My Dad’s Birthday, Plus: What’s New with Me

Today would have been my dad’s 72nd birthday. I’ve been thinking about him a lot today. In fact, after spending most of the morning working on my blog (more about that later), I thought about how he had said, well before it ever became a reality, that writing a monetized blog would be a fantastic fit for me.

Here's a Throwback Thursday photo for you: My dad, me (with normal hair!!) and Kiersten, after she had  had an unfortunate incident with a pair of scissors...

Here’s a Throwback Thursday photo for you: My dad, me (with normal hair!!) and Kiersten, after she had had an unfortunate incident with a pair of scissors…

Now, this was back when I started my music blog (cleverly called Nicole Eclectic’s ‘Caps & ‘Views, though when I first started it, I called it “Music for Grownups”). My husband Eric, upon hearing that several of the musicians I wrote about had read their entries themselves and spread the word about those entries, told me that I might be able to make money with it. It felt like a stretch to me, at the time, but Eric can be very persuasive.

Anyway, we were on our way to my parents’ house one day, possibly even the day Eric started trying to encourage me to make something of my blog, and as we were walking into the house Eric started talking to my dad about it. Just, off the cuff, out of the blue. (He can do that. I can’t.)

Before I continue, let me just say that my father was what one might consider a bit of a Luddite. He was proud to be as old-fashioned as possible. He hated computers and pretty much every form of technology. He didn’t even like cell phones. I’m not sure he even cared for cordless landline phones. (TVs were a different matter, although I’m pretty sure they started getting too complex for him by his death. To be fair, they have started to become that way to me as well!)

I say this because when Eric started talking to my dad about the possibility of my making money by writing a music blog, this should have been the sort of conversation that would have my dad retorting, “a music what? What on earth is a blog? It sounds like something disgusting.”

However, this was different. For all I know, Dad didn’t even hear the term “blog.” He heard “Nicole” and “writing” and “making money” and he was nodding his head eagerly. He believed 100 percent that I could absolutely do something like that and earn money with it, even though I’m sure he had no idea whatsoever what a blog was.

That was my dad. He may have been of a generation that wasn’t too sure about this whole “women can do anything men can do” business started by the feminist movement, but he never for a moment questioned that I could do anything I wanted. Especially when it came to writing. My dad was pretty well convinced I was going to be one of the great writers of my generation. Or something like that!

I’m going to turn 40 in just 12 days, and I don’t think I’m anywhere close to being one of the great writers of my generation. (If only because I’m not entirely sure any generation has ever had more writers! The market is about flooded.)

But, I am about to embark on something that my dad always believed I could do. I am about to run my own blog and e-newsletter.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you already know about this. But here are a few more details, because even if you do already know about it, I haven’t really said a whole lot on social media.

I have been writing for an e-newsletter called the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter for the past 3 years. I’ve done this as an independent contractor working for a small business called Lanford, Inc. Lanford has been owned several websites and e-newsletters over the years, and KNN was one of her pet projects. The owner, Audri, is an avid knitter herself, and she loves charity knitting in particular.

Knitting Nuggets Newsletter puts out three different types of newsletters: “Make a Difference Monday” relates to charity knitting; “Frugal Friday” is all about knitting on a budget; and “Fun Friday” can be just about anything relating to knitting. Make a Difference Monday, of course, comes out every Monday; the Friday newsletters run every Friday, alternating between “Frugal” and “Fun.”

About a year into my tenure as a KNN writer, my editor asked me if I would be willing to also write blog posts for the Knitting for Charity website. I had fallen quite in love with writing the Knitting Nuggets Newslettter, and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write for the website as well.

Two years later, having written two KNNs a week and two KFC articles a week, I had a phone meeting with my editor, Stephanie, who confided that Audri was ready to leave KFC and KNN. She was no longer making enough of a profit on the site to justify its existence. (Understandable, when you consider all the other activities on her plate, plus the fact that she had to pay me to write for them and Stephanie to edit and upload articles and newsletters.)

She then asked me if I would like to purchase it from Audri. She encouraged me to think it over and then get back to her, but to be honest, I was ready almost from the moment she mentioned the idea.

As much as I loved writing for KFC and KNN, I was a hired gun. I wasn’t the one in charge of the writing. While I had a tremendous amount of freedom to write about what I wanted to write about, ultimately I still had some confines that I had to follow, especially with the newsletters. I longed to have my own blog that I was able to pour myself into and actually help support my family through it.

But the last thing I envisioned was taking this site over. I had assumed Audri would keep it for life; I knew it was her baby, in a sense.

Here’s the amazing thing about this opportunity: Knitting for Charity has been around for over 8 years. It has an enormous list of subscribers to the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter. It has a thriving Facebook page and a well-supported Twitter page.

By purchasing this domain and mailing list, I wouldn’t have to start from scratch. I would basically just be continuing the work I had done for the past 2 to 3 years, but this time I would really reap the benefits. I would be able to use my own identity (I have been ghost-writing the newsletters and articles), extend any monetization that had already begun… the sky could be the limit!

Without getting into all the sticky financial details, I can tell you that I made Audri an offer after discussing it with Eric, and about two weeks later, she and her husband accepted.

The transition has not been seamless, but it hasn’t been too bumpy either. I registered “Knitting for Charity.org” with the Secretary of State, purchased web hosting based on Audri’s husband’s recommendation, and signed up for an account with AWeber, the e-mail host the Lanfords have used for years. Audri’s husband did the technical stuff like move the website to my host and transfer the mailing list to my account.

Stephanie trained me on uploading website posts and using the e-mail list host. That took about an hour… Stephanie is a great trainer! Also, it is a pretty easy process.

My first very own KNN will go out tomorrow. (Tomorrow!) And my first website post will go live late tonight. (Eep!) I’m incredibly excited.

This hasn’t been without hitches or bumps. One problem is that four pages on the website need to be edited (so it has my information rather than Lanford Inc’s), but no one has yet figured out how to do that. The site uses blogging software called Movable Type for updates, and I can use it acceptably well. However, those four pages are not accessible with Movable Type. Audri’s husband spent a lot of time yesterday trying to figure out how to make them editable but hasn’t yet found a solution.

(Incidentally, the more I write this post, the more I think of things I should be doing or checking on with the site and the e-mail list. I’m trying to concentrate, I swear!)

Now then. If any of my friendly neighborhood blog followers are interested in knitting, I would love for you to subscribe to the Knitting Nuggets Newsletter. The link to subscribe is here. And, if you like it and think other friends would like it too, I’d be forever in your debt if you shared it.

Anyway, that is what I have been up to the past several weeks. Well, that and Vacation Bible School. But that’s probably a story for another blog post…