I have a confession to make. Even though I have blogged just about once a week (or once every two weeks) since I started the blog in 2012; it took a long, long, time before I even deigned to, gasp, write for free.
That’s because my background is as a journalist and magazine editor-in-chief (yes, editor-in-chief). What does that mean? It means that in the mid-1990s up to around 2006, I put together the content of magazines from the columns, to the articles, to hiring the writers (lots of writers), working with the editing team, and writing the cover lines that actually sold the magazines.
I worked with art directors to get the look right; I attended and even ran some photoshoots, and I wrote my own articles, stories, and columns.
I started as an associate beauty editor at Woman’s World, moved to Senior Editor at American Woman magazine, then as editor-in-chief specialized in women’s magazines like Woman’s Own and swiftly moved to launch publications like Women in Touch, Esthetique, Hachette Filipacchi’s Body by Jake, and the American Breast Cancer Guide. I loved going in like a general, assembling a team, and watching the publishing magic happen.
In between, I wrote regular columns for Let’s Live, Energy Times, Natural Health, and freelance wrote for dozens more, like weightwatchers.com, music.com, New Woman (remember that pub)?
I got paid good money for my writing and for teaching about writing. I taught “Writing Health and Beauty for Magazines” at NYU’s School of Continuing Education as an adjunct professor, and I spoke at writer’s conferences and at the Folio conference.
I appeared on radio shows and television programs like Good Day New York and Fox News and the Rolanda show representing the publications I ran.
Then I noticed that publishing changed. It changed a lot. Publishers weren’t doing that many launches any more, and frankly, I found the magazines started looking all the same to me.
So in 2009, after the birth of my daughter I started writing a column for my local Patch (Mom’s Talk Q&A). After Arianna Huffington took over, the columnists were asked to work for free. For some reason that model worked for the Huffington Post (which I do write for), but it was irritating to no longer get paid for work I used to be remunerated for. Thanks, but no. So…I turned to blogging to express myself.
I was writing for free; but at least it was for me, and what I wanted to write about. I started my blog Musings on Motherhood & Midlife in 2012, and it’s where I write about parenting, entertainment, and the serious and funny aspects of raising a young daughter in midlife.
Today, I find the majority of magazines to be completely uninteresting, perhaps because many, like the fashion ones, skew much younger than my midlife demographic.
I like the business ones, like the Harvard Business Review and Inc. and the one’s focused on women like Working Mother and Ms. and Brain, Child.
But, I’ve come to love blogging, the blogosphere, the blogging world and the wonderful women (and a few men) I’ve met through this endeavor.
Also, the blogosphere has been really welcoming to me.
I am a member of several amazing communities, including Traveling Moms (I’m Tres Chic Traveling Mom and write about the intersection of fashion and travel), She Knows (as a parenting expert), Listen to Your Mother (as a New York 2012 alumni of the show), New Jersey Digital Moms, Philadelphia Social Media Moms, The Women of Midlife, and Mothers & More (where I’m past president of the board, and now on the advisory council).
My writing has been syndicated on BlogHer (where my article on Marissa Mayer was cited on the Today show), and I have had my articles featured on the (now defunct) Raising America website.
I’m also a BlogHer Voice of the Year for 2014 and 2012 and have been featured in four anthologies, most recently My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends (HerStories Project). Recently, I was personally asked to contribute to an anthology on Hillary Clinton, by political pundit Joanne Bamburger, which will be published by SheWrites Press in 2015.
In addition, I’m proud that my writing has been featured in The Washington Post On Parenting (which went viral), as well as Brain, Child, Purple Clover, Kveller, Blunt Moms, Mamapedia and Working Mother.
I’ve also spoken about getting published at iRetreat14, Folio, B.I.G. and MIRCI, and will be speaking about an editor and journalist’s tools at BlogU15 in June.
Will I go back to magazines in an editorial role? Never say never. If you are a publisher and you’re listening, I have a few ideas about a magazine focused on smart women (moms in fact) who are leading the charge towards changing America to be a land of policies that support women and mothers.
I’m ready to launch if you are.
Estelle Erasmus is a journalist, author, and former magazine editor who blogs at Musings on Motherhood & Midlife. Follow Estelle on Twitter at @EstelleSErasmus , onFacebook, Pinterest and and subscribe to her YouTube channel.