I had no clue about what I was doing when I launched FemCentral three years ago. All I knew was that I had no job, no prospect for a job, and I could register a domain and start a blog for less than $100. I had read Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk and was going on faith that a regular blog could grow into something that would make money. But, even if it didn’t, what did I have to lose? I wasn’t doing anything else at the time, anyway!
When I started FemCentral, I wasn’t writing, although I really wanted to be a writer – a fiction writer. FemCentral wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with my writing. I designed it as an institute for women – a virtual, informal learning environment that addressed the topics that the readers wanted to explore.
For the first few months of 2010, I made vlogs of all things, and I hate to see myself on camera! I rewatched the first vlog over the weekend, and had to laugh at how I’d straightened my hair and put on extra makeup. That 5 minute vlog took me 5 hours, and I had almost lost my voice by the time I finished. (If you want a laugh, here it is.)
What changed is that during that first spring, I contacted another website – Owning Pink – to get permission to repost one of their articles. They said “Yes,” and a few weeks later, asked me to become a regular writer for them. My first real blog post was not even on my own site! I’ve since reposted it on FemCentral, and the title says a lot: “Risking it all to really live”
As a regular blogger for Owning Pink, I was required to write two posts a month. While my site had a few hundred visitors at the time, Owning Pink had around 20,000 (it’s much larger now). And, these visitors were giving me positive feedback on my writing, which I brought back to this site. Before I knew it, I was writing several new blog posts per week, and getting the knack of knocking out a post in a matter of hours, instead of a matter of days (or months, or never).
Because I do post something on FemCentral every day but Saturday, I sometimes resort to reusing old articles. There are lots of new people coming to the site, and it’s new to them. But, last spring, when I posted an article from the previous year, and someone contacted me and said, “Wow, your writing has really improved. Did you take a class?” – I stopped that practice for a bit! What it made me realize, though, is how the structure of FemCentral, how my natural perfectionist inclination towards never missing a deadline, has helped me to become a writer. FemCentral has been my writing practice, my class, and all of you, with your feedback, have been my teachers!
Little did I know that this “virtual institute for women” would become my personal writing institute.
When I started FemCentral, I wasn’t an astrologer. I had studied astrology. I read the charts of family and friends. But, I was three months into FemCentral before I even brought the subject up on the website. I vlogged about it, and before I’d posted the vlog on this site, a few people had seen it on YouTube and contacted me. My first astrology article was for Owning Pink. People started asking me to write more. Once again, I shut my eyes and jumped. Now, I offer a variety of astrological services and even a regular astrology class and bring in a regular income from my work as an astrologer.
Since I was a small child, I knew I would write books someday. I always assumed they would be fiction, although, I never spent much time writing or telling fictional stories. If I had not blindly leapt into FemCentral and then, followed her lead, I’m not sure I would have realized that I am good at writing about astrology. I can’t tell you exactly when, but I can tell you that my first, published book will be on the Moon.
When I started FemCentral, I was not an historian. The “woman of the week” feature has been here since the beginning, yes. And, it is still very much in the same form it was when I started three years ago.
But, when I started FemCentral, I knew next to nothing about the suffragists, other than the name Susan B. Anthony. This all changed when I was looking for a “woman of the week” and came across the name “Lucy Burns.” I read that she was jailed more than any other American suffragists. I actually said, out loud, “Wait, American suffragists were jailed?!” I started looking for more information. I found very little. I made a trip to the suffrage museum in Washington DC. I committed myself to reading all the original letters of the suffragists. I declared that I would write the first biography of Lucy Burns.
Within a year, I had a part-time job as a middle/high school US history teacher.
This is not the post to debate the Law of Attraction but I never applied for this job. I never looked for this job. I didn’t even know this job existed. An acquaintance had taken it, but had to turn it down at the last minute. She gave the principal my name, and with just a couple weeks notice, I began teaching.
Before you worry about the quality of education, I do have advanced degrees. My undergraduate major was Political Science and Russian. My Master’s is in Slavic Literature. I never considered becoming an historian. Now, teaching it every day, I wonder why everyone doesn’t become one!
When I started FemCentral, I didn’t know it was going to be about me. My first vlog is titled, “What Women Want.” I said that I wanted to share information about what YOU want to know. And, I still do. I take feedback seriously and endeavor to make this a site that everyone can use. But, in the process of trying to serve others, I am shocked to realize that I’ve discovered myself. This was truly an unexpected blessing. Thank you for bearing witness to my personal growth and discovery over the past 36 months.
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. ~Alan Alda