Some of you have asked about my process for writing and running O.H.M., so I'm answering those FAQs here:
1. Where do you get your ideas?
I get most of my ideas from five sources: (1) observations in my daily life as a parent and from my own childhood; (2) life in Alaska; (3) current events; (4) requests and suggestions from friends/family; and (5) general issues I’m dealing with. I have a list of ideas that I keep on my iPhone, and I just jot them down whenever I think of one, including in the middle of the night. Then I mine the list for inspiration later.
2. How do you write so much so fast?
I touch-type and I often partially dictate my posts into my iPhone after my kids go to bed at night, or while they’re distracted playing with friends. Even if I don’t feel like writing, I make myself write every single day, at least once a day. I don’t care if anyone reads it or not, but it’s therapeutic for me to do it, and after a year and a half of O.H.M. it’s become a habit.
3. Do you think about when to post?
I don’t really think about when to post, although I’ve noticed that I get more reads when I publish posts at certain times of day. I often write several posts in advance when I have big chunks of uninterrupted time at home, and then just push them out at random times when I think of it. I could definitely be more strategic about this if I thought about it more.
4. Do you think about how to publicize your blog?
I definitely want people to read O.H.M., and I consciously use social media to encouarge that. That's why I created a separate Facebook page for the blog and joined Twitter. I always want people to share my blog posts, because of course I get an ego boost from the blog getting shares and attention. I probably care too much about that, but not enough to pay money to sponsor the blog on Facebook or anything like that. Ultimately O.H.M. is just a hobby, and the main reasons I keep doing it are because: (a) it’s fun for me; and (b) I know that the people who read it really enjoy it. I think about my audience a lot while I’m writing: what they will connect with, what will resonate with them, etc. That’s really what I care about the most.
5. Why don’t you advertise?
Choosing not to advertise on O.H.M. was never really a conscious choice or a self-righteous matter of principle. It just wasn’t something I’d ever really considered. I doubt I have enough readers to make advertising worthwhile, and I think most advertising is stupid and horrible and caters to all kinds of things I openly question. So I sort of like that my blog is bare-bones and ad-free.
6. What do you think of Blogger as a platform?
If I could do it over again, I probably wouldn’t use Blogger as a platform, only because it’s kind of cheesy, like AOL or Hotmail or something. Its spell check sucks, and it screams “amateur." But that’s what I am. So I’m okay with it. I'm hoping Blogger will become retro cool, like a mullet.
7. Are you worried your blog is too revelatory or inappropriate?
No, I’m not worried about that. I actually have a lot of boundaries, in that I don’t (for example) ever blog or even mention anyone else by name without their permission. I don't talk about anything I do at work, anything about the details of my marriage, etc. So I'm actually silent on many topics out of respect for other people’s boundaries. But I know that the second I stop making O.H.M. a real, honest, and raw reflection of my own thoughts and feelings, it stops being authentic. Then it just becomes another curated piece of internet bullshit that can’t be trusted, and I don't want that to happen. So I always try to be blunt and honest, even when that bluntness and honesty is a little uncomfortable for me and sometimes my readers.
8. How has your approach and process of writing blog posts changed over time?
I've gotten a lot faster and more adept at figuring out what will work as an idea and what will fall flat. I have a shrinking number of posts to write, for example, from my childhood, because I only have so many memories that are going to make interesting blog posts. So the source material tends to shift a bit. Also, I've gotten increasingly bold and brave about saying exactly what I think in a very truthful manner. I've asked myself "what's gonna happen?," and discover that I actually care a lot less about "what's gonna happen" than I do about just saying what I want to say, and/or what I think needs to be said.
9. How much traffic does the blog get?
Probably a few hundred reads per post, on average. Sometimes a post will really explode into the several thousands or beyond, but that's not super common.
10. Did you just write this blog post in 23 minutes while eating supermarket sushi?