Going down?

In case you haven’t heard, this month Yeah Write is hosting a summer series “31 Days to Build a Better Blog.” 31 topics, 31 days, every day in July. I’m following along and will hopefully post along daily to practice skills.


Day 1:  Write an Elevator Pitch. 

At BlogHer, when asked what my blog was about I’d give the following response:

Well… sometimes it’s just my day to day.  You know, life as a wife, working mom, etc. But sometimes I do some memoir work about life with my parents.

If they appeared like they were still listening, I’d add in that my dead mother had multiple sclerosis and my father is a recovering alcoholic.

My readership did not skyrocket after BlogHer.

A blog redesign has been on my mind, which includes the idea of the name, tag line, elevator pitch, and the overall way I want this blog to represent itself.  The internal conversation goes something like this:

1. The Journey is a stupid name for a blog.
2. I should have stuck with the old name, “What I’m Thinking About Right Now.”  Wait, no I should not have.
3. I recently changed my tag line from a whole lot of stuff about being a homesteading, green mom, since that’s not where I’m headed anymore.  The new tag line reads “Writing my way through life.” I’m not sure I like that either.
4. What’s the pitch?  Start with the pitch and find the name/tag line…
5.  Possible pitch:  The musings and ramblings of a crazy curmudgeon.
6.  When I try to write about myself and be clever, it makes me think people will say, “Who does she think she is?” Then I want to puke.
7.  Ooh!  That could be my new tag line – I think I’m going to puke.
8.  No, no! – I think I’m gonna barf. – but said in the voice of Marge Gunderson from Fargo.
9.  No one will know to read it in Marge Gunderson’s voice.
10.  Fuuuuu… No wonder no one wants to read this thing.

I put a little thought into this pitch, albeit at 3:30 in the morning.  Here goes, take one:

I’m writing about my past, present and future, with an eye toward being a wife, mom, employee, and a writer.  I’m trying to be a better parent than mine were.  I examine themes from the POV of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic as well as the young caregiver for my late-mother as she battled multiple sclerosis.  Sometimes I throw in my anxiety and depression.

And now I think I’m gonna barf.

What do you think?  Be honest (but kind, please).  If you want to weigh in on the tag line, blog name or elevator pitch, go for it.  I’m here to learn!

43 Responses to “Going down?”

  1. Erica M says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Erica M says:

    I’m totally about to text you about a typo in your final sentence. Then after work, I’ll weigh in on the pitch. Loved your post about it.

  3. I’m at that place in blogging too… Wanting to really discover/create my purpose for it, and to censor myself from posting just random things that don’t pertain to the blog’s purpose. I think creating a pitch is a great place to start. I’m no expert on this, so I think Erica and others will give you better direction. But I do think you need to feel your own confidence more. I’ve read your posts a lot through the YeahWrite and they are always interesting, and I’m not even someone who can relate to that type of upbringing. You’re creative. You’re smart. You’re funny. No one’s going to puke. I think you’re off to a good start and asking yourself the right questions. Loved this post.

    • Thank you. I appreciate the kind words! Sometimes I feel like I didn’t even write those posts, like they flew out when I wasn’t looking. I think that’s why I have such a hard time with the pitch or talking about myself.

  4. cynk says:

    I’ve always liked your blog title. I think it relates to the themes that you write about in your posts. I’d like to see it referenced in your pitch (e.g. journey from young caregiver to adult child of alcoholic).
    Of course, if Erica says differently, please disregard. Except for the part about how I like your blog name. I’m very confident about that.

  5. I love that you took us through the process in your numbers–enjoyed the read. I like your pitch (oh and I love that you called yourself a curmudgeon earlier) because I think it contains all the elements. But I found myself wanting to play with the language a little bit, mostly I think because I know you usually have great language in the writing I’ve heard from you. Your voice seemed a little absent, if that makes sense. So my thought would be keep the content, maybe work on the voice and organization a bit so it reflects your writing more. You had such a great personality in the rest of the post, but the pitch felt like…a pitch. Kind of stripped of the YOU, even though it was all about you, really.

    Easy suggestion, right? Sigh. This is what I find myself struggling with as well, and I think it’s really hard for us to do this with our own stuff.

    Oh, and (as if my comment isn’t long enough), I think maybe starting with the part about your parents might be a great pitch point, like you are coming from having to sort of parent your parents in some ways, now you’re learning to parent your children.

    Okay. So I’ve clearly gone a little hog wild here. :)

    • Thank you for such a detailed comment!!

      I reread and I see what you mean – I was being me and then screeching halt, down to business (which, by the way, is me in real life, but that doesn’t translate well to writing, so I am not surprised that I did it unintentionally, nor am I surprised it didn’t work).

      I like the parenting the parent aspect. that’s a good angle. I’m going to think on that a bit.

  6. Katie Jane says:

    I really love the “Writing My Way Through Life” tagline!! And I like “The Journey,” it goes with the tagline. But so does “What I’m Thinking About Right Now,” and that might better fit you’re writing pattern. Just my opinion.(:

  7. Marcy says:

    I think Kristen gave really good advice. I have enjoyed reading your heart-wrenching stories from your childhood and think it’s important to start your pitch with that, and I like the idea of it helping you with your current parenting.

  8. Honey, don’t barf. It’s going to be okay.

  9. IASoupMama says:

    I always read anything that includes “gonna barf” in Marge’s voice. Seriously.

    I love your blog title and tagline together — The Journey: Writing My Way through Life really gets to the core of how you use writing to process the events, both traumatic/dramatic and simple that have made you who you are today as a wife, mother, employee, and writer. It gives me the feel that you (like all of us) are unfinished and working towards something.

    I agree with Kristen that this is missing the sparkle of your voice. You have a real knack for putting together simple language in an evocative way — I’d like to see that come through your pitch. It needs to be as awesome as we all know you and your writing are. *Mwah!*

    • Oh, thank goodness you use Marge’s voice. It’s one of my favorite movies to quote – the fun accent mixed with great mines makes it perfect.

      And thank you for the rest. I think I wrote it in another comment but when I write my posts, it’s almost like it’s not me. And this I’m TRYING to write and maybe that’s the problem. Going to think about what everyone’s saying and take a step back from it to see what comes out.

  10. I agree with Kristin too. When I was reading your pitch I was thinking about all of your posts that I have read over the past year from the lovely to the hilarious, and even the sad, and thought that maybe a little of the voice that helped write those posts was missing from the pitch. I love your blog because of all of those pieces of you that we get to see through your writing. It always makes me feel that you are, indeed writing your way through life.

    • Yes, I see I was using my grocery list voice.

      And now that I named the voice, I think I figured it out. If I don’t have emotion about the blog, no one can think that I think too highly of it or that I’m putting it down in an attempt to fish for compliments. It’s the constant struggle between my superiority complex and my low self esteem.

  11. What about keeping The Journey and using Thoughts along the way as your tagline? Or just “Thoughts along the way”? Also, for the pitch, what about a mini-story? Don’t tell us the emotions in your blog, show us. I just thought of it as a very short blog post that was very exemplary of the entire blog.

  12. I have always liked your blog title and tag line and I’ve enjoyed going along for the ride.
    If you don’t feel like this is who you are anymore (or what you want to accomplish with this blog), then start by asking yourself: who do you write for? why? what do you want to accomplish with this blog?
    Then say it out loud.
    Is that how you would talk at a party? No? Then back to the drafting board :)

  13. I agree with Kirsten’s comment. You are such a powerful writer — with such a powerful story. That power needs to come through a bit more in your pitch. It’s in you just waiting to emerge. “Writing my way through life.” Is a fabulous springboard.

  14. Zoe Byrd says:

    boy Michelle I guess I am in agreement with everyone else that “writing my way through life,” is so much of how I think of your site. These folks seem to actually know you while I know you from reading your stuff for the brief time I have been affiliated with Yeah Write. I have to say you are one of my favorites though and I wouldn’t know that from reading this pitch because it is missing what you bring to every piece you write. I think you deserve to be more confident in the rest of your tagline and to put yourself out there more because that is what I think brings me back to your site over and over again. I hope this helps because youre such an incredible writer.

  15. Kianwi says:

    I feel you exactly…I am struggling with this so much. Who am I and what is my blog about??? I don’t know! But I know that I should know and it’s important. This one is going to have to percolate in my brain for a bit, I think.

    I love your tagline…it’s perfect. I’m also agreeing with everyone else about your pitch. What you wrote is all true, but it’s not how I would describe your blog. For me, the reason I read about your blog isn’t so much for the typical topics, as for the fact that I love your writing voice, whatever the topic. You are one of the most ‘real’ bloggers out there. When I read your blog, I feel like if we met and were friends (and we would be friends!) you would be the same person I see in your blog.

    Now I have to go ponder my own blog :)

    • I think the blog is pretty true to me – though you can add in some nervous babbling if you meet me in person. I can hide behind the blog and say things that I wouldn’t say the first time we met (OK, maybe after an hour or so).

      I appreciate the insight. Thanks!!

  16. I love your writing. I never realized your dad was in recovery. We share that. I agree with what everyone said– you’re a great storyteller.

    • Thanks Christie. Yes, my dad got sober about 20 years ago. The thing with my dad is tough; harder to write about than the stuff with my mother. His influence shaped me more than I let on. I’m working on it though. I didn’t know that about your dad either. Parents are some complicated people.

  17. Michelle, just wanted to add another voice of support for putting your pitch out there — I’m in agreement with the rest of the readers/commenters/advice-givers. You’ve got a great title and tagline, your pitch has the elements you need, it’s just morphing it into the “show don’t tell” approach. Great first draft though!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I like your tagline. You’ve probably been a parent all your life, and now you’re a “real” parent. I don’t know how I’d put that into words (I apologize for my inactive brain) but I think that’s a big part of your story. I think the ideas in your pitch are good, they just need a bit of polish. This is really hard to do, isn’t it?

    (I’m Blogging Bibliophile. I’m having trouble with my OpenID credentials, apparently. Sorry.)

  19. I think you write so damn well. The pitch is a bit flat. Too clinical. I want more story and personality. Like the rest of the post. :)

  20. Stopping by from YeahWrite 31dbbb.

    First off — I LOVE your page background! <3

    Well, I think your pitch does aim for a small target audience. (Those who also have an alcoholic in their lives and/or cared for a parent.)

    But reading the rest of your post, it sounds like you are a more interesting person than your pitch makes you out to be. It sounds like you could write about being more than just the sum of your experiences. It sounds like you enjoy a good movie and can quote it for the purpose of humor– even if that humor is just a conversation with yourself. Your process made me smile and felt relatable. I would read more of that. I would want to get to know that person. I could be supportive of that person in the hard times.
    The pitch though, that sounded like mostly hard times. The background of your blog that I adore so much turned from pretty rain drops to just your tears. If that really is your blog, “Diary of crying” could be the name or tag.

    Don’t take that to seriously. I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t enjoy the group-session-therapy-circle of “hi I’m whoever, and my life sucks in the same way as yours.” Obviously a great many people do get something from that. A lot of people seek that out. I am absolutely certain that there is an audience for that.

    I’d just rather hang out with the person who is about to barf.

    • Thanks about the raindrops! I kind of like them too :)

      I get what your saying about the negative feel of the pitch. I mean, it’s true, and it’s who I am and what shaped me, but I get your point.

      “Diary of crying: I think I’m gonna barf.” is totally going to be the name/tagline of my all-grumpy blog. So thank you for that :)

  21. Larks says:

    I’m with Kirsten and J.Lenni. I want more Michelle-ness in your pitch. I love your blog not because of what you write about necessarily but because of how you write it. So this particular pitch, while technically correct, would be a bit like the Pioneer Woman describing herself as “an American recipe blog.” I mean, yes, her blog is that. But I go to it when I want to be punched in the face by a stick of butter. For me, your blog does a great job of underscoring how we don’t always get to pick our families in a way that feels like balm.

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