Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Bee's Life: Snow Cone!

WeddingBee, I just can't quit you.  So you get one more post before the dreaded farewell.

How I Found WeddingBee
About 48 hours after I got engaged, I got the planning bug and started to Google color schemes.  I think my search for some peacock inspiration landed me on the WeddingBee boards.  I was shocked that a resource existed in which people could upload their own photos as ways of sparking inspiration for others.  All of my knowledge of the online world prior to this point was limited to "Real Weddings" on other sites which normally come with no budget information but you have no doubt that they're, well, lavish.  Not exactly helpful.  I loved the accessibility of this new little treasure trove of ideas.

A few days later, I stumbled across the blog portion of the site.  I think I was looking for Pennsylvania weddings, and Mrs. Octopus had been introduced mere days before I got engaged.  It was clearly meant to be.  That serendipity didn't help me to make heads or tails of this site, though.  As far as I could tell, a bunch of anonymous people were creating fake identities to exist in this online world, and why anyone would want to be known as Mrs. Insert-Inanimate-Object-Here was beyond me.  I decided it was a little too "out there" for me and kindly bid it adieu.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I was honestly just curious to figure out the whole schtick behind this site with Cheeseburgers and Octopi and Penguins.  If I happened to pick up some wedding inspiration along the way, so be it.  Once I figured out the whole blog element of the site, I was totally hooked. 

My Application Story
Shortly after I fell in love with the site, I decided that I would apply to be a blogger, even though I hadn't ever blogged, with the exception a semester abroad.  Before I could begin my wedding blog, though, I got cold feet.  What if I started it and never saw it through?  I considered this to be a very real possibility, given that I had school, work, and wedding planning eating up most of my time.  I decided to table the whole blog idea before it even got off the ground.

As I neared the eight-month mark, though, I started to feel the itch.  I desperately wanted to blog for WeddingBee, and if that meant I had to work on my time management, so be it.  I realized I had never identified a specific goal and not thrown myself head-first into trying to make it happen, so why should this be any different?  After confirming that I didn't need to be marrying in a major metropolitan area, I took the plunge and started my blog.

I plodded along happily, walking through the story of us and our wedding planning to date.  On December 13, I sent in my application and then waited.  I was both wildly confident and horrifically wary about my chances of being selected.  I even kept a chart of the brunch generation icons, putting red x's over the selected one so I could have a head start in choosing my hypothetical future moniker.  Well, the weeks came and passed.  I read between nonexistent lines, thinking that a dry spell with no response maybe meant I was an automatic no.  Or I was a maybe.  Or I was a yes but they needed to space out introductions.  I drove myself insane and then, finally, the day came.  The day I realized I'd passed the five-week mark and needed to check back in.  Sure enough, my application had gotten lost in the shuffle and would be immediately evaluated.  A few days later, I woke up to a rejection email and actually felt great about it.

Sure, it stung at first, but I was driving myself bonkers with the incessant email checking and stressing.  I decided to put my head down and keep blogging.  After about a month of new posts and a mild refinement of my writing voice, I reapplied.  And, finally, the day I'd been waiting for arrived.  The day I realized that I had, once again, passed the five-week mark.  So, I emailed Pengy, and a few days later, I found out I was in!  I still remember all the details of that day and how nervous I was as I crafted my intro post at 5 in the morning because I was too jazzed to sleep.

 something like that

Being a Blogger Bee
At the risk of sounding dramatic, being a blogger bee is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time (minus that whole marrying my soulmate thing).  It's provided me with such an outlet in every sense of the word.  Few things are as gratifying as laboring over a detail or an event and receiving positive feedback from people who may not know you, but still support you.  Still to this day, a full year after I joined the site as a blogger, I get all warm and fuzzy reading through the comments on any of my posts.  And, still to this day, it occasionally surprises me to remember that just as I sapped inspiration from bees past, some readers may like an idea that I used!  While I may not blog with the site in mind (see below), that hasn't prevented me from putting down deep, happy roots in this wonderful online world.

Tips for Aspiring Bees!
When I applied (and re-applied), I voraciously read these "Bee's Life" posts and was always kind of put off with the abstract advice.  While they were undoubtedly accurate, I still needed real, hard suggestions to put into motion, people! So, in the hopes of helping some neurotic little ladies like myself, here are some "real" tips that helped me in my applying.
  • Have one of your nearest and dearest friends who knows you really well but isn't afraid to give you honest feedback read your posts.  Ask her (or him!) if she can hear your voice telling her this story.  I struggled with my writing style in the beginning, and bounced posts off one of my best friends.  I felt so validated when she finally assessed that my writing actually sounded like me!
  • Write for you.  It's really easy to get caught up in the mindset that there's a formula for preparing a WeddingBee-worthy application blog, like you need x posts about your proposal, y posts about picking a florist, and z posts about font selections.  In reality, that's more than likely going to set you up for some stiff, clunky writing.  Instead, recognize that you are already a reader of WeddingBee.  What is it that you want to read about?  And, along those same lines, write about what's important to you.  In 10 years, the only person who is likely to flip through these posts is going to be you.  Create a version of this special chapter in your life that will still resonate for yourself.  Sure, there are readers who could also be taking a look at your posts, but it will ring truer if you do it for you.
  • Tell a story.  Instead of rattling off a list of what you need to accomplish this month, delve into a few specific details of one specific task.  Tell the readers (and yourself) why you were stressing over picking your invitation design, or why you've always been so confident about your wedding band selection.  Think of it this way - what's more interesting, when a friend tells you what she bought at the grocery store, or when a friend tells you about that crazy guy she saw smelling all the melons in the produce aisle?
  • Along those same lines, try to find a hook within your story.  Lots and lots of people buy wedding dresses.  What detail about your experience with your dress hunt is most interesting or surprising?  What detail are you going to tell your kids about when they ask you about how you decided that dress was the one?
  • Don't worry about your wedding not being _____ enough.  When I was waiting to hear back on my first application, I fell into a nasty mindset in which I convinced myself that a rejection would mean my wedding needed improvement, rather than my blogging.  This could not be further from the truth.  The only "improvement" I can think of that an applicant wedding may need is purely nailing down specifics.  It's a lot easier to tell interesting stories about places you've visited, rather than places you've considered traveling to, you know?  But, back to my original point.  Everyone's weddings will have repeated aspects and individual details.  What's important is that you embrace the path your wedding is taking and tell us about it.  Simple as that.
Sorry for going on and on; I can be pretty easily excitable and run on at the mouth keyboard.

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