Seven years of Broadside…

By Caitlin Kelly

It started on July 1, 2009 — Canada Day.

It started on the firm orders of my then-agent, who insisted (eye-roll, sigh, must I?) I had to have a blog, and social media following for my second book, which she sold on 9/11/2009.

It came out in April 2011, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” (Portfolio), a memoir of low-wage wage and a work of national reporting on the industry.

malled cover LOW

Unlike many of you, I had never wanted to blog and couldn’t imagine that anyone would hang around, read and comment, let alone return.

Happily, I was wrong, and Broadside continues to attract new followers every day, now more than 16,000 worldwide.

The blog now also has 1,845 published posts, on everything from travel to journalism to politics to decorating.

Yes, my interests are eclectic!

It’s also been very odd, and instructive, to see which posts — many years later — still attract the most views: my 30-hour train ride from New York to Minneapolis, meeting Queen Elizabeth, what going to boarding school very young does to your psyche…(I went age eight.)

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New York — where I’ve lived since 1989 — and written many blog posts about

That boarding school post has gotten more than (!) 11,000 views over the years and has  elicited the most heartfelt, confessional replies, some so heartbreaking they were difficult to read.

One man — the only time that’s ever happened here — wrote to me the next day, apologetically, and asked me (which I did) to take down his comments, so personal had they been.

 

At their best, blogs link us, heart to heart.

 

Like every blogger, I never know what posts will resonate and which will sit there, largely unloved, unread and un-liked. I’m often surprised by what you like most, so that keeps me on my toes.

 

I’m grateful for your attention!

 

I love the new friendships that blogging has created — some, now face-to-face, like Juliet in Paris, Cadence in London, Katie in New York — and some, still on-line only, with faithful readers like Rami, Leah, Steve, Kate Katharina, Ashok, Lynette, Charlene, Ksbeth, Leslie, David Kanigan…

Since college, I’ve been paid to write for a living, with work published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, Smithsonian, Marie Claire and many more.

I sometimes feel like a cow attached to a milking machine, the computer extracting every possible idea for compensation.

So why write unpaid?

Pleasure!

Connection!

Lively conversations!

Seven years seems like a crazy-long time to keep banging out blog posts, but I still really enjoy it and, it seems (yay!) some of you do as well.

Broadside is a rare and special place for me as a writer — a public space where I muse, question, challenge, reflect, and can share more personal and intimate notions than any commercial outlet is likely to pay me for.

It’s a place to collect and hear your thoughts and ideas, and sometimes listen to/enjoy several of you conversing.

It’s a very small — albeit global — cocktail party!

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Here’s a selection from the archives I hope you’ll enjoy:

 

Why we’re all works in progress

Why I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day

Why being “productive” is a waste of time

Why every young job-seeker should watch “The Devil Wears Prada”

Cotton years, cashmere years — what freelance life is really like

Twelve things you should never say to a writer

Lessons learned working with WaterAid in Nicaragua

Moving across a border for love (and how it turned out)

 

As always…

If anyone seeks writing, blogging or editing help, you can reach me through learntowritebetter@gmail.com — I’ve coached many fellow writers via phone and Skype, and I offer individual webinars as well.

 

 

27 thoughts on “Seven years of Broadside…

  1. My five-year blogging anniversary is coming up next month. I’m celebrating with a Q&A and a giveaway of one of my books.
    I’m glad you did start blogging, Caitlin. Your blogs are interesting and informative, and I think I got the idea for the titular short story in my book The Quiet Game from one of your blog posts. Keep writing!

  2. Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail was the first book of yours I read. As someone who has also languished in retail for far too long and unable to find a decent paying job in my chosen field. Your book struck a cord with me as I continue to suffer in the purgatory of retail.

    1. Thanks for reading it!

      It is a very very tough row to hoe unless you can move up into decently-paid management work out of hourly. As you and I know, many retailers treat their hourly staff like crap — and it is so demoralizing.

  3. Congratulations on seven years of blogging, Caitlin! I’m so glad I know you, albeit online only, through your blog. Blogging friendships are great and I really value the WordPress community. 🙂

    Have you noticed that your writing/blogging style/post topics have changed since you first started blogging? I think my style has changed since I started my blog in 2011. I’d be interested to hear what you’ve learned from your blogging experiences over the past seven years.

    1. Thanks! You, too…You’re the only linguistics expert I know. 🙂

      I did go back and look at the earliest ones; I was then being paid (until 2010 or so) by True/Slant, a blogging platform where we were paid more if we had more readers — so I blogged much more frequently and much more off the news. I don’t feel compelled to do that anymore and find I am doing it less. I also used to blog, for many many years, every other day (!) — I just don’t have that kind of time now.

      How has your style changed?

  4. Congratulations on the blog anniversary! I always enjoy reading your blog, and I’m so glad I discovered it and got to know you through it – it’s wonderful having a like-minded friend here in the city. Here’s to the next seven years of Broadside!

  5. Congratulations! 🙂 Seven years is a very long time in blogland. It’s hard to keep it up when life really gets going, and I’ve dropped out for a month or two at times. I always come back it, though. Well done! Your posts are always so interesting. 🙂

  6. Woo hoo! Congratulations on 7 years. Two days ago I became a published writer and my blog will be morphing into a blog suggested by my publisher. I have been online since about November of 2014, my first blog while writing my first book. Please visit when you have some extra time.

  7. Congratulations on seven years of wonderful, insightful blogging. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of your blogging journey and to gain an insight into your writing and non-writing life. I hope there will be many years of blogging to come!Thanks for the many posts I’ve read, enjoyed and shared! 🙂

    1. Thanks! What a lovely compliment — and you’ve been here for ages, which means a great deal. I’ve no doubt that many come and go.

      One of these days I am going to get to Germany!!

  8. Pingback: [BLOG] Some popular culture links | A Bit More Detail

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