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An open letter to our readers: Journey of a New Blogger

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

I started writing for Cherish almost two years ago and the experience has evolved for me in so many ways. First, I was grateful to have a place to share the many ideas I thought about and talked about with my husband, other Moms, and family members.

The process wasn’t easy at first, even though I had many ideas to write about. Once I sat down to write them, I often found it very hard to get my point across or make the time to do so when I wasn’t exhausted. The biggest chunk of time I used to have was at the end of the night and usually the only profound or creative thing that comes to mind then, is finding that perfect meme on Instagram to tag a friend.

Writing for me has been eye-opening. It has forced me to come forward with ideas that I was really shy about sharing. It makes me feel stronger. I established a process, beginning with ideas, then turning them into bullet points, then sentences and editing a few times, writing got easier. I got more confident. Of course all of your support has been so helpful and has not gone unnoticed or under appreciated. It motivates me to try harder, to write more, and to deliver useful information.

I was inspired to do this because I felt that there were topics I was passionate about that weren’t discussed on parenting blogs in ways I could relate. I would either find super preachy posts, or overly whiny ones, neither of which were helpful to me. Motherhood is hard and I wanted a safe shared space where that was represented truthfully.

The writing process for me has been a leap of faith. Honestly, I am scared to death before many posts go live, wondering, “What will my Grandmother think of this one?” Or did I offend someone accidentally? I have learned to let go of most of these worries and embrace the fact that sharing my experiences with parenting is an awesome way for me to preserve my memories, especially the life changing milestones.

These days, I often take Blake to preschool and once or twice a week come home and write a blog post. I try to do this early in the morning with a good cup of tea, music blasting and my snorting dog at my feet. I feel so accomplished when I get a few of these things done.

The most rewarding part is when I hear someone got something out of my posts. It makes me feel like my efforts are worthwhile and that I am not alone in my thoughts or my situation.

If you had asked me a few years ago (before I had Blake) if I would be doing something like this, honestly, I would have answered no. Writing has turned out to be so therapeutic and inspiring. It’s made me read more because I want to improve and learn more. It’s also made me appreciate literature immensely and in ways I never did before, even in college.

Earlier this year I took my craft one step further and enrolled in a fabulous writing class in San Francisco, Blog Writing 1. It was like going back to college but for something you are totally interested in. Also, paying my own way made me take it seriously and show up in a way I never did in school. It has been the best part of my year - learning techniques, tips, and tricks to help make it all easier and more fun. There is something that really connects you to people when you share your writing. It’s one of our greatest forms of vulnerability and being able to do that in a room full of strangers has been such a cool thing. I have been able to spark more ideas, work hard on developing posts that would have just been okay, and embrace where I have room for improvement.

I am completely honest with myself that I am no Kerouac. I have a long road to travel,  but I am taking the baby steps that are necessary to get there. For now, it feels so wonderful to be self-indulgent and do something just for me for a little while. You lose sense of that when you become a new mother and getting back into something, especially if it is a form of work, is the most gratifying feeling.

So if you are contemplating getting into something new, do it. You might just surprise yourself with where an unexpected hobby can lead.