Growing up, I always had a flare for the artistic. Singing and dancing around the house was what I was known for (as well as being mischievous, and apparently the hardest of my siblings to discipline). Drawing and doodling in notebooks was how I passed the time in class (and basically how I still pass the time now).
So when the time came to go to college and pick a major, I chose Musical Theater—to pursue my childhood dream of being a singer and actress. However, I quickly discovered that as much as I loved singing and acting, it wasn’t where my passion lay. Halfway through my sophomore year, I switched my major to Convergence Journalism.
My first journalism class was Feature Writing with Dr. Laura Sherwood. At the beginning of the semester, she handed each of us a journal and told us our homework was to have a new journal entry every class. That assignment got me started with the daily habit of journaling that now, more than four years & almost ten journals later, I still diligently practice. And what's more, that class was the first time I learned I had a real knack for writing. I’d done plenty of academic writing in high school and in my earlier college classes, but it was feature writing, and Dr. Sherwood, that made me realize writing could be so much more. (If you're still in college or getting ready to attend, don't take for granted the teachers who push you, encourage you, and challenge you. Dr. Sherwood was the first person to point out my gift for writing and I'm forever grateful to her for that. Dr. Sherwood if you're reading this— I can't thank you enough.)
Fast forward to summer 2013. I was living in Michigan as a part-time intern at a church with a lot of time to spare. The thought of starting a blog had long been on my mind, but I finally had no excuse to put it off. Softly and shyly I launched a humble Wordpress blog— todaywithtiff.com— as a way to continue working on my writing in a creative way. My posts started off as surface-y thoughts, pictures and lifestyle updates, but I quickly learned how natural it was for me to be honest and vulnerable about the things I was going through.
I blogged on that site for about a year before switching to Squarespace and scooping up the domain name ‘tiffanyrogers.co.’ For over a year and a half, I blogged scarcely and sporadically every 3-6 months. I knew that blogging had become something I really loved to do as a hobby, but I honestly didn’t have a vision for what it could be. I just knew I loved to write.
Then in October 2016, I wrote a post that got significant attention on Facebook. The traffic alone drew over 20,000 people to my website. Keep in mind— I hadn’t posted in seven months, and up until that point the only people who ever read my blog were the occasional family members and friends.
But that blog post changed the game for me. Suddenly I realized people were listening to what I had to say. Even if I didn’t think I had anything of value to share, that post made me realize I actually had a voice. My next blog post also did really well on Facebook and got me published for the very first time by RELEVANT magazine and How To Save a Life.
As I continued writing (making it a goal to blog once a month), I got published four more times by several reputable Christian media outlets. Throughout the year, my social media platform grew by over 1,000% and my blog posts were shared 300+ times on Facebook. My monthly blog viewership grew to the thousands, and I started receiving emails weekly from people all over the world who had questions, needed advice, or wanted to share with me what something I’d written had meant to them.
So that is the story of how I started blogging and how I got to where I am now. Honestly, I feel like I’ve got a long way to go still. It’s been such a different path than what I would have chosen for myself, but I’m so glad God knows us better than we know ourselves! I’m so thankful His plans and ways are vastly greater than anything we could dream up in our own minds.
Really, He gets all the glory. Who I am, what I have and what I’ve done is nothing to speak of for myself, but it’s what He has done in and through me. I don’t take any of the credit or glory; all the glory goes to God (and I don't care how cliche that sounds. It's the truth!) However, I will take some questions, which I have gladly answered in the next section:
Frequently Asked Questions
I really feel the pull to start writing and blogging. Does that mean anything? Should I start a blog?
If you have a serious burden on your heart to write and blog, let me be the first to encourage you and give you permission to absolutely DO IT! If you feel like this is something the Lord has asked you and is leading you to do, or something you’ve just always been really interested in doing, don’t hold back. Dive on in!
There’s the famous saying, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” I’ve tweaked that phrase a bit, because everyone kinda does do it, or so it seems. So with blogging I like to say, “If it were easy, everyone would do it WELL.”
Just about anyone can slap a bunch of words on a website and hit publish. But the truth is, it’s not easy to blog well. It takes a lot of time, diligence, patience, and consistency to have a successful blog. If you’re not interested in anyone ever reading your blog and you just want a place to blow off steam, that’s great! You can certainly have a blog for that. However, most people blog so that others can benefit from what they have to say. And if you want others to read your words so that they can really benefit from them, it’s going to require some hard work to make that a reality.
Steven Furtick said, “The proof of passion is perseverance.” If writing and blogging is something you’re passionate about, you’ll push through even when it gets hard, even when you’re stuck in a rut, even when your heart is dry. You’ll stand up and brush off even when someone doesn’t like what you have to say (and they’re brutally forthcoming in letting you know that they don’t like what you have to say). You’ll do what it takes to get your words into the hands of readers, even if its uncomfortable to put yourself out there.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
Welcome aboard, my friend.
How do I start a blog?
I’ll keep it short and simple: PINTEREST.
Pinterest has all the answers. Wordpress or Squarespace? How do I register my domain name? Which theme/layout do I choose? Free v. paid? How do I write a quality blog post? Where should I get my photos? How do I promote my blog?
Pinterest is the first place I go when I have questions or am doing research. It’s a search engine, not just a social media platform, and it’s a bloggers information heaven! Use.It.Up.
It’s uncomfortable for me to promote/talk about myself. Is there any other way to share my blog without doing that?
Unless you’re a Kardashian and the simple flip of your hair gets worldwide media attention, then no.
Listen, I’ve been there. I remember being terrified the first time I posted about my blog. In fact, I’ll bet I can guess all the thoughts running through your head:
~ No one will care what I have to say!
~ What makes me think my life so important that I feel the need to share it?
~ This is stupid. What if someone makes fun of me? What will people say?
~ I’m not important or famous or popular. No one is even going to read this.
~ No one is going to care about what I have to say. Why bother?
Yeah, I’ve been there!!! Hands up over here too.
But guess what? All of those thoughts, questions, doubts, fears, and insecurities— they’re not from God. Those words are plain lies from an enemy who hates that you have a God who has given you a voice. The enemy knows the potential you have to be powerful for the Kingdom of God. He knows if you get past those fears and doubts, you could make a serious dent in his plan to ruin and ravage lives.
However, God knows, and your spirit knows, that you have a plan and a purpose in this life. And if that plan and purpose includes writing words that will draw people closer to heaven and further from hell, it’s no wonder the enemy is trying to talk you out of it!
So what do you say? Are you ready to, as Reinhard Bonnke says, “plunder hell and populate heaven” with your words?
If so, I hope you’re encouraged and inspired to leave those lies behind. You have a purpose, and so what if you have to do some self-promotion along the way? In the end, it’s really not about you, is it? It’s about the Lord, and He sees your heart. That’s really all that matters.
How did you get so many followers on Instagram? Did you buy them?
In one year, I grew my Instagram organically from less than 1,500 to over 15,000 followers.
Never once did I buy followers, likes, or comments. I never even considered that as an option.
This is how it happened: I read the book Good or God? by John Bevere. The Lord had a reckoning with me after reading that book and challenged me to get outside of my comfort zone and do some research on how to build a following. On Pinterest, I found all the information I ended up using to grow my Instagram. I encourage you to go to Pinterest, but I’ll highlight (in no particular order) some of the things that worked really well for me:
Follow like-minded people. Interact and engage with them regularly.
Post consistently. I posted once a day, without fail, for at least 4 months straight. Nowadays I don’t go more than 2-3 days without posting but I still try to stick to once a day at least.
Build your feed aesthetic. Pick colors, themes & styles that you LOVE and make your feed look pleasing based off of that (my colors are blue & white). That’s what people look at & how they make their decision on whether to follow you or not.
Post QUALITY content. Poor photos and/or lifeless captions = poor engagement and/or zero new followers.
Have a niche. Focus in on the area you're most passionate about!
Use hashtags that are relevant to your niche.
Talk to people. Respond to comments & messages. Be nice. Make friends. Insta is such a great place for community; capitalize on that!
Most importantly— don’t hold Instagram so close to your heart. Be humble. Be willing to give it up if the Lord were to ask you to. Don’t find your worth in every new follow and like. Don’t lose your soul over every unfollow. Trust Jesus— He will bring the right people alongside you to follow and support you. Be diligent with what He’s asked you to do, and He will do the rest.
How important is social media for blogging?
It is vital to use social media if you want anyone to read what you have to say. Social media is not everyone’s cup of tea and I get it, but it’s absolutely necessary for sharing your blog & getting it in the hands of readers. Don’t shy away just because you may not have a big following. Jesus doesn’t care about that. God is after our hearts, and our obedience is how we give it to him.
I’m not really a writer but I have a lot to say. Can you edit my posts?
As a matter of fact, I can! I am now offering writing/editing/proofreading services and would love to work with you. Drop me a line in the contact form!
Thank you all, so much, for reading along and being part of this journey with me. Thank you to anyone who has ever written to encourage me, or to tell me what something I've written has meant to you, or shared how something resonated with you. Seriously that's the most rewarding part of writing! I feel like all those emails and messages are virtual hugs from my virtual friends who I pray someday can become real-life friends so we can give each other real-life hugs. What a dream! I can't wait for that day.
Until then, you'll find me here, writing and sharing my heart out.
(Actually, the place you'll find me is Topeca Coffee in the Mayo Hotel, probably. Or Press Cafe, or Magic City Books. Or Woodward Park. Or Starbucks at Utica. Anyway, I'll be around. Don't be a stranger, I need more friends).