The Life of Bon: The day I met my blogging idol

Sunday, February 03, 2013

The day I met my blogging idol

Wednesday night I decided I was going to meet myself some CJane.

CJane, or Courtney Kendrick, is my blogging idol sort of speak.  The first time I ever heard of her was on a train ride in France.  Hubs and I were on a study abroad program in Europe and CJane's brother, Chris, was the program supervisor.  Somehow we started talking about family and Chris mentioned that two of his sisters, CJane, and NieNie, were professional bloggers.

I was interested.  Mostly interested in the word "professional."

I had had a blog for years, posted on it every two months as it seemed fit, and enjoyed the attention I got from close friends after they read a post.  I love to write and I love to make people laugh, but it had never once occurred to me that I could do this not only as a pastime, but as a career.  Of sorts.

Thus began my daily blogging escapades.  As soon as we were home in the states, I looked up both of Chris' sisters.  While I enjoyed NieNie's blog, CJane's really hit home to me.  She was charming and funny and real.  Totally real.  I felt like she was my old crazy college roommate who was writing out all of her adventures on the internet for the whole wide world to see.  She was hilarious, yes, but she was also vulnerable and honest. I read her archives when I was supposed to be grading papers, followed her twitter rants while I was supposed to be making dinner, and read and commented on her daily current posts when it was long past my bedtime.  I think most bloggers have someone who influenced them to really start writing.  To get their story out there.  CJane was mine.

When I heard that Wednesday CJane was going to be speaking on a panel at the Orem Library I was all for it.  I sent out a twitter invite, got Elisabeth to agree to coming with me, and we were off!



That's CJane on the right.  The picture is bad.  My apologies.  Also, the lady on the left was no bueno.  She had no idea what she was talking about, rambled on quoting other authors and writers, and took all of CJane's time.  Am I allowed to say that about bloggers who speak on a blogging panel?  Because I just did.

Things that CJane said that really affected me:

How do you deal with negative feedback?  "You open your arms and accept what they have to say.  Some of it is true.  Some of it can make you better.  In a way, I guess I am grateful for the negative reviews because they challenge me and make me grow.  When you reach a certain sized audience you will have critics no matter what.  Accept that and move on."  (This one was especially interesting to me because I've got some haters lurking around here.)

Do you publish a post even when you know it is not your best?  "Yes.  All the time.  Bloggers can't be perfectionists.  I have maybe five posts where I honestly genuinely think I got it 100% right.  The others thousands of posts have flaws and mistakes and were published before I was entirely ready.  But if you wait until a post is perfect, you're never going to be able to publish it.  So you just go for it."

How do you have something to write about every single day?  "I go out and live.  I take my kids places, I interact with people, I try to have adventures.  I consider that part of my job.  I have to have something to bring to the blog, so I go out and find it."

Then I asked her the big question everybody else was afraid to ask her- money!  I know CJane's blog supports her family and that she is able to make enough off of it to live comfortably.  She has a million monthly page views.  I asked her how she went about monetizing and how she found the time in the beginning to juggle full time job + blog + family + other interests so that her blog could get to the place where it is now.

Her answer:  "Quit your job."

I was surprised by her answer, but also not surprised as I know from my archive reading that when CJane was looking seriously at becoming a blogger she quit her job as an elementary school teacher to focus completely on writing.  At that point she wasn't making any money off of blogging but she did it anyway- took that total leap of faith and just went for it.

Obviously there has been a lot flying around in my head the past few days.  I am not ready to quit teaching, that much I know for sure.   But I also know I have to find a way to make more time for blogging.  It makes me wonder about the rest of you out there- would you quit your job for your etsy business or your blog or whatever passion it might be?  Is that totally reckless and stupid or do you see it as a necessary step if you want to achieve real success?

CJane shared this quote about writing that totally resonated with me.  The reason we write, the reason we blog, the reason we lay it all out there:  "Give, give, give--what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, the world and with the divine."

After the panel I got to go up and talk to CJane.  I was prepared for her to be kind of hoity toity and rude.  I was ready for my blogging idol to totally let me down.  I don't know why.  I have heard stories of people meeting bloggers who were bratty in real life, and I guess I just prepared myself to be disappointed.  No one can actually be as nice and cool as they seem through their blogs, can they?

But CJane totally was.  She asked tons of questions about me, was genuinely interested in my blog, and  let me snap all the pictures my little heart desired.  She has a quality about her that I would give anything to have, and that is that she is one hundred percent comfortable with herself.  You can tell by the way she speaks and the way she carries herself and the way she interacts with others.  She loves herself and understands herself and is so comfortable with who she is.  Because of that, she is able to show that same level of understanding and love to those around her.  I was so surprised when I was talking to her how comfortable I felt.  Normally I'm a hot bag of nerves in situations like these, but not that night.  I started cracking jokes and being myself and somehow in a manner of seconds I felt like I was chatting it up with my best friend.

Isn't that such a great quality to have?  To be totally comfortable and to make others feel comfortable as well?  I'm a gonna start working on it!



Unfortunately I am not as busty as CJane.  One day.  One day.


(P.S.  Who is your blogging idol?  And have you met her yet?!?)

19 comments:

  1. It may have seemed a reckless and stupid decision to quit my job while I worked my way up at Ross Dress For Less, but after a few days from quitting... I knew that it was the necessary step to achieve “my” success. The success of owning several small businesses, being a stay-at-home mom and blogging. Not helping catting teenagers with the likes of every day stocked items and then being scoffed when I told them “Have a good day!”.

    Having the ability to write and make things as a job, is truly a blessing and what I really love about it, is that I can give my experience, knowledge and talent to those who WANT it. No more will I waste hours on Grand Junction “fashionistas” who care more about how they look than the surroundings based upon their final purchase. Connecting with others to a standard where they can really get me is a huge blessing and an even bigger blessing that my fiance is allowing me to do such.

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  2. My blogging idol is Elizabeth from E Tells Tales. I started an interior design blog a year and a half ago and that's when I really discovered the world of blogging (instead of having a blog for just your family to read). After reading E's blog for four or five months I decided I needed my lifestyle blog back, so I started a new one with a little more intention this time. I just quit my design blog for a time while I adjust to having a new little one. I don't know if I have it in me to put in the effort to make money, but as a mom its a great way to socialize WHILE I feed a human with my body. :)

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  3. So I've been having that same question swirl in my head about devoting more time to blogging. I'm a stay at home mom so while I wouldn't quit that job, I really want to use more of my babysitting time dedicated to writing and giving. But I make no money blogging and am not really looking to make money. Somehow I would feel a lot more justified in having a babysitter if i wanted to make money rather than running a charitable site. Trying to come to terms! Good luck on trying to figure out your course!

    And if I had to name a blogger idol....Glennon Melton.

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  4. Thanks for passing on the advice - seems like an incredible life-changing type moment. Newest follower here :)

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  5. Honestly if it werent for student loans I would try my hand at plunging into the handmade business/blogging FT thing. As for blogging idol... LIY, LMM, BonBon, Beth and Lena :) I got diverse tastes!

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  7. My blogging idol is Ashley from A SoCal Story (http://ash-and-matt.blogspot.com/) I haven't had the chance to meet her, but she did respond to a comment I left on her blog. It totally made my day! She was the reason I started blogging in the first place!

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  8. Oh wow Bon! I love this post!! I definitely have a blogging idol - its Casey Wiegand from Casey Leigh. Her writing has inspired me & given me the courage to show my sensitive side in my writing - something I was very afraid of doing as I've always been (ashamed?/annoyed?) at how deeply I feel things. She has allowed me to see that it can be a beautiful quality and her writing is absolutely touching.

    I am so excited for you that you got to meet your idol! You are looking gorgeous by the way! :)

    Hope you have a great week,

    Aanika from www.theactivemum.com

    Xx

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  9. I'm a teacher and while I love blogging and would rather not have the politics to teaching, I'm not sure if I love blogging more than teaching. In fact, I'm fairly certain I love teaching more...BUT...someday I'd like to work from home and if I could ever make some kind of sustainable income via blogging, I'd do it. What a long-winded response! :)

    I have a few blogging idols...I started out really trying to blog for a larger audience due to the influence of Katie from Marriage Confessions (http://marriage confessions.com). Now I also LOVE LOVE LOVE...Kelle Hampton (http://kellehampton.com), Mara (http://ablogaboutlove.com),Glennon (momastary.com)

    And I honestly have to say that Bon, you are an inspiration yourself. The honesty with which you blog is risky at times and it makes it so much more fun to read and it's inspired me to try to put myself out there more.

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  10. So glad you had a wonderful experience meeting her. I love her quote about "give, give, give". So true. I'm often nervous to "put myself out there", but find that if it helps or reaches just one person, I'm ok with that!

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  11. Love this post and love her advice.

    I don't make money off my blog and I don't know that I want to. I have however, gotten some very nice writing jobs thanks to my blog. I don't have a huge readership, but clearly, I have the right readers.

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  12. Not having a job is the best.

    And my idol is you obvi.

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  13. My blogging idols are Kristin and Dannielle of EveryoneIsGay. I met them this past fall, and it was so so so exciting. I had tweeted about it all day from my personal (not anon) account, and then when I had the chance to meet them, they recognized me!!!!

    They're not bloggers as much as they are advice columnists, but their website is hosted via tumblr. They also do vlogs and weekly personal posts. They were able to turn their website into an actual nonprofit organization, and it's become their full-time job. I admire them so much, not just for pursuing their dreams, but for encouraging young people everywhere to be themselves.

    And they were JUST as nice & funny in person as they are online!

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  14. Wow. I can't imagine quitting my job for something that I just hoped I'd make a sufficient income off of one day. I hope that's not the only option!

    Not that I necessarily need to make money off of my blog, but it'd definitely be a nice bonus. And I sure as heck don't have the balls to quit my job!

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  15. I love this! And tooootally wish I could quit my job to blog or write a book full time. Did she have an income from her husband at the time? As a single gal, I have the whole issue or rent to worry about.

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  16. Thanks for this great post! Very helpful for your the new bloggers out there! Lots of great things to think about when attempting to grow a blog!

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  17. I don't have a blogging idol there are so many awesome bloggers who I follow to pick one to idol would be just so bloody hard.........

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  18. Cjane was (I say was, maybe I should say is but I don't read her as much ... time constraint?) Anyway, I am going to click follow for this blog for sure! You're darling, and a VERY talented writer! So nice to find a blog I'm going to really enjoy!

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  19. ever since she said "quit your job" i've been thinking how i can cut out some of the clutter to find more time to write. she is so inspiring and definitely one of my blogging idols. also: i met Pioneer Woman once and was totally star struck (and dooce, who was nice), and i'm meeting joanna brooks at the end of this month!

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