When I started write meg! on June 3, 2008, I was one year out of college and reaching the end of my bookseller days. A friend has recommended blogging — and WordPress — to me, calling it his “creative outlet.” As I was slightly bored and feeling pretty directionless without college classes to give my days structure, a creative outlet sounded pretty good to me.
I created the site on a whim, set up a Gmail address, and named it based on my desire to make a career as a writer. Or a novelist, more specifically. I wrote a few posts on this and that, and it was fun — but nothing really had traction. My post on a trip to the Newseum netted me a dozen visitors that July afternoon, and I thought I had made it, friends. I mean, twelve people?!
I didn’t have a vision. I wasn’t “branding myself.” I had no real goal beyond keeping an online journal of sorts and, eventually, sharing my love of reading with others. I was 22 and still fresh in the working world; my experiences in an office environment dominated most of my posts. I wasn’t sure I had anything interesting to say, but I’ve run websites — mostly dedicated to Hanson, ‘NSYNC or completely emo poetry — since I was 12. Starting a new one in my twenties was a natural fit.
Beyond my personal musings, the book reviews began to appear. I accidentally discovered book blogs in the fall and, like a crash of lightning, I’d found my calling. Books! I could write about books! I missed my endless discussions of Shakespeare and Eudora Welty in English classes, and the chats I’d share with Borders customers were coming to a close. Thinking about sharing my reading life online was like peeking into a long, cavernous hallway. I didn’t know what was hiding behind all those closed doors — but I couldn’t wait to find out.
When people ask if I run a book blog, I say yes. When they ask if I pen a personal blog, I say sure. write meg! has never been anything but exactly what I’m feeling at any moment: a home for my wayward thoughts; a place to explore everything I love.
Have I had blog-related existential crises before? Sure. From time to time, I wonder what I’m really “doing” by spending so many hours — hours and hours — discussing life and books and photography and love and cupcakes right here. At a time when I could have been writing the next great American novel (ha) or going to medical school or something (double ha), I’ve dedicated five years of my life to chronicling the thoughts buzzing around my frizzy-haired head.
But it has been worth it. Tenfold.
I think about all the friends I’ve made (YOU!) and the places I’ve explored and the books I’ve read and the recipes I’ve tried and the overwhelming camaraderie I’ve felt through my participation in the blogging community, and I can’t feel anything but deep affection. Love. I don’t know if I would have believed I’d still be running write meg! five years on from June 3, 2008, but here I am: approaching my 28th birthday; a newspaper columnist; a soon-to-be married woman.
Life. It keeps moving and moving.
I wanted to write something BIG and IMPORTANT on my fifth anniversary, but all I can scribble is something that’s always held true: I’m so happy you’re here. Whether I was writing for one or a thousand, this space has helped me make sense of the world. Of my world. To be blunt, it’s made me feel less alone at times when I felt very lonely.
Thank you. I am so grateful.
As I wrote in 2010, blogging has given me the confidence and support to change my career path. Once a quiet editor for three suburban newspapers, the “secret” of my blog leaking is what led to getting my newspaper column. My posts at write meg! stretch across the world, and my musings in my corner of it reach 50,000 readers in print. Seeing my byline weekly in my hometown paper is truly a dream come true, and I don’t think I would have ever been given that chance without the blog breaking the ice.
Some fun stats —
because numbers can be fun!
• Total blog posts: 1,334
• Total book reviews: 378
• Total visits: 544,128
• Total subscribers: 6,740
• Total comments: 14,774
• Most viewed post: Review of Something Blue by Emily Giffin (18,976 views)
• Most views in one day: 4,555 (for the Key lime cupcakes)
• Freshly Pressed by WordPress: twice! (for this and this)
It was true three years ago, and it’s true now: blogging has made my life pretty awesome. Thank you.