Year six

Cupcake


I’m back, friends! And not a moment too soon . . . because today is actually write meg!’s sixth birthday, and I wouldn’t want to miss the party.

And by “party,” I really mean a blog post. Because I’m still fighting jet lag, have barely been sleeping, am getting ready for our big move and feel slightly like I’m losing my mind. But, you know, if anyone has cupcakes handy . . .?

(We must party with cupcakes.)

Six years ago today, I wrote my first blog post — which was all of three paragraphs long. I didn’t know what I was doing, had no “vision” for the site . . . I just knew that I liked having an online presence and had created websites before (fan pages dedicated, in turn, to Hanson and ‘NSYNC. Woo ’90s?). Plus, I really missed my English program in college. Missed words and books and reader camaraderie.

I was 22, a year out from the University of Maryland, working as an assistant editor at the same newspaper where I’m still happy to return each day . . . and without a creative direction, really. A friend told me about WordPress and blogs and, given how bored I was on my lunch breaks, I started doing some research.

One of the first book-related sites I found was Rebecca’s, followed by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — and the whole idea of discussing books really gained momentum with me. I didn’t write my first book review (Jennifer Weiner’s Little Earthquakes) until September, but then I was really on a roll.

If you like statistics (me me me)? Since June 3, 2008, write meg! has . . .

• Published 1,540 posts
• Posted 421 book reviews
• Received 18,209 comments
• Been Freshly Pressed by WordPress (here, here, here)
• Welcomed many pals into my life


Of everything on that list, I’m most proud of the final point. Blogging has shaped me into a more confident writer — but none of that would mean much if I didn’t have folks in my corner. We’re our own little cadre of friendship and sharing and great books, aren’t we? When I was on vacation last week, I missed y’all. Missed your encouragement and thoughts and fun.

I’ll admit that, at times, I suffer the occasional identity crisis. write meg! has no main focus, no singular platform. I write about books, yes, but I also write about cupcakes and decorating and weight loss and photography and, for a while, wedding planning . . . and down the road, I imagine I’ll also weigh in on motherhood and babies and home chaos. (And maybe gardening, because I really don’t know what I’m doing out there.)

But that’s good, I think. It’s me. Dear Melissa wrote a post about this very topic last week, and I nodded along with so many of her points. I’ve never dreamed up write meg! as anything other than my own little corner of the Internet to share anything and everything, and I feel immeasurably fortunate that it’s brought so many kind, wonderful people into my life along the way.

Thank you, thank you.

So many of my biggest moments — happy, sad, joyous, uncertain — have been pieced out and sewn together with words right here, and I can’t imagine not making my way to this space each weekday.

I hope I never do.


Advertisements

Celebrating five years of write meg!

five years


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.

second designBeyond 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.

You’ve supported me. You’ve cheered me on. You’ve congratulated with me. When necessary, you’ve commiserated with and comforted me.

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.


write meg! turns three

Well, friends, it’s that time again: a moment to celebrate write meg!’s birthday. This little blog is now a plump, adorable three-year-old — a toddler ready to tackle the world and evolve in exciting ways.

When I started blogging, I didn’t have any real vision for where life writing in a public forum would take me. I simply wanted a forum in which to talk about my life and books with others, fill long afternoons and connect with people outside my office walls.

Years later, I’m proud to have this little corner of the Internet to call my own — and am incredibly thankful for all the friends and colleagues I’ve made along the way. Experiences like the Book Blogger Convention have only strengthened my ties to our bookish community and made me incredibly grateful to know all of you.

Chatting about books, life, food and love has enriched my life in countless ways, I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I didn’t have recipes to share, books to rave about or photos to splash onto the screen. If I thought I loved  writing and reading before, those devotions have now reached the point of obsession. But I like it that way.

Thank you all for your kind words, encouragement, support and friendship — and thanks for just being here.

Me? I’m super happy you came.

~~~

Because, like Kim, I love statistics and lists, here is write meg! in numerical form:

June 3, 2008 — the date write meg! was born
240 — books I’ve reviewed to date
8,194 — number of comments to date
881 — posts, in 28 categories
4,555 — hits on my busiest day ever: July 27, 2010 (for this recipe)
256,720 — total number of hits to date


Most read posts of all time:
An ode to my favorite fall music
Key Lime Cupcakes bring the tangy and the sweet
Where’s Waldo? Stirring up controversy, that’s where!
The email that got me hungry — to help others


Most popular book reviews:
The Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess by Meg Cabot
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Happy blogoversary to me!

write meg! turns one

Photo by awesome Flickr user Jessica N. Diamond

Photo by awesome Flickr user Jessica N. Diamond

One year ago today, write meg! emerged from the precipice of one seriously intrigued but creatively stunted Meg. After talking with my friend Brandon about the world of blogging, I decided it was time I take the plunge and reemerge on the interwebz. I’d run websites before — fan sites for Hanson and ‘NSYNC, there-I-said-it! — but hadn’t maintained a personal website in forever. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about or whether I had anything really unique to say . . . but it seemed like something new, challenging and exciting to try, and blogging is a natural evolution of sites I’ve done before!

Though I didn’t start blogging in earnest until September, you can see my scattered thoughts from the summer — including my very first post. After I quit my job at the bookstore in the fall and started looking for new ways to discuss my favorite novels, I quickly tumbled into the world of book blogs — and yowzah! There was no turning back after that. I think the first book blog I really read and became devoted to was Rebecca’s — The Book Lady’s Blog.

Some other firsts for write meg!? How about my first real book review, for Jennifer Weiner’s Little Earthquakes? Or my very first comment — from Adam, who offered me some encouragement as I discussed sending out query letters again? Oh, the thrill of getting your very first comment! Who can forget the moment you realized that someone was actually reading all this?

One year, 1,300 comments and almost 46,000 hits later, I’m proud of the nice little home I’ve built on the web where I can discuss . . . well, anything! I love combining life experiences with my book discussions and reviews, and having a place to share my photography, recipes and personal anecdotes as well. I’m entirely grateful to all the kind folks who regularly visit, offer awesome insights and generally don’t make fun of me for my obsessions with photographing food, John Mayer, everything British and, as of late, Mr. Marcus Flutie — and for the authors, publishers and agents who have shared their novels with me!

THANK YOU! Here’s to another wonderful year!


Meg’s Top Three Posts

An ode to my favorite fall music
Due to the economy
Book review: ‘Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess’ by Meg Cabot
(Linked by Meg Cabot in January. WAHOO!)


Meg’s Favorite Posts


Sunday at the museums
My growingly alarming pumpkin obsession
Peanut butter paradise!
The BookMooch journals
My big, fat London weekend!


Meg’s Favorite Book Reviews


Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Princess Diaries X: Forever Princess by Meg Cabot
Looking For Alaska by John Green
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green