Love What You Write and Do It With Purpose
By Caren Begun
In 2009, my blog Mommy’s Point of View came to life about a year after my daughter was born. This was before the success of Facebook, Twitter, and social media. At that time, there was so much talk about “mommy bloggers” and while I was working a full-time job, I loved to write and had always wanted to chronicle my life experiences but never quite found the time to journal by hand. So, being a new mom was the perfect time to start as it gave me great material to work with, and I could write much more quickly on the computer and could start right away.
My blog started within the span of two weeks after I dropped a chair on my foot trying to move it on my own to another room after my daughter (aka The Monkey) climbed on it one too many times. Being on crutches and forced to remain on the couch for long periods of time made the time ripe to get started on the blog. Thankfully, my husband, who is a technology whiz, helped me get it started once I did my research and came up with a name that I worked hard to create and felt good about.
After starting my blog, I thought that writing a book would be a good next step. However, I was working full-time and raising a baby and time was just not possible to pen a memoir, novel, or even a self-help book. I did go to a writing seminar and learned that I must really be committed to a topic: body, mind, and soul, then I would know what to write about.
One day, many months after penning a blog for my daughter about an experience with death did I realize that there were few books available for young children to address this topic without it being too serious, but enough for children to be taught and to learn from.
I started to write my book. Then, I put it down. Then, I wrote another draft, and put it down again. This went on for a few months. I decided then to read some of my daughter’s books to get an idea about prose to help with the approach that was best for her age group. After doing that, I re-wrote the book with the same concept but in a more rhythmic-style format. After having some folks look at it, I put it down, not for good, but to focus on my blog and come back to the book when the time and feeling was right as I was getting frustrated with the changes and not feeling the win of it.
After the book writing attempt, I decided to take my blog to another level and share in my joys of reading, by sharing new books, especially for kids, and for my readers seeking good reads. I realized that as a blogger, I can help to spread the word, and to a more targeted audience. For example, I have been fortunate to get a complimentary copy of Jane Green’s summer novel, Summer Secrets that I blogged about here and then posted on social media as well. Another book was pitched to me on kids and learning about teeth and dentists, which I wrote about here that I still own and plan to hold on to for possible, future grandchildren. I was also fortunate to be gifted with a funny read that opened me up to dream of really becoming a book author, called Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish, a parody-style book. For the latter, I especially liked that proceeds from the book were being donated to Autism organizations worldwide.
While at this time I am not a novelist or book author yet, I am fortunate to read and shed light on other’s novels and stories and honored with the opportunity, especially when it matches well with my blog’s focus.
Being in the public relations world, it’s not always easy to get attention for books and other stories. Blogs have been shown to be a great opportunity to truly engage with targeted readers who have an interest and can provide honest feedback and help to drive awareness.
Focusing on healthcare as part of my job, I was very particular about wanting my blog to have a call-to-action as much as possible to inspire and motivate my readers to act. So, to get my feet wet, I started with my life experiences in a memoir-style format and also posted pieces of my stories and links to them on other social media sites such as Social Moms Network, BlogHer, My Work Butterfly and so many others. It’s valuable to spread the word to as many audiences as possible that are willing to listen.
With additional reading and learning about blogging, I knew that my stories also had to exist outside of my blog to gain insights from others and to expand my offerings and ideas to new readers. During this time, I also read many parenting magazines such as New Parent, Parent and Parenting, just to name a few, and found that they often sought ideas from parents to share with their readers. While they were not paid requests, I was still game to sharing my thinking, as it was a great way to expand my offering and build my readership. So, I dipped my toe into sharing my ideas beyond my blog and the reward was great. For example, New Parent sought ideas on ways to recycle at home that could benefit our kids and, by happenstance, I decided to reuse baby wipes containers once they were empty to store small toys or crayons.
It was great when I got phone calls from friends and family telling me that they saw my name and blog and idea in the magazine. I was officially out there. The feeling was incredible. As a result, I started to have a voice through my writing and recommendations and it felt pretty amazing.
Another empowering moment came when I had to travel for the first time for work and I was still nursing my daughter and pumping breast-milk. I shared this on my blog and with a freelancer friend about my travel woes with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on what was protocol for transporting breast milk, and she pitched it to The New York Times, as she felt it was a story to tell to help others. While I didn’t write it, the story came to life and now lives online here to help spread the word about this important, much-talked about issue. It’s incredible to see how much traction this story has received all because I had an experience worth sharing to help others.
Mommy’s Point of View has transformed over time as my daughter has gotten older and our experiences have changed. Because work is often busy, I had to scale back a bit on my blog writing. However, I’ve ventured into more health writing on my blog and for sites like EmpowHER, where I gain a new audience and opportunity to continue my writing passion and share ideas and topics that matter. The book will come, later. It’s not being ignored. It’s just being put on hold while I delve into other areas that I am passionate and enthusiastic about.
My blog has evolved over time and I started to find value and great emotional reward in helping to share other experiences, especially for health topics that need more attention. For example, I’ve written on rare diseases such as hypophosphatasia (HPP) a soft bone disease, and Dravet Syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy, as friends who are living these experiences needed additional platforms to help raise much-needed awareness.
It’s important to like what we write, especially if we want to spend time doing it. It’s okay if our focus changes as we evolve. Write what you love and what brings you joy.
As a mom of a growing school-age child, and PR/media relations specialist working full time, Caren Begun’s blog, Mommy’s Point of View, came about with the desire to educate and offer valuable, helpful tips and information on parenting and health, as she experiences them first hand, and use it as a format to learn from fellow mom friends in order to help others. She says that the goal for this blog is to offer information from her “point of view” with feedback and insights from fellow parents, and those who contribute to the site, and to collectively provide helpful and useful information to guide, console, make decisions and sometimes just provide a good laugh every so often. You can access the blog at www.mommyspointofview.com.
For more stories, read Café Dissensus Everyday, the blog of Café Dissensus Magazine.