What does a Bartlett High School valedictorian do when she grows up?
In the case of Heather Armstrong (née Hamilton), she becomes a web designer, starts a successful blog (dooce.com), and gets nominated repeatedly for the annual weblog awards, known as the Bloggies.
In 2005 she won four awards: best American weblog, best tagline for a weblog, most humorous weblog, and best writing. This year, she's nominated for six Bloggies, including best photography, a lifetime achievement award, and weblog of the year, against PerezHilton, the Consumerist, and Go Fug Yourself. The winners will be announced March 10th at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.
In high school, Armstrong was voted most likely to succeed. We'd say she already has. — By Mary Cashiola
Flyer: How would you describe your blog to someone who has never read it?
Armstrong: A chronicle of life from a recovering Mormon discovering what parenthood is like for the first time.
Why did you start a blog?
I was working as a web designer. I had written for an underground student newspaper and used to work for a local music magazine, so I had always dabbled a little bit.
I was seeing people make their own space on the web, and I thought that a little corner of the web could be mine. It would be my little magazine. I just started it as something to do after work. I didn't take it very seriously.
But then your bosses found out ...
A month after that, I took it down. I had a pre-midlife crisis.
I was valedictorian at my high school. I'd had a scholarship at Brigham Young University. And here I was, getting fired. It was devastating.
What have you learned since then?
I have drawn my boundaries and redrawn my boundaries and then redrawn my boundaries again. In the beginning, no one knew what a blog was. I felt fearless. I was naive and reckless, and, of course, I got fired for it.
When my parents discovered my website, that was a bad day in the Hamilton family.
I've learned to be very careful about what I say about the people in my life. Concerning myself, I'm as open as I've always been, but with people I'm related to, or my close friends, I'm very guarded, although I will never hesitate to make fun of anything.
You've been nominated for a lot of Bloggies.
It's insane. I've been doing this for a long time, but it still surprises me every time I'm nominated. It surprises me that this is how I'm living my life.
And you're working on two books right now?
The first is a collection of essays. I've written two of them, and I included a whole bunch of bloggers in it. It's about 15 essays on fatherhood, and it will be out in April. It's called Things I Learned About My Dad (In Therapy).
The second is a memoir about my pregnancy and postpartum depression, and it will be out in about a year.
What will you do if you win another Bloggie?
We'll be at South by Southwest, and everybody will be wasted, so I'll just join in.