Hello! My name is Colleen and this blog is my home away from home. Now, you might’ve been thinking you were coming to Mural Maker & More, which has been this blog’s name since the beginning. But it was time for a change. I needed a change. And to better cater to my readers, the blog also needed to change.
Welcome to Just Paint It!
A little over three years ago I started this blog, thinking it would be a nice marketing tool for my wall mural business, Mural Makers. I didn’t really know what blogs were at that time but I thought it’d be kinda fun to show the behind the scene activity of painting murals. I thought Mural Maker & More was a pretty obvious name.
I was wrong. From April to December 2009 I didn’t share one single mural. I barely even wrote about painting. What had I gotten myself into with this blogging stuff? No one was really paying any attention so what did it matter? Or that’s what I thought.
I was wrong, again. In December 2009 I posted some Christmas decorations I designed for a client, some of my pet portraits and, finally, a mural in a nursery. The *crickets* were replaced with comments. Nice, lovely, supportive comments. I began to look at blogging in a whole new light, although I still had no idea what I was doing.
I had signed up for Twitter & Facebook but had no idea what to do there. I began meeting bloggers through link parties. Friendships developed. I’d gather some courage to ask questions and bloggers would answer. To me, it was remarkable. (Still is!) No competition, only support. By the beginning of 2011 I was hooked on blogging and had built a small, but loyal readership.
The funny thing was, I had more reader interaction from simple painting tutorials then when I wrote about murals.
Well, hey! I can teach painting on my blog. After all, I taught painting at local craft stores to complete novices for years. I mean, I taught myself how to paint, and a few hundred others, why not teach blog readers? And you know what? Somehow, some way, readers that wanted to paint found me. I have no idea how, but they found me.
As a matter of fact, the most popular post in 3+ years was a simple little “dipdot” painting on a glass votive. (ssshhh. Don’t tell anyone I threw that thing together at the last minute, ok?)
It hasn’t been an easy road. Oh, I love painting and blogging. I no longer paint murals due to a debilitating back injury but I can still paint canvases! But along with blogging comes numbers. And comparison. Everyone says not to pay attention to numbers, but they’re usually the bloggers with high numbers, you know? Last Spring I’d had enough.
My blog numbers were stuck in neutral. I couldn’t paint walls. I was ready to quit blogging altogether. But my dear friends talked me out of it, friends I’ve never met in real life. The one who really refused to let me give up though was my best friend. My husband. He knew I wasn’t making a decent income but insisted that I continue.
“You have to keep writing about Google plus. You have to keep teaching.”
He didn’t even understand what Google+ was, but he knew it was important. He didn’t understand blogging, but he knew it made me happy.
“We’ll figure out a way to make it all work,” he assured me.
And then the unthinkable happened.
One day we were laughing at our grandson and the next morning he was in emergency surgery and two days later he was gone just like that with no warning. He died on 5/14/12 at 5:14 a.m.
As he endured two arduous vascular surgeries, I texted my bloggy friends and they sent prayers. When he passed away, they sent prayers. When I had no idea how I’d get up each the morning, they were there, checking on me, emailing me, texting me, and sending prayers.
I was lost. And then I did what bloggers do – I wrote. I wrote about Marlon’s passing. I wrote and cried, and cried and wrote. I debated whether or not to push “Publish” but I’d already written about the horrors of owning a flower shop at 19 and being unable to have my own children. Why wouldn’t I write about my husband’s death? It was actually therapeutic, cathartic in a weird way. He had always loved my writing so I wrote about him. He was my biggest fan, both in writing and painting, always encouraging me, always supporting me. But I think even he would’ve been shocked at what happened after I published those blog posts about his passing.
Comment after comment poured in of love, support and prayer. I was stunned. Overwhelmed with gratitude. How in the world did these people even know who I was? How did they hear about Marlon?
I have no idea how but what I do know is, quite simply, I would not have survived without the support of my readers and bloggy friends. I’m not exaggerating either. When I felt I couldn’t go on, I’d sit down and write, knowing these incredibly generous people were there to ‘listen’, to hold me up, to keep me going.
I’m still going. It’s not always easy but I keep going. I’m almost back to my regular blogging schedule of five posts a week. I’m writing painting tutorials and shooting videos. I’m even writing a Google+ ebook. I stay very, very busy, partly because it keeps me sane but also because if there’s any way I can help readers and fellow bloggers, I want to be there for them.
Just like they’ve been there for me.
While Mural Maker & More is retiring and that chapter is ending, I am eager and excited for this new chapter, Just Paint It, to begin. I’m excited to encourage others, like others have encouraged me, and hopefully to inspire, as I’ve been inspired. Please bear with me thru this transition as the blog layout changes. Ask questions when I don’t answer them and feel free to share your triumphs and your troubles – just as I do with you. And please drop by Just Paint It! on Facebook and post your paint projects!
Today is a very special day because a wonderful blogging community, Blogtalk, has me in their Bloglight. I’ll admit, it’s hard to explain blogging to nonbloggers. It’s hard to explain how rewarding it is, yet difficult, how fulfilling but often frustrating. The members of Blogtalk know what I’m talking about, just like some of you do too. When you find a group that understands this, it’s something to be treasured. And I treasure the Hometalk community and their Facebook group, Blogtalk.
Today is a celebration! One chapter may be ending but another one is beginning, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my day in the Bloglight is happening as Just Paint It is launching.
A while back a good friend asked me what advice I’d give to a new blogger. I thought about it for a long time. I thought about good content and seo and quality photos. Then I remembered what Marlon always told me and what I try to do each and every day –
Write from your heart and you’ll never go wrong.
If you love all things home and garden, I hope you’ll visit the Hometalk community soon!