Anna Goldfarb was an aspiring writer when she began studying in Temple’s master of journalism program. Although she was constantly being told the print industry was dying, she managed to make her education work for her in the blogosphere.
Goldfarb, creator of the blog Shmitten Kitten, recently published her first book “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through: The Story of One Tall Girl’s Impulsive, Ill-Conceived, and Borderline Irresponsible Life Decisions.”
In her recent book signing and reading in Annenberg Hall, she returned to the place where her affinity for blogging began, and her love of writing found an outlet that would ultimately bring her success.
Goldfarb, who graduated in 2008, remembered discovering her passion for blogging and similar writing during one of her classes.
“I had to take a computer- assisted research class, and that class changed my life, because part of the coursework was to create a blog,” Goldfarb said. “I started Cupcake Brigade, about short guys and Fall Out Boy, it taught me how to write a blog.”
Initially, she said, she was interested in writing about the music industry, but Goldfarb said living in Philadelphia wasn’t the environment that she felt she needed to do that, preferring New York’s music scene.
In lieu of abandoning music coverage, Goldfarb said her transition to writing about her personal experiences was something out of her comfort zone, but also what she has now come to enjoy.
On initiating this change of writing style, she said, “you’re really putting yourself out there. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have started if it weren’t for [that computer-assisted research] class. It’s overwhelming to start a blog.”
Luckily for Goldfarb, her willingness to try her hand at a new take on writing paid off. She credits the popularity of her blog, Shmitten Kitten, with her success in the writing industry, noting her experience with blogging throughout college and graduate school as being important learning opportunities. During that time, she took a lot of notes on how to have a blog, she said.
“You need to have consistency, so your readers know what to expect,” Goldfarb said. “One of the reasons I started Shmitten Kitten was because I heard the Metro needed a relationship columnist, and I knew they would need to see something that made me look applicable. Having a blog will showcase your skills, and your employers will be able to see that.”
Goldfarb recommends aspiring journalists and writers of any kind take advantage of the opportunity to write a blog. Starting a blog is a major commitment, as she described, stressing that it will consume the author’s time.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world when you don’t do a post and you feel that you haven’t contributed,” she said. “That’s bloggers guilt. I’m a junkie, I seek that blogger high.”
Her consistency with Shmitten Kitten has led to the establishment of a large reader base, its target audience mostly women, potentially of all ages, who appreciate Goldfarb’s lighthearted and entertaining approach to relationships.
According to the self-proclaimed “kitten-in-chief’s” About Me page, Shmitten Kitten is a “blog about dating for people who would probably never read a blog about dating.”
The success of her blog allowed Goldfarb to receive the attention of a literary agent, who came to her after reading her work. She said she was excited by this offer, and felt very lucky to be approached by an agent.
“He wanted me to put a book out, and I was like, ‘yeah, I think I can do that. My schedule’s pretty open,’” Goldfarb said.
Appropriately, she said the most rewarding aspect of the success of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” was her parents’ pride in her accomplishment.
“I think they can’t believe that this woman who doesn’t get dressed until 2 p.m. on a Wednesday is accomplishing this great thing,” Goldfarb said.
In conversation, the author is charming, quirky and immediately likeable, laughing at her experiences living with her parents as a woman in her 30s and dating guys who are 5 inches shorter than her 6-foot-1-inch stature.
Goldfarb said, “I wanted [the book] to feel like you were talking to me, like exactly how I talk. I try to be true to how I talk.”
Goldfarb, who wants women to be inspired by her writing, said the decline of the print journalism industry is a “legitimate concern” but doesn’t believe there is a lack of opportunity for today’s students.
“You just have to put the work in and keep getting better,” she said. “And have fun with it, because then you can take it so far. Most people who are successful just found something they like to do and ran with it.”
Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at email@example.com.