Breaking Boundaries

There are hundreds of millions of bloggers worldwide, each with their own unique voice and motivations. Some blog for profit or self-promotion, others use blogs to build online communities and provide a forum for sharing common interests – the list goes on and on. For me, the reasons are more personal. Even now, I get butterflies as I tell you the story of how becoming a blogger has changed my life. utility I started my blog, Around Applegate, in March 2009, seeking inspiration and guidance on the path to finding personal and professional fulfillment. For the past 12 years, I have been a graphic designer. In theory, being a designer is the glamorous part of marketing. In practice, very rarely do I get to execute my ideas from conception to completion. There are creative directors, art directors and clients that intercede and shape the end product. Through the process of editing, originality and innovation are routinely compromised. All too often I find my place in the process is reduced to a production artist. This is not the role I desire. I want more; I need a true creative outlet. I was introduced to blogging in an unlikely way: through a search for "tile inspiration." I was directing a photo shoot at work that involved a tile floor. Not knowing much about tile patterns, I turned to Google for guidance and landed on Young House Love, a blog started in 2006 by a young married couple living in Richmond, Virginia, to update friends and family on their kitchen renovation project. Three years and more than 1,000 posts later, the site has developed a cult following of home improvement DIY-ers from around the world and received more than 1 million hits last month alone. Young House Love Young House Love was the first blog I laid my eyes on, and I was instantly captivated. I became caught up in a brave new world, one in which ideas and inspiration thrive in the absence of ego, corporate politics, rules or procedures. A culture of sharing without censors. An intoxicating level of creative freedom that’s sometimes risky but always exciting. Then and there I decided to start a blog of my own. Although it takes a matter of minutes to set up a blog, it took me a little over a month to determine the look and content that would define Around Applegate. The blog came to encompass all things creative. It’s a space where the things that inspire me creatively can live and, in turn, inspire others. I have written about everything from Twitter to my grandma's Italian cookies to sites that interest me and the people around me that love and support me. And somewhere along the way, through the process of documenting change, what I love and what I’ve learned, I have found clarity in the ideas that will shape the next phase of my life and my next business venture. Admittedly, keeping up with posts has been a challenge. Wanting to have interesting things to write about, I am constantly involving myself in the world around me along with researching and completing new projects. I must admit, I'd rather get started on the next project than stop to write about the one I just finished. But I have to remember to feed my blog, to nourish it with content in the same way it's nourished me with excitement to create. It’s something that I have never before possessed at this level. It’s like being in love. Writing a blog has become more satisfying than anything in my life to date. No relationship, no promotion at a job, no prize won or goal met has come close to the fulfillment Around Applegate has given me. It has helped me to realize my niche. It has let me be who I am without judgment. It has let me create without criticism. It has given me the chance to reach people I don't even know and inspire them to do the same. All without cost. Feed the blog, and the blog feeds you. Break out of your boundaries: start a blog of your own and see where it leads you. Not sure where to begin? Become a follower of blogs that appeal to your interests and passions. You’ll be amazed by the smart, funny, clever, creative, insightful bloggers out there, and chances are you’ll find you have your own ideas that must be shared with the world. I’ll leave the last word to two blogging superstars, Seth Godin and Tom Peters: