Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Dooce® and Eliza®

‘I’ve been thinking about you all night long, Eliza.’ Meredith is studying me with her deep-lidded, clear eyes, her hands clasped around her coffee cup. ‘I was watching you scribbling away at your journal yesterday, like you’re the next Samuel Pepys. What you need to do is harness the flow. Make it work for you. Why don’t you write a blog?’

‘But do I really want to expose myself to the world?’  

Meredith raises her eyebrows at me as witheringly as the Botox will allow. ‘Listen to you! You’re so Mrs La-di-da English! When did you get so risk-averse? You were much more fun in Hong Kong! Haven’t you heard of reality TV? Confessional novels? You don’t get anywhere without exposing yourself these days!’

I feel like I’m on the wrong end of the stick in a Punch and Judy show.

Meredith is in full swing. ‘There’s this woman in the States called Douche who writes about her life and she’s making half a million a year! Or you could be the next Julie and Julia. Set yourself a challenge and write about it. You’ve got to set goals, think creatively, take action!’

‘But how can you make money writing a blog?’ I dare to ask.

She gives me her eyes-to-heaven confounded look. ‘We’re so far ahead of you in the States. It’s big business there. Listen, sweetie. Ads! Writing about products! In kind payments! And the people who do this are not commercial businesswomen but women just like you, ordinary stay-at-home moms.’


‘I’m not saying you’re ordinary as a person, I mean that you’re a regular mom who stays at home to look after her kid. All you need to do is write about your life, throw in a mention of your favourite diaper or handbag or face cream, and watch the ad money roll in. These women get wooed by PR people and showered with free products and invited to conferences all over the world.’

Hmmm. Sounds promising. While Meredith is coaching someone on Skype, I sneak into the cupboard and start surfing. She’s right! The net is awash with mommy/mummy blogs whose authors seem to spend half their time writing about the business of blogging and making lots of money.

Google ‘Douche mommy blog’. Oh my God. The blogosphere is awash with douches, too! Or, more precisely, douche bags. Yuk. Oh, it seems a douche bag is akin to a tow rag. As momscrazylife explains, rather more clinically than I would like, ‘A douche bag is a person whom acts like or resembles a vagina cleaner and/or enema.’ Who, I want to tell her. Who. Not whom. Even with my poor education I know that.
Aha. Got it. Dooce®. Hmmm. Eliza®. Not bad. Dooce is in fact the nickname of Heather B. Armstrong. Eliza H. Gray®? Sounds nicely authorative, but bordering on the Jesus H. Christ. Dooce also has two cute children with unusual names, a dog that wears a blue wig and a husband who gave up his job so she could breadwin through her blog.
‘You need to choose goals that are attainable and congruent with your life purpose,’ Meredith is telling her client. Oh God. What life purpose?  
I return to Dooce. You can hardly tell it's a blog, so divebombed is it with picture ads and small ads for things like Drug and Alcohol Rehab and Treat Meth Addiction. It seems these ads latch on to your site according to what you write about. You see, not enough grit in my life. I’d have Doggie Chews and How to Bake and Family Solicitors latching on to me.
Lists are clearly the way to go in the blogosphere. Dooce’s is the 5 People You Would Most Like To Have Sex With Outside Of Your Marriage. Her Bad Mother’s is Ten Ways That I Have More Fun Now That I’m a Parent (ha! Ten Porky Pies I Tell Now That I’m a Parent!). Diminishing Lucy (‘I juggle life, love, food, family and exercise. I blog, I lose weight, I write, I tweet’)’s is 6 Ways to Get Happy.

Urgh. 6 Ways to Feel Sick.

‘Have you written down your goals?’ Meredith is asking her beleaguered Skype victim. ‘Make that your No 1 priority. Number them, one to ten, pin them on the wall, write them in a notebook, keep them with you all the time. Then each day, write a To Do list, and make sure your To Dos are congruent with your Ten Goals.’

Urgh. 10 Ways to Feel Sick.

Here’s a post promoting a book called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which among other things will make me:
  • build relationships with readers
  • reach out to and develop working relationships with other bloggers
  • discover ways to be more connected to your niche/topic 
Urgh. Oh good, Meredith’s finished with her client.



‘I thought the whole point of blogging from your cupboard is that you don’t have to expose yourself to real people. But it says here I have to build relationships. Not just with my readers but with other bloggers. I have to be part of the Blogging Community.’

‘Honestly Eliza, you are so wrong-headed about things! Every time you open your mouth you do yourself out of a job or a relationship or a pair of eyes you can see out of. Just get on and write the goddamn blog, sign up for the ads, and forget about whether you have to go to bed with the entire Global Blogging Community!’

Hmmm. Glad I’m not one of her clients. Right. I’m going to do it. Now.

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