Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday, Rivaflowz.com!

7 years ago, today, I sat in the library of my alma mater and decided that I was going to be a blogger. Everyone was creating one and divulging their secrets, trials, and interests. However, I'd noticed that folks seemed to get bored with it easily. After ten posts, neglected blogs were stranded in the 'about me' sections of most of my friends' Facebook pages. There were a few bloggers who were doing right. I followed their adventures, watched their writing/experiences grow, and I knew that if I was going to blog I was going to do it right.

I chose Blogger as my platform, pulled together the little bit of HTML that years of Blackplanet, Myspace, and other social forums taught me, and wrote at least once a week. I wasn't new to this. I'd been journaling on Xanga and Myspace for years. This was not enough. It wasn't enough to stand out. I bought several books on the business of blogging, website upkeep and coding, and perused the internet for articles on how to better my site.

However, none of this happened overnight or with a few readings. My blog/writing grew as I grew. As I became older and wiser, my posts matured, as did the vulnerability within them. I yearned to write on a more frequent basis and soon found myself planning blogs, designing my own content, and immersing myself in the blogosphere.

I met several lifelong friends through this forum, I've found solace in the comments/feedback of my readers, and I wouldn't exchange all the pitfalls/triumphs for anything.

I knew a few things about myself: I loved writing, I was obsessed with journals, and I loved love. I started to post love poems, journal purchases, and other works up. It was for myself, at first. I enjoyed compiling my work online. However, a few of my friends started to take notice. 

In 2008 my blog readership slowly started to grow. Friends and family members called to tell me that they were reading. I also used the blog to promote my poetry performances, after my appearance on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, and brought in readers through shameless plugs at the end of showcases. 

From 2009-2010, I started to delve into other genres. I wrote book, concert, and movie reviews. I also started writing little blurbs about the romantic issues I'd confronted. Folks started to share my advice and I realized that I truly loved writing things that my peers could learn from. I wrote about places I thought they should explore, the love that they deserved, and the world as I saw it.

After I graduated school, I started working as a substitute teacher. I had several free periods throughout the day and I was out of work, by 3pm. I was excited about the prospect of having more time to write. I spent it revamping the site design (it probably changed every month). I studied my favorite successful bloggers and I took classes to hone my skills. My craft was growing at a rapid rate, because I was able to spend a sufficient amount of time cultivating it. I went to writing workshops like VONA and read great books that pushed me to pursue my passions. I spent hours practicing photography, photo editing, and more. My writing ability, aligned with my perfectionist and hunger-for-knowledge mentality, caused my blog traffic to spiral out of control. 

In 2011, a friend of mine called and asked me if I'd ever considered writing/blogging on other websites. The thought crossed my mind, but I was adamant about the growth of my own brand. He expressed that he had a site that had content that would align with the things I was passionate about. He introduced me to EDGE Magazine editors and I started writing for their relationship section. I loved it.

After working with EDGE, I gained the confidence to pursue other sites. I pitched editors and I was shocked, when a few of them already knew my name. It took no time for me to land writing gigs elsewhere. Because of the links to my blog and social media, via these articles, my writing got more attention than it'd ever received. 

The last three years have been incredible. I've been featured on sites that I've always been an avid reader of, I've been flown out to universities and events to discuss relationships/hip-hop/writing on panels, and I've met amazing people along the way. 

Right now, you can find my dating series on MadameNoire.com. I worked for Upworthy last year. I've been featured on Ebony.com, ClutchMag, TheRoot, theGrio, and so many more places. I am thankful for many things. I am blessed in several ways.

However, without you....the reader....none of this is/was possible. Thank you.