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I met Bekah through the comment section on my post about Savannah where she left the most amazing comment which turned into a fun conversation. So of course, I had to check out her blog, and I could not stop laughing!!! Her posts are so hilarious, and her writing is phenomenal. (Hello! She was nominated for a Pulitzer!) I am so honored that she agreed to do this interview series, for realsies. 🙂
What is your niche?
I don’t know if I really have a niche, but, if I did, I guess that niche would be me. Truly, it’s a personal blog, so I just write about whatever the hell comes into my head. Sometimes that’s about my suicide attempt. Other times, it’s about fat vaginas. No, seriously, my most wildly popular post to date was about fat vaginas. I know it doesn’t make any sense when you’re just reading it cold here, but the post is pretty baller. I post about so many things: my colonoscopy, that time my husband accidentally pissed on our kitten, that time I worked as a social media content strategist for three psychic cats, that time I found a massive dildo on the side of the highway. So, yeah, some funny stuff, for sure. But I also post about serious stuff: what it’s like to be morbidly obese, what it’s like to be depressed, what it’s like to have a sister who goes to jail for manufacturing meth. I know I’m rambling at this point, but, yeah, no real niche, other than that I try to be honest in all I do.
How do you stay organized?
I don’t. I hate admitting that, but it’s true. For me, this blog is free therapy and continued education. I was a hard news reporter for several years, and I did all these badass things: interview Presidential candidates (Bush Jr. was actually super fun in person), cover murder sprees, attend and report on military funerals, etc. But I decided to quit that beloved gig after my editors told me I couldn’t write a series on race in our community after the KKK popped up and instead sent me out to write about an (admittedly adorable) old lady in an Easter Bunny costume who visited nursing homes. Don’t get me wrong. That lady was everything I want to be when I age. But she wasn’t news. She was a distraction from the real stuff affecting the community. So, I took a break. And I went back to college for a degree in community psychology and public policy. And now I’m getting my stuff together to apply for an MFA in Writing and Publishing. But I still love writing, and I still love addressing topics that mean something to me, so therefore I blog. That’s a long way of saying: I write when the mood strikes. When I have something clawing its way out of me, I sit down, type it up, and hit “publish.” I don’t always know when that’s going to strike. When I first started out, I committed myself to three posts a week. I really need to get back to that. In fact, I need to get back to that NOW.
Okay, so this interview is making me feel like a totally unambitious failure. Again, no, I don’t have a set schedule or system. I just sort of do things as the mood strikes. And, to be completely honest, that’s NOT the best approach. At all. I need to be more consistent. I keep meaning to utilize my editorial calendar. I do have one. I jot down ideas, and then I don’t follow it at all. I keep meaning to use Hootsuite, but I haven’t yet. I’m a failure in this aspect. A complete, total, dismal failure. Sheesh.
Do you monetize your blog?
I don’t. Again, see the above bits about me being a lazy failure. No, for real, though, this is a topic I’ve discussed AT LENGTH with my husband (a legit IT guru), my best friend (a marketing genius), and fellow bloggers (lovely folks, one and all.) The method that I think I would use is Patreon, which is a system where your readers can donate to your continued artistic endeavors. You can also post “premium” content for those who do pay a monthly rate. I am considering this method largely because I have used it to support other makers that I love, and I thought it seemed a super reasonable method. Also, I hate ads on blogs. Let me repeat this: As an avid reader, there is nothing I hate more on blogs (other than narcissistic bad writers) than advertising. I know that’s not a reasonable reaction, but it’s there, and I don’t want people to come to my corner of the Internet and endure something to which I wouldn’t subject myself or my own worst enemy. (Okay, well, Trump. I’d subject Trump to ALL the Internet ads.) As for what’s holding me back… that’s an easy one. Doubt. Lack of self-confidence. I like my stuff. My husband says it’s good. So does my best friend. But, yeah, they’re in my corner. I could literally post a pile of actual dog shit, and they’d be like, “Good work, Bekah,” because they’re supportive like that. So, it’s hard for me to ask people to pay for the hard work of reading my brain drippings. I know I need to get past that. And my therapist and I are working on it. But I’m not quite there yet. That being said, it’s on my list of resolutions for 2017.
What inspired you to become a blogger?
Writing is the heart and soul of my existence. For my job (freelance writer and academic researcher), I write professionally and academically. And while I can write about data points and experiment methods like woah, and while I can take a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo about homicidal pigs and translate it for a general audience, sometimes I need to just sit down and have fun and write about that time I conducted a secret psychology experiment to condition my husband to scoop the litter box. (No, seriously, that was amazing. Using standard psychological principals of rewards and punishments, I got him to routinely scoop that shit AND like doing it, all without even knowing I was experimenting with him!) So, sometimes it’s to blow off steam and have fun writing informally. Other times it’s because I need an outlet. I am a person who needs to write my feelings. Literary Goddess Flannery O’Connor once penned, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I’m that way. When my sister made a false rape claim and sent my family a completely bullshit suicide note, I didn’t know what to think or feel. So I wrote a blog post about it, and somewhere along the way, I figured out how I felt. When it was the anniversary of my prostitute sister’s substance abuse death, I didn’t know what to do, so I wrote a blog post. And somewhere along the way, I healed some part of me. I write because it is how I unlock the key to my life. Sometimes that’s by addressing serious stuff. Sometimes that’s by writing the silly nonsense. The point is this: I blog because I write, and I write because I feel, and it all works out in the end, I think.
Any advice for a new blogger?
Blog for fun. Blog because it makes a part of your soul happy. Blog because it’s what you want to do in your free time. Blog because it is fun for you. That’s my first bit of advice. The second bit is to be undeniably you. I hate generic blogs. I can read generic shit anywhere. What makes me come to your blog is because I see you, your personality, your passions, your fears, your vulnerabilities, your sense of humor, your unique you-ness. And along with that, be honest. Please. Write what is true to you. If that’s about travel, great. If it’s cooking, great. If it’s about your fat vagina, great. Just be honest. Don’t bullshit your readers. They pick up on that. Also, please, for the love of all that is holy, pay attention to your writing. I’m not saying that you need to churn out Pulitzer material. I *am* saying that you should at least work on using proper grammar and punctuation. I’m not expecting you to be perfect or to be Hemingway. But please don’t insult me by mashing it out on your phone and never using the space bar or the comma function. So, let’s see: do it for fun, be you, use basic writing skills. Okay, now here’s the part where I’m going to be a big, fat hypocrite and tell you to have a plan. I got the most hits and the biggest numbers when I was posting regularly (3x a week) and when I was regularly posting on my social media accounts (3x a day for Twitter, 1x a day for Instagram, 2x a day for Facebook.) I’m not saying that you have to be like, “On Monday, I write about that boil I found under my boob. On Wednesday, I write about the election. On Friday, I write about how I got a Bernie Sanders tattoo,” and then, on Thursday, you’re at a coffee shop, and Bono walks in, and he’s like, “Holy crap, lady! You’re gorgeous. Do you mind if I kiss you?,” and of course you say he can, and then you make out with FREAKING BONO and then you come back and say, “Welp, I can’t write about that, because I scheduled myself to write about my Bernie Sanders tattoo.” The tattoo thing can wait, y’all. I want to know if Bono slipped you tongue. So, have a plan. Sure. But be spontaneous, too. If something strikes you and is scrambling through your arm veins and demanding to be typed, let it out. And then write about your Bernie tattoo next week. (Also, and this is not a joke, if you EVER have a question about blogging, shoot me a question. Seriously. Any of y’all. Message me. I LIVE to edit stuff. It’s my jam.)
Any new projects on the horizon?
Well, as it so happens… I’ve been busy lately becoming a foster parent to animals for the local Humane Society! Right now we have a three-legged puppy named Bagel who is recouping from his amputation, and in a few weeks, he’s going to need a good home, so if any of y’all want a little tripod to love on, I’ve got your guy! Other than that, I’m working on a historical fiction novel, my MFA application, and an online magazine called Live Into Beauty, which was founded by a beautiful soul of a friend. We’re always looking for contributors, so there’s that. Oh, and I’m hosting my family’s Thanksgiving soon, and I’m working on meditating more, so I don’t drown my mother-in-law in a vat of gravy, but I don’t think that’s what you meant when you asked this question.
Bekah, thank you so much for taking part in the Blogger Starshine series! I really appreciate you answering my questions, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that you made it through Thanksgiving without a gravy incident.
Check back next week for another #bloggerstarshine interview!