Thursday, April 29, 2010

julie & julia & mi

i recently watched the film Julie & Julia.
for those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's the true story of a woman, julie powell, who begins a blog documenting her year-long journey to cook every recipe in julia child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. the film cuts back and forth between julie's blogging adventure, and the story of how julia child became a great chef and the author of one of the most popular cook books in history.

i really enjoyed the film, and as a blogger i found a sort of kinship with julie powell.
i remember so well getting that very first unsolicited comment on my blog. i remember how validating it felt to have more than a handful of people regularly reading my posts. i felt honored when people linked my blog on theirs, and downright giddy when i had on average a hundred page hits a day.

when i started my former blog, i had no expectations at all. it was just a way to blow off steam so i wouldn't blow up at customers. it was also an exercise in writing - a way to help fine tune my craft.
it wasn't a way to make money or gain notoriety. in fact, since i was writing anonymously, i wasn't really looking to make any waves in the blogosphere.

but then a crazy thing happened.
in the matter of one day my readership increased 400%.
i discovered an online article had mentioned and linked my blog. i now had readers from all over the globe. more and more online journals and columns began mentioning and linking me and i began to fear i'd be outed and fired from my job (which thankfully never happened, although someone in starbucks corporate was a regular reader of the blog).

during this time i was querying agents, hoping to land representation for my novels.
i mentioned my blog in my query letters, and received quite a bit of interest in it, but not in my young adult novels. i had a few agents suggest i write a proposal for a non-fiction book about my blog, and at one point i even sat down at the computer and tried to write one. but i couldn't.
i didn't want to.

now mr. write, to this day, thinks i blew a golden opportunity. although very supportive of my writing, he doesn't quite understand why i do it.
it's not for money, nor is it for notoriety.
it's for the sheer love of it.
of course, it would be a DREAM COME TRUE if i could one day be published and get paid for doing what i love. but even if i never land an agent, i will still write.

as crazy as it may sound, i did not want to be known as a blogger-author. i didn't want my first published work to be a regurgitation of a blog i did purely for enjoyment. i didn't want my passion for writing fiction to fall by the wayside because there were agents who wanted to jump in on a trend.

so, it's funny.
even though i felt that kinship to julie powell, i actually related better to julia child.
it was julia who was driven by her passion. it was her passion that led her to perfect recipes. and those recipes became part of a seminal work.
it's her journey i'd prefer to emulate, truth be told.

14 comments:

Random Thinker said...

Your former blog was one of the first ones I read regularly. I barely knew what a blog was. It was great reading and opened up a new and exciting world for me that includes lots of blog buddies I never would have met otherwise. Anxious to read your book when it's done but also glad to come along for the ride. Seeing the creative process in action is fascinating.

KarenG said...

(new follower here) I'm unfamiliar with your other blog. And I'm wondering if it was so successful, why did you stop and start a new one? Or are you still doing it?

mi said...

random thinker - i, too, have made a ton of blogger buddies from this experience. it's something that is so special, isn't it? and don't you worry - as soon as i'm done with my revisions (which i'm targeting for october, but don't hold me to it since i'm just barely halfway done with my first draft) i will be sending my manuscript to you!

kareng - hi there! the short answer to your question is that i no longer work for starbucks, therefore i had no more customer/corporate experiences to write about.
but the longer answer is i was getting increasingly bitter with what starbucks was turning into and how it treated it's employees, and i felt like my blog was turning into pure vitriol. so i took a break. in that break i became pregnant, had a baby and then quit, so no more blog! haha!
also, my old blog was just me relating my experiences. it really wasn't anything creative. it was almost like i was reporting from the coffee trenches!

Christine Fletcher said...

Ah, but you made those coffee trenches so, so funny.

When I was starting out writing, I had umpteen people telling me I should write about animals, because my day job is veterinary medicine. "You could be another James Herriot!" Now, I love Herriot. But it's been done. And I have absolutely no interest in that kind of writing.

Gotta go with what fires your soul. It's the only way to last. Good for you for not following the trends, and for sticking with your passion.

I haven't seen Julie & Julia yet...but it's on my list!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I'm unfamiliar with your other blog, though I have seen Julie & Julia -- at the insistence of my best friend, Sandra.

She believes in my writing even during those dark times of three rejections in one day {and I start to falter in my belief in myself.}

Oh, how do you discover how many hits your blog has in a single day? I am a novice at this blog-business, having been at it only for 3 months {well, nearly that long.}

If you could write me and tell me how to discover the number of hits I have a day, it would be deeply appreciated. Not by my ego, which probably be deeply depressed, but I have found the truth is the one light that will not falter if we but trust to it.

Have a beautiful week, Roland

Sling said...

Your former blog was always fun,at least for those of us that could get a good laugh from the trials of working in the service industry.
I think I've made the best friends I have from blogging.

mi said...

christine - i enjoyed the movie - especially the julia child parts. they really captured paris in the 50s (let me tell you - my version of heaven would be able to visit paris in the 50s, england in the 60s, new york in the 40s).
and i agree, you can't have longevity if you don't write what's in your soul.

roland - thanks for stopping by! did you like the movie or were mad at sandra for making you sit through it? haha!
i use statcounter to see how many people stop by my blog (it's free and you can get the code at statcounter.com) but there are tons others. i think blogger even has a version in their "add a gadget" section.
and keep your chin up! i think my record is five rejections in one day - four by email and one by snail mail. what doesn't kill us, eh?

sling - it's amazing how real friendships can come from blogging, isn't it?

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I enjoyed the Julia parts immensely. Oddly, though I was just starting out blogging, I kept wishing Julie's portions would rush by so that I could get back to Julia's story.

Besides all the talk about Julie's enormous blog following just rubbed salt into the wound that my own blog was where the Cyber-Spirit went to sleep since there was so little activity there! Roland

mi said...

roland - you crack me up. you have tons of followers!
i think there are so many more blogs out there nowadays than there were when julie started blogging (or even when i very first started).

Creepy Query Girl said...

Just wanted to let you know- YOu've got a little suttin suttin waitin for you on my blog;)

Dawn said...

Glad Creepy Query Girl left you a little suttin suttin on her blog because it led me here :-) Love your blog. Count me as a new follower.

mi said...

creepy query girl - thanks! i'm honored. and it's too cool to get my first award from someone with one of the best names out there in the blogging world, haha!

dawn - thanks! i'm heading over to check yours out now!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Hi! I happened upon your blog via Heather's. I loved Julie and Julia. It was what spurred my blog after I watched the movie before New Years. In just five months, I'm hooked!

I'm not surprised you have had a lot of blog success in the past. You have a wonderful "voice." I look forward to reading more from you!

mi said...

nicole - thanks for stopping by!
i can totally understand how julie and julia is blogging inspiration!