This morning I was reading "Dear Mommy Blogger" by Josi Denise. It's a few weeks old, but just came across my feed today. In it, Denise posits that the mommy blog is over (insert "Portlandia" voice in that skit when everyone says this or that trend is OVER.)
I sort of thought that the mommy blog thing was over a few years ago, but this part made me laugh:
"Why do you put exclamation points after every f*in sentence!? Why is this a thing?? I get it, you want to be seen as positive and really excited about a brand or product or experience or whatever the hell you’re writing about. But nobody talks like that in real life. If you do, nobody actually likes being around you. Love my hubby, love my life, love my kiddos, love jesus, love cupcakes, love it all!"
She goes on to make some good points about the industry and brands and how vapid so much of the writing on these blogs can be, a good bit of which I agree with. I also like that she quotes Betty Friedan, and address the lack of actual writing (and grammar) in a lot of these blogs, writing:
"Genuine content, with a genuine voice, is the only way to gain real readers and connect with real people."
Ah yes. Actual writing. Actual reality. In her bio, Denise writes:
"This blog is a place where I share a glimpse of what life is like. It’s important to understand that what we see online is only part of reality. For a long time, my posts here were scrubbed squeaky clean and pumped full of sunshine. Look at my perfect life, with my perfect children, with my perfect marriage. Look at this perfect recipe, with my perfectly spotless kitchen. And with those lies I drove myself into bed with a bottle of pills one morning and never wanted to get out."
That last sentence is the most important.
When I started blogging in 2003, there was no Pinterest, I didn't care about making mason jar anything (still don't), and never thought about monetizing. I just wrote because I loved it, and being a writer was all I ever wanted to do, and all I have done, and now there was another place where that could happen.
Over the years, I erred on the side of not telling every single story of my life and that of my family's. I didn't build a "brand." My brand is being a writer and editor. I write about the range of human experiences and emotions, my own and other people's.
I didn't blog consistently for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that I was tired after long days of writing for a living. (No complaints here -- that's a damn lucky thing to be able to do for 18 years straight, even when some years were better than others, word-wise.) I was also working out my own stuff (still am) and kept a lot of things strictly to paper.
Maybe I've been too conservative in what I've shared over the years. I didn't tell all my truth because I didn't want to, and because I did have a face to wear -- not just for a brand that was paying me $150/blog post -- but for jobs with organizations I represented. Full time. So my writing remained mine, with hints here and there in social media posts or occasional essays.
I am starting to let down the walls I've built around my personal writing, but it's still difficult. I only write non-fiction. The walls were built for a reason.
The mommy blogger backlash and content creator backlash and influencer backlash is a thing now. I've seen it all in my 18 years in the media -- as a journalist, as a PR person, as a magazine and newspaper writer, and as an agency person.
And honestly, I don't know where I fall in all of it. I'll just stick to telling stories, thank you very much.
Let them play out as they will.
This is day 13 of 90 Days of Stories.