Last fall I got an e-mail from someone with Real Girls Media, a new Internet company in San Francisco. This was on the tail end of me being rejected as a Club Mom blogger (didn’t every other mommy blogger far and wide apply?)
They found my blog, some how, some way, for some reason, from 2,000 miles away and they liked it and they wanted me to be part of an advisory team as they launched their new women’s website, DivineCaroline. Rebecca Weeks with their company flew to Nashville (she of the very cool robin’s egg blue trench coat that I coveted) and over chocolate and coffee at a hip coffee shop she showed me the mockups of their website and asked my opinion. She wanted my opinion on a new women’s website.
This week I am officially part of their beta ad network for at least one year. It’s an I scratch your back, you scratch my back sort of Internet deal. I drive traffic to them and their advertisers and they drive traffic to me by featuring me as a featured partner on their parenting page, along with the super awesome Amy Clark at MomAdvice.
I will not be quiting my day job. I do hope that this will bring me a little “mad money,” as I call it, but what I really hope is that this will open some doors for me as a writer. Although I do work in publishing as an editor, I don’t really get to write creatively. Trust me, there are only so many ways you can write about M&A and corporate governance over six years.
Back to my point, and there is one. Why is it that women, especially, doubt themselves?
My friend Mrs. Flinger just wrote about being the generic Cheerios of the Internet. What I would like to tell her, and you, is I battle self-doubt daily. When I met the other DivineCaroline advisors, including the fabulous Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil from Nashville, several of them nonchalantly mentioned their book deals, their agents, their “business.” I sat at a table in San Francisco and felt a wave of anxiety come over me when it was my turn to introduce myself. How in the world did I fit into the grand scheme of all of this? What is my niche? What the hell is my brand? My God! Do I even have one? I felt like the never will be a popular girl, always the smart/good girl of high school all over again. I am the girl who has never lived more than 60 miles from her hometown, who has never appeared on television or written a book, who doesn’t have a master’s degree, who has never been to Europe, who wonders constantly if she could have done this or that better, who wishes she could lose five (OK eight, dammit) pounds, and who wonders when she will turn what she loves to do best, writing, into a career?
Any time I doubt myself, I buckle down and continue writing and try to take pride in my current work. I remind myself that only a few months on the job at Vanderbilt University, fresh out of college and oh so young and skinny, I was named interim editor of the faculty/staff newspaper. When I left six and a half years later, I was the public affairs officer for the university’s largest school, the College of Arts and Science. At my current job I had the opportunity to interview the former CEO of Pepsi.
I am a professional. I am not “just” a mommy. And yes, that is important to me.
I hope I start believing in myself more and telling my self-doubt to take a hike. To quote one of Miss C’s favorite books, “When I grow up, I want to be me.”