The Life Of A Blogger

T

Dedicating your life to writing when you have a full time job and still have a kid at home is difficult. Writing takes a fair amount of planning and sacrifice.

The past two weekends have seen my house overrun with grandbabies. Of course, that is no excuse to slack off writing.

Because that’s what we writers do, we write.

I’m sitting in my cool dark cave of a bedroom, early on a Sunday. The grandkids-in-residence this weekend, left with their parents to visit the aquarium.

Since I am a writer and I have my shit together, I used this time wisely.

This morning, I accepted three awards. The most exciting was the Pulitzer I got for the first ever Pulitzer prize awarded in a personal blog category. The other two weren’t as exciting, but still, it’s an honor to just be considered for an award.

I completed the screenplay I’ve been working on with Quentin. He is so hard to get off the phone. Once he starts talking, he never shuts up. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Samuel is available when the movie is made.

After the children are sleeping tonight, I will edit my epic historical saga about Aqua Net.

HAHAFUCKINGHAHAH

The fact that I’ve written this many words this weekend amazes me. My lovely stepdaughter was very liberal with the tequila bottle Friday night. I’ve been in recovery mode ever since. At the moment, I wear the same pajama pants that I’ve camped out in all weekend. My hair would make crazy cat lady say “Sweetheart, have you heard of a brush?”

The grandkids really are at the aquarium right now. My plan was to get a jump on a few blog posts and maybe work on the other two projects I have going at the moment.

Instead, I took a nap.

It was a good nap, y’all.

I’ve been working on positive self talk for a few years now. I have gone from failing miserably to occasionally turning my negative self talk around.

The writing thing seems to be where my insecurity hangs out these days.

I read and admire other writers and think, you know, you can do this. Sure, perhaps you still have some practicing to do and you MUST start editing, but other than that, you don’t suck.

Then I read the bios of other bloggers and writers and see things like:

  • Wrote syndicated column read by every human on the planet. Printed copies are being sent up the next time someone, somewhere goes up to space so that other species might be entertained as well.
  • World traveler whose hobby includes learning foreign languages while cooking at the local homeless shelter. Also, wrote the definitive guide for loading carry on bags in the overhead bins.
  • English teacher who has been awarded ‘teacher of the year’ andhuman of the universe’ for three consecutive years.
  • Mommy blogger whose housekeeping tips have been featured in women’s magazines as well as projected into sleep study participant’s dreams.

How am I ever going to be a real writer? I don’t have that kind of experience. When I look back over the past 30 years, I see cleaning up a lot of puke, avoidance of housework, languishing in cubicles, and decades of living inside my own head.

I feel like I’m being foolish for trying. My life has been mundane, mostly. No exotic trips, except for that one where I went to the Cayman Islands and our hotel burned down. I am not sure that the Cayman Islands are considered exotic or not. When I was a kid, the thought of Kansas seemed exotic.

Then I lived there for a year. Nothing against Kansas, Kansas was fine, but lacking in the exotic department. There were a surprising number of really good Mexican restaurants, though.

I didn’t go to college, I’ve had no formal training and my writing income, for my entire life, could cover one of my current car payments and half the amount of my monthly electric bill.

I let my inner voice take me down these nasty alleyways and I wonder why I keep going.

Another voice has been chiming in. This voice is gaining strength and making that other shitty voice waver a little.

I kicked ass at Listen To Your Mother.

I had a post go viral on The Huffington Post.

I was published in two books and am pretty sure I will be accepted into third fairly soon.

I continually get positive support from people who read my blog. I’ve connected with groups of amazing bloggers who support each other and who want to see their friends grow.

I’d keep writing even if I never made another dime.

I keep going because writing is fun for me. I keep going because writing beats the shit out of always choosing to veg out in front of the TV. I keep going because every once in a while, I manage to write a line that makes me laugh out loud. Not often, but sometimes.

This weekend has been amazing. Our grandkids are growing up and are fascinating and adorable little noise makers.

Last night, my favorite son in law set up a projector and a screen in our backyard so that we could watch an episode of Doctor Who. I am attempting to convert them. I chose Blink. We’ll see if it worked or not. Perhaps I didn’t get a lot of writing done, but my time was well spent. Even the nap today.

Randy and I will be spending the evening at a venue in Newport, Kentucky to see Ray Wylie Hubbard perform. I’ve been wanting to catch one of his shows for years and am quite looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, when the house is quiet and no one is telling between one and three kids that they have to stop bouncing the balls in the house, I will curl back up in my little dark cave of a bedroom and write about something new. Or old. Who knows?

Either way, whether my experience is extensive or impressive or exotic doesn’t fucking matter, does it?

I still get to tell my stories and make myself laugh and write down words until the buzzing in my brain stops, or at least quiets a little.

That is my life as a blogger.

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75 comments

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  • Honey, if you’re foolish for trying, then I’m an absolute goddamn idiot. You should be very proud of your accomplishments. I’ve developed a little mantra for thimes when reading other bloggers’ bios makes me feel insignificant and helpless. It goes like this: “Fuck you.” You should try it.

  • I know we should celebrate and lift each other up as writers, but I’ve had the same kind of voice in my head telling me I’m boring and I’m a hack and I should knock it off. Then an idea hits and I tell myself I don’t care if another living soul ever looks at it, I must get it out.

    Someday, maybe there’ll be a point.

    I am glad you keep going. I enjoy reading what you have to say.

  • There are a lot of other writers on the internet, and I read you every day. I’ve read your stuff aloud to people and had them go “Wait, who is this? She’s awesome!” Maybe my tastes are a little… peculiar, but they include enough well loved and respected authors that I actually believe that I know good writing when I see it. I blame Mr. Miller, my lit teacher in high school.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about your potential audience, the one you have right now seems to love you quite a bit, and speaking as a musician, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Well, that and the money…

  • My blog writing income is $2.15 and I would also keep writing, even if I wasn’t rolling in the blog income AND even if not one person read my stuff. Much like you I envy those people who blog for a living. Who wouldn’t. I could actually not have to leave the house, not have to deal with people, and exist in yoga pants and a pony tail and still make money!!!!
    My life is a series of pity parties that my Facebook friends are sick of hearing about. I haven’t had anything go viral or get published. My posts aren’t grammatically correct and I don’t give a shit.
    You are a writer and I love your posts.
    In the words of the great Billy Crystal in “Throw Mama From the Train,”
    “The night was dry, yet it was raining.” Wait, wrong quote. “A writer writes, ALWAYS.”

  • You are doing better than me… I have 8000+ views to my 80+ posts on my blog. At first I was giddy till I realized that was not great. My fan circle consists of curious high school friends and the occasional straggler that stumbled across me on twitter or google +.
    Keep going… I enjoy your sarcasm and very real perspective.
    If it is any consolation to you my wardrobe this past holiday weekend consisted of a bathing suit and Pajamas.That is all.

  • Ah, I know those feelings! I always remind myself that Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her sixties when she began writing the books that made her so famous ….

  • As far as other bloggers go, you are you and they are them and it’s your story to tell not theirs.
    I’m very careful with my time as I don’t have time for all the blogs out there, I may read the odd one that strikes me but I choose to read all yours not theirs, so there’s that if that means a thing. You are real and funny but most of all relatable and that really does make a difference.

    FYI, Kansas is exotic when you live in England
    🙂

  • I have a voice that tells me “I’m not one of the cool kids.” I tell it to go screw itself. Nowadays I’m just too lazy to write, but, when I do, if I like it, that has to be enough, usually, because my fan base certainly isn’t huge (unless they overate for the holiday).
    I love your writing; keep it up. It’s definitely good enough.

  • I totally understand even though I’m not a blogger despite (theoretically) having a blog. Instead I write fiction and I’m self-published. The author bios don’t bug me so much because those things are frequently full of crap anyway, but where I get the raging insecurity is from other authors talking about how fast they write. In self-pubbing you hear all the time that if you don’t publish X number (usually something absurd like 10-15) novels a year, you might as well forget about ever making any money or even getting noticed at all. Ever. You. Lazy. Loser. I’m trying to ignore those voices and just keep writing at my own piddly loser pace. They’re our stories. If we don’t tell them who will? Yeah, writers write. But sometimes you need to live, too.

    And I have to confess that “Blink” is the Doctor Who episode that scared me so much that I haven’t been able to watch it twice and now statues of angels make me nervous. Nothing else on that show creeps me out as much as the Weeping Angels.

  • I read you precisely because of your experiences. I am impressed by people who write in a way that makes me feel like I am engaged in a conversation with them. A real conversation, not some pseudo-intellectual “I have 18 degrees and I’m going to use every word I’ve ever learned to convey my superior knowledge” conversation.

    I aspire to grow my blog, and I hope to have a post go viral someday. Mostly, though, I write because I have to. I think you do, too.

    • Thank you so much!

      And yes, I do need to write. I have no idea how I went so many years without it. I’m afraid I’ll run out of things to say one day.

  • Man, I needed to read this post and all of the comments. I have been a writer all of my life; a writer of essays and half-novels that never left the computer or notebook I wrote them in.
    It is really strange for me to say “Hey! You! I wrote this and I totally want you to you read it, even though I have no credibility and just started a blog because all of the words in my brain were making me crazy and I needed a place to barf them out.” Writing has always been intensely personal for me, and I’m learning that sharing what I write with the world makes me feel like I’m walking around naked in public.
    From someone who is very, very new to this and enjoys your blog, thanks for letting me know that even those of us who are way further down the road in this process (you) still have feelings of doubt about the whole thing.
    And how the hell do all of these people have big, beautiful, flashy blogs AND work full time? Figuring out how to make mine barely navigable has become the biggest time-suck of my life and it still looks like a 4th grader made it.

    • I am so lucky that my husband and another guy works on my blog and takes care of technical aspects…that helps A LOT.

      And thank you so much, I appreciate it. I am full of insecurities..but I keep going.

  • Ah, me too, all counts. I’m at that “I’ve run out of things to say” point myself, right now.

    I have decided that I like to write, and I will continue to write because it makes ME laugh, SO WHO CARES if no one else laughs. And it turns out, some other people do, too. Which is cool, but not actually crucial.

    And, I feel the same way about those ‘other writers’. I don’t actually qualify myself as a ‘writer’. I haven’t won any awards, I don’t get 10 thousand comments per post, I don’t expect to be published any time in this century, and I’m fine with all that.

    As you know, I am always toying with the idea of writing an anonymous (to my friends) blog, so I can REALLY say what I want, uncensored, but I haven’t gotten there yet. With my luck, THAT will be the blog that makes me immensely famous, and then guess what? Everyone I know will be all- “how’d you get famous again?”, and then they’d read it and hate me, so I’d be rich and famous and hated. Like the camping trip we just took with family. OMG that could give me material forEVer, but…they all read my blog…

    Until I go anonymous, I *may* be out of interesting things to say.

    gah

    I love YOUR writing, whenever and however you write, so you have my vote anytime. 🙂

  • If it makes you feel better, I’ve compared my writing to you because you are hilarious and thoughtful at the same time. You write the kind of sentences I only say to my husband but for some reason that’s not my writing voice. Maybe I should tape conversations with my husband? 😉 Thankfully comparison lasts a nanosecond. . .or at least until I’ve eaten the appropriate amount of ice cream to console myself. And you are so right. . .we writers have that buzzing in our brains that can’t be stopped. Eventually we get over ourselves and just let it spill out.

    • Thank you, sweetness. And the comparisons suck…and maybe you SHOULD tape your conversations. I think some of my best posts come from conversations.

  • Does it help if I say that I have been a university lecturer and a publisher and I only have 5 followers? And without my Facebook friends what I write would disappear into the void of cyberspace unheard?

  • I keep writing because I love it. I sometimes (okay often… okay, constantly) feel like no one’s reading, and I have a “why bother?” moment nearly every day — but then I remember how much I love telling the stories, and how that nagging narrator in my head won’t shut up until I write it down, and then I remember why I bother.

  • You want to know why your readers love you? Because we relate to you on every level. You write about life and all its vagaries, and we know, because we’ve been there at one time or another. Keep at it, girl. You’re doing something write. 🙂

  • I’m impressed that you’ve made enough to cover more than a car payment. I have an eBook on Amazon that hasn’t sold one copy since March. I wish I were kidding. My collective writing income couldn’t pay to feed my family for more than two months. Just about every day I wonder what I’m doing, who I’m kidding, and why I don’t just go back to working in some damn cubicle so my husband doesn’t have to carry us financially while I’m trying to get this freelance thing going. Some days are good, I’ll get a project, but most days, I look at successful writers and read their advice about “how to be as amazing as I am in 60 days, but it only took me 45 minutes because I’m fabulous” and I really do think I suck at life. Still, there is something that won’t let me quit.
    I really love your blog. You’re funny, genuine and refreshing. I’m actually relieved to know that you sometimes feel the same way I do, even though I wouldn’t have guessed that had you not written about it.

    • Is your book the Dear Grace book?

      And thank you. Holy hell, I feel that way all the time. I have struggled with impostor syndrome for most of my life and I am finding that instead of hiding that..talking about it helps.

  • For most of my adult life my friends have been saying, you should write…you’re funny, I love your stories blah, blah…and really, the only thing they’ve read are thank you notes Or emails I’ve written to them. I want to write, my brain is full, my fingers twitch above the keyboard but, like so many others, I’m afraid for all the wrong reasons. So, here’s to just going for it and trying and doing and being ok and amazed at anything that ends up on the page! Thank you for your continued inspiration and honesty in your authentic blog .and thank you to all the folks who commented on today’s post. Here’s to no more fear. This is for me…opportunities abound!

  • My lifetime-to-date writing income would pay my rent for four months. But this place is a real dump.

    The fact is, you are a good writer and you enjoy writing because of that. If you were a crappy writer, it would not be fun, nobody would read it, you would never get good feedback, and you would move along to something less painful.

    But you rock at writing – so you keep on writing. And I am so glad you do.

  • ‘Writing’ is but my fifth incarnation. I haven’t made a dime and I don’t care because I made all my $ in my 3rd incarnation, which was necessary after the 2nd incarnation became about setting bail for a small mistake in number 1. Life’s a journey. I’m just glad I found a kindred spirit in you. Bravo on the Pulitzer.

  • I needed this today! All my blog friends (yourself included) are like, super accomplished and I can’t even get responses when I actually endeavor to submit posts. I’ve kinda given up lately. I’m like “I’m an accomplished human in other areas” but I want to fucking write! And so, write I will, even if it’s with an imaginary Pulitzer while wearing the same pants all weekend.
    (Except of course your Pulitzer is real, so congrats 😉 )

  • I write mundane things, like my daily activities. I wanted to be a writer in my young years. I no longer care. No one much reads but now this blog of mine is just a record for me for my children to know what I do every day. I wish I knew what my Mom did with her days,

    I try not to use profane language.

    You are entertaining.

  • I think we share the same little voice. Please tell it to shut up. I can’t seem to get it to listen. I keep a journal. Last year it was 360 pages long. I tell myself that if I took the same amount of time to write a book, I’d be done by the end of the year. But then I would have to give up journaling, wouldn’t I? And it’s so much easier to sit in front of the TV cuddling the dogs.

    Sigh. Blink is my favorite episode. An ordinary person confronted with extra-ordinary creatures and figuring it all out. Not sure who is scarier, the weeping angels or the silence.

    • Blink is my favorite…although, I love the first episode with Clara Oswald where she turned into a Dalek and the episode where Amy and Rory are reunited.

  • You’d keep writing even if you never made another dime. With that you can call yourself a real writer. Yes, you want fame and acclaim and maybe just publication, but you want those things on your terms, you want them for what only you can do, and you’ll keep doing it whether you get those things or not. I hope to see you at the Pulitzer post-party.

    And Blink is awesome, but I’ve always thought that if you want to convert someone give them The Girl In The Fireplace. If they can’t get into time travel, historical figures, clockwork robots, always take a banana to a party, and an incredibly creepy plot twist then there is no hope.

  • Yep. You pretty much nailed it. I love your writing and am so glad you keep doing it. Keep listening to that stronger, wiser voice. And tell that other one I said to fuck off because you are a gift to the writing world.

  • You’re definitely a real writer! And you did kick ass at the show, and with your viral post, and you kick ass pretty often in general. I’m glad you’ll keep writing no matter what.

    I wonder sometimes at the motivation of all these other people. The ones whose houses are always clean and they have a littler of children and and and. But I”m not even motivated enough to bother much about it, how’s that grab you? 😉

    My writing income so far doesn’t even cover this pair of earrings I got at the Salvation Army. Close.

  • If you don’t continue to write HOW Elsa am I gona get my real,
    down to earth, funny fix !!!!! Don’t let me down I depend on you

  • You write, therefore you are a writer. Everything else is detail which doesn’t change that fact. And you have excellent taste in Dr. Who episodes!

  • I think we all go through this on and off throughout the blogging “odyssey” and it’s always good when someone puts it out there so we can commiserate. This shit ain’t easy, for sure, but Michelle, you are seriously killing it. You’re an amazing writer and you never fail to make me laugh. LTYM, anthologies and a viral HuffPo piece in one year? BOOM! You’re absolutely killing it, sista! And look at all the comments! You have a well-deserved readership. Keep on keepin’ on. Thanks for the excellent reads on a regular basis and thanks for this fine commiseration. xo

  • You are a fucking fantastic writer. And – BONUS! – you show up and do your writing thing.
    I do well when I overcome the depression/anxiety* enough to sit down at the keyboard.
    I am seriously excited for you because you (and the Bloggess and Chookooloonks and SO MANY others) write and reach out and talk about how you don’t have let your mental BS snatch away your words.

    And that is goddamn wonderful. And gives me such hope.

    —-
    * – tenderly referred to as That Treacherous Cunt, Anxiety Brain

  • I frequently feel the same thing when I see other bloggers with CVs a mile long. Why isn’t that MEEEEEEEE???? But then that quote that bloggers love to share pops into my mind, about not comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. I’m doing okay. I’ve had one post go viral-ish, and it’s what got me on The Huffington Post. That was just six months into blogging. Not a bad start. One day I’ll publish a book. That day just isn’t here yet. That’s okay.

By Michelle

Michelle

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