Featured Blogger: Sonja Foust of Pintester
Sonja Foust is on a mission to test all of the good, the bad and the ugly that Pinterest has to offer. Her hilarious attempts (and failures) testing out DIY Pinterest how-tos and recipes on Pintester.com has garnered her a strong and loyal following. In addition to her site, keep up with Sonja on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
Q: When did you start blogging?
A: I started Pintester.com in December of 2011, but I’ve been blogging in some form (starting on Xanga– remember that?) ever since blogging was even a thing– so, like, 2001 or something. That OLD old stuff isn’t online anymore, but quite a lot of my old-ish stuff is still online at sonjafoust.com.
Q: What originally got you interested in blogging?
A: Umm, vanity, probably. I was enamored of the idea that someone could read what I’d written and then immediately comment on it. Having an instant audience was a pretty heady feeling and I never quite got over it.
I started Pintester.com specifically because I wanted a blog with a little tighter theme than just “the life of Sonja,” and I’d started a little bit of humor writing on my “the life of Sonja” blog and it had gone over pretty well. So Pintester.com was a chance for me to exercise my humor writing, and also a way to make something out of the stuff that I was already failing at. Yes, I was a Pinterest failure even before the blog.
Q: What are your favorite types of DIY pins to test?
A: Well I think I started out with mostly recipes because, hey, a girl’s gotta eat. But the beauty pins seem to be the most popular. People love it when I slather questionable things on my face. I’ve never been crafty, so I have to push myself to try the craft-stuff, but when I do, it usually fails hilariously, so I guess it’s worth it. My favorites are still the recipes, though, because even if they fail, there’s food involved.
Q: What has been the most surprisingly successful pintest to date? The worst?
A: The one that sort of took off and went gangbusters as far as popularity was the strawberries and cream mug cake. I would say that one was probably “the worst,” if by “worst,” you mean “most hilariously awful.”
I did make this monkey-bread sort of stuff that I was almost certain would flop miserably, but OH MY GOD it was good. It tasted like joy. I am not even kidding.
Q: How often do you test pins?
A: I put a new test up about 3 times a week, and I don’t test them too far in advance of posting them, usually. Sometimes I do marathon test days where I just test a bunch in a row, but mostly I do them sort of naturally, like I probably would even without a blog. I test pins for dinner all the time, and sometimes I test a specific beauty remedy for a specific problem I’m having. And when I have a little extra time and some help from my husband, I’m trying to get into video posts.
Q: Do you interact with your readers often?
A: Yes! That’s still my favorite part about blogging: the instant feedback and conversations. I read every comment and email from my readers, and I’m really active and engaged with my readers on Twitter, especially, and Facebook, too. I also get tons of test suggestions from readers, and I’ve done quite a few of them! I love hearing from my readers! It makes my day every time.
Q: What’s been an unexpected challenge you’ve faced with blogging? Any unexpected joys?
A: The biggest challenge I’ve had over my (many) years of blogging has been figuring out a balance of how far to push. Pintester.com has been the most potentially offensive blog I’ve ever written, I guess, and it took me a long time to be ok with that. But in my early years, I didn’t have much of a sense of which stuff was too private to go up on my blog for all the Internet to see. I’d say I’ve gotten less worried about offending people, but in some ways more protective of my privacy and personal life.
There have been so many joys about blogging. The biggest unexpected joy this year has been that I actually can make a living doing it! I am the happiest girl in the world when I can do the thing I love all day long and then actually get PAID for it. It’s amazing, and doesn’t quite seem real.
Q: What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?
A: Oh, there are so many! I have a huge list in my feed reader that I try desperately to keep up with.
As far as humor blogs, I love TheBloggess.com. She is the humor blogger that every humor blogger wishes she could be. And not only is she funny, but she also has such a heart for reaching out to other women. Love her.
My other daily humor read is BrittanyHerself.com. She is crazy-honest, in-your-face over-sharey, and hilarious.
For inspiration, I love Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things. He inspired me to start my own Impossible List and I credit having and pursuing that list with a whole lot of the good things that have happened in my life lately.
The other one that’s been super inspirational to me is The Minimalists.I wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist (I have too many pairs of shoes for that), but these guys really know how to get to the crux of all the issues surrounding “stuff,” and I love the philosophy. Someday, maybe I WILL get rid of all my shoes and become a backpack nomad. You never know.
Q: What’s a piece of advice about running your own site that you wish you had known when you got started?
A: Shit breaks. Seriously, if you are not ok with the stress of trying to trouble-shoot technology stuff on the fly while losing traffic and revenue, you should probably hire a webmaster or something. I do a lot of the trouble-shooting myself, but when I start howling and pulling my hair out, my techno-savior husband swoops in and does some rescuing. I don’t know what I’d do without him!
Q: In addition to running Pintester.com, word on the street is that you are also a romance author. How did you get started, and what are you working on now?
A: I started writing romance after I graduated from college. At first I thought it would be my get-rich-quick scheme, but I quickly learned that (1) there’s nothing quick about it, and (2) the romance genre is AMAZING and so much fun! I fell in love with reading again (recovering English Literature major, ugh) because of romance.
I’ve had one full-length novel and a couple of short stories published, which you can find on sonjafoust.com. I’m not working on anything in the romance genre at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll be back to it at some point! It’s really my writing first love.