Two years a blogger - lessons learned, lessons spurned.


Well ….. ideally …..

For two years now, Planet Michelle has been in orbit here at ChicagoNow.

It’s been an interesting, fun and humbling ride.  A place where no me had gone before!

First, lessons learned:

  • Hoping to “Go viral” is the blogger’s wet-dream equivalent of hoping to win the lottery. It rarely happens and you can’t make it happen.  It’s a capricious, random occurrence. Ignore your Likes and Shares and ReTweets and Pins. Just write posts of which you are proud.
  • Your work will piss off people at some point. Sometimes, when you don’t expect it; more often, when you’ve either written something insensitive or didn’t edit properly. If you can take the heat, fine. If not, regroup and be more careful in what you spew. Don’t rush to publish and learn to better-edit.
  • While we’re at it, did I mention, EDIT?  A sculpture isn’t done until all excess alabaster is removed. Writing = rewriting. You don’t have to go nuts, but NO first drafts are perfect. Hone, honey (and YES, this includes speling and the gramur)!
  • Don’t just “phone in” a post. It will tell. Be passionate and committed to your subject.
  • Same truth as in last year’s anniversary – the post you suffer like Michelangelo will tank; the post you outline on a piece of junk mail and compose on the toilet will wow. Go fig.
  • There are 8 zillion bloggers out there. You likely won’t become well-known.  Just entertain and respect the audience you do have and be your own best fan. Learn contentment regardless of popularity and reader input.
  • Corollary: Don’t get derailed by lack of readership.  If I do, I look at my Google demographics and realized that while I may not have thousands of readers, I’m being read by people from all over the world. ChicagoNow is a great and supportive platform. It’s baaad – it’s (multi)nation-wide! You never know who’ll be reading you next.
  • If you are hard-bitten by ambition, confidence and persistence are key. Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times before it got published. Think creatively. Don’t give up.
  • Post consistently. I know it’s hard to do. We all have lives and glitches and bills to avoid and sex to seek. But there are 92 million topics out there, just awaiting your special spin!

Now, lessons spurned:

  • Don’t be jealous of better writers (guilty!) – learn from them. It’s free education.
  • Don’t fight in your own blog-orhood.  I’ve done it, and I feel like abject shit having done it.  (You know who you are.  And I’m sorry, man.  I really am.)
  • Quell verbosity. (Still a problem for me.) It can test your readers’ patience.
  • Don’t give up on a topic just because everyone else is writing about it. (Guilty!)  Remember that your take is unique.
  • Be supportive of your blogging community. I’ve really tried to improve at this. I get myopic when I write, and sometimes even envious of or intimidated by others’ posts.  But I’m trying to be more like Patsy Cline was to Opry newcomers – secure enough in my own talent to champion others.
  • Ask for technical help.  Still learning this one, too.  I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to figure out shit in WordPress, or on (the dreaded) Facebook, before asking for help. Don’t do dat! ChicagoNow, for example, is a fucking brain-trust.
  • Be grateful – for your talent, for your writing community, for what audience you do have. I have a hard time being grateful when problems are afoot. (But I’m working on it – or at least getting better at seeing the martini glass half-full.)

So blog on, my fellow cyber-wordsmiths!  And to those readers enjoying your orbit around “Planet Michelle” – my sincere thanks.  Keep your jones going – make sure you subscribe, OK?  If you keep coming back, I promise to always have something here to amuse/engage/titillate you.


(And I believe you know which one of those is my favorite!)



THAT’S RIGHT…. come closer…. closerrrr……

Thank you for reading!  Now come orbit me! Just type in your e-mail address, over to the right and up, and you’ll receive each post I squeeze from my brain.  Never any spam or name-selling.  My magnetic field awaits you!

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Leave a comment
  • Great lessons and congrats on 2 years here at CN. I've seen a lot of bloggers come and go here and it's hard, especially if you don't have a peanut gallery of commenters for feedback, encouragement and a sense of hey someone is reading.

    keep up the good work

  • In reply to Michael Messinger:

    Thank you, Michael. Means a lot coming from you, seriously.

    I am nothing if not tenacious. As God is my witness, if I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, I'll get to 27 Likes on FB by next year!

  • Great lessons for us all Michelle! Whether learned or spurned. Keep your voice coming....I always love to read what you have to say. Happy 2nd Birthday.

  • In reply to Very Terry:

    Thank you, Terry. You always make my day! Even if a goodly part of my readers come from "my own," it's still an honor. There is SO much talent here!

  • In reply to Michelle Babicz:

    Even one reader is better than none. I love every word you write.

  • I'm going to bookmark this to keep me going :)

  • In reply to Angela Soriano:

    Glad to be of service, my friend. Those of us still building a readership need to help and encourage each other. We all have some great things to say! I'm constantly amazed by this community.

  • I've learned a lot from you about writing. You're one of my heroes

  • In reply to Bob Schneider:

    ME? You're just saying that because I spanked you today. And because I'm 8% Jewish.

    Seriously, that means a lot to me - esp. coming as it does from Mr. Top O' The Heap!

  • Love your lessons learned and writing! Thank you for helpful
    reminders & wise insights. Happy blogaversary!

  • In reply to Julia Passamani:

    Thank you, Julia! I love anniversary posts - I always learn so much from others. We see a lot of the same things, but in differing ways.

  • Always love reading your blogs. You're inspirational! Happy Anniversary!

  • In reply to Carole Lago:

    Thank you, Carole. A glowing sentiment, indeed! (For someone from the Ventana plant, you're still aces with me!)

  • Happy anniversary, Michelle. I like your combination of "learned" and "spurned." Well done, as usual. For the "everybody else is writing it," I just try to remember that well, nobody else is writing it the way I can. Seriously (wink).

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much, Margaret. I agree - there are a finite number of topics, but infinite takes. And you have a great eye for those!

  • Two years, yay! Congrats to you! I think you've nailed the lessons pretty darn well.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thank you, Kathy. Now all I have to learn to do is QUILT! (MY quilt would look like Charlie Brown's ghost costume in the Peanuts "Great Pumpkin" special - i.e. holey epic fail!)

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