May 15 2016

What Happens When Your Post Goes Semi-Viral

What Happens When Your Post Goes Semi-Viral

This is the post AFTER the post that sort of went viral.

The headline should actually contain a question mark and a hefty dose of even more uncertainty: “Um, I’m Not Totally Sure…But What DOES Happen When Your Post Goes Viral?” Like, I’m asking you. This isn’t a how-to. This is a legitimate question. What am I supposed to do?

I guess I should probably start with a hearty welcome to all the new people, since there are a LOT more of you here now. I’m so grateful that you not only stopped by, but also decided to stay! Of course, because I’m a worrier, I’m super concerned that I might be unprepared to keep you all entertained. While I attempt to get my bearings, here is a dancing monkey.
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Mar 31 2016

This Is My Poem About Leaves

This Is My Poem About Leaves

Actually, this is the story of how Gwyneth Paltrow un-paralyzed me.

She doesn’t know this story. We are not friends. I mean, no doubt she’s perfectly pleasant — although people sure love to hate her for allegedly being an out-of-touch wackadoo — but I, for one, am grateful for her accidental guidance toward a ridiculous epiphany.

At the writers conference last month, I met with one particular professional who wanted to know if I had a “platform.”

“Well,” I said, “I have a blog.” I knew this was a semi-right answer because the conference offered dozens of sessions about how it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to have an online presence.

“How many people read it?”

“Some, actually,” I replied. “Some people. I mean, it’s not crazy. But it’s definitely more than, you know, my parents.”

“Mm-hmm. And what’s it about?” Continue reading

Feb 17 2016

San Francisco Writers Conference: What to Expect

San Francisco Writers Conference: What to Expect

For two weekends in a row, I have not slept in my own bed. This is unusual for a homebody like me — who has handpicked my perfect pillow-top mattress and appreciates when all my stuff is in one ultra-organized location — but for the first half of February, I’ve been a traveling fool. We took our first-ever trip to Disneyland. And for the past four days, I was an attendee at the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference.

I’d been wanting to go to a writing conference for years, but my teaching schedule got in the way, and then I got pregnant — twice — and then, and then, and then.

AND THEN, we moved to California, and even though I have a six-month-old, I told myself, No excuses. It’s serendipity. So I signed up. My mom flew in from Michigan to stay with P, and B came along with me. Before I went, I tried to do as much research as I could about what to expect; but to my surprise, there were very few thorough accounts of conferences past. I found a couple “What to Bring” lists, and one or two ultra-short blog posts from years ago, but nothing with the kind of specificity I wanted.

So, for any future attendees (and anyone else who might be curious about this kind of thing), I’m happy to share my experience. Continue reading

Dec 31 2015

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2015 Edition

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2015 Edition

One of my favorite things about being “behind the scenes” of a blog is that I get to see some of the search terms that bring traffic to my site. Prior to this year, I had no idea this kind of information was available — I was clueless about a lot of blog-related things, actually, and I feel like I learn something new at least once a week. But your search terms? My fave. Love them. So fascinating.

Many people who find my site were clearly looking for something else. I feel awful for having disappointed them, and does this mean I need some serious SEO help? Just checking.

Here are the top 10 searches that brought people to MichiforniaGirl this year, copied exactly the way they were typed into Google search. Continue reading

Dec 11 2015

Glitter, Granite, and Gratitude Yes, I am a fan of the Oxford comma.

<span class="entry-title-primary">Glitter, Granite, and Gratitude</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Yes, I am a fan of the Oxford comma.</span>

Sometimes a holiday party feels more like an obligation than a celebration — especially when it’s work-related, and EXTRA-especially when you’re mostly an introvert. But with two young kids, no family, and a limited number of friends here in California, the opportunities to really go out are sort of few and far between. For that reason, I’ve been looking forward to The Company’s holiday party for weeks. Maybe months.

A sparkly dress! Actual makeup! HEELS, for crying out loud! I’ve been in flip-flops, sandals, and flat boots for like two years straight. Plus, it wasn’t “work related” for me, as my current job involves snuggling a baby and trying (but often failing) to squeeze in thirty-minute blocks of writing during his impossibly short naps.

I’m still too much of a chicken to leave my infant with a stranger — even P has never had a “babysitter” in the true sense of the word — so it was such a relief when my mom agreed to fly out for a few days. It would be our first child-free night in ages.

The rumor mill claimed that this annual gathering was supposed to be kind of epic, and for a holiday party, I guess it was. It reminded me of a super scaled-up wedding: a coat check, cocktail attire, tiny hors d’oeuvres…and, of course, freely-flowing champagne. Here I am after half a glass:

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