Note: If you found this post because the "mommy blogger" photo at the end was credited as a photo source (or, worse, not credited), please note the publish date of this post was 2008. Mom bloggers working with brands has evolved significantly since my brainstorming here.
This is a really old post, but I'm glad you found me!
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I had a dream the other night that I've been meaning to tell you about. I was in college and Matt Lauer was my biology teacher, but he was not-so-secretly in love with me.
Wait. Crap. That wasn't the dream I wanted to tell you about. Le sigh.
Okay, so the dream was one of those from which all I remembered when I woke up was one detail and the feeling with which it left me. That one detail?
I had a writing studio in my backyard.
When I woke up, I could still see the way the light filtered in through the windows of my own private writing studio. I could smell the cool air and wave my hand through the dust motes that drifted through those shafts of light falling on my keyboard. I think I had a laptop. I bet it was a Mac. It was a dream, after all.
The walls were covered in framed photographs which were themselves covered in hastily scribbled notes of story ideas. An old coffee cup full of cheap fountain pens and novelty pencils sat on a stack of books on my ancient desk. These books were the current research selections taken from the crammed-full bookcases lining the room.
My hair was tied up in the best top knot I've ever managed without pulling the hairs out of my skull and I was wearing my favorite writing-sweater. I pulled it close around me as I brainstormed, gazing out at heavily bloom-laden hydrangea bushes in the shaded little grove of trees outside my desk window.
I feel drunk just remembering these details.
The only part of this dream that is real is that writing-sweater. I've had a designated writing-sweater ever since I read Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. The narrator, Grady Tripp, was a professor and seemingly-blocked writer. He wore a pink bathrobe while he wrote. Since then, I have had a succession of writing-sweaters, mostly cardigans, though that sounds utterly Mister Rogers (seriously le sigh, again). Think more tattered, old and funky, and less perfectly pressed.
So I admit it: I want to be a writer. A real writer. A magazine writer.
If blogging were just a hobby, I wouldn't be dreaming of personal writing studios.
I would love to say "because I missed the community" and some other really generous things like that, but the truth is that I missed the writing. Quite frankly, the "community" and all of the politics that come with that package begin to grate on me after a while.
Don't they just wear you out sometimes?
Yet, it is a package, and a powerfully seductive one at that. More bloggers have been discussing the "business of mommyblogging" lately and I find the discussion fascinating. What began as a hobby for so many of us has become, quite frankly, a business. All of the sudden, we are finding ourselves concerned with branding, marketing, promotion, and managing PR inquiries.
Big business is knocking at the door of the mommyblogger. Some are welcoming them in for a glass of sweet tea and cookies. Some are pretending they are not home.
Open Scene: Megan's Front Door
Corporate Type: knock knock knock
Megan: Hang on! I'll be right there!
Corporate Rep: You said that last time.
Megan: I know, I know. But I'm washing my hair right now.
Corporate Stooge: Look, we can't keep waiting.
Megan: You look, I'm actually plucking wiry black hairs from my chin. Don't go anywhere.
Corporate Hack: You are just embarrassing yourself now. Open the door or we're Audi 5000. (they all talk in outdated slang)
Megan: Seriously, if you don't pop a squat on the stoop, I'm going to Twitter about you hassling me.
Corporate Lackey: Please, no, don't Twitter-trash us! We'll wait, we'll wait. We want Twitter-props. Don't jump the gun here.
Megan: maniacally laughing, having wielded the connected-mommyblogger social-media power that corporations both covet and fear
Corporations are noticing mommybloggers and they are placing a tall order with us. They want virtually free publicity and an infinite reach. They want to get into our minds, but once they are in there, they too often try to tell us what to think and how to write it.
They recognize the opportunity that is working with mommybloggers to promote their products and services, but they keep stumbling on their own two left feet.
We are primed for something to work with corporations and we are ready to share the good news. We like talking about the people and products that we respect and enjoy. It's natural for us. It's easy. It is, dare I admit, fun.
Look at this option-progression of how easily a Wordless Wednesday post could go, effortlessly sharing a bit of our lives and a bit of recommended-product placement:
My Every Morning: Still Life
or My Every Morning: Still Life.
or My Every Morning: Still Life.
I use Splenda every day. I give my kids Flintstone's Vitamins every day. I believe in both of those products and would be willing to recommend them to my readers. The opportunity is there, but what do we do with it? Where do we go, without feeling like sell-outs, without being taken advantage of, and all the while still utilizing a platform that allows us to be ourselves and help contribute to our family finances?
So, you see, I want to answer the knock of business at my door. But I'm just not ready, yet. I still have some wiry black chin hairs to pluck. Or maybe I am ready, chin-bangs and all.
The problem is that what I really want involves the risk of rejection.
Allow me to share with you my rejection score-card, so far:
Magazine # of Queries Sent # of Rejections Received
Parents 0 0
Wondertime 0 0
Parenting 0 0
Notice how I have managed to remain rejection-proof? Nice how it works out that if you don't actually put yourself out there, no one can reject your work.
I do take steps toward taking it seriously, such as publishing my real name, but then I back off. This has to change. I need to give these companies a chance to reject me.
I flirt with the platform that is mommyblogging, but I have yet to commit to my true desire, which is seeing my name in hard-copy. Instead, I continue to experiment through the writer's version of playing house. The fact that the business and corporate aspect is coming into play more and more in blogging is just further opportunity for me to hone my skills, explore the field. Learn.
Don't get me wrong, I do love the community. Some days. Most days. But I want more. Do you?
If blogging is my springboard, I need to jump already.
What do you want from all of this? What are you doing about it? Are you satisfied?
I used to want a really cool alternative to keeping a baby book for my kids. Now I want something for me, too.
Please credit source for any and all use of the original photos
included in this post.
Yes, I took them and yep, that's my kitchen counter.
You are welcome to use with linked source attribution.
Related Page re. all things Mommyblogging:
Mommybloggers: The Resource