How blogging enabled one woman to find her inner writer and get paid for her work
ONLINE COLUMN: Web Savvy
Published: April 1, 2008
Catherine Morgan is a name increasingly familiar to anyone who reads Web sites featuring political commentary. Morgan is a contributing editor for the Health and Wellness category at BlogHer, and she founded the popular site The Political Voices of Women. Morgan wasn't trained as a writer-she's a nurse by profession. But in a short time, she managed to jump start a writing career and get paid as well.
Photo by (Photo courtesy of Nicole Morgan)
She says she never took courses in multimedia. Rather, she threw "caution to the wind," aiming to prove to herself whether she could be successful. She asked herself a series of questions. "Were my writing skills good enough? Did I have the ability to find more than one thing to write about? Would anyone ever want to read anything I wrote?" Morgan viewed blogging as a "kind of writing exercise." She says doing those exercises on a blog gave her more incentive to write regularly and frequently. By blogging, Morgan managed to tap into the discipline required to form a habit of writing every day.
Her contributing editor position at BlogHer is high profile. This site has drawn enough attention and garnered enough readers to host an annual conference. Because of Morgan's interest in politics, she established The Political Voices of Women. Originally, for the latter site, she hoped to find 100 women who blog about politics. "We now have links to over 300 women," Morgan says.
The Florida writer never approached her writing as a hobby. "I set goals from the very beginning," she explains. "My first goal was to see if my writing had the potential to be profitable. I wanted to get paid for something I wrote within 4-6 months. I told myself that even the smallest opportunity would be a sign for me to continue. And right around the 4-month mark, I became a contributing editor."
How does she keep up with the writing since she's also a mom? She does what every successful freelancer does-she juggles. "It's a full-time job," she confesses. "I love that I can work from home but that also means I'm always at work. Often I'm working on several different things at one time. I might be writing one post, surfing for ideas, videos and pictures for an upcoming post, looking for bloggers to link to for another post and researching facts for yet another." She follows the news diligently, flipping between CNN, MSNBC and Fox. She also reads The New York Times, The Washington Post, wire stories and many others on the Web."
Morgan also takes the social aspect of blogging seriously. "I try to respond to as many comments and emails as possible ... network with other bloggers, participate in podcasts and learn about social networking sites like MyBlogLog and Twitter." Above it all is her priority to be the "best mom I can possibly be." She calls that last the most important part of her day.
Blogging not only helped Morgan form the daily writing habit, it also reassured her. "The more I wrote, the more confident I became in my writing," she notes. "Before I knew it, I was a blogger who didn't know anything about blogging. Luckily for me, blogging is pretty user friendly and learning as you go is very doable." Sites for newbie bloggers also helped. There's a wealth of information on the Web. She says she's learned a lot. "But there is also a lot I still need to learn."
There was an additional benefit. Morgan's mother is also a writer. Her mom started a blog as well. "She gives me advice and encouragement on my writing," Morgan says, "and I help her learn more about blogging. It's the perfect mother-daughter relationship."
Morgan says the contributing editor position at BlogHer opened doors to other opportunities. Morgan notes she had to overcome an initial fear of failure. "I can't imagine where I'd be right now if I hadn't jumped into writing and blogging when I did." She says, "It's funny how one seemingly small decision can change your life." The payoff isn't only financial. "I feel like I am doing something that matters ... writing about women's issues, healthy living, empowerment, happiness ... that is where my passion lies."
Find Morgan's work at:
The Political Voices of Women
Morgan recommends these blogs; her mother writes the second one:
Frances Ellen Speaks!
-Published March 31, 2008; photo courtesy of Nicole Morgan.
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