In 2012 I started a blog called “Centsable Girls” with my friend. We were really into extreme couponing, we were teaching classes, and I thought having a blog to support our new business was a great idea. I posted weekly deals, money saving tips, and local grocery store coupon finds. As our coupon business died out, I started writing more and more about my day to day life as a stay at home mom, but always under the theme of being “centsable”. Everything was about budget, getting out of debt, and having a thriving family life on one income. I hated feeling so constrained and not having the freedom to write about whatever I wanted. I just wanted to write.
So I re-branded and launched my new website, along with my first ebook (a toddler activities ebook), and When at Home was born. I had five readers. I only shared my posts on my personal facebook page and I wrote sporadically, about nothing really. Toddler activities, family trips, but nothing deep or raw like you’re used to seeing around here now. That didn’t come until a year later. I went to visit my Papa in Georgia when Emery was just a few weeks old. Papa has always been a huge fan of my writing. Ever since I was a little girl, he would tell everyone how talented I was and how I was going to write a bestseller one day and make us all rich. (HA!) I’ve always been a writer, but had kind of neglected that skill in pursuit of other things. One day during this visit, he was sitting outside on the porch and I sat down next to him.
I wish you could know my Papa. He’s the wisest person I know, the sweetest disposition, the thickest southern accent you’ve ever heard, and he is always, always, right on the money when he speaks into your life. So as I sat down next to him on the porch, he immediately asked me about my writing. What was I writing? Why wasn’t I writing more? What was I doing with the gift God had given me? He was gentle, but he called me right out. He said, “Kristen, God has given you have gift. You have the ability to change lives with your writing. I really believe you do. Why aren’t you doing that yet?”
And I didn’t have an answer. Maybe I was afraid. Maybe I was intimidated. Maybe I didn’t think I had a loud enough voice to really make a difference. Maybe it was none of those things. Maybe it was all of them. I didn’t know. But I knew he was right. I needed to be writing and I needed to be writing things that mattered.
At the time, I wasn’t really writing on the blog at all. Every now and then, I’d write something funny about having a newborn, something about cloth diapers, I think I had a giveaway or two. But then I wrote this post about Miley Cyrus and had 2,000 views in one day. That was huge for me. HUGE. Which is hilarious to me now, but at the time, it was such a big deal. It was the first time I wrote something really raw and it was getting shared and commented on and I thought to myself … hmmm … maybe Papa was right.
So I started to experiment with writing what I was thinking and feeling in a truly authentic way. And every time, every.single.time, someone connected with it, responded to it, and confirmed that I was on the right path. I am a good writer and I had been wasting that gift for such a long time.
Fast forward two years and here we are. You’re not reading this because you really liked my sponsored posts or my reviews. You’re here (or so I assume) because you connect with my thoughts on motherhood, faith, parenting, and/or marriage. I know that there are really talented writers who can blog about those things and do sponsored posts and reviews seamlessly and comfortably. I’m just not one of those people. I’ve grown more and more uncomfortable with using my children as a way to collect sponsored posts and reviews. I’ve become more and more protective of their stories and adventures and photos. I don’t want to be a slave to my blog, always thinking of the next post, the next paycheck and always worrying what the comment section is going to say. I’ve come to a very clear crossroads and I know the path I’m going to take.
When at Home is in fact, coming to end. I’m closing this chapter of my life and it feels really, really, good. But I’m not going away! I’m going to transfer all of my most popular posts and relaunch a new website under my name. When at Home is merging with kristenlavalley.com and it’s going to be really good.
No more sponsored posts. Ever.
No more reviews.
No more sidebar ads.
The new site will be fully crowd funded. That means I’m going to occasionally ask you guys to throw a few dollars into my paypal account. Your donations will cover the costs of running the site as well as other incidentals like … a muffin and an ice tea while I write my soul away at Panera, babysitter fees if I can find someone to watch the boys for a few hours so I can write, respond to comments and e-mails, and work on my next book.
I’ll be writing two essay type posts a week and one instagram dump so you can keep up with what our family is doing without me writing a gazillion individual blog posts about it.
I’m going to spend less time worrying about the technical side of growing a blog and focus on my writing and the community that surrounds it.
I’ll be getting more active in the Thrive Intentionally community and focusing more of my energy into growing that group and helping the members be more intentional in all areas of their lives.
I know change is uncomfortable. I know it’s not easy. I’m well aware of the fact that I’m going to lose a lot of traffic and quite a few followers for making this switch, but I’m ok with it and I hope you are too. This feels so good. So, so good.
Thanks for being on this journey with me, friends. I appreciate every single one of you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer as best as I can.