I've been running this site for 15 years as of tomorrow. It started before the word "blog" was even a word, when I just wanted an online place to corral my writing, all of which I did for free as a means to entertain myself, see my name in print, compete with myself and get to know friends virtual and not-so-virtual. The stakes were very low but felt high--I remember stressing out if I couldn't get a morning post up because I imagined everyone wondering, disappointed, where I was that morning. I remember counting pageviews, especially the day Gawker linked to this idiotic Paris Hilton spoof Steve made. I remember getting Neal Pollack to let me interview him--he was the first interviewee that I was able to leverage other well-known writers and performers into letting me interview them (no offense to my friends and family, who were great but didn't have a lot of currency when it came to convincing, say, George Saunders or Louis CK to let me interview them.)
For a little bit there the blog did seem pretty pertinent--there was the whole blog-to-book thing and I even had agents come to me to see if I could turn this site into a book (I did not, but that didn't stop me from publishing anyway.) But then eventually, with the rise of social media and as I actually started to get paid to write for other places, this site felt more like an obligation that I just couldn't keep up. I used to write a post a day, and do interviews, which is a lot of writing for free for myself. My mom asks me why I don't do interviews so much anymore and it's just the kind of thing I don't want to give away right now--the time spent tracking people down, asking them to participate, researching them and writing up questions, formatting it all. That's not to say they're gone forever, but the weight of my time has changed. Fifteen years ago when I started this I lived at my parents' house, made $21,000 a year working at an ad agency, had no kids or husband or much else to do but practice my work.
Steve can attest that lots of times I declared I was going to quit this blog, because as my life became fuller, I couldn't take the added pressure of having something else to do every day--again, that invisible audience tapping its foot impatiently, waiting for my daily delivery of insight and humor (delusion or ego? Or both? Take your pick.) But the idea of flouncing away seemed a little more ridiculous than just doing what I could and what I wanted, and that's what happened. Some years and months this site gets a little moldy (especially when my kids and my work get in the way) and others I feel more inspired to get out there. Sometimes I just have a little extra something to say that doesn't fit in a Twitter post or a Facebook post.
Now? Now I assume pretty much that nobody reads this site and that's probably much healthier and fun than thinking that everybody I know reads this site. I hope in the months to come to redesign it a little bit to make it less about the blog portion and more as a means for people to find my freelance writing, which I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be doing (as my day job, an unbelievable thought 15 years ago) if it weren't for this site.
Despite a few attempts I was never able to turn this site into its own moneymaking endeavor, like as a book or an ad-heavygenerating lifestyle site. It is what it was when it started--a place to collect my writing, a place to talk to the people who are still out there, however many there may be (I no longer keep count), a place to goof around and stay moving. I keep doing it because I have kept doing it and why stop now.
My husband Steve, who I interviewed just as a long-distance internet friend shortly after the site launched, just walked in the kitchen. I announced "It's been 15 years since I started my site!" and he said "Huh!" I asked, "Do you have anything to say about that?" and he said "Good job!" Thanks, Steve.