5 Personal Blogs That Will Inspire You to Get Back to Blogging

I had a long semi-break from blogging. As some of you already know, my full-time job involved a lot of blogging and creating content. My personal blog projects, however, had to wait a little bit, save for some sporadic posts here and there throughout the past 2 years.

But one thing I didn’t stop doing was read and actively find inspiration from blogs. Needless to say, I consume a lot of content from digital marketing blogs daily to keep me up to speed with the trends. My favorite reads, however, are ones that have been on my list since way back when I first started blogging.

Early days of blogging

Ahh, those good ol’ days. You know, those days when blogging was mostly a documentation of life, an oversharing of thoughts, those random bursts of ideas. Back when ranking in Google or gaining traffic or making money wasn’t the main thing. Remember those days? 

Many of the first generation blogs I used to follow did not live through the shifts in the blogging landscape, and understandably so. There are a few rare ones, however, that still exists to this day. And they’re living proofs that you can apply the best practices and break the rules at the same time; and that you can have a successful and profitable blog without losing yourself.

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Pro-tip: In blogging, you can apply the best practices and break the rules at the same time; and yes, you can have a successful and profitable blog without selling your soul and losing yourself. Click To Tweet

Defying blogging standards

You’ll notice that this list is made of blogs that defy blogging standards. You likely won’t find them on Pinterest. They write in long paragraphs. They share their stories with that rare kind of honesty, without spilling too much.

Most of these are first generation bloggers, meaning, from those good ol’ days of blogging which somehow survived too many shifts in the blogging landscape.

What I really love about these personal blogs is how they, in many ways, remained true to their original blogging format and didn’t force themselves to go with the flow.

If you’re anything like me—a blogger from those early years who lost your blogging mojo and couldn’t keep up with the constantly changing trends but have always desired to blog again at some point (‘sup guys?)—I think you’ll love these blogs too! And who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to get back to blogging yourself!

If you’re new to the blogging scene, you’ll definitely find great inspiration from these blogs too.


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Lifestyle Blogs to Follow


1. Design for Mankind

est 2007

This isn’t the first time I’m going to rave about Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind. I’ve been an avid reader of her blog since I can’t even remember when! Erin has been blogging for over a decade, a mother of two, and recently an author of a best selling book.

What I Love

Over the years Design for Mankind has evolved to, I guess we can say, a Lifestyle Blog, but the heart of it remains the same. I love Erin for her heart-centered approach to storytelling, like you’re reading a book instead of a blog. She has the knack for writing stories that tug into the heart even when it’s a sponsored post by, say, a laundry detergent brand. Her photographs are all original, of her own home and her own life.

My Personal Favorite Posts

Quotable Quote

“When the ship wrecks, for me, is when those borrowed moments of peace aren’t spent wisely. If I’m storing them up to stare into a phone, drowning precious few exhales in a sea of voices and expectation. And so, I will say this: When you’re given quiet, stay quiet. When you’re granted space, take up your space. If time is offered, make it count.

Feeding souls > scrolling feeds.”

Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind

2. Cloistered Away

est 2007

Cloistered Away is one of those blogs that quietly sat in my Feedly (then Google reader) since 2008? 2009? Written by Bethany Douglass, Cloistered Away is a lifestyle blog that’s focused on “simple, purposeful family living”.

What I Love

It wasn’t until I had kids that I started really growing keen interest in Bethany’s documentation of their homeschool life. It’s probably one of the first few blogs that got me inspired to homeschool. I love how thoughtfully she crafted her home to accommodate their homeschool lifestyle. Her photographs are beautiful, but most of all her thoughts.

With her eldest kid already a teenager, she has content that covers all levels of homeschooling—from preschool to high school. But even if you’re not homeschooling, her posts about motherhood and simple living always hits close to home.

My Personal Favorite Posts

Quotable Quote

There’s much to quote, but this is one of my faves:

“To be clear, as parents, we are not doormats. We are not powerless or without voice or defense. We are leaders of their hearts for only a brief time, showing them in such very small, plain ways how to listen, how to see. Sometimes this will happen with words about their identity—love, beautiful, you, God—and sometimes this will happen with words that instruct—honor, kindness, forgive, patience—and still other times, this will happen with only hugs and eyes that listen.”

Bethany Douglass, Cloistered Away

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3. Love Taza

est 2007

Here’s another oldie but goodie! Naomi Davis is one of the New York-based lifestyle bloggers in my reading list from way back. I followed her because, well, I kindof had a thing with New York. Today she’s a mom of 5 (her youngest are twin girls), and she’s still in New York City, raising her growing family right smack in the middle of busy Manhattan.

What I Love

Naomi started Love Taza in 2007 (I must have discovered her blog in 2009?) and I enjoyed reading how she blogged stories about navigating life in the city—from being a young married couple to the family of 5 that they are now.

Just like the rest of the bloggers in this list, Naomi stays true to her original format of candid and honest storytelling. She writes in run-on sentences and long paragraphs, types in small caps, and doesn’t seem to care if she has SEO keywords on her blog titles. And she dumps truckloads of photos of her family on her blog too. Very 90s blogger-esque, if I’m honest. And it’s making me feel validated that it’s okay I still sometimes blog that way.

My Personal Favorite Posts

  1. Raising Twin Girls — love this, for obvious reasons
  2. All of her New York City Guides — you never know when you’ll need them
  3. To Punish or Reward — Naomi is known for her outfit posts and NYC, but as a mom of 5, she has a wealth of knowledge to share about motherhood
  4. This Backyard of Ours — city living, and Central Park as their backyard

Quotable Quote

Yes, this is the way she blogs, most times! Love it. 🙂

“while i won’t claim to have ever physically pinched myself, i do on a daily basis look around at my life and think, i am so grateful. that teenage daydream came true, and then some. the little day dream of having my own family, my own home (okay, we’re still in an apartment and we’re still renting but stay with me), of having official real life excuses to take myself on alone dates (still an introvert) and wander down all the aisles at target on said dates (well, maybe more like shop the store online from my phone during 2AM feedings these days) and call my own shots when it comes to playing house (i can have pink towels if i want to!). because this is actually my life right now – with the sticky refrigerator door handles from my three year-old who just doesn’t understand the concept of napkins, with milk spit-up somewhere on my shirt by 9 in the morning because if one baby doesn’t plant it there then her sister sure will. but grateful is an understatement. a very big understatement. everyone dreams of different things for themselves and their life when they are little, but my dreams were a lot of this. of babies. of being a mother. of all the mundane daily things that actually are the most special sometimes.”

Naomi Davis, Love Taza

4. Practising Simplicity

est 2008

First you’re drawn in because of her photographs, then you’ll find yourself drawn into her stories. Practising Simplicity is a “family and lifestyle blog, a story of motherhood and the home, simple living and good intentions”, written by Jodi Wilson.

 

What I Love

Practising Simplicity is what got me into taking photographs of my children every week in 2014. Jodi started a “52 Week Photo Challenge” that attracted a lot of bloggers around the world, where, together, parents took photographs of their children and shared them on their blogs once a week. (I joined it in 2014, forever grateful that I did!)

Today she doesn’t blog as much, but it matters a lot when she does. She’s currently traveling Australia with her family and living in an RV—#goals, y’all—which naturally got me tuned in. Hers is one of those blogs I pull on my feed reader whenever I need a little creative boost, whether in blogging or in documenting the life of my young kids.

My Personal Favorite Posts

Quotable Quotes

“For someone prone to avoiding big, spontaneous decisions, for someone who is a self-confessed homebody and lover of all things comfort, I’m astounded by my readiness for this journey. Intuitively I’m trusting that it will all fall into place because it really does feel like the right thing for us to do. We’ve spent the past 12 years here, growing our family and careers, and now it feels right to pack up our house and set forth to new places.”

Jodi Wilson, Practising Simplicity

5. In Jennie’s Kitchen

est 2009

I came across In Jennie’s Kitchen in 2011 when (I know this is super sad, sorry!) Jennie’s husband Mikey passed away. There was a quiet buzz in the blogging community about his sudden death, and I remember how it felt like everyone, strangers in the internet, passed the story around so that we all could come together to lift Jennie up. I wrote about her twice—here and here. She doesn’t know me at all but it still sometimes feels to me like she’s an old friend.

What I Love

Jennie took to her blog to cope with her grief, it seems. Hers is not an ordinary food blog. I don’t know but she writes recipes in a way that’s almost like, poignant. There’s always a story attached to a recipe, as if the latter is just an afterthought. I think pain or grief has that effect in the way people write—makes it raw and beautiful and powerful, all at the same time.

I’m not a very good cook so I don’t relate well with food blogs. (I do have a folder of food blogs in my Feedly, for, you know, someday.) But through the years I kept checking in to see what Jennie’s been up to and as always, her words never fail to inspire me to write, to cook someday maybe, and to live life a little more fearlessly.

My Personal Favorite Posts

Quotable Quote

“..as I enter this season, I try to remind myself how much I love the crunch of leaves beneath my boots. I think of the first snowfall, and how magical it feels, a renewal of sorts, beckoning us to slow down. I know it seems too soon to talk of snow, but here I am, falling down mental rabbit holes on a crisp Thursday morning.

I’m not sure the purpose of writing today except that I’ve really missed being in this space, writing for the sake of sharing words—words that I know resonate with so many of you.”

Jennie Perillo, Every Day a New Page

Takeaways

Whether you’re starting a new blog or thinking about blogging again, here are some takeaways from the above list of inspiring bloggers.

1. Learn the rules like a pro, and break them like an artist.

Much has changed about blogging through the years, and there’s wisdom in entering the blogging scene with an understanding of the trends, and armed with a purpose-driven strategy. But as exemplified by these bloggers above, they didn’t allow the “rules” to get in the way of them creating whatever content that fits who they are.

2. Have a clearly defined profit strategy.

Every single one of the bloggers above has income streams attached to her blog. Specifically:

  • Brand Sponsorships
  • Affiliate Marketing & Ads
  • Book/s (in the case of Erin & Jennie)
  • Services (in the case of Jodi, who’s a photographer)

While they all started just like any other blogger—creating content out of passion and possibly without seeing any profit for the first several months—they eventually learned how to monetize their blogs. These bloggers have reached a level of profitability that allowed them to do this for a living, full time. Blogging takes a lot of hard work, and if it’s not profitable, then it’s not worth spending hours on in the long run.

3. Two things: Photographs and stories.

Simply put, blog content creation is all about photographs and stories. For creative bloggers like us, these are the most important things. Whether you want to attract readers or attract brands, you want to nail down these two very powerful elements of creating content.

Are you thinking about blogging (or getting back to blogging)? Here are more resources for you:


How to Start a Blog: A Guide for Creative Bloggers


How to Relaunch Your Blog in 2 Weeks


Why You Should Blog Now More Than Ever


What are the blogs that you go to for inspiration? Add your favorite blogs in the comments below!

Author: Rhiza Oyos

Riz is a wife, mom of twins, and blogging veteran who, through blogging, is able to establish a career in the digital marketing industry, make a living from her creative passions in the confines of our home, and empower others do the same. Read more.

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