Even though I’m passionate about the topic, I haven’t written much about blogging because most readers here aren’t bloggers. And I didn’t want to bore you with the behind-the-scenes nerdiness of this space.
But every few weeks I have a conversation with a non-blogger and they seem interested in the topic, curious about how it all works, or confused on some of the basics. So here we are. I’m going to be running this series all week, so if you have questions or something you want me to cover, let me know. I am hardly an expert blogger - many of my blogging friends have more readers or better design or make (a lot) more money - but I have been doing this for over four years, attended the conferences and read the books, and it just lights me up.
I’ve been really candid about how blogging changed my life in many ways. A newlywed, walking away from a career, lonely in Los Angeles, I started my first little blog thinking it would be a springboard for a line of letterpress cards I was designing. I wrote about the process and my life and designed the cards, even had them made and went through the steps of setting up an Etsy shop and packaging. And then realized that along the way I’d grown ambivalent about card design, but fallen in love with writing on the internet.
It was like a brick over my head. I’d wanted to be a writer since I was a child, but aside from a few stories and terrible poems, I’d never pursued it. I’d written papers in college, and tens of thousands of email words to my friends after, but television production had consumed my 20’s. By the time I finally got honest about what I really wanted to do with my life, people were doing it all over the world wide web instantly.
I scrapped the letterpress cards, got pregnant, and one day when I was home with a newborn decided that life goes fast and I didn’t want to avoid my dream any longer. That night The Gorilla and I sat on our blue couch with a baby between us and tried to brainstorm a good name for a new blog. Hollywood Housewife was one of the first ideas, but I thought it sounded cheesy on about four levels. The Real Housewives franchise was already very popular and I didn’t love the idea of calling myself a Housewife, because it wasn’t exactly true and because I rebelled against labeling myself in terms of a husband.
But we kept circling back around to it, and none of the other names we thought of sounded as catchy. At the time, we lived directly under the Hollywood sign. I was wrestling with the emotions of new motherhood and no longer working. The name might have made me a little itchy, but it sounded good and it was factual. I bought the domain name.
The name was actually owned by a baker in Florida who was sitting on it hoping to sell to Bravo. He asked for an exorbitant price for Hollywood Housewife dot com, but when I pointed out to him that the Real Housewives websites don’t stand alone (they’re part of the Bravo site) and that there were no plans for a Hollywood version of that show, he negotiated down to a more workable price.
I launched Hollywood Housewife in January 2010, to little fanfare and lots of trepidation. I built the blog using Typepad, the platform I was already familiar with because I used it for my smaller blog. The Gorilla helped me design the banner. He’s a former magazine editor and a photoshop genius, and he’s made every incarnation of the title banner since. From the beginning, he’s been encouraging and enthusiastic about my blog, even when I’ve become so frustrated I wanted to quit. He’s never once told me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t post something personal, and even though the online world definitely isn’t his thing, he’s treated it as seriously as I have. I’m really grateful for this, because I know it’s not true in every blogger marriage.
Most of the new friends I’ve made in the last few years have come through blogging. I met three of my closest friends in LA through twitter, separately. I’m involved in several online blogging groups that started off as talking shop, but became personal friendships. My online relationships are ever-evolving as I stay active online, but I look at the difference from where I was emotionally in 2009 - living thousands of miles from my closest friends and feeling a little swallowed by marriage and motherhood - and where I am now, and I know it wasn’t an accident and I know it started with blogging.
Over the next fews days, I’m going to show you how (and how much) I blog, the tools I use, how I make a few bucks (and how others make a lot), and anything else that might come up. Consider this the HH behind-the-scenes footage, the extra features on the DVD. Wobbly camera and all.