Tsh Oxenreider blogs about intentional, simple living, which covers a myriad of topics. However, she focuses specifically on “parents of children at home who crave less crazy, more peace, and joy in the little things.” SimpleMom. net, her flagship site, covers topics like productivity, taking care of yourself, DIY ideas, green and frugal living, and relationships. Organizing is one of those topics.
“My book, Organized Simplicity, narrows in on organizing as one arm of simple living. It takes the stance that when you don’t have clutter in your physical dwelling you’re able to truly live simply, which I define as ‘living holistically with your life’s purpose.’ Only having what you truly need or truly find beautiful makes it easy to find things, clean, live well, and enjoy as little space as possible, which frees you financially, emotionally, and otherwise,” Oxenreider says. “This quote from 19th century architect William Morris is the peg for a lot of my thoughts: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not find to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’”
On her website, Oxenreider explains that she began blogging while living overseas. Diagnosed with depression, a counselor suggested she find a creative outlet. That’s when her husband suggested she start a blog. Five months later she bought the domain name SimpleMom.net with no plan whatsoever, and, as she puts it, “life really hasn’t been the same since.”
Why did you begin blogging?
Basically, I started the blog simply as a creative outlet for me to practice my writing. I had no intention of starting a business and, though I’d always dreamed of writing a book, never thought the blog would lead me there.
How did you choose your topic?
It was easiest for me to write about what I was actually going through in real life. When SimpleMom.com started, I had a preschooler and newborn and was learning how to manage a home in a different culture. I was stripped of any shortcuts from the fast-paced American culture, so out of necessity, everything in my life came from scratch (cooking and otherwise). I grew to prefer life that way, and became passionate about savoring the little things in life, a natural byproduct of living simpler in a different culture.
What, if any, market research did you do before beginning your blog?
I researched statistics and studies from universities and think tanks to validate every point I wanted to make. It was important to me that I not just randomly spew out my opinions; I wanted actual evidence to back up my ideas. I did, however, enjoy polling my blog readers and Twitter followers on more opinion-y topics, such as what every man should have in his closet.
Did you think you were writing a book, did you plan on blogging a book, or were you simply blogging on your topic?
I don’t feel like my blog is my book, so I never set out to “blog a book.” My blog is my blog, and my book is my book. I never thought I’d be approached to write a book, but it was a lifelong dream of mine.
How long did it take for you to gain blog readers, and can you pinpoint any certain event that created a tipping point when readership increased noticeably?
My blog grew pretty fast, but I attribute a bit of that to good timing. I started it in early 2008, right when niche blogging was really taking off fast. It’s also when Twitter got big, and I jumped in on that early. I also attribute a chunk of my blog’s size to sheer hard work. Hard, hard work. I worked hard on my blog back when I didn’t make a dime on it. But I loved what I was doing, so I was willing to do it for free.
What did you do to drive traffic (readers) to your blog?
The usual—social media (Twitter, Facebook), guest posting, commenting on other people’s blogs, collaborating with other bloggers, getting involved in the blogosphere community. It was both rewarding, traffic-wise, and fun. I’d do it as a hobby, but it just so happens it also became my job.
How did your blog-to-book deal come about?
An editor actually approached me about whether I was interested in writing a full-length book based on an e-book I had out about spring-cleaning. She read it and thought it’d make a good book and also really enjoyed my blog. It was pretty unorthodox.
I was given about eight months to write 16 chapters of Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.
What one or two things that you did would you attribute to your blogging success (and to the book deal you landed)?
Honestly? Mostly working really, really hard. Long hours, in my spare time, and for fun. My work was my fun, so I was willing to roll up my sleeves and put out the sweat.
What advice would you give to writers wanting to blog a book (and build readership/platform while doing so)?
Write what you’re passionate about, not what you think will sell. You’ll burn out if you follow the money, but if you follow your heart, the money will follow.
What’s the most important thing a blogger can do to get noticed in the blogosphere?
Be genuine. Write because they want to and because they love their topic, not to get noticed. You can tell when it’s for the traffic or popularity. I read blogs where the writer obviously loves their craft. Nothing else.
About the Author
Tsh Oxenreider is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Art of Simple, a blog about the art and science of living simply. She thinks a library card, a Netflix subscription, and a passport are some of the greatest parenting tools in the universe. She is the author of Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, One Bite at a Time: 52 Bites for Making Life Simpler, and Organized Simplicity. Tsh is also the main host of The Art of Simple Podcast.
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