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What 23+ Years of Writing on The Internet Taught Me

If I ever want to feel old, I just think about how I have over 23+ years experience in internet publishing. 

If I ever want to feel successful, I just tell myself I have millions of readers.

If I want to have an existential crisis, I just ask: “How many of those 9.8 million people even know who I am?”

I’ve published millions of words across hundreds of websites. I’ve written for love, I’ve written for money, I’ve written for my own sanity. 

My lowest point in my life as a blogger was the day I wrote a post about the french green bean slicer. 

In the eyes of SEO optimization, it was a 2500+ word masterpiece. I carefully crafted a few hundred words just on the history of the French Green Bean Slicer, along with in-depth explanations on the different features that would be helpful to look for when buying one.

The irony of it all? At the time, I didn’t even know what a french green bean slicer was. I’m not sure I even remember what one is now. 

I do vaguely remember french cut green beans being skinnier than plain old regular green beans. Hmmm, maybe I should Google it…

Needless to say, I don’t own much of a cooking blog anymore. 

Truth be told, I have the cooking skills of a caveman, was vegetarian for 8 years of life, and I ranked #1 for three years straight for “How to Grill Baby Back Ribs”.

I should be ashamed of myself. How could I forget about the Journalism Code of Ethics
Ethics is one of those things I’ve always sort of taken seriously. If you don’t have ethics, who are you?

Probably a very good person who happens to also be desperate in that moment. #willwriteforfood

On the majority of the websites I own, I don’t share my personal life with my readers, not too much anyways. I hint at enough to be human, but just enough it’s only a glimpse. 

On some of the sites I’ve written for, I mention I’m a mom, and that’s why safety is important to me. I figure safety is a pretty safe topic. I feel safe just talking about it!

It’s what I don’t tell them that starts to weigh on me.

I didn’t tell them how sad I was when our pet frog died.

I don’t tell them how holidays always stress me out.

I don’t tell them anything too detailed about my kids or friends and family members. {Although, that’s probably a good thing and something I probably never really would do without their permission first because I respect their privacy!}

I never mention my viewpoints on controversial things like Politics, Religion, etc.

I definitely don’t tell them the real reason sites go without updates for months, sometimes even years: I have Bipolar I Disorder.

Maybe Tori Amos says it best: I’ve been silent all these years.

Maybe what’s going on in my life is none of their business. Maybe I’m wise enough to know most of them don’t really care. Visitors to a website usually just want their “fast facts” they came searching for in google and they just want to get it and leave. 

I’ve seen the memes about food bloggers. I liked the advice I stumbled across on the blog Cadry’s Kitchen: If you don’t like it, buy a cookbook.

I am not a food blogger, but I know that me distracting the visitor with anything more than a straight-to-the-point post might be an annoyance to them. 

They came searching for an answer, not my personal recollections and ramblings. 
If they wanted random incoherent philosophy, they’d search for it. 

Unfortunately, “How Michelle Really Feels About Green Beans” isn’t one of those long-tail keyword phrases that a bunch of people search for every day. 

Fortunately, the french green bean slicer trend fell by the wayside. I was relieved when I saw “vintage french green bean slicer” only gets about 20 searches a month. 

You’d think, with a million people coming to websites I own, I’d at least be sort of known, if not famous. 

I was with a group of artists once at a meetup in real life. I mentioned casually that I had a website about art. She asked me if I ever heard of Chelle Stein. “You should totally check her out, I think you would like her style!”

Some people would find that frustrating. Honestly, it gave me that sigh-of -relief-feeling: Phew, even though I *did* put my picture on the internet, with my full real name, and published stuff for 23+ years, nobody can remember me or connect me to a real human being standing in front of them. 

Then I wondered later if it was because maybe I gained a bunch of weight and then lost it all again…did I even really look like the person I supposedly am online?

Anyways, I suppose I could give you a nicely bulleted list, complete with SEO researched and optimized heading titles on what I’ve learned, but the truth is I can’t possibly tell you all of it that easily.

What Can I Tell You? It’s time I DO talk about these personal things…and that’s where this blog is headed in 2021.

I’m on a quest to revive the art of the true personal blog.

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