEBOOKPINTEREST

I hope you’ll find the tools and tips we share here helpful in developing your blog, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have (either by email or comments) in future posts.

To join the link-up:

Visit at least 2 posts from below and comment on them.

Follow your hosts on social media:

FOLLOW LISA ON TWITTERFACEBOOKPINTEREST

FOLLOW JULIE ON TWITTERFACEBOOKPINTEREST

Sign up for future Blogging Better email updates here.


Why I Love Tumblr

Today I did a video blog for the first time and had a lot of fun. I have on last night’s makeup, talk about how my upper lip sweats and just rolled out of bed. So, clearly I’m a pro. I’m talking about why I love Tumblr and why it’s a great place for me to kind of “hide out” as a blogger. Although, let’s get real: here’s the link. I started posting some of my more serious writing there, too. Here’s an example of a more serious piece I wrote called “An Isolated Space.”

But to be clear, I have about 5 other anonymous blogs on Tumblr, so there’s that. Here’s the video blog on why I love Tumblr and of course I’ll be posting a second video next week so you can subscribe here if that’s your thing.

We all share the same fears

Tonight we are celebrating 6 months of being in love. And yes, we’re using skeleton hand glasses to toast.

A photo posted by Lisa Kerr (@thereallisakerr) on

Over the weekend, C and I celebrated being together for six months. It was great for both of us. I think we both have felt “lucky in love” since we started dating and things have been going really well, but reaching a six month milestone meant something to us. It meant we weren’t just in a honeymoon phase of our relationship but that we both made it through meeting each other’s parents, extended family, going to weddings together, getting into arguments with each other and realizing we both want to make it work

Photo booth! #RomeroWeddingWonderland #funnyfaces A photo posted by Lisa Kerr (@thereallisakerr) on

I find it hard to blog about my relationship for a variety of reasons. It’s incredibly intimate and I don’t want to expose it to the world of internet comments and everyone’s two cents (good or bad). We’re normal people who love each other a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean the most intimate moments we share should be featured here. Also, we aren’t perfect. We’ve been known to argue with the best of them and have moody days. Everyone does and I think that’s another reason very few people should actually give instructions on how to have a good relationship. I certainly don’t want to and I certainly don’t want to blog about our bad days. They’re private. We work through them. And sometimes they’re silly like are we going to watch Star Wars or The Golden Girls. But don’t think we don’t get down with those arguments, because we do.

I think at the root of why I don’t want to blog much about my relationship isn’t about my relationship with my boyfriend at all; it’s about my complicated feelings about past relationships and how, before I met C, I didn’t think I’d ever fall in love or find someone I would be happy with. I was the single, independent girl whose relationships didn’t last past six months (I broke off many of them because we weren’t a good fit). I had multiple conversations with my parents about how I probably wouldn’t get married or have kids unless I got a sperm donor.

I watched “The Back-up Plan” way too much.

I think at the root of my doubts that I would ever find someone right for me was the feeling that all those past ex-boyfriends were right when they pointed out some flaw in me that made me unloveable to them. Of course, this isn’t what I believe about myself and I don’t think I’m truly unloveable. I believe those men were just as flawed as me and we weren’t a good fit for each other. And I guess I’m breathing a sigh of relief that they weren’t right and I really am loveable. Ultimately, even though I don’t believe it’s true, sometimes I feel the sting of how often my past relationships didn’t work out and how often I blamed myself.

Even though I wasn’t at fault.

At the heart of every woman’s insecurities (and every man’s) is the belief that we aren’t good enough. We believe this no matter how much we fight it or how much we put on a front that we don’t. Narcissists are of course exempt from this, but I’ve been observing conversations between women (and between men) for years. I’m often like the “anthropologist of Facebook groups.” I’ve been listening to countless women tell their story of feeling unsexy, unloveable, not good enough, not successful enough, or blaming themselves for relationships ending.

We all share the same fears.

And mine are deeply rooted just as yours probably are, but leading up to our six month anniversary, I had the fear that he would leave me like the others had and find a reason why I wasn’t good enough for him. I told him that once and when he held me tight as I cried, I knew that he didn’t agree with what had been said to me before.

So when we hit the 18th of this month, I got a little more than a little excited and I really was just happy to be spending the day with the person I loved. It really didn’t matter what we did or how we celebrated (we went fishing and had a picnic at a nearby park with my mom and the dogs), we were together. We were in love. We had each other.

A photo posted by Lisa Kerr (@thereallisakerr) on

Of course we also celebrated with dinner and wine a few nights earlier. Afterall, C is one of the best chefs I know and this meal was absolutely divine.

Pasta alla carbonara for dinner made by the chef in the family (not me).

A photo posted by Lisa Kerr (@thereallisakerr) on

Blogging Better #1: Why Your blog needs multiple income streams

blogging better link up header 300x186 Blogging Better #1: Why Your blog needs multiple income streams Let’s face it, making money is what’s on every blogger’s mind. I hear questions about earning money from new and veteran bloggers alike. Although my main philosophy about blogging is that great bloggers are great storytellers first and monetize second, I do think it’s important for bloggers to understand how to monetize their blogs and how to diversify their business plan from the beginning.

I recently wrote about my experiences with the business side of blogging in an article for the Huffington Post called 13 Lessons I’ve Learned From Turning My Blog Into a Business:

In the past four years, I’ve managed to turn my blog into an actual business. It wasn’t what I’d set out to do when I began blogging, but it was a natural extension of my love of writing and teaching, and a byproduct of having a father who is an entrepreneur.

Within six months of starting a blog, I had built a strong audience. Then came my first interview. Within a year I had interest from a major literary agent. Within two years, I was being contacted by television networks from around the world. I did want my blog to succeed, but I never imagined the kind of achievements I experienced so quickly. Since turning my blog into a business, I’ve been featured nationally on TV and radio, and I’ve worked with some very high-profile people and companies – all of whom reached out to me.

There are tons of basic monetization tutorials out there and they’re all useful, but most bloggers don’t disclose anything more than basic tips. If you want to move beyond the basics, you’ll need to start looking at your blog as a business and you do that by managing your blog in the same way you would a business. Think: professional communication skills, project management skills for your social media and even learning how to write contracts and invoices for clients. But most importantly? You need to implement good financial strategies from the beginning. Many new bloggers set up Google Adsense and stop there, but if you’re going to count on your blog to bring you significant supplemental income, you need to diversify your income strategies by setting up multiple income streams. By doing this, your blog will earn you more income on a consistent basis and you may even be able to hire a part-time staff to help you manage your blog so you aren’t one of those stressed out bloggers wondering how to balance everything that needs to be done.

To start our Blogging Better resources monthly link-up, I wanted to share my philosophy on why your blog needs multiple income streams and how you can do that.

A little here and there adds up

I rarely turn down something that will earn $100 over the course of a year. Even if that means I’m making a small amount every month, if the income is consistent and only requires a small amount of effort in the beginning, I always say yes. Just a few of these income streams adds a nice chunk to my bottom line. Figuring out which small jobs to take and which to turn down took some trial and error. I turn down a lot of jobs that require a lot of time and effort on my part if the pay isn’t right, but if there’s little-to-no work involved, but the reward is there, I’m likely to add that income source to my blog.

Work now, get paid later

If you set up Google Adsense and Amazon affiliate links now, you never have to worry about them again. If you add them as you go and keep up with Google trends, you’ll be earning income each time you publish a blog post and even if you only earn a few hundred dollars a year early on as a blogger, that’s a few hundred dollars you didn’t have to put much effort into earning. And that will make you happy when you get paid.

Sponsorship isn’t always consistent

There were some months early on that I earned $50 from one company for sponsored content and a few months later I earned $150 from the same company. Sponsored content isn’t always consistent. Keep in mind that campaigns can be seasonal so it’s good to diversify your income beyond sponsored content early on so you’re not stuck making less than you anticipated. When a brand reaches out to me for advertising, sometimes they stay with me consistently and sometimes it’s a one time ad. You don’t always know how long advertisers will stay with you, so don’t put all your hope in one income stream.

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Consulting can pay well

Consulting can pay well, but it’s also a lot of work. When you consult, you usually provide a premium service or expertise (mine is developmental editing for books and social media strategies for businesses) and clients expect more when paying a premium fee. I don’t have tons of consulting clients, but they often pay very well. Even though they pay well, I don’t take every job handed to me and I don’t take clients simply because they’re offering me a lot of money. I recently turned down a $5,000 contract because it wasn’t the right fit for me.

If you have an established reputation, good credibility and above-average skills, you may be able to diversify your blogging income by offering consulting services.

eBooks are the gift that keeps on giving

eBooks are time consuming to write, edit and brand but they consistently perform well for me. I’m not rich off of eBooks, but I sell copies every month and I rarely promote them. Just imagine what would happen if I promoted them or advertised them. I recommend this route for bloggers looking to add another income stream to their bottom line.

Blogging is an entrepreneurial activity

Chances are if you’re a blogger, you may now or one day in the future, be an entrepreneur. Bloggers are creators, world changers, and idea machines. Creativity and ingenuity go hand in hand and those traits do earn people money. Lots of it. Not every blogger will end up being an entrepreneur and not every entrepreneur will end up making money, but if you find yourself turning into an idea machine, chances are you’ve caught the bug and you should work on developing those traits.

Advertising costs money my friends

Once you begin to take your blog seriously, you’re running a business. Businesses need to advertise. Advertising costs money. When you diversify your income, you have more avenues to pull from for advertising money and you should be earning consistently each month. That way if you need to spend a portion of it on advertising, you’re not scrambling to make ends meet and your blog has more of a chance to pay for itself and grow larger. Many new bloggers think popular bloggers simply “happened” when nothing could be further from the truth. Blogging takes money and many popular bloggers spend money advertising.

Blogging costs money

To expand on what I just said, blogging costs money. I pay to use software to manage my social media every month which allows me to manage multiple accounts, schedule and queue content for months in advance and track my social media analytics using customized reports. My company of choice is Sprout Social and even though I pay a premium fee, I love the service. The reports I get are useful for analyzing my growth, where my audience is, and to communicate to advertisers what their money will get them. As a matter of fact, since using Sprout Social to analyze trends and growth, my social media followers have increased to over 10,000 total and I get 1.5 million views per monthSign up for a free 30 day trial of Sprout Social Blogging Better #1: Why Your blog needs multiple income streams.

The larger your blog gets, the more money you need to spend on things like website hosting, social media management, virtual assistants, email services, etc. The more you diversify your income streams, the better chance you have of being able to pay for your (now expensive) hobby and eventually you’ll be earning a significant amount of supplemental income.

I hope this post was informative and also demystified monetization. Email me or comment below with your questions and I’ll answer them in future posts like this.

After you link-up below, head on over to check out my co-host’s post on blogging better.

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Blogging Better archive posts

Join us for the very first Blogging Better link-up below

Once a month beginning this month, I’m co-hosting a link up on blogging resources called Blogging Better with Julie DenOuden. We would love it if you linked up your best blogging resources below. Our readers are new bloggers, mid-level bloggers, hobby bloggers, professional bloggers, small businesses and social media managers. Our link-up will go live on the last Tuesday of every month. Join us on Twitter using the hashtags #bloggingbetter and #blogbetter.

About Your Hosts

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Julie DenOuden is my co-host and a fellow Southern California blogger. Julie blogs at Girl on the Move, a blog about traveling, cupcakes and social media resources. She started blogging just over two years ago and truly has some of the finest organizational skills you’ll ever see. Julie is a great resource for social media tips and her 31 Days to Create a Social Media Plan is a must-read for any blogger.

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If you’re new here, my name is Lisa Kerr. I’m a veteran blogger of more than four years whose work has been featured on the Huffington Post TED Weekends, HuffPo Live, NPR and more. During my four years of blogging, Oprah’s network contacted me and the CW developed a pilot TV show about my first blog, so I’ve learned a lot about the business side of blogging, blogging beyond monetization and protecting your intellectual property. I now advise companies about how to connect with their clients by creating a compelling story and building community and I also work with new and mid-level bloggers, teaching them how to manage their social media communities, tips and tricks for WordPress optimization, and how to create a professional writing portfolio that will further your career.

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I hope you’ll find the tools and tips we share here helpful in developing your blog, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have (either by email or comments) in future posts.

To join the link-up:

Visit at least 2 posts from below and comment on them.

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Daring to Meet My Readers

It’s no secret I have terrible anxiety. I also have been making strides to get over that anxiety and taking baby steps to do that.

One of the steps I want to take is to meet my readers. It’s been a huge point of anxiety for me over the years until recently and it’s also been something I couldn’t do one-on-one because of other life responsibilities and commitments. I’m in a good place in life, surrounded by supportive friends and family, and have grown fond of the idea of meeting up with a handful of readers around the world so I could connect with YOU and talk to you about all the things you’ve wanted to talk to me about. Or just to grab coffee.

I do best in small settings and really well face-to-face when I’m not in a huge group. This might end up being the best thing I’ve decided to do yet, since I don’t have tons of fans in the same city and would probably have to meet people one-on-one anyway. With the exception of Georgia, North Carolina, and the Midwest, which oddly enough seem to have the largest number of fans within reach of each other.

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I’m working on some ideas to make it possible to meet one day, but I have a lot of work to do and it will probably be expensive if I don’t work on sponsorship or fundraising. Most of you don’t live near me and most of you live out of state or out of the country. There are pockets of you in the Midwest and East Coast, others in Europe and Australia. I would really like to meet all of you, but I’m not sure that’s humanly possible because I’m not rich, but with some creativity and some time to brainstorm, maybe I can figure out a way to make this work.

I’m asking you now, if you’re interested in the possibility of meeting me that you keep your eye out on future posts because I will be asking for your feedback on what topics you’d like me to read from when I visit and I’ll also be looking for event hosts to help me square away local venues to speak at and maybe (in select places) even people who would open their home to me to let me stay with them overnight. I won’t stay with a stranger, but if I’ve known you forever, I’m open to that to keep costs down so I can travel to see more people. If it ends up that I just have single readers in a variety of nearby cities, maybe I’ll just set aside a few days and hit up one state or country that way and we can just grab coffee and chat.

These will be casual events regardless of how many people are involved, will include some discussion, and maybe even a workshop. I’m dreaming it up as we speak so stay tuned for details.

This is a huge step for me. I have some more work to do on my anxiety before I can truly commit to something this big (for me) but I really want to make it happen so I’m taking the step of putting this out there. I’m also committed to some things locally, so I would have a limited window to travel.

If you’re interested in bringing me to your city, please fill this brief form out. This will help me figure out what the best cities are for me to visit.