BBAW-interview swap

BBAW2011It is interview day at BBAW! Today I have the pleasure of bringing you Michelle of That’s What She Read. She has been shortlisted for Best Blogging Feature or Series of Posts. She is also the winner of Best Blogging Event as one of the co-founders of Armchair BEA. Congratulations, Michelle!!!!

that's what she readYou are a mother of two and a business analyst. You have read well over a hundred books this year and reviewed nearly all of them. I, myself, have found it quite difficult this year to read as much as I normally do and find the time to keep up with my love for blogging. I am fascinated by how other people with way more on their plates manage to do it all. Please do share your secrets. (Are you secretly superwoman?)Β  πŸ˜‰

I am definitely NOT superwoman! Β LOL! I am lucky enough to be part of a family that loves to read and have managed to find ways to incorporate reading into many different aspects of my busy life. For example, I read during my lunch break as a way to unwind, and I always have a book with me in my purse for those long trips, long waits, or any other unexpected free time. I started listening to audiobooks last year and quickly fell in love with them as a way to incorporate reading during the work day. Since I crunch numbers almost all day long, it is quite easy for me to listen to a book and run calculations. It definitely helps keep me sane during those days where the calculations become mundane.

As a mother of two, I find their numerable practices and events are a perfect way to add some extra reading time. I prefer to find a comfortable place to read at their various practices versus driving back and forth to drop them off and pick them up. Sometimes, it means not coming home for the first time that day until around 7:30 PM, but I find it less stressful overall. (I also use this time to exercise. What better way to get in a 30 minute run and cool off by reading, all while the kid is practicing his/her sport du jour?)

My husband and I recently made the decision to get rid of cable in our house. We were finding that we were not watching TV that much. Instead, we were either working on our computers, me blogging, him reading various forums he follows, or reading. We saw it as a perfect opportunity to save some money and focus on something that is better overall for the entire family. If there is not something we want to watch on the few remaining channels we have, then it is not worth turning on the TV. You can’t imagine how much free time is creates!

I cannot fall asleep at night without reading something. This is a habit I started when I was a little girl, and it is so ingrained in me that I cannot fall asleep without reading several pages of my current book. My husband is a reader as well and has picked up this habit too. It makes for a pleasant way to fall asleep.

That’s the long answer to your question. The very short answer is that I love to read and it is a part of who I am, which means I actively find opportunities to read more often while still focusing on my family, my house, my job, and my health.
One of your Inside Michelle’s Brain posts ponders the question, do we really blog for ourselves? You expressed disappointment at not being nominated for any of the short lists for BBAW. You also expressed how frustrating it was to basically start from scratch when you changed your domain name. I have a few questions in regards to this:
a. What went into your decision to completely revamp your blog and change your domain name?
I never really liked my previous blog name. It was a mouthful, something I thought up on the spur of the moment, which is what my decision to start blogging truly was. I had always wanted to change it but was afraid to do so because I was slowly but surely gaining a following and was beginning to become recognized as a strong blogger. Still, the name always irked me, and I knew if I wanted to move forward as a blogger, I had to be 100 percent behind the name and design. Once I made the decision to go for it and change the name and domain, revamping the site was an easy decision. If I was going to change the biggest things, i.e. the domain, then the site itself was small potatoes in comparison. It was sort of a “go big or go home” moment.Β 
b. How does it feel now that you have been shortlisted?
Because the nominations this year were from other bloggers, I am still completely shocked and awed that others felt strongly enough about Inside Michelle’s Brain to nominate it. I remain speechless that my little moments of ranting have been shortlisted. I was having an absolutely horrible day on the day of the announcements, and the news literally brought tears to my eyes. It still leaves me breathless.
c. What changes did you make in your approach to blogging, if any, after your domain change, that has contributed to your current success with the blog?
I’ve definitely become more comfortable in my own skin as a blogger. I love my blog name and have plans to revamp the design to prevent it from getting stale, and to do away with the last few remaining irksome pieces of the site formatting. I am happy where I am and with what I am doing as a blogger. I am comfortable with the amount of connections I have in the industry, the number of review books I receive, and the number of followers I have. I don’t know if I have consciously done anything to cause this shift in attitude other than just accept my limitations as a blogger, define my end goals, and stop caring about the rest. It is supremely freeing not to be caught up in any of the drama and to stick to my blogging goals of always offering honest and candid thoughts about whatever topic about which I am writing.
You have created a space on your blog for your son to share his own book reviews. I absolutely love this idea. What prompted you to do this? How does it feel to share a piece of your blog? Has it impacted your relationship with your son in any way (i.e. brought you closer together, opened up conversation topics, etc.)
My idea to add my son to my blog came out of an interview I did with Melinda from Reading Vacation. She is the exact same age as my son with her own blog, Twitter account and Facebook page. While I am not a fan of letting someone that age have complete access to the Internet and the weird and wonderful world of Twitter and Facebook, I did like the idea of someone that young writing reviews about the books s/he reads. He is so gifted in almost everything he does, I was looking for a way to challenge him and start honing his writing and reviewing skills.Β 

I love whenever he writes something for me, but I try not to nag or make blogging tedious for him in any way. I want him to love writing as much as he loves reading. He never fails to blow me away with the maturity of his reviews and his ability to weave together sentences. I only wish that he would write more often, but beggars can’t be choosers.Β 

It hasn’t impacted our relationship too much. I know he gets a huge kick out of receiving books from authors, as I still do. (That is one thing that NEVER gets old.) We have read a few books together, and I continue to add to his TBR pile those YA books I feel are age-appropriate and he will most enjoy. I hope that someday, he will look back on this and appreciate what I was trying to do for him. Right now, because of his age, I think he just takes some of it for granted because Mommy does it.Β 
Thanks, Michelle, for giving such thoughtful answers. I really enjoyed getting to know you better!
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17 Responses to BBAW-interview swap

  1. I can’t fall asleep without reading either. We could almost get rid of cable TV, but not during football season!

  2. Kudos on getting rid of cable! Sometimes I’d love to do that, but my husband would never let that happen. He loves his tv as much as I love books and blogging. Great interview!

  3. Erin says:

    My husband and I got rid of our TV service a few years back, and it’s been fine for us, too. What a wonderful interview! I appreciated the insightful questions as well as Michelle’s long and thoughtful answers. Thank you!

  4. amymckie says:

    So great to read more about Michelle, I really love her feature and was so happy to see it shortlisted.

  5. Trisha says:

    No cable TV! You and the first two commenters??? Aaahhh!!! I’m one of those horrible tv-watchers, totally obsessed. πŸ™‚

  6. Megan says:

    I’m pretty sure Michelle really *is* Superwoman, but she’s just afraid to blow her cover. πŸ˜‰ I love using a good book to unwind during my lunch break, too, so much so that I get a little bent out of shape when I end up eating lunch with another person. LOL!

    And, Trisha – you’re not alone. I’m half-watching the the dirty, no-good TV even as I type this comment. πŸ˜›

    • jehara says:

      I’m so glad to hear you say that Megan! I thought that was just me. I almost always read on my lunch break. When a girlfriend at work wants to join me sometimes it pains me to give up that time. However, I just remind myself that connecting with humans is important too.

  7. Michelle says:

    @Trisha – LOL! You do get used to not having it after a while. And we DO have Netflix! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks, Jehara, for posing some fabulous (and tough) questions! It was so much fun getting to know you better, and I cannot wait to continue to follow you and see what you read next!

  8. Florinda says:

    This is a terrific interview – Michelle’s answers to your excellent questions are as well-thought-out as her blog posts! She’s one of my favorites, and I’m glad to be on the Armchair BEA team with her.

  9. stacybuckeye says:

    I enjoy Michelle’s blog and it was nice getting inside her brain for a bit πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: QGR Retrospective: The First Year |

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