Sleep is For the Weak, Publishing is for the Strong

Last month, Rita Arens handed me an envelope at the BlogHer Business conference. I took it home and opened it, retrieving a thank you note and three crisp twenty dollar bills.

I cried.

That $60 meant even more than paychecks I’ve received with far more zeros at the end.

There is something immeasurably gratifying about getting paid for your writing, at whatever sum, at whatever level you are. Not writing bad commercials for breakfast cereal although that can be fun too, but writing that comes from your heart. About your life. About things that matter to you not because you’re paid to care about them but because they’re the fabric of your soul. And that little smirk from a trio of Thomas Jeffersons – or even Abe Lincolns – validates the fact that that even though we all “just write for ourselves” (uh-huh) that it’s never really just for ourselves.

If a writer writes in a forest – or, more often, her bedroom at 3 am while the baby screams in the crib next door – and there’s no one there to hear…

sleep is for the weak

You may have heard a bit about Sleep is For the Weak, the anthology of essays from parent bloggers that Rita conceived of, assembled, proposed, shopped, defended, tweaked, rewrote, rewrote again and sold to Chicago Press pretty much single-handedly.

This book is the result of one woman doing what most people only ever talk about. That’s my kinda woman.

The author list is absolutely amazing – bloggers you know, and bloggers you don’t but should. I am honored to be among them, more than you can imagine; when Rita first approached me I hadn’t been blogging a year. I was surprised she had even heard of me and I quite literally felt unworthy. I would have certainly contributed for free. I can only wish that any one of you who has ever dreamed of publishing something gets to experience that feeling – and that books like these open the door to make that happen for more of us.

Cut to many months later, sixty dollars, yadda yadda yadda…


The book won’t be on shelves for another few months, but starting today you can preorder on amazon, b&n, and local book shops you can track down through book sense.

And I hope you will. Because the one thing that makes a writer weepy, even more than money, is an audience that actually care what she has to say once in a while.


21 thoughts on “Sleep is For the Weak, Publishing is for the Strong”

  1. I am so excited about this and that “other” blogger anthology (edited by whassirname).I really think we’ve arrived at Blog to Book 2.0, and we’re seeing not just the content being carried over to print (Blog to Book 1.0), but the whole community dynamic.I love the level of ownership and initiative by the bloggers involved. I love knowing that these writers (and their readers)are not going to settle for the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” approach of traditional publishing.This is a self-determining, self-defined community. I hope the publishers of both these books like their tigers by the tails. Congrats to everyone. Buy yourself something special with those twenties.

  2. You can count me among the pre-orderers. The notion that Moms can take their thoughts to the street, so to speak, just tickles me like nothing else.BTW, I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to you last night, but it was great to see you in person at the BlogHer/TJMaxx soiree’.

  3. It’s funny cause I was just thinking about this topic (being paid to write) before I read this post. I just got my first paid writing job, and the whole time I was writing I was thinking “This is fun! It feels wrong to be paid for something so fun.” When I turned the article in, I felt like an imposter. I was waiting for a response from the editor along the lines of “What the hell is this??? I knew we shouldn’t have hired a blogger to do a writers job!” Instead, the response I got was so nice (“your article made my day…thank you!”) that I almost started crying. Such an awesome feeling.Congrats on the book. I love your blog and I’m looking forward to reading your contribution (and I’m not even a mom!).

  4. I know exactly how you feel – it’s the best feeling in the world.Many congratulations to you and to Rita and to all the other bloggers in the book.

  5. Such fantastic news! I am excited for you, and I have no doubt that you belong right there alongside every other writer in that book. Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations!

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