Birth of a Blog

Ahhh, blogging.  A year and a few months ago, I didn’t know a thing about it.  And then . . .

Origin

I began to think it might be interesting to start a blog. I’d been writing a lot lately for personal projects and feeling like I wanted to write more. Frankly, I don’t really remember my very first thoughts about it all, or how I even started to read or check out other blogs.

At some point, I decided it would be a fun way for friends and family to keep up with me from afar. However, I was (and, to a lesser extent, still am) skittish about putting too much up on the big bad web. Plus, it’s not my style to spill all. So I knew it wouldn’t be a daily journal type of blog.

Additionally, while the blog would be personal in nature, I wanted to retain a bit of my professional approach. In part, to keep my mind sharp and my (evolving) professional identity intact. Also, as I began to consider freelance writing as a real pursuit, I discovered I needed to have online writing samples. Which, I did not. Decades of written material, but all in old-school formats.

Thus, the idea of the blog was born, and I began to research the heck out of how best to create it.

The Name

In addition to considering platforms and technical details, I had to work up content. What was this blog going to be about? What would my first pages be when I launched? What was the tagline to give a taste of what was to come? Would I blog anonymously or reveal myself in some form? Etc., etc., etc.

One of the early tasks was to decide upon a name. I began to brainstorm. You see, it’s not just coming up with the PERFECT name, it’s also finding one that is not already taken for the blog platform’s URL address!  (And that’s not even considering how the name will sustain over time and the evolution of the blog.)

I was focused on happy islandy things, but also cognizant of professional freelance writing possibilities, and I tried out names along those lines:

BahamasBliss, Islander, IslandBliss, IslandTransplant, Island Living, Island Life, Island Grace, Island Dawn, Island Breeze, Island Sea, Island Sunshine, Sunshine, Sunshine Living, Lifebythesea, Sunshinebythesea, Writingbythesea, Writinginthesun, BlissfulLife, Blissful Island Life, Blissful Island Living, Living The Dream, Sunshine Living, Island Musings, Island Reflections, Island Living, Island Girl, Island Girl Musings, Island Grace, The Better Life, The Island Life, Living the Better Life, Living the Island Life, Simple Living . . .

Nope. Struck out. Already taken.

I kept searching and searching, but had not found the perfect fit. I have my notes from this period of name-searching and, with just one week before I was scheduled to launch the blog on my island-moving anniversary, I still was narrowing it down.

STILL AVAILABLE as of noon Thurs 2/16:  Islandgirlwritings, Islandgirlreflections, Choosingthebetterlife, WritingtheBetterLife, Islandsimplicity, Islandpen, Islandcontentment, Simple Island Bliss, The Bliss of Island Life

I tried different combinations of possible names and taglines, considering meaning, feel, etc. Ultimately (obviously), I settled on Choosing the Better Life, and the rest is history.

Choosing the Better Life

At the time, I wasn’t certain I loved the name, but I had to make a decision and this was “just a blog afterall.” I was concerned that it didn’t hit you over the head with island-ness and thought the long name was a bit of a mouthful.

Now, however, I’m glad I went with my instinct (or inner nudgings) on it because, of course, it has evolved into something so much more, and I think it is absolutely perfect for me now.

One of the things that has surprised me most in the evolution of the blog is my tendency to write – and readers to enthusiastically respond to – posts that have an inspirational, motivational, positive outlook type of feel, all of what I lump into Better Life philosophy or approach these days. Since my writings until then had either been entirely professional or entirely personal (for my eyes only), this had never entered my writings. But it flowed naturally, and really IS such a part of my Better Life, so I just wrote what came to me and waited to see where it’d lead.

Meanwhile, as I was taking it day by day, another person was clearly much more of a visionary. Robert, a friend of my mother’s, but someone I had not even met at that point, was a very early supporter. He loved the story of my life, as relayed by my mother and as the blog tiptoed through. More significantly, being a positive thinker himself and a Better Lifer before that term even held meaning to me, he appreciated the underlying philosophy. Even better, he loved the name and recognized it as capturing all of that.

Best of all for me, Robert had the foresight and generosity of loving the name so much that he took it upon himself to purchase the domain name! And, with so many dot-com URL addresses already taken, would you believe it was available? Of course you believe it – that’s how this Better Life stuff works! 🙂  Since then, he has taught me a thing or two about this internet world, and he’s graciously transferred ownership of the name to me.  THANK YOU, ROBERT! (http://www.gavinonthebeach.com/)

Evolution of the Blog

While I’ve found “my voice,” this blog is still finding itself. And, like its human counterparts, I suspect it will continue to change and grow as time passes.

For now, it seems to have settled in (and drawn followers from) a few distinct areas:

  • Island Fascination – the little nuances (and pictures!) of island living, on land and sea (with a special draw for people who enjoy daydreaming or even are planning a similar move themselves!). This aspect falls somewhat into the travel blog camp and heavily into the island-lovers camp.
  • Better Life Inspiration – the underlying themes of simplicity, joy, gratitude, Faith and positive outlook. This aspect falls into the inspirational, motivational, spiritual, change-your-life camp.
  • What’s Dawn Up To? – My “real life” family and friends who just want to see what’s happening in my world (or in my head). This aspect falls into the personal-pals camp.

As you’ve seen, I’m also trying different things that are part of me and this Better Life, too, such as Bahamian food, all kinds of music, etc.  (Also, while Angel maintains a strong presence on the blog, I recognize that she alone is not a draw – blashpemy!)

So, we’ll see what the future brings. For now, I’m delighted with the first year and excited about our second year together!

Why are you here? Why do you follow this blog? What would you like to see more of? Less of? I’d really like to hear from many of you about this! Thanks.

 

6 Responses to Birth of a Blog

  • Tery says:

    I come from an island…close to the ocean I always find my peace. I find the experiences you write about very interesting…and I wonder how different my life would have been if I had stayed there. I’m looking forward to,those seafood recipes.

    • Dawn says:

      Wow, Tery. Profound thoughts! I’ve always felt peace most by the ocean too. A powerful connection! Our lives can take so many different paths. Interesting to wonder about. For me, I have to make the most of where I’m at to feel good. And if I can’t, then I change it! 😉 You are a pro at Better Life philosophy and do the same, I know. Personally, I’m thankful that your life path took you the direction it did so that I have the pleasure of interacting with you! xoxo

  • tanya says:

    hi~
    i’m in the process of moving to Jamaica… it’s good to read bits from people who’ve done things like this, keeps me encouraged when the red tape and whatnot gets frustrating, or when i momentarily wonder if this is maybe crazy (fortunately those moments are pretty rare)… so, just wanted to thank you in general… that’s why i read your blog… have a lovely day

  • Dawn says:

    Tanya, thank you so very much for commenting. I don’t believe we’ve “talked” before, so I’m delighted to hear from you. I’m especially pleased to know what the draw of the blog is for you. A move to Jamaica sounds exciting! Not crazy at all. Bold and courageous, perhaps. Leaving our communities to jaunt off to an island may sound daunting and “crazy” to some who remain behind. But, as I’ve entered the world of travel bloggers, expat bloggers, etc., it’s AMAZING to see how very many people are out there doing it – successfully, happily. So hang in there! Yes, red tape, headaches and all the usual frustrations of life once you get there – but island living is pretty fabulous. 🙂

    • tanya says:

      good morning Dawn! no, we haven’t really ‘talked’ and i admit i don’t comment much on fb either, but i’m Ann Cognito on your fb page… and yes, living here is a whole ‘nother perspective on what’s important… the tangles of red tape just make me realize how important this really is, and it keeps me thinking of the things i want to do here… i doff my (big stooshy sun)hat to you for doing it yourself and making it work, and for putting yourself here to be encouraging to others! maybe when i get settled, a blog would be a good idea so i can try to do the same… meanwhile, will just keep believing… have a lovely day 🙂

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