Welcome to the Blogger Confessions post series. The idea came about while answering an email a reader and budding blogger sent me a few months ago. I thought it would be insightful, and of course entertaining, if a few of my favorites shared their confessions, such as the topics we’ll rarely touch as a blogger or even simply the joy and satisfaction of storytelling. In honor of YS.Com’s 1-year anniversary, I will be featuring multiple bloggers this month.
Our first feature blogger is Erica. Erica and I first met last spring in D.C, and she has since become one of my staples on my reading list, not to mention my friend. She is one of those writers that does not hesitate to hold back when it comes to storytelling. Her words leave you with so much emotion and truth. Oh, and quotables.
- Name: Erica Nichole
- Blog: Everything EnJ
- Years of blogging: 5 1/2
What made you decide to open a blog?
I started a blog because I needed something to do during my first couple of months into being a mother. I didn’t want to somehow lose my interests in writing just because I had the biggest responsibility in my life. Far too often, I heard that mothers drop everything they’re doing (as if mothers can’t multitask) and I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I started this progressing work of art online. All of these years later, I’m somehow still writing, even with a new direction and focus, and I love it so much more now, than in the beginning.
How do you decide on what to share with the world? How do you protect yourself from public scrutiny?
I’ve touched on this before, but I will only write about things I’m comfortable with and won’t feel resentment on later. Usually, I’ll blog about something when I’ve felt I’ve come to closure with it or if I’m on the verge of closure and writing about it, seals the deal. I think I take the word ‘personal’ in personal blogging to another level sometimes, but that’s something I’m comfortable with; to each his own. To answer the second half of your question, I’m firm believer that you can’t use what I’ve overcome, against me. If I put it out there, you can’t make me feel bad about it. It’s my truths that healed me, so trying to publicly hurt me? Try again.
Have you ever experienced an “Oh my God, I put this on the internet?” moment? Please elaborate.
There’s one piece that I’m most proud of on Everything EnJ, but for a good 24 hours after publishing it, I had so much anxiety about it. The prelude to What Binds Us Together: Our Stories, where I wrote about abortion, is definitely that post where I found closure in seeing it in black-and-white. I kid you not, after I clicked publish, I went under the covers to try to “hide from the world.” It took a lot out of me to write it and it took a whole lot more, mustering up the courage to even put that out there for the world to read.
What has been one of the most difficult issues you have faced as blogger?
I’d have to say 1) staying consistent with writing posts and 2) trying to find inspiration when I want to write, but hit a hard wall of Writer’s Block. I don’t know if I’ll ever master number one though; my schedule is always packed with things and being a mother of two? Forget about it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
What advice would you share with new bloggers, or those toying with the idea of opening a blog?
Wow, I’d have to say know what you want to do. There’s so much to blogging, but I think knowing the purpose of your blog matters most. You can figure out the little (or big) things as you go, like web design and SEO, but know why you’re starting one and figure out how to make it stand out from the rest. There are millions of blogs out there and starting a blog because “it’s the thing to do” isn’t going to cut it. What is so special about your platform? How are you using your voice? What do you want your audience to know about you?
Has blogging or writing presented you with any cool opportunities?
I have to definitely attribute my blog and the connections it helped me make with some of my favorite writers, with my current internship at VIBE Vixen. I didn’t think that my personal experiences would open doors on that scale, to be honest. The goal was always to just write for release and nothing more.
Share 3 of your favorite posts!
In no particular order:
- Life Will Humble You…
- The Year of Unfinished Business, Forgiveness, Fearlessness + Finding True Love
- H is for heartbreak
Finish the sentence:
- Being a blogger means you’ve taken on a journey of creative expression.
- Being a blogger does not mean I’m an open punching bag and that I’m obligated to give you more than I have already shared because “my business is out there.” It also does not mean, “you know me.”
- As a blogger I will never share something I’m uncomfortable with for clicks and page views.
- The stereotype I hate the most about bloggers is the one about bloggers blogging for attention.
- Top 5 things that turn me away from a blog are bright background colors / “fancy” illegible fonts / excessive ads + pop-ups / not understanding the purpose of the blog from the first page / an absent Contact Me page
Erica Nichole is a spoken word artist and writer hailing from New York City. She currently interns for VIBE Vixen and is the woman behind Everything EnJ, the 2014 Black Weblog Award winner for Best Personal Blog. You can find all the goodies of her website on Twitter at @everythingEnJ and her daily rants on life at @KaeNdKamsMom. Read at your own risk and have a glass of wine available.