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.


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New in my blog reader: foodie edition

I was so hesitant to embrace blog feeds.

I don’t know why, exactly. In the scope of things I’m afraid of, an aggregate way to read my favorite blogs is, um . . . well, it’s really dumb.

But the kerfuffle surrounding the demise of Google Reader last year got me thinking about how nice it would be to see posts from all my favorite virtual peeps in a single place. I signed up for Bloglovin’ last summer — or fall? — and have never looked back.

See? I’ve embraced it so merrily that I can’t remember life without it.

CookiesWhile it’s absolutely true that I adore the book blogging community and love talking about reading, I also love exploring other nooks of the Internet. Getting invested in healthy eating and newlywed dinner responsibilities (seriously, we’re expected to feed ourselves every night?) means I’ve been refreshing my feed regularly with food blogs. For inspiration, temptation, a chance to salivate at my desk . . . eh, all of the above.

Like all the lovely sites I visit regularly, I gravitate to blogs featuring folks with bright personalities sharing their experiments in the kitchen alongside personal anecdotes. And lucky for us, they’re available — in spades.

But each unique in their own way, you know.

Pop over and give them a look . . . but don’t blame me if your grocery bill dramatically increases. Or you have a sudden hankering for bittersweet chocolate.

I’m not liable.

Don’t shoot the messenger.


Blogging Over Thyme

Blogging Over Thyme: With creative twists on classics as well as desserts, appetizers and just about anything you can think of, Laura is quite talented — and also from D.C.! I have to resist the urge to pin everything she posts, but can’t ignore the allure of these dark chocolate chunk raspberry muffins.


Tastes Lovely

Tastes Lovely: Two minutes on Natalie’s site gave me a week’s worth of dinner ideas, especially for awesome-sounding pork chops with vanilla apples (!), and I have a feeling I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg!


Eats Well with Others

Eats Well With Others: You’d be hard-pressed to find a sweeter lady than newly-engaged Joanne (congrats!), and her recipes are always creative and delicious and visually interesting. I’m partial to the desserts (maple-gingerbread layer cake, anyone?), but would “settle” for anything from her kitchen.


Needs Salt

Needs Salt: At 16, Abbie is way cooler than I could have ever hoped to be at her age — and her blog combines lovely photography with truly unique creations. I can’t get these chewy whole wheat ginger cookies out of my mind.


New York weekend: The Book Blogger Convention

Well, friends, I’m back — and not a moment too soon! I’d like to apologize for my longest period of blogging MIA-ness in the history of write meg! Ironically, my absence completely coincided with, of all things, a blogging convention.

And not just any blogging convention, but the Book Blogger Convention in New York City. Held May 28 at the Javits Center in Manhattan, I took the train up with my family late Thursday in order to be ready to talk shop with tons of fabulous bloggers, publishers and literary professionals from around the country.

I’ll be going into detail regarding other aspects of my trip soon, but the BBC was a definite highlight. I had an awesome time meeting so many folks I’ve only “known” through our blogs and Twitter and really enjoyed the many, varied panels on subjects like ethics in blogging, building content and marketing our blogs. Even more fun was hearing some of my favorite bloggers — like Rebecca and Christina — talking about how they blog.

Overall, the sentiment I took away from the convention was that what we do here — and what I do here — is important. All of our bookish discussions, conversations and contacts really do matter, and the fact that we are able to passionately and consistently talk about literature is a really valuable asset to the world of books. Are we “professionals”? Not in the traditional sense, no. But by sitting here and talking about novels day in and day out, we’re becoming “experts” in our own fields.

I’m an expert on chick lit, I’d wager. And lattes. And Power Dresses. (Yes, that’s me in mine above — rocked at the BBC. Please ignore the creepy Myspace-esque aspect of it; I had to change quickly before dinner and didn’t have anyone around to shoot a decent one for me!)

Big hugs to the many fabulous ladies (and a gentleman!) I met (some for the second time!), including Kari, Kim, Care, Sheila, Rebecca, Michelle, my girl Nicole, Alison, Amanda, Bill and many, many more! Hope to see everyone again very soon for more book-related craziness.

And if you need me? I’ll be pouring through the massive amount of swag in our parting gift bags. And scheming how to, you know, blog better. Because that’s just the name of the game, isn’t it?

(Later in the week I’ll be posting on other adventures in New York City, including an enormously detailed “What I Ate” commentary, but for now? Enjoy these shots from a very unique, fun day.)


Care, Kim and Sheila at breakfast

Trish of Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin' kicks off the day's festivities

Maureen Johnson, our hilarious keynote speaker

Some of the crowd

Ron Hogan, who spoke about ethics in blogging

Outside our conference room, and some of the swag bags

Inside the Javits Convention Center, which was absolutely enormous

Amy of My Friend Amy and author Beth Kephart speaking during a panel on author/blogger relationships

Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness and Christina of Stacked discuss building content on our blogs

One of the many fine panels

How you could identify yours truly

Booking Through Thursday: Authors talking

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

This week’s question: Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?

I do read author’s blogs; I find them very interesting! I don’t always remember to keep up with them faithfully, but I enjoy going through their backlog of entries when I do make my way over there. Most recently, I’ve kept up with the blogs of Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Weiner and Courtney Summers, some of my favorite authors.

The main reason I frequently check out author’s blogs, I think, is to remind myself that they’re “just like us” — and, in my case, that I could be “just like them” someday! It inspires me to know that these are talented, normal women who’ve made a career out of their awesome writing. It gives me hope that someday, write meg! could become the official blog of Megan, Published & Critically Acclaimed Novelist, and that would be . . . amazing!

And, of course, I do read the blogs to see what they’re up to — what shows they’re watching, music they like, from where they get their inspiration. And to see what they’re writing, of course! Author’s blogs are usually the fastest way to get the story on their latest . . . story (no pun intended! Or totally intended, whichever you prefer). And the authors themselves are usually hilarious, fun and witty people — that’s why they’ve been so successful. So they’re just good reads!

I think it’s incredible that we live in a world in which I can sit down at my computer, pop open a little box and see the individual thoughts of folks — writers, artists, musicians — who’ve decided to make them public. In 2009, I can go on John Mayer’s site, too, and see what he felt like sharing after winning a Grammy award on Sunday. I know we have to take all blogs with a grain of salt — especially those written by celebrities, who may or may not pay someone to “write” the blogs for them! — but I think that most are serious, actual thoughts, and it’s amazing to think that I can sit down and see what Meg Cabot is doing right now as she posts on Twitter or how Sarah Dessen felt about a recent basketball game. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago — this would have been insane and unfathomable! Technology can be a beautiful thing! On the flip side, of course, we could argue that the “fourth wall” has been broken down by our gaining access to the lives of people we admire . . . and maybe taking them down from the pedestal on which society has probably placed them. But I think it’s good that we’re reminded of the humanity of people in popular culture . . . and that they make mistakes, have dreams, act silly and have fears just like we do.

write meg! gets around

I’ve been up to my usual Internet antics lately, and I’m excited to say that my whacky, ridiculous and over-the-top Hoff pictures have been mentioned at Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels — one of my favorite romance blogs! If you’re unsure why I’m trying to look like a very unattractive man in sunglasses with terrible hair, see no more than this post.

me_sbtb

I found out yesterday that I won the recent giveaway at S. Krishna’s Books, another of my favorite blogs! Copies of Scot On the Rocks and Jack With A Twist by Brenda Janowitz are on their way to me. I’m so excited! Thank you, Swapna!

And Rebecca, better known to many as The Book Lady, was kind enough to pass an award on to me this week! I’m very flattered she would think of me, and happy to have . . . The Butterfly Award! That little “know” in the graphic does nothing at all to diminish my pride in receiving it. Thank you, Rebecca!

butterfly_award

And the rules for said award?

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Award up to ten other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.

I’d love to pass the award on to Becca at Bookstack and Natalie at Curly Wurly Gurly. Blog on, ladies!