February 15, 2010

Blog Secrets... Plus a Giveaway!

Image: Ace Covers

So as the blog-clock ticks down on our final weeks at Cranky Fitness, I find myself wanting to indulge in a few more "behind the scenes" posts. (Like last week's peek at weird google searches.)

It's just that this silly little blog has been a huge part of my life over the last few years. Yet when you try to talk about blogging to friends who do not read or write blogs themselves? Their eyes glaze over and they get these cute little frozen smiles on their faces and pretty soon they seem to have a sudden need to freshen their drinks or visit the restroom or call their grandmothers.

Since I have no more "real life" friends left to chase away with blogging tales, you lucky patient folks get to read these behind-the-scenes, Top Secret Crabby McSlacker True Blog Confessions! Wait... where are you all going? Well, at least I've got a bit of a bribe today: 5 copies of the new SparkPeople Workout DVD to give away over on the product page. If you've got a U.S. mailing address, be sure to check it out!

So anyway, for those of you who haven't fled yet, let me share a few shocking, lurid blog "secrets."

1. For a shy person, I'm quite the attention-seeking narcissist. Unexpected links, mentions, and page-view spikes get me WAY more psyched than any normal person should be. And I used to joke about being obsessed by my blog statistics? Well... um... it was never a joke. Even now, I still check every day.

2. Some PR folks are professional, friendly, and awesome, but others are total idiots and/or buttheads. And 95% of the pitches we fitness bloggers get on behalf of major corporations are (1) clueless about what we do and (2) offensive in their one-sided approach to working with us. We are supposed be honored and flattered to write about their products and link to their sites! While they promise to do nothing in return but send us more information about their products. Yippee, sign me up!

The reviews and giveaways can be fun (SparkPeople got a thumbs-up for friendly professionalism, which is why we're doing another one). But a few giveaways we've done have been a nightmare because of extreme sponsor idiocy or flakiness.

3. Blogging makes me feel guilty. All The Time. I don't know how some bloggers do it--writing great posts, replying to comments, emailing, tweeting, updating their blogrolls, visiting all the other great blogs out there and leaving comments, finding and linking to other sites. I used to do more of all that stuff. True to form, I'm a slacker--but, alas, not a carefree slacker. It bothers me that I'm not being nearly as supportive to all the great folks who link and visit and comment here as they have been to me.

4. Bloggers get catty behind the scenes. I've made some great online friendships through the blog, and we bloggers trade emails. You'd be surprised at some of the tacky things we say about PR folks, fitness celebrities, and even sometimes other famous bloggers or clueless random googlers who leave ridiculous or offensive comments on our sites.

5. Reading blog comments is way more fun than writing posts. OK, so this isn't exactly a secret, but I have to mention this again. The quality of discussion on this blog, and the warmth an humor of the commentators, has made reading comments the best thing about blogging. Writing posts, on the other hand... Of course I love having finished them, but the writing process is slow and sometimes hard going. You'd think with my sloppy attitude towards research, composition, and proof-reading, that I'd whip these things right out. But I don't. It's gotten harder as I've said most of what I had to say about health and fitness, which is why it's not a bad time to take an extended Crabbatical.

6. I've never been sure how to handle the gay thing. Regular readers have been so mellow and accepting that this has almost been a non-issue. But it's still weird to try to write a post in which, if I were straight, I'd naturally mention my husband. But I don't have a husband, I have a wife, and this could be confusing to some folks. I know that lots of readers are not regulars here but drop in from google. If I just said "wife" they'd assume I was a dude, and then they'd get all confused when I mentioned sports bras or pap smears. But leaving the Lobster out felt all wrong and closety, so I tried not to do that either.

It's funny that I haven't run into more gay or lesbian health/fitness/weight loss bloggers--or maybe I have and just didn't realize it. Anyway, I appreciate that the folks here have never been anything but supportive. You guys rock.

7. Jillian Michaels mentioned Cranky Fitness on her radio show... but I'm pretty sure she never read the blog. I was totally thrilled to hear that she recommended us, until I actually listened to the program. All the quotes came from the article that Women's Health did on us; some assistant probably just passed the info on. Sigh. Despite her sometimes brutal training style, and the ickiness of her hawking weight-loss pills, I still admire her. Would've been cool if she really had discovered the blog and liked it.

8. There was almost a Cranky Fitness book. This was a bit of a heart-breaker: I got contacted by a publishing company about doing a Cranky Fitness book, and at their request, sent them a proposal. It was enthusiastically recommended by a couple of underlings and sent up the chain for further review, but they ultimately decided against it. Dang! But I guess the upside of not having managed to finagle a book deal? I don't have to write a book!

9. I have quite a few names; many of you do too. I am Crabby McSlacker; I am Jamie Graham... and I also have two other names: the full name that appears on my birth certificate and driver's license, and the shortened version that I'm called by most "in real life" folks. (I'm not actually crazy about it, but retraining IRL folks would be a losing battle). The whole alias thing started because when I still had psychotherapy clients, I didn't want them thinking they were models for characters in my fiction. But I liked my pen name better than my real name, and also liked having a whole additional layer of anonymity when doing Webthings in the scary Webworld.

So I thought this multiple-identity thing was all very bizarre of me until I started doing more giveaway contests... then I discovered I am not the only one. I see folks with a cute name they blog under, who also have an easy-to-discover "real" name which appears under their profile, or is associated with their email address. Which then turns out NOT to be the name their postal delivery person will recognize. It was a relief to find out I'm not the only many-named weirdo on the web!

10. I almost blogged about my bowel habits for 10 days. I once got paid to take a "challenge" which involved eating a lot of products containing bran and other fiber additives and reporting on how I "felt." Fortunately, for both myself and for blog readers, the sponsor backed out, but let us bran bloggers keep the money. Later on, I got another even more generous offer to take a laxative for an extended period of time and blog about it. This time, I was not even tempted. Perhaps the "Cranky" in "Cranky Fitness" makes sponsors think I need a laxative? For the record: nope, I get plenty o' fiber from all those fruits, veggies, grains, and other whole foods. I may complain about 'em, but I eat 'em.

Do any other bloggers or blog visitors have silly internet secrets or confessions? Do spill!


  1. I think Jillian NEEDS to read your blog (and mine too) so I hope she does discover you, once her diet pill lawsuit frenzy stuff is over...

    I have so enjoyed your blog. I hope you decide you just cannot live without blogging and don't quit!

  2. I still think you're a much nicer blogger than I am.
    (*Cough Skinny Bitch reviews Cough*)

    Whoops. Need a cup of tea. That cough is getting annoying.

  3. You know we're going to miss you, right?

    A Cranky book? That would have been awesome. But yeah...major pita to get done.

    And, um, thanks (seriously!) for, uh, "backing out" on #10. EwW. :)

  4. I'm too new at blogging to have any secrets yet but I loved reading your Blog Secrets! You've got such a great blog, I am sorry to see you go.

  5. I love this post. LOVE IT. It is a must-read for anyone considering blogging.

    And also - I cried when I read number 3. I'm not kidding. Tears streaming down my cheeks. I so know how that one feels.

    Thanks again for sharing all of this - and yourself - with us. The Internet is losing a real bright spot. Although I still maintain that this will just free up your energies to accept all the other good things coming your way! I see books in your future, yet:) (STUPID PUBLISHER!)

  6. I hear you on handling the gay thing...I'm sure some people get confused when they read my blog if they haven't been following for a while when I mention my partner. So far I haven't had any negative reactions to mentioning her. I'm very out in my non-online life so being in the closet online seemed kinda a weird thing for me to consider.

    Thanks for sharing your blog secrets...was a good read.

  7. I love this post and wholeheartedly agree with #2 - and boy are some PR firms pushy! I was heading down #3 for a while until I remembered to give myself time for me; it's become easier to not feel bad about reading and commenting on everyone's blogs. As for #6, I think you handled that one perfectly.#8 - I so would have bought your book...maybe there is another publisher who you could pitch it to? And #10 - really? That would have been on heck of a strange post to read!

    I'll miss you while you are on your Crabbatical and I do hope you will come back to posting one day.


  8. Somehow I missed that you're leaving. Damn! I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the openness about the "gay" thing. I'm a gay girl too, and a fitness enthusiast, and I am glad you have been honest about it.

  9. Aw Crabby! So going to miss you!


  10. Wow, Charlotte cried at #3. That made me go back and read #3 - I don't feel guilty.

    A cranky book is mandatory. I don't know why those Spark people got to write a book and you didn't.

    When I reached the word finagle, I realized you could have blogged for 10 days about how finagling is a real exercise for slackers. I mean, there are other words that require tons of activity like finagling that are worthy of posts like brainfart and outwit, maneuver. I have no idea what I'm trying to say. Slackers finagle. That's it.

    I have no secrets I would reveal that I can remember.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing all of this. I'm still new to blogging, so it's good to hear your expert secrets. I often feel overwhelmed and guilty that I'm not doing enough. SO glad to hear you feel that too.

  12. Oh, a cranky book would be awesome! But, yes, a pain to finish.
    Jillian mentioned the blog but didn't have 5 minutes to come on over and see it? My already low opinion just dropped.
    I'm with those above...I hope you find it unbearable and decide to keep it going :)

  13. Sometimes blogging makes me feel guilty, too.

    There just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done around here and read and comment on every great blog out there.

  14. I just love this post and Cranky Fitness in general because of your honesty, realness and an incredible talent for writing. So sad to see you go but of course that's just for selfish reasons!It's awesome to have connected with you on Twitter and I would bet to say that's not the last book offer you'll have!

  15. I admit I joined the blogging world a little later than most but I have to plead ignorance. I had no idea you all were leaving. why?!

    Rahim Samuel
    Publisher, Wellnessbymanymeans.com

  16. Well, if you aren't going to be blogging, you'll have lots of time to write that Cranky Book. Right?

    Blogger Secret: My current blog is my FOURTH blog. None of my previous blogs were about health/diet/fitness. None of my old bloggie friends know about the new blog (as far as I know). SHHHH!

  17. I'm digging Crabby McSlacker Unplugged.

    Are you sure it's time to leave?

  18. LOL! Great post!! You are a treasure, Crabby!

    Besides Psychiatry, the Internet is the only other place I can't reach with a knife :-)

  19. I hope you decide you just cannot live without blogging and don't quit!

    Grow Taller 4 Idiots

  20. Please don't worry about the gay thing- those of us of have been lurking for a while would know who you you meant by the wife (I do think "the Lobster" is cute though), and others would catch on-anyone who is really confused or worse still offended won't keep reading. And once we finally get the gay marriage thing through this will keep coming up- you may as well lead the way.

  21. :( I just found your blog...whaddya mean you're quitting soon? :(

  22. These blogging secrets are fun to read. Knowing that you're leaving still gives me a bit of a pang. You will be sorely missed.

  23. Crap, I am going to miss you!!!!

    Now that laxative post thing would have been quite a read! YIKES!!!

    Blogging makes me feel guilty for all the things I am not doing or should be doing!

    YES, I so love reading the posts vs. writing since I don't think I am a good writer.

    A cranky book would have been so much fun!

    On the gay thing, if people don't like you cause of that, F'em!

    Thx for such a wonderful post!

  24. I LOVE getting comments. And I about broke something with excitement when you left me a comment, and then I suffered from cardiac arrest when you mentioned me in a post. I love the stats thing, because you see how far reaching this whole thing can be.
    Secrets? Hmmm...
    I'm catty too. I'm so amazed that some people blog, because they either can't write or they...no, it's mainly because they can't write.
    I always read my posts out loud. If it doesn't make sense being read aloud, I rewrite it.
    That's all I've got.
    Wait a minute...you're gay? Doesn't change anything in my mind, you're awesome either way.

  25. Someone else stole my "you're gay!" comment. Since I saw pics of the Lobster and read about your wedding I assumed. Sexual preference is not something that determines my reading or not reading a blog (or anything else for that matter).

    I am all about the "inner person" and although you claim to be Crabby, I am still waiting for the Crab to show herself.

    I am fairly new to blogging and only blog to get out whatever it is that I want to say. It took me awhile to realize that blogging was an occupation. I still can't get my mind around it. But I am so glad there are so many interesting bloggers out there since I don't have cable.

    A Crabby book would have been awesome and who knows...it may still happen.

    I have aliases as well due to the nature of my work. I don't find that strange at all.

    When you stop blogging I will be one of many, many people who will miss your wit and intelligence.

  26. Crabby, I will miss you and these insightful posts. I would love it if you wrote cranky fitness book though.

  27. You are so funny. I wish I had posted under a fake name. My full name sounds fake but it's real. Not the blog name, but the name I publish under. Gosh, that's confusing. :)

  28. "reading comments" vs. "writing posts" is a chicken/egg thing, isn't it?

    It's the 21st century; you shouldn't have to even think about "handling" the gay thing.

    The Crabbatical should definitely include a book, or at least a book proposal. Man, are we going to miss you! Give us hope we can get our fix somehow.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  29. I'm still in denial. Sniff :_>(
    But I'm willing to move on to bargaining... a book would be cool or 6 month updates; just a post when you feel like? Anything.


  30. So I was feeling even guiltier than usual for putting up such a lame post today, and then you guys have to stop by and be so nice about it! It is going to be SO hard to say goodbye to this.

    I suspect I'll be back, one way or another...

  31. I pity the fool who turned down a cranky fitness book. Gonna miss you Crabby!

  32. This was a great post, Crabby. I loved reading your secrets. Just wish I'd been here sooner so I could do the "wait.... you're GAY???" That's such a non-issue.

    I love your sense of humour and the fact that your posts have always been so well thought out and cleverly written. And I totally thought it was all off the cuff.
    I'll miss you.
    Hope you'll still drop 'round once in awhile.

  33. I often feel guilty not getting to all the places and commenting.

    I SO related to the glazed over eyes when talking about blogging. I have actually been asked not to discuss my "outside" projects while at my offline job. Has been tough but that's ok. Makes my online life all the better.

    I have a second blog that i tinker at..

  34. Don't wait for a publisher to find you...find a publisher you respect. [Have you seen "Miss Potter?"] You have a book, I know it.

    When you publish your book, will you let me blurb it?

    Thanks for everything.

  35. I really liked those things about how blog stats and comments excite you. That's the same thing for me. Teehee.

  36. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
    Id say dont leave us but I believe you shall be back.
    and ROCKING THE FITNESS WORLD in your inimitable cranky way.

  37. I just found you through google by searching for 1 rule for a flat stomach. I want to thank you for making me laugh and for showing me a wonderful blog. Most blogs I have seen are by young people with nothing to say and I just wasn't interested. Now, I found this one that I understand is going to stop and it is a shame.
    You made me laugh. You made me say heck yeah! Me too! You have done a great job and even though this was my first time here, I will miss it. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  38. Thanks for the laugh!! So true on so many accounts!

  39. I like reading this post.. I do blogging and it helps me... keep posting!


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