A couple of weeks ago, to celebrate the release of Make, we held a contest. The only criteria was to show us a site that was created with Make. Our two winners, Kristyn Brady and Tracey Upchurch, did just that and we are happy to share their sites with you today!
As we were congratulating Kristyn and Tracey we took the opportunity to learn more about each of them and their life online. Here is what they had to say:
How long have you had an online presence?
Kristyn: I guess I originally made my online debut back in the 90’s when my internet capabilities were primarily dependent on whether or not I had a “Get 200 hours of free Internet from AOL” CD on hand. Remember those? As far as having something of my own though, I’ve kind of played around here and there, but this year is the first year I got serious about carving out my own space on the web.
Tracey: I set up my first site in 2009. I’d started writing a novel, and was looking for agents and publishers online, when I found the blogging community. I loved it, and wanted to be part of it.
What is your site about?
Kristyn: It’s about taking tiny steps towards reaching a creative dream – even if you don’t have all the details of that dream figured out yet. It’s also about balancing real life with creativity and breaking through blocks that keep us from doing what we are meant to do.
Tracey: I write fiction. From 2009 to 2013 I used a pen name, but at the beginning of this year I restarted with a new website and my own name – so this site is really a new beginning for me. I’m hoping to build it up into an active blog with a portfolio of short fiction.
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What was the most difficult thing about getting started? How did you overcome it?
Kristyn: Oh boy, do you want the novel of all my over-thinking and excuses? I spent a lot of years convinced that I needed to have everything figured out before I could get started on a creative career. I guess I finally wore my little brain out.
This year I made a commitment that I was going to place “doing” over thinking. I took a look at what I could realistically do today to start walking towards my goals. Then I decided to just start putting what I could out there in the real world. I’ve learned more about myself in the past 5 months than in all my years of thinking and worrying. It’s been really fun!
Tracey: I started off over at blogspot, and I loved blogging and chatting to other writers, but soon decided I wanted to move to the WordPress community and design a site that I really liked. That was hard – I was a real newbie. I’d barely heard of a url, let alone html, and had no idea how to move a site. Thanks to all the contributors in the forums and the theme developers, I managed to transfer to WordPress.com where I used the Linen theme, and that was great, but this year I made the final leap to WordPress.org and opted for a responsive theme.
What is you favorite part of blogging / having an online business?
Kristyn: Besides connecting with people I might not otherwise meet, I love blogging because it gives me some loose boundaries. Creativity is a really abstract thing and for me it was hard to be structured about moving forward without feeling constrained. The blog gives me a space to play while also keeping me accountable to a weekly post. Plus I love challenging myself to make it pretty. The Make theme really helped with that part!
Tracey: The online writing community is a very vibrant, creative environment full of friendly, supportive people. I’ve really enjoyed ‘meeting’ people online and getting to know them and their writing. There are vast numbers of writers and publications out there, which means a huge amount of information and opportunity for anyone starting a writing career (not to mention an inexhaustible supply of fiction), but for me, the best bit has been making friends. Having a blog feels like I have a little online home to invite people to visit.
What is up next for you?
Kristyn: Right now I’m in a learning and playing phase. I’m figuring out my style and what I like best creatively while learning the technical details of what works and what doesn’t. My next steps will be more business focused and will involve all my loves: art, photography, writing, & daily life.
Tracey: Well, I have my new website up and running, I guess now I’d better fill it up! I need to put my head down and produce a few stories (in between tweaking the site, chatting on Twitter, and reading other people’s blogs…) Yeah, I’m going to write.
A big thank you to Tracey and Kristyn for taking the time to talk to us and thank you to all those who entered!