With Heart & Soul: A Six-Week Online Blogger Workshop

Blogging with Heart and Soul by RedWhiteandGrew.com

When Red, White & Grew launched in 2008, it was an opportunity for me to explore the blogging medium as a tool for online advocacy. Long-time fans will remember in those days that I wrote at length about food security and the history of victory gardening. I also helped advocate for the return of the White House garden, an initiative led by Kitchen Gardeners International. This online work lead to a Texas Social Media award from the Austin-American Statesman, interviews with reporters stateside and abroad on issues related to food security during the recession, and a spot in the finals of the Bloggies (aka the “Oscars” of the blogosphere). Oh, yeah, and I co-presented a TEDx Talk.

Over time, however, I experienced blog mission drift. Although it hurt initially to feel myself move away from my initial blogging impulse, this drift proved to be a positive. Today I am working on my second parenting related book for GHF Press, writing about and coaching working homeschool parents, and serving on the board of directors for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, a non-profit that supports people who homeschool gifted/2E kids. I’ve got a robust social media following on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook–and a solid Google Page Rank. Next month I’m giving two speeches on homeschooling to a parenting group here in Texas. I’ve also had the pleasure of shooting two commercials for organizations that I love (thanks again, KLRN and YMCA)!

Not too shabby for a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother who has primary responsibility for her aging mother and makes her “egg and butter money” through hyperlocal freelance writing, right? And just think: all of that opportunity and connections can be credited to a blog.

I have been thinking for MONTHS about how most of the blogging conferences, etcetera focus on the profit side of things. That’s great–I’m truly pleased to see people generate income online. However, here at RW&G, I turn away offers for sponsored posts and other potentially lucrative opportunities because I still see my blogging in service to my primary occupation: writer and homeschool coach.

On the road to blogging success, I’ve chosen a road less traveled. It’s paid off in ways that suit my professional and advocacy goals.

From my perch here on the Internet–where advice promising that you can MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG RIGHT NOW!!!!! is rampant and deafening, I can see that there’s still a great, under-served population of creative and professional people who want to blog for reasons other than making a few quick bucks. They want to transition to writing professionally, to support their day jobs (or advocacy work), and/or blog for creative/emotional/psychological release.

This winter, I want to work on reaching and teaching that demographic, mostly because it’s mine.

If you share that commitment to blogging in service to your professional and creative goals, and if you’re looking for a community to help you nurture your skills while connecting with others like you, I invite you to join me in a private Facebook group. There, for six weeks beginning February 1, we’re going to work our way through the following topics:

– Starting Out: Then and Now
– What Stories Need to Be Told (and Why)
– Privacy in the Information Age
– Graphics vs. Words: Striking a Balance
– Blogging as an Extension of Your Day Job (or the Foundation of Your Dream Job)
– Organization Tips, Tricks & Tools

This little adventure will take place in my blog’s private Facebook group, Red, White & Grew Crew. All you have to do is come knock on the door before February 1, 2014. No hassle, no fee, no false promises. Like gardening, you’ll reap from the blogging workshop experience what you choose to put into it.

We already have over 60 70 people in the group [we picked up 10 new people within an hour of this post being published!], including a mix of veteran and newbie bloggers in a range of topic areas, from gardening and lifestyle to education advocacy. I’m hoping we can see that number rise and that we can work collaboratively as a group of people who seek to blog with heart and soul first, dollar signs second.

It’s a radical idea right now, isn’t it, to emphasize blogging for the joy of it? Yet I’m convinced that for most people, it’s the most pleasurable path.

If this sounds like you–and if you’re interested in forming an extended community of like-minded bloggers, come join us before February 1 so you can experience the full workshop.


    • Thanks, Inga. I’m floored at how much traffic this post has generated–and how many people have signed on to participate in the group. I value your encouragement, my friend!

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