Way back in the day, I used to write for Dot Moms. It was still a relatively new concept at the time — The Group Mom Blog. I enjoyed it immensely and was sad to see it fade away. I loved memoir-style writing. I loved being part of a community. I did Dot Moms simply because it was so much fun. And I really miss it.
Since then, I’ve come a long way in understanding the business of writing. I now know that, like it or not, internet exposure is crucial to becoming a successful writer. (And by successful, I mean “published.”) So I’ve been taking steps to become more savvy. The main reason I joined Facebook was to network with people for purposes of my writing. The main reason I didn’t just dump blogging altogether (when I became sick of it last fall, quit writing Hundred-Acre Wood and started this one) was because it’s a (literal and figurative) virtual necessity if I want others to take me seriously as a writer. As much as I like to pretend it’s not true, the craft of writing has a business aspect to it just like any other skill. Prospective editors want to know how many hits a post or a website gets. They demand traffic.
After my numerously rejected book proposal last year, I know that I have to find a way to constantly expose others to my writing in order to build a platform. And I need a platform, in order to sell more of my work.
I hate that word. “Platform.” It reminds me of walking the plank off a pirate’s ship.
I’ve written before about my annoyance with pyramid scheme businesses (such as Pampered Chef), and the awkwardness that comes when you have to ask a friend to buy one of your products. But I know enough now that I need to stoop to that level, and if I don’t, I’ll never become more published.
So for a while, I looked into blogging for various websites. When I found mamazine, I was thrilled. I truly believe in Sheri and Amy, and the work they do. There is such a labor of love in that zine, and the stories and poems they publish are powerful and inspiring. I look forward to writing installations of my column there.
I looked at other websites, too, to find regular writing opportunities. But most parenting websites tend to focus on the aspects of day to day parenting, rather than creative nonfiction. Practical, informative writing (such as how to combat potty training) is not my forte. And it bores me to tears.
Two years ago, when I came to Atlanta by myself to look for a place to live, I happened upon a stand outside of a Chinese restaurant holding free issues of skirt! magazine. If you are fortunate to have skirt! available in your area, you know what I mean when I say it’s absolute eye candy. The pages are long, the covers are colorful (usually created by a talented artist) and you feel compelled to drop whatever you are doing to sit down and read it. Which is exactly what I did. I entered the Chinese place, ordered some lo mein, and read it cover to cover.
skirt! is kind of a dream come true for women who love reading creative nonfiction. It is a monthly print magazine written by and for women of mostly personal essays. (And did I mention, it’s FREE?) There is a fun theme to every month’s issues, so all of the essays are built around this theme. I had one piece of mine, entitled “A Taste of India,” published in skirt! in the summer of 2007.
And now, I’m going to be a skirt! blogger! I’m so excited to be regularly writing for this fabulous publication. I’ll be posting about 3 times a week there and writing about various topics. I’ll post links here when I have pieces up, but I’m hoping to still write fresh entries here 2-3 times a week or so. Stay tuned.
I’ve got several other writing deadlines for this month. I like to give myself deadlines, even though I likely have no chance in hell of getting in the publications I’m trying to write for. Call it dumb optimism, but it’s optimism all the same.