December 21, 2012 by Julia
Somehow, this is my 25th post since starting this blog in September of this year. I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the whole blogging experience so far, as a newcomer to the blogosphere. Blog blog blog.
First, the word “blog” is pretty yucky. It’s kind of like “blah” and “slug” combined. Maybe this is part of the reason I resisted blogging for so long, assuming it was a lame enterprise. I feel embarrassed saying it out loud, as I refer to my own. I have no idea where the word came from, and I’m too busy right now to look it up. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments section.
Second, I LOVE blogging. It has been therapeutic, creatively fulfilling, life enriching, fun, an outlet for all kinds of stress and inspiration. I love that I can write about whatever I want. I love that it’s not just going into a private journal – that there are people out there to connect with. Knowing that what I write here will be read by others forces me to articulate things more clearly, forces me to keep coming back, forces me to think about the quality of my writing more than I would if it was just “for me.” It’s so much more interesting to me than journaling, but often just as personal. I’m officially addicted.
Now for some totally subjective observations, on the culture of blogging, and the writing of a blog. (Not meant to be taken as mass generalizations.)
For the most part, my experience with the blogging community has been wonderful and genuine. I think we really do want to support one another, whether it’s in learning how to write better, or in relating to each other’s life experiences. Envy is probably the biggest hurdle for bloggers…there will always be someone with more followers, especially in my case. Yes, I might be a tancy-wancy bit (Fiona’s expression) envious of those with a quadrillion more followers than myself, but it really is just a tancy-wancy bit, no more. I assume that if I keep writing in the best way I know how, and sharing important parts of my life, then I am getting what I need out of the experience.
Which brings me to my next point, which I may get a little holier-than-thou about. I apologize in advance for the self-righteous sense of integrity, the martyr-like refusal to stoop to certain measures of self-promotion. Just scratching away with my digital pen here in the corner, folks, don’t mind me! Well…it seems that some bloggers are more concerned with the number of hits they get a day, or number of followers they have, than they are with the actual act of writing. I get it, of course – we all want to be a success, and it’s easiest to measure success in numbers. But I assume it’s a slippery slope. One minute you’re full of a normal desire for some validating fame, the next, you’ve forgotten how to write because you can’t stop staring at the statistics for your page. One minute you’re trying to write on subjects that are especially topical and will guarantee that you get a few more readers (a respectable thing to do if you’re actually invested in the subject du jour, in my opinion), the next minute you’re spending hours going around “liking” other people’s posts that you haven’t even read, just to get them to come back and check out your own blog.
I probably shouldn’t complain about fake “likes” – I mean, it’s not like it hurts anyone. For all I know, everyone does it. And you could argue that a fake-like is better than no likes. I guess it just cheapens the landscape a bit. I’m only going to like your post if I actually like it, though. And I’m only going to follow you for the same reason! So there. (For the record, I actually like lots of posts without getting around to clicking the “like” button, too.)
The blogs I love to read are specific, and a bit kooky, and disarmingly honest, and well-written (duh). I am mostly interested in the subjects of parenting, humor and writing, but anyone who has put their humanity on full display is worth reading, I think. Also, I enjoy really smart blogs on random subjects, like animals or history, that don’t get too technical. My brain don’t work that way. If it’s written in fascinating and tasty tidbits, but is not already common knowledge, all the better! I just read a fascinating post on hyenas. They are scary, people – their entire skulls are built into their jaws, the better to crush your bones with – watch out! (See it here: http://other-nations.com/2012/12/13/a-z-of-weird-animals-why-youre-wrong-about-hyena/)
Side note. I’ve been trying to write this post all week, and keep getting sidetracked by, you know, CHRISTMAS STUFF. I assume you are just as busy right now, and don’t have much time to read or write blogs anyway.
Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up quick so I can start wrapping up presents quick.
I’ve learned in my own experience of writing this blog that I must follow whatever subject is currently engaging me – emotionally or creatively. I can’t write a post on something that is actually boring to me in that moment. I have a feeling it would be boring to read, too. It’s best to go for the jugular. Even if that means things might appear out of balance – like, a bunch of negative stories one after the other, or five cutesy posts about my kids, in a row. I gotta follow my heart.
The downside is that whenever I put a post up, I kind of feel like I’m standing in my underwear out in the cold, shivering. No matter how good I feel while writing it – once it’s OUT THERE, the insecurities creep in. When people comment on it, however, whether online or in person, it’s like they’re running outside with warm clothing for me to put on, and I don’t feel so vulnerable or shaky anymore. In fact, it feels wonderful to be metaphorically clothed in your thoughts and feedback. So, thanks for that. I’d be freezing cold without you!
Now let’s all go drink some warm wassail!