October 4 11

GEORGE: It’s about nothing.

JERRY: No story?

GEORGE: No forget the story.

JERRY: You’ve got to have a story.

GEORGE: Who says you gotta have a story? Remember when we were waiting for that table in that Chinese restaurant that time? That could be a TV show.

When I started blogging in 2004, I had an audience of exactly ONE. And, well, I was married to him.

This was back in the days of free blogging platforms and no one knew what monetization was and there were no brand ambassadors and there was certainly no Twitter and no one threw link-bait up on Facebook. This was back in the days of the small blogroll and before the days of paid product reviews.

I realized that if I wanted more than one person to read my site that I needed to do two important things. I needed to write and I needed to read. I wrote more content—better content—and I read other blogs and commented. I left my thoughts, my opinions, my commiserations on other sites like my own or sites that were completely different from my own.

Then, slowly, I had two readers.

And then four. And then forty. And then four hundred. And then four thousand. and then forty thousand…

Not much—for me—has changed since then. I still write Seinfeld-style. I get asked regularly what I write about and my answer is almost always that “it’s a blog about nothing.” I still continue to write 5 or 6 times a week. I still read other sites and I try to comment on them (I am committed to leaving 20 comments a day). I don’t do much advertising on my site and I have never been a brand ambassador for anything and I don’t do product reviews.

I’m a simple writer who just loves to write.

I write about me.

I write about my life. I write about my clothes, my work, my kids, my family, my friends, my celebrity crushes.

I’m a lifestyle blogger, if you will.

Over the past 7 years, I have met amazing people in this thing we call the blogosphere. I have met people who are Packers fans, who love anthropologie, who hate running. I have met people with precocious daughters and boys who love to read and first graders who won’t wear pants. I have met people who love Catan and love to be behind their cameras and who will eat cereal for dinner. I have met FRIENDS FOR LIFE. They are people who make me laugh, and make me cry, and make me think. They are people who would go to the ends of the earth for me, and for whom I would do the same.

For me, seven years later, this is still all about exactly two things:

THE WRITING AND THE READING.

THE WORDS AND THE COMMUNITY.

Lifestyle blogging was about this in the beginning and it’s still about this now. It’s about that silly thing your daughter said while you were in the public bathroom at the zoo. It’s about your date to the senior prom. It’s about your biggest fears. It’s about your grammar pet peeves. It’s about that man who farted on you on the subway. It’s about that dentist appointment that you missed. It’s about weighty issues. It’s about that car accident you got into when you went to see The Cranberries in high school. It’s about your first kiss. It’s about you, at 16. It’s about finding God inside of your nose. It’s about bucket lists—someday, but not today. It’s about learning what Victoria’s Secret actually is.

Next week I will be heading to Blissdom Canada to meet and connect and chat and talk and take part in a community that I love. I will also be representing my passion—lifestyle blogging—as a tribe leader with my co-leader (who was also once my co-worker) Haley-O. It’s ridiculously fitting that Blissdom lumped the two of us together.

I’m pretty sure if Haley and I hadn’t worked together at our day jobs, she may have never become a blogger. And I’m pretty sure if she didn’t get me my first paid writing gig, I wouldn’t have the job I have today. We are partners in bloggy crime…and we’d love to talk with you about how writing about nothing is truly writing about everything.

JERRY: And it’s about nothing?

GEORGE: Absolutely nothing.

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  1. When I heard about this whole ‘tribes’ thing I was concerned that I, the entertainment blogger, wouldn’t fit in anywhere. SO thrilled that I have you and Haley as tribe leaders! Can’t wait to pick your brain:)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kelli on October 4, 2011
  2. That’s awesome- I love hearing about blogs that grow simply because the person loves writing and doesn’t care about numbers/sponsership/etc…
    So regret not buying a Blissdom ticket. Guess there’s always next year:)

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Don’t get me wrong, I check my stats as much as the next guy…but the stats are not WHY I write. I write because I am a writer. because I have something to say, because I love having this space.

    But no, I don’t really make any money from this here site. And that’s totally okay. I love what I do here.

    And I wouldn’t have the amazing job I have today without it.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sarah on October 4, 2011
  3. I absolutely love your blog, why? Because you write for you. You write with honesty and you write as if no one is reading. I like that. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and I still write as if no one’s reading. I do it because I enjoy documenting my life, no matter how mundane it may seem.
    Thank you for sharing your life with all of us!!!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Charmedone17 on October 4, 2011
  4. still loving your blog and glad I follow you on Twitter too. <3

    [Reply]

    Comment by Laurie on October 4, 2011
  5. I am nourished by blogs — yours and others. Uplifted by the writing. Challenged. Humbled. Sometimes held. Frequently I weep or laugh to shaking.

    Such power in this connection.

    I thank you.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Pam @writewrds on October 4, 2011
  6. I love this.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Shauna on October 4, 2011
  7. At first reading this post I got nervous thinking you were ready to shut the blog down! I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. Have fun @ Blissdom!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Good lord, no.
    I have way too much to say.
    Hee.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on October 4, 2011
  8. I’m happy to be a member of your tribe! :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on October 4, 2011
  9. How exciting! I also just love to write about life. I guess you could say I blog predominantly about my kids, but really anything goes.

    I plan on attending Blissdom in the US in February. It will be my first conference. I hear it’s a good one.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I have never been to a Blissdom before. I was supposed to go last year but my dad got sick. I’m pretty excited to be at this one…also, it’s in my city…which means it’s super convenient!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Amber on October 4, 2011
  10. A couple of years back when I told people I was a lifestyle writer/blogger, they were all like “what?”. The way you wrote it in this post is EXACTLY it. The best description. I just adore you and Haley and all my fellow women with stories about their lives. I’ve always said that I want to be like you but I can’t because of the fact that I’m filipino and you’re not.

    You continue to inspire with this post, Loukia’s about old school blogging, and several others from the tribe, and have given me back my blogging mojo.

    Wish I could go to Blissdom this year so I could meet you in person.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Nenette on October 4, 2011
  11. If not for your blog (and mine), then I wouldn’t know you and that just makes me sad.

    I cannot wait to HUG you NEXT WEEK!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on October 4, 2011
  12. Ali! VERKLEMPT! As you would say, “that is all.” xoxo!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Haley-O (Cheaty) on October 4, 2011
  13. [...] Leader is the awesome Ali Martell, who sums up Lifestyle writing (and our friendship) perfectly in her most recent post: “We’d love to talk with you about how writing about nothing is truly writing about [...]

    Pingback by Motivation Is BS (Plus: Join My Tribe at BlissDom Canada 2011!) | Cheaty Monkey on October 4, 2011
  14. Nothing and everything. And I love it here for that exact reason.

    Also? How’d Emily do?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Issa on October 4, 2011
  15. Found your blog through the lovely @cheaty. Great post! And seemingly, writing about nothing can pay off, a la Seinfeld! I’ve been so hung up lately about defining my ‘niche market’ I think I might be better off keeping it vague. Nice to meet you in the blogosphere.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog on October 4, 2011
  16. Both of you?!? Together?!? For the first time, I want to go to a blogging conference. Alas…

    [Reply]

    Comment by Heather on October 4, 2011
  17. Do I need a passport to go to Canada? And can I leave the kids in the car?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Marianne on October 5, 2011
  18. I love The Alimartell, Writer.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on October 6, 2011
  19. [...] So, I urge you to hop on over to Curvy Girl Guide, as I am talking about a story of magic. About that song from Blue Valentine. It’s a good one, I swear. Or, if that doesn’t float your boat, you can take a peek inside my closet. Or you can find out what I’ll be doing this Friday. [...]

    Pingback by » Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle Cheaper Than Therapy on October 10, 2011
  20. [...] please tell me if I will be seeing you at Blissdom Canada tonight and if you’ll be joining my Lifestyle Tribe. I’ll be the girl wearing the lady-of-the-nightesque eyeliner, the hair that needs to be cut [...]

    Pingback by » Flying That Freak Flag. Again. Cheaper Than Therapy on October 13, 2011
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