Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Meet and Greet | Beth Cranford

TGIF!  How many of you are as excited as I am about it being Friday??  I love when the weekend is within reach.  Any big and exciting plans?  Well, I'm super excited you're here to join us for the Friday Meet & Greet.  I'm thrilled to introduce you to Beth of BethCranford.com.  Grab a cup of coffee and let's get a little better acquainted with Beth.

Friday Meet and Greet, Beth Cranford, blogger
What was your original purpose for starting a blog? Has it changed?
My blog has definitely been through some changes. When I started my blog, it was literally so people would have a place to connect with me after downloading my time management book that I wrote for a friend to give to her readers. (“How Do I Get It All Done... And Still Have Time To Enjoy It”) At that point I was writing some cook books and meal planning resources and didn’t think I had much to blog about. So I started by posting articles (with permission of course) written by people that I found to be helpful in the areas of parenting, homeschooling, homemaking, etc.

Somewhere along the way I found my blogging voice and started writing about spiritual growth, personal development, homeschooling, and other similar topics, even home business. I want to help women live a life they love. Sometimes that’s doing the things that are good for you, like tending to your spiritual life, and taking care of your health. Sometimes it’s fighting depression. Sometimes it’s getting real with your schedule and cutting a lot out. And sometimes it’s just knowing what’s for dinner!

My blog is a reflection of the things I’ve learned (and continue to learn) along the way about personal success and living well. In the near future I plan to offer coaching as a way of putting my top strengths and spiritual gifts into action.

Where do you find your inspirations for new posts?
A lot of my inspiration comes from questions readers post on social media. Often I don’t even realize I have the answer to a particular question until someone asks it! I’ve even set out to answer a question and ended up writing a book. (Is Homeschooling Really For Us?)

I get a lot of inspiration from the books I read, but it doesn’t usually translate into a blog post right away. I just let it brew a while and at some point, something I’ve learned or been changed by will come out in a post.

And my time with God. It’s not something I can really explain. It’s not like I have a quiet time and I come away with a new post. It’s just the relationship, and being filled with Him that keeps me centered and gives me something valuable to say.

How do you balance blogging with everyday life?
I’ve heard a lot lately about balance. Some time- management coaches are even teaching that balance is a myth. I have to say I disagree. That doesn’t mean I can or should give the same amount of time to each aspect of my life every day. Some days will be heavily focused on business while others area all about the kids... or the laundry. How do I make sure that one area of my life isn’t suffering because I’m too focused on other areas? Two things.

First, I have to be rock-solid sure of what it is that I need to be doing, and just as important; what I don’t need to be doing. I wrote about that in the book I mentioned above.

Second, I design an “Ideal schedule” and try not to veer from it too much. An ideal schedule is a picture of what is important to me, and how it all fits into a week. It’s sort of like the organizing mantra “A place for everything and everything in its place.” But instead, it’s “A time for everything and everything in its time.” When you don’t overbook, and when you stick to the task at hand, you can honor your priorities.

Does that mean we don’t ever order pizza because I had a big work project, or that I always stay focused on work during “working hours”? No. but it’s a guideline that keeps me mostly balanced in the grand scheme of things.

If you could offer one blogging tip to readers, what would it be?
Stay focused. Too many bloggers have too many irons in the fire. We’re creative people and there are just so many ideas! But you’ll truly find more success if you focus on one thing until you get it to success, then you can go on to the next thing.

The need to focus applies in many ways including these:
Your blog’s topics:  Keeping your topics on your blog centered around a common theme will make it easier for your readers to know why they’re on your blog and why they want to come back.
What you’re learning:  Stop buying (or finding for free) more learning products. Go use the ones you have until you’re great at the skill they’re teaching, then move on and learn something new.
The projects you’re doing:  Writing a book? Good. Finish the book before you go and get a weekly contributor gig, start a podcast, or start another new blog.

What brings you incredible joy in blogging?
Wow, so many things! I love sharing my heart and putting my thought “on paper” as I learn to live well and to love my life the way God designed it.

I love teaching, and bringing otherwise complex topics into focus; making them easy to grasp and apply.

I love networking with other bloggers; sharing tips, encouraging one another, and even doing projects together. The blogging community has proven to me to be very friendly, something I was a little surprised to find.

And, it sounds like a cliche, but I absolutely love it when something I’ve written blesses my reader in some way. I love connecting with my readers.

You can also find Beth here:
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