Hi there. This morning we are chatting with Tara Swiger!
New to Morning Coffee? Monday mornings we sit down with some of my favorite writers & creative people, and get to know a little bit about their blogs and why they do what they do.
Once in a while I also interview Polka Dot Cottage readers, so if you write a creative blog and would like to participate some future week, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!
Ready for today’s interview? Let’s go 🙂
How I found Tara’s blog
I first became familiar with Tara when she took part in a Google Hangout with Sister Diane at Craftypod. That hangout led me to buy Tara’s Market Yourself book, and eventually I hopped aboard Tara’s Starship for a year of crafty-business exploration. Tara always has interesting things to say, and recently started a podcast. I’ve been enjoying plugging in during my workouts.
Q&A with Tara
It’s so great to have Tara here to tell us a bit about how her creative blog has evolved. Read on!
Welcome, Tara! When and why did you start your blog?
Well, I actually started online-journaling, before it was even called blogging, back in 2002, on Diaryland! I just loved to write, and wrote a bit of observation and semi-poetry (so embarrassing!) My then-boyfriend (now husband!) had one, and we were mostly just writing for each other. Lots of smitten kitten posts. 🙂
I got hooked on knitting blogs when I started knitting, in 2005ish, and so I started a blog (on Blogger) in 2006. I was starting to dye yarn (my first post was my very first dyed skein!) and I wanted to keep track of my experiments.
Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?
Ah! It’s changed so much over the years!
Keeping track of dyeing and knitting experiments turned in to writing a *bit* more about my life, my color inspiration, and what I was working on. Over time that dyeing hobby became a business, which I worked on for three years (becoming ever more consistent with blogging) before I was able to quit my day job and do it full time (in 2009).
Quitting my day job to run my yarn company full-time signaled another shift in my blogging, as I was equally excited about all things business as I was about yarn. I got so many questions about what I was doing in my business (and I soo loved to talk about it!) that I started a new site + blog separate of the yarn site, at TaraSwiger.com (in 2010). Since then, it’s become my primary blog (and business!) and I write about running and exploring a creative business and my own adventures.
How does your blog fit in to your daily life?
I’ve shifted blogging schedules a zillion times over the year! What works for me is that I post something on the blog three times a week:
- Tuesday: A blog post! Usually about a subject my students or clients (or inbox) is asking about or working on.
- Wednesday: A podcast episode, each is one tiny tool to make your creative business explorations easier (or an interview with another explorer).
- Friday: The Adventures – a gathering of what I saw, read, ate and am grateful for. This lets me collect the various links, photos, and recipes I’ve posted throughout the week in one spot. Since I don’t blog about my personal life, this weekly post allows me to share a bit of my life.
I also send a weekly email lesson every Thursday, so I’m posting some content to my readers 4 days a week.
My routine is (usually) to do most of my writing on Mondays, so that I can everything scheduled, edited, and laid out before it’s going to go live. I record the podcasts the week before (if not more), so they’re generally ready even earlier. Ideally, I get everything written on Monday and everything finalized on Tuesday, giving me the rest of the week to create content for my classes, to teach live workshops, and to connect with my students and clients in the Starship.
Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?
For years and years, I just never mentioned it. But even now I don’t refer to it (or really think of it) as “”blogging””. I think of it as “”writing for my readers””. Whether I’m working on a blog post, an email lesson, a class, or a book, I’m still me, writing, for the same reader.
That said, most people don’t understand what I do at all, and I’m ok with that! I leave it at: “I help crafters with their businesses.” The online portion, or the writing part of it, usually confuses matters.
How important are reader comments to you?
I was going to say they don’t matter at all…but that’s not true, because I love connecting with my readers in any way. But it doesn’t matter if that’s via email (many readers email me!), comments, or social media. Knowing that I’m helping someone with something they care about is what fuels me.
In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?
Writing regularly online has definitely improved my writing and editing. I have a set writing schedule because of the blog, and just the practice of doing it week after week has improved what I write. It’s also given me confidence that I’ll never run out topics, ideas or inspiration. I know now that when I sit down, if I can tune into my reader (student/client), I have something to say to her.
Thank you, Tara, for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use your photos to illustrate our conversation. It’s been a pleasure!