5 Ways Blogging has Changed My Life

September 9th, 2014 by Emma Durand-Wood

I’ve been blogging in one form or another for a loooong time… I started a LiveJournal in 2002 and didn’t look back. Over the years I’ve blogged on personal topics, on work-related topics, and on local topics, and though I don’t get a lot of time to do it these days, it’s still important to me.  I got to thinking about all the positive things that blogging has brought into my life, after a friend of mine, whom I met through this blog, moved away from Winnipeg. So without further ado, I present to you, five ways that blogging has changed my life.


Probably the best thing about blogging is that it has given me the chance to make new friends. When I moved to Winnipeg I had one good friend of my own here, and when I married her husband’s brother, I was welcomed into one the most awesome families in the world, along with their social circles. But it was  (and still is) important to me to make “my own” friends, and as an introvert, that’s not always easily.

An unexpected but very welcome gift that blogging has given me is friendship with three wonderful gals — all of them relatively new to Winnipeg, like me. They have become an important part of my life, especially as we entered into the seasons of pregnancy and parenthood around the same time. As I mentioned earlier, one of these dear friends just moved away, and I will really miss her. Fortunately, she’s planning on coming back for a visit next summer 🙂

Local Knowledge

Okay, so I’m still perpetually confused by certain quirks of our city*, but blogging has given me the opportunity to become a lot more familiar with Winnipeg than your average newcomer. I love the reaction people have when I mention that something is a “Manitoba thing” and find that being this nerdy about my chosen hometown has provided me with a certain amount of “insider knowledge” – which comes in very handy when meeting new people or making small talk (again, something the introvert in me really benefits from). The other day, a friend remarked to me, “Why is it that every time I search for some sort of local dish or food item, your blog comes up?” I get a big kick out of that!

I think no matter where you’re from, there are certain local quirks that everyone is really proud of. It’s nice to have a good sense of what those are, and to catch and understand subtle references. And on the flipside, because I’m not from here, I have a decent sense of what “Winnipeg things” I don’t think are anything to be proud of, and I try to be especially careful not to adopt certain attitudes (e.g., dismissing the usefulness of public transit, being irrationally cheap, casual ignorance/subtle racism, etc.).


Another major benefit has been the boost in confidence I’ve gotten about my writing. I’ve always loved to write, but for a long time wasn’t doing it particularly publicly. The positive reception I’ve received has been really encouraging for me. Even though I realize it’s probably an evil genius plan for getting free content to publish, being selected as the Freep’s “Blog of the Week” several times has been pretty cool (but watch now, I’ll never get chosen again)! Having such encouraging feedback to my posts from various audiences was what finally nudged me towards freelance writing, which is something I’d wanted to do for a long while.


Blogging has opened a lot of doors for me. Long before we ever worked together, my boss and I struck up a friendship because we were both library bloggers. That connection eventually paved the way for a job opportunity. Another contact I made through library blogging was a big asset when I was looking for work here in Winnipeg (better yet, she became a great friend and colleague too!).

As I mentioned earlier, blogging also provided me with a portfolio to use when I started freelance writing. Now I get paid to write about stuff I’m interested in – still kind of blows my mind! (You can check out my pieces on The Baby Post and the Virgin Atlantic blog, if you’re so inclined.)


Because I don’t blog all that often these days, I’m pleasantly surprised that I get a fairly steady stream of emails from all sorts of people, for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because they’re thinking about moving to Winnipeg — a job that would bring them to the city for the first time, or an opportunity to move back to the city after having been away.  Or, they don’t live here anymore but enjoyed a trip down memory lane and being reminded of the great times they spent here.

Whatever their situation, I’ve had emails from people literally all over the world asking if I have any advice for them. (I don’t think I’m particularly qualified, but I’m happy to share my thoughts!) Others have told me that that my words have been useful to them in some way.  The best compliments I’ve received are from people who say they were feeling uncertain about the city based on its reputation, but were encouraged by what they read on my blog.

Winnipeg has been good to me, and I think it’s really cool that in some small way I can help change people’s ideas about it. I cherish these emails and though I don’t often hear from these folks again, I think of them often and wonder where their journeys have taken them. I always hope that if they did choose Winnipeg in the end, that they’re happy with their decision.

There are other interesting experiences that blogging has brought to my life. Who knew anyone would ever want to interview little old me on the topic of honey dill sauce, or wedding socials (which I didn’t know existed 10 years ago) or speed limits… but that part of blogging is of the “fun yet terrifying” sort, and not particularly life-changing. Then there are the perks, like the occasional swag or free event, which I can’t complain about (watch for my wayyyyyy overdue post on the awesome mural tour the West End BIZ runs, coming to this blog hopefully before too long)! And of course, there are the fun memories that I’ll always have of running the blog with two of my very best friends, Aaron and Laurel. In a way, those feel like my glory days of Winnipeg — being young(er) and having fewer responsibilities, and the freedom to explore the city without kids in tow. We enthusiastically threw ourselves into exploring — and understanding — this curmudgeonly yet charming city, and I think we’d all agree our time here was all the richer for it. At the very least it meant we drank a lot of local beer in the name of research!

Anyway — that’s my take on how blogging has changed my life. If blogging has changed yours in some way, I would love to hear about it!

*Currently confusing me: this city has three high schools that are affectionately known as “[Male name] Mac” (even though two of them are actually Mc, not Mac) and four elementary schools whose names are “Lord [Something]”. Once I set out to investigate these topics I realized it was not as confusing as I thought. I was sure there were at least 16 different Lord Something schools. Three cheers for blog research!

3 Responses to “5 Ways Blogging has Changed My Life”

  1. Christian says:

    To shed light on school names, the practice for a long time, maybe 50 years, was to alternate jr and sr high school names between a British Lord, then a saint, (eg. St. John’s and Kelvin high schools, which opened back-to-back.) There was the odd anomaly, like Daniel McIntyre, but that was due to his importance in developing Winnipeg’s school system.)

    As for the Mc – Mac thing, I have no clue why they are pronounced the way they are ! Maybe mack sounds better ?!

  2. Emma Durand-Wood says:

    Thanks Christian – that’s fascinating! I guess it’s not that unusual for a city of our size to have lots of Lords and Saints, but it does get confusing!

  3. libys11 says:

    i’m all for local knowledge!! i think my blog has evolved from being just a day to day fashion blog to recognizing local events, shops and restaurants.. the development of the city has been outstanding since I started blogging in 2009. yay!!! this post is amazing!! 😀

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