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So I Guess This Is My Blog Now
Greetings from Ye Olde Internet™
In the proposal for my upcoming essay collection, I included an idea for one titled “101 Domains” about all the brilliant URLs I’ve purchased in my life. That piece didn’t end up in the book because I abandoned it halfway through writing—just like the countless blogs I’ve started and left hanging over the last twenty years.
Yes, that means I’ve been blogging off and on for two entire decades. I built my very first blog in Dreamweaver, a visual HTML product from Adobe. I wanted it to look like BoingBoing did back then and every time I added a new “post” I’d open up Dreamweaver (which took, like, five minutes to load) and manually move all the content down on the page before adding a new entry to the top. Then I’d publish—which was actually uploading a fresh HTML file—via my dial-up internet connection. When I learned about Blogspot (which eventually became Blogger), a new world opened up to me. Posting was no longer A Whole Thing and it was so easy to put whatever random shit was in my brain on the web. Before long, I had loyal readers, and through the comments section, I made friends I met in real life (and still occasionally catch up with via social media).
There was no real point to my blog, but people were reading it and more importantly, I was having fun writing it. Pretty quickly, big sites like Gawker and Gothamist were linking to my posts in their end-of-day roundups and in 2007, I was offered a job as lead blogger of Nerve.com’s pop culture blog, Scanner (taking the reins from the venerated Sarah Hepola).
When I came up for air after two years at Nerve (R.I.P.), the blogging landscape had completely changed. The publishing industry was already gobbling up blogs that promised to make popular books, and the days of directionless personal blogs were over. Every blog had to have a THEME. The problem with theme-centered projects, of course, is that in order for them to be successful, you have to stick with them. And anyone who’s followed my endeavors knows that I get bored easily.
So while I was over here factory farming well-received websites, podcasts, and Instagram accounts (Pyrex & Pennies, Feed Me KC, Festive AF, Mother Mother, the Boozy Bungalow, to name a few) and scrambling to pay my bills, I watched bloggers who started much later than I did go on to make real money from blogging, er, influencing full time. A few even penned back-to-back New York Times bestsellers based on the blogs they were able to just… keep writing.
But that’s not me. I’m every woman. A bitch. A lover. A child. A mother. Clearly, I am also an elder millennial who will forever recite the fiercest 90s lyrics. And I miss the days of writing about whatever’s on my mind and putting it out there for people to read—whether or not that world misses me.
What to expect from Everyday Distractions
Well, that was a very long-winded introduction to this newsletter—which I promise will be all over the place. I will not, however, make any promises about frequency. Or length. Because I don’t want this to feel like an obligation or a job.
I’ll probably (usually) send some really short posts. Maybe I’ll recommend a product or service that changed my life, or ruminate on an article or essay I can’t stop thinking about. I imagine I’ll also start playing with new essays of my own that might not be ready for “real” publication but that I want to share with you anyway. Some weeks, it might just be a round up of articles I’ve written lately. I’m trying to move away from the perfectionism paralysis that’s plagued so much of my career, so I’ll likely treat you to some sloppy typos while I’m at it.
I’m certain all of this goes against Substack best practices. And to be honest, that’s why I’ve been sitting on this name and sign-up link since June of 2021. For more than two years, I’ve been telling myself that if I’m going to put time and effort into a newsletter, I should have a theme and a growth plan. Instead of writing, I’ve been feeding myself that bullshit. But now I’m ready to write.
As I type this*, I’m at a magical writing retreat in Wisconsin where I feel well-rested and nourished because someone is feeding me between generative sessions and I’m so inspired to just fucking write. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to just fucking write. And if you want to read what I’m writing, just fucking sign up.
I don’t want this to feel like yet another job and I’m certainly not doing this to make money, so for now, most of what I write here will be will be free for anyone and everyone to read. That said, a little extra income would certainly free up some brain space and allow me to write more often, so there are some paid options if you’re feeling spendy and want to give me a little financial motivation to keep just fucking writing.
Paid subscriber perks
I’m not going to promise paid subscribers anything in particular (been there, failed at that) except the occasional early or working draft of a personal essay. You’ll also have the exclusive privilege of providing feedback on those (and all) posts in the comments section. But I don’t you want you to feel like you’re buying anything or, like, subscribing to The Atlantic, because you’re definitely not. Think of it more as “supporting Emily’s writing career” or “buying Emily a latte, minus the tip.”
Founding member perks
Hypothetical Founding Members will get the paid subscriber perks plus a personalized signed copy of my upcoming memoir-in-essays, “I’ll Just Be Five More Minutes: And Other Tales from My ADHD Brain” (here’s an indie bookstore link for a not-personalized signed copy) in their mailboxes within two(ish) weeks of the February 6, 2024 publication date. You need to know that I can barely even read my own handwriting, but I’ll do my damn best. I’ll also throw in another fun little surprise, but I’m not quite sure what that is yet.
And no matter what level you choose, I’m just glad you’re here.
Emily from Ye Olde Internet
* I delayed the send because it’s Saturday. Also there’s some really terrible shit happening in the world today [Saturday, I mean]—things I find devastating and awful but nowhere near qualified to comment on. And again, this is not The Atlantic.
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