The Measure of Success

24 May

I’ve given a lot of thought to whether or not I’m running a successful blog, especially in the last few months. I kind of abandoned it, and felt guilty for letting my readers down. I wasn’t gaining any new followers, my page views were abysmal, and my social networks had become stagnant. Fail whale.

When I first started this, I was purely driven by fame and wealth. I wanted to earn Scrooge McDuck status, making so much money I could swim in it. Eminem would write derogatory things about me in his songs, and I’d become the target of a Republican Tea Party attack. My aptly titled “Tonic” perfume would sell in Sephora stores around the world.


Okay, so that’s a bit of a stretch. Well, except the perfume part because I really do think it’d be cool if people smelled like I do. That mix of desperation, underboob sweat, and awkward sexual tension took me years to perfect, and I just want to share it with the world.

To be honest, I didn’t have a plan for this blog when I first created it. I knew I wanted my own writing space, and to make the few people who stumbled upon my posts laugh. Other than that, I was content to have it become nothing more than an online showcase for my writing.

When I launched Sips of Jen and Tonic, I met another blogger, J, who was also just starting out. There’s a bond that occurs between new bloggers because you’re all still writing for limited (or nonexistent) audiences. Seeing familiar faces in your comment threads is akin to the feeling a captain gets spotting a lighthouse after months at sea.

Although J no longer blogs regularly, she and I have kept in touch. I feel like we may have been sisters in another life, I adore her that much. Last week she sent me something that made me realize this blog has become so much more than some wannabe Theater in the Round. It was an ultrasound picture of her future son.


I may be the father

To say I felt honored was an understatement. It was an extremely intimate moment in her life, and one she wanted to share with me. I may have cried, but if anyone asks, I got something in my eye.

I’ve met so many extraordinary people in the year and a half I’ve been blogging, people who have invited me into their lives. I’ve read about breakups, new loves, weddings, deaths, births, and miscarriages. Some have confessed of their struggles with depression, anxiety, fertility, sexuality, substance abuse, and other personal demons. I’ve also laughed at tales of awkward sexual encounters, dating mishaps, and drunken debauchery.

That intangible stuff was slipping by me the whole time, those moments when people went from being a random blogger to someone I respected to someone I consider my friend. I’ve e-mailed with some, Skyped with others, and a smaller number of friends have my home address. Sure, I could keep a close eye on my page views, follower count, comments, post likes, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Klout score, but I’d be missing the point.

This blog is already successful. I’ve managed to turn a one woman dog and pony show into a powerful network of meaningful connections. I’ve been given glimpses into so many people’s lives, and have grown enough as a writer and person to give them a glimpse back into mine. What I now know is that there’s real value to all of the words I write and read these days, and there isn’t a metric around which could measure that.

161 Responses to “The Measure of Success”

  1. javaj240 05/24/2013 at 6:12 am #

    I’m framing this and putting it up on my fridge to remind myself that statistics, while useful, never tell the whole story. Thank you for reminding me of that!

    And, you are so right about the connections within the blogging community —- I, too, have received so much support and encouragement from people that I have never met (probably will never meet) — it’s insane! It’s also awesome!

    Keep on writing — you may never see any Scrooge McDuck kind of money — other rewards, though? They’re out there waiting for you!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:11 pm #

      I can’t believe how kind and generous the people I’ve come across on WordPress are. People who are practically strangers, yet are willing to share (and support) your failures and successes. It’s such an awesome thing that I can’t comprehend sometimes.

  2. aliceatwonderland 05/24/2013 at 6:27 am #

    Hang in there. I’m sure with time you can become the target of a Tea Party Attack. Insult George Washington or something and you’re golden.

    I, too, am waiting on my blog check. It’s in the mail, they keep saying.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:11 pm #

      The only thing I’ve gotten in the mail is a restraining order from David Hasselhoff.

  3. twindaddy 05/24/2013 at 6:34 am #

    You are an incredible writer and person. Really. If you weren’t so far away I’d stalk you just for the scent of underboob sweat alone.

  4. Jueseppi B. 05/24/2013 at 6:40 am #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    So does this mean you are returning to all us fans you walked away from to enjoy and participate in real life, for? If so, welcome back stranger. Who are you again?

  5. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 05/24/2013 at 6:57 am #

    That’s cause you’re awesome ~ and we share eyebrow similarities… which is a success IN and OF itself.

  6. lostnchina 05/24/2013 at 7:00 am #

    Thank you so much for this post. I think as bloggers we get caught up in doing things bigger and better than we did the last time, but we overlook the fact that success is measured in the connections we’ve made and the people who’ve touched us (and not necessarily the other way around). Made my day!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:13 pm #

      It’s hard to see X amount of likes on one post, and Y on another. This is compounded when we really poured ourselves into a post that wasn’t received in the way we thought it would be. I have to remind myself at times to be grateful that people read this blog at all.

  7. El Guapo 05/24/2013 at 7:00 am #

    I’ve just written a post very si,ilar in thought-line to this, and I couldn’t agree with you more.
    Well, except for the perfume thing.
    It would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to just buy a cheeseburger and some good tequila instead of Eau d’Guap.

    (Personally, I’m glad you keep blogging.)

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:15 pm #

      I am not getting notifications on your blog anymore, WTF? I’ll make sure to correct that.

      I bet Eau d’Guap smells like masculinity and premium gasoline.

  8. donofalltrades 05/24/2013 at 7:00 am #

    Oh, what fun you’ll have with your future friends who stumble upon your blog by Googling “underboob sweat”! Lol well, crap, that’s actually how I got here.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:16 pm #

      If only armpit or forehead sweat was as appealing as boob sweat, I’d have MEN FOR DAYS.

  9. TJLubrano 05/24/2013 at 7:39 am #

    Sheesh Jen. Just a perfect article right here! I never really had the urge to keep track of my statistics. I won’t lie that I felt on top of the moon when I got my first steady flow of comments on my blog. I won’t lie again when I say that it was pretty awesome to see all that came out of blogging and what’s still happening, but I’m still not really focusing on the stats. Bad thing? Not sure. It was more what people said that stuck with me and not the amount of comments/views/likes. You’re so right that you can’t measure the feeling when someone said you made a difference in their lives or that you inspired them. Or when you read the peeks from other people’s minds. You simply can’t measure the value hidden in their words and lessons you can learn from it. Strangers who become friends…I certainly can’t measure the happiness you gave me with your support and lovely words. It’s all captured in my little Tonic box. :)

    Your blog is most definitely one of my favorites. It’s humor packed with wisdom. You can never go wrong with that. Plus you’re one heck of an awesome and lovely lady!

    Being sent that ultrasound is just so precious and beautiful.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:20 pm #

      I agree with that it feels good to be received well, and often. It’s not bad to enjoy riding high on the wave of acceptance. I just think, as someone said above, that it doesn’t tell the whole story.

      I’ve told you this before, but you’ve built a wonderful community of people who genuinely want you to succeed. People get excited when you unveil drawings, and speak highly of you and your work. That’s really meaningful, and something that I really admire.

  10. Katie 05/24/2013 at 7:50 am #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. It hasn’t been a year for me yet, and while I may never have millions of page views or hundreds of comments on every post, I’ve realized I do this more for me than anyone else, and I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to learn about other people and their writing from doing this. There are people that say my blog makes their day–I mean, how awesome is that? Virtual or not, we have an impact on each other’s lives, and that’s pretty damn cool.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Isn’t that the best? When someone says something is “the best thing they’ve read all day” or something along those lines. It makes me want to call up my high school bullies and say, “SUCK IT, LOSERS!”

  11. The Waiting 05/24/2013 at 7:54 am #

    I will always remember the first time someone tipped me off to your blog. C was a few weeks old and I was feeling like shite because I had nothing to laugh about. I blogged about it, and several people recommended that I check our your blog. And I laughed.

    You are an integral part of this community, Jen. You are kind of the Weird Al of blogging in that you can take a hiatus for awhile and still be loved by your readers in your absence. Also, you can probably play the accordion. In my mind, at least.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:22 pm #

      Is that seriously how you found out about my blog? People actually recommended it? See, that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about. That made me feel chuffed.

      Also, I still stand behind the fact that the Weird Al compliment is the best one I’ve ever received.

  12. MissFourEyes 05/24/2013 at 8:39 am #

    The people part of blogging is by far the best.
    And I would definitely buy some Tonic ;)

  13. La La 05/24/2013 at 8:51 am #

    I think it’s successful as fuck. I know we didn’t find each other until later and little breaks happen here and there, but I think based on the connections alone, you are successful as fuck. I just want to say “successful as fuck” a lot.

  14. Ashley Austrew 05/24/2013 at 9:00 am #

    You’re amazing, and I’m so glad you’re a part of this community. Also, please let me know when I can find Tonic in stores. It sounds like my thing.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:23 pm #

      I’ll rub my boobs on a napkin and send it to you in the mail. That’s how much I like you.

  15. SocietyRed 05/24/2013 at 9:02 am #

    I remember a time in my younger life when I wondered how “love” could be described and what it felt like. I came to understand it and recognize it; not with a definition, but by the way it makes me feel.
    I think the measure of success is quantified the same way. The way I feel every time you publish a post would indicate a high level of success.
    You Rock Jen!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:24 pm #

      That’s a perfect way of putting it, Red. It’s that moment you can’t totally describe because it just blows your mind in all the right ways. People like you coming to my blog, and like it, speaks volumes to what I’ve built here.

  16. artsifrtsy 05/24/2013 at 9:32 am #

    It’s always a good read, here at the J&T – I always wonder how many people find you with those tags – underboob sweat – I wonder how often someone googles that. Seriously though, you are so right about stats and the like. I enjoy the interaction and the camaraderie that I have with the ones who started with me and stuck around. I never expected that when I started.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:25 pm #

      The search terms for my blog often involve sex, penis, farts, and justin timberlake’s pubes. I’m not kidding.

      I, like you, never expected this level of camaraderie. It’s friendship on a level I’ve never experienced before.

  17. Paul M Chapman 05/24/2013 at 10:01 am #

    Jen, you could honestly write on the back of a stamp and I’d read it. When you first shared this blog with me, I was awestruck at your way with words and fell in love with your sense of humour straight away. Since that time you’ve become a very dear friend and I’m not ashamed to say, a confidante too. I trust you implicitly and both mine and Lou’s life would be a whole lot emptier without you. Whatever you choose to do, you will have my unending support. Much love and hugs to you buddy :)

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:26 pm #

      When I write my first book, I’m going to put the line, “you could honestly write on the back of a stamp and I’d read it” on the back. I’m too wordy for that, but I like the sentiment.

      Even though I didn’t meet you here, I’m glad we’ve followed each other on the internet. Sometimes you meet someone, and you feel your friendship was meant to be. That’s how I feel about us. You (and your amazing wife) are lovely. So lucky to know you.

  18. The Cutter 05/24/2013 at 10:11 am #

    “there isn’t a metric around which could measure that.”…yet. Maybe one day though!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:27 pm #

      I’ve decided I will determine when people are successful. It’ll be like The Apprentice, but with more Gary Busey.

  19. RFL 05/24/2013 at 10:39 am #

    You are amazing and so is this post.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Thanks, lady! You’re one of the first people I began reading on WP, and I’m glad we’ve both stuck around.

  20. Madame Weebles 05/24/2013 at 10:48 am #


    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:28 pm #


  21. Maggie O'C 05/24/2013 at 10:59 am #

    Right on sister! Your blog matters and you have a community around you. The big surprise about WordPress is the friendships that are forged here. I have witnessed that in huge ways over the past week.

    I thought I smelled underboob sweat that isn’t mine. You need to get out my yard.

    Blog on Jen,
    xo maggie

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:29 pm #

      I have an easier time reaching out to blog friends sometimes than I do the ones I know in real life. I think we’re all connected in some strange, cosmic way. Of course, who wouldn’t be connected to someone who basically reads their online diary?

  22. Maggie O'C 05/24/2013 at 10:59 am #

    out OF my yard

  23. iRuniBreathe 05/24/2013 at 11:06 am #

    I think you just recognized the sweet (not sweat) perfume smell of your blog: your readers. Your words and personality and great haircuts keep me entertained, laughing, happy, and always reading. Keep channeling that David Hasselhoff. You’ve got a great thing going.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:30 pm #

      The caliber of people who show up here amazes me. I think THAT is actually a metric someone could use to determine success.

  24. writerwendyreid 05/24/2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I love this post Jen and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I too have made quite a few friends since I started blogging just over a year ago, and I consider you to be one of them. :-)

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Yes! I definitely consider you a friend too. You may be the only person whose potty mouth rivals mine.

      • writerwendyreid 06/05/2013 at 7:18 am #

        hehehe…a feat I am proud of. :-)

  25. jdanryan 05/24/2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Of course you’re a success; damn the statistics, full steam ahead!

    I always look forward to your posts, and am sorry to hear you had a moment of doubt. I think everyone who puts words down for other to read gets that way at times; it’s never fun, and I can’t say I blame you for sharing that. Show me a person with a blog that doesn’t get that way at times, and I’ll say to that person you show me, “My God, it’s Arianna Huffington before me!”

    If it helps for the next time you get this way, you did egg me on for that Blogtober stand last year, which means you can claim to be someone’s muse. And if you rather not take the blame for that, hey, that’s cool too…

    The big takeaway from this is, no, you’re not wasting your time; thank you for being here.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:32 pm #

      The Arianna Huffington thing literally made me laugh out loud. I hope to god I’m never like that. A little self-doubt keeps a person’s ego in check.

      I am totally dreading November because of the blog challenge. I feel like people might dare me to do it again, and that shit was HARD. Glad to have you there with me.

  26. saradraws 05/24/2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Word UP SO HIGH IT’S DOWN. I know, that makes no sense, which is why it’s cool. Just go with it.

    Love you, love reading you, love being your friend. I like you very much. xoxo

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:33 pm #

      You were the very first girl crush I had on WP. I remember seeing your old avatar and thinking I wanted to marry you. Then a clown showed up, and I realized I never stood a chance. Merd.

  27. trjensen 05/24/2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I feel like I lost sight of what was important to me about my blog too. I started comparing my writing to other people’s, getting jealous and I lost that genuine love I had for my blog and my fellow writers. I have realized that when I love what I do it matters.

    And I love you and this blog. You are amazing, talented and inspiring.


    The Narcissist

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:35 pm #

      “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I love that quote, and it’s so true. There is only one Teri in this world, only one person who has your thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and life lessons. It’s a unique footprint only you can leave on the internet. Don’t forget that!

  28. The Bumble Files 05/24/2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Jen, I always look forward to reading your posts! You’re an amazing writer and blogger. Yeah, sometimes you just got to with it, right? Sometimes, I stop to question things and then realize it’s just worthless to do that. Like you said, you can’t measure the value of all these wonderful people. I would buy that Tonic, too. Go for it!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:36 pm #

      You’re a great writer, don’t doubt yourself. I think it’s in a writer’s nature to do that at times, to question what they put out there. At some point you just gotta push publish.

  29. PinotNinja 05/24/2013 at 2:12 pm #


    This was beautiful and absolutely inspiring for someone, like me, who is just starting out. If the blogoshpere is full of people just like you, then I’ve definitely made the right decision to show up at the party even if I’m still hanging out over by the punchbowl trying to make my first friends right now.

    Thank you for creating such a wonderful space.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:41 pm #

      I really like your blog, and I’m not just saying that because we have the same theme. I can definitely see your blog picking up steam in the near future. There’s a tipping in point in blogging when you go from obscurity to people actually knowing who you are. Just enjoy the process in the meantime.

      • PinotNinja 06/05/2013 at 6:35 am #

        Thank you so much! And, yes, at the end of the day the most important things about my blog are (a) that it makes me happy to write it and (b) that this is going to be something that my two co-writers and I will be able to fondly reminisce about when we’re old ladies living in Boca Del Vista.

        • Jen and Tonic 06/05/2013 at 8:55 pm #

          Promise me you’ll live a life much like what was portrayed on The Golden Girls.

  30. victoriabruce 05/25/2013 at 12:30 am #

    I started my blog to blow off steam about the crazy world of my work. I am still surprised when people read it.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:41 pm #

      I started my blog to prove to people how weird I am. Your story is better.

      • victoriabruce 06/05/2013 at 2:31 am #

        Everyone knows hoe weird I am. Although I prefer eccentric.

  31. celeryhills 05/25/2013 at 12:45 am #

    I always thought success was measured in blog hits, twitter follows and the like. I see bloggers on twitter spending hours twitting, and wonder if they do anything else. I just “unfollowed” one blogger because my twitter feed was being blown up with all her ramblings and I just got tired of it. If she was saying something cool, fine, but all I saw was her twits clogging up tweets I was really interested in.

    So with that in mind, I think you should keep going. You aren’t annoying and you are funny as fuck. I read one post (the gym one) and cracked the hell up. It’s rare when I can read a blog and laugh, I generally read them for information.

    Personally, I started out with a blog, but then after a few years I got bored with it. Also, my focus changed. So I just went ahead and deleted it and started over with everything: new name, new handle, new twitter, facebook, instagram, tumblr accounts, you name it. Even a new email address. Being able to start over was VERY freeing. No, I am not up to the number of likes on my Facebook page, and I am slowly creeping up to 100 of followers on twitter, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, to coin a phrase.

    I never saw myself getting rich off of blogging. I know of some bloggers who have ads, do reviews, all that, and that isn’t for me. When I had my old blog I had several companies contact me to do reviews. I did one review for a product I really didn’t like and questioned some of their ingredients, and of course the company wasn’t thrilled with me. So I bullshitted my way through the review to their satisfaction, then hated myself for being fake. Never again will I do a sponsored review. Also, it’s really difficult to do a review on something you wouldn’t pay for yourself. I talk about something if I bought it only.

    Credibility is important to me, and you have it.

    Bottom line, keep going! You have an audience, you are funny, and you definitely have something to say!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:43 pm #

      UGH, the people on Twitter who ramble or retweet in excess kill me. I wrote a friend to tell her she needed Twitter rehab. She turned into Amy Winehouse, and kept saying, “NO, NO, NO!”

      Wow, you had a blog and then deleted it? That’s bold. I think, if you’re over it, it wasn’t worth keeping around anyway. It’s good that you got back into it. It’s hard to let go of the blogging bug once you’ve been bittern.

      Thanks for saying I’m credible! I would have preferred INcredible, but hey, I’ll take it ;)

  32. genericmessage 05/25/2013 at 3:21 am #

    I too have neglected my blog for about a month. But the difference between you and I? No one notices when I’m gone.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:45 pm #

      You have a blog?! Wait, there aren’t any links on gravatar or on Twitter. Is this some top secret stuff?

      • genericmessage 06/07/2013 at 4:27 pm #

        I follow you on twitter and here. And amply share my links!

        • Jen and Tonic 06/07/2013 at 7:42 pm #

          Share links to your posts? I haven’t seen any of those on Twitter, at least not since I started following you.

          • genericmessage 06/08/2013 at 2:53 am #

            I do!

  33. speaker7 05/25/2013 at 4:29 am #

    I’m kind of glad I’m getting all these spammy new followers so now I’m not as obsessed with looking at my stats, which have became pretty meaningless. I am now, however, obsessed with procuring a bottle of Tonic.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:45 pm #

      Why do you want a bottle of Tonic when you’ve got Hugo Bellybutton Cheese Parfum at your disposal?

  34. Garry Crystal 05/25/2013 at 5:47 am #

    Jen, I could count the amount of blogs I read regularly on one hand, actually just a few fingers and yours is one of them. Whenever one of your new blog article notifications hits my email I take a break from whatever I am doing to read it because I know it’s going to be a very funny (plus the pictures are always superb) and entertaining read, and more than once you have thrown in something very personal and touching about your life, which is a brave thing to do. It’s all about connecting and relating and you do this brilliantly, keep it up Portlandia, untz!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:47 pm #

      I can’t believe you read my blog. You’re a REAL WRITER, and I’m some person who talks about sucking poo from her rectum. I’m glad to have you here though, and am thankful we’ve kept in touch despite the B-word debacle.

      UNTZ on you sexy Scottish devil.

  35. Cathy Ulrich 05/25/2013 at 7:52 am #

    We’ve known each other here for awhile. I think we were even FP’d on the same day! And I agree with everything you say in the post – and you say it so well. Thank you for expressing something that I feel from this blogging experience. Success is measured in the relationships.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Great memory! I totally forgot that we were FP’d on the same day! Now we’re bonded for life.

      You’re one of the people I’m so happy to have among my Hooked on Tonics. You’re just so damn cool.

  36. daniheart21 05/25/2013 at 9:05 am #

    Love this Jen. You rock!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Thanks, Dani! So happy we connected through the crazy world of writing.

  37. jennessjohnston78 05/25/2013 at 9:05 am #

    I greatly enjoy your blogging style and think that you are totally right it is about relationships and connections. Thank you for sharing this. :)

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Life is definitely better when you have people to share it with.

  38. Elyse 05/25/2013 at 9:39 am #

    Great post. Thanks to TwinDaddy of Stuphblog for sending me back your way. I’d lost you.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:50 pm #

      Elyse! Somehow I unfollowed you, not sure how that happened. Remedied. Thanks to TwinDaddy, indeed!

      • Elyse 06/05/2013 at 3:29 am #

        I’ve done that too. That little button at the top is a dangerous thing!

  39. The Hook 05/25/2013 at 11:00 am #

    Well said, Jen.
    I’m sure you smell great regardless of the circumstances and your blog – not to mention your outlook on life – rocks!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:50 pm #

      I use to be such a sourpuss. I like this Jen much better.

      • The Hook 06/05/2013 at 6:58 am #

        This Jen kicked my ass on The Indie Chick’s blogger awards, so she’s no shrinking violet…

        • Jen and Tonic 06/05/2013 at 8:54 pm #

          I’d like to think I lightly spanked you.

          Also, why were there so many good choices in that category?!

          • The Hook 06/06/2013 at 3:59 am #

            There is a surplus of quality material out there, I guess…
            And by the way, thanks for the spanking, Jen, strangely, I didn’t mind one bit!

  40. Aimee 05/25/2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I would definitely buy your perfume!! Your blog is awesome, regardless of what statistics may tell you. I used to be way too concerned about the stats and got sad that no one was visiting. But I had made real connections with those people who HAD visited, so I feel successful. Do the blog for you and for your own happiness. Don’t worry about the traffic!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:52 pm #

      The type of stuff you write about lends itself to very solid friendships. I think you’re brave to put it all out there, and I know your blog will help the people who read it. That is worth it.

      • Aimee 06/05/2013 at 4:38 am #

        Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m glad you visited, though I hope you have no need for my blog :) It’s the kind of thing you wish no one had to experience, let alone write about.

  41. Burns the Fire 05/25/2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Lovely, inspiring, inspired!

  42. Main Street Musings Blog 05/30/2013 at 8:12 am #

    Well said, Jen.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Thanks, Lisa! Glad you’re still on this train to Crazytown.

  43. Melanie Jo Moore 05/31/2013 at 3:08 am #

    I’ve tried not checking the STATS button, (but dammit it’s like crack!) I’ve only been on the blogging circuit now for about four months and I’m with you, there are times that I want to march my laptop out to the trashcan and scream, ‘I’m going Amish! No more laptop, blogging or zippers!’ Luckily, when I started to get the Nobody Cars Burnout, I had a seasoned blogger come along and jump on board with me. She comments regularly, she read my book and she brags about me to other bloggers. She really is my floating door at the end of Titanic, without the creepy Leonardo DeCRAPio hanging on of course.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:55 pm #

      That floating board was the worst character in the whole movie. Acting like it could only hold one person when science says otherwise.

      Checking stats is kind of like crack, and I do feel happiness when my stats get jacked from certain posts. I think we all just need to remind ourselves that it’s only one part of the blogging experience.

  44. sassypanties 05/31/2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Being someone who developed a BLOG that is completely TOP SECRET so that I could see if I could organically gather as many followers as possible, I’ve found that my blog gets out of it what I put into it. Share the love and the love will come back to you. It appears that there are those out there hungry for what you have to say – as for me? I just stumbled here and based on your sarcasm alone, you’ve gained yet another follower. So – thanks for letting us be a part of your crazy. It’s clear that many enjoy it. Wow. Doesn’t that sound funny? WE LOVE YOUR CRAZY!!!!!!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:56 pm #

      “I’ve found that my blog gets out of it what I put into it. Share the love and the love will come back to you.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Oh, and I love that you all love my crazy because it isn’t going away. I’ve tried.

  45. rarasaur 06/04/2013 at 12:26 am #

    My husband does not thank you for this post since “dolla dolla duck bills” has been permanently embedded in my head as an appropriate thing to say whenever he asks me how much something costs, haha. :D Also, I’d totally buy Tonic.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Want to take it up a notch? Carry around monopoly money and throw it around while shouting, “Dolla dolla duck bills.” I’m sure he’ll love it!

  46. BrainRants 06/05/2013 at 8:01 am #

    I agree blogging takes some work. My year deployed nearly killed mine. Also, woman sweat is highly underrated.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/05/2013 at 8:50 pm #

      It does take work, but I think there is something to be said for reader loyalty. If they love you, they’ll stick around.

      (You’re not going to be deployed again, right?)

      • BrainRants 06/06/2013 at 3:31 am #

        (not if I have anything to say about it)

  47. Judy Smith 06/05/2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Oh. Such timing. (That happens a lot in my life!) I really, really, really needed to read this, exactly right now. I’ve been lazy, depressed, discouraged, disillusioned … all that crap. But I love my little blog and don’t want to let it die. Your writing is so wonderful — I’ve been drawn to you since the first piece I read here. I would absolutely HATE it if you didn’t keep writing!!! So … I’m very glad you’re thinkin’ you’ll stick around. And like rarasaur, I’d buy “Tonic” in a heartbeat and wear it blatantly.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/05/2013 at 8:51 pm #

      Timing is everything! I think it’s totally normally to feel all of those things you expressed. Earlier this year I actually considered closing up shop. I told myself that if I wrote one more post, and still felt the same, I’d really quit. Of course, the high of finishing a post showed me I wanted to keep going. I hope you do too!

      Thank you for the kind words :)

      • Judy Smith 06/06/2013 at 4:02 am #

        And thank you for following my blog — what a sweet little gift. Almost as good as rubbing your boobs on a napkin and mailing it to me!

  48. Adam S 06/05/2013 at 8:21 pm #

    You’re the bomb, Jen…

  49. mabukach 06/06/2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Boob napkins, please. Great post, Jen. You make me wanna read good.

    • Jen and Tonic 06/07/2013 at 10:23 am #

      Sounds like I may have a lucrative business opportunity in this boob napkin thing.

  50. Rohan 7 Things 06/07/2013 at 2:25 am #

    Yeah I think a lot of bloggers, myself definitely included, find that blogging is so much more than whatever we think it will be when we start out! The connections I’ve made, and the way they’ve shaped my thinking and blogging is pretty amazing :)

    Great post Jen, thanks for sharing!


    • Jen and Tonic 06/07/2013 at 10:24 am #

      That’s just it! It’s fine to have a plan going into things, we just need to remember that sometimes the plan changes, and that our new direction is better than the one we originally wanted.

      Thanks so much for making this your POW! Made my day :)

  51. Daan van den Bergh 06/07/2013 at 4:09 am #

    Keep it gangsta, y’all!

  52. MissTiffany 06/07/2013 at 5:57 am #

    Well said. I started blogging as a way to improve my writing and force me to get into a writing schedule. I wasn’t expecting to meet so many wonderful, talented, and funny people. The friendships I’ve made while blogging have been the best part. :) Great post!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/07/2013 at 10:25 am #

      That’s an excellent reason to start a blog! What’s great about that is you’ve managed to not only meet your original goal, but have this side benefit you didn’t even know you wanted.

  53. becels1 06/09/2013 at 1:56 pm #

    While I don’t care if anyone ever reads mine or comments… I write it for me as therapy, it was really cool to get insight on what someone else thinks a success is. I think yours is (a success I mean). I just started blogging last week and yours was one of the first to catch my eye. That says something, right? :)

  54. omtatjuan 06/09/2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I happened upon your blog. I truly enjoy your words! You got the “IT” when it comes to expressing your ideas. Bravo!

  55. Bowrag 06/09/2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Thats pretty deep! I am impressed. Im a new reader… talk to me!

  56. Le Clown 06/18/2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Le Clown

  57. talesfromahungrylife 06/22/2013 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks for helping me see my blog in a new way. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, and while I may never make nearly as much money as Scrooge McDuck, I am grateful to the people who stop by and like my blog (also very amazed, still). By the way, I think your blog is really funny!

    • Jen and Tonic 07/08/2013 at 7:43 pm #

      I’ve been blogging for three years as well! My bloggiversary is coming up here quickly. Time flies, no?

      I’m still amazed when people like, comment and follow. When you showed up out of nowhere I did a little happy dance. I won’t show you because it’s embarrassing and I’m hoping you’ll come back.

      • talesfromahungrylife 07/09/2013 at 7:25 am #

        Dance! Dance! Dance! I did mine when I saw you followed me. Thank you. My old English teacher used to say “who do you think you are? Emily Dickinson?” because I had a pile of work hidden under my bed — thank goodness for this blog. Anyway, keep writing! I’m looking forward to more.

  58. Stacie Chadwick 06/23/2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Jen, I read this and somehow commented, but it must have gotten lost in cyberspace. Sometimes I hate cyberspace, especially when I can’t find my keys. You’re an awesome girl, an incredibly talented writer, and all around amazing. Keep on keeping on. =)

    • Jen and Tonic 07/08/2013 at 7:44 pm #

      Cyberspace is eating your comments? Why does it want to keep us apart?!

      Thank you for the kind words, Stacie. You were one of the first people I found here on WordPress, and I’ll never forget the original Hooked on Tonics.

  59. Sean Smithson 07/06/2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Easily my favourite blog on the net now. And also my favourite post… I was previously leaning towards the portaloo story but this just takes it. Thank you for the reminder that it’s not just about the number of followers…

    Mind you, I haven’t managed to connect with any readers either. So perhaps my blog really is just shit!

    And speaking of; when I eventually get round to writing my story of shitting my pants in a KFC, I shall be sure to include a link back to the aforementioned portaloo tale.

    Thanks for making me chuckle.

    • Jen and Tonic 07/08/2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Sean, I tweeted out the first line of this comment because I was incredibly flattered. Also, I’m a narcissist.

      In regards to reaching out to people, do you follow and comment on blogs regularly? I find that when I first began I was diligent about showing up and making a legitimate connection with other bloggers. That allowed us to actively follow one another’s blogs, cross post, and other forms of promotion.

      I’m glad you somehow found me in the big wide world of WordPress. Going to your blog now.

      • Sean Smithson 07/10/2013 at 5:29 am #

        YESSSSSSSS! J&T is following me!!!

        Apologies for the delayed response by the way. And I really hope you didn’t feel you had to follow me just because I chose to follow you.

        With regard to following/commenting; I think I’m getting better at that. I only started out three-ish months ago so I’m still learing the ropes. I’ve found I have two main problems though:

        1 – Whilst I’m more than happy to ‘like’ a post, I always feel I need to try to write something witty/funny in the comments section. Which means I either choke and refuse to comment. Or the author thinks I’m an idiot…

        2 – I still haven’t grasped that wordpress isn’t a dating site. And instead of looking for blogs by people with similar interests, a lot of my searching is based on gravatar profile pics. The cartoon version of you is hot!

        And given my blog content is somewhat controversial / potentially offensive to women? This is a pretty dumb strategy…

        In truth, I actually discovered you on ‘The Official How to Blog’. Again, I’m not trying to give you a big head but the ‘how to work from home’ post was definitely the funniest one on there.

        Just read your post on Le Clown’s site. I can’t believe you live near the beach where they filmed The Goonies. That’s got to be one of the coolest places on Earth!

        PS – If you’d like to me write other complimentary comments that you can tweet about, just say the word. Seriously, the blog is that good!

        • Jen and Tonic 07/10/2013 at 10:28 pm #

          I want EVERYONE to be that excited when I follow them. And no, I never feel obligated to follow anyone. I clicked that follow with conviction!

          Eh, don’t try too hard with the comment, just be yourself. I know it’s hard sometimes because there are so many witty people and it feels like you have to measure up. Just show up consistently and you’ll build a presence.

          HA! I would definitely not recommend dating another blogger. What if you break up? You’d have to split all of your e-friends.

          You found me on the How To blog? I love Speaker7, the woman who runs it. She’s awesome. Oh, that’s a good way to get exposure, do guest posts.

          Yeah, The Goonies thing is pretty cool. There are also points of interest for the movies Twilight and Point Break as well in the same general area.

          • Sean Smithson 07/12/2013 at 12:28 pm #

            Ah, I wasn’t aware that Speaker7 was behind the How To site… That explains an awful lot. As her personal site is number 2 in my awesome list!

            I’m mustering the courage to submit my own ‘how to’ post to her…

            Hahaha. Ah yes, I hadn’t factored the e-friends into the equation. But let’s not rule it out just yet!

          • Jen and Tonic 07/12/2013 at 1:49 pm #

            While you’re at it, check out Madame Weebles and Becky Says Things if you aren’t already following them:



          • Sean Smithson 07/12/2013 at 2:57 pm #


            Turns out Becky went to university in my home town! I really wasn’t expecting that…

            Wait a second. Was that recommendation intentional? Do you know who I am really am ;)

          • Jen and Tonic 07/12/2013 at 3:02 pm #

            I’ve said too much…

  60. Deborah 11/11/2013 at 7:22 am #

    Loving this blog! You are funny to say the least and your writing style is clever and catchy. I am starting my own blog and have been so hesitant about what to write about and trying to figure out what to say or what not to say and really it isn’t so much about what to talk about, because if you are going to blog, you should blog about EVERYTHING!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 10:55 am #

      Thank you for the kind words! It’s nice to know that other people besides my mom read this blog. I’m sure she’s just as surprised by that.

      I’m in agreement, I think people should blog about whatever it is that they want to blog about. What I write here is not for everyone, but it is for some people. And really, when you write about what’s in your heart and head, others pick up on that, and it makes for a better read.

      Good luck on your new blog!

  61. jessicagartlandn 11/18/2013 at 7:03 am #

    I am New to blogging and have just recently found your page. I am addicted . I have read your posts and laughed so hard, I may or may not have (though it cannot be proven ) peed a little. Whatever Voodoo you use to create these articles and let us all into your slice of the Universe , I am thankful for it.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 12:51 pm #

      Peeing a little (or even a lot) is encouraged on this blog. We’re all filthy animals here.

      Thank you so much for the kind words about my blog! Made me smile.

  62. alexraphael 12/28/2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Really inspiring words. My blog is nearly 4 months and can be tough, but the great moments more than make up for it. Congrats on the cool awards too.


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