Almost a year ago I sat down with my brother in law, Jason, who has all the computer programming experience in the world, and told him I was interested in starting a blog. This blog would be for our community that focused on inspiring women, sharing stories, passions, entrepreneurship adventures, photos, and tid bits of humor all wrapped up in a perfect little package of cyber chatter.
I had been sitting on this idea for quite awhile, and with the school year getting ready to start up, I would have more free time on my hands to devote to my writing.. In a nut shell, The timing just felt right.
As we began, our original idea was to partner up with my twin sister Kathryn,who was also a Mom. However Kathryn was your average "working mom." Monday through Friday, 8:00-5:00 plus an hour commute. It seemed to fit. I would handle all the funny stuff, the budding Mommy entrepreneur stuff and local events and her content would but solely fixed on the ones who had to leave little ones behind and go into an office. Kathryn is and always has been very, very smart. She has her Masters Degree in Health Care Administration, has a good head for business, can debate just about any subject with a sharp tongue and quick wit and never ever backs down from something she strongly believes in. Me....well okay I am smart too, but a different smart. I may not excel in a fierce boardroom meeting but boy can I throw a pizza party for a bunch of Kindergartners. And I can organize crayola markers from the washable kind to the non washable kind. I can even (and I hate to brag) but I can find a Scooby Doo marathon on TV no matter what time of day. Our different situations mixed in with our completely different personalities would make for great reading, great discussion starters and an even keel of information that would appeal to all.
Our first conversation went something like this...
Me - "We need a name...Something cathy..."
"Her - "Uh huh.."
Me - "Something that ties us together as sisters, and Moms."
Her - "Uh huh."
Me - "What about Sister Chat?"
Her - "Uh Huh.."(typing in background...)
Me - "Or Twin Chatter?"
Her - "Uh, huh... Hold!"
*insert classic music here...*
A few more conversations like that occurred but the underlying feel was that this was more my idea than hers and as much as I wanted to partner up with her and have her input, this wasn't as interesting to her. Not in a bad way, nah she is one of my biggest fans, but it just came down to what gave me the idea in the first place - Our differences. Not just within our own minds but also our situations.
So with her blessing, I continued to borrow her hubby with the actual launch. We began in Wordpress. This was clearly not my idea (I had tried Wordpress once before and it confused the crap out of me). But he insisted it was the way to go. Using Wordpress would increase our traffic, we would have a "polished and professional" look (and I had to admit, looking at other wordpress blogs I had been impressed). So we "pressed" on. Jason did all the HTML stuff and I provided the content. He also hooked me in with a few "extras" (which I would later learn are called Plugins) and before I knew, we had take off. I was so excited, my idea was finally turning into something real. I was finally entering the world of Professional blogger, and if I played my cards right, I would be successful. I might even make a little money. More importantly maybe this blogging thing would jump start me into once again tackling that novel... I would after all be writing every day. How easy it would be to blog for an hour, then write a chapter...
Oh how I now laugh now at my naivety...
Yet, Back to the launch. Everything was there just like Jason had promised. We had local and national news, a daily weather report, we even had a traffic report and a daily cartoon. My article that I wrote for the unveiling, a story about Evan starting Kindergarten, well that was up in the far right hand corner... Evan's picture as Small as my thumbnail.
Bottom, line hardly any of it, and I mean hardly, had anything to do with my ideas on Motherhood.
For a few weeks I went with it. I buried my head in Wordpress for Dummies books, website tutorials and endless texts and e-mails to Jason who I think after awhile began screening my calls (not that I blamed him). I did get the hang of a few things, I still enjoyed writing my own articles that I figured out how to make bigger on the front page. I even hosted my very first contest, and the winner received Carolina Panther Ticket's I was slowly making headway.
However, underneath it all, I was actual quiet miserable, I didn't like sharing my blog with Jason, his intent for me to be more "news" and "current events" oriented wasn't jiving with my writing stories about inspiring Mom's. We began to butt heads and damn it I had a lot to offer with this blog. I mean after all, Chatter is effortless. It just evolves and then takes on a life of it's own. There is no structure, no boundaries it can stop as easily is it can begin. And without we can't exist. I realized I didn't need tricks or fancy plugins. I just needed my ideas, my vision and a much simpler application on how to present it all.
So I changed gears and thanked Jason for his time, his commitment and told him I was running back to Blogger. Blogger was my friend, Blogger knew me. Blogger was where I started my original blog Momsie. I belonged to blogger. I was coming home.
In February I hired a designer and a few weeks later, I had my new look, my new vibe. I was elegant yet simple. I was smart sassy and funny. I was thrilled. More magic happened after that. I had stories, I had content. I was meeting new people, taking part in new experiences. I was offering more giveaways, I even went antique shopping for crying out loud and learned enough to write about it. Gift baskets, fashion, design, baked goods, and more... I was as ever in awe of how many talented women we have in out little community. I was honored and lucky to be a part of something, I hoped was just as special to everyone I wrote about, as it was to me.
Then, something, unexpectedly happened. A new path, a new vision slowly appeared in front of me. A path I didn't see coming but at the same time wasn't surprised either. Path's are funny that way. How they appear out of no where yet show signs of familiarity. Paths that lead to a new place, a glimpse into a new journey. And the question became. Do I follow this new path, or do I stick with the one I am on? And If I took the new path would I be able to look back? Would Chatter still be okay, would I be giving up what took so long to get started? What about all the blood sweat and tears I had given over this past year? I didn't want to strand anyone, or leave anyone hanging. One of my biggest pet peeves as a blogger is to gain a bunch of readers only to let them down with lack of content, lack of connection. I slowly began to fear that could happen, I was already writing less and as if life wasn't confusing enough, summer break kicked in and my time belonged to the kids, instead of the blog.
Yet through all of this, the path stood firm. It was clear as day actually. So I took one step onto this path that for all practical purposes Lakeside Chatter created for me. Now as I look back, I am most certain this was the intent and purpose of my experience over the past year. I am in the Chatters hands forever. I owe this path gratitude to where it has led me. The incredible people I have met and the stories I have been able to write. To read your comments and see how much the blog has changed over the past year has just warmed my heart beyond words.
So here I am, a year later. School soon starting again. Chatter a year older and even though changes lay ahead, I am more excited than ever. In fact it is that very reason that I wanted to share with you today. That I, Ms Chatter box herself, am further along in my journey of discovering my own passion, my own inspirations. The very thing the Chatter stands for happened to me when I least expected.
This isn't a "goodbye" by any strecth of the mens, it is just a "Stay Tuned." Watch me head down this new path and please come along with me. There is no better feeling in the world than finally understanding all the paths in your life will lead you somewhere quite extraodinary.
Stay true, stay real and more than anything stay Inspired!!!
With Much Love, Respect and Joy,