Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Lesson In Sharing From Young House Love

Recently someone asked me how I came to the decision to start talking about my anxiety and agoraphobia online. While I was mulling over my answer, a few other readers linked me to a surprisingly relevant article in NY Magazine about Young House Love.

Do you remember John and Sherry Petersik's (in?)famous home renovation blog? They began a year before I started Cake Wrecks, and we all enjoyed that golden age of blogging when money and book deals were plentiful. For some reason I never got into YHL, though. I knew *of* the site, of course, but never clicked over to explore.

Theirs is a story of hard work, success, phenomenal success, and the now-familiar slide into sponsored posts, over-sharing, and the horror of having once-loyal followers turn on you. It's a cautionary tale for anyone who writes online, and a vital perspective shift for everyone else. The internet is a complex beast, and we should all know the dangers before trying to dance with it.

Anyway, I highly recommend the whole article, but this snippet in particular jumped out at me:

“You will not find a single blog with that kind of cult following that doesn’t have a personal connection. But what creates that kind of devoted following can also be problematic. At some point you have to ask: Do you want your life to become your business?”

That's a huge dilemma online, and one I think any blogger with even moderate success is familiar with. As readers we crave that personal connection. We want to KNOW the blogger, warts and all. But at the same time, we can get this feeling of ownership, as if those writers somehow belong to us, or at the very least, work for us. We also expect bloggers we like to always do like-able things, but that's a moving target. Plus the more we like them, the more betrayed we feel when they step out of line.

Now throw money into the mix, as bloggers try to make more while advertisers are paying less, and you've got a virtual powder keg.

I don't claim to have the answer, and in fact when I see big blogs fall into a hailstorm of controversy over over-sharing and over-monetizing, it's more than a little scary. I'm often grateful that I don't have those levels of success here on Epbot, because if CW taught me anything, it's that fame brings out the pitch forks, no matter who you are.

At the same time, I love what I do here, and I've never regretted the personal things I've shared on Epbot. I've met many of my closest friends here, been cheered through anxiety struggles, and even received life-changing health advice - all from virtual strangers. It's freaking amazing.

Thanks to this geek community, I'm proud to say my own journey into "over sharing" on the internet has brought me nothing but joy, encouragement, and a deeper sense of meaning. It took me years to reach this level of comfort, of course, and I still try to be smart about it, but now I can't imagine NOT sharing some of my struggles and personal triumphs with all of you.

In fact, that's what I ended up telling that reader: that I eventually reached a point where it felt harder to NOT talk about my anxiety online. Getting it out in the open just felt right. Still scary, of course, but right.

So I guess I'll keep writing what I love to write, sharing what my heart tells me to share, and trust that those of you who stick around are cool with that.

Cool?

Cool.

Here's that article again. Go check it out for a good read.

56 comments:

  1. You've created a really awesome community over here! Most places I'm afraid to even glance at the comments section. Here, a lot of times I'll scroll through and see what else people are saying. I don't comment much myself, but I really feel like you let us know the real you! It kind of makes me sad that I'm up in Michigan so can't come to all the fun Disney and Universal events, or meet up at the southern conventions etc.

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  2. So strange - I was contemplating writing a post (on my nothing-nobody-I barely get ten-views-a-day blog) about how the blogs I love are the ones that let us build relationships with the blogger. I like bloggers who seem to genuinely like (at least most) of their readers. For example, you, Jenny Lawson, Ginny Sheller, Alicia Paulson, Ann Voskamp - you see how varied these people are? The content and the personalities and the lifestyles and the beliefs are all different, and yet, they have in common the fact that they are kind to their readers and they share their hearts in a humble way. Thank you for being on that list. I love what you do here.

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  3. This blog like other blogs I follow has some postings I really like, others I think are just ok, and some others I can't relate to or are not interested in. That kind of describes life, doesn't it? Or at least a good friend. I've always enjoyed your sharing Jen and you have always come across as honest. I start my day with CakeWrecks and miss it when something happens and I can't.
    You gave some advice at one point when someone was asking about how to be successful at blogging that I took to heart. Write what you want. It is YOUR blog, so write what you want, despite what people say or how many followers you have. I have done that with my own blog and I feel better for it. It is still a work in progress, but those folks who have stuck with me seem to enjoy it, and I still enjoy posting, so I keep doing it. And that, too, describes life.
    Maureen S

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  4. I give you a great virtual hug. Because you also influenced many of your readers lifes. Mine too.

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  5. Wow. What a fine line to walk. I know I could never do it, and not even the money angle, but just the absolute negativity of people, and their expectations that they deserve something free every day. I would feel terribly put upon, and quite angry. I've followed very few blogs (2 of them are yours) and 2 of them have just suddenly quit one day. I missed them at first, but hope I managed to live on without them, or without making a fool of myself about them not keeping up for my amusement.
    Anyway, even though I could never do it, I really admire the strength and sense of self-worth you have to have to take in all the comments and disagreements and misunderstandings...Epcot comes to mind. I couldn't do it, but I really am grateful that you share your life, laughs, and serious topics with us.
    Now that I've totally "sapped" things up here, I'll put a sock in it. (Bud Light in hand, sobbing) I love you, man!

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  6. Thank you for creating this wonderful place on the internet where we can all come and share our geekiness in a safe and often humorous environment, Jen (and John)! My hubby and I love reading your posts. We're also a thirty-something couple who adores sci-fi (and decorates accordingly) and has chosen not to have children. It's so nice to be able to come "hang out" at epBot and know that we're not the "only ones" out there. Thank you for sharing with us! We're cheering for you guys from our little corner of the world!

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  7. I think you have a good balance. You and Jenny Lawson are my favorite blog writers for a few reasons. 1) You're both hilarious. 2) You let us in enough so that we feel like we know you and want to be your best friends because we totally relate to you, but you also know and keep your boundaries as you need to. 3) You don't do sponsored posts.

    It's that third one that has turned me away from other blogs. Particularly when sponsored posts are more plentiful than non-sponsored posts.

    Additionally, I think you and Jenny both appeal to the awkward but friendly nerd population, and that is pretty much the only group of online strangers I feel comfortable commenting with. The rest of the internet is too daunting because of the scary commenters.

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  8. Epbot is my favorite personal blog. Jen, you are a pillar of light and always a safe harbor in this dangerous waters of internet trolling. I started following you in CW a few years ago and here after you started Epbot, and there is always something positive. I love all the amazing DIY projects you post and all the photos from the Cons you go. Don't ever change!

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  9. Thanks for sharing. : ) As a reader, I forget the hazards and pitfalls of blogging. It was hard for me to even start commenting on your blogs, much less write one. I commend you and am pretty much in awe of the 'product' you've come up with. Yours were the only blogs I'd read until recently when I finally started lurking on the Bloggess' site. And that is all your fault, too. ;o) Thanks.

    -Just Andrea

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  10. The article was highly enjoyable, even if I was not aware of YHL before. I can totally tell blogging as a profession would be hard, on so many levels--I am a small time blogger and purposefully allow myself not to have to be on duty all the time, but it has still been an interesting mental and emotional exercise over the years to keep healthy perspective and not start to feel obligated.

    But about you & John specifically--you seem so much like people I would like to lay around and chat with, and so yes, I (and apparently everybody else!) feel a great deal of affection for you. I don't feel possessive, but I do feel protective. (as does, apparently, everybody else!) Case in point--a few months ago when you wrote about the new meds and how they were increasing your anxiety, I left a comment just trying to encourage you to listen to your body and not let meds take you back down the rabbit hole. I cared about you and wanted to encourage you. And instead, one of your readers jumped down my throat accusing me of being insensitive. I'm a recovering codependent and struggle with internalizing negativity, and so the comment really hit me hard--I decided not to respond in turn, and just stayed off the internet for a week or so. I was so bummed because I had just meant to be loving and supportive, and feeling protective of you and wanting the best for your--but clearly someone else was being supportive in her own way, and was fiercely protective of you and wanting the best for you. : )

    I guess this vignette is just about how invested your readers are in you, and how much you are loved and often, um, fiercely defended. I hope you really do feel loved and supported--and trust you can patiently read the love between the lines when it is not expressed in whatever PC flavor is acceptable to the internet that day. Truly!

    Thank you for blogging and I'm sure you will have thankful readers as long as you share. And when you don't want to share any more, blessings to you. : )

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    1. I remember that, and I'm sorry it happened, Blessed. Thank you for A) coming back! and B) having such a healthy perspective on how disagreements can happen. I don't moderate comments here, which in itself is a glowing endorsement of how civilized Epbot readers are, but it also means the occasional tiff happens. (And fwiw, I really appreciated your original comment!)

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    2. So sweet of you to respond, Jen, and I am amazed that you (I thought John) don't moderate comments! You do have an amazing readership! Pretty much anytime I read the comments it is love, love, love. Your blog is overall such a safe place, and that is something you can be proud of, because you and John set the tone. : )

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  11. YoU are my absolute favorite Blogger and I often talk about what you write to my family. My family is nerdy, full of health problems, and super crafty. So I connect to your blog like a life line! That being said, you are free to write anything, no matter what other people thing. I just don't understand those people who get angry by Facebook posts, blogs, etc. just keep scrolling instead of trolling! I think you have an advantage by keeping two blogs. Thank you again for sharing your life, struggles, makes, and everything. You make a difference!

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  12. Jen, because of your willingness to share your experiences, I've been able to better understand a number of people in my life including my Mom, my aunt, and my "niece" who are all having issues with anxiety. You also pointed me to the Bloggess, a fact I will be forever grateful for. Epbot is the only blog I check every day for updates and I'm always excited about a new post, regardless of the content - and the reason is because I feel like I'm getting a message from a friend. So, cool? You better believe it!

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  13. I don't really have anything to say other than that you are delightful and I love reading Epbot :) Keep doing it for as long as it brings you joy!

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  14. For me as I reader I think the difference here, as opposed to something like CW or YHL is that there is no gimmick (no disrespect, just the best descriptor I could come up with). Here you began bluntly and honestly, this is you. Like a friend, you invited us to peek into your life and whatever it was that caught your attention that day. There is no selling to us, because you are freely offering yourself, and only that. It's hard to claim ownership when the thing being offered isn't mine, because what you are offering, in a way, is friendship!

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    1. Thanks for this. So often readers tell me - quite sheepishly - that they started with CW but now prefer Epbot. I always respond the same way: "Don't apologize; Epbot is ME, so that just means you like ME better!" And that's the truth.

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  15. Thank you for being you, Jen! While my struggles with anxiety may not be as extreme compared to what you go through, I have found not just what you post but what others say in the comments very helpful. :)

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  16. You give us just enough to peek into your life, and that's fine and dandy with me. We don't need (nor have a right) to know everything about you. You just keep sharing what you want. We'll keep reading.

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  18. My work on Etsy give me similar feelings. Sure, I'd love to be able to design full time but right now I turn down 2 out of every 3 custom order request I get solely because I want to make things in the way I want to make them. I want to make A dress, not replicated it 9 times, once in maternity, for someone's group of bridesmaids. I make couture mermaid costume and I won't use crappy spandex just to meet someone's budget. There's more value in being able to say "I'm the artist, and what I'm selling is what I want to make."

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  19. Just sending a virtual hug and letting you know how much I appreciate both sides of you. Your tribe here is a relatively gentle one and I, for one, am happy to be part of it.

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  20. Hey Jen! I haven't gotten to read in a while since I haven't had a device to do so. Anyway. Your blog and sharing or over sharing whatever you wanna call it has helped me so much with my own struggles of weight loss/self image issues. It has given me the courage to be myself. I went to my first con this past weekend with the first guy ive ever had a healthy relationship with! I have had the courage to seek medical help and get things together. You are inspiring and awesome!

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  21. I feel like you and john are fun friends of mine (in a totally non-stalker-ish way, of course!) because of your humor, talents and sharing. I discovered CW several years ago after running across your books at our local B&N and really enjoy that site and this one. I just need to make sure I'm neither drinking nor eating because I don't want to spray my computer.

    Thanks so much for being most incredibly awesomatious! :)

    -Zippy

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  22. Way cool! i enjoy your honesty, humour, and am agog at what you create. Power on!

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  23. I just had to let you know, that without your (over) sharing I wouldn't have the understanding of some of my daughter's anxiety issues. Thank you for being you.

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  24. Reading that article makes me appreciate you all the more! Thanks for being open and teaching those of us who are in the dark about 'sensitive' topics.
    I hope you never feel that you owe it to us to do things, and that all your creative goodness will continue to pour forth for creativity sake alone, and not for satisfying the masses.

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  25. May I always value your terrific blog and may I never become so entitled that I reach for a pitch fork. Happy Tuesday!
    P.S. You should check out the Strong Female Protagonist webcomic. I think you'll like the artist's style.

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  26. Part 1 of 2

    Sweet Jen, this post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I was just nearing the end of an email to you and thanking you for putting yourself out there and raising awareness for mental health when I realized I hadn’t had a chance yet today to check Epbot.

    I’ve thanked you for Epbot and CakeWrecks many times, but I haven’t thanked you enough specifically for sharing so many of your personal struggles with agoraphobia and anxiety on Epbot. Reading your posts and the always-supportive comments from other readers has helped me immensely with my own phobias and anxieties.

    When I’m confronted now with a particularly difficult situation, I always hear a chorus of encouragement from you, from Jenny Lawson, and from fellow readers who comment on your posts with their own experiences or suggestions. And when I step WAY out of my comfort zone and do something crazy…like attend a book-signing and hand out friendship invitations ;-)…you guys give me the strength I need to get through it. And, afterwards, I always feel like you would all be proud of me and happy for me, and that gives me confidence to try again and try more often and try harder and just to keep trying. Because I don’t want to give in to my fears and insecurities. I’m stronger than my anxiety thinks I am. I’m tougher than my irrational thoughts. And, one day, I hope I won’t have to make excuses anymore and can just live my life.

    I often feel disgustingly ungrateful to even allow myself to feel bad for a moment with all the suffering on this planet. My struggles are nothing in comparison to what most of the population has to endure. How dare I wallow in misery over not having friends when I get to sleep in a warm bed every night next to a husband who adores me? How can I sometimes feel hopeless and depressed despite the fact that I have a beautiful, healthy son, a roof over my head, a fridge stocked with food, and a car in the driveway? Why do I let myself worry and agonize about those less fortunate than me and yet do so little to help improve their situation? I just want to find my purpose, to live unafraid, filled with joy and peace, secure with who I am, comfortable with others, and content with my place in the universe. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

    To make the world a better place, we need to work more toward making connections, and I feel that Epbot is so helpful in that way. This is a safe place. When I read your posts, I feel connected to you. When I read the comments, I feel connected to the Epbot community. I’m really, really happy that you don’t regret sharing your struggles with us, and I’m glad to know that the feedback and support you’ve received has brought you joy and a sense of meaning.

    I know it must be a really fine line to walk. You want to share but, obviously, one can overshare. And it seems like that line is so blurred today with the prevalence of social media. As an intensely private person most of the time, I find it really bizarre that many people no longer have the decency to not spew out everything that pops into their heads, shove their religion down your throat, thrust their political views on you, gloat over their raises at work, ask for contributions to fund their vacations, post embarrassing photos of their friends and relatives without permission, and describe their baby’s latest diaper blow-out in detail. (Yes, really. I don’t have a Facebook account, but my husband does, and these are all things I’ve seen there.)

    (part 2 next; sorry for the length)

    KW

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    1. Part 2 of 2

      Jen, I think you do a phenomenal job of keeping many things private while still sharing enough about yourself that people feel like they know you and can relate to you. I also really appreciate that you don’t typically write about anything that invites controversy or negativity. You are open and welcoming, and your blog appeals to, and is safe for, people of all ages. Think of how much you would have enjoyed a blog like this when you were a teenager. (Geek teens these days are SO lucky to have you!)

      As much as I delight in the crude, dark, twisted, and foul-mouthed, I think it’s significant that I LOVE Epbot even though it’s decidedly free of F-bombs, tirades, diatribes, and crassness and is instead filled mostly with light, inspiration, and optimism. Even when the posts are raw and scared, you still don’t give in to despair. I’m not saying that you should be worried about being completely honest at the risk of alienating readers; I’m just saying that I’ve noticed that even your saddest posts have a glimmer of hope that everyone needs.

      You use your platform to promote tolerance, acceptance, and unity rather than using it to denigrate people who have different agendas or viewpoints. It would be so easy to talk trash and yet you just don’t. You have my eternal admiration for many of your talents but especially for your skill at not feeding the trolls.

      I just read the article that you linked to about Young House Love, and I have to say that I feel bad for John and Sherry. Obviously, they attracted a broader audience, and it was impossible for them to please everyone and yet, they still tried to for so long. It’s nice that they had so much success, but not that it was at the expense of their time as a family and their mental health. I used to read their blog occasionally, and when I scrolled through the comments, I was always taken aback by how vicious, jealous, petty, and just plain clueless some people were. Honestly, I don’t know how the Petersiks dealt with that for as long as they did.

      While I wish you could make a comfortable living from Epbot alone, I am glad that it’s still a smallish, friendly place for a niche audience of mostly geeks and other intelligent, kind, caring, giving people. I hope that, even on CakeWrecks, you aren’t subjected to as much pointed, nitpicky ridiculousness as Young House Love was. Epbot is just a happy and supportive place, and I really wish there was a way, other than Facebook, that we could all connect in real life.

      I’m glad you will keep writing what you love to write and sharing what your heart tells you to share and trusting us to stick around and play nice. I think I speak for most of your readers when I say that I appreciate what you offer us, and I feel no ownership over you, and I have no expectations. If you decided to walk away tomorrow, I would only be grateful for what you’ve given of yourself and for the way your presence changed my life and helped so many others. And, when this blog (or Cake Wrecks) stops being fun for you, please do walk away. Sure, we will miss you and feel the loss profoundly, but ultimately, we would all be thrilled that you are doing whatever it is that brings you joy and peace.

      KW

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  27. I was a fan of YHL very early on...and CW....because at that time in my life I need the comic humor that CW provides. But Epbot spoke to me. I have a once a week binge blog reading - but I follow Epbot on FB to get a notice that there is a new post...because I feel a connection....a distant friend that shares her world with me. That's awesome. The anxiety discussions have brought be closer to my husband...he has suffered with it for years. He could not put it into words to help me learn how to help him - but you have. And for that I am grateful to have found you.

    I miss YHL...the old days... I am still a DIYer and old school at that. I love to go back and look at old blog posts to spin new ideas for my own spaces. I have a long list in my blogger account of blogs in "park"....they were my favs...like beloved books on my bookshelves in the living room. I visit them when I am looking for inspiration. I don't get that on the sponsor driven blogs - it feels like wading through a mountain of advertising...which is a total turn off for me. I still read the newspaper every weekend....and promptly throw all advertisments on the floor before I start. It's just my way. Not a fan of the direction bloggers have felt they needed to take - more traffic, more followers, more likes, more clicks....it doesn't translate well for me. But I am set in my ways and not accepting of change very easily.

    I hope you continue to keep it real - and share when you make something cool, find a solution to a struggle, reveal cool new artists, help those who need a boost (the kids you have blogged about that are bullied...bravo!) - and just in general continue to be awesome. I have learned so much...more than you could ever know...xo.

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  28. Awww, Jen! Thank you for trusting us so much! I love this blog, and I really appreciate your sharing with us. :)

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  29. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Jen. Not just the good, but the bad and the ugly too. I, for one, am determined to remember that you are human, just like the rest of us. Being human means that we are NOT perfect and that we WILL make mistakes. To me, it also means that we can forgive one another's mistakes.

    So, please continue to be yourself. We like you just the way you are!

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  30. I just wanted to add, no matter how much I love your blogs, no matter how much we are besties in my head, I always feel juuuust a little guilty telling you. Like it might be perceived as some sort of peer pressure to keep at it. If you ever decide to chuck it all and quit the interwebs, I will miss your and (John's!) presence terribly, but would always, always want what makes you and John happy (and sane) first. Now hurry up and post something new! J/K. >: - P

    -Just Andrea

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  31. I think the difference in business blogs vs personal ones (for me) is the lack of what I would call "clickbait" content. As much as I love Cakewrecks, you write/show the things you think readers want, much like a corner store putting ads for chocolate milk in the window. And heaven help the business blogger who "sells" the wrong post or runs out of stuff! That looked like the problem with YHL to me. They were selling their life to their readers for ad money and there was no life left for *them*. Very sad.

    Epbot is more of a neighbourly blog. We come by for tea and cookies, and if you only have tea today, it's fine. And you tend to attract the kind of readers who want you to have nice things, because we do, really. We don't want you to give all your best stuff away, we want you to have more good stuff, just for you. Because you matter.

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    1. I love your last paragraph.

      -Just Andrea

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    2. Me too!! That's what I would have said if I was better with the words.

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  32. Is it bad that after reading CW religiously since I found it(still during the first year I believe thanks to someone I followed on Live Journal, yep, that long ago) I haven't actually gone there in months? Work has just got me so busy and I only have time to look at one blog and I always choose Epbot. I do so because it IS more personal and the geek factor definitely helps. I love seeing the DIYs even if I know I'll never be able to do them or because they're for fandoms I'm not in, they're still fun to see.

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  33. Speaking of things you've been good at getting people to talk about... :)

    http://qz.com/611774/period-pain-can-be-as-bad-as-a-heart-attack-so-why-arent-we-researching-how-to-treat-it/

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  34. OT, but if you want a cat head pillow to go with your cat head purse (or to turn into an even larger cat head purse or even a backpack) there are some on sale here.

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  35. I loved reading YHL, but I rarely went into the comments. I had no idea people were getting soo awful. I love Neil Gaiman's response to a reader's question about feeling like George RR Martin owed it to us to write faster. He not so gently reminded them that people who create owe you nothing. They don't belong to you, they aren't your slave. I think people get to caught up in things they love, they can forget those who create are still humans with feelings and lives. Having been a design student, and thus had to create on a tight deadline, I know how hard that can be when the inspiration just isn't there. Sometimes you don't put out your best work, you just present something to those expecting it.

    I love that it feels we can be friends here, lumps and all. Maybe that is because we don't expect anything from each other but can just accept the way things are.

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    1. *THIS*, right here. I recently was at the bookstore again looking for a sequel to a book I read a couple of years ago, and was frustrated that it wasn't out. Got home and did some research, and promptly smacked myself for forgetting that authors are people too. They have their own lives, and problems, and don't dedicate every ounce of every day into their writing. In this case, the author's husband had been sick for a couple of years (probably right after that book had come out), and had recently passed away. I know better, and like to think I'm a better person than to expect things like that, but for a few brief moments, I had let myself forget. Sometimes the reminders need to happen, but I try to always remember. People like you, Jen, and a couple of other authors I follow on Facebook help me to remember that most of the time. :)

      I started with CW as well, but when EPBOT started up, I loved it from the beginning. I love all the crafts and DIY, and the real posts about anxiety. I still check everyday for EPBOT, even when I forget to check CW. Someday I'll make it to FL or a con that you'll be at to thank you in person, Jen and John. I was just looking at the archive list yesterday and amazed at how many years it has been. Thank you. And don't let anyone get you down.

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  36. As a long-time reader of EPBOT (from the beginning) and a reader of Cakewrecks, your writing has always been pretty darn captivating but the connection on EPBOT is definitely what brings me back and back. I tend to go to cakewrecks less frequently and binge-scrolling through the hilarity. EPBOT posts, however, generally get a very thorough reading. I've tried some of the crafts or ear marked them for the future. I am so glad you share - we all can learn from each other and it's like this super cool exclusive (yet world wide) club of awesome. I love seeing the updates on Star Wars Katie and all the awesome-ness that came out of what could have been such a horrible experience in someone's life. So I think i've just rambled (thank you, birthday cold, for visiting me and taking up residence in my chest) but the bottom line is that we love seeing what you put out there for us and we love the warm fuzzies that develop in the comments and the (virtual) friendships that have developed! THANKS!!!

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  37. I've drawn a little something to represent the awesome community you've created here: JEN'S ARMY badge! Because we are. We aggressively go forth into the world, spreading the geek love. I recommend Epbot to cosplayers and DIY crafters all the time. (The last one was a person who was about to start a cosplay workshop for disabled cosplayers -- Isn't that AWESOME?!)

    Anyway, I'm just trying, in my awkward and rambling way, to say thank you for all that you do. Jen is our king.

    (P.S. Would you mind if I printed the Jen's Army badge on stickers and gave them away for free at conventions?)

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    1. Bethany: that is TOTALLY AWESOME! I love it!

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    2. Very cool.

      -Just Andrea

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  38. After reading the article, I thought it best to say: Jen, please don't overshare! :) Share what you are comfortable with, and leave the rest to your personal, private life. Though...I personally could stand more pictures of Lily and Tonks. :P

    Having said that...thank you for sharing about your anxiety. While I'm not at your level, your willingness to share has allowed me to see some things in myself that I was either unaware of, or unable to put into words until you did. I saw things that happened to me when I was younger and I couldn't understand why and now I understand...it was anxiety, and I didn't know what to do about it, so I did what I could...I ran away. I hid. I became even more introverted. Thank you for helping me see that I am not alone in both this, and in loving Geeky stuff! *HUGS*

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  39. I'm cool with it. And very grateful for all of it. Thank you.

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  40. I'm so cool with it! You're wonderful and I appreciate your sharing. I must say, I've never felt any kind of ownership or like you work for me at all. I feel like I'm lucky to have my "online friends" (you're like my book friends... take that.. you're my online Hermione) and I typically delight in your posts. If you ever post something that doesn't float my boat, that's cool. Just like in real life, I listen and try to take an interest in my friend's lives. And FYI anytime you've ever posted about anxiety or agoraphobia, I'm all ears and have nothing but love and support pouring out of my heart in your direction.
    Lumos! from my heart to yours. Thanks for being my online Hermione :)

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  41. In general, I think of this blog and its readers as a "high trust" community in that you write honestly and people respond honestly. There are some disagreements over some issues, I've found, but I never feel that people are being a$$holes because they are anonymous. I find this blog very comforting and friendly, and thank you for creating this space. I don't do crafts, I don't do cosplay, I don't decorate my house, and I don't like fan art. But I love this blog, I love Jen&John, and I love the positive and honest comments that readers leave. I do love to read science fiction and love all the enthusiastic readers on this blog! Thanks again, Jen, for posting this and the link and opening this up for discussion. I'll be a reader as long as you're a blogger!

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  42. Your posts about mental illness speak to the universality of experience. I know that your writing has helped a lot of people feel less alone.

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  43. While I read that article when it first came out I have to say that it's a highly edited and biased view of what went on for YHL - while some of the fans were rabid about knowing all the details the privacy line was crossed time and time again from the Petersiks. A LOT of the conversation going on concerned wishing they'd ensure more privacy for their family and especially the kids. Thankfully Lily and Tonks never have to go to high school ;)

    The real lesson for bloggers, in my perspective, is that you can absolutely step back from oversharing if you felt you've gone too far without "leaving the internet" like YHL. I think it was fundamentally their inability to create balance that caused the huge shutdown. I'm grateful that I don't know where you go on every vacation (unless there's a con of course...) and the day to day record of every craft you do, purchase you make, or place you eat. I still feel as if I "know" who you are as people, both because of your incredible writing & meeting you on a book tour stop.

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