How blogging has made my life pretty awesome

When I started write meg! in June 2008, I was a quiet(er) 22-year-old working for three newspapers in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. As an assistant editor, my duties were relegated to putting together a variety of sections for my employer, including but not limited to pieces on real estate, automotive trends and local businesses.

Now, I still do those things — but I do about a hundred other things, too. Creative things. I now write a biweekly column that reaches tens of thousands of people in my community and has been, to date, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Beyond that, I can now walk into a room full of people I don’t know and barely break a sweat. I’ve shaken the hands of countless folks whom I “know,” and who know me, and have had some truly awesome conversations — online and off. I speak and walk confidently; I write more, and better. I feel like I’m making a difference, even if it’s small.

And yes, I’m going to attribute it all to blogging.

Because we have not the time nor interest to discuss the changing nature of the newspaper business, a subject that has been covered by far more intelligent and braver people than me, I’ll give you a short synopsis of what the changing nature of my newspaper business has meant: with the expansion of the Internet and online resources (which are great), we still need a way to bring readers back to the print editions of our publications and keep them viable.

And a columnist position opened up in our company.

I’ve made no secret of my blogging activity, though I didn’t used to go out of my way to advertise write meg! with friends, family and associates. Once upon a time, I thought my blog would be like an online diary — a place I stored my thoughts anonymously, and definitely not something I would want my “real life” cohorts to know about.

Well, I was wrong — on many levels. Blogging has never been a private pursuit for me, just in the way that writing has never been a private pursuit for me. Quite frankly, I love an audience. I’m a drama queen. I enjoy having a place to write about whatever I wish and then get feedback — mostly positive, some negative — on what I’m saying.

I write because I love it, yes, and because I can’t imagine doing anything else. But I don’t write in a vacuum. And though I like the sound of my own voice, more than that? I like the sound of my own voice in conversation. I love talking. I love feedback. I thrive on discourse.

And I swear I’m not as cocky as I sound right now.

When the columnist position opened up at work, I was doing some enjoyable but decidedly non-creative things at the papers. Because one of my coworkers knew I was a blogger who wrote regularly, this got reported back to one of our managers. And one of those managers, presumably, checked out my site — this site. And thought I’d be a good fit for the job.

A job I now have — and love. In addition to my editing duties at work, I get paid twice a week to write about things I love — anything and everything, but mostly myself, growing up and learning. I get “recognized” in the community, have stories hanging on the wall of my old elementary school as a “notable alum,” and field phone calls and emails from folks who call themselves “my fans.” Some of those are real letters, handwritten and addressed. To me. And what do they say? They look forward to my column. It brightens their day. It makes them think differently.

That makes me feel incredible.

I’m not going to tell you a sob story about how I was stuck in a rut before blogging, before my column, before Spencer, before this life. But I will say that I was struggling mightily to find a place to channel my creativity and do something more. I talk about that often: doing something more. And if I’d never started blogging for myself, I wouldn’t now be writing publicly for anyone else. At work, I might still be in that quiet vacuum. I might still be the old me.

Book Blogger Convention was a really big step for me — I mean, I went to New York City for the weekend! To meet people face-to-face with whom I’d only ever emailed! And everyone was really nice and exactly the way I expected, which was awesome. (And I met Jessica from Cover To Cover when we were both randomly in San Diego. And countless other lovely folks at last year’s National Book Festival. And the list goes on.)

And my social anxiety didn’t cripple me, threatening to keep me locked up in a tiny space for all eternity. I branched out and talked. I made introductions. I tried not to look awkward. And I hope — hope — it worked. (Y’all are still talking to me, so I guess I didn’t freak you out too badly.)

The confidence I’ve gained through meeting people online and forming friendships is what allowed me to join OkCupid, the dating site through which I met Spencer. With the encouragement of friends and my parents, I realized that no, not everyone on the Internet is a raging psychopath poised to shank us. I mean, look at all of us! We’re awesome! We talk all the time, friends, and all on the Internet! It’s crazy. It’s amazing. And it was the knowledge that people are often the same “in real life” as they are through the web that allowed me to push my anxiety off and meet Spence. (And I’m darn happy, let me tell you.)

This is a long post and I apologize — but this is all to say that basically, blogging has made my life awesome. Thank you for the countless emails, Twitter replies, comments and shows of support, large or small. It’s through the people I’ve met, the experiences we’ve shared, the things we’ve accomplished and the confidence I’ve gained that has enriched my life in countless, countless ways.

And thanks for these, because I don’t know if I said it boldly enough early; I get teary-eyed looking at them. Congratulations to Jen at Devourer Of Books and Steph Su of Steph Su Reads, the winners in our categories — y’all rock, as do the many, many talented folks who contribute to our wonderful book blogosphere as a whole! Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week to everyone. Here’s to the happy, bookish and delightful years to come.

31 thoughts on “How blogging has made my life pretty awesome

  1. Congratulations Meg, you have a great talent look how many people enjoy reading your columns here, I know I do. I always liked writing but for many years I gave up completely on everything unrelated with my profession, and only since I started blogging I think I found myself more daring in the creative department


  2. What a wonderful post Meg! I think blogging has changed so many of us, myself included. Writing something and putting it “out there” was so far outside my comfort zone, being a fairly uncreative accountant by trade. Blogging opens doors, both personally and professionally. That tribute was the perfect way to end BBAW!


  3. What a great post! I love this story, and how you’ve written it. I didn’t (know? remember, anyway) that you worked in newspapers; I worked at a newspaper before I started my blog.


  4. What a wonderful story Meg! Let me just say, while my first year in blogging hasn’t had that dramatic of an effect on my life, I do totally agree with you that it has opened me up to some unbelievable experiences. I too started it because I needed a more creative outlet and I feel like it has helped so much at work and in my personal life. Keep up the great work!


  5. What have I been saying almost every time I stop by your blog…that you should have your own column!!!!!!!! I’m so thrilled for you and I love your voice!


  6. Such a great post, Meg! Congratulations on all your achievements these past two years. They are well deserved, and your future looks very bright!

    Your blog always offers a fresh perspective on books and on being a young woman in the modern world. I enjoy following your adventures, and look forward to seeing what you do next!

    Most especially, your blog is extremely well written…and I predict that one of these days, we’ll be reviewing YOUR novel!!


  7. To those that may scoff at us bloggers, stating that we are essentially talking to ourselves (yes, I have heard this said to me), you are proof that blogging is so much more than writing. It is about exploring who we are, forcing us to expand our comfort zones and become who we are truly meant to be. Congratulations on everything you have accomplished through blogging. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next two years!


  8. Hooray! The photo of us makes a triumphant return in this post, which was beautifully written by the way.

    I completely agree that blogging has changed my life- both my book blog, as well as the private one that is now finished. I’ve met countless awesome people who have introduced me to other blogs, websites and people who can help me in my endeavors and goals.

    I never heard the story of how you got your column and I absolutely love it. How awesome that your blog helped you. I still am wishing and wishing for your column to come online (although I guess that does kind of defeat the purpose of trying to get people to read the print edition). How cool that your columns are on the walls of your old school!

    I hope that I’ll soon have the same OKcupid luck as you 🙂


  9. I like this post so much. I’m not sure blogging has changed my life as much as it has yours, but it’s certainly made me more brave than I was. Going to BEA and BBC was the first time I’ve traveled alone, going to see people I’d never met before. But it was awesome, and I can’t wait until next year. Also, I love the picture of the blog necklace 🙂


  10. I have tears in my eyes right now. I am not sure if that is the emotion you were trying to evoke when you wrote this, so let me explain.

    I just spent the day at my local book and author festival. Although I attended once before years ago, I knew that somehow today was going to be different.

    I spent the morning trying to think of reasons why I shouldn’t go, not wanting to put on real pants, leave the house and just plain put myself out there. The smart, confident, been book blogging for more than 2 years side of me told the whiney me to shut up, put on pants with zippers and shoes with laces and get my but out of the house.

    It was a revelation. I was confident in ways that I have never been, no longer just a fan, but a devoted reader with something to offer authors. My creative juices were flowing, thinking of ways in which I could help these authors to thank them for their own art. I walked away with new friends, post ideas, pictures, books, and something even more important. I walked away a Gwen, standing tall; open, laughing, knowledgeable, and happy.

    Like you, I owe that all to blogging.


  11. i think it’s awesome that blogging has opened up so many opportunities for you! and hearing about all your positive (and not so positive) experiences has been really eye-opening.

    i think it has helped me a lot too…i didn’t even take it very seriously at first, you know? but now it’s become an entirely different thing. and i like meeting the other bloggers (thanks for all those encouraging words before! i thought i’d be all weird and awkward at those blogging meetups, but they’ve actually been really cool!).

    but yes, thanks for being so optimistic and hopeful about the blogging world! your words can apply to all bloggers, really. so many good things can come out of it, and you’re the perfect example! yay for being awesome!


  12. Blogging is awesome and has brought me SO much, but not even HALF of what it sounds like it has given you. Rock! THat’s awesome!
    And that’s an adorable charm!


  13. Brava! Blogging does have a tendency to bring some of us out. It’s been such a wonderful sounding board for me over the years, it’s made me much more comfortable with my own opinions, and whatnot.

    Very happy for you that you’re enjoying your job so much. I think it’s wonderful all around!


  14. Love this post! Blogging can be life-changing, no matter how big or small. Like you I love that I now have a place where I can get feedback and I also love being part of a community that I wouldn’t be able to offline. My writing has improved because of my blogging so much that I feel so much more confident of my English skills.

    Awesome that you got your job because of your blog, that’s got to be one of the dream jobs of a blogger!


  15. Nice post! I had no idea that when we spent 4 hours in line waiting to meet The Pioneer Woman that I was in the midst of a book blogging celebrity!


  16. I’m very late to this post but I loved it nonetheless. You are a fabulous writer, Meg, and I love reading your posts. I’m glad it’s influenced your real life so positively as well – blogging has got me my job as a writer as well, so I too have a lot to thank it for. =)


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