TL;DR: I’m joining Svbtle. It will be my new home for my personal thoughts, rants and attempts to wax quixotic about the next big thing. The domain, which I’ve owned for nearly three years, is perfect for this project because this is just me.
Five Years Later
On March 12, 2007, I officially became a professional writer.
After toiling in obscurity (I jest), my commentary about American Idol was published on a weekly basis in the print edition of USA Today and on the “Idol Chatter” blog. I got the job – alongside a panel of music-industry experts – because I was a prolific commenter on USA Today’s music and Idol blogs. I was young, they wanted young, and I had opinions.
At that time in my life, getting a freelance gig at USA Today was a big deal. At 24, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life or what direction to take. Five years later, my life is completely different in almost every single way. The success that I have achieved over the last five years has outpaced my wildest expectations.
Actually, that’s not true.
I didn’t have any expectations about a professional online writing career – if only because I wouldn’t allow myself to have them. I couldn’t even think about the possibility that my writing and my skill with words would lead me into a new career. That the people I looked up to and obsessively followed would some day be at the same parties that I’m at. Or that I would converse with my heroes at CES, Macworld or NAB as peers.
The life that I have now – which includes my upcoming marriage to my soul mate Grant Robertson – was a fantasy that 24-year old Christina wouldn’t allow herself to even indulge in.
A Journey of Platforms
Amazingly, thanks to technology, I have records of my too-scared-to-dream past. In April 2001, I started a LiveJournal and I wrote in it regularly until 2007. Though not indexed by search engines, that journal is easily discoverable by anyone who thinks hard enough; some entries friends-only or protected, most just out in the open. If you want to relive my freshmen year of college, feel free. I’m actually secure enough with myself not to care.
From LiveJournal (which was actually a replacement for hand-coded HTML via a GeoCities account), I migrated to WordPress. I started using that to power my personal website (especially after I was able to secure christinawarren.com from some bitch who forgot to renew her domain name) and for a few years, was fairly active with it.
I freelanced and made next-to-nothing for a few years – working my way up through the system, slowly but surely becoming “that girl who writes about Macs and Apple and knows a lot about movies.” In 2009, my fortunes changed. Not only did I start a nice freelancing gig with AMC Entertainment (the movie theater chain), Mashable approached me and asked me to write for them full-time.
The last two and a half years have been a true blur – from riding the wave of Mashable’s surreal success, to moving to New York City, to getting the opportunity to build out my own vision for what the intersection of entertainment and technology can look like.
Over the last two and a half years, my central focus has been on my work and to that end, my personal publishing space has languished. There just isn’t enough time in the day.
More than that, the format just felt inappropriate. The problem with being an early adopter and a technology journalist is actually getting time to use any of the services you cover or write about. I have a Tumblr, which I quite enjoy, but my reach there is considerably less than if I use Facebook. Google+ or even my poor, neglected website.
Moreover, because of the way I write – which is to use TextMate and a customized MultiMarkdown bundle that the genius Brett Terpstra built for me – using any CMS is always an annoyance.
Plus, with WordPress – and to a lesser degree Tumblr – I have to worry about things like aesthetics. How will it look. How will it perform.
All of those decisions – where to publish, what app to use to craft a post, how to design or redesign the page – end up preventing me from getting anything up at all.
A Svbtle Reboot
That’s why reading Dustin’s opus about the creation of Svbtle resonated so strongly with me. To the point that I actually started watching the open source knockoff on GitHub.
I’m still going to redesign my main website – the plan is to make it more of a way to showcase my work and various media appearances. For everything else, I’ll be here.
My hope is that the simplicity, the Markdown compatibility and the blank aesthetic will help me realize my goal of putting more content out under my own name, without having to be about work.
I missed the fifth anniversary of my professional writing career – in large part because I was unhappy with my publishing options. I’ll be damned if I miss the next big life milestone for the same reason.
Perhaps the most freeing aspect of this process is that for the first time in just over five years, I’m ready to have a place to just write for myself.