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Month: April 2008

Mommyblogging for passion or products?

Mommyblogging for passion or products?

I want you to want me. I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me. I’m beggin’ you to beg me.

– Cheap Trick

Now, I know you have seen the chatter on blogs, in blog comments, in newspapers, on Twitter and probably- if we ask NASA- even some chatter on Mars about it. Mommybloggers are the flavor of the day and PR people are all over it. Johnson & Johnsons’s Camp Baby? Sony’s Mom Blogger event? Disney’s MomBlogger Mixer? Ring a bell? What bothers me the most about all of this is the way some people have stooped to levels of name calling and shunning of the bloggers who are invited to these events or outcry that they were not included. Seriously? Is this where we are? Is this where we have come?

It seems like a lifetime ago, but in fact it was only three short years ago that Jenny, Meghan and I sat in a crowded room at the very first Mommyblogger BlogHer session. You know the one that held with it the assumption that it would be non-eventful and wouldn’t have much carry away? The one that launched a session every year following as well as an entire mommyblogging track this year? Yeah. That session where I actually heard the phrase “What do they have to offer?” (Meaning Mommybloggers as a whole. As a blogging genre.) Oh, how things have changed. In that session we discussed the term “mommyblogger” and whether to claim it as our own or shun it as offensive and dismissive. We talked about the recently written article that basically called mommybloggers/parent bloggers navel-gazing narcissists. We were about as low on the totem poll as bloggers came. It was the first time I heard the phrase “She’s a good writer…for a mommyblogger.

Now look at us.

But don’t look too closely because it is not always pretty. Some mombloggers were hurt that they were not invited to some of these events. Some were rude about the moms who were invited. Some cried out that we need to claim our brand and own what we have created and not be so willing to be “bought” by a trip. Others were just happy to be able to dump the kids for a few days and hang out with friends and make new ones. It was “educational” to sit back and watch it all unfold. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I was invited to the J&J Camp Baby but in the end had to pass on it since it fell on my daughter’s seventh birthday. At this age, she still needs and wants her mom home with her on her birthday.) But these events did raise quite a few questions. The main one being: has blogging–specifically mommyblogging– changed since the advertisers and the PR people have become so involved?

Two of my favorite takes on this came from comments on Lindsay’s post The State of the Mommyblog.

Jen Lancaster commented:

However, there are plenty of sites I stopped visiting because it’s obvious the blogger is posting due to the desire to continue the steady flow of traffic and revenue, and not because she (or he) created something she’s inspired to share.

Building a community – the whole reason blogs exploded – seems less and less important and quantity is starting to trump quality. Many people blog because they want to write professionally, but the danger is if they don’t bring their A-game to every post, they diminish their chances. (Agents DO read blogs to find new talent, and they aren’t going to tap someone who’s just calling it in.)…

…I guess my point is it’s OK to reap the benefits that come from having a blog – just be careful not to lose your audience, your sense of community, and your credibility over a free keychain and a sub-par case of apple juice.

Have I phoned it in more than once because of network requirements? Hell yes I have. Does my agent want to kick me in the shins for it? Probably. But Jen brings up a good point. Has it become less about building a community and more about being seen? Having the most traffic and quantity of posts? I don’t know. I am asking you.

The other comment that kicked me in the gut was this one by Busy Mom:

I’m not sure it’s the advertisers that are the cause of any shift out there. They are just doing a variation of what they’ve always done, and there are many I enjoy working with.

The shift is how people (bloggers)respond to and them and behave.

That is where I see the most change. And after 5+ years blogging, I have seen the changes. Many changes. It comes in waves. From what I have seen, it isn’t what is being offered that is changing the way some bloggers are blogging. It is how some bloggers are changing they way they are blogging because of what is being offered.

Are you still blogging for the same reasons you first started? Are you enjoying it as much as you once did or are you trying to just “get that damn post up because it has been so long and I have to write something”? Do you feel a part of a community or an ad agency? Are you writing to write or blogging for dollars?

Don’t get me wrong. You see on the left I have ads. I was one of the first blogs in the BlogHer Ad Network when it launched. It was personal and I had faith in what they were doing. And, yes, I have met and worked with some incredible and very professional PR people. People I absolutely adore and think of as friends now. I have received some amazing products for review and am honored that I have. Does that make me a sell-out?

No. Because my opinion cannot be bought. If I hate your product, I am going to email you and tell you. I will not write a positive review for a crappy product. I won’t accept a product that I have no desire or use for. And no matter how nice you are or how much you want to woo me, you cannot buy my opinion. And that, my friends, is how I came to be friends with some of these PR people. They know that. If I accept something, the are going to get the truth. AND I would only accept it if I sincerely wanted to find out more about it.

I was recently extended an offer to take an amazing trip. A trip of a lifetime. I mean, I would be insane to pass it up. Yet, I had to go back and tell this extremely generous woman that I just could not accept the incredible life-changing aspect of it because the terms of it wouldn’t be beneficial for my entire family. Was that painful to pass up something so awesome. Hell yes! I am not stupid! Would it be worth it if it upset members of my family? No.

I guess for me it all boils down to this: If you blog because you love the community and love writing and have a passion for it, do not be swayed by the things tossed your way. OR hurt when they are not. Keep on writing. If you are blogging because you want to be one of the bloggers who is sent on these trips, gets these products and is top tier meat for the PR firms, by all means, go for it. There is nothing wrong with that if you that is what you want. But whatever you do, follow your passion.

What I am trying to say is, if you are not one of the bloggers being courted, do not let it kill your passion for writing. Write because you want to write. Blog because you love to blog. Because you love the community. Because you cannot imagine not writing. Money or no money. Products or no products. Trips or no trips. Blog for the reasons YOU want to blog. Not for anyone or anything else.

Want to know the best thing I ever received from my blogging?

My agent.

Want to know how we found each other?

I was following my passion and bringing my A-game.

(Something I have been guilty of not doing as much lately. I know. Many apologies to those who miss it and thanks to those who have hung in there with me over these bumpy times.)

Are you blogging for passion or profit? Do you know? Because ultimately, you decide. No one else. You. It is your blog. Your name. And your reasons. Why do you do it?

I’m just asking.

When the paper clip mocks you it is time for a break

When the paper clip mocks you it is time for a break

I have been working furiously trying to get my book finished (to a point) to get to my ever patient and wonderful agent whom I worship and adore. (Yes, I am a good ass-kisser. Why?) I have been writing. And then writing. And then hitting a wall.

Want to know what is worse than writer’s block? Being mocked by that freaking paper clip in Word. I really hate it. I mean, I want to take it and untwist it and make it into obscene sculptures to send to unsuspecting successful authors who have made it through this already.

But tonight, when it mocked me? That was it. Mocked. Me.

See?

I need to get out and talk to more people. When the paper clip mocks me, it is time for a break. But the book? So much good to say about it. So much happening. But first? I have a paper clip sculpture to make!

Read More Read More

I fixed the blog and now it adds “image” to the title? Huh?

I fixed the blog and now it adds “image” to the title? Huh?

Anyone know why it does this? I mean really! I work on those witty (hey, at midnight they are witty) titles. I don’t want it to start with “-image-”

Ideas?

My blog hates me. I am SO sleeping with one eye open tonight to ensure it doesn’t kill me in my sleep.

[UPDATE] Okay, now I know what the problem is but I cannot fix it. I am about to just change to a default theme and make my sweet designer cry over her hard work. Because? Between me and this blog? IT IS ON! (Like Donkey Kong….only meaner. And with less bananas.)

Going to bed. Sorry about the annoying titles. Just pretend to see a pretty image until I can fix it. Grrrrrr

[UPDATED UPDATE] My webgoddess designer Karen at Swank fixed it. No blog ass kicking today. Yet.

Things I learned on Twitter about topics one should blog about

Things I learned on Twitter about topics one should blog about

What to do with a Saturday night when you are bored, kind of down and have nothing to do but things you need to do but don’t feel like doing? Why you Twitter of course.

This is what I have learned tonight.

  1. Do not say you hate “Absolutely Mindy” or people will be angry. Do I have a clue who “Absolutely Mindy” is? Nope. But I should treat her with respect.
  2. If you say bad things about her you get “torn a new anal opening” in your comments. (Assvice courtesy of BusyMom)
  3. When in doubt, blog about Zac Efron and how dreamy he is. Pictures help. But my blog is on strike when it comes to pictures, so I can’t give you a picture of Zac Efron. Though my daughter has a eleventy hundred to choose from.
  4. The breed standard for Dobies and poodles is nearly identical? Sans hair, good poodle = Dobe (breeding information courtesy of NinjaPoodles.)
  5. Wil Wheaton will sing Don’t Stop Believin’ with you if you join in. (Or at least that is what I am telling myself as I jumped right in with him.)
  6. Oh, and Emma Watson. (I was told that was always a good thing to talk about. Though, I really have nothing to say about her. My bad.)
Missing the son I never had a chance to know

Missing the son I never had a chance to know

Today has been a rough day for me. Today is the birthday of my stillborn son, Jacob. He would be 16 today. I can’t help but think of all the things we would have been doing today. Things like going for his driving test. Celebrating 16 years. Denying that I am old enough to have a kid who drives. Somehow during the day it just added to the intensity of missing my Mom.

Today I am letting myself grieve.

I have lost two people in my life way too soon. And it makes me sad.

Happy birthday, Jacob. I will always love you, my son.

Happy Birthday, Gabriella!

Happy Birthday, Gabriella!

Gabriella,

I cannot believe you are 7 years old today. You, my miracle baby that was a surprise and blessing to all of us. You were such a little fighter in the womb. They told us to prepare to lose you when you stopped growing for over a month. But you had a mind of your own and knew that you had a place in this world. You fought. You began to grow and you came to us three weeks early. You were such a gentle birth. (And you even forgave me for finishing watching the Dallas Stars game after your entered the world.) You just snuggled in with your grandparents, aunt and brothers as if you had always been a part of us.

The weekend I was in the hospital with you was the weekend I was supposed to be picking up my one year chip for staying clean. I think you were the better prize that day.

You are the dream daughter I never thought I would have. You’re the continuation of generations of women who love to live, laugh and love. You may be Daddy’s little girl, but you and I have a bond that is unbreakable and unshakable. When you look into my eyes I wonder how in the world one person can love and trust me so much. I want to be the Mom you see when you look at me that way. In you I see my future and my past. I see all the wonderful things ahead of you. In our relationship, I see the full circle love that I had with my own Mom and it makes me eternally grateful that you are my daughter. My girl.

I have watched you grow from a colicky baby to a fun loving toddler to the amazing first grader you are today. Every step of the way I have cherished you and your life. The gift that you are to this entire family. You rescued me from myself. I know you were sent here to do so many things in this world. Rescuing me was one of your greatest. And you are only seven!

With you, I learned how to slow down and enjoy motherhood with more ease. I learned to worry less about “should do’s” and live more in the moment. With you, I learned how that ice cream for dinner every now and then is good for the soul. With you, I realized I want to be the person you see when you look into my eyes.

Today, as you turn seven, I wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world…except with you.

I love you more than you know. And remember our pinky promise: Best friends– even when you are a teenager. (I am holding you to that.)

Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.

Love,

Mom