Welcome today’s Featured Writer Friday. My guest is Angelah Starr and WOW!! did she set the bar high!! I’m not going to share the goodies now, so keep reading as she tells you about her blogging experience and shares a few blogging tips with you.
Hello, My name is Angelah Starr and I’m the author of blog you can find at misalignedwithangelahstarr.com. I would consider it a lifestyle blog where I share the happenstances of life (good and bad); with topics that may cover the life of a grown woman, marriage, parenting, makeup, fashion, travel, and food among other topics all wrapped up with humorous undertones. I live in the United States and have always been a Southern California Native. When I am not working on my blog, I continue to write on my first book series that should be out next year. In addition to my writing aspirations, I value my family time with my husband, two daughters and one son-in-law; in addition to spending time with close family and a core group of great friends. I’m spontaneous by nature so wherever my adventures take me and whoever is along for the journey, it’s sure to be a fun time that I am often happy to share on my blog.
1. How long have you been blogging?
I guess in some ways I have always wrote in what we now recognize as blog form; journaling early on as a child well into my adulthood. Then sharing thoughts and experiences dating back to the “notes” during the MYSPACE days and progressing as social media began to grow where I have always continued to share. Nonetheless, officially blogging is something new, starting this year. It’s been a pleasant surprise and something I have found value and joy in.
2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?
I’m working through the transitions of a career change, therefore, I have made blogging more than part-time and not quite a full-time commitment but no less a commitment I really enjoy. My professional background is within Human Resource Management and as a Paralegal.
3. What got you started into blogging?
My family and friends have always encouraged me to continue to write; but specifically, my daughters and husband encouraged me to start writing a blog so that I could strengthen my writing skills, and allow readers to get familiar with my writing style before my book series comes out next year. I have some health issues that are complicated due to an illness that I have called Lupus. It’s a temperamental disease and if nothing else there will be something via my blog that I can leave behind for my loved ones to find comfort and humor in for generations to come. While the blog is initially an introduction to assist in the promotion of my future book series, it is also a legacy of sorts for my family and friends.
4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?
As I mentioned above, I would consider it a lifestyle blog covering a variety of every day “in the life of…” topics. There’s life happenstances that I’m excited to share or even challenging times that I may slice into the blog, but it will most always close in the end with a “keep your chin up” take away. I may share areas of fashion and makeup that those of us in the real world deal with, in relation to being on a budget or simply being comfortable in your own skin working with what is within our reach. I may cover something for foodies, travelers, empty nesters, parents, couples or find humor in sharing how someone on a full throttle skootie cart ran me over at the grocery store. I would like to move away from writing from my health issues because I believe, for me, speaking on them gives it negative power over me, but sometimes a relapse is so annoying and troublesome that writing may be therapeutic and I may share the experience, but it’s unlikely. You never really know what my next topic will be and in all honesty, neither do I. I write with what speaks to me instinctively, or what may randomly inspire me; it’s never planned and it must always have comedic undertones. I hope that my blog will help others in ways to understand that they are not alone in whatever they may be struggling with, questioning, or simply happy or annoyed with. I think my humor is starting to come through as my writings progress and whatever the topic, I will alert my readers through various social media sites on what’s ahead before a post goes live.
5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?
In addition to the encouragement and support of my family and friends, TWITTER has been a surprising advantage to building an audience; promoting not only my blog but other sites that all interconnected. The Twitter community as a whole has provided many tips for writers, not only helping with engagement but assisting in strengthening many aspects of running a blog. There’s an abundance of work that goes into all that’s involved behind the scenes that I was unaware of and was becoming overwhelmed by initially. With a simple hashtag, you will find and welcome a community that correlates to your Blog where you can take a step back and manage the forward momentum of my own goals. It’s like meeting a kind stranger off the street and repeatedly having a pleasant experience of guidance and support from either the same or very similar people. As of date, it has been a positive to the promotion of my blog. Also, there are many bloggers that I have quickly become familiar with. For example, Dan Swords (who is the producer of Featured Writer Fridays on his own blog) offering solid advice that is valuable to bloggers on many levels and worth checking out, subscribing and following through his social media sites. I was surprised but appreciative of the opportunity to be recognized as his weekly featured writer. I welcome the growth to my own blog and social media, through Dan Swords Featured Writer piece. It’s important to give back through your own heightened level of success and one cannot grow on their own, without the support of others. As the opportunities ahead are afforded to me, I also plan on paying it forward just as Dan Swords, whose example to us all certainly supports the writing community.
6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?
For me, I think so far… Facebook has not provided as much support as I expected. This community makes up a primary group of people that you are closer in ways– either they do or have known you on a personal level. I think there may be a lot of eyes rolling as to what I am trying to accomplish. While a “like” is encouraging, it’s a fine line to promote your efforts not only having hesitation to saturating the feeds, but also… by asking someone to saturate their own pages with a SHARE because it may be something that’s not for them. I know I have been guilty of this ignorance too. Yet, in all defense… you forget that you also have a group of friends who might enjoy a particular content and those that don’t. I realize the importance of a SHARE on Facebook simply to allow others to make up their own minds rather than leave a friend as they remain in the dark to a greater audience. It’s humbling to promote among your known personal peers. On one hand, you may like to assume they would be sharing your pages but for whatever reason– don’t; and then the ones you would least expect are more than happy to share every post. It’s a thing that makes you go “hmmmmmm”, but I also think the algorithms of Facebook as a whole makes concurrent progress an additional challenge to whatever one is trying to promote.
7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?
For my blog I use WordPress. It was cumbersome at first spending a few weeks trying to build a website as I initially built something very generic because I just wanted to throw up my writings. Wordpress has many tools for what you need to accomplish for building a website but is overwhelming and foreign to a beginner, taking a lot of patience. For me, the challenge was figuring out formats that I could use to best represent myself. Now, I’m becoming more comfortable with managing my blog and website, but it’s still a work in progress on my part and I’m content (for now) with what is presented to my subscribers. When it comes to keeping up with promoting, at first I was losing sleep trying to stay interactive. But I had discovered a tool that I can’t live without through an APP called HOOTSUITE. HootSuite allows me to schedule posts on varied social media sites on specific dates and times; I have used it for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I recently began using the scheduling tool and as a result, I have a bigger chunk of my life back. I continue to post at random because I think personal engagement is important to share my appreciation towards those taking time out of their own life to frequent my efforts. Using Hootsuite has become a lifesaver when promoting new blogs because I think reaching a greater worldwide audience would be ineffective without it. Because of this tool, I have not only opened myself up to new readers from different countries and cultures, but it has widened my interest in those very people as I begin following their own social sites and blogs.
8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
It’s important to have the courage to begin. You will have some hesitation stalling you from wondering what others may think and there will be those who will go out of there way to dull your shine, don’t let them. There are a million and a million more bloggers out there and there’s always going to be someone who you can speak to (through your blog) who will appreciate your writing style and content. Over time, your content will become polished and easier to provide. You will get overwhelmed and discouraged causing writer’s block; allow that downtime to relax and regroup—you will find a topic and therefore, will always have content to continue writing. Its ok to post daily or weekly, and so on. Keep in mind that you are the one who makes the rules; as a courtesy just remember to also loop your readers into something they can rely on. Even if you miss a set date, let your readers know—they’re human too, they will understand and will be there upon your return. Your topics can be singular or multiple. If you have a passion for strictly one topic, don’t waver to appease a few uninspired readers. Sticking with what you know is your strength and enjoy writing about, will be more engaging and fulfilling to others as well. I would encourage future bloggers to get familiar with the blogging community… not only to support it as a whole but to learn through others mistakes and importantly absorb tips with their success stories. I wouldn’t ever advise copying others content. Use good common sense. Nonetheless, if you can walk through a mall searching for a good pair of jeans in five different shops…you’ll quickly understand there is a market for a wide variety of similar (not the same) but similar content. When you use your own voice, offer your reader a balance of genuine transparency so you will grow a loyal supportive following that will inspire you to continue and be afforded the opportunities of such a writing commitment. Remain realistic, don’t ever pay for followers…maintain what’s real and true through your own works. Blogging as a whole is not easy… but the reward will be through your own level of efforts and remember to just keep writing.
9. Where can everyone find you?
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