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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Blogging as a career

Over the years, many readers have asked about my career and blogging. So, I figured I'd write a post answering the most frequently asked questions (including moving to New York, boyfriends and break-ups)...

Why did you first move to New York?
I moved from Michigan to New York almost eleven years ago. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I stayed in Ann Arbor for six months and worked three jobs to save up enough money to move to New York. My first gig here was a full-time unpaid internship with Cosmopolitan Magazine for three months, to help get my foot in the door. I also tutored every day after work and on weekends to make money. I was super broke and had butterflies in my stomach, but was thrilled to finally be in the city.

How broke?
I was almost literally pinching pennies. Every day I'd order a $1.50 bagel with cream cheese for lunch, and I always really wanted to add tomatoes, but for an extra sixty cents, I simply couldn't afford it. Every night I would walk home from work, since I didn't want to splurge on the $2 bus fare. My first apartment was a small one-bedroom sublet in midtown which I shared with a guy friend, and he slept in the bedroom and I slept with a blanket on the old sofa in the living room. Now and again we had cockroaches and, even on the hottest days, we never turned on the air conditioner because we couldn't pay extra on the utility bill. I cannot begin to tell you how much spaghetti I ate for dinner that year, just because it was the cheapest dish I could think of! Now whenever we have spaghetti, it takes me right back.

It was a drag to be so broke, but at the same time, it was exciting. I felt like I was paying my dues. If you ask pretty much anyone who lives in New York, they'll regale you with terrible apartment stories, crazy roommate sagas, a history of scrimping and saving when they first arrived. It's a rite of passage.

What was your first job?
Growing up I had a million jobs at restaurants, coffee shops, babysitting, shoveling snowy driveways, etc....but after my first few months in New York, I landed a full-time real job as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster (book publishing) for a year.

And then I decided to go to law school.

Law school?
Law school was a big departure. But back when I was graduating from college, I randomly took the LSAT, and when I did well on it, I figured I'd just apply to schools, and when I got in, I figured I might as well send in the deposit. One thing came after another, and it was a bit of a snowball effect. I figured I'd try it for a year. So I applied for student loans and started at NYU School of Law in 2002.

How did it go?
That year was really miserable. Part of it was personal—my college boyfriend and I had broken up, and I was pretty devastated; I lived in a tiny ground-floor dorm that looked out onto crowded Broadway, so I had to keep the blinds closed all day, and there was a hot-dog stand right outside my window, so the whole place smelled like boiled meat. Part of it was law school, itself—I missed working in books and magazines. I felt like I didn't fit in with the other students and felt lame. I called my mom like 50 times a day. I sobbed on my dad's shoulder when I went home for Thanksgiving. After finishing the first year, I decided to leave law school. That was actually an easy decision, despite knowing I'd have to somehow repay all the loans (a whopping $54,000 for just one year, zoinks!)

How did you pay back the loans?
As soon as I left law school, I felt flooded with relief. I knew I had made the right decision, even though it was a much, much less secure career path. To help repay the loans, I tutored and taught the LSAT for Kaplan on evenings and weekends, which was actually an awesome job. I made friends with some of the students, since many were my age. During the day, I got a full-time job with a small editorial/advertising firm. It was GREAT to work for a small company because I got a ton of work thrown at me and was just expected to figure it out. The atmosphere was intense, but I loved being trusted to get the work done, and the job gave me confidence that I could do anything. I rose up the ranks quickly (as you can in a small company), and also learned a lot about business, since the owner of the company was an incredible negotiator; I watched her approach big, intimidating brands and basically say, "We are worth this huge price; you should sign with us right away and you will never look back," and people basically did. She showed me by example that you can ask for the moon and, if you really believe in yourself, actually get it.

What did you do at the company?
My position was an editor, and, over the four years I was there, we worked on some amazing projects. My favorite was launching a magazine called Bene, which was about how to live like an Italian (think: mozzarella, thick sweaters, mama's boys). It was a dream project and I was asked to take the helm. I worked like a million hours a day, and my boyfriend at the time thought I was the biggest type-A stress case (which I was), but overall I loved it.

When did you start your blog?
Five years ago, I broke up with that same boyfriend and needed a distraction from feeling sad (read: eating potato chips and watching TV). (Funny that now that I'm writing this bio, breakups seem to be at the crux of all my positive life decisions! When a door closes, a window opens, right?) To distract myself, I decided to start a blog. None of my friends had one, and I only read a few—Design*Sponge mostly. Blogging as a career didn't really exist; never did I imagine Cup of Jo would be anything more than a fun hobby. So I worked on it at night and on weekends. I got really into it and would stay up til 2am working on it. (Here's my first post!:)

When did your blog start making money?
As I said here, shifting from blogging-as-a-hobby to blogging-as-a-career was a very slow transition and one that I had never anticipated. After a year or so, I started featuring a few ads on my blog to earn some pocket money. And after a couple years, I quit my job to focus on freelance magazine writing (Glamour, New York Magazine) and grow my blog, so it became about half my income. But only about a year ago did I finally realize that my blog had officially become my full-time job—both financially and time-wise. And I was happy and surprised. (Also here's my work/life balance post, if you'd like to know more.)

What are your favorite parts of blogging?
* Having a close relationship with my beloved readers. Starting the Motherhood Mondays column took the relationship to a new level (do you agree?:), because we started discussing marriage, breastfeeding, depression, infertility, everything. Having these conversations has been an incredible, eye-opening, heartwarming experience.
* I LOVE LOVE LOVE when readers stop us in the street because it's so awesome to meet readers in person. Blogging can feel isolating sometimes, since you work on a laptop at home, so it's amazing to meet people. (And everyone is always so nice and cute!:)
* Writing about a bunch of different topics. If we do a bedroom makeover or I read a fascinating parenting book or I'm itching to write a guide to NYC, I can just do it. That's great, since when you work for a magazine, your "beat" tends to be much more limited. And the great thing is, if I start feeling in a rut, I can just shake things up. It's a real gift to have editorial control.
* Working with photographers, designers and illustrators. Now and again, I've worked with super talented people, like Jamie Beck, Jenny Komenda and Gemma Correll. It's been such a pleasure and honor. I'd love to do more collaborations in the future.
* Alex being awesome. Alex helps a lot with my blog, not so much in the nitty gritty, but just overarching conversations about ideas, worries, etc. He jokes that I'm the CEO, but he's the chief strategist, director of communications, personal chef, mailroom guy, and psychotherapist for Cup of Jo. :) And he's written a couple posts, including 8 confessions of a new dad and his side of the birth story.

What are your least favorite parts of blogging?
Obviously, I feel super lucky to have the job I do, and any negative aspects are absolutely worth it. But I think it's important sometimes to talk about negative parts of your job, so that other people don't assume your job is perfect and thus feel bad about their jobs. (It's like when you're secretly psyched to read that food critics often get food poisoning:) So here are a few things that can be a drag...

* Negative comments. You know that punched-in-the-gut feeling you get when someone criticizes you? Well, if you have a big blog, you get negative comments pretty much every day, so you have that feeling at some point every day. Sometimes the comments are just from someone cranky (and then this mantra applies), but often they're from smart readers and thus are really constructive and helpful for growth. I take negative comments seriously and try to learn from them. Criticism helps you grow, as both a blogger and person, and of course I welcome honest comments from my readers. Like I said, though, negative comments can be very tough to read. I've always been sensitive to criticism, and I'll admit, I've called my mom in tears more than once. It can feel very personal when you're writing about yourself and your life.
* Feeling isolated. While working from home, it's easy to feel lonely without co-workers, especially when you're working on the laptop on your bed, ha! It's often fun and social to have a team around you...and sometimes I just want to gossip about The Bachelor the next morning! It's also tough to never have a sounding board—even just a co-worker to ask, is this idea good or totally crazy?
* Working on vacations/Christmas/weekends/etc. Since I started Cup of Jo five years ago, I don't think I’ve ever taken a vacation where I didn't spend some time working—including our honeymoon. Blogging never stops, and running your own business never stops. Since I don't have anyone else working with me who can take over in my absence, I always have to take time to check in (to upload guest posts, to answer timely advertising questions, etc.). After all, my advertisers are depending on being able to communicate with me, and I owe it to them to have my traffic stay the same even when we're out of town. I don't really mind it, though, since I feel lucky to be blogging overall.

Has Toby changed your work approach?
Having a baby forces you (in a good way) to take time off. Whereas I used to take on a million side projects, I don’t anymore. And I love that we have hours built in every evening to go to the playground, sing, play the bongos, make jokes, ride bikes. Apparently the average toddler laughs 400 times a day, and those throaty giggles are totally contagious. Alex is also really laid-back and talented at relaxing (ha), so that has been good for me. He has taught me to stop more often and smell the roses.

Any advice for growing a blog?
People will like reading your blog—and you'll enjoy writing it—if you're true to yourself and your posts come from the heart. When you write a post, imagine your mom or best friend reading it. Does it sound like your voice? Does the topic fascinate or inspire you? Is the post clear, enticing and visual? Do you have a point of view that's different from other bloggers? Write about what you love. I think everyone has an amazing blog inside them, or a story to tell, and I really encourage people to go for it. If you're starting out, best of luck!

Do you have any tips about starting a magazine career?
I did an interview about my magazine work which might answer some questions. I also love the websites Media Bistro and Ed2010. They have great advice about pitching stories and interviewing; plus, they have job and internship listings. There are obviously many different paths to success, and I would recommend staying very open to opportunities (even low-paying or no-paying ones, at first) and doing all you can to get your foot in the door. Good luck!

What is the biggest misconception about bloggers?
When it’s done right, blogging should look easy—just how magazine articles and books should look easy and fun. But it doesn’t mean that it is easy. I wrote about the behind-the-scenes of running a bigger blog in this interview. There's so much back-end work, including negotiating with advertisers, redesigning your site, working closely with lawyers when developing contracts, hiring contributors and graphic designers, building a presence on social media, answering hundreds and hundreds of reader emails every day, doing guest posts and interviews, the list goes on. Funnily enough, after a while, the actual writing-of-the-posts feels like only a small part of your daily work (even though that's obviously the best part!:).

How do you earn money and handle advertising?
For the past six years, I've sold most of the ads myself. I've worked primarily with small brands, such as etsy shops and jewelry designers. I love working with small business owners and supporting female entrepreneurs.

Now I've also decided to work with an ad network that handles banner ads for bloggers. It's a big step, but I'm excited to free up more time to focus on editorial posts. Starting now, I'll also be doing a few sponsored posts per month, which I typically sell directly to brands myself. For years, I didn't accept sponsored posts, but now I've seen that they work really well with brands you actually love (such as Pinhole Press and The Honest Company). And I'll mark them very clearly with text at the top or bottom of the post. So, it will be very clear when something is sponsored; I hope you guys will enjoy the posts, which will help keep Cup of Jo running smoothly.

What do you think about the future of blogging?
I always tell Alex that I'm riding the wave. Blogs probably won't be around forever (although of course I hope they will!) and you never know how quickly the industry will change. After all, when I started five years ago, I never thought blogging could be a job, and now it is, and maybe it won't be in the future. There's definitely not much job security. But I'm grateful to be doing it now, and hope to keep blogging for as long as possible.

If you have read this far, bravo, haha! Thank you so much, and I hope this answered most of your questions (and probably way more:) If you have any others, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I want to reiterate how much I love blogging and how much I love my readers. Thank you again (so much) for everything. Love, Joanna

493 comments:

1 – 200 of 493   Newer›   Newest»
the mdb playroom said...

Wow, what an amazing post! We can't wait for your redesign : )

xo the mdb playroom

ashley faye said...

awesome read.. thanks!

Claire said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, what a lovely read!

http://www.56torivington.blogspot.co.uk/

Krysta said...

Thank you for sharing- it is so interesting to read about your experience and journey! And congrats on the partnership with federated- you should totally get paid for all of the hard work you put into such great content!

And as a fellow wolverine- Hail to the Victors! ;)

Tinacious Me said...

thank you for sharing your story! How inspiring!
~www.Tinacious.Me~

Baylee said...

Awesome post. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'm not sure I'd ever make blogging a career (unless of course it just got to that point) but I'm keeping this post saved for reference!
Is there any blogs that inspire you or are your daily reads?

Tiffany @ Savor Home said...

I heart you!!! All of this is proof that hard work and following your dreams really do pay off! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

Catie said...

You know, now that you said that you LOVE it when people stop you on the streets, you're not going to be able to go anywhere! :)

alissa b said...

so interesting (and what amazing life you've had/are having)! thanks for sharing all this :)

alissa b
http://alissab.us

Kate! said...

I love that you are a real person :) Blogs might be temporary, but yours has done lots of good things that will definitely be sticking around for a while, so keep it up!

christie elkins. said...

Excellent post! Very encouraging as a blogger myself. And adorable pic of you and Toby :)

Yumi said...

Such a great post. Thank you for sharing your journey honestly & candidly. And congratulations on your success! :) Love reading all your posts.

Casey said...

Wow - such a cool story! I feel awkward saying I feel like I know you, but I can totally see how uncomfortable law school would be for you. I finished law school last year, and while the job market might be as uncertain as the blogging world, I am so glad that I did it. Thanks for your perspective.

Kelly said...

Thank you for this post. I did read it all! And enjoyed every word. I read your blog, and a few others, daily. I am really picky about what blogs I read, as they take time from the day, but A Cup of Jo is always worth it. I want to have a blog (I just started), but feel scared because it seems now that everyone has a blog... you know? But reading your suggestions is very encouraging. I've learned a lot from you, not just through this post, but others as well. Thank you for being inspiring and honest.

Tania said...

This was such a fascinating post, thank you so much for sharing in such great detail about your career path and the back-story of blogging.
As a young person in her twenties, I love reading about where people's careers have started and where they might go. It makes me feel better about working random jobs or not being sure what will come next.
Thank you also for sharing so much of the back-side of blogging, it is fascinating to read about. I'm sorry about the critical comments. One thing that's tricky about blogs is that your "constructive feedback" comes from readers and that feels so different than feedback coming from a boss. My boss, for instance, has the same goals I do (grow a company, write new great articles, etc.) and wants my performance to contribute to her overall goals. Reader feedback is not like feedback from your work superior, but nor is it exactly feedback from a consumer. I can imagine that it's hard to read some of the unmoderated comments that come in, especially when they are cranky.
I also love hearing about Alex's role with blogging.
I am thrilled that you are blogging, and I feel like it's such a treat to read your blog. Most days I feel like I am getting my favorite magazine for free on the internet, so I feel very happy to support the sponsors that support you.
I hope there are many more years of Cup of Jo!

Danielle E. Alvarez said...

You're so awesome :) and this is a fantastic post. Thank you for writing it!

Danielle E. Alvarez said...

You're so awesome :) and this is a fantastic post. Thank you for writing it!

Meagan said...

It's so good to hear that you like being approached in the street. I saw you a few months ago at Murray's and had the whole should-I-shouldn't-I debate. You were showing Toby things, so I decided I'd leave you your personal space, and just gawked silently and told my boyfriend "OMG, it's Joanna! She's like, famous!"

Clare said...

Ack your comment about having strangers stop you on the street: I saw you and Toby on the bike, talking to a friend as I sat inside Cafe Angelika in the W. Village about 10 days ago. I would have said hello and gushed about what a fan and loyal reader I am but I didn't want to bug you in your real life.

I'm so sorry I didn't! I love this post, it is so relevant for a recent college grad making some decisions about my own career path in the city. Thank you so much for doing what you do! xx

Beatrix said...

What a great post. As always your voice is so genuine. I really appreciate hearing the good and the bad aspects of what you do for a living and hearing about the tough times just makes it all so much more relatable.

I'm a very work oriented, type A stress case, career oriented person who has a hard time not working, I'm self employed so I totally understand working all the time. I'm pregnant with our first child and how I'm gong to balance work and motherhood is my biggest concern and hearing from you and how you balance it and how it's changed your go-go attitude towards it to make time for Toby really inspires me. Thank you for such an insightful, honest post!

Meagan said...

Also, I feel such warm fuzzies for you--I went to NYU Law and *should* have dropped out after 1L year. You're living the life I could have lived, if I was braver. (My bf/fiance even has a beard and glasses ;))

Sara said...

I had noticed the new banner ads, and actually thought, "Well, if she wants to do that, cool. At least they're for tasteful companies" So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, good choice! I love your blog, and have been reading for what seems like forever. I'm currently dreaming of a job I myself can do from home, to keep me from going mom-crazy.

Keep up the good work!

Meant for a Moment Designs said...

inspiration! xo i lovet he behind the scenes info, xox

B. in the Know said...

Thanks for all the great advice and sharing about the journey it has been for you. It's great to hear how it was not an overnight success and that the change is truly a transition. And for the record, I hope the blogging world sticks around - I love been connected to so many amazing people!
Much love,
B

ElsaD said...

Thanks SO much!!!!!! U are probably the biggest inspiration for me on the blogosphere and I worship your career and writing! :) I'm a self-proclaimed Cup Of Jo scholar! XOXO

Ling Wang said...

You are too cute! Thank you for being so open about everything =) It's really fascinating to me to hear how others got to where they are today & very comforting to know it wasn't a straight path that I imagine everyone else's perfect lives to have been. I, too, deviated a lot along the way but can't imagine having gotten here without those deviations!

Emily said...

"like" :)

Corinna said...

thank you! you answered questions I didn't even know that I had.

The most wonderful thing I took away from your post is that the principles you have used to build your blog and writing career are the very same principles I need to use to build my legal career! I had no idea you had gone to law school! I LOVE the law, but am not a fan of big corporate work, so I am out on my own now.

One of the best things you shared is to ask for the moon, to believe you are worth the price, and to just tell others that they should work with you. I'm not a natural seller, but when you act naturally, selling is inherent and not an actual task.

Anyway, thank you thank you!

Bethany said...

It's so fun to see how similar our paths are, although you're about a million steps and nearly a decade ahead of me. But whenever I think about how hard blogging and writing can be, I think about your story and feel encouraged to keep going, Jo. Thanks so much for writing this! It made my day. :)

Courtland Thomas said...

This is my favorite post of yours! I love the detail and the history, and I definitely will use these tips for the future when I consider staying in NYC after college, or if I decided to finally become a real blogger.

J+H @ Beyond The Stoop said...

wow thanks for posting! most "tips for a successful blog" always talk about commenting on other blogs, which, in some cases, is true. but mostly it's not about how many comments you get, or how many followers you have, it's about writing from your heart and writing fun, interesting things that others (and yourself) will TRULY enjoy... it's nice to see that someone else with a HIGHLY successful blog thinks so too!

thanks for being a great "blogger role model" for the rest of us newbies :D

cheers.

J+H @ Beyond The Stoop said...

also, now that i KNOW you enjoy meeting bloggers on the street, i'm gonna keep my eye out ;)

jean schneider said...

what a great post - i truly look forward to reading your blog everyday, thanks for sharing so much of your self - you're an inspiration!

Michelle Gasparian said...

Hi Jo, Love this post! BTW- did anyone win monday's giveaway, such a useful diaper bag. Hoping it was me. :)

Steph said...

This is fantastic! We have some life parallels - I'm also from Michigan and also went to law school (and am still a lawyer, oof) and I'm also a blogger... and my goal is to be a professional writer. Your story is inspiring. I adore your blog. :)

http://tubetopix.wordpress.com/

gia said...

My favorite part is that you started blogging purely out of interest. If I start one, I will do it from that foundation. Also, shocked to hear you went to law school for a year- you are a smarty pants!.. and yet so easy going. One more, love Alex's support! That is my #1 thing I am looking for in a guy. :) Lovelove this post!

Jee said...

As a new blogger and a fan of your blog, I found this fascinating!

Thanks for taking the time to put this post together.

Ginny said...

What a great post! I totally relate to being broke in NYC right out of college. I lived on a slice of Ben's pizza every day and a splurge would be to add pepperoni. HA!

Glad you ended up not liking law school, you are doing the world a much better service on this blog. It is my favorite place to visit each day. thanks so much for sharing.

Closet Cravings said...

Really enjoyed this post, especially the tidbits about your least favorite parts of blogging. =)

Satisfy Your Cravings For Celebrity Style and All Things Stylish and Sweet

Stephanie said...

oh you. so good, as always.

Amber B (Simple Dwellings) said...

This was such a great post! So happy to learn more about you and what led to where you are. You are one hard worker! It definitely shows and pays off! What an inspiration that is to readers. When you really work extremely hard for something, you always appreciate it that much more! :) Congrats on all your success.

Emma said...

This was really fantastic- inspiring and a beautiful story! Proud to be a longtime Cup of Jo reader! :)

the southern hostess said...

So inspiring and refreshing to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes! I think so many people read your blog because your authenticity really shines through, and this is a perfect example.

Lucia said...

You are lovey Joanna!

Jessica Wright said...

Loved this post, Joanna! Thanks for sharing. I'm actually a law student right now so I enjoyed the section on your experience at NYU. I'm sticking it out for now but I applaud your courage... I've definitely thought about quitting more than once!

Jessica said...

Thank you SO much for this. Have just graduated from a literature degree in the UK and feeling at a total loss for what to do. I look up to you so much and seeing that you tried out a few different things before getting the lovely little life you have now has made me feel a lot more positive and inspired. As always, a million times, thank you.

Kate Harvey said...

You look so beautiful in the photo at the top :)


Kate
something-ivory.blogspot.com

Shila said...

Hi Joanna,

Thanks for sharing about your experiences with your career and blogging. Because blogs are so conversational and browsey, it's cool to take an inside look on what it takes to run one.

FashioNatalie said...

Thank you SO much for taking the time to write this! It was interesting and informative, as most of your posts are :-) Brava!

Sarah said...

Thanks for writing this. You're such an inspiration! I can't begin to tell you how much I love reading your blog!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Love this post! Great overview and insight into your personal journey :)

Freya Lily said...

Your post came at such a perfect time for me. I'm in a position where I can either cop out and stay bartending for a while longer while I dream of , well, my dream or I can suck it up and try harder. I've been feeling very lost lately, working at a social media internship and balancing my budget. It's difficult but I have to keep telling myself it'll pay off someday. Thanks for the inspiration.

Shruti Kapoor said...

Thank you for sharing your personal story. Such an inspiration. Here's to many more years of blogging!!

Shruti-k.blogspot.com

Charlotte said...

Always, always love your blog! XOX

Julia said...

Joanna! I am spending my first summer in New York as an intern at Marc Jacobs and the part about your first year here basically just described my summer-- spaghetti, cocroaches and all! thank you so much for this post.

Jennifer said...

Great story! Thanks for the insight. I had been wondering what it is like to blog full time. Now I know!

Now I wish I had said hello to you when I saw you and your family in the park. I thought you would think I was stalking you, so didn't!

Clara said...

Oh my goodness, we love you, Joanna! Best blog post ever, loved learning all this information about you and your career. If I ever run into you in the street in the city, I'll definitely gush to you about how much I love Cup of Jo :). xx

The Zhush said...

Bravo on your decision to quit law school...it took me years to figure that one at...aka, graduating, taking the bar and practicing in NYC for roughly 7 years! But, better late than never right? Plus, I guess its part of who I am today...loved reading how you payed your big apple dues! So relatable, and really took me back!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this post-- and funny, I had been wondering just today if you would address what it's like to be a blogger. You are great at what you do and I love stopping by to see your thoughts and creative perspectives. Bravo!

Rebecca said...

Great post Joanna, thank you for sharing!! As always I love love love your blog :) xx

Votre Amie said...

Thank you for sharing - You and your blog have been an incredible inspiration, and your posts are always a pleasure to read!!
x

Michelle @ Live Loudly said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. It was nice for us Newbies in the blogging world to see that anything is possible and to keep just creating the content that comes from our heart.
Thanks for the post!
-Michelle

Robyn said...

my blog is not for work-but I so enjoyed reading this post-more so just to get to know you more. thanks for sharing.

fawn said...

Congratulations and Job Well Done! You are an inspiration and your blog is an amazing resource for many. :)

KJ said...

Very interesting read... and I did make it to the bottom, ha :) I've always enjoyed your blog, and moreso - your blog voice. I feel you're my girlfriend sending me funny links, etc. (That came off sounding a little strange, ha).

Anyways, couldn't you step away from the blog a little from time to time if you wanted? By scheduling blog posts ahead of time? Just curious when I read that portion of your post today.

Kerikins said...

One of the things I love most about your blog is your honesty. Reading about your first few years in NYC feel like what I am in the midst of (down to calculating change for bagel toppings!) thank you for being brave enough to write what you do and what steps you've taken on your path to being "cup of Jo"!

Hallie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Jo, such amazing person you are.

Ali said...

It's so fun to learn more about you. I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now and it's great to see how much you've grown. You really have a talent for writing and connecting with people, and your blog is one of the best ones out there. Keep it up, I look forward to reading it each day!

Magalie said...

Super interesting, thank you for this Joanna.

ypatsy said...

This was a lovely post. It's so nice to see how things rolled out for you. We actually took a class together at Michigan -- English 3-something where we all had to read and critique each other's essays taught by the lovely professor who looked like Gandalf, but whose name is now escaping me. Anyway, I remember you announcing your Cosmo internship, and now I know what happened since then! I'm so thrilled for you and your success!

Christina said...

Thank you, as always, for opening up and telling us your story! I love hearing how you got started & getting an inside look at Cup of Jo (one of my favorite daily reads!) And I really loved this:

"She showed me by example that you can ask for the moon and, if you really believe in yourself, actually get it."

James said...

Wonderful! As for the sponsored posts I understand the discomfort but you bring so much joy to your readers I'm sure they will, in turn, support you being paid for it. Thanks Joanna!

Sally said...

Don't dwell *too much* on the negative comments.(I'm a fan of constructive criticism, as long as it comes with a whoooole lot of sugar.) Be gentle with yourself, OK? :) It's such a catch-22, because with a blog like this - one that is extremely personal in tone - you let yourself open to both the good and the (not so) good. Thanks for providing a little sunshine on the web!

Anonymous said...

Keeping it real girl! I like your honesty!!

kerry @ withmycamera.com said...

This was a very informative and interesting post to read. Thank you for posting this!

Megan said...

Love the honesty here, Joanna, and loved reading this post until I saw the bit about Federated Media at the bottom, and then I was like, "Ah, I get why she's writing this." I've read your blog since the beginning and think you handle sponsored posts, giveaways and ads exceptionally well, but another blog I read recently just became a FM client and now every post feels like it's sponsored content or dictated by advertisers/affiliates. I hope that doesn't become the situation here. (I'm a journalist by trade, so I get the needing to make money from your craft thing and especially the advertiser/editorial balance, but it has to be handled right.)

In any case, it really is inspiring to read about your struggles and successes, and you've certainly made this a space where people want to come, so thank you for that.

Erin said...

Just have to reiterate how much I appreciate your honesty and way of describing what and why and how you do what you do. I really love your blog because it's clever and thoughtful and pretty and makes me think/see/aware of things I wouldn't necessarily have run across otherwise. Thank you for all your wonderful work that brightens my day!

Anonymous said...

it's always fascinating to learn about how people end up doing what they do for a career, especially when it's one that is fulfilling. the journey is always so interesting! thanks for sharing with us.

ps. i love your glasses in the photo! you look like diane keaton :)

Ilse said...

Thanks for sharing! really nice to gt an inside scoop from a real woman!

Tracy said...

this post is so inspirational! and now i know so much more about you too! :)

Etheline said...

Your blog is so great, I love reading it! Thanks for your consistent honesty and willingness to open up, that must be scary at times.
p.s. The 'haters gonna hate' gif is awesome!

keepcalmcarrieon said...

Thanks for sharing your "backstory" with us, Joanna. Your blog is quite possibly my number one favorite and it's reassuring to read that your beginnings were as humble as what I'm currently going through and that my tenacity will one day pay off -- also because we're fellow Michiganders! :)

christina said...

you are. AWESOME.

Mary said...

I related to this post so much! From scrimping in New York City to law school (though I took on 3x what you did) and then self employment. Alex knows - he interviewed me for one of his articles! x

Jill said...

Awesome, awesome post. Your true nature and giving soul shine through in everything you write. Don't let any haters get you down. I read often but don't comment much. Just wanted to tell you how much your honesty is appreciated. :)

VictoriaV said...

You come across as very genuine, which I really appreciate. I read your blog every day and find it/you interesting and often inspiring. I think you do a great job staying true to yourself, as well as at mixing things up here and there. It's a shame that you get negative comments (and I don't mean the constructive criticism kind) because I don't think your life/blog decisions are anyone else's to judge for you. Coming her every day is a pleasure, but above all, a choice (or maybe that's denial-speak for addiction :P). Anyway, I like the personality that comes across here and I think you have really cool finds/opinions/stories. Thanks for sharing your life :)

sumslay said...

This post made me smile so big. :D (Yet, I must still include that emoticon.) Thank you for sharing your struggles and successes. It's so funny looking back - I thought I was such a failure/loser at 22. I really think the early 20's blues just happen no matter where you live/went to school.

dajana, all kinds of lovely said...

Do you know what I dig about you Joanna (and A Cup of Joe)? You're real.

This was one of the most enlightening, inspiring and helpful posts I've ever cast eyes on. Grazie mille!

xo Dajana

A.Co said...

I'm glad you love blogging because I love coming here to read what you're posting :)

Sara Morais said...

You have no idea how much inspiring it was to read this post.
I started my blog last year when I was preparing to leave to Palermo to do Erasmus, but the internet was sooooo annoyingly slow that I just quit on updating things. Uploading photos was a nightmare and publishing the post was another nightmare, it took ages.
At first, it was supposed to be about travelling but then I thought "Someday this will all end, what next?", so I've decided to turn it into a lifestyle blog. But then I graduated and I have no job since then, there's nothing exciting going on in my life.
One thing I know for sure, fashion is what I love the most and that's what want to make my blog about (fashion combined with my daily life) but I think I'm doing something wrong and I have no idea what it is. I have just 30 followers and I can't even reach a 100 views per day. I really don't know what's going on.

So, I'm asking you, please, if you could just take a look at it and give me some tips so I can turn it into something interesting, I'd be more than grateful!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. I have a little debt myself and wondered how yours is going?

Anonymous said...

You're lovely.
Thanks a lot for sharing your life with us.

Kelly said...

Thank you, I loved hearing about your move to NYC! I wish I had been that brave when I graduated. And then the year at law school... just a reminder that we don't all take a straight path... I'm still finding my path... thanks again.

SARAH said...

You're a force of nature! This was really cool to read; thank you for sharing. As someone who's just setting off down the road and has no idea which doors and windows will be open or shut, it's helpful to hear about someone's own journey, especially one that turns out so unexpectedly wonderful. And law school? Even just one year? Now I'm even more impressed by you! :)

Anonymous said...

Joanna!

Your blog is refreshing, because you're always honest with your readers. Thanks :)

Unknown said...

Joanna, I have faithfully followed your blog since 2009. It has been so much fun watching you grow this blog and evolve into a new life. (husbands! babies!) As a professional who works in the media, I've often wondered what you think of your career. I've always thought of you as very ambitious person and it was so inspiring to hear your career narrative. Thank you so much for revealing this aspect of your life on the blog. It just adds another lovable dimension to who you are.

Cheers,
Lianna

Linh + Tina said...

i love this and your honesty, which is why i read your blog everyday. you always keep things interesting and are never afraid to change things up. keep up the good work! and i can't wait to see the new design! :)
Tina

LaurenMax said...

Joanna, as always, I feel like you're my friend and not just my favorite blogger. Thanks for this glimpse into your career; it's so fascinating. Thanks also for being such an accessible and friendly voice for me to read every day. xo. Lauren

Sarah van Loon said...

Such a great post! I really loved all the details, and how in-depth you went with this. Thank you, Joanna! Another reason why I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I can really relate to trying lots of different things, feeling out of sorts in law, and trying to manage things with a family. Your posts always make me feel better. I think therapist could be a future calling for you. Also, it is so nice how you can rely on your mother for a support system!

adella said...

your genuine love for your readers shines so brightly in your words, reading your blog is like getting a cheerful hug from the internet, thanks!

Emily said...

Thanks so much for this really interesting post. You seem like such a genuine person.

Gina said...

I loved reading all of this! You're such an inspiration for those (like me) who are trying to find their voice.

M.A.B. said...

Jo.

You are a star... You bring clarity to rainy, frustrating, "20something blues" kinda days...

Thank you for your kindness, knowledge and honesty.

poisonwood said...

Such helpful information! You inspired me to post on my blog, after a long hiatus. Thank you!

http://poisonwood-poisonwood.blogspot.ca/

Amanda said...

Yours is a truly fascinating story. I remember first stumbling on your blog years ago when you had maybe 1,000 readers. Now there's so much more! It's been a joy to watch it develop.

I will say that I am concerned about the commercialization of your blog. I know a few other blogs that have used FM and taken on sponsored posts, and almost all of them became so blatantly commercial and impersonal that I don't read them anymore. I've yet to see anyone do sponsored posts in a way that didn't make them look like a sell-out. I hope you will find some way to do things differently so I can continue to enjoy Cup of Joe.

Ashley@MarriedLane said...

This post was great! Thanks for sharing it with us. My sister and I both read your blog daily and are always talking about posts you've written. As long as you're posting, we'll be reading!

Jamie said...

Loved the post Joanna! Thanks for sharing! Your blog is my fav. and I talk and share it with friends and family all the time. Kudos to your creative and interesting writing talents. :)

Ana Alegria Says... said...

Thank you so much for your daily posts after all these years!!
You are such a BIG Inspiration to me!!
Love your work! Keep it up!! :D

chic81.com said...

This was inspiring and great to read, thank you! It is also nice to meet a fellow law school dropout who feels it was one of the best decision she's ever made.
-Sonya

KateK said...

I absolutely loved this post! I have read your blog for years and feel like I know you, so it was so crazy to find out you went to law school! I'm 22 and I really appreciate your honesty, because sometimes I wonder if I'll ever make it through with the breakups, college classes, and career decisions. But your honest posts about all of it help me see the light at the end of this sometimes dark tunnel. Some days are rough and I love discovering a new post from you. I truly feel like I'm reading an email from one of my best friends. Thank you and I hope blogs are around forever, especially yours!

Catherine Masi said...

... further solidifying how awesome you are. Thank you for sharing it all!

Lexie said...

i have always felt like i've been able to get to know you through your blog, but it does have a professional, editorial quality that i also appreciate. my friends and i just discuss your blog as if you are a friend! it's funny. you handle critical comments with grace -- something i very much admire!

teale said...

Love this post! Thank you! :)

Melissa said...

Thank you for posting this! I have been toying around with starting a blog for a while now. I do believe you have just inspired me!

Heather said...

Great post! I just started reading blogs this past winter and it's so interesting to read a post like this. I really enjoy your blog!

katrina said...

you're so awesome joanna. so, so awesome.

Erika said...

I absolutely adore your blog, it is saved on my browser bar. I feel like we're friends! You are so open and honest and REAL, this is definitely something that is seldom seen in the blog world. I myself have started a blog because I miss discussing art on a day-to-day basis (I was an Art History major in college and have a real day job where I do HR and accounting :( ). I am hoping to use my blog as an outlet but also as a discussion board to bring art and fashion up to an intellectual level! You make me believe I can do it! Thank you for this post, it was great!

Erika from Miami Florida

erikagalan.wordpress.com

Elizabeth said...

loved hearing your story, thank you!!

Mari said...

Brava, Joanna!

I have to say how much I love your blog! I have been reading it for over a year now! I discovered it right after I left NY (such a shame, I could have run into you on the streets!)
And also, being a Times reader for years, only now I stop to notice if an article I'm reading was written by Alex! haha :)
I'm very surprised to learn you went to law school! I went to law school as well, and felt miserable the whole time. And I stayed all the way to the end! And I felt the same relief when I decided not to pursue law as career, and chose human rights instead (an uncertain path, financially speaking).
And on a final note, I have to agree with you on how a baby changes your approach to life - they make us so much happier!

Keep up the good work!

xo Mari

Catherine Hathaway said...

I love this post. i always feel like i can count on you to post real things and not be afraid to get a little personal. its refreshing.

Eleanor S said...

So cool! I originally used to read all of your posts on Glamour's Smitten, and have been a faithful reader here since you quit that and posted the link to this in your final Smitten post.
I always used to dream of being an editor when I was young, and I always read magazines over books as a child (though I am a wannabe bookworm). The deadlines and stress of working in magazines has scared me off for the time being, but this is peaking my interest again. I'm going to check out the jobs on the websites you mentioned.
Also, I am surprised you like meeting people on the street! I would have thought it would be weird. If I ever see you, I will say hi, now :)

Thanks for sharing so much!

Alyssa said...

Joanna, I can't tell you how helpful this post was for me! Thank you so much for sharing. This has definitely opened up my eyes a bit more. :)

Stella said...

You are amazing, Joanna. I'm in my early 20s and just graduated from college, and your story is really inspiring to me!

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

I've been a reader for about 4-1/2 years now, and yours is still my favorite! This was long before the new header, the addition of sponsors, and before you were really on the map as the "it blogger" with a gazillion followers.

I like to think that I learned a lot about blogging from you. I remember the first time you commented on my blog, it seriously made my day (more like made my week actually)... I was SOOO excited, I called me friends, and was like "Joanna knows who I am!" It was such an indescribable accomplishment, so thank you for sharing in my blog journey, I have loved reading along with yours.

AKaufmann said...

Jo--I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for taking the time to do it!

Lisamarie said...

Oh loved this post! But I have one question that I must ask: Did you really pay off one year of law school loans by teaching LSAT classes???? I took loans for a large chunk of my law school education and I feel I must stay working as a lawyer in order to pay them off. I cannot fathom doing it any other way without help. If you have some secret, I would love to know because law school debt is really crippling, as I am sure you know.

Felicia said...

I've been following since you did the blog for Glamour and want to say that I enjoy your Cup of Jo posts more and more each year!

Anonymous said...

I'm the lady that gushed about you last friday on Bleeker street when you were out with Toby - so glad to hear you like people recognizing you, since I felt like a doofus calling you out! Your blog is lovely, glad you are making a good life with it.

Simone said...

I was SO surprised to read that you went to law school???!! It just seemed so unlike you - and debts of $54K - eek!!!

Enjoyed reading this - have to say I enjoy the comments as much as your posts sometimes :)

Kate WV said...

Joanna, I'm so glad that you decided to start this blog! It is the first blog that made me want to check in every day (sometimes impatiently!) and I am consistently amazed at how you manage to make reading a post feel like listening to a friend. Yours is the only blog I've ever felt like commenting on, too! I always feel like people comment too freely (who cares anyway?) but somehow it feels that it's OK on a Cup of Jo! Bravo to you!

Jennifer Archie said...

You're awesome!!! Thanks!

Val said...

I've found so many helpful books, websites, etc. that have really helped me through your site. Thank you for doing what you do!!

Brittany said...

Thank you so much for writing this post, Joanna! I'm 26, and today happened to be a very discouraging day in the work force. It's great to see how you've worked through a lot of struggles to get where you are today. :)

Cathryn @ My Heart's Content said...

This is such a great post - really interesting and very brave of you!!! I love your blog too...thanks to you I've drunk a lot of that rosemary/sparkling wine cocktail!! My friends are grateful too!

Heidi said...

Joanna-
I have been a faithful reader of yours for years and I just want to say thanks! Your blog inspired me to start my own blog which I never thought I would love as much as I do. Unlike some of the other big bloggers you are always accessible and down to earth and just so pleasant to read. I love that you are so honest. And this post was super inspiring and helpful, so thanks!
-Heidi
www.therusticmodernist.com

love, rebecca violet said...

Joanna
Although my blog is private and I'm not looking for a career in the blogging world. You are by far my favorite bloggette! I can't tell you how many books you've sold me, advice that has struck a cord with my heart, baby musts (now that we are expecting a first!) and what an amazing person/wife/mom I think you are! You really are my cup of jo in the morning all the way from NY to dear ol' Idaho!
Loves!

Charli said...

excellent and useful post- not a fan of the new, less personal ads at the top and bottom, liked the small companies ads better sorry x

Rebeka said...

I had no idea you went to a year of law school. My first year of law school was by far the worst year of my life. I hated it so much. I can totally relate, and I applaud your courage in quitting. I wanted to but I was too afraid of the debt.

Also this whole post is lovely. Thank you for writing it.

Sara said...

What a great,informative post! especially because I'm in the process of trying to grow my blog into something more than just an occasional hobby!

Love following your blog!

lil*hummingbird said...

Great post! Very inspiring! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love love love reading your blog everyday. Like others, I also feel like you're in my group of friends. Me and my other friends who read will be like, "did you see that new pic of Toby?", etc. It's so fun and it's because you're so genuine. Thank you!

Ilaria said...

Very interesting and inspiring! Thanks for sharing (and congrats!).

Katarzyna Kościelny said...

Very interesting post. I really love your blog!

This is LN said...

Such great inspiration ! I am a new blogger and would love for you to check out my blog and follow back if you like it !
Hélène
http://www.thisisln.com

Stephanie Lam said...

Hi Joanna! I recently started blogging and reading your post has given me such inspiration. I'm actually an accountant working at one of the Big 4 and I recently passed my CPA exam. However, how it works is that you need a certain number of working hours in order to be certified. I wish I could say that I love my job, but I don't. At the same time I feel stuck because I need to get those hours or else all that money and time spent studying for the CPA would be wasted! So I turned to blogging to help me get through it and hopefully make each day at work a little bit easier and happier. I was contemplating on going back to law school as well, but the grass isn't always greener on the other side, right? Thanks again for writing this post, it's just such an inspiration. :)

-Stephanie
@SweetsAndChicBoutiques.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

BEST BLOG ON THE INTERNET! you should be proud.

Megan said...

I bet you are just as sweet, cool and genuine in real life as you seem on your blog. Looking at A Cup of Jo is the reward I give myself after working hard on a project. :) Thanks for the sweet inspiration!

Mary said...

Thanks for this! I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this post!!
I am from Berlin, Germany and am reading your blog everyday, i have a toddler by myself
and i SO MUCH enjoy reading your posts, especially about motherhood!
But - yes, i have a question about your blogging, that really
interests me - and i hope
it's not annoying for you that i'm asking about it:

how do you feel / think about your own privacy
and about the right of privacy for
your family? Doesn't it feel strange to have, say, pictures of the hours after giving birth of you in the web, free dor everybody to see? And, more important: how do you feel about privacy for Toby? What will you do if he, one day, gets older and says something like: Mom, i don't like to have all my life in pictures in the internet like
an open book? Please stop blogging about me? Would you stop then? I am really wondering how to manage that, especially because he's still too small to really get what's going on, i guess...

again, thank you for your amazing inspiring work!!

xoxo

Erin said...

I am surprised by the wide range of people I've met who attended law school briefly only to realize it wasn't for them. It happened to me too, and like you I was so relieved when I left law school. Don't worry, there are plenty of lawyers left ;)
Congrats on your upcoming blog redesign - can't wait to see it!

Pakou said...

Thank you, thank you for sharing this with us.

SunKissed SIsters said...

While we always enjoy all of your posts, this one was so helpful. We've been debating launching a blog and reading about your journey will help us launch ourselves. Many thanks!

The SunKissed Sisters

kirsten061 said...

Wow!! Thank you so much, this advice and the honesty is amazingly helpful. I think people forget the reality of projects like this and how humble the beginnings are.
It's great to hear stories like this!

Aya said...

I love these kinds of origin stories--like how someone got to where they are, how couples met etc. Thank you for sharing. I feel like I know you (for example, I was chuffed to predict the "haters gonna hate" gif) and I think that's what makes your blog special. I feel like I know you and I know I like you. I'm invested in what you have to say, like a faraway friend.

Coranne said...

Thank you to YOU. You and your blog are very inspiring ! (and help me to improve my English ahah)

Love from France :)

Amanda said...

This post is awesome! One of my favourites! Thank you!

Leslie said...

Jo-

Per usual, your personal posts really make me tear up. As a 23 year old, currently single, in a job I don't love, it's nice to hear that others have been there. I too feel like breakups have been at the crux of a lot of positive changes for me too- not necessarily life changes, but internal thought changes. I feel the exact same way as KateK above. I wonder if I'll ever make it through, but your posts give me a lot of hope.

Kelli said...

Wow! Thank you. Very inspirational. Blogging is not my forte, or even something that I have personally explored, but I truly enjoy reading your blog among a select few. Your voice is very clear in your writing and it's really refreshing, it takes away from the monotony of editing legal writing. This post in particular gives me hope that all the work I am putting forth now (and sacrifices) will pay off! Thanks for your constant devotion to a beautiful blog and to real topics for real women.

Mieshelle Nagelschneider said...

You have inspired me. Today is the day I have decided to finally create a blog and yours popped up from a referral sent my way and voila! What great timing. I have a book on cat behavior published with Random House due out in March and so I have to get my act in gear with this blog thing.

Also, I was once married to a lawyer from Harvard Law and I attended a law school reunion there and many didn't want to be lawyers anymore (in fact, a forum was created just on this topic there at the reunion). Many said they were too afraid to make the change and leave law. Those that later made the switch and stepped into their true passion are so happy now.
Good luck to you!
Kindest,
Mieshelle

Melissa Blake said...

Thanks so much, Joanna, for sharing your story. I love learning about the lives of other bloggers. Keep up the good work! xoxo

Carro said...

I do enjoy your blog but I always have the following thought in the back of my head about your type of personal blogs: Would I be willing to expose so much of my private life including e.g. wedding and holiday pictures and especially showing photos of my child (who did not choose to become exposed / 'famous') for my living? Don't you feel slightly uncomfortable about that? Life has it ups and downs. What if negative things would start to happen in your life? In a way, your life is very exposed...

Mari said...

love this post, love your blog, thank you!

Lael said...

Very interesting post. I love reading your blog, and I am happy to know you had a windy path towards finding what you love doing , it gives hope to others

Marie-Eve said...

Thanks ! That was both interesting and informative ! Love your blog, I can tell you put your heart in it !

michelle said...

I have more questions! When did you notice your blog readership increasing and becoming a ritual for your readers? Do you ever reread old posts? Do you ever look at posts of clothes and notice that your style changed? Where did you meet Alex? When did you first post about him?

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

I want to say that I love your blog and kudos to u for coming to nyc. .it's hard for natives like myself to move back without family so great job. I started blogging 4 years ago(though it's a hobby like me writing for yrs,I have no interest to make it serious lol) and I see like I bet u have that you improve and change in some way as your life changes. I understand about the negative comments, but as I say there are always 20 bad things to one good thing. Can't please the world. I learned that from my 10th grade creative writing teacher how no one write the same and not everyone will like what you write. So you are very strong keep going I look forward to Fridays on your blog and other stories you share

Elizabeth Soule said...

Thank you! Love reading your blog for the candidness and honesty that you put into each post. I also have bought a few things based on your recommendations : )

Steph said...

Hi Joanna,

I really, really enjoyed this post. To be honest, the extent of commercial. content on the blog was starting to turn me off, but when your authentic voice comes through like this it is a pleasure to read!! (I think the authenticity thing is why a few people were upset when they felt you had self-plagiarised a few weeks ago (I don't know if you did - I didn't check). You wrote about the importance of being truthful/authentic in the context of your depression post, which is perhaps why people have high expectations of you.

I also went to law school for only one year and I HATED IT! In my case, I took a "leave of absence" after first year to become a profesional marathon runner for a few years (I really did that - crazy, I know). Anyhow...I can relate.

Keep up the great work! :)

emilee said...

hi, joanna! you have a lovely, lovely blog. i've been reading since 2009, as i've graduated from college, moved to nyc, went through a breakup, and got my first real job. while you and i are in different stages of life, your posts have always felt relevant and inspiring. thank you. long live cup of jo :) -emilee

Steph said...

Eek - I should have read before I posted - should have read "professional"

Sammi said...

Jo,

Love this post, love your blog. I sent you an e-mail back a few years ago with most of these questions on, and you replied with a lovely e-mail back with most of these answers on, though some things have changed since you had Toby :)

your blog is probably the only one that I still read since i first got into the blogosphere. it is so easy to relate to... :) you, as you said, are so true to yourself and your family. i love when you do a sponsored post that you make sure it's obvious thats what it is :)

keep it up, girl!

<3

Heidi said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I have been blogging for four years and I often feel like I'm not making a difference, but occasionally I get a comment which tells me how much I've inspired someone and it's such a thrill! Thank you for inspiring me to continue with blogging Joanna. You and your blog are an inspiration :)

Kristina @ Sarcire said...

That was an eye-opening insight into the world of blogging as a career. Thank you so much for sharing!

xo,
Kristina

Meganbstock said...

Thanks for the great post! Are there any books you recommend on blogging? Would love to get your recommendations. I feel kind of clueless about the more technical and artistic aspects of it like graphics, posting photos, etc.

Mel Gra said...

Thanks so much for this. I'm a huge fan of your work and an aspiring writer/blogger, so this is extremely helpful. You are such a talented writer!

Also guilty of being one of those people that stopped you on the street (or park as it was). Sorry to interrupt your family time but I had to tell you what a fan I am! Meeting you made running fun!

caitlin said...

hey lady!

what a great read! with all the love you send out to us readers, its not hard to send a lot back your way. i really enjoy your writing and i'm so glad you can make a living from it!
i've shared many, many of your posts when friends are going through things you've talked about (like being afraid to have a baby boy) or just when its inspired me to make icecream.

thanks jo!

Shan said...

Seriously, you're such an inspiration to me. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, and love your insights. Thank you for sharing your back story.

Amanda said...

Oh Joanna,
Your post honestly couldn't be timelier. A daily reader (ok, who am I kidding, I check your blog several times a day) for some time, a dabbler in the blogging world and lately ,a dreamer of a more creative and rewarding career, I have been thinking a lot about your blog and what you do. What’s funny is I was tempted to email you and ask you several of these questions and about life in MI. (Hopefully moving to the Lansing area soon! ;) ) Thank you so much for all of your advice and for sharing your personal experiences. You may have inspired me to take a big leap!
Thank you for your continual honesty, your absolutely enchanting personality and your encouragement.

Candace said...

You are such a sweet, genuine person.

CanadianJane said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this. I read the whole thing. Very interesting and inspiring.

Dusty Botting said...

Thank you for this post. I always look forward to A Cup of Jo, you are the first blog I check everyday.

Lamiza said...

Joanna! I love your posts and I love your blog! Thanks for being so honest and so genuine. It's always incredible to be inspired by people like you and to feel that we're all the same sharing the same view of the good things in life and more importantly the challenges. This is turning very cheesy, but I guess I'm in a very cheesy mood right now :D. This is to tell you that you have a huge fan in Cairo, Egypt (I think it's always cool to know how far you can reach people :)) cheers! Lamah

SanPedroScoop said...

Great post...love it. And love following you from Belize.

wendy uptown said...

this was one of my favorite posts from you joanna! thank you for sharing.

LK said...

Joanna, I just want to say that I think you are really great. I found you when you were blogging for glamour and I noticed I was only reading your posts so I was pleased to become a loyal reader of cup of Jo. I am also a journalist and have written for some publications but now I'm in a marketing position at a small publishing company. I started a blog because I missed writing, but I haven't been keeping up with it. I need to get on it. Your answers are wonderful and I really need to apply some of the things you said to my life. Thanks for answering those questions!

Www.lauren-Kane.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Joanna.
I don't usually comment, but I have to thank you. I'm 23, freshly (and devastatingly!) broken up with my college boyfriend, chronically itching to switch careers, and paralyzed with fear and hopelessness. I feel like a loser for not making more money, a failure for not having a cool job, and an idiot for letting my relationship fall apart.
The hopelessness and paralysis is the worst part. I think, "Everyone I admire was perfect by the time they were almost-24. What's the point?" As ridiculous as this sounds, it's only hearing peoples' vastly varying stories--like your own, here-- that truly snaps me out of it and gives me the clarity and confidence to hope and to move.
Thank you!

Jeanne Chan said...

This is amazing! I don't comment here too much but have been following you since I started my blog 1.5 years ago. You have always been an inspiration and your intentions are always genuine. So happy to read how far you've gone with blogging... really gives hope to someone who is also building blogging as a career as well as being the best wife and mother as she can be. Thank you again for the post! xx Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, although I do think this may be in response to (very valid) negative comments about your recycling of content, in an attempt to get us to understand what hard work blogging is.

That said, I find your experience with law school interesting, because I did the exact same thing. I went to law school for a year, did very well (Dean's List, top 10% of class) but realized my heart just wasn't in it, and left after a year. Leaving was a huge relief for me, too, even though I ended up with loan debt and nothing to show for it other than a greater understanding of law!

hannah margaret said...

Joanna,

This post was right in time. I have enjoyed your blog for the past three years and will comment infrequently. But please know, your work doesn't go unappreciated. Your story today was perfect for figuring out if I am going to keep pursuing this. I am afraid, like you say at the end of your post, that you are riding the wave. I fear the opportunities are dwindling as people flood the gates. Thankfully, I'd be happy (relative term) in a magazine job. I graduate with a Journalism degree in May and off to NYC I am headed!

xoxo, hm

emily said...

I really appreciate this post and your blog. I think the honesty is so important! I love your genuine, real take on blogging. we all need more of that.

caitlin said...

This was wonderful! I love knowing more about you, Jo!

Jess said...

I appreciate this post so much! I am in law school now, and it doesn't feel right at all. I was an English major, and I miss writing (not in legalese) intensely. I'm glad to see that someone else felt the same way. Makes me feel like less of a failure...

Thank you so much!

Caitlin A. Hamstra said...

You're the best! Thank you for sharing and, as always, for your honesty!

GO BLUE!

Rachel @ Existation said...

You're the best, this is so interesting! I'm taking a mini-break from my blog and trying to figure out what I want to do with it in the future, so I'm really enjoying posts like these right now. Love, love, love your blog, keep up the wonderful work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! So cool to hear about how you got started!

Em said...

Oh Joanna! You are an absolute treasure.

This post provided such a wonderful insight and was written with heart as only you can nail.

Keep on keeping on amazing lady!

Em xx

Angie said...

This is an incredibly timely post for me. I have just started blogging as a means to rediscover my voice. Your blog has been a huge inspiration and example for me. I'm so glad that you had the courage to follow your heart - esp. in the midst of the toughest times in your life :).

PoetessWug said...

WOW! No disrespect, Jo, but I didn't know you had so much 'cred'! ^_^ I thought you were just a talk-a-holic like me! LOL I've been wondering for a while about taking on advertisement for my blog. I've been afraid to do it because I just wanted to be 'ME'...not a robot talker (That's what I call it.) Thanks for the insight. I'll keep it in mind. :-)

Emily said...

What a fantastic post. I love love love your blog and have written to you in the past before. It is so beautiful the posts and thoughts and enjoyment you share with all of us readers everyday. Amazing.
Xoxoxo
Em

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