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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

  1. Just a basic mom?

    November 21, 2009 by Wendy

    A huge reason for my tardiness to the blogging party has been trying to figure out my niche. During my extensive and ongoing research into the blogosphere (rarely does the OCD in me allow me to do anything without extensive and ongoing research), I found that there are more than 112 million blogs out there, with approximately 50,000 created per day. Per day! Of course, some of those are spam blogs, and with the Internet being worldwide of course, many are not English-language blogs. Still, with numbers like those, it was easy to wonder if my contribution to the blogosphere would matter, or even be visible. What could I write about that people would want to read and respond to that isn’t already being written about at this very moment by thousands of other people? Would anyone be interested and/or entertained by what I have to say? Would I have readers who want to come back regularly to see what I’ve posted? (Besides my  mom, I mean.) What could I write about with some level of authority and passion to keep those readers coming back?

    In the end, all of my answers always pointed to what I am and what I know right now, and that is being a mom. At first, I kept trying to resist falling into the “mommyblog” niche, even though all of my research kept underscoring the fact that these blogs increasingly are a force to be reckoned with. It’s not that I don’t love and respect the genre—I so do!—it was just that I questioned whether there was room for me, too. And as I’ve said before, I don’t like the term “mommyblog.” I’ve never been one of those moms who proclaim their motherhood status with a personalized license plate, an email address or a “mommy”-BeDazzled T-shirt. It’s not that I don’t LOVE being a mom; I do with my entire soul, it’s just that it’s not my whole identity. (Well, right now, it’s about 98 percent of my identity, but it’s not 100!) So I’ve compromised and called it a “mom blog,” and will most definitely focus on my family and my role in it, but I’ll also write about, well, whatever.

    One of my inspirations to take the blogging plunge has been my friend Sonya, who recently started her own blog, The Hemmings Half-Dozen. Sonya and I have been friends since college, where we both majored in journalism, were suitemates and we co-edited the Features section of the college newspaper. From that time on, our professional lives have always been somewhat parallel. After graduation, we wound up working at the same magazine and later went on to co-author a book. Whatever we did, we always seemed to have a “co-” in front of our titles. (Of course, our relationship is more personal than professional—after all, both of us were maids of honor in each other’s weddings, and we have more than enough in common with the seven children we have between us.) We had discussed blogging a couple years ago, but she’s the one who actually took the plunge first and then encouraged me to do the same once she knew how serious I was about it. “But you have so many niches to write about,” I’d say. She homeschools her kids, does everything from calligraphy to quilting (I have always called her Holly Hobbie), plus her family has various food allergies to contend with, which has sparked her passion for real-food cooking and urban farming. See? Niches galore. My kids don’t have food allergies (thank goodness), I don’t like crafts (my sewing kit is one I got in a hotel room with the little shampoos and hand lotions), and although I do cook healthfully all the time, my kids do eat their share of fruit snacks (organic, though) and Eggo waffles (whole grain only, with high-fructose-corn-syrup-free syrup, though). “I’m just a basic mom,” I’d say to her. “I have no niches!”

    But then I realized, so what? This “basic mom” still has a lot to say that I hope resonates with other moms, or whoever comes across my blog. And after a glance at some recent blogging statistics from Technorati, I fit right in. Consider:

    • Two-thirds are male (well, clearly I’m in the minority there)
    • 60% are 18-44 (check)
    • The majority are more affluent and educated than the general population (check, at least I’d like to think so)
    ◦ 75% have college degrees (check)
    ◦ 40% have graduate degrees (check, meaning I’m in the majority here)
    • More than half are married (check)
    • More than half are parents (check)
    • Half are employed full time, however ¾ of professional bloggers are employed full time (check; considering that motherhood is a full-time job, whether you stay at home or not)

    So I’m going to embrace my status as a basic mom, and join all those awesome moms out there who are showing the world there’s more to motherhood than just being a mom. I think we’ve already moved way past the cliche of moms who eat bon-bons and watch soap operas all day (first of all, I don’t even know what a bon-bon is, and second, I haven’t known anyone who watches soap operas since high school, except for my sister Cheryl), and I want to keep on helping to dispel all those cliches.

    So, yes, I am now officially a mom blogger and there’s nothing basic about that.

  2. Tiptoeing into the blogosphere…one toe at a time

    November 19, 2009 by Wendy

    For about three years now, I’ve been talking about starting a blog. And with resolution time right around the corner, what better time to stop talking and actually start doing? And yet, I feel soooooo lame, especially when I see all the cool mom blogs out there that began years ago. (Note that  I said “mom” blogs, not “mommyblogs,” but more on that later.) I totally feel like I’m the geeky freshman trying to find my place among all the “cool girls” who swear and drink and stuff. I might as well go back to feathering my hair and begging my parents to buy me some Jordache jeans and Nike shoes.  I’m going to throw another blog out there when you’ve got the prom queen Heather Armstrong ruling the school with her iconic blog Dooce? (Say what you want about her, but she is the prom queen.) And I’m going to blog about my life with the likes of the other popular girls, like Finslippy, The Pioneer Woman and Secret Agent Josephine, who seem to effortlessly put wit and hilarity into their every word?

    Well, yes, actually, I am, all the while flogging myself for not having done it sooner. So why the hesitation? Well, here’s the thing: I haven’t kept a diary since 6th grade for fear of someone finding it and reading it, I don’t Tweet, and I vow to be the absolute last person to join Facebook. It’s not that I’m not technologically hip—I can’t live without my iPhone, and I can tinker with html code if I have to. I’ve just been reluctant to put mine and my family’s lives out there in cyberspace for all to read for eternity. And yet, I now have a blog. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But here’s why I’ve decided to take that giant scary leap into the blogosphere:

    1. I am a writer, and this is the way the writing world has gone. Everyone has a blog, writer or not. Soon, it will be a normal question, like “What’s your email address?” but it will be “What’s your blog URL?” I don’t want to be like  that old-school writer who still uses a fax machine to send in their stories. So this is kind of like my portfolio.
    2. As much as I’ve tried, I’ve never gotten good at the whole scrapbooking thing. I have made many attempts, and I have more supplies than Jo-Ann, all organized in neat little drawers with labels. Yet, I have more empty pages than full, and I’m up to around age 2 for my twins—who are now 11. And my 4-year-old, well, I sort of cheated and bought one of those pre-done ones from Hallmark. But hey, at least her first year has been recorded. So in lieu of filling in all those blanks in the baby books and “journaling” in cute little handwriting, I’ve decided to document our days with a blog. I just wonder though, can it be accessed in 10, 20 years? Will the Internet get all filled up and then all this gets deleted? I still print photos and put them into albums for each of my daughters, so we’ll still have that at least. Unless our house catches on fire. Anyway…
    3. For the past several years, I’ve been writing an annual newsletter I send out with our holiday cards, and essentially, it’s been like a mini-blog of our year. I send it out to some 125 family members and friends, and I’ve always received positive feedback on it. As hard as I try to not make it one of those annoying brag letters, (yes, we are that family, happy beach photo and all), I’m sure there are some who roll their eyes and toss it in the trash. But I have been told by more than a few people that I’d better never stop writing those newsletters. So you eye-rollers out there can thank them for partly inspiring me to expand my holiday letter into this blog.
    4. When I was a kid, I used to read Erma Bombeck’s syndicated column in the newspaper and think, “That would be so fun to write the funny stuff that happens in your family and get paid for it!” Well, as I got older, my Erma Bombeck fantasy morphed into a Carrie Bradshaw fantasy. She always made it look like the best job ever sitting on her bed with her laptop, writing about whatever went on that night. Of course, she wore Manolos while doing it, but I think I can pull it off with my Target flip-flops. (I would never actually wear flip-flops in my bed, germophobe that I am, but I’m just sayin’.)
    5. After reading about six books on blogging, I’ve come to realize, this is my medium. I can write what I want, when I want, and how much I want, and do it all in a conversational tone, like I’m talking to my sisters or my friends. This will give all of them a break in listening to me go on and on about the latest “Mama Drama” episode, or the kids’ homework, or something I saw on Oprah that infuriated me, or whatever. It’s a win-win for everyone! Plus, I’m the type of person that when an idea comes to me, I have to drop everything and run to the computer and it flows out faster than my fingers can keep up. Many a dinner has been burned this way.

    And those are my reasons. Oh, and about the “mommyblog” thing? Let’s just call it a “mom blog,” because “mommyblog” really bugs me. Please read my About Us for more on that. In fact, please read  About Us anyway so you can know who’s really behind those dorky dolls. As I get braver, I will post real pictures of us eventually, but for now, we are those dolls. Kind of. Except my daughters are not blond. And we don’t all look like we have big diapers in our crotches.

    OK, so here I go. As soon as I push “Publish,” poof, there goes our life, out into the world to read. Deeeeeeep breath. Wish me luck…

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