Today, I am honored to welcome one of my favorite people and writers on the Internet, Amanda Magee to This Blogger’s Life. I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda last year at BlogHer and she has been one of my favorite people ever since. Not only was she dressed completely adorable, my first impression was what a beautiful smile and legs for days but she had a great personality so the first thing I did when I got home was start reading her blog. She’s a directly to my inbox kinda writer.
I initially started blogging because my grandmother once told me, “Write things down. Just a little detail or two each day to help you remember times in your life.” I knew that I would not go the scrapbooking or journaling route with recording our daughter’s first year. The blog was a way to chronicle that sweet time, while also making it possible for my family on the West Coast to keep up with the milestones.
Write for you. It’s really that simple, because anything less is unsustainable. Now, writing for you means a lot of different things, for one person it might mean writing reviews to earn bits of money, for another it might mean writing to cope with emotions. Whatever your motivation, so long as you stay true to it, you’ll find a path.
Hmm, why is that so hard to answer. Me as a writer? Open, hopeful, intimate. Me as a working woman? Driven, passionate, frank. Me as just me in the quiet of my thoughts? Worried, sentimental,
A site that I kind of forget and am then reminded of and every single time find something grounding or inspiring is http://thatkindofwoman.
Well it isn’t folding laundry, I can tell you that. Ok, sorry, focus. My favorite thing is probably doing something outdoors with my family. A hike, a trip to the lake, or just goofing off in our backyard. It makes bedtime so much easier when everybody has had their itches for time together scratched. That moment when the girls are down and we have the sensation of job done right or a life well lived, it’s priceless.
That I dream in words. My love and my heartache, it all lives inside of words and the release of those words, sometimes as a declaration, other times an admission, and others still a kind of song, makes me feel whole.
The simple answer is that I don’t. I think balance, in any sense, is more a loose concept than a real thing. I certainly pursue a sense of balance, but honestly most of the time in order to get the uninterrupted writing time that I crave, I cannibalize my sleep, staying up late or waking early. The saving grace is that my family all know how much writing means to me and, as a result, it has come to mean a great deal to them. The girls ask me to write about them, offering suggestions and delighting in the times that I take them up on it. Sometimes on a Sunday morning Sean will clap his hands and declare that it’s “writing time for mom.” Everyone scatters and lets me have space.
I have made dear friends, like share my darkest secrets people who have held me up from thousands of miles away. It’s also taught me so much about myself. I have often said that I wish I created something—music, art, buildings, whatever. Blogging helped me see that I do create something; I make Narnia like doors for people to slip away from the harsh intensity of life and just be inside a moment.
I think we all define a successful blog in our own way. For me it is having a clear voice and a steady direction, which really means not writing things that don’t add value to my life and never betraying the people who “use their time on me” as my daughter would say. Every time someone visits my blog, that’s a choice, when they comment it’s a gift, I hope that in some way my writing honors that.
Miss it. And find a new way to write.
We have a saying in our house, “If you have to ask, then you probably already know the answer.” I feel like I have a pretty good internal gauge. If I am in doubt I’ll ask Sean or the girls.
I started over ten years ago. I don’t really miss anything because I really cherish each couple of years as a chapter in my blogging tale. I suppose I do sometimes yearn for a slightly less caustic environment. Even as I say that I don’t really know who is to blame, is it the media loving to stir the pot or is it in-fighting within the blogging realm? Maybe I’m just older and less inclined to try and elbow people out of the way. It’s why I am grateful that I love writing, the rest just doesn’t really matter to me.
Oh, I don’t. I’ve have stretches when I cannot bring myself to publish because it doesn’t feel up to snuff. Eventually the freeze passes. I think Instagram has helped a lot. I find myself getting so inspired by moments I snap and the conversations that they spark. “Oooh, I can write about this. This is more than a photo!”
My grandfather six times over…
My dear friend Estefania from my year in Spain (1991), I lost track of her and I’d love to hear her say “Ai, Amanda” and then laugh. Sean’s friend Andy and his wife Ali, who live just outside of Boston. Andy and Sean were on the crew team together at RIT. Andy can make Sean laugh like no one else in the world. It is one of my favorite sounds. Jenny Ingram because when you are with her she makes you feel like the most important and wonderful person in the room.
I used to be a smoker. I quit in 2001.
I feel pretty deep shame when I run out of patience with the girls. I wrote a post once about a bedtime that tore me open. I was scared to reveal the experience. The night it ran Kristen Chase tweeted a link to the post. Before I went to bed I got an email from an editor at the Huffington Post asking if I would allow them to republish the post. Reading the post I can still remember what it felt like to have her let go of my hand, it reminds me that nothing lasts forever.
Amanda thank you so much for being my guest on This Blogger’s Life and allowing me to interview you! I am so glad that we got to meet last year at BlogHer and I can’t wait til the next time I get to hug your neck! Keep on telling your stories. I cannot wait to read the book that I KNOW has to be written. Nobody puts baby in a corner:) XOXO