Community. People. Home.

Community. People. Home.

2010 was a difficult year. The first quarter was spent trying to sell our house while my mother’s health rapidly declined. Nathan was three years old and I worked part time both at home and in the office, which was 40 miles away. In April, Mom died and the next day we accepted an offer on our house. Within two months we moved and now that I was closer to my office, I raised my hours to full time out of the house. It was chaos.

The fog finally started to clear and the next thing I knew it was the summer of 2011. I wasn’t happy in my job and needed something more. I started writing again and revived my blog, though I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. I had tried my hand at various niches: parenting, frugal living, and minimalism, but most of it didn’t feel right. Something was missing, yet I kept it up.

In early 2012, as I was still finding my way, I happened upon a tweet that sounded interesting. I followed the link and at the bottom of the post was a yeah write badge. Ever the curious one, I clicked the badge and discovered a whole new world. Bloggers were writing stories, not just how-tos and DIYs. The focus was on the storytelling and suddenly it became clear to me what I’d been missing all along: my own voice. I had been trying to write as I’d seen others write, never putting my own authentic voice in my work.

I was not a frugal living blogger. I did not have the answers to life’s tough parenting questions. I don’t do anything myself that I don’t have to out of desire or necessity. I finally knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted to talk about me.

I spent a few weeks lurking before I decided to give it a go. I sat looking at the first post I planned to submit, staring at the badge I finally figured out how to add, and paused to will myself out of getting ill. If I did this, submitted this post, writers would know I was trying to write. My following up to this point had been approximately 3 people. This was some scary shit.

I did it, then had trouble submitting and left a comment on the post that sounded yelly. This prompted my first conversation with Erica. I still laugh about that because on top of all of my nerves, now the executive editor was going to hate me. But this is what I do. I make friends wherever I go.

I didn’t tank that first week, which was a relief. I showed up the next, and then I kept showing up. I learned. I read every single post – kick off, opening grid, voting. I learned what the editors were looking for and tried to follow their suggestions. I improved. I got recognition. I grew my readership.

In 2013 I started opening the moonshine grid and then a month later I took over the Tuesday post. I cannot tell you what it meant to me that the people I so desperately wanted to impress and was so afraid of pissing off a year earlier now had enough confidence in me to let me in on the behind the scenes action.

More than the vote of confidence, the friendships I’ve made are invaluable to me. If I couldn’t be an editor anymore, I’d be sad. But if these people ceased to be my friends, to have my back, to lift me up on the dark days when my aspirations (writing and otherwise) seem so far out of reach I just want to crawl into a hole and die, I don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably just start digging.

Because, yes, the writing is important. The growth, opportunity, blog traffic, and all the other great stuff that comes along with participation here were and still are important to me. But all of that means nothing without community.

Yeah write is my community, my people, my home.

Happy birthday, yeah write. Erica, what you’ve created here is unparalleled. Thank you for everything. And to the rest of the editors, I’m proud and honored to work with you all. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for all of us.

 

Feeling sentimental this week as I join in yeah write’s birthday celebration. *sniffle*

24 Responses to “Community. People. Home.”

  1. Stacie says:

    Bingo! The unthinkable is losing the friendships. We won’t let that happen EVER! From my very early days you were one of the best writers on the grid and that continues to be the case. Love your writing.

    • michellelongo says:

      You are so sweet, Stacie. You’re like the ray of sunshine to my dark cloud :) So glad to call you a friend.

      • michellelongo says:

        And I forgot to say that I love where you’re taking your writing these days. Always a pleasure to read you. It was from the start, but lately you’ve been blowing me away.

  2. Erica M says:

    I need like buttons on these because I don’t know what else to say. Thank you for sharing and for being my friend.

    • michellelongo says:

      I was going to mention that I have a like button because you installed it, but then I saw you found it. Thank you for being my friend and for everything.

  3. cshowers says:

    Michelle,

    As a new participant in Yeah Write and The Speakeasy, it is so encouraging and inspiring to read about how you and the other editors became a part of this community. How blessed I feel am to also become a part of this community.

    God bless you,
    Cheryl

    • michellelongo says:

      Welcome, Cheryl, and thanks for the sweet comment. I really do love it here. I found the support to be wonderful right from the start. We’re always happy to have new people find us. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Sam Merel says:

    Community, people, home. Yes, yes and yes. I love Yeah Write for how much it has helped my writing, but I really love it for the people I have met, and the friendships I have made. Like you!

  5. Natalie DeYoung says:

    I heart you, Michelle. I’m so glad to have met you here.

  6. Pam Huggins says:

    Yay you and Yay Yeah Write! Great essay. So glad to be part of this community too. Thank you for all that you and all the other editors do.

  7. outlawmama says:

    I cried through this. I didn’t realize the timeline of all of this. I’m so grateful you’re in my life. You have no idea how much I get from you and your writing. I’m blessed for knowing you.

    • michellelongo says:

      And I cried reading your comment! You know I feel the same about you – you have really inspired me in so many ways. I’m so lucky to know you.

  8. Robbie says:

    I love how we met stories. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who had no idea how the hell to add a badge. You rock!!

    • michellelongo says:

      The problem for me was that because I was on blogger, and that’s pretty write-and-go, I had no need to learn code. It took me forever to figure out where code even went! I still don’t know much of that technical stuff, but working behind the scenes at yeah write gave me the opportunity to learn so much more about it. I can at least do the basics now :) Thanks for always being such a great member of our community, Robbie.

  9. jannatwrites says:

    The badge adding is hard (still can’t do it the way the instructions say using text editing… I don’t do code, either :) ) I’m glad you found a home in this community- I’m seeing that theme in the editors’ birthday posts… just wonderful!

  10. Martha B says:

    How amazing that yeah write has brought so much fulfillment into your life, though it’s not surprising. This post was full of so much up and down, I really feel for you. Nicely done.

  11. jenbrunett says:

    I sincerely heart this. What an incredible journey with a happy present (tense and gift equally). I feel so comforted knowing I’ve found a community of kindness and talent.

    And…I’m sorry to hear about your mom. :(

  12. atrm61 says:

    So inspiring to read about your amazing journey Michelle and kudos to you for reaching where you are today :-)I am very new to writing and newer still to SE and YW but am glad to be among such stalwarts!Oh,and I don’t know how to add that badge -am terrible at following technical jargon but am managing to copy paste the pic and the link šŸ˜€ All the best always

  13. Suzanne says:

    I am loving reading about how we all ended up here ā€“ and so delighted to know that the same thing keeps us here. Nothing is more important than the community. Not even a fancy badge. šŸ˜‰

  14. mamarific says:

    I truly did not believe in the authenticity of online friendships until i found this group. Always enjoy your writing, and thank you for all you do for Yeah Write. Wish i could be part of the fun more often, but when i do join in, it’s the highlight of my week.

  15. tinsenpup says:

    I’m loving these origin stories. They’re so inspiring. :) Community is the key.

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