I’ve been thinking a lot about community over the past few weeks, and what it means to do a good job hosting one. In many ways, I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done building community on APW. We have a great safe space to talk and support each other, we have totally fascinating discussions. You guys contribute to the conversation in huge and amazing ways with wedding graduate posts and Reclaiming Wife posts and just because posts. Plus, you care as much about each other as you do about me, and that’s a huge deal.
But there are other ways I haven’t been as good at building and facilitating community as I could be. Namely: asking for help. I HATE it. When it comes to asking for help I’m dig-in-my-heels stubborn. I don’t need help, I shouldn’t ask for it, I shouldn’t expect it. No way, no how. But over the last six months, regular readers and commenters have been having some serious conversations with me about this. Their arguments go something like this: A) We love what is happening on APW, and we want to help it grow. Personally. What can we do? B) APW is not all about you, and you can’t do it all alone. C) You’re slowly killing yourself with your not-ever-having-any-down-time and not-having-time-to-really-write nonsense. D) Let us help.
And for some reason, my extra stubborn response has been, “I’M FINE I’M SO SUPER DUPER FINE. APW IS SMALL AND SCRAPPY AND JUST ME AND DID I MENTION I’M SCRAPPY AND I TOTALLY DON’T NEED HELP AND IF I ASKED FOR HELP I WOULD BE A BAD PERSON AND PEOPLE WILL HATE ME AND I’M SO TOTALLY FINE, NO PROBLEMS HERE!”
Achem. Right. Well. But then there is my health, and me wanting to keep it. And my writing, and me wanting time to do it. And in the end, I want to do what’s right for APW, and it slowly, slowly dawned on me that doing what’s right for APW meant admitting that to really honor the little community that’s built here, I have to allow myself to accept help.
So. I’m excited to finally get to tell you guys that APW is finally not totally me.
A month ago, I jokingly twittered something about needing an intern, and Lauren replied that she’d totally be my intern and bring me coffee. Turns out the woman has an MFA in writing, lives ten blocks away from me, and is trying to build up her resume in social media. I know, right? The Universe could not speak more clearly than that.
So, for the past month, Lauren has been on the APW team. If you’ve noticed more writing on my part in the last month, thank Lauren. She’s currently in charge of picking and prepping all the wedding graduate posts (with some pokes from me), copy-editing all my posts for the rather infinite errors, and re-tagging all the real wedding and wedding graduate posts so you can find them more easily. She’s planning her wedding for next summer, and starting tomorrow, she’ll be sharing her wedding undergraduate journey on APW, in fits and starts.
But it gets better than THAT even. Remember when I went to Italy and Alyssa and Liz moderated while I was gone? Of course you do, because it was awesome. Well, Liz is slightly busy at the moment growing a small human and working her dream job as a High School English Teacher. But!
Alyssa is joining the APW Team (how cool is it that I can say APW Team?) as the editor of our new weekly-ish column Ask Team Practical, which will run on Fridays. You guys send me a LOT of email asking me wedding (and sometimes marriage) related questions, and I’ve officially reached the point where I can’t even dream of answering all the questions (or even some of them) and I was feeling sad. But no more!!! Now you can email those questions to askteampractical at apracticalwedding dot com (I swear to God, if you email me a press release at this email address, I will mock you on Twitter and make you rue the day, so don’t, mmmkayyy?) and once a week we’ll work on answering and/or crowd sourcing answers to these questions. Are you excited? I’m SO EXCITED.
And now, things you might want to know about Alyssa and Lauren. First: they are both helping me out for free right now, because they are awesome people. That means I, and we, owe them a rather huge debt of gratitude. I try to pay down that debt by giving them free stuff, and endless time to ask me questions about running a small business and social media. You can respect their contributions by being nice to them. I would kiss you on the mouth if you did that. Ready? SMOOCH.
Second. Alyssa is hilarious and lives in Texas and is hilarious. Seriously. She wrote the funniest wedding graduate post on record, but doesn’t have a blog. Boo. Except now she’s kind of borrowing APW on Fridays. She twitters at @Lyssachelle, and you should totally follow her. Her feed is locked, but she says YOU are more than welcome to follow her. Because she loves you.
Lauren is a writer, and lives with her fiance by the beach in San Francisco. She’s currently way too nice to me, and Alyssa and I are working to break her of that habit. Recent lessons include such gems as, “If you’re really funny, you can kind of get away with being a b*tch! Go!” Lauren writes at Better In Real Life, and she’s awesome. You should particularly read this post about feminism (prompted by some of our conversations on APW), and this post about curly straws and sobbing because your partner clearly does not love you any more, because obviously. You can follow her on twitter at @betterinrealife, and if you follow all three of us, you can totally listen in, cocktail-party-style, to us discussing APW work. Fun? Maybe. Funny? Yes.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that, hey, APW isn’t teeny and scrappy any more. Now we’re smedium sized and scrappy. And you know what? That’s a great thing. So please help me welcoming Lauren and Alyssa to the party. I think they are going to make APW an even better place to be. And for that, I owe them big time.
(And yes, I’m going to keep working on accepting help, and building community. But for a first step? I think we’ve done brilliantly.)