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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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The State of the Blog 

I had an interesting chat yesterday about blogging and the state of my blogging and how “blogging” is weird to say more than twice, blogging blobbing blugging blarging. And afterwards I thought, hey Self, why not share where I am with my readers? Why not? Have I learned NOTHING from “Show Your Work”? Should I not Share My Process? What Would Austin Kleon Do?  

I’m at an interesting crossroads right now, and the good news is there are several ways I could go, but I think I may have a touch of the ADD because all the options are overwhelming me and as a result I take many naps. 

Let’s back up. First of all, I’m not closing up the blog, or anything dramatic. I know you’re breathing a sigh of relief and/or weeping. There, there. I wouldn’t do that to you, baby. I want you to know that, sure, things have been weird, and I’ve been distant, but it wasn’t you, it was me. All me. 

I hadn’t been posting as much in the past few months because in addition to teaching and novel-writing I was spending my work hours at a corporate gig. Said corporate gig wasn’t even a writing job, so it felt wonderfully removed from the rest of my work, and pure, somehow, like I was keeping my writing energy sacred or something. Feel free to roll your eyes at that. I know I just did. 

It was easy to depend on the corporate work to continue while I pursued my Art and taught about Art and etc., but then. Then! The work slowed down, then disappeared. It wasn’t personal. The company is in transition, they’re reorganizing, I don’t know. It happens. 

Now I’m scrambling and trying not to scramble because nothing will bring you work less successfully than desperate scrambling. Sending pitches to editors that are in all caps. Using too many exclamation points (or any) in your professional correspondence. Instead I’m taking a step back and seeing where I went wrong and what I want to do in the future. 

The big mistake I made was to put all my income-generating eggs in one big corporate basket. (I’m not counting the writing course, which is more like a fun lil’ egg in a side pouch. Imagine that I’m a marsupial holding a basket. Except marsupials don’t lay eggs, so okay, imagine that my writing course is a joey. Aw. Ew.)  Over the last few months, my big corporate basket tipped over and smashed my eggs. And did it so slowly I didn’t even notice it was happening until I had a dried yolky mess all over the ground. 

Okay, so: first mistake, one big basket. My second mistake was that I put all my work hours toward work that didn’t really speak to my talents. My corporate assignments could be completed by any reasonably smart person; they didn’t need my specific strengths. I was (gasp!) expendable. 

Which got me thinking, okay, where can I be invaluable? (Or more valuable?) And that led me back to this blog. This is a valuable platform for me. It gets me work. Also, and more importantly, I enjoy it. It’s what I do. It’s important to do what you love, if you have that luxury. I know many people don’t, and I certainly don’t always, but I do here. So: I am recommitting to the blog for selfish reasons, but I hope you don’t mind that. (Wait, does anyone blog for selfless reasons?) 

You will probably see sponsored posts. I don’t have a big master plan about this; it’s just a heads-up that I’m thinking about it. I am not, however, seeking out sponsored posts as a major source of income, so I’m free to be incredibly choosy. I won’t write content that doesn’t make me happy and wouldn’t benefit you in some way. That is my pledge unto you. I can count on two (maybe three) fingers the times I’ve featured sponsored stuff I wasn’t happy with, and those moments made me feel extra-super gross. That isn’t something I want to do ever again. 

Also, I’m thinking about ways to use this site to advertise my services. The other (paying) work I enjoy is magazine writing and copywriting, and I’m trying to find a place for that on this site. I want to hang my shingle, so to speak, more prominently. (Ugh, also, I’m crappy at promoting myself. I get all apologetic and twitchy. It’s time to quit that.) 

Thirdly, I’m going to offer more courses, and maybe even a writing guide e-book. That’s going to be later on, somewhere in the distant future, when we’re all wearing mylar rompers. Or in the near future, when we’re wearing our micro-floral rompers. 

(I also pledge never to wear a romper.) 

Oh my god, what was my point. I think I wanted your advice? Wait, it’s coming back to me! I’d love to know of any bloggers whose sites successfully straddle the personal and professional: like, there’s a “hire me as a copywriter” section or "Take my class" or “I’m a successful journalist” part along with “here is my personal blog where I talk about how I smell weird.” Or: do you do it? How do you promote yourself? How do you balance professional writing with personal writing? Can we get coffee sometime? Or just hold hands for a while? 

A blogger I respect said recently that you should never end a post with a question, so I’ll end this with: I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to have a marsupial pouch. Weird, right? Oh, wait, that’s a question. 


Reader Comments (35)

I don't know from blogging or self-blog promotion, but I am all for more posts. I would hate to see you go away because I have a huge crush on your cat. I would miss her. As long as you don't beat me about the head and face with sponsored posts, I am willing to play along, if it means additional posting. I think you are a terrific writer and a very funny person. I'm not just saying that to get to your cat either.

On another note, I would like a marsupial pouch so I wouldn't have to carry a purse anymore. I could carry my chapstick, phone and some mints in my pouch, and add a snack and a bottle of water when I am on my way to the movies. Win!

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMissusB

That is one hairy pouch.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I like you. I think you're funny. I like to read your writing. I probably will not take any classes with you but would still like to read about what you're doing. Oh wow. I won't take classes because I don't write, not because you're a bad teacher. Not that I would know-maybe you are. I'm sure you aren't!!! This always happens.
I live in Queens and would love to get coffee with you but Brooklyn scares me. Also, handholding would be very easy if we had pouches- free hands.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessicaJ

Oh, but JessicaJ, why does Brooklyn scare you? We're so nice over here! Okay, some of us are. MOST of us.

I promise never to beat you, MissusB.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteralice

I am really curious to hear your process on this and see where it leads. I've never figured out how to marry my "day job" (psch prof) with my blog. My blog is now a bigger source of income but it feels very separate from my other work, and as the kids are getting older (and I'm burning out on the daily slog) I'd love to transition a bit.

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

I am such a fan of your writing and storytelling abilities. (Also, your painting, but we are talking about words here. Back on topic.)

Some of the folks who I see doing an awesome, not-ever-smarmy-salesman job with mixing their blogs and other offerings: Karen Walrond, Andrea Scher, and Susannah Conway. They are not all pursuing their business end in the same way, but all are very organic and seamless in their presentation.

Disclosure: I've taken online courses from each of them, and have also met and hugged each of them in person, separate from the courses. That feels very lucky and blessed. If I met you, I'd probably want to hug you, too. But not in a creepy way.

Your intent is so clear here. I've been reading you forever, I think - your heart in your words strikes the chord of truth, whatever the topic. I'm glad whenever you share them here. Best of luck with shaping the new look/feel.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJet Harrington

Jet mentioned the person I wanted to point out, Karen Walrond, who you might know is in the midst of creating a new guidance session. She pulls off the blog as part of a larger brand well.

Also, I would love to take a writing workshop if you were the teacher! I like the idea of the writer sidebar, and I'd be happy to pay for sidebar space here if I ever had a site I wanted to promote. Thanks for sharing your thoughts; I can relate to this line of questioning. If it's true that all humans everywhere are the same, this must be the season of online writing change.

Also also, my husband used to joke back when we had babies that he wished there were giant humans who could carry him around in a Baby Bjorn. Giant marsupials would be cool too, but messier, yes.

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

Jet and Justine: You are very right. Karen is not only amazing at this stuff, she is also my role model/personal guru. I'm damn lucky she's willing to talk to me.

May 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterAlice

One blog which I think straddles the personal and professional in the way you’re describing is Project Happily Ever After by Alisa Bowman. Alisa is a freelance writer but also writes about personal things on the blog. I bet she’d be happy to compare notes (I know her in real life).

May 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPseudonym

I am an academic with an interest in doing more creative writing on the side. I'm also lazy in committing to something, but am almost always on the verge of signing up for one of your writing classes. I imagine if you increase the offerings, I will happen upon them at the right time and finally take the plunge. And many others like me. Often I suffer from fear and issues with perfectionism and then I get nothing done for way too long. I'd like to break the guilt/shame cycle with someone outside of academia who is smart, interesting and relate-able, without feeling like I'm hiring a life coach, because that isn't my jam even if it would likely be helpful. To sum up, I think you should ramp up the advertising and course offerings!

May 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

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