Tag Archives: blogging

I Stink At Blogging

It’s June 22, and I just realized that my last blog post was two months ago. Unless you’re a famous author like George R.R. Martin and know that you can blog whenever you feel like it, and hundreds or thousands of people will still read you, blogging is supposed to be more of a regular thing, something you maintain, like toned triceps or abs. My husband is good at this, this blogging thing, as is his colleague, Chuck Wendig, who seems to fire-breathe copy while I sit on my front porch, laptop open, shitting kittens over every word, fussing with phrasing, trying to recall everything Jim Shepard said when I was at Sirenland this past March. And maybe Chuck shits kittens over every word, too. He’s just more of a pro about it.

So the blog gathered dust (it’s also undergoing a redesign because I’m tired of all this blue). Meanwhile, I was traveling, writing, and getting published, so no complaints here. I had my first piece for AFAR, about camping in New York City. Then, there was an essay I wrote about a waiter I met in Havana last month. That same week, my first article for The Week was published, so I felt a bit splattered across the Internet in a short amount of time. Is this how Chuck Wendig and George R.R. Martin feel when their stories go viral (certainly more viral than I ever will), and when people they don’t know comment on what they wrote? It’s a cool, weird experience that I am still getting used to.

And while I haven’t been blogging, I have been reading—a lot. I finished Naomi J. Williams’ brilliant “Landfalls”, which I scored as a free gift for attending the annual One Story Debutante Ball. I didn’t know anything about Ms. Williams or the book; I literally picked it up at a table because I liked the cover—18th-century ships being bullied by moody green waves—and I love me a good journey story. I brought the book to Cuba with me last month, and had to keep putting it down because it was so good. Now I’m reading Louise Erdrich’s “LaRose,” which is equally gripping. In between, I tried reading Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s blockbuster novel “The Nest,” and got 104 pages in before I decided I can’t take reading about affluent white New Yorkers anymore and the shit storms they create for themselves. Same thing happened this past winter with Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s “The Ramblers,” though there, I only lasted 40 pages. Rowley’s blog is titled “Ivy League Insecurities.” I started wondering if I should have such an emotionally-charged, socioeconomically-loaded blog title, but only came up with “State School Struggles” before recalling that I had learned—after graduating from state school—that alliteration is for amateurs, and, really, just plain uncool.

I’ll try to blog more often for those dedicated 2.5 readers out there, but in the next few weeks, I have something I’m working on for The Scofield, a mega-thinky platform led by the intrepid Tyler Malone (thanks, Tyler!) and a few assignments about Cuba I gotta focus on, and writing about Cuba always makes me happy. I can’t explain it. I’m a blonde suburban mom who grew up in the Snow Belt, who studied French instead of Spanish, and I’m as gringa as they come. But Cuba feels right. Maybe I’ll blog about that someday.

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10

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of my blog. The first thing I ever wrote was about the tiny bathroom in our tiny apartment in an old building located in an obnoxious strip mall of a town hugging the Hudson River. I hated the place but was distracted by motherhood and paying the rent. I had a toddler in diapers and a boss who was incredibly mean at a job I despised. I created this blog because he was so verbally abusive, constantly telling me I couldn’t write for crap. This blog was my middle finger to him, and, here we are a decade later, with people hiring me after reading my blog and deciding I could indeed effectively string sentences.

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That editor, who developed a reputation for berating young women at work, was eventually fired, and I went on to work for other abusive or screwed up people who occupied that tier of middle management in New York City. Three years ago, I quit that scene, but I still blog for no other reason than to just write something that is not to spec, without a word count, maybe even lacking focus. My own little online soapbox that occasionally gets some attention. Who knew?

Many blogs are outlets for navel-gazing. I’ve never been all that interested in exploring myself or my feelings; I much prefer looking outward and jotting observations. That eventually translated into some travel writing assignments, and lately I’ve been building up that part of the portfolio. This month, I have a piece in the November issue of National Geographic Traveler and my fourth piece for the Los Angeles Times travel section appears this weekend. Last month, I had a highly trafficked piece in Guernica, an idea that just landed in my lap while on vacation in San Francisco. Recently, editors have been saying nice things about my writing, which as any writer will tell you, never gets old. So things are good.

To celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary, Mike and I went to Daniel. To celebrate my 10-year blogging anniversary tomorrow, I’ll be cleaning a chicken coop and vacuuming our living room even though blogging can be as much as fun as marriage and any excuse to have cake and champagne is a good excuse. Over the course of this blog, I changed jobs a number of times, but I’m still married to the same guy, we have a healthy, happy sixth grader, we dragged her to nine countries and several states, and to paraphrase Dani Shapiro, I’m still writing—and getting paid for it! We’re all still here, still chugging along, still doing our thing minus one loud, miserable editor, and come to think of it, that’s worth cake and champagne after all.