This week’s #girlcrush is our very own Maddie Clark! Maddie is a digital media guru and content marketing specialist right here at Girlcrush Collective. We can’t wait for you to get to know her!
Tell us about yourself and your blog!
I’m Maddie Clark, a dog mom, and as of today – 23! I lived in New York for 5 years, but now I call fabulous Las Vegas home! I came to NYC from Arizona for college where I received my Bachelors in Media, Culture & the Arts with a concentration in Media Journalism. In high school I was known as an open person with a blunt personality and I was praised for it. But then college happened and I was shamed for it. So, to fight through all of the BS that my peers were saying about my personality, I started writing about taboo topics for my blog. My roommates and I had a motto of “Nothing is taboo in this house” and I kind of live my life with that. In a sentence, my blog is a lifestyle blog where I write about topics people may find hard to talk about but knowing they’re not alone in their crazy misadventures.
What inspired you to start your own blog?
It sounds sad, but it really turned into a huge blessing. I witnessed an awful terror attack in Downtown Manhattan on Halloween 2017. I was pretty traumatized by it and couldn’t shake it for a while. I never went to therapy or talked to many people about it, but what I did find comforting was that I was able to distract myself by writing these bulky essays for my last semester in college. It became so therapeutic where I began to write my feelings out into stories on my Google Drive. Then I was inspired by Katie (hi!) to put it all in the open and it just kind of took off from there!
How would you describe your blogging style?
Like I said, I’m a blunt kind of personality. My blogging style is pretty casual because I don’t want readers to feel like they’re reading a prepared essay. I want them to be able to want to follow along for 3,000 words and not realize that they just read 3,000 words. If it gets too professional or too cut and dry, then that’s when I lose my credibility as an open person and start to look like a machine operated word processor.
I also like to write things that are relatable. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading blogs that are those idyllic kind of lifestyles where you’re able to travel every month or be able to see the inside of a model’s fitness routine. But sometimes you need to read things that are more vulnerable & humbling to remember you’re not in this alone.
Can you tell us about your ideal reader?
To be honest, I don’t have one in mind. But, I think that’s kind of the point of my blog where any person can read it and find something about it interesting. Not to say that I think I’m the most interesting Millennial out there, but I do think there can be something for anyone.
To take a shot in the dark, an ideal reader would be someone with an open mind and heart. I want readers that know expressing emotions and knowing yourself is something that is easy to suppress; however, being able to admit your shortcomings or identify issues within yourself will only make you stronger at the end of the day.
How do you structure your days?
I’m still figuring that part out! I at least take my pup out to the park every morning and work after that! However, if I do get a morning or two to myself, then I’ll take it easy and maybe look at Pinterest for some inspiration. Then I’ll block out times for blogging and write those down in my planner. It’s kind of all a balancing act, each day is never the same!
Is blogging your profession or hobby?
Currently, it is my hobby. I’m getting more pumped as the days go by to make it my profession. I don’t think I will be 100% a “professional blogger” because I do have a lot of great opportunities going on with Girlcrush Collective and InstaCrush. But who’s to say that can’t happen with blogging, too?
What has been your most successful blog post?
Ironically, the posts that are the most successful have been the ones that made me question if I should even post them. I had such anxiety after publishing my blog “I Have a Diagnosed Mental Illness and It’s Okay” but that ended up my most shared post with the most unique readers than any of my other stories.
A close second was my recap of the terror attack on Halloween. Both those stories I didn’t want to post because I knew of the awful things people could respond back with. But, I did it anyways, and those two are really the reasons why I attracted readers and kept them.
Describe your writing process from start to finish.
It’s really not that interesting! If I have something in my head, I have to sit down ASAP and write it all out. And that same day I’ll post a blog. I’m not really a planner and if I do, I end up getting writer’s block instead of a blog.
Where and how do you work best?
I love sitting in Starbucks. I know that’s so a “NYC wannabe writer” thing to do, but people watching also brings inspiration. Whether it be a guy who looks like a past love or a situation of a mother and daughter, I’ll start writing about what that reminds me of and all of a sudden I’ve rehashed another story.
What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?
Well, it took forever to try to figure out what I even wanted to write about. There was no way, in my head, that there were several people out there who wanted to read about my life, problems, past, stories, etc. But once I started writing a little more in depth about who I was and my feelings, that is when I started to see that this is what people were interested in. Not some BBQ restaurant in Battery Park City.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?
To be completely honest? Tagging my mom in every post. Because once she’s tagged in it, her friends will see it. And not to think highly of myself, but her friends take a huge interest in me (it’s literally because they love my mom so much therefore their default is to love me, too.) They’ll share it to their kids who are about my age or within the Millennial generation and that is where most of my views come from.
But I do try and plan it to where I’ll start posting about my blog during the high traffic times on my social media where my friends on both sides of the nation will be able to see it. It also doesn’t hurt that my dog is super cute and I get some views from some of her Instagram followers, too!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
How to keep freakin’ writing! Writer’s block is such a real thing - I don’t even know how writers are able to do this for novels while I’m here twiddling my thumbs over a blog! And I’ll admit, I’m not the most consistent person ever, either. So, I can go a whole month without writing, then all of a sudden I’m writing twice a week. Finding that pattern and sticking to it is difficult, but I think I’m managing!
How did you overcome these challenges?
Well, when I get writer’s block, I tend to sit down and look through old photos or call my mom. I actually at one point asked her, “Hey, are there any childhood traumas you can think of that I can write about?” It’s not even to gain attention or use that as a topic for a blog, but I just need something to think about and write about, even if it’s not for my blog. My head always moves at 100 mph. So if I’m writing about, let’s say, my childhood dog passing away, the blog itself could end up being about my stepdad’s family get togethers. It all just takes getting started to get things going for me.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
See, that’s a hard one. Because I can look at everything and say to myself, “You’re doing fine, stop worrying.” But then there is that feeling of “If I stop now, I’m just not going to start again.” And I find myself there a lot of times. But every now and again, I talk to old friends or see a comment on one of my posts. Their words speak encouragement to me and show that there is a reason why I’m writing. Having them and their sentiments on my mind fuel me up for the next chapter.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I love this question. I find myself to be uniquely unqualified to be giving anyone else life lessons. The reason why I share my stories of failures and successes is because I want to learn more about everyone else’s! When we get all of that crap out in the open, then what’s left to do than learn from our mistakes or others. I don’t see many bloggers currently doing that. I also like to think not a lot of them are showing everyone else their emotions, good or bad, to their readers in the way that I am. I mean, I start some blogs out by saying “Ok so today I’m telling you about my childhood trauma, buckle up bitches!”
What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?
I wish I would’ve known to be a lot more careful with time. Time can make or break your success on any media platform and I wish I would have waited and researched that more before diving head first into this. And on the same note, I wish I had the advice/resources to plan out my ideas and posts, at first. But, like I said, I’m not a planner. I’m very impulsive. I’m like a personified shrugging emoji.
What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?
Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. Although a lot of my posts are about my own life and experiences, I do look to Pinterest when I’m hitting writer’s block. First, I don’t go searching for a topic. I go through things on my boards and see what I’m even interested in. I let that take me down a long spiral down to finally get a revelation for a topic. Also, coffee doesn’t hurt to have around when you’re pulling all nighters or early mornings.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
If we’re talking celebs - Jenna Marbles. Even though she’s a YouTuber, I try to mimic the way she lives her life as much as I can. She’s not to the point where she’s carefree, because she cares a lot, and it’s usually about everyone around her. But, she’s really one of those people who is truly content with her life and wants everyone to be as happy as she is. In my writing, I try to exemplify it by being authentically myself while also cultivating that same unapologetic vibe within my readers.
And not to be a brown-noser, but honestly Katie has given me a great boost with helping me get started with making everything to the extent of where it is now! It really wouldn’t be possible without her support!
What advice would you give to other bloggers?
Be yourself. 100% of the time be 100% yourself. Even though it seems uncomfortable, and it can be VERY uncomfortable, it will be worth it. You gain so much insight to yourself that you never realized before. Blogging will be a great therapy for you, too. If you ever need to process your feelings and try to see the deeper meaning of them, write. Blog it out. If you’re not about that kind of writing, then make sure your personality is woven into every sentence of whatever it is that you’re writing. Recipes, workouts, DIY - always make it with your essence billowing through.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
In one of my posts I wrote about being scared to be emotionally intimate with people, I learned a lot about who I am as I was writing this. I thought writing would give people insight to know who I am through stories of my life, but I never thought I would figure out more about me while writing them. Not only that post, but even in ones where I didn’t feel they were really supposed to be eye-opening for me. It’s always fun to reread posts to see how far I’ve come since a story or even from where I was when I wrote it. It is an experience where you’ll end up seeing yourself very clearly, very quickly.
Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?
Obviously I would love for it to gain double the followers and be able to *finally* be somewhat consistent in posting! We’re in the process of making her all prettied up so I’m so excited to see what that turns out like! I want to be able to have guests on where I can vlog, tie in a podcast, and do things like have someone co-write a blog, as well. I want more interaction at the end of the day. I like doing it my way, but having people involved will always make it more enjoyable.