We’re really proud that so many great writers from all genres call WordPress.com home. Last week, we welcomed one more — Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, whose site just moved on to WordPress.com’s VIP service.
An incredibly popular blogger and now a New York Times bestselling author, Jenny’s blunt, incisive writing style and willingness to lay everything bare have made her a blogging favorite. Once the dust settled on her site’s relocation, she took a few minutes to chat blogging, traditional publishing, cats, and who she wants to be when she grows up.
When was the first time you realized, “Whoa, there’s something to this blogging thing?”
I’ve always loved to write, in notebooks and on napkins and now in blogs and books. The great thing about blogs, though, is that you get immediate feedback — and that’s so fabulous when you’ve always felt like an outsider. I think blogging has given many of us voices that we never heard before.
What are your main sources of inspiration, cats aside? Any advice for bloggers who think what they have to say isn’t “important”?
Cats make up at least 98 percent of the internet, so I feel like I’m under-representing, but I’m still trying. Ferris Mewler and Hunter S. Thomcat are great muses, but most of my blog comes from awkward conversations with my very patient but easily frustrated husband. Or from awkward conversations I have with myself.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as an unimportant story, but some are told better than others.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as an unimportant story, but some are told better than others. I only publish about one-third of the stories I write, and even then I try to always cut my posts down by 50% because it makes me cut out all the fluff.
What’s the most valuable part, for you, of being part of the blogging community?
Blogging saved me. I struggle with a lot of mental illness and I finally decided that it was creating a false history to not talk about it. I was shocked by the outpouring of people who said “Me too. I thought I was the only one.”
And then something amazing happened. People started to get help because they saw how completely not alone they were. There are people alive today simply because of the community I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. Knowing that I’m not alone and that I can reach out for help has been a literal life-saver.
Tell us about the decision to publish a book.
I wrote a book twelve years ago about all the ways I’ve mortified myself. I wrote it because I have an awful memory and wanted to share all our terribly wonderful family stories.
I didn’t plan for anyone else to read it, but an agent discovered my blog and insisted that people would want to read my ridiculously irreverent tales. Turns out she was right. It debuted #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Shocked the hell out of me. I assumed I was in some sort of a coma.
A ton of people found the book because of the blog, and now a ton of people have found the blog because of the book. It’s odd, but wonderful.
Why the move to WordPress.com VIP? What are you most looking forward to?
I have a rare gift for crashing websites, particularly my own. It’s a talent, really. I’ve been told that if I manage to crash VIP everyone gets ponies. It’s a no-lose situation.
If you couldn’t blog, what would you do with yourself?
Drugs, probably. I can’t not write. It’s what keeps me sane.
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
WordPress.com VIP is also excited to welcome PostSecret and Thought Catalog to the VIP family — we’re proud to be able to power funny, insightful, thought-provoking sites like theirs and Jenny’s.