I have a chewed piece of gum on my desk.

The past few months I’ve received a lot of emails, Insta DMs and in-person Qs about my blog. I’ve sorta ~blogged about it~ before, but that was, like, almost a year ago. So, here’s a refresher.

Some of the Qs I’ve been asked are as follows:

  • Why and when did you start it?
  • How can I start a blog? I have so many things I want to write about but I’m nervous to publish them.
  • Where does your inspiration come from?
  • Are you worried about employers reading your blog?
  • LOL remember that time we briefly dated — you should blog about it. 
  • How did you get your following? What are some SEO techniques?

And here’s my favorite one that I get all of the time.

  • Do your parents read your blog? 

I’m going to attempt to answer these questions, but I’m sorta against a typical Q&A format because tbh, it’s not ~on brand~ with the rest of my stuff. So, per usssuual, I’m going to write about this how I write my all of my blog posts: a personal essay about yours truly.

If you’re here for SEO tips, this isn’t the place for you. Sry.

Hold tight, you’re about to see EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEAK BEHIND THE SCENES OF THIS PREMIUM BLOG ABOUT IT CONTENT!!!

Let’s start off with what my desk usually looks like.

IMG_8312.JPG.jpeg You’ll see the WordPress screen, a cup of coffee (well, 3rd cup of coffee), water, a chewed piece of gum, a pen, and a To-Do list. This is what my “desk” usually looks like (minus the chewed gum — I have manners).

I’m at my dad’s house, but the setting where I choose to write always changes. Coffee shops, my couch, the bathroom at a bar five vodka sodas deep. It depends.

What you can’t see (or hear, I guess), is the SSOTWTIHLTORFTPFD (Spotify song of the week that I have listened to on repeat for the past five days). Can anyone relate? It’s Sinking by Jeremy Zucker, in case you were wondering.

I have gotten in the habit of taking my make up off religiously every single night (only took me 24 years), except I haven’t quite mastered the art of getting ALL of my eye liner off. Here’s me in real time — my typical ~blogging look~.

IMG_8325
NO FILTER Y’ALL

Pro tip: The most successful bloggers are always guzzling coffee. This blog isn’t sponsored by Keurig, but tbh, it should be.

So now that you’ve gotten a quick peak into what my life looks like when I blog. Now to the how and why.

I don’t have any real “pro tips” for you about blogging. Truly, I don’t. There are thousands of blog posts out there that tell you about the keys to creating a a high-traffic blog and for those blogs, that’s they’re goal. More traffic.

When I write, I don’t really write for traffic. Yeah, my topics are relatable and when WordPress sends a “You’re stats are booming!” notification, I’m low-key stoked, but you’ll also notice the titles of my blog are never something like, “10 Things Why Everybody Should Drink At Least 4 Cups of Coffee A Day. I’ve Done It And You Should Too.” Lol, #trustory, but you know what I mean.

Basically, I don’t write click-bait.

There is nothing wrong with click-bait. I’m not currently sitting on a blogger high horse scoffing at other bloggers who produce this type of content. I mean, clearly.  There’s currently a chewed piece of gum in my peripheral, who am I to judge?

I’m just saying, that’s not my writing, or I guess “blog” style. So like I said, if you clicked this article looking for tips on SEO or how to go viral, this isn’t the place for you.

Words are a beautiful thing and through this blog, I’m able to experiment with them in a way that is both therapeutic to me and my readers. As much as I write for you, I write for me. It keeps me sane.

I write in an emotional, provocative, stream of consciousness kind of way — as you have probably picked up on. I don’t want to get all sappy and say I ~speak from the heart~ because sometimes I don’t. I let my fingers do the talking — and sometimes it comes out shit. Hence why I have over 450 drafts.

I don’t go into blogs planning what I’m going to write. I don’t believe that inspiration can be pre-determined. For me, it just happens. I experience severe writer’s block like the rest of us and then find myself staring at cappuccino suddenly immersed in an infinite amount of topics and the words flow from my brain to my fingers effortlessly.

The most successful (and profitable) blogs usually have editorial calendars and scheduled posts. They are consistent, reliable and write in a way is “shareable.” I mean, that’s the key to going viral, right?

Not always.

I didn’t build my audience from developing an editorial calendar or sticking to a certain schedule. I built it by sticking to my style — sticking to the style that I know best. My personal “brand” if you will. People come here knowing what to expect – and usually they like it. 

In a way, this website is less of a blog and more of collection of short stories. It wasn’t always that way, though.

Let’s dive into the beginning.

I started this blog when I was a mere single 20-something. Titled Another Chapter in the Book, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the stuff I wrote about is honestly laughable. Check this out. My very first blog post EVER is titled “Trying to Never Figure Out Life” published April 5, 2013. Holy wow.

I tweet way too much, use Facebook for strictly photo sharing and creeping, and Instagram pointless shit while crossing my fingers that the “likes” will get in the double digits. My iPhone battery sucks, and I also hate myself for complaining about first world problems on a daily basis. I like to take chances, make spontaneous decisions, and am always reaching for something more.

I mean, still sorta true except Twitter is dying and if I ever post a picture that doesn’t get into the double digits I’m straight up deleting my Insta out of pure embarrassment. Kidding but not really. 

Then there was this point titled, “Sunshine, you ROCK.” Ugh, Beth.

Shout out to Mother Nature for rocking my socks this week. ‘Tis the season for sundresses, Sperry’s, and sunglasses. I mean, this doesn’t compare to last year, when it was 75 degrees in the middle of March, but hey, take what you can get.

Am I real?????? Can’t be. Also like, #tbt to when I would wear Sperry’s.

Anyways, like I said before, in the early stages, this blog was purely snippets of my every day thoughts. A kewl and new way to write that wasn’t in the depths of a journal page. It didn’t take much effort and I never really put much thought into what I wrote.

Oh, how times have changed. 

So, how did I get here? Couldn’t tell ya. It wasn’t a revelation I had one morning where I was like haaaayyy I’m gunna tell y’all about all of my personal shit. It was like I developed a strange yet invigorating & intoxicating relationship with this thing and then got more comfortable with the types of things I shared.

This “thing” being my blog.

Behind my marble-skinned MacBook and black plastic keyboard I find peace. It gives me a high I can’t really explain. Things that don’t make sense suddenly can turn into a story that I didn’t even know was there.

For all of you that have asked, how do I start?

Watch a 2 minutes WordPress tutorial on YouTube and then write your first blog post. That’s it. 

Not everything you write has to be novel-worthy. It doesn’t have to change the world. It just has to be you. Like any art form, writing takes practice. What you learn through practicing is two-fold. In one instance, you learn more about how to formulate a more compelling sentence, but in the other, you learn how be more comfortable with your mistakes.

It’s like sitting in front of an easel with nothing but a blank canvas, a paintbrush and a plethora of the finest paint and you’re like LOL, I can hardly draw a stick figure thooo???? You don’t wanna fuck up the canvas so you approach it with caution, afraid of messing up the entire thing with one stroke. The more blank canvasses you fuck up, the more comfortable you get with fucking up and then you realize that your new fuck ups aren’t as bad as your old fuck ups. Make sense?

Then suddenly, you wake up and your art is plastered all over the internet! It’s crazy!

All I’m saying is just write. Write for yourself. Develop your own style. The rest will come. Don’t be too concerned with your audience at first, because again you’re writing for yourself, remember?

I know for a fact that there are some people (hopefully not toooo many) who read what I post and roll their eyes and prob screenshot it and send it to their group chat and laugh.

Or, maybe not at all because I’m not that important lolz. 

You guys also ask a lot about my “subjects.” If you don’t know what this means, basically my “subjects” is my ~long list of ex-lovers who hopefully don’t call me insane~.

I actually had one person ask me, “Do you date people so you can blog about them?”

LOL. No. Good Q though.

Like I said, I don’t go into things being like OOMMGGG THIS IS GUNNA BE A GR8 STORY. It just so happens that relationships make really good blog posts. So, then I write about it and you read them. Simple as that. Honestly, I hope one day that I find myself in a relationship that is too boring to write about because it’s so perfect.

But also not really because that’s no fun either. 

I don’t usually ask people if I can write about them because then they ask questions and I don’t want them to ask questions because then it makes me nervous to write about and then story gets all censored and un-fun and I accidentally talk in a bunch of run-on sentences. Know what I mean? I never share revealing details about them, but besides a couple of guys, people actually like being the subject of my blog. Dead serious!

My last ex was angry about the blog post about him. Like, extremely angry. Pretty sure he consulted a lawyer about it too. I mean, there was not really a case there because the truth is always your biggest defense when it comes to writing but trust me, I’ve done my legal research. You should too.

Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t write with the intent to defame or publicly shame anybody — nobody should. I write stories. My stories. My truth. Are there other characters involved? Of course. That’s life, man.

At first I was so timid, so afraid of what people would think. Like, omg what if people think I’m a total psycho?! 

I eventually just stopped caring. I learned to stop apologizing for what I wrote and learned that if my stories are something that turn certain people away, those people were never meant to be in my life in the first place.

Pro tip: If you want to write about dating/exes, gr8. It’s fun. But don’t make it about the other person. Don’t write for them, write for you. Speak on behalf of your feelings and your experiences. The other parties are just characters in your story. You don’t want to create a “bash your ex blog.” Nobody wins and it usually isn’t as compelling of a read as you want it to be. 

I find inspiration in every day occurrences of my life; dude-induced or not. It doesn’t take a monumental experience for my brain to extrapolate a story. I can literally stare at a blank wall and turn it into a string of sentences on a page. Some call it talent, I call it overthinking — something I’m quite good at.

Does my family read my blog? Yes. Believe it or not, my blog posts are actually on my dad’s fridge. My mom’s always the first to compliment them and this Christmas, my cousin’s wife bought me a unicorn mug because of my last blog post. Check the featured image.

So, yeah, they read it — and they support it!

For a while I tried to hide it from future employers, but at this point I consider it an accomplishment. Yeah, maybe the stuff I write about isn’t super profesh but, it’s me.

And I like me.

My posts don’t follow the rules of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. In fact, I’m quite sure that if either one of them awoke from the dead and read one blog post, they would re-pass away due to grammar deficiencies. Pretty sure “lolz” and “fuckboy” aren’t in the Webster Dictionary.

They’re not meant to be grammatically perfect nor attract the most traffic. I used to care more about that stuff but then I realized if I wrote in that way, I’d lose the edge that have been developing since the early days of blogging nearly six years ago.

Pro tip: Develop your edge.

What’s an edge? Honestly, I don’t really know. My professor told me that my writing had an “edge” so I’m holding onto that compliment in the hopes that it some day makes more sense to me.

Not everybody is going to love what you write. Not everybody is going to love the character you create out of them. Some people turn into a whole chapter while some only make it out with a line or two. The beauty of personal writing is that you have complete control over what gets put on the page.

If you want to start a blog, then start a blog. Who’s stopping you?

Don’t write for others, write for yourself. You’d be surprised how many stories you can create out of a seemingly monotonous life. When you master that, your life actually starts to feel much more interesting.

A millennial’s unsolicited career advice.

I feel like I give unsolicited advice all the time. Like, something will happen to me and I’m like YO THIS WORKED FOR ME ONE TIME THIS SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION OR SOMETHING. Most of the time I don’t really know what I’m talking about but I just go with it because I’m damn good at pretending.

Eh, whatever.

So, I’m about to give some unsolicited advice again. Because, I can.

This post is for people who are like me: sorta broke (but ~woke~), sorta lost, and sorta hate using the term “adulting” because you seem to be so damn bad at it. Am I making enough money? Is this the right career move? When’s the last time I got my teeth cleaned? Sh*t rent was due yesterday. I’m broke, but wanna go to Sweetgreen? I only made out with that one dude last night, right? Why did I save a number in my phone as “Justin Tall Blue Shirt?” <—tru story

Grad school is about to begin so on paper, yes, I do have my shit together. But like, it still feels like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Ya feel me? It’s a weird age to be at. 24. Old enough to be considered a “young professional” but not quite old enough to know how the hell people afford a down payment on a home. Falling in between entry and mid-level positions. Might have 2 years of experience, but not 5+. Making decisions with the mindset that “nothing is permanent” yet wondering when you’ll be satisfied enough to make something permanent .

I’m in yet another transition phase. But I feel like I’m always in a goddamn transition phase!!! My life seems to be one big stupid transition!!

I sorta like it though tbh.

Currently, I’m in search for a job that is conducive to my grad school schedule and is the “best next step.” If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you my top priority is a job with benefits, PTO, and a 401k (love ya mom!), which is the “normal” thing to search for, right? Ideally, yes.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been totally rebelling against the “normal” shit to do since the moment I decided to pack my life and move away without a job. I think you already knew that though. The opportunities have been great and moving to this city has been by far the best decision I could’ve made for myself. But now, life is different.

I’m at yet another point where I have to make a big decision. However, my schedule is no longer ~go with the flow~. There’s class. There’s a big re-brand on my blog I promised myself I’d upkeep. There’s a freelance business I’m trying to launch. There’s graduate fellowships and 9-5s to apply to. There’s shit. A lot of shit.

When the hell are you going to stop talking about yourself and give your silly unsolicited advice?

Sorry, sorry. I tend to rant. Again, you prob already knew that though.

So, like I said, I’m back as a free agent in the job world. Unfortunately, I’m no #TB12 so I don’t have people lining up tryna get me on their team. Someday, Beth. Someday. Somehow, I have to make it seem like I’m #TB12 amongst a bunch of Peyton Mannings.

Challenge accepted.

Being totally candid: I HATE COVER LETTERS. Like, ooooooomg do I detest them with a burning passion so deep I can practically feel the flames beneath my fingers as I type. Ok, dramatic. But really, I hate them.

I like writing fun shit. I like using profane words as I please and venting about my daily struggles to you beautiful people. I like wandering around the city, finding the next best coffee shop with overpriced cappuccinos, sitting my ass down in a chair close to an outlet and just writing. It’s what I’m good at.

Companies don’t care about my personal problems–shocker!! But, they also claim to want “personality.” They want cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles that not only prove that you are #TB12 amongst the Mannings, but also ones that provide a breath of fresh creativity and flair that distinguishes you from the rest.

Ok, so you worked at a marketing agency and ran a digital campaign. Cool. So did the next guy. 

I filled out an application for a brand strategy firm works directly with healthcare initiatives and promotes wellness campaigns — sweet! One question was something along the lines of “Write about yourself in 250 words. What makes you unique? Make it interesting!” Ah, perfect. 

Here’s what I wrote:

Hi, I’m Beth. Storyteller, content creator, blogger, and social media lover who lives vicariously through herself. Like every millennial, I love avocado toast, overpriced iced coffee, and Instagram Boomerangs. Unlike every millennial, I’m not afraid to vocalize my ideas, push creative boundaries and take risks.

I have a knack for connecting with people. When bartending, hearing people vent to me about their failed marriages and/or mid-life crises can be a bit much, but in the marketing field, this quality works out in my favor. I like talking to people, and they like talking to me, too.

I believe that we all have a unique story to tell. Combine my ability to take risks, tell stories, and connect with people is perhaps why my 20-year-old brain decided it would be a good idea to start a personal blog in college. Blog About It, a site that once started as a hobby has transformed into a compelling and distinct personal brand that people love to read. To be specific, a tribe of 3.5k people of from all ages, genders, and backgrounds with a consistent readership of over 10k views per month. The whole blog is about yours truly, but the stories still connect to thousands.

Like I said, I have a knack for connecting with people.

Omg stop bragging about yourself Beth. Shush. It’s my JOB to brag in this scenario. Tryna be #TB12 remember?

On top of this prompt, I still needed to submit a cover letter. UGGGGHHH. WHYYYY THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVVERRRR. Ok, sry. #firstworldproblems

We’ve been told time and time again that employers can tell when you send the same generic thing to everyone and just switch up the company name. Guilty as charged.

…but like, it makes it so much easier tho.

I have zero experience in the healthcare industry. Zero. One of the qualifications included having some sort of experience in this field. But I really want this job. Rather the an just writing it off as “WELP, they’re never gunna pick me so f this!!!!” I took a different route.

Let’s tug at the emotional heart strings, shall we? 

After listing my qualifications, skills, accomplishments, experience, blah blah blah I added an additional paragraph at the end.

Healthcare was genuinely never a field I could see myself entering into. My health has always been in check, only heading to the doctor’s for routine check ups. November 2015 was when everything changed. After experiencing months of discomfort, I went to the doctor’s to try and find a solution to the pain I was experiencing. Immediately afterwards, I was quickly and unexpectedly diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. Since then, my interest in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry has significantly increased. I aim to be an advocate and an active participant in the movement towards providing everyone with the healthcare they need.

Boom.

This paragraph is entirely true. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been forced to develop an understanding about the healthcare industry and escape the ignorance towards it. Sorta like politics. 

I may joke about not knowing shit about #adulting, but I do know a thing or two about how f’ed this healthcare industry has become. It only took a few “Oh shit I’m about to be out of medication and my insurance company failed to tell me that my plan no longer supports this brand of insulin so I’m about to be screwed,” type of scenarios for me to understand the complexity and annoying AF industry I’m forced to be a part of on the reg.

Point being, I found a way to connect with this potential employer. I was different in my approach in both writing prompts. I decided to ditch the “normal” boring stuff and hit ’em with some Blog About It type of shit (profanities and ex-boyfriends excluded).

In the past week, I’ve applied to about 20 jobs. With most, being honest, I took the lazy route and pulled the “Marketing Cover Letter” document from my Google Drive and switched up a few words. How many have gotten back to me?

One. That “one” was the company I just described.

Diabetes, you suck usually, but you may have landed me a job! Tysm!!!! 

I feel like I always address the ~haters~ at the end of blog posts saying stuff like, “So, some of you will  read this and think OMFG stop bragging Beth,” followed by a plea to read this from a different perspective. I’m not gunna do that today. Sry.

I won’t apologize for unsolicited advice that I’m not even sure works. Lol.

People may not seem to give a shit about your personal life, especially potential employers. But they do…to some extent. You are, hopefully, far more interesting than overused buzzwords and action verbs. When I started this blog I thought, “nobody’s gunna read this, they don’t care about my problems.” People are nosy AF. They do care. Well, most people.

Like I said in my writing prompt, we all have a unique and compelling story to tell. Sure, we all may be in this weird stage of existing as “young professionals-yet-totally-not-professional” but I think that there’s a lot to extract from that.

You can sorta broke and still be woke (Are you sick of me saying that? Because I’m totally not). You are marketable beyond the bullet points on your resume. Employers should know that. After all, they are hiring you and not the thesaurus you totally used to see how many ways you could say “created” or “developed.” I see you.

You don’t have to have diabetes or a blog (just lol’ed at this part of the sentence idk why) to tell a story. We all have our kinks and hobbies that aren’t “resume worthy” but still can be spun into making you the ~super profesh~ G.O.A.T that you are–or at least gives the illusion that you are. Nobody likes generic or boring…well I definitely don’t.

Ok, done giving my unsolicited advice. Good luck y’all. I’m about to text “Justin Tall Blue Shirt” and ask him on a date. Jk.

 

Powerful Women Project: Amanda Nelson

The response I received on this post prompted this project: the Powerful Women Project. At times I feel unsure of the choices I make, the life I’m choosing to live at this point, the guys I choose to spend my time with, etc. I’m supposed to have a corporate job with benefits, a steady relationship, an overall “handle” on adulting (at least that’s how society makes me feel). Continue reading Powerful Women Project: Amanda Nelson