I have “known” Cecily for a few years now but finally had the pleasure of meeting her last year at BlogHer. When I met her I found her to be more beautiful in person than she appears online ( that sounds wrong but what I mean is that she is such a vibrant woman and I don’t feel that comes across fully online) and she is one of the kindest and most down to earth people I’ve ever met. She greeted me with a hug and felt like an old friend almost immediately.
I’ve always enjoyed reading UpperCase Woman for the transparency of her words and she’s always writing about what’s new and changing on the Internet. Cecily is a kind soul whose words have weight. She is a doer in the world. She sees something wrong, she puts her back into it and she tries to make a difference. I love that about her.
Cecily is truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She looks hardcore like she could kick your ass ( and she probably could if you got on her bad side) but I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone nicer.
I’m honored to call Cecily Kellogg my friend and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.
Why did you start blogging?
In 2003 I was desperately trying to get pregnant and couldn’t. Someone on a fertility message board
linked to a handful of blogs and I finally found my tribe. I devoured those blogs and the blogs they all
linked to, and by March of 2004 I started blogging myself.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?
Don’t blog about deeply personal things if you’re a sensitive person. I’m sensitive – even hypersensitive
– and my own psychological makeup means I don’t have many tools for creating barriers between what
people say about me and how I react to them, although I am working on it (part of this is also because I’m
an alcoholic; we tend to take everything very personally).
What are the three words that describe you best?
Loud, funny, and sensitive.
What is your favorite website?
Oh god, just one? I couldn’t possibly begin to narrow that down. I mean, I live online. It’s like asking
someone what their favorite song is. From what decade? In what genre? I utilize so many for my life and
work I can’t imagine picking one. They are all just tools for doing what I do.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
Cuddling with my daughter, or hiking.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?
That I am a great writer.
How do you balance life and blogging?
I actually just read a really good article about this idea of balance that we’re constantly told to strive for.
I no longer believe in balance. I just do what needs doing and try to make sure I take time to eat well,
exercise, and be with my family – but sometimes that has to all go by the wayside to get the work done I
need to do to support my family.
How has blogging changed you or your life?
Everything in my life today is because of blogging. While I do have some good hardcore pre-internet
friends in my life, and some great connections with my daughter’s school families, most of my closest
friends are people I’ve met through blogging. It also completely changed my career – not always in the
best ways – and now I run a boutique content marketing agency that serves a very particular niche. While
I’ve struggled as a personal blogger – I recently closed comments on posts because of the chronic abuse
I received from a group of folks – it’s like breathing for me. I can’t imagine life without it.
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?
In the decade I’ve been blogging, that has changed so much. I think a great blog requires all of the
following: excellent writing, great story telling, and a beautiful and user friendly responsive design. It
doesn’t matter what niche the blog falls in, if it has those components it can be a great blog. The blogs I
read the most, however, are either industry blogs about tech/content/social media or are the old-school
blogs written in memoir style that share way too much information and make me fall in love with the story.
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?
I’ve thought about this so much, and in fact, have set up my life so that I can walk away from blogging if I
need to do so. I’d continue working in online content, just from a business perspective instead of personal
one (which is about 80% of the work I do already). I’d probably expand deeper into marketing work as
well. And I’d finally write that damn book.
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life?
Ah, the big question. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes other people don’t want to star in your
story. It’s an awkward dance, of course, because my family is part of my story daily. For instance, I often
write about my father abandoning me as a baby because it has impacted my life in so many ways, but it
can be hard for my siblings to hear how I feel about him. I’ve taken posts down at their request. But the
biggest change, of course, is that my daughter is now eight and reads my blog now and then and I need
to bear that in mind when I write about her. She approves every post where I speak only about her, and
any photos I post of her. Eventually, I imagine, I won’t be able to write about her at all, and that’s okay.
I’m not a mommy blogger anyway.
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in
the early days? What do you love that has changed?
Blogging wasn’t competitive in the early days. It was, really and truly, about community and supporting
each other. But even so, it was plagued with personalities. I had a huge falling out with another infertility
blogger after I lost my twins around early 2005, and it was rough and divided our community for a while.
While today the competitiveness is mostly around the “fame” and the money, it was there even back then.
I will say that in general the level of vitriol on the web has gotten so, so much worse. That’s the worst
thing by far. Blogging is rather terrifying now; I’ve been threatened with everything from violent rape to
being reported to children’s services and more. Without careful monitoring of what I view online, I would
see non-stop messages about how awful I am. It’s fucking exhausting.
However, the good part is still the community. I have gotten to know so many amazing people through
blogging. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?
Well, I obviously find myself fascinating as that is what I generally write about. But I also write about
elements of politics and culture too.
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
Honestly? I could list amazing historical figures I’d love to meet, but I’d really rather just have a dinner
party with my “sister wives”, or my closest girlfriends.
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not tough, not even a little. Also, I’m very short and I’m much fatter than I look in my gorgeous avatar
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?
Cecily, I know that you are super busy and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me interview you. Thank you for sharing your stories, no holds barred. It was my pleasure to have you on This Blogger’s Life. xoxo