I’m over here doing a happy dance because the SSR Pod Blog is now **officially** launched, but I’m not technically a stranger to blogging.
If you’ve been following me for a while — me as Alli Hoff Kosik and not so much The SSR Podcast — you might remember a little something called Finding Plan A, a blog I maintained for two full years starting in September 2016 that I suddenly dismantled and shut down like a thief in the night in September 2018. Consider this my official apology to all the loyal Finding Plan A followers out there. My un-graceful departure from the blogging community last year was essentially the equivalent of that annoying thing your friend does when she’s had too much to drink at the bar and can’t be bothered to say goodbye. She throws herself in a Lyft and gets out of dodge. That’s what I did with my blog. I left no trace and it was admittedly rude.
Assuming you’re unfamiliar with Finding Plan A, here’s the origin story: When I left my job in book publishing in the fall of 2016 to pursue freelance writing full-time, I knew I needed to establish my own corner of the Internet, especially since I’d decided to enter the industry with basically no experience beyond the writing I’ve always done for myself and my years on the high school newspaper/college newspaper/college yearbook. I figured that I could create well-written content as a blogger to help show off my technical chops to potential editors. In the process, I decided it might be interesting to chronicle the journey of a Type A, rule-following lady as she transitioned out of a traditional job model into something a little more off the beaten path.
Ultimately, my plan worked. Finding Plan A ended up being the starting point for a lot of the jobs I’ve since gotten as a freelancer — and maybe even more importantly, it got me excited about writing again and reminded me that I’m actually good at it. The blog had a small but loyal following, and I really enjoyed running it. So, so much!
When my freelance career actually started to pick up, I couldn’t help but feel like I was running out of material. Yes, I’m always learning and growing blah blah blah, but in so many ways, I felt like I’d already found Plan A (to be clear, I came up with the title of the blog because a.) my name starts with the letter A duh and b.) being a writer had really been my dream all along). It felt disingenuous to build this whole online presence around finding it when I’d already made so much progress. Because of where the blog had started, I also felt like I needed to be so focused on the struggle of building my new career, when I was just ready to celebrate it. A year and a half in, there was only so much content I could come up with that felt true to my original mission!
So I did what seemed like the logical next step — I tried the whole “lifestyle blogger” thing on for size. I shared fun facts about myself and told personal stories. I attempted to make the photos that I took on my less-than-cutting-edge iPhone look fancy. None of those pics actually included me, because I felt too weird to ask my husband to be my photographer. And since I’m not someone who really relishes in talking about myself, I started to dread writing posts. Without the structure that had come with sharing the experience of my career transition, I could feel the whole thing falling apart, and it had to take a backseat to the jobs that were actually paying me. Because, of course.
The sh*t really hit the fan exactly two years after the blog launched (and two years after I left my corporate job). On September 10, 2018, my husband and I moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn. Five days after that, we brought her golden retriever puppy Irv home. Don’t worry — you’ll get plenty of him in this space. Four days after that, we got a call from my parents that my grandmother had taken a fall in her house and was in critical condition. The three of us (Irv included, though I barely knew the guy at the time) jumped in the car and drove to Pennsylvania to be with family. My Nana died the next day, which also happened to be my twenty-eighth birthday. Having spent my middle and high school years living with my Nana, I was especially close to her. In many ways, she was like another mother to me. Her death was entirely unexpected and completely devastating. After a few days in Pennsylvania, we returned to New York City to an apartment that still felt unfamiliar. My husband went back to work and I suddenly had sole responsibility for a small (and very cute) puppy. Our new apartment was beautiful, but much more isolating than our old one — a real challenge when you work from home. I was already days behind on the work I owed clients, and there was so much to be done. All of this was happening while I navigated a trauma and tried to support my family through their grief.
I think you probably understand why I really didn’t want to be a lifestyle blogger anymore. I was sick of even trying to be one. Truthfully, I had never been especially good at it even when things were going well, and when things got ugly? Forget it. I shut that sh*t down on a random weekday and never explained it to anyone.
But here I am! Explaining it to you.
I share this story with you so that you can get to know me a little bit better, but also because I am so excited to get back into the blogging space! I was never going to be the girl wearing mixed patterns and posing coolly in front of a funky graffiti wall for photos, and I’m not really down to tell you about my best skin care finds or get super personal about things on a regular basis… but books? I can talk about books.
After I shut down Finding Plan A, I found that it was much easier for me to express myself and my personal experiences on the podcast than it had been on the blog. In conversations with guests about favorite childhood books and high school memories, I was oddly comfortable opening up and sharing anecdotes. I flipped my phone camera around and started “talking” to my followers on Instagram stories. And as the SSR community has grown, I’ve realized that I want to connect with you further! I also want to offer you more content and give you a chance to connect with each other.
So here we are. The SSR Pod Blog. You guys! I’m so excited. Blogging round two: I’m so ready for you. Let’s talk books — and maybe some other things, too.