When I’m not writing blog posts writing site copy, tweets, newsletters, and e-mails to customers at my day job, I’m…writing. And writing and writing and writing. I work as the social media and marketing girl for a start-up website, a panelist for U by Kotex Real Answers, and as a freelance writer and social media consultant.
I’ve actually been blogging since 2005. Back then, no one knew what a blog even was. No one had a .blogspot after her name. We didn’t have YouTube for videos; we barely knew how to use pictures.
But blogging has come a long way and so have I.
My first real blog was called The Spartanette, which I started when I was a journalism student and fledgling sorostitute at Michigan State University. I had been doing stand-up comedy for a couple years and was ready to take my routine to print, but, unfortunately, the State News wasn’t interested in a funny and sexy social column. I, however, was very interested in being a sexy social. Post-high school, I stopped being an emo theater kid and eating my feelings and had a major 70-pound weight loss. Once my inner slut was enabled by my outer beauty, I was off…and so was The Spartanette. It documented three years of me becoming the frattiest sorostitute. I spent a lot of time being That Girl.
After graduating from MSU, I went to New York City and worked at ELLE Magazine. After a year in the fashion closet, I was not any closer to my goal of being a writer. Unfortunately, I spent my days getting super important pairs of shoes from Milan to the U.S. in time for photo shoots. It had its perks, don’t get me wrong, but it sucked the life out of me because it just wasn’t my passion. So I decided to PTFO and move back to Michigan to work on my writing and social media career. I became a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor (a struggling writer needs a day job) and started writing a new blog, Shedding It & Getting It, while building a freelance writing and social media career.
Shedding It & Getting It eventually became a blog for girls gone wild…gone healthy. As I grew in that community, I became even more worked up about encouraging others to make the most of their health blogs. I founded and edited Hollaback Health, a bloggers’ blog, where my ragtag team of awesome bloggers and I posted about all things related to writing a great blog. Still, as much as I loved Shedding It, I was starting to feel limited on what I could write about. There’s more to me than health and fitness and I wanted to reach an audience that I knew was interested in more than just what I ate for breakfast. It was time for a new blog title and URL.
After going around and around with a good friend and fellow blogger, I finally decided to just make my full name my URL and title my blog accordingly: The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson. “This will be perfect!” I said. “It will be a strong URL no matter what I want to write about! Theoretically, I can use it forever; it would only be a problem if I were to get married!”
What happened next is honestly a little ridiculous.
The same friend who encouraged me to make my name my URL also decided to introduce me to her friend Eric, who lived in Houston. As a blogger and frequenter of Match.com, I found nothing weird about meeting people on the Internet, so I was fine with it. I emailed him. He emailed me right back. There was flattery. There were the right pop culture references. There was the right amount of exclamation points (not too few, not too many) and he didn’t use “lol” as punctuation like the last guy I had dated. I emailed back. Then I couldn’t stand it and I just IMed him. “What are you doing?” I said. “Oh nothing, just reading an email from my future wife,” he said. Which would have been cheesy or creepy (or both) IF IT WEREN’T ACTUALLY TRUE.
I had planned to change my URL eventually, but after that first IM, “eventually” became “uh, this is kind of an issue” way sooner than I expected thanks to two little things that were completely out of my control: love and Google. I knew that I’d be changing my name after I got married in February 2014, and I wasn’t sure what to do about the fact that I’d lose a lot of SEO ranking and recognition that I’d worked my ass of for if I changed my URL accordingly. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, my identity is deeply and strongly tied to the Internet. I’m fascinated by the way we refer to so many things about blogs and websites in house terms — home page, web address — but it makes total sense to me. My blog had always felt like my home. I owned it. I set the rules. It was a part of who I am. I had built a community where I invited people to come in and stay awhile, and I felt safe and protected there. But the fact remained: sometimes, as much as you love a place, there comes a point when you have to let go and move on.
And that’s how I ended up with my fourth blog, The House Always Wins!
I love creating content (writing, blogging, managing, editing, naming things), reading, and being a part of online communities, and I seek professional work that allows me to do that.