Dec 31 2016

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2016 Edition

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2016 Edition

All year long, I keep a list of the search terms that bring people to my site because I find it wildly fascinating. When I did this in 2015, my blog was just a tiny fledgling, so there weren’t a whole lot of them — most traffic came from friends and family who intentionally bookmarked the homepage and occasionally checked back for updates.

This year, “organic” traffic has surged by comparison, so this list is much more expansive. It’s always a trip to see exactly how people wind up here, especially when it’s fairly obvious they were looking for something else. While some of these search terms make a whole lot more sense than last year’s, I’m often still baffled by (and grateful for) Google’s algorithm (thanks for sending me some peeps, Google!).

Here are the top 10 searches that brought you to MichiforniaGirl in 2016, copied exactly the way they were typed into Google search. Continue reading

Aug 25 2016

Well, That Escalated Quickly: Behind the Scenes of a Perplexingly Polarizing Post

Well, That Escalated Quickly: Behind the Scenes of a Perplexingly Polarizing Post

This is a post about irony.

Well, mostly. The last couple weeks have demonstrated that an alarming number of people are super confused when it comes to identifying the underlying theme of something (which makes the English teacher in me curl up in a ball and sob a little bit). So this time, I feel like maybe it’s important to be literal up front, to just come out and SAY what this post is about.

And since this is a post about irony, here’s your first ironic snacklet: my husband begged me not to write this follow-up. BEGGED. Continue reading

Jun 13 2016

Here I Sit, Waiting For My Editorial Call

Here I Sit, Waiting For My Editorial Call

Some of you already know this, but I wrote a book. I started it in 2011 while I had a full-time teaching job, so I worked on it during nights and weekends and then got pregnant with P and finished the first draft during the summer of 2013. Or maybe 2014, I don’t remember — it kind of took forever. And then I put it through four full revisions (and several mini ones), adding passages and deleting chapters and completely changing characters, and then I just ignored it for several months because there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could ever attempt to publish a book like that while I was a teacher. It’s fiction, but several chapters take place in a high school. A lot of it has to do with the things in this article. There are some swear words.

In order to feel the least bit comfortable putting something like that into the universe, I figured I’d have to quit. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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