My Blog Story
First, let me say thanks so much for all your wonderful comments on Monday’s post. You guys are the best.
Some people have asked me to share how I got started in blogging. When I got to thinking about it, I’ve mentioned how I got into blogging in other posts, but I’ve never done a post telling the entire, detailed story.
Now, some bloggers write 5 to 10 part series about their blogging journey. Don’t worry, this is a one and done post because my blogging story isn’t filled with intense excitement and cliff hangers.
To be honest, I didn’t really know a whole lot about blogs until 2010 when I started planning our wedding. This was the pre-Pinterest era so finding blogs wasn’t as easy as it is today. Plus, there weren’t nearly as many blogs out there in 2010. Anyway, I came across various tutorials on blogs while I was looking for DIY inspiration for our wedding.
Since I was creating a lot of things for our wedding, I thought others might enjoy following my planning process, how I was saving money on the wedding, and my tutorials, so I started Chelsea Gets Married on September 17, 2010 (here’s my very first post). If you want to see how far I’ve come, especially with my photography, take a little time to mull around Chelsea Gets Married.
Seeing the bloggers I followed make careers out of blogging was very inspiring to me. You see, when I was in college I couldn’t decide on a major. I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I felt like I’d never find the perfect job for me. I don’t know how to describe it but nothing really appealed to me. And I felt like the clock was ticking for me to decide because my parents were paying for my college.
My parents wanted me to major journalism because I was very active in my high school and local newspapers. But I knew there wasn’t good job security or decent income in journalism. Plus, I didn’t realize at the time that I could use a journalism degree for other things, like writing for magazines. So I settled on elementary education. I figured I liked kids, sharing knowledge, there’s job security, and I always wanted children of my own and teaching would allow me to be able to spend holidays and the summers with them. And teaching was familiar to me. I mean, I had spent the last 12 years in school so I felt like I had an idea of what teaching would entail. In the end, I liked the major but I didn’t love it. I was able to keep journalism in my life by declaring it one of my areas of concentrations along with gender studies. My sophomore year, the professor of my computer class tried talking me into getting a technology certificate because she said she saw a lot of potential in me, but it was an additional 15 credit hours, and I was already having to do summer school so I could graduate in four years. In that computer class, I learned Photoshop and had to create blog.
When I graduated and got my first teaching job, I really liked it but I wouldn’t say that I loved it. I couldn’t see myself teaching for 30+ years. Now don’t assume that I was a horrible teacher who didn’t teach her students because I wasn’t in love with my chosen career path. I enjoyed coming up with creative lesson plans and teaching my students. I loved seeing their excitement and when they would have lightbulb moments. It was all the other stuff that comes along with teaching that I didn’t like. Seriously, teachers need their pay doubled. If you disagree with me, shadow a good teacher for a week and see if you still think teachers should make $30,000 a year. FYI, I made less than that two out of the three years I taught, and I went in almost every Sunday to lesson plan and prep for the week. Teaching is HARD and, very often, under appreciated work.
After the 2009 school year, I retired from teaching and began working as a developmental therapist. I went into DT because I could be my own boss (back then I was an independent contractor with the state), make my own hours, work with kids, and in the future, I’d be able to work a few days a week and be home with our kids the other days. My DT job gave me plenty of time to work on our wedding because I made my own work schedule, and I worked a fraction of the time than when I was teaching. My stress level also went from a 10 while teaching to a 1 on a 1-10 scale. I was so much happier. There were days where I missed creating fun lesson plans and activities, but being able to be creative with our wedding and with activities for my DT kids helped fill that void.
While I was planning our wedding, Brad was working full-time and going to grad school part-time and full-time, depending on the semester. He would work during the day and attend school at night and nights when he didn’t have school he was doing homework, so I spent my lonely evenings planning our wedding, reading blogs, working on wedding projects, and blogging. The wedding planning basically became my second job and saved me from becoming a full fledged reality TV junkie.
As our wedding day approached, I was really enjoying this blogging thing, and I knew I couldn’t keep blogging about the wedding when it was over. That’s when I decided to start Two Twenty One on February 22, 2011. My thrifty hurricane tutorial was my very first post. When I made the hurricanes I didn’t intend to use them for our wedding, but I ended up using them as centerpieces on half of the tables for our reception.
A couple weeks after publishing the hurricane tutorial, they were featured on Apartment Therapy Re-Nest. I was so excited to have my very first post recognized by a well established site. This made me think that I could actually make it as a blogger.
Leading up the wedding I didn’t post a ton on Two Twenty One because I was so busy with wedding planning. But I picked up steam in August, 2011 after the wedding was over, and because I was severely bored after being consumed with wedding planning for over a year and I no longer had a wedding to plan.
I’ve been at it ever since. Today’s post is number 582.
Blogging has turned into my dream job. I feel like I found what I had been searching for when I was a 18 year old college freshman. There are days when I think, “Man, if only I thought of being a blogger when I was 22.” But then I stop and remind myself that I would never be where I am now without going down the path I’ve traveled.
Why is blogging perfect for me? I’m my own boss. I make my own hours. I earn a decent salary. I’m able to be creative. I get to write, take photos, and edit photos. I’m able to help and inspire people. I get travel once in a while. I get to play on the Internet and social media. I’m able to be myself. And I’m able to stay home and care for my son while feeling fulfilled professionally.
So there you have it– how I got started in blogging.
Wanting to start your own blog? I answered readers’ questions on the subject a couple years ago and did a two part series.
Part One • Part Two
If you’re curious about our wedding, you can read all about that here:
Before the Ceremony • Ceremony • Reception • The Details
Eres valiente….haces cosas muy interesantes y con grandes beneficios. Gracias. Bsos
Muchas gracias! Espero que tengas un buen fin de semana.
Thanks for sharing! I love when a “job” comes out of just doing something you love. I started my first blog in 2013 while buying our first home & I’m still going strong. Its by no means my career as I have a full time job in finance, but it is my escape to post about creative & fun home projects. Maybe someday I can learn to make it more of a career…I applaud you!
That’s awesome, Amanda! I totally agree– it’s such a blessing to have a job come out of a hobby you love.
I was exactly the same in college–I was moderately interested in about 5 different majors, but couldn’t see myself loving a career long-term in any of them. I went with English and loved it, but still (7 years after graduating) have never worked in a related field (unless blogging counts!). But blogging is much the same for me as you (except I suspect you make a lot more money than I do 🙂 )–I love that it’s creative and fills that English-y void, but is so flexible and fits around being a mom. If blogging had been a major when I was in college, I probably would have done it 😉
And I bet you were an awesome teacher! It is such a shame they are paid so little. I briefly thought about becoming a teacher, but when I talked to some of my high school teachers about it, almost all of them encouraged me to pursue something else–and they were all fantastic teachers. So sad to think something they are so great at and so passionate about isn’t paying them nearly what it should.
Yes! Why do they expect 18 and 19 year olds to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives? The pressure of knowing my parents were paying for my college was a huge weight on my shoulders too. And unlike my older brother who took 6.5 years to graduate undergrad, I made it my goal to be done in 4 years. I totally would have done a blogging major in college. But I’m sure my parents would have been all, “WTH is that? We’re not paying for that nonsense” because they had the same reaction when I first told them I started a blog. But looking back, blogging would have been an awesome major.
It wasn’t even the lack of pay so much. Granted I only taught for 3 years and that much money, without student loans, was exciting to me. I couldn’t take the lack of support with special needs students, paperwork, testing, parents, lack of respect, working with mostly women (so much estrogen and drama), and the bureaucracy. I’ve told people I wouldn’t go back even if I was offered $100K a year. My mental health is worth more than that.
I have been following along for a few years now, and always love reading how people got started on their site! And p.s. does anyone ever really know what they want to be when they declare a major?! Glad you found your calling 😉
Thanks so much, Nichole! I’m so happy you’ve stuck with me all these years! And yes! I still get an anxious feeling when I think about when I needed to declare my major. So much pressure for a freshman in college still trying to figure everything out. Have a great weekend!
Those centerpieces are gorgeous! I like reading posts like this. I think it’s so much fun to get to know the person behind the blog & mouse.I hope your having a great day!
Thanks so much, Leslie! I’m glad you liked this post! Have a great weekend!
So, not trying to be creepy or anything but I like you even more after this post!
Reading this has made me feel so much better. I was the same way with not wanting to know what I wanted to be when I grew up and personally I felt forced into going to school. I went, didn’t do good and had to get a full time job to get health insurance.
I haven’t gone back to school because I haven’t figured out what I want to do yet but I know I want to do something I enjoy and something that offers some flexibility since I would love to be home with my future kids. The success you and your blog has had is inspiring and I look forward to all of your posts! Thank you so much for sharing!
Good, my plan worked! 🙂 I think a lot of people experience what we have with college. I read somewhere that many college grads aren’t even working in the field that they majored in. Best of luck finding your dream job!
Awesome post! You actually started your blog the day my daughter was born, 9-17-2010! I found you a few years after that. I love your blog and your witty humor. =)
Thanks so much, Jessica! What an awesome coincidence! Have a great weekend!
This a such a great story about how you started blogging! I was a teacher before having kids and I am with you about not loving it. I needed to declare something for me to graduate. I did give it my all but I could never say I loved my job. I choose teaching because I would be able to stay with my kids on holidays, summer and every break school gave. But when I had my first child, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work. And I became a SAHM and not once have I ever thought about going back to work. I don’t miss it because I truly love what I do. So it is so awesome to find someone that was as confused as I was when I was in school and finally found their groove after so long!
I’m glad I’m not alone. The whole declaring a major so young and the weight of knowing how much college costs makes me sad for kids who don’t have a clear idea of what they want to be when they grow up. It’s hard enough being on their own for the first time in their lives. I’m so glad you found something you love to do after teaching!
I really liked this post because I can relate to trying to find the right careerfor you. I currently am a stay at home mom but worked for almost 7 years in my major. I know I want to go back to work but I don’t know what I want to do. I would love to do something that lets me be creative but I don’t know what that is. At the same time, I want a job that let’s me be there when my kids get home from school. I’m glad you found something you love to do that allows you the flexibility you wanted. 🙂
Thanks, Rana! I hope you find a job that fits your wants. I can obviously relate. 🙂
I’m a 21 year old blogger and have been doing it for about 4 years now. You’re totally right, it’s the PERFECT job!!
Yep, I agree!
I love that you shared this. I too, never thought I would be a ‘blogger’ ,but I always knew I loved writing. Though I have two degrees one is Criminal Justice& another in Paralegal Studies I could never imagine me doing anything else. I always say it really is my true passion. It’s nice to hear from other more accomplished bloggers on how they got started. I can’t believe you’re over 550 post…I’m just now making money & I’m only on post 110! You’re inspiring!!!
I’m so happy you’ve found your happy place in blogging as well! Best of luck growing your blog!
I studied Fashion, and have a degree in Fashion and guess what, I’m doing absolutely nothing in that field in my current business. I have seen this happen to so many people.
I also planned my wedding from start to finish. I got married in July 2010. I had 300 guests so I had to come up with creative ways to save money. So I did a lot of it on my own. I love being creative and working with my hands so I am always looking for something fun and creative to do. I have planned huge 21st birthdays, bridal showers and bachelorette parties, baby showers, Holy communions and my sons first birthday and Baptism. I have finally made the decision that I should pursue this and start my own events company. I am currently organising an event for 12 000 people on the14th February and am enjoying the process.
The funny thing is, I absolutely love blogs and have always thought of starting my own. Just don’t know what I would focus on as I have so many interests. Ha, maybe a lifestyle /mom blog that has a bit of everything.
thank you so much for sharing your story Chelsea. truly love your blog and I think that “Chelsea gets married” is fabulous. such awesome ideas. And you looked absolutely gorgeous!!!
PS. I spelt “organising” the way we spell it in my country. I know that in the USA and Canada it is spelt with a “Z”. We use UK English here in South Africa. 🙂
That’s awesome, Claudia! An event for 12,000 people sounds like a huge undertaking. You should definitely start a blog! When people ask me about starting a blog I always tell them to do it– it can never hurt!
P.S. I think it’s awesome that I have a reader in South Africa. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me.
I really do appreciate it.
Great story! Thanks for sharing! You have a great blog. Nice work!
Thanks so much, Emily!
It is so great to hear this story, Chelsea, especially after being gone on the blogging scene for a year while I finished school. I was so happy to come back and see you still doing your thing, with a beautiful baby boy to boot! Congratulations… he is so precious! I hope all is well! 🙂
I really enjoyed your story. I am probably the only person who can’t relate to deciding a major at 18. But that’s only because I started a family at the way-too-young age of 16. As I didn’t have an education and had 3 children in 3 years, daycare would have cost more than my wages. But my husband worked very hard, long hours so that I was able to stay home with my children until the youngest one started school. I don’t regret it one bit. That’s time you don’t get back. After volunteering at the school the kindergarten years I knew when the next school year started I needed something else to do so I went to college at 27 with 3 kids! While I don’t recommend this path to any 16 year old, it worked for me and I, personally, am better for it. My husband and I have been married for 26 years and raised 3 wonderful, successful children. And now we get to enjoy spoiling the grandbabies!
I was wondering though, if you started this blog on February 22nd, what’s the story behind the name Two Twenty One?
Thank you for sharing your story, Chelsea! It’s really funny you say blogging wasn’t too big in 2010 because I started before then (around 2007) when there REALLY weren’t too many blogs. Like your parents, my father wanted me to pursue a career in journalism because I’ve always been involved with school papers and enjoy investigative reporting. But I wasn’t into spending more time in school and more money for another degree.
I’ve recently gotten back into blogging because I missed it. School, work, and life took me away for a bit. I’m currently the social media specialist and online community manager at my employer. It’s completely tiring but it allows me to employ best practices. It’s certainly not fun since I do it for someone else :/
I’m just going to keep on pushing and look forward to the day I get to stay home with my 20-week-old (today) baby girl named Regan and get back to enjoying life.
Side Note: Maternity Leave was entirely too short — waaaah!
First of all I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out
there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
Great story.Thanks for sharing.