Wow, today kinda snuck up on me—My Ideal Woman is one year old! I’m actually glad I didn’t totally miss it—some of you may have noticed I haven’t really updated in a while. These past few weeks have been a brutal combination of being insanely busy and insanely stressful, and the combination of mental drain and preoccupation on various worries has left little room for musings on life, love and happiness. Thankfully, things have finally started falling into place, lists are being checked off, and while I’m still holding my breath a little bit, I think everything’s going to be okay. One thing I do know—I’m really, REALLY looking forward to the housewarming/birthday throw-down I’ve planned in June. I really need some epic fun…
So… May 26th, 2011 I put up my very first blog post. I was inspired to give blogging a try by two women I’ve never met face-to-face, but had gotten to know over the internet. The first was Rachel M., who I followed on Livejournal for a while. A superb writer, I found her posts engaging—sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking. In her I saw a bit of a kindred-spirit, and I always found myself cheering her on, hoping for things to go her way, and hitting the comment button to offer condolences when they didn’t. Eventually she left Livejournal and started a blog, Toughbunny.
The second was MJ, a woman I met online through our mutual love of a collectible card game. I write a weekly column about the game, and one day out of the blue she emailed me a sketch of something I’d written about in my column, something I’d imagined and wish I’d had a picture of. We sent some emails back and forth, followed each other on Twitter, friended each other on Facebook. Again, I saw in her a bit of a kindred-spirit in things we’d both experienced in life, and then one day she started up a blog as well, Moxy MTG. Her writing was whip-smart and funny, and I enjoyed reading everything she put up. She’s also an incredibly artist, and she was sweet enough to draw up the banner art that tops this blog.
It occurred to me after Rachel and then MJ started their blogs that blogging offered a much better way to reach out to a larger audience than Livejournal did. I’d been doing a ton of writing for a long time about that collectible card game, and while I love writing about it, the audience for that writing is pretty niche. When friends or family wanted to know if I’d written anything lately, I could show them that stuff, but they wouldn’t understand whether it was funny or interesting unless they were into that game (and most are not). I make some money on that writing, but if I were ever to get to my goal of writing for a living, I’d very likely need to show that I can write other things as well.
In May of last year, I’d been separated for over a year and was beginning to try and figure out what the next phase of my life would look like. One thing I knew was that didn’t want to spend it alone, and I’d been doing a lot of thinking about things I’d learned from my failed marriage, and what sort of person I’d like to share my life with in the future. Since there are a lot of single people out there, and a lot of divorced people out there, I thought writing my blog through that perspective would give it focus and a narrative that people could relate to and hopefully find interesting.
I briefly had a writing gig a couple years back reviewing the TV show Fringe for a blog; it was unpaid, but the editor had hopes he could expand his site and if he got any sort of revenue stream me and a couple other TV show bloggers would get a small piece of the pie. Unfortunately, after a couple weeks the editor pulled the plug on the venture. He couldn’t stand that the writers he selected had our own styles and ways of writing that deviated ever so slightly from his own writing preferences. He spent so much time rewriting our submissions into what he would have written that he decided to just write them himself the first time. He used WordPress for his blog, and I thought it was a pretty cool platform, so when I decided to start a blog I chose WP.
Of course, the biggest thing I needed to figure out was a catchy name. “My Ideal Woman” sprung to mind pretty quickly and withstood any other contenders I thought of over the next few days. Once I figured out the conceit of having blogposts that would tie directly into my blog’s name (indicated by leading ellipses “…”) I knew I had something.
So on May 26, 2011 I uploaded the first blog on My Ideal Woman… …She’d Be Creative. It was personal, fun, and above all struck the very tone I wanted to set with this blog—to talk about things I love in the opposite sex in a way I hoped that women would appreciate. I hit the “publish” button and sent it out into the world, excited!
The next day, it had zero comments. Had anyone even read it? The stats page showed very few people had come by.
Undeterred, I had another topic I wanted to write about. There was a new TV show on called Happy Endings, and the three lead female actresses were all so different physically, and it inspired another “My Ideal Woman” topic… …She’d Have Curves. I hit the “publish” button and sent it out into the world, excited! I also created my “About” page, and ported over the cool, rambling bio that had gotten some nice attention over on Livejournal.
The next day, I still had zero comments. Had anyone even read any of it? The stats page showed quite a few more people had come by, but still no comments.
Still, I had quite a few “My Ideal Woman” topics on tap to write about. In fact, I’d come up with a list of about 12 and was trying to figure out the next one. So that day I wrote …She’d Speak Liberal (an ode to The West Wing), hit the “publish” button and sent it out into the world.
Even though I hadn’t updated my Livejournal in a while, I decided to put a post there letting people know about my new blog, and soon I got my very first comment from KK, a male friend from Livejournal. Woot!
Then in early June I got my first comment from a woman—from Rachel, one of my blog’s Muses! She wrote a comment that had me grinning from ear to ear, made me blush a little bit, and concluding with “God bless men who like those curves. It makes me feel prettier.”
In August I got my very first fellow blogger follower—Eva, of HerEffingBlog. I believe she found me through my third blogpost …She’d Speak Liberal, and she left a comment there that made me laugh: “I speak fluent Liberal, and am a huge West Wing fan, but for my life, can’t find a hot man in the South who speaks my language.” About the same time I got my first email subscriber follower—MJ, my other blog Muse!
One thing I noticed was that the second blogpost I wrote, which contained pictures of sexy celebrity women, got exponentially more hits than the others. Which makes sense, obviously– people Google hot celebrities, see a hot picture, click on it and are taken to the website where the picture is. So I got the idea that I’d branch out from the “My Ideal Woman” focus and started up a Women of TV category of blogposts, kicking off with the show Parenthood (chock full of attractive women) and eventually doing a handful of shows, each peppered with sexy pics of women.
Needless to say, those blog posts got a ton of hits, and still get hits every day. But turns out those hits are really just empty calories. I mean, part of me hoped that if I could get noticed for some of those blog posts maybe I’d get a paid writing gig for a TV blog somewhere with that writing. But that never happened. The vast majority of people who hit them are just checking out the pictures, not really paying attention to what I’m writing. I even got a message from a friend of mine named Molly who said I was coming across a bit “Female Obsessed” with those posts, and so I decided to stop doing that category on My Ideal Woman, and instead create a new blog dedicated to TV where I could do that sort of thing. That way, My Ideal Woman could keep focused on love, life and relationships through the eyes of a 40-something divorced man who loves women.
To wrap things up, I’d like to give a few shout-outs:
The Most Hits by a long shot goes to Women of TV: New Girl. Pretty clearly though traffic is driven by people Googling up hot pictures of Zooey Deschanel and ending up on my blog.
The Most “Non-Celebrity” Hits goes to …She’d Enjoy Public Displays of Affection. People seem to Google “Public Displays of Affection” quite a bit?
I get a ton of hits on my Movie Review of Lost in Translation, and the blog post Following the Pixies gets a lot of hits too, each of them just about every day. I find it heartening that there are still fans of that movie and that band that find their way to my blog, even for a moment.
…She’d Have Curves (Pt.2) gets a ton of hits, in part I’m pretty sure because of the super-sexy pictures I found to put up in the post. And yet, I also think that I get a lot of readers– I consider it one of the sexiest pieces I’ve written, and like nothing else I’ve read. It attracted the attention of Catherine over at her very popular blog Simply Solo, and helped land me a couple Guest Blogger spots there.
My favorite two “slice of life” posts are Quite the Momentous Week and Jägerbombs and Satellites. They chronicle some fun times I had that have been all too rare in my life in recent years, and they were a lot of fun to write as well.
I got the most views in a single day recently on May 10, 2012, the day I wrote …She’d Share My Motto, which seemed to be very popular. May 11th nearly tied the views, falling just 3 views shy, so when I look at my stats bar graph, May 10-11 stands out like twin towers against the skyline.
Lastly, but most importantly, I wanted to give a shout-out to YOU! Thanks for reading my thoughts and especially when you take the time to comment. If a tree falls in the woods, but there is no one to hear, does it make a noise? The same thing applies to writing a blog, so thank you for letting me know that I’m making a little bit of noise here! Writing this blog has been a great adventure, and I’ve met some wonderful fellow bloggers along the way. If you have a minute, I’d love it if you could share what brought you to check out my blog for the first time, and what you liked about it that kept you coming back?
I hope you’re still here this time next year