Get a job, bloggers!

Earlier this week, I got a sneak preview of the Lisa Belkin article about mom bloggers running in today’s New York Times Magazine: Queen of the Mommy Bloggers. The reference, of course, is to Heather Armstrong of Dooce, although quite a few other writers are mentioned in the piece.

I read the piece as a fascinating look at someone who has been able to turn the craft of memoir into a living, and the good and bad that comes with that. It’s about the balance between art and commerce, privacy and publicity, truth versus poetic license. Basically, the kinds of things that all bloggers–all memoirists–struggle with to varying degrees.

I thought it was an interesting piece.

Then I had the misfortune to read the comments.

Click on the “reader recommendations” tab for an enlightening look at misogyny, hatred, sanctimony and misplaced anger that maybe we should be used to by now.

I don’t get it. The blogs are not interesting, and I just don’t feel that any of the bloggers have profound or insightful or even amusing things to say.

I doubt if Heather Armstrong would be so successful if she were less physically attractive.

The blogs are not interesting because the subject isn’t interesting.

You can find me at work where I am putting that hard earned Ivy Degree degree to good use as an attorney in a fabulous legal department with interesting challenging work and great co-workers. I can also be found at home spending time with my family making dinner etc.

PLEASE PLEASE stop with the coverage of these silly, narcissistic pseudo-writers. These “blogs” are the reason that civilization is doomed. These women aren’t writers! They are marketers exploiting their families, their privacy and their ideals (or lack thereof).

Rather than sit by a keyboard, I suggest trying to get out more or God forbid, get a job. 

You get the drift.

And then I came across the most interesting one of all, in part because of the number of people who recommended it:

I’d much prefer mothers and women become successful because of actually achievements [sic], not because of some amusing dribble [sic] they wrote on their blog.

So there you have it. “Heather in Toronto,” has determined which successes are acceptable for mothers, and which qualify as actual achievements.

(Judging from her other comments on the Times, “Grammarian” is probably not high on the list.)

Here’s the thing, oh mom blog-hating denizens of the internet: Writers write because we are writers. That’s who we are.

If I were a scientist I would do scientist-y things. If I were an artist I would be doing artist-y things. If I had one iota of physical ability I would be doing sports-y things. But what I am is a writer.

I have written about high school dramas. I have written about relationships. I have written about advertising. I have written about food.  I have written poetry and screenplays and books. I have written about politics and war. I have written about girlfriends and frienemies. And then, when I had children, I wrote about motherhood.

When I was a freshman in high school, I was a dancer. Not a great one, but a pretty good one. As I started to decide what to be when I grew up–because David Bowie’s girlfriend was off the table– I weighed some kind of career in dance (choreographer? teacher?) with some kind of writing career. When I laid it out side by side, I asked myself: Would you be okay if you never danced again? Would you be okay if you never wrote again?

My friend Lisa remained a dancer. She is a dance therapist to this day and would probably die if she couldn’t dance. Me–I knew I could never give up writing.

So here I am.

And you know what? My story is no more or less valid than any other mother’s here on the web.

If you have never written in your life, if you have never so much as picked up a pen to write anything besides a high school paper and a grocery list, but you have now found your bliss through a blogging platform, you have the right to be here. You have the right to find success with it. You have the right to feel the joy that comes with hitting publish,  the satisfaction that comes with connecting with a community, and the thrill of, every so often, reading a comment that says, thank you. Thank you for writing this today. I needed it.

Anyone who says otherwise is, frankly, an asshole.

I accept that what I write about is not for everyone. But then, there’s plenty of writing out there that is not for me. Funny how that works.


126 thoughts on “Get a job, bloggers!”

  1. THIS. I guess that the majority of the world doesn't consider blogging a legitimate type of publishing. We are artists and this is our canvas.

  2. Well said! I thoroughly enjoyed the article in the Times and thought it was well written.

    I will never understand why so many people hate blogging and think it's stupid. If I were a better writer, I might blog too.

  3. Thank you.

    As someone who has written all her life, to whom writing is as natural and life giving as breathing, thank you.

    If I didn't have a blog, I'd be writing somewhere else. The truth is that years ago, carving out an area in the writing world was hard. I didn't know where to start, who to talk to, what to do. Blogging has connected me with the right people, showed me that there is a whole community of women just like me, and have learned that I belong here.

    Interestingly enough, I also work in a high school. Perhaps I'm not a lawyer or an ivy league alum, but you know what? I don't care. I work with special needs teenagers, and I love it. People can flaunt their big houses, their fancy degrees, and their so-called high powered lives all they want. Material wealth isn't my measure of success-a long and happy marriage, close relationship with my child, and fulfilled life is what brings me joy. The rest is just details.

    Writing makes my soul sing. That's all there is to it.

  4. Hm, while you have a point Poppy, I'll defend Lisa here. She's a blogger herself, and she's gotten to know a lot of us. I have no doubt that she wanted to write a bigger story about the most successful among us, because it's her world too.

    But I'd love to see a story about dad bloggers. Are there any? (ha)

  5. I love you for this. I mean, I loved you already, but I love you all the more for THIS. Because THIS is perfect. THIS is it, EXACTLY.

    We're storytellers. Some among us use more photographs (see, for example, the divine Karen Walrond) or video; some of us use humor, or commentary, or straight-up memoir; some of us mix it up. All of us, however, are storytellers, and we have just as much right to make a living at it – to be successful at it – to celebrate those among us, like Heather, who have been tremendously, ground-breakingly successful at it – as do the David Sedarises and the Chuck Klostermans and the Garrison Keillers and the Dave Barrys and all the other (MALE) storytellers, the writers and filmmakers and photographers and videographers and WHOMEVERS. We do. We totally do.

    That we still have to argue this point makes me sad. That you did so eloquently makes me less sad.

  6. What most people don't realize is that we don't just blog, we lead full lives AND blog. I thought the article was on point and insightful. I started out blogging to drive folks to my web site, my intentions were originally mercenary. But, found that I loved writing and connecting with so many people. The commanders/haters are missing the boat on this one!

  7. Oh yes.

    I don't write often, and often I don't write well, but I can't not write.

    And my blog allows me to not only write what I want, when I want, but to connect with others doing the same.

    Thank you for writing this!

  8. I am so glad “Heather in Toronto” spoke up. For the last four years, I have been struggling to find a way to contribute to society. I've been putting my effort into this online thing that no one reads and it's ruining my life. Oh wait, it's not.

    Sylvia Plath would have been a mommyblogger.

  9. YES! This!

    I would write more but I'm too busy doing that uninteresting thing called mothering a newborn:-)

  10. Great post and you wrote thoughtfully about the original post.

    I don't really get why some top blogs are actually so popular. I am guessing because there is a niche for each collective group out there on WWW. The hippy mom who writes about making her own soap isn't my kind of blog, but it turns out that a lot of people want to read her stories about living a la crunchy.

    That being said, I write a blog because I really enjoy the writing process. I like to keep an open record of my travels through motherhood. I like to connect with other people going through similar experiences. It's okay if not everyone 'gets it'.

  11. This is so well-said. I struggle all the time…ALL THE TIME…with people saying what I do here is not really writing.

    I have my Masters in English. I teach high school and college writing. But somehow, the writing I do is less. Because it is on the internet and not in a scholarly journal. Because it is about my PPD and my anxiety and my miscarriages and my self-doubt as a mother, and not about the latest pedagogy or best-practice strategies in teaching.

    We write online because we can. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it. But don't say it isn't writing.

  12. I agree, well said! I pay no attention to the mom-blog-haters. I love writing and always have. Like you said, I accept that my writing is not for everyone. But I will not be discouraged. Especially when I am so lucky to have the amount of encouragement I do.

  13. Get a job? I already have three, thanks. AND I blog. Not a big blog, but there it is. If you don't think it is interesting- go do something else. Robert Louis Stevenson was a genius: “The world is full of such a number of things, I think we should all be as happy as kings.”

  14. Oh and I should point out, I'm not an Ivy League alum. I'm a Seven Sisters one. Why is that such a big deal for so many commenters at the Times?

  15. It's my opinion that giving those people a soapbox is unfortunate…without a platform, the haters are just people who rant.

    The truth is that just like there's good and bad art, and good and bad lawyers, there are good and bad bloggers.

    The great thing about freedom is that we can all do as we wish. It's the people who read who make the choice on how successful something is.

    I agree that blogging is no different than the many autobiographical pieces that are written everyday. And they are certainly more interesting than the train wrecks called reality TV that people watch all the time.

    Just saying

  16. What really bothers me about those comments is what you touched on toward the end of your post – that those of us who were not previously writers, let alone confident in our ability to tell a story that anyone else might be inclined to read, could be dissuaded from exploring blogging for fear of being looked down upon in such an unfair manner.

    I liken it to my non-athlete history, which I've turned on its head in the past few years. Why not try something new? You might actually turn out to be pretty good at it! And even if you aren't, if it gives you pleasure, that's reason enough to pursue it.

  17. I just honestly don't get the vitriol. I understand being jealous — I'd love to work in my home office, with my husband, an assistant and a relative providing childcare. But, that's pure and simple envy and not hatred in the least!

    Then the whole get a real job thing is confusing, because, isn't people making jobs for themselves the whole point of capitalism and entrepreneurship and all those things we're always being told are fabulous? They're supporting themselves! They have employees! They freed up a job or two or three for other people to have.

    And if you don't like someone's style, views, ways of writing, well, that's pretty simple to solve. There are many many many things on the internet that I don't visit or read at all.

  18. Very nicely said! Sometimes I don't think of myself as a writer these days because I'm not getting published or earning money from it right now (just blogging for the moment), but writing even just my blog is a little life raft of “self” that I cling to even as I feel like I'm drowning in motherhood and have left my past life behind.

    Let's hear it for blogging and bloggers, especially for the community of “mommy bloggers.”

  19. I get similar hate for expressing my inner most thoughts on the two sites I blog for. Going against the current on a public platform such as a blog is tough and takes courage; being 'out there' takes guts, and is more noble than hiding behind comments with made up usernames.
    Whether real or perceived, making a positive contribution to someone's day, or even helping make a difference in some cases, is reason enough to endure these narrow-minded criticisms. Thanks for standing by and speaking up for bloggers.

  20. I am overwhelmingly grateful mom blogs exist. I am sustained and buoyed by the writing.
    Your words keep me going.
    They expand and elevate my reality. I support a family by writing in print. My circumstances are such that I cannot blog much, although I think it is a transformative means of self expression. The stuff of hearts and souls.
    It is enough for me to read the words of mom bloggers. Such stories and talent and magic! I consider the writing I have discovered in the blogosphere to be a life gift. Thank you.


    Pam @writewrds

  21. I don't get the animosity…most of us wrote in journals/diaries, letters, and then email for 20 or more years before the platform of “blogging” came to be. Maybe we submitted articles to periodicals here and there when we thought we had a story worth sharing.
    Transitioning to a platform that puts more eyes with previously private words just makes sense. I don't see animosity for musicians who put their music on itunes and their videos on YouTube to try and get their art in front of more eyes and ears. No one's telling them to go back to garages and high school dances (or if folks are, it's not to the degree that they do for writers online). Why hate on people who do what they're passionate about doing, just because they're now able to do it publicly?

    I don't foresee my ever trying to make a living writing, but I'm glad to be able to put some words on a screen from time to time, and I'm even more glad to have been able to forge some friendships over the past few years with others who enjoy the same. While last night's steak dinner would have been delicious alone, sharing it with 10 bloggers I'd otherwise have never met made it perfect.

  22. Great post.

    I always wonder who is standing next to those commenters, holding a gun to their head, making them read pieces on bloggers, or- worse!- read the blogs they hate so much.

    I think a lot of the mommybog hatred comes from our society's conflicted feelings about mothers. There is still a strong undercurrent of feeling that any mother who admits to not loving every single moment of motherhood and/or who is not willing to completely subsume herself into her kids is somehow not a good mother. I think most people know that they shouldn't think that, and probably even don't think that they believe that, but still have the cultural baggage inside. The conflict between what they believe intellectually and what their cultural baggage is saying to them is uncomfortable. So they get angry at the people who bring that conflict to the surface- which right now, is mostly bloggers.

    Or maybe they just need a hug. It could be that, too.

  23. I fail to see how the fact that I blog is any skin off of anyone else's ass. Honestly.

    I don't expect everyone to read what I write, or enjoy it, or agree with it. But to suggest that I'm bringing about the end of civilization as we know it feels a little over the top. When did I gain so much power? And why is it only mothers who blog who are such a danger to us all?

    As a feminist, I really hoped we would be past the idea that mothering is useless by now.

  24. @Cloud

    Your comment is AWESOME.

    I don't get at all why the animosity. No one would object if I wrote in a journal, with the intention of turning it into a book. So why is the act of expressing ones self on line something that brings up so much hatred? I don't get it.

    Beyond that, I think that a lot of blogging about parenting is bringing to the mainstream some very important conversations about a whole range of social issues. This community of parenting bloggers can have a big impact if we work together– and that is meaningful to me.

  25. I do wish that as a group, we would stop degrading other women for making choices that are different than ours. I am often shocked at the hatred and vitriol thrown at women who write about their lives online. If they don't want to read blogs, then they shouldn't, but surely they realize that no one is forcing them.

  26. I don't take the negative comments seriously. If you posted one word–say “Yellow”– I'll bet that by the 10th comment someone will have something negative to say and challenge your taste and capacity to choose anything.

  27. The problem is because everyone thinks they can “write” because of course it's so “easy,” anyone who makes a living at it can't be doing anything special.

    Thanks for your very important rebuttal.


    I thought the article was brilliant and interesting (I would have even if I wasn't a Dooce reader), but reading those comments (that I hadn't read until today), I was very disappointed.

    I think the last point you made in your post should be followed by all those commenters – if you don't like it, DON'T READ IT. It's that simple. Don't go one step further and start to slander (sorry, libel) the blogger/writer/HUMAN BEING on top of it.

  29. We're the reason society is doomed. I can't even be insulted, this is so beyond ridiculous. It's quite hilarious, really. If you don't like us, don't read us. Do us the favor.

  30. Great post. You said it perfectly! I couldn't agree more, and it makes me so sad to see that people posted comments like that on the article! The world is full of ignorant people, and I guess you have to chalk such comments up to nothing more than ignorance

  31. (delurking) I thought the article was awesome. Here is a woman (since it was mostly about Heather) who is making a career out of what she loves. Isn't that what the “self help”/business/entrepeneur books tell us … do what you love and the money will follow?

    I am pretty sure I am preaching to the choir here but … for decades we (women) have been putting up with the “glass ceiling”, unequal pay for more than equal work, etc and finally someone is successful while she can stay at home, be a mom, and a wife … and all people can do is sh*t all over her (them).

    While I have a blog, it is mostly for my friends and family so they won't bug me about keeing them up-to-date on my life. I do not blog because I like to write. I'm an accountant by profession, even in my “off” time I prefer Excel to Word.

    This country was founded by people who were trying to avoid persecution … now more than 200 years later we are the ones doing the persecuting.

    I'm not sure what I wrote made sense, but thanks for being part of the positive force out there and being happy for Heather's success. I know I am!

  32. You wrote: “My story is no more or less valid than any other mother's here on the web.” Actually, I think it's no or more less valid than any other person's on the planet. I can't think of very many people who don't have a story to tell, so what's wrong with telling it? The fact that no one might listen or care shouldn't matter.

  33. This makes me sick to my stomach.

    I get more connection with other mothers and women from blogs than i do my real life. It's HARD to get out with two small children and a limited income, and a PT job that seems to allow me free time completely opposite every other mother's schedule. I am deeply grateful for the writing that you do, and that so many other women do. I'm deeply grateful to be able to do a little of it myself.


    Don't tell me what I can do.

  34. Liz.:)
    I was thinking the other day about all the different black and white composition books I've left all over the country, in care of various friends or strangers. Of the poems I started banging out on my mom's old selectric typewriter when I was 7. Of how, whenever I'm about to hang up the phone with a friend, there's always a “oooh wait wait, one more thing…and it's always for a story.

    Now, most of that happens on the blog. But if the blog weren't there, it would still be happening. Just like it always has, becaiuse that's how I make sense of the world, and that's what burbles forth from me.

  35. Amen, sister (Liz), and amen sisters (all these comments upstream).

    I appreciate your drawing the hard, clear line between vitriol against women empowering themselves to write online, and vitriol against women, period. The domestic sphere in particular was the last place we (women) were supposed to be sequestered, and here are all these women UN-sequestering themselves. With no one's permission! The impertinence!

    I also like Cloud's hypothesis: could stem from undigested mother-hatred in particular. Or a welter of conflicted feelings about mothers, motherhood, and disobedient women. Women's writing about these subjects in public — and without the filter of a publishing company's editor — is stirring up something. Good: that's one of the measures of powerful writing.

    Thanks, all.

  36. Amen. What do those sanctimonious commenters have to say about bloggers that DO have a job? Huh?? Can I give it right back to them? Because not only am I brightening up the world with my blogging (delusions of grandeur, I may suffer from), but I'm also 'contributing to society'.

    2 Me: 1 them.

    What a load of garbage. If they're not interested in it, then they don't have to read it. Clearly, many people ARE interested.

    Heck, I'm not even a mom and I'm interested in a lot of 'mommy bloggers'.

  37. @ Muskrat – Good point about the musicians and artists trying to make it on youtube. But I bet there is a similar attitude towards them from these anti-blog folks. For sure, there's tons of crap on youtube, but there are some amazing people contibuting in their own way, too. Visit aokay19's channel and I promise you won't be sorry.

    Whether an artist, a writer, a musician, etc, having a way to pusblish and share work is a driving force for the performance. When I taught elementary writing, each project always had a “writing celebration,” where we shared our writing. It drove the students to think of themselves as worthy of an audience, and it made their writing better, too. Having an audience helps me channel my writing – keeps it from sounding like some terrible dear diary. Gives it purpose.

    And oh, BTW, the honesty of mommy bloggers has changed the way I look at motherhood. It helped me fight through my PPD, and I truly think it makes me a better mom. I like how they are keeping it real, and I find now I have more honest conversations in real life with my mom friends because it was set as an example for me online.

  38. I step away from my computer and come back to way too many amazing comments that I want to respond to.

    @Sluiter Nation I relate. I feel like my professional writing is more valued by society, and yet…you know. It's ad copy. Whee.

    @Muskrat I'd imagine if those artists were including their children in their art, they'd be getting crap too. Maybe not as much, but I think memoirists are often seen as selling out the people in their lives for money.

    @Cloud Great observation as always.

    @Postpartum Progress. Yes and yes. Thanks for calling that out. Every story matters to someone. If only to the person who's writing it. That may be enough.

    @Polly I learn from you always.

  39. Good points — it's ironic that Dooce has built a living off people hating her (in the article Jon is quoted as saying that the backlash from the Maytag thing is the biggest thing, traffic-wise, that she's ever done). Of course many love her, too, and I think she's a good writer and storyteller.

    The only thing that bothers me about the culture of mommyblogging is illustrated by your first sentence, where you lead off by telling us you not only read the NYT article, but that you got a sneak peak. That establishes your credibility to speak on the topic, perhaps, but it also sounds like name (experience?) dropping.

    Perhaps all job environments are like that, with people carefully staking out and guarding their territory, but it's my least favorite part.

  40. My initial response to the news article and news blog comments is “NEVER EVER NEVER READ THE COMMENTS” because they're full of uneducated, narcissistic people who just want to be heard because they're lacking something in their own lives. But then I think, those people are actually out there in the world. They actually think these uneducated, narcissistic things about other people.

    It's not just bloggers against whom they are lashing out; it's anyone and anything that gets the attention onto which they can latch.

  41. Jane, everyone who reads the Times online got a sneak peak. Not just me. It was only printed in the Style Section today, but it was posted online on Wednesday and promoted to a press/blogger distribution list.

    Here's where I tweeted about it four days ago:

    I mentioned it because I wanted to point out there was a gap in time from when the article was posted, until today when I realized the comment section had blown up.

  42. I couldn't agree more! Just because you write for your own publication and not a well known one does not make you any less of a writer with a JOB!

  43. as this has gone on over the last few days, i have found myself sad about it all… sad about the negativity, sad about the lack of acknowledgement for what heather armstrong has done BOTH in terms of her writing, her self-healing, her family life.

    personally, i'm grateful for her. i'm grateful for her voice.

    so then i got over being saddened by it all and gave the haters my middle finger.

  44. Well, I'm a lawyer, I can occasionally be found making dinner for my family at home and I still blog.

    This is why I no longer read the comments to any news articles online. Too many people use anonymity to be assholes.

  45. Nasty commenters lash out because of their own ugly hearts. The ugliness they spew is a reflection on who they are and less about the topic they attack.

    Those comments are simply a window on the souls of a very few. It's not about her, it's about themselves.

    As we say in the South, “Bless their hearts. They are just pitiful.”


  46. Thanks for sticking up for all of us who write!

    For the life of me, I just can't understand the vitriol directed at these female bloggers. Sure, the subject matter they write about might not be of interest to everyone. And I'll grant that their writing, and sometimes even word choice might not be everyone's cup of tea. But the way I see it, if you're not interested, or if you're offended, don't read it!.

    All of these women have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are. And they have done that by doing something that they love. This should be celebrated, not attacked. To begrudge their success is small minded. How can we, in this economic climate, do anything but congratulate people who manage to build a successful business, generate income, employ others, and contribute to the American economy? That's exactly what these bloggers are doing. Any anger directed towards these women is misguided.

  47. Better to be a blogger “without a real job” than a commenter who says nasty things on blogs.

    Your response was great!

  48. No doubt. I could make fun of several other types of socializing/hobbies/life styles that I find of little value because they don't appeal to me AT ALL, but I keep my polite little mouth shut.

    It's too bad not everyone follows that same path.

    It's also too bad that so many people who “hate blogs” took the time to read an online article ABOUT a BLOGGER. You'd think that THEY'D have something better to do with their time, eh?

  49. Never read the comments on a major media site. Never never never. For the life of me I don't understand why these news sites bring out the crazies like nothing else. I suspect that it is, as someone already commented, because these generally ignorant and angry people have nothing significant or no one listening to them in their lives.

  50. I guess the best part of reading blogs is that if you don't like it, you don't have to read it. Which is exactly what all of those negative commenters you were talking about should do (or refrain from doing).

    I have been impressed and inspired by many blogging writers.

  51. I thought the NYT article was great. I didn't take time to read through the comments at all.

    Your post is dead on. We can all write, provide a service, and just “be” online because we can. I get more satisfaction doing what I'm doing now than sitting at Corporate combing through acquisition documents.

    Being a blogger and business owner is what I was meant to do. My experience as a mom is what facilitated it and prepared me for it, not my college degree.

  52. I wonder, and maybe I'll have to even do some research but do people go and comment on sports related blogs, articles or whatever about how athletes should go get real job? I wonder this because professional athletes make craploads of money but only a very very small portion of people who love to play grow up to make that kind of money. But some people find sports painfully boring, do they sit around leaving comments about how athletes should go get real jobs because what they do is boring? Or do people rip on the guys who go to the park district and pla for fun becuase they love the game and the time with others who enjoy it? I mean, maybe there are people who do, and 8 just don't know it. But I don't understand why people feel the need to take time to comment about how dumb they think things are. I truly believe the only real reason con be jealousy. Those people wish they were smart enough or brave enough to make a real living doing something they truly love.
    As a mom blogger who spends more than she makes from blogging, I sometimes gets small twinges of envy but if I'm honest I know that Dooce and others like her are great at what they do and yes I do beieve there is some luck involved but there is a LOT of skill.
    But I say keep bringing the haters because the only thing they really do is bring our community closer together as we fiercely defend each other!

  53. so I'm watching the Oscars and here comes an ad…for a RAZOR. Being hawked by none other than Jennifer Lopez (because you know, she's really in need of the money) – and the final shot is of JLo romping on the beach. WITH HER KIDS. Does that help sell razors? Um, no. Let's suggest that THIS ad is an example of “exploiting your kids.”

  54. Ugh, I hate negative people. I had someone tell me that she wished she could be a mom blogger & sit on her butt all day, write & watch cartoons…uh…I don't think so.

    Great post! I read that article, should have checked out the comments…acutally…now I'm glad I didn't.

    Tweeted this!

  55. A good life is pretty relative, wouldn't you say? The world could certainly use a few less haters. Thanks for the post.

  56. But I'd love to see a story about dad bloggers. Are there any? (ha)

    Ok, I'll bite.
    A Father Describes Parenting

    Seven years of blogging and I am one of millions of dads who write. We don't have as much drama to write about as moms.

    On a serious note, I relate to what you said about being a writer because that is who I am.

    I was a writer long before I became a husband or a father. Words have carried me through every personal challenge and or triumph.

    My blog is a trusted friend and confidant and I am grateful for it. If people don't understand that, it is their loss.

  57. Huh. After reading those comments, I finally see the light. Four years of this goshforsaken blogging and what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Nothing at all.

    Nothing …except for this ashtray …and a published book, but nothing else …other than the paid writing gigs … and a part-time job with full-time money working from home …and an actual relationship with my children and, and the chance to help others …and several really close friends …and not being beholden to corporate America …aaand living my dream as a writer. But other than that blogging has gotten me nothing. Nothing at all.

    Good golly Miss Molly did I get it wrong. Years wasted. Makes me wanna punch my monitor. *sigh* Well, time to delete my url and put that big degree of mine to work serving fries or juggling in a carnival. I feel so disillusioned.

    – The Jerk

  58. Thank you Liz — thank you for so perfectly expressing the rage and frustration we writers and bloggers feel when ignorant people hurl such insults at us.

    I can't even imagine how such people are able to think such ridiculous, self righteous thoughts, let alone type them out. WHY on earth is my work not work, is my writing not writing?!?

    I have written since I was eleven years old. Writing has been a part of my professional life since my first pay check.

    If we are going to determine the value of people's chosen professions — ay yi yi… Watch out lawyer b-tch. Your profession doesn't shine too brightly some days!

    That is the closest I have ever gotten to swearing online. Wow. I really MUST be mad!

  59. I for one am glad you haven't ever stopped writing or sharing your opinions. It's a richer (and sillier) world because or your drivel (oops, I mean contributions).

  60. I, too, read the comments. It's amazing how threatened some people are by women writing and sharing their experiences.

    My one regret about blogging is that I hadn't discovered it earlier. It would have made some very difficult phases of parenthood a lot more bearable with virtual company.

  61. My next book: The Five Comments Internet Assholes Leave On Blog Posts

    1) This is so stupid.

    2) This just shows why Obama is so stupid.

    3) Things have been stupid since Roe v Wade.

    4) American Idol is stupid.

    5) First!

  62. Thank god for Mom Blogs! That's how I've acquired some of the most important tools in my mommy belt. It's also how I document the little but ever-so-important moments of my kiddo's life. Writing it all out in a journal takes too long and makes my hand hurt.

  63. I am not a writer. I am a mother and am grateful to read the blogs of mother writers. They remind me that I am part of a whole. A community of mothers raising children, keeping a house, a partner, and a job. You Mother Writers give me a voice, make me laugh and sometimes bring tears to my eyes (especially you mom-101). Thank you. To those negative NYtimes Mag commenters who are not Mother Writers, you are Mother F@#*ers.

  64. As usual, you nail it. I didn't see that article, thank God, but I do struggle at times with the validity of what I do. And yet, when I get those Thank You comments, it's all worth while.

    And so I say to you, from the heart, Thank you for writing this today. I needed it. 🙂

  65. I write a blog. But I don't write it because I am a writer. I write because I am a cook. Oh, and because writing helps me. Oh, and because reading blogs helps me. So I thought I'd help too.

    I just want to say one very important thing, that will probably get lost in this comments section:

    Before I was a mom, I read books. I read books and websites and I felt lost and hopeless and completely green. Since becoming a mom, I discovered the mommy blogs. And you know what? Any new mom I meet now, I point them toward mommy blogs. Because you all talk about the real stuff. That breastfeeding is hard and its ok to use formula. That you are not the only one who has PPD, and there are people there to help. That we all yell at our kids and subsequently hate ourselves for it. That its ok to just be exhausted. That wanting peace and quiet does not mean you don't love your kids. That its perfectly normal and ok to have heartache to see your kids when you're out with friends. That sometimes fathers are better than us and we feel awful. That sometimes, we are alone and fathers do nothing. That working from home, staying with our kids, working out of the home are all viable options because we're all doing it because we love our kids.

    Yes, this is the most important thing I've learned reading mommy blogs. We all love our kids. No matter what. And isn't that what we all need to hear? None of us are perfect, and I NEED the mommy blogging world to remind me of that.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I don't understand why these people don't consider what we do as real work. I put time, thought and energy into what I write. My blog is my venue.
    Is it because we don't have a “boss” telling us what to write or qualifying what we write? I don't need someone else to tell me what I am doing is approved. I have written and edited as a profession..where I went to an office and got paid to write what others told me to write. It was not nearly as fulfilling for me. I ,like you, have always written. It IS who I am. Taking away my ability to put words to paper would be like cutting out my heart.
    I don't see who we are hurting. Heather is not infiltrating their homes. Why can't they just be happy for her success. IT's such a hard industry to actually make it into, where you are actually paid in money and not just kudos and friendship (though they are a couple amazing perks). It's like winning lottery. I suppose those who criticize are either knowledgeable or jealous that she is making her living doing what she loves.
    Haters can suck it! Viva la Bloggers!

  67. Great article! I can't imagine why people would be resentful towards writers who have found this wonderful way to express themselves and to support one another, too. I just started a blog on our Maine Arts Camp website, and I am so excited to be part of the blogging community. I'm also a freelance writer and a mom with grown children. If blogging had been an option when my kids were young, I think it would have been a wonderful, healthy and productive outlet for me. Keep up the good work, everyone!

  68. Amen, sister!

    We write because we enjoy it and we want to. I'm trying to find a way to make writing a paying career for myself because I love it. Blogging has made writing much more accessible just like ebooks have made publishing more accessible.

    Let the haters hate. I hated my office job for 10 years before I was laid off. I didn't realize I had a choice until then. Maybe they don't either.

  69. Thank you for writing this. Blogging has led me on so many journeys in such a quick time. I have developed a passion for writing and it has become my outlet. Some people will never understand that and we will continue to have to defend ourselves. Thank goodness we have such a strong blogger community to do it though.

  70. Great post, as usual, Liz. We live in such a partisan me-centric world and time. If it's not about me, interesting to me, validating me (and my personal choices), then it is drivel. Nobody wants to see reality. They want it scultped, and painted to suit the general audience. I understand the packaging and mass marketing of products, but not of people. How boring that makes us.

  71. It's funny how the very people who lambast these bloggers are also the ones reading the blogs. Do they not see the irony?

    Just found your blog and love your voice. Keep at it so I know I'm not alone!

  72. Which is precisely why we (on our site) work hard at providing content and not just drivel. Our stories and interviews are well written, researched and include more than just photos. We pass on breaking news from AP that are fun to know/read.
    So..perhaps we need to move on from looking for great mom 'bloggers' to interesting mom 'writers'. I've come across a lot of the latter too!

    Have a wonderful day everyone!

  73. @Lulu I guess my point is, who's to say what is “drivel?” If you're a personal blogger, you don't need well-researched stories and breaking AP stories. You just need your own. You seem to be implying that those are somehow inferior to what you do. I'd argue that there's room in the blogosphere for all of us. Maybe those personal stories matter to someone.

  74. You know why I started my mommy blog? Because I was a successful creative director at an ad agency for twelve years before I came back from maternity leave for my first child and got LAID OFF. And you know why my ad agency was having lay-offs? Because clients were refusing to pay big money for national advertising campaigns when they could pay much less money to spread the word by using people like mommy bloggers.

    I then I learned I was supposed to be writing all along.

  75. I actually really liked that post. I don't intend to read the comments on it though. I'd have a better time punching a spork into my eye.

    I am with you. I write because I need to. My writing may not be great. I write whatever is on my mind in the moment. That's the joy of having a personal blog. However, it's like breathing for me. It becomes a need. When I stop, because I feel like I shouldn't talk about this or that? I start to get all anxious. Writing is in my heart and it makes my heart happy. That's enough of a reason for me.

    I wish, just for once, that people wouldn't read something if they don't like it. Instead of reading the same blog for years and hating on it non-stop.

  76. Thank you for writing this!

    I blog and I suppose that makes me a writer, but if I never wrote again and had another creative outlet – I'd be ok.

    Does it matter if I am driven to write, am dabbling in writing, or am supporting my family with writing? No.

    The point is that in America at least, we have the freedom of speech and expression. Blogging is one form of expression, at which some people have made quite a good living.

    Who cares what the motives are? Don't read it if you don't like it! And if you are so disgusted with bloggers then why are you reading an article about bloggers in the first place?

    These types of comments and hatred toward ANY group of people really disturb me. Where is tolerance and to each his own?

    Why do we feel as a society we can judge and condemn others for their choices that harm no one?

    Thank you for letting me rant. Phew, glad I got that out! 🙂

  77. I'd like to be the nearly 100th person to love this post. I really liked the article and I refused to read the comments because I've made that mistake before.

    I'll also “like” @mamikaze's comment and add that if Sylvia Plath had been a blogger, she might not have killed herself. Writing is healing and connection with others is a powerful, powerful thing.

  78. I suppose you read the rather negative piece on memoirs recently in the NYT. I see this as just another facet of the quite contemporary-and-still-ageless discussion over what stories are worth telling, and what approval makes something “good.” Well, of course, *every* story is worth telling, although very few are told well — and the gatekeepers for “good” have been in question since Virginia Woolf went on her eloquent and opinionated speeches of “A Room of Her Own” and far earlier than that. Jane Austen's work is full of that undercurrent — is this story worth telling? Is it good?

    where one publishes with a centuries-old press with ancient men's names on the title page, whether or not one makes a million dollars a year for such publication, whether or not a blogger accepts ads or a writer gets Julia Roberts to play her in the movie, the stories that are worth telling will continue to be told and what sets them apart is that they tell the truth (and I say “truth” in the way novelists speak of it — not factual accuracy but something that tells of a real life or situation). the truth may not always appear in the AP story and will very rarely need to be broken. it does not require a press pass or an agent or critical acclaim. you'll know it when you see it, because it will be true for you, too.

    the more sources in which to search out the truth, the better. it's as easy to ignore the awkward or ignorant or not-self-aware writers on the internet as it is in a bookstore or from a guy, standing on a milk crate on a street corner, shaking his fist and shouting. truth will out, and every day I try even harder to avoid the hate (and, while we're at it, the badly-told story).

  79. Fantastic post and great comments (esp appreciated @Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] and @Muskrat). I have nothing to add to the brilliance, other than to share my resolution to avoid reading comments on news sites at all costs. Scary stuff.

  80. You know what's cool about you, Liz? You strike a great balance in your blog. Self-awareness, truth, great stories, insightful opinions. Your voice is so important in this slightly strange medium. You're not just a blogger – not just a writer …. you're a real live person in the computer, connecting and identifying with other real-live people.

    I'm part of the blogging “phenomenon” down here in Australia, even though I've been at it for almost four years. I had a Very Important Meeting yesterday with the global staff of Blogger at the Google offices down in Sydney, where I mentioned you and your blog. You have a clear and powerful online voice, and I get so much out of reading you. Thank you.

  81. To read this particular post was very empowering.

    I have just joined the blogging world, writing has always been an aspiration of mine, but one teen pregnancy and 2 more children later, and I've only acquired a job in childcare, a resulting scholarship to college, and halfways to a degree in Early Childhood that I really don't want.

    I love writing, it is something I cannot avoid. I constantly think in terms of what I will write next. I write articles in my head while I am rocking my children to sleep, washing my hair in the shower, having a boring meeting at work, and washing the dishes late at night.

    Blogging has given me a glorious outlet, and the publish button is something I particularly relish. Its almost like that particular click of the mouse even SOUNDS different. I just shared my thoughts with the world, and it was wonderful!

    Thanks for writing that. I needed to hear that today.

  82. “Dear comments section contributors: if you wish your thoughts to be considered worthy, type them onto good quality business stationery, include your credentials, and then mail that sucker to the EDITOR. If your letter is selected for publication in next Sunday's paper, then I'll listen.”
    That ought to shut them up, no?
    I crack myself up. Really I do!

  83. I was a “writer” before I was a “blogger,” and it was so lonely. Me, my computer, and I (and an editor in Indiana).

    But then I moved my words from a static paper page to a dynamic online…world. And everything changed. My writing became a conversation, one I'm joyfully and gratefully a part of six years later.

    This moment we're in, where people still draw false lines between “real” writing and blogging/tweeting/whatever we're doing, is temporary. Remember the time when the thought of shopping online — as in giving someone on the INTERNET our MONEY — or making friends online seemed absurd? Soon enough the distinctions will dissolve and the vitriol will seem as ridiculous. What won't change — sadly — is the judgment toward mothers who forge a different path. After all, I don't see anyone calling Michael Arrington a “fake” writer.

  84. Perfect, Liz.

    Somehow I'm always left wanting to yell 'WHY?' at my computer. WHY do the people who consider blogging so worthless and more so 'mom bloggers' fraught with unintelligible drivel, constantly the ones to comment and complain the loudest? If I don't have an appreciation for something (or worse, if I detest it), I don't waste the energy worrying about it.

    Like Asha, I was a writer (and good heavens, a talker) long before I was a blogger or a Mother – this online forum has provided me a place to utilize not only the skills I possess, but to truly enjoy what I do: I write, I do video, I work with people I adore and respect, and I'm lucky enough to be around to witness the day to day joy and craziness that my children bring into my world.

    WHY WOULD I NOT CONTINUE? And WHY do people begrudge others that satisfaction with life?

  85. I am not a Dooce reader, but I have to respect what Heather has done as a business person. Same with Ree.

    Some time ago, I wrote a post about how much historians learned from women's diaries and letters, and how that compares with blogging today.

    Cloud's comment is spot on.

    I've always wanted to be a writer, but was heavily discouraged from pursuing the life. I'm also not much of a fiction writer. The funny thing is that I got started writing a blog after years of positive feedback on my semi-anonymous participation in a local message board.

    Sarah Gilbert's comment about the NYT memoir piece made me think about the handwringing over the end of the great American novel. I think the shifting media landscape is changing what gets attention, and what people will spend their time on. Publishing is changing, a major bookstore chain just declared bankruptcy, and the path to paperback isn't what it used to be. Maybe the stories worth telling are not the interminable tomes, but the ones people will actually read.

  86. You are always the voice of reason in this community. Thank you.

  87. What is so interesting about the comments you pointed out is that for the person to have posted them (at least if we are to assume those opinions are informed opinions), they had to be reading the very same blogs they claim are a waste of time and energy. Let's see… A) Wasting time writing something that at least some people enjoy and find inspirational or B) Reading something I find to be a waste of time. Who is it that needs to find something better to do with their time?

  88. You don't need to justify yourself. I appreciate you and choose to read your blog.

  89. Thank you so much for writing this, in particular the last paragraph.

    I am relatively new to blogging, but the whole experience of writing has helped me through a very tough time in my life. And not only that, but all the women who read my blog tell me how much they are inspired when they read it. That's a big achievement for me, to know that I inspire others all over the world.

    If nothing else, I can be proud that I use my online presence to lift people up rather than bring them down.

    Thank you for writing this, you have made me feel more comfortable with following my passion and earning a living through it.

  90. Blog on Mom-101.

    Writing (for some of us) is like oxygen. “Fabulous legal firm” sounds like a nice room in hell…to me.

    One's paradise is another's dungeon.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Much love,

  91. It's curious to me that the women who wrote those comments bothered to read that article at all. . since bloggers have nothing interesting to say. I hate the mom on mom meanness. I seriously hope there are improvements in this department by the time my daughter is old enough to become a parent. Sigh.

  92. These “blogs” are the reason that civilization is doomed. made me laugh. tee hee!

    i read, a lot. i love to read. i write, a little. i don't consider myself a writer. i blog to keep in touch, in touch with family far away, in touch with friends whom i cannot see on a regular basis and in touch with a world which may not know jack squat about me otherwise. perhaps i even blog to survive. i don't care if no one reads my blog (but, i think i would be lonely if i never got a comment!) but if they do, and don't like it, then they can just move on until they find something else they like (there's plenty of pr0n on the net, ya'll!)

    i started blogging because i found myself pregnant in a land foreign to the one i grew up in. that meant family was thousands of miles away and if there ever was a time i needed *my* mom, that was it. through blogging i found a lot of friends who were living in similar–and yet, oftentimes, so different–situations as me. so what if i blog about motherhood and my children? if that's not your thing, no one is forcing you to read it!

    ack! before this becomes a blog post on its own, i'm just trying to say i agree with you. a great article ruined by comments. thank you, internet denizens!

  93. AH! I needed to read this today. Am I a legitimate “writer”? Not really. My degree is not in journalism. But I am a legitimate mom and writing is my passion, my forum, and my talent. I write about the things that are important to me and if you don't want to read it, more power to ya'. I doubt myself every day and wonder why I even bother blogging. Then I go and read something like this and feel like Superwoman. Thanks.

  94. While I'm not a mommy blogger, I do blog about my life, to include parenthood … and there are people close to me who I know see it as little more than self-absorbed, high-tech naval gazing. And that's OK. I write anyway. I have to. So I know exactly what you mean, and I love how well you said it.

    Perhaps we should look at it like this: Writers gotta write, haters gotta hate. Maybe they can't help it any more than we can.

  95. What strikes me about the negative sayers is that they complain as though they are forced to read boring, stupid blogs all day long.

    The thing about a blog is, you don't have to read it! There are other blogs besides mommy blogs, and there is the option to read no blog at all. Why not go that route? Why complain and put down people for doing something that is obviously meaningful for them?

    I don't know…

  96. Isn't it ironic. I love to write too but I don't feel I am GOOD enough to write a blog, and it's certainly not the lack of interesting content that keeps me from it. Thank you for writing.

    On another note, I might die if I never danced again…

    “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
    -Henry Van Dyke

  97. Amen and absolutely. I often refrain from talking “blog” to my in real life friends because I've seen the eye rolls. Then there was the woman who discovered I blog publicly about my family and even review a product or two and said “I would NEVER do that.” If I had it to do again, I might leave the word “mom” out of my blog title, but then again, it's an enormous part of my life. I don't blog instead of living – it's an additional to a full life. I love it and I hope to keep it up indefinitely.

  98. I'm a little late to this, but I had to respond. I was expecting to see more about the article in blogland. Maybe I've been offline too much lately, but yours is the first response I've read. Well done. Thank you. I am a writer, too. I have to write. I blog to write. I write every day in many forms. And why shouldn't I write about motherhood, the single most defining part of me since, well, I discovered I have to write!

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