Hi, I’m Sandy!
I am the author of three books, a podcaster, a Bible study teacher, and a professionally certified home chef. I’ve been a wife to Jon for 29 years and a mom to three kids ages 16 to 24. My oldest son passed away when he was 9 months old, which marked a distinct “before and after” moment in my life. I have been helping frazzled moms find peace since 2008 at thescooponbalance.com and I podcast weekly at The Balanced MomCast from my home office in Florida, where I live with my family.
Coffee + Prayer
First thing everyday
Chocolate + Peanut Butter
Reading in Bed
How I relax
I opened my first social media account and started my blog in ye days of olde: 2008.
Those were the heydays of blogging. Remember? When you could craft a beautifully written post on (free) Blogger and then share the link on your “Wall” where all your real-life friends would see it, read it, and share it?
For a writer back then, social media yielded a high return for a small investment. And it was incredible.
It wasn’t long before publishers and literary agents took notice of bloggers who were growing their platforms on social media. The number of “likes, shares, friends, and followers” became the primary metrics to determine a writer’s
worth ability to sell books.
Since I was actively seeking traditional publication at the time, I went all in on growing my audience through social media. No one had developed a formula for this yet. So, I simply continued to share my blog posts and hope for the best.
In early 2014 on a random Tuesday morning, one of my mediocre blog posts went viral. It crashed my website and over a million people viewed it in just a few days.
But after the initial influx of new followers, I couldn’t keep up the momentum. Eventually, the growth leveled off, still short of the target I was aiming for.
But that viral experience was like a drug hit for this mama writing in the cracks of motherhood –a glimmer of online success that made me strive all the harder.
By 2016, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram consumed my days. Between serving meals, switching laundry, and quizzing kids on math facts, I was obsessively posting, checking, responding, posting, checking, responding. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I began asking the question: Is this the writing life I envisioned?
It took me a few more years, but I eventually decided that the answer to that question was a resounding “no.”
So, on September 11, 2019, against the advice of everyone I knew in the writing industry, I took a one-year social media hiatus to write and self-publish my second book. After a brief return a little over a year later to promote the book, I decided that social media was not working for me. I longed to find better ways to grow and nurture my audience outside of social media. Ways that offered a better return on my investment of time. Ways that didn’t suck the life out of me.
So, I manually unfriended thousands of people on my Facebook account, deactivated Instagram, and abandoned Twitter. Shortly thereafter, my Facebook author page disappeared through no act of my own. (Thank you, Facebook!)
Hi, I’m Mary K.
I am a speaker, freelance writer, and adjunct professor. My husband, T.J., and I live in East Texas with our two kids (ages 8 and 6) and thirty head of cattle. I am a co-founder of New Mercies for Moms where I co-authored two devotional card sets designed to help busy moms stay connected to God’s Word. You can find my work at marykathryntiller.com.
Morning or Night
Beach or Mountains
City or Country
Paper or Digital
Mary Kathryns Story
In 2019, I watched as Sandy published a farewell post on our writing community’s Facebook page.
Something about her daring to leave social media in the name of writing and publishing a book spoke to me. I had to know if it was possible to be a successful writer outside of social media; and here was a woman I had come to admire, bravely taking the road less traveled.
So, I tagged along.
I reached out to Sandy and asked if we could talk about her announcement. Later that week, we began speaking over Voxer and frankly, we’ve never stopped.
Our friendship grew to include almost every aspect of our lives, yet our conversations often found their way back to social media.
While Sandy left social media and stayed off, I struggled to pull the trigger.
I never cared much for Facebook, but I loved Instagram. I had a knack for designing beautiful graphics and it thrilled me to scroll through my perfectly curated feed. For years, I tried to put boundaries around social media, in an attempt to curb my addiction and get a grip on its demands.
By the end of 2021, I was officially frustrated. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t seeing the growth I had hoped for. So, I doubled down; committing to a daily post, continuous stories, and producing at least two reels a week.
Within the month, I was eyeballs deep in content creation. I had spent hours upon hours writing, designing, filming, editing, and scheduling a post that would last mere minutes on a platform I didn’t own. I had overstepped all my boundaries and spent way too much time on the app. As a result my mind began to feel “glitchy”- unable to focus on any one thought for more than a few seconds.
One morning, as I prepared to dive into yet another day of Instagram, I sensed the Lord ask me:
“Is this how you want to spend your life?”
The question terrified me. I knew deep down I did not want to spend my days building a platform on social media, but it felt like the only path to my dreams. If I let go of Instagram, was I also letting go of any chances of publishing?
Over the next few months, Sandy walked alongside me as I deconstructed everything I believed about writing and sharing my work. In that time, God made it clear He was still leading me to grow my audience, but I had become way too dependent on social media.
He began inviting me to think more creatively about my platform. It was as if I had spent all those years coloring with a red crayon, and God was saying, “Mary K., there are 63 other colors in the box! Let’s use them!“
He began to remind me of all the possibilities and all of the ways He could use the gifts He had given me.
Maybe He’s doing the same for you?
Download our list of 27 *Real* Ways to Grow Your Audience Outside of Social Media!
In it, we share some tried and true methods to grow and nurture your following. No dancing, pointing, or lip-syncing required.