Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Five Hundred and One

 Evolution is Strikingly Slow
I've reached a weird new stage of my writing, uh...."career". Probably for the first time, my work is getting some buzz from people who don't know me. I feel like the tadpole writer is starting to grow legs and drag itself up on shore, which is thrilling because the tadpole was starting to feel sort of wretched about itself, swimming circles in the primordial soup and constantly begging friends to 'leave a comment for Godsake so I know you're out there!'

It's important (extremely important! vital! imperative!) to note that I am not talking about this blog, which started acquiring a good following about a year ago, compiled of readers throughout the country who have never met me in person. But this is my personal blog, meaning anyone who reads it instantly loses their title as 'stranger'. The only girl on earth who is invested in this blog's existence is me. Meaning I get to star in it. (Just like Mindy Kaling, who writes for but also stars in The Office. Just like her!) That's how personal blogs work- you just can't read it and not be aware of who writes it.

I'm also not talking about print magazine articles. People buy those magazines, take them home and read them, but I'll never know about it. So beyond being kind of perpetually thrilled that an old issue of Canoe and Kayak with my name in it is probably stacked on the back of someone's toilet right now, I don't think much about it.

Yes But....What about Me? Hello?
So, I'm at this new stage where people read my articles and comment and tweet and share the links on their mytwitface pages. And even though this is all small time stuff, I actually feel pretty legitimate. For the first time. I also feel invisible. Not in a bad way, but definitely a surprising way. I never stopped to consider the disconnect between a piece of writing and its author. Well except once, when my friend Tyler asked me what I thought of a really popular movie and I said the script was terrible! And he said hmmmm my friend wrote that. For the rest of the day I thought about the writers behind everything- newscasts, television shows, cereal boxes. Then I woke up the next day and forgot about it.

I'll write something for SoulPancake, and Rainn will post a link to it on his fan page, which is fantastic, and he'll get a million responses. For example he posted a link to my SP post "What will do you if you end up alone?"

People wrote things like "Such a great question...." and "Oh Rain, you won't end up alone!!" And I'm sitting there thinking, hello, Rainn didn't write that! I wrote that! Where are the strangers telling me I'm a beautiful man? Where are my fans creepily asking my birthday so they can play the numbers in the lottery?

Can You Guys Hear Me Through the Screen?
My first two articles for TrailsEdge were hits and I was proud of them and also relieved as hell. I wrote 5 Ways to Fake a Sponsorship, and a few days after it went up I got a message from the editor saying there was some 'momentum' on the piece and could I double it to Ten ways? I had to write it right then (which I did) because the momentum was probably going to die off by nightfall (which it did.) In the short time that I've been writing for them, the editor has been ON IT. Prompt, organized, easy to work with. All I have to do is write the stuff, and he takes it from there.  

I'm not used to having my writing go viral without me having to do anything. To learn that one article got, say, 50 reposts on Facebook and only 4 of them were me my friends? I like it! It's weird! It means my stuff may be starting to speak for itself, and people read it because they want to, not because I'm shoving links in their face all the time. (Speaking of, um........10 Ways to Fake a Sponsorship and What your Apres-River Brew Beer says About You.) It also means I now spend afternoons banging on the computer screen going, hey! Hey that was mine! Did you wonder who wrote that? Did you click on my name and read my little bio? Do I fascinate you? Do you want to give me some money?

I was really thrilled when I saw this tweet: 

Kyle Dickman is one of the editors at Outside Magazine. It's clear he works in the industry and knows how to treat writers well. He used my full name, and even bothered searching for me on twitter so he could link it. What a nice guy!

Err, and This One 
Well I've been featured on a new site, Seattle Backpacking Magazine. I wrote a tidy review of my tent, the Mountain Hardwear Sprite. Then my tent breaks, and when I go to REI to replace it I find out that Mountain Hardwear hasn't manufactured this tent for years. So my review won't be very helpful to anyone.

Five Hundred and One
Finally, this post marks my 501 post on The Wilder Coast. Woohoo! A few weeks ago I started a Facebook page for the blog. You should 'Like' it! You'll get access to behind the scenes stuff, like photos of my dog and empty coffee cups that represent my brain or something. You'll also get to marvel at photo albums with all the pictures I don't have room to put up on the blog. Yeah, you should click "Like". It's pretty much a party there 24/7. And I could see who you are, and maybe we could, you know, thumbs up eachother's statuses!

Finally, thank you. I'm excited this little piece of the Internet has lasted for 501 posts, and there's no chance that would have happened if you weren't reading it.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, Melina....this is so exciting! I cant wait to follow as your career continues from expands.

-One of the readers who 'knows' you without ever having met you

Chris Burke said...

Does this mean you'll be asking for money soon?

Chris Burke said...

Does this mean you'll be asking for money soon?

fozz said...

so you're saying you're buying at our next dinner/happy hour? sweet...

Melina said...

hmm...two reader's, two very different responsers. Chris thinks I'll be asking for money, Fozz thinks I'll be shelling out...

Easily answered! No and no. I only ask for donations once a year (but they are alllwwways welcome!) and Fozz...don't you like buying me drinks?

fozz said...

"like" is always a relative term...but i do heart you and your blog.

Baby By The Sea said...

The Thermos Effect is my favorite. Yippy for #501. Good stuff here.
A Reader

Adriana Iris said...

Congrats on all the exposure... perseverance because your stuff is good ;)
And by the way you are way cuter than Rainn and when its your Bday?! LOL

Melissa Wright said...

Stumbled here from BlogHer to say "Congratulations!", mainly!

Social media is amazing for getting our work out there, isn't it? One day, you're writing about your dog's adventure in your sock drawer, and the next day you're finding that it's traveled around the world several times and is being mentioned on websites you've never heard of. It's kind of thrilling and a little scary!