Remedial Blog School: Your Questions Lovingly Answered

by Marinka on July 20, 2009

Welcome Back to Remedial Blog School.

If you’ve been following along with us from the beginning, you should by now feel Welcomed, decided on what to name your blog and URL and whether you are going to be anonymous or not, and know how to write an excellent post.

Our work is almost done!

Today, I am answering an excellent filled-with-questions email that I received from honor roll student Vicki. Vicki is a fellow Russian. And she married a Russian, apparently because she hasn’t read my Do Not Marry Russians post. Although to be fair, I haven’t written it yet. Anyway. Please check out Vicki’s blog, I’ve been hesitant to leap into it because she’s an economist and I was all intimidated, but then she blogged about the difference between Russian and American dating and I was hooked.

And now, let’s learn along with Vicki (rhymes with Nicki!) in Remedial Blog School.


* How long after you started blogging did you start making enough money to hire a maid AND buy Nicki?

I’ve been blogging for approximately seven months beforeI was able to afford Nicki. It really helped that Nicki was a used cat and had lower “adoption processing fees” of about $70. The maid question is a cruel reminder that (a) I don’t have a maid (b) I could never afford to hire one on my blogging income (c) Vicki is an economist.

* How did you decide what you wanted to blog about? How did you even know you wanted to blog?

I started to blog because I read Julie & Julia,which chronicles Julie Powell’s journey in making all the Julia Child recipes and blogging about it, and which has since been made into a major motion picture. Sure, that’s a coincidence.

I loved the idea of blogging and after rejecting the “Emeril & Marinka” rip-off blog, I settled into the “mommy blogger” by default.

* Do your parents/family (aside from Husbandrinka) know your blog exists? Do they talk shit about you at family gatherings?

Of course they talk shit about me, they have speech and they’ve met me.

Husbandrinka and my parents all know about the blog. Husbandrinka has no interest whatsoever in it, and has never read it. My father used to read it until the day that he told me that he didn’t like it because it was superficial and I banned him from it. Every once in a while he will ask me how it’s going and I’ll say “great, by the way, I blogged about your circumcision, you’re cool with that, right?” and he’ll say, “absolutely. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

I suspect my mother considers blogging one notch above heroin addiction, except less cerebral, so she’s never read my blog.

* How do you decide how to describe Russian cultural/language stuff to your audience, which seems to be predominantly American (or at least non-Russian) so as to not alienate them, but also not bog down your narrative or whatevs?

I link to Wikipedia a lot and then I make stuff up. Until recently, I didn’t have any Russian readers, so I could get away with it. Now I’ll have to be more accurate. Thanks a lot. And I was born in Russia, so obviously I milk that as much as possible. OMG, are you saying that my narrative is bogged down with motherland crap?

* How did you find the right tone for your blog? Did being anonymous give you the right push you needed to be able to write using swear words and talk about things that you probably wouldn’t have had you used your real name? Were you afraid at first that people would be turned off by your sarcasm? Or did you write mostly for yourself?

I write the way that I talk, god help me. I am sort of constantly surprised that I don’t get comments whining about my tone, but I assume it’s because most people are skimming the posts. Or don’t understand English.

And yes, being anonymous totally gave me the boost to use “salty” language. As did the fact that I came to terms with the fact that Kraft or anything family friendly would never advertise on my blog.

* What advice would you have to a new blogger who hopes to use her writing to make a shitton of money and successfully bribe her mom to stop asking her when she would be having kids because YA STAREIU NE PO DNYAM A PO CHESAM I NEKOGDA NE UVIZHU VNUKOV? [translation provided by Marinka, for free: ‘I am getting older by the hour, not by the day, and I will never see grandchildren’ (expression, common to Russian mother in a futile effort to get her children to procreate. Not with each other.)]

Just give up now. You’ll never make a lot of money doing this. Have some kids instead. Totally fun and tons of blog fodder. Plus the whole propagation of the species thing.

* Do you write at a designated time each day, or whenever the fuck you feel like it?

Look at you with the “fucks”. Nice. I usually write in the evenings, before the kids go to bed (because who wants to waste precious time on blogging when the house is all quiet?). But also whenever the fuck I feel like it.

Ok! Thanks, Vicki for your thoughtful questions!

Next week, in Remedial Blog School: Blog Comments. The Good, the Bad and the Deleted.

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