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Featured Blog: the state that i am in
We love Erin most especially for her The Face of Infertility series (she talks about it below), which is so emblematic of her compassionate sharing of herself for the greater community. Her generosity is apparent, too, in her interview below where she gives some great advice and tons of encouragement!! Plus there is a true warm-your-heart moment in her answer to our last question.
Erin is a long-time blogger (since 2004!) and has most of her archives up so pour yourself a cup of tea and indulge yourself in reading her story.
the state that i am in
What has been the most surprising thing about having a blog?
Blogging has changed my life in ways I never thought possible when I first started out in the blogging world. I literally started my blog on a whim one night while waiting for my husband to come home from work. I never imagined that five years later it would become such an integral part of who I am. Through blogging I have met the people that I truly consider my best friends, both online and offline. I have become a part of a community that builds me up and gives me so much strength when I need it most. What surprises me more than anything, though, is that blogging has truly helped me to become the person that I am today. I have learned to speak my mind. I have learned that it's ok to show how vulnerable I feel. I have learned that, through my writing, I can help others who are going through the same issues I am. It's really an amazing thing. I can honestly say that blogging has changed my life, and that I am a happier person for it.
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
What I hope to accomplish with my blog is ever changing. When I first started out, I really had no idea what I was doing. My blog has evolved with me over the past five years, and more than anything, I hope that my blog will be a way for me to look back on my life and see where I've been. Right now, though, I do have a specific goal that I'd like to accomplish with my writing. I didn't start my blog as an infertility blog, but that is certainly the most written about topic these days. Many of my readers, though, have been with me since before the big IF. Many of my readers are not dealing with infertility themselves. These days, it's my goal to educate as many people as I can about all things infertile. First and foremost, I want women to know that they are not alone. I get many, many e-mails from women who are struggling with infertility, and they feel that they have no one to talk to. Second, I want to put a face to infertility. There are so many of us out there who are struggling in silence, and I like being able to put a face to that struggle. I have a series on my blog called The Face of Infertility, where I quite literally post pictures of myself during different stages of this process. I currently have hopes to turn this project into a book featuring portraits of couples and their stories. Finally, I want to encourage couples to talk about their infertility. I talk openly both on my blog and in my offline life about what my husband and I are going through. I don't think it should be a taboo topic. Infertility happens to a lot of us, and it shouldn't be something that we have to hide from.
Can you tell us the story behind your blog’s name?
Like I said, I started my blog on a whim one night almost 6 years ago. Luckily, I managed to pick a title for my blog that I still love to this day. I was sitting in my office, racking my brain for a clever title for a blog I really knew nothing about yet. My eyes settled on the Belle & Sebastian album Tigermilk. One of my very favorite songs on that album is called The State I Am In. There is a line in that song that goes, "And I've been there and back again, the state that I am in." Thus, the title for my little blog was born, and I am very happy to say that it has stuck with me throughout my blog's life. I think it speaks perfectly to how I write my blog. I quite literally write about the state of my life, whether it be good, bad, or really ugly.
What’s your advice to new bloggers?
Write for yourself. If you are a personal blogger, your most important reader is you. Personal blogging is about telling your story, so start there. Be honest about who you are and what's happening in your life. Don't spend so much time worrying about stats and comments. If you start with you, your audience will listen.
That being said, readers don't just pop out of thin air. Don't expect to be getting dozens of comments overnight. Building a community takes effort, and if I've learned anything from blogging it's that you get out of it what you put into it. Put yourself out there. Read other blogs, and comment when you have something to say. Join online communities. For me, I have found an amazing community with 20-something bloggers. Joining 20sb was a wonderful way for me to find bloggers to read, and to put myself out there as a blog to be read. When readers show up and leave comments, respond in some way. Personally, I respond to all of my comments via e-mail. It's what works for me, but there are many ways you can show your readers that you are listening. Respond to their comments directly on your blog, send them an e-mail, visit their site and say hello. Being a successful personal blogger is about building a community for your readers. So, put yourself out there, and then make sure your readers know you are listening.
What’s your favorite story about being part of the blogging community?
Not long after I went public on my blog about our struggles with infertility, I was having a really tough day. I was hysterical because my RE's office was having trouble scheduling my HSG, and one of the nurses told me I might have to wait until the following month. I wanted to write, but I didn't have the emotional strength to type. So, I posted a picture instead, and The Face of Infertility project was born. A few days later, I came home to an unexpected package on my porch. Inside the box was two dozen roses. Not from my husband. Not from my best "in real life" friend. I recieved two dozen roses from two beautiful ladies that I had come to know by being part of the blogging community. I cannot even begin to put into words how much their thoughtfullness lifted my spirits that day, and just thinking back on that moment of surprise still puts a smile on my face. Now, certainly, I don't expect two dozen roses every time I put a blubbering picture of myself on the internet, but what I've come to know in my heart is that, no matter how low I am feeling, I can always expect that someone in my blogging world will be there to hold my hand through all of it.
Thanks Erin for giving us the opportunity to share your blog with our readers! We know they will come to love you as we have!
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