Friday 5: Be Inspired to Blog, Feel the Power of the Blog

Remember Julie Powell, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation cubicle worker in the aftermath 9/11, who cooked her way through Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume I, documented it on her blog The Julie/Julia Project, which later became the book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, which was adapted for the film Julie & Julia released in 2009. This one example of the power of the blogging is a mouthful yet it is a way in which blogging has taken many ordinary 9 to 5 hours a day individuals on amazing and inspiring journeys not only for themselves but also for those who read their blogs. Although it has been stated that Julia Child was not a fan of Julie Powell’s blog as she saw it as a gimmick, what Julia Child did not understand was that this is a brave new world of social media where so many are eager to find something as simple as a cookbook to inspire them and then to share their feelings with the outside world. For example, blogger Stacy Woltmann, after seeing Julie & Julia, created the blog  Am Skinny Jeans in 2009 to pledge to lose 100 pounds in one year. Then there is Jamie, founder of Simply Delicious, who wanted to use a blog to document her journey to becoming a published fiction writer. However, when she got the ball rolling on her blog, she struggled with finding the motivation and ability to develop stories and characters. That was when she viewed Julie & Julia and was reminded about her own similar passion for food. So she decided to use her love for food as her prompt to produce great writing. Here are five examples of everyday people who were inspired to start blogging and now inspire others:

1. Julie Zellinger was an eighth grader in Ohio when she was required to make a speech about any topic of her choosing. She decided to talk about female feticide and infanticide which in return sparked her interest about women’s rights. She was referred to the book Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti and from there she felt the need to reach out to other young girls turned teenage feminists. Thus, the F-Bomb: a blog/community created by and for teenage girls who care about their rights as women and want to be heard, was born. Zellinger is now 19 years old, an undergraduate student at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the author of one book: A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word.

2. Tazi Gevinson, now 17, was 12 years old when she started her blog after reading a friend’s blog Fashion Robot. With a developing passion for fashion, and a need to not wear boring clothes, she started The Style Rookie. Since then, she has sat front row on runway shows, been featured in The New Yorker, had a one on one conversation with Karl Lagerfeld, founded the online magazine “Rookie” specifically for teenage girls, and most recently served as a guest judge on Project Runway: All Stars which premiered in November 2012.

3. Victoria Mcginley was a recent culinary graduate in 2008 when she was looking for a way to share stories about her life and food. She later branched out to writing about anything from style, beauty, culture, life in San Francisco, and female experiences on what is known as Vmac and Cheese. How she went from blogging about food to creating a lifestyles blog, Victoria states on her blog: “If you love food, and you love to eat, the odds are pretty good that you generally love the good life.”   So in 2012, Victoria became motivated to start a career as an entrepreneur with Vivaleur,  her very own lifestyle services company that offers anything from social media consulting to graphic design services to recipes for dinner parties. Through her company Mcginley hopes to inspire and empower other women.

4. Randy Brown created Red Bull Rising, a military-focused blog in 2009 before he was supposed to deploy to Afghanistan in 2010. However, because of a change in paperwork, he would not go and instead retired from uniformed service later that  year after 20 years of service in the U.S. Army National Guard. There Brown adopted the nickname Charlie Sherpa to shadow his use of social media in the military and now he uses Red Bull Rising to share the writings of his fellow soldiers from the 34th Infantry Division of the Iowa National Guard, to explain the roles and responsibilities of a U.S. soldier, and to highlight the ways in which soldiers can be celebrated in society. Brown is now a freelance magazine writer and editor, a member of the Military Reporters and Editors (M.R.E.) and the Military Writers Society of America (M.W.S.A.). His blog has won the 2012 blogging award by the Military Reporters & Editors Association.

5. ONE Moms is a movement under ONE, an advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by raising public awareness. ONE Moms is a coalition of mothers in particular who spread awareness against extreme poverty and disease. In 2011, 10 American mom bloggers traveled to Kenya, Africa for a week long trip to write about the joys and sorrows of mothers who live half a world away in Kenya. They shared their experiences with readers in the U.S. via the ONE website but most prominently on their own blogs. Today, many of these blogs are award wining and some of the largest social networks with thousands of users. But, when these women started these blogs, they were just ordinary people motivated by their new found role as mothers to make a career change. For example, Rachel Fox, put her nursing career on hold in 1999 to be a full-time mother of three and created her blog Coming Alive to talk about how motherhood has changed her life.