I have hair growing in weird places

I feel like I need to explain some things. As I look back at the last few weeks of posts, I realize that all of them are rather self-centred. I have not written a babywearing post since the one I wrote about why I don't do 'forward facing out' went semi-viral (in my world that is) or a breastfeeding post since my journey, (Oh hell, let's call a spade a spade. At this point, 5 years, 9 months and 12 days, I think it is more of a breastfeeding odyssey), is finally coming to an end.

This past week I attended a wonderful Modern Mama event in our city called Mama Blogs. The expert panel consisted of Tanis Miller from Attack of the Redneck Mommy, Jennifer Banks from Techmommy and Make Jen's Day, Felicia Dewar from Single Mom of Two and Jenifer Shaefer of City and Baby fame.  These fabulous bloggers talked to a room full of women about the why, what and how-tos of blogging in today's hyper-connected world. Through it all the one key message that kept coming up (for me) was about "knowing your voice" and "finding your voice" through your blog.

All of it got me thinking about my blog even more than I usually do.

So let me lay this out for you...

In the beginning, I did not want to blog.

True story.

If you know my old business partner, you can ask her. It was like pulling teeth to get me to write at least once or twice a month on our little business blog. I mostly wrote about our new products, why I loved them and why you should too and all other kinds of things hoping to drive more business to our little online natural parenting store.

And then, in the summer of 2010, something I like to call "The Twitter Effect" happened. Although I had opened my Twitter acount in December 2009, I really did not start using it much until the Spring of 2010. At that time I started to interact and connect with like-minded people and became a regular at the #BFcafe chats on Thursday nights.

One day I got an Direct Message that changed my {online} life. Claire, aka @lactating girl sent me a tweet asking me if I would like to participate in the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival of blog posts for that year. I was flabbergasted! Really, I was. And I was not sure that I could do it! 14 days of blogging about breastfeeding. I mean, really, how much can one person say about it!

As it turns out, quite a bit actually. I blogged about breastfeeding at work, I blogged about breastfeeding under special circumstances, I blogged about nighttime breastfeeding and I blogged about what breastfeeding meant to me and for my children. For 14 days I wrote all about breastfeeding and in the end those two weeks taught me more about myself and the Internet and the power of words than anything else in my life so far.

Those 14 days turned me into a BLOGGER.

Perhaps it was the community I was becoming part of on Twitter and through the Carnival and on my blog. Maybe it was the comments that I was getting and the emails thanking me for my posts and asking me for advice. Maybe it was the thrill of capturing and remembering moments with my children that were long past. Whatever the reason, something awakened in me that summer and it felt amazing!

And the more I read of others blogs, the more I wrote. I discovered amazing blogs like Enjoying the Small Things and Phd in Parenting and Adventures in Babywearing  and Mom 101 and I started to see the potential and the kind of blogger that I wanted to be when I grew up.

Keep in mind that at this point my blog was still a part of my online retail business and while my focus was mainly on the store, the seed of writing had been planted and was starting to take root. And while I still wrote posts meant to drive traffic and business to the store, more and more the posts that meant the most to me and as it turns out, resonated the most with YOU, where the ones that were more personal and the ones that delved deeper into the parenting and world issues that concerned me.

Some of them were funny (in retrospect) and some very raw and soul baring. I started paying closer attention to the world around me and realizing that my voice just might have some itty little bit of power and that I could use it to advocate for change and awareness or even to just rant a bit! I used my blogging voice to chronicle the building of our dream home and to capture moments with my children.

In 2011, I decided it was time to attend my first blogging conference. And then I went to two of them in a span of two weeks. And boy oh boy, did I ever get an education about blogging! I learned so much from so many great people at these conferences. I met the wonderful and insightful Alex from @clippo (who was a business and personal blogger at that point as well) and spent some quality time with some of my blogging heros like  Tanis the Redneck Mommy and Elan "Schmutzie" Morgan.  To say that these conferences where eye-opening would be the understatement of the decade for me and I blogged about that whole experience here!

I continued to hone my blogging voice and took on a few 30 day blogging challenges to really get the creative juices flowing.  In the winter of 2011, after MUCH deliberation and discussion with Natural Urban Dad, I decided it was time to close my store. And yes, I blogged about that too.

After the store closed, my blog suddenly became less a place for me to talk shop and more a place for me to talk straight. To get all the rambling thoughts that were in my head out and onto the screen. It became a place for me to share more personal posts, to fully explore this creative and expressive part of me that was starting to take over and it became a place for me to let this process take it's natural course.

I was growing as a blogger and {dare I say it?} as a writer too.

As in all things in life, this is an ever evolving process. My blogging goals from three years ago are VASTLY different than the ones I have now. My writing style has improved tremendously (in my opinion at least) and I want to continue to work even harder and make it even better.

At the Mama Blogs event the other night, I mentioned to my new friend Sarah that I felt like my blogging voice was changing yet again and she said to me,

"That's OK, you are just going through blogger puberty."

And I couldn't have said it better myself!

So yes, in case you may have noticed, my voice IS changing. It may be a bit pitchy for the next little while, as I am sure I will hit some high notes and some low ones too. It is time to start using the grown up deodorant and deal with all the changes that this "coming of age" stage of my blogging career entails.

Trust me, it can {and will} only get better!

Bloggingly yours,

Natasha~

P.S. I started this post last night. I woke up today and read THIS wonderful post from Liz at Mom 101 and am even more resigned now to truly understand that if I LOVE what I am doing, my purpose will reveal itself.  It's all very, "If you build it, they will come!" up in my head today!

P.P.S Here is an actual picture of me in the throes of puberty! It's not pretty and by the looks of it, I was maturing into some kind of feathered being!! {It was the eighties, what can I say.}