September 20, 2013 by Julia
One year ago tomorrow I started this blog. A year is a lovely unit of time; it is our full circle; it stretches out forever and yet is over before we know it. And here we are again, already thinking about Christmas and Halloween costumes and didn’t we just do this? But everything’s different this time around, because so much can change in a year.
There is a definite “before blog started” and “after blog started” mindset for me. Before blogging: confusion, a lack of creative fulfillment, a lot more time for TV, more complaining to people. After blogging: a stronger sense of myself and my parenting beliefs, sheer joy in writing, more complaining in a public forum which has (hopefully, slightly?) lessened the load for my husband and mom and friends.
Now, I already reflected on the blogging experience in my 25th post. A-ha ha ha! I laugh at that puny number now, with 76 posts under my belt! (Which averages to 1.46 posts per week, if you’re interested.) But I still stand by what I said then. I may have observed more of the trends in blog-style writing, and I may have decided to avoid some of them, because to me they cheapen the message. I may also be slightly insecure about never being Freshly Pressed (non-Wordpress users: this means to be featured on the WordPress main page, which can often be like a blogger’s “big break,” with to the huge exposure), but I keep coming back to the idea that if I am writing about what interests me, in the best, most honest way that I know how, then I will feel fulfilled no matter the size of my readership. I don’t have time to respond to a million comments, anyway, right?
I don’t want to check my stats or find sponsors or beg Facebook friends to follow me every month. I’m here for the love of writing, and because I get to actually finish writing things in the form of posts. Also: we all need to explore ideas, share experiences. I’ve found a sort of peaceful clarity through articulation. I love when readers share themselves as a response to what I wrote. I love when we can relate and connect. Sometimes, I know there might be typos or lower quality writing, and I go ahead and post something despite that, because of the value in letting go of perfectionism and sending my self out into the world, as is. And for now, that is enough. No need to muddy the waters by turning this into a quest for a little money or popularity.
I’m fairly sure ambition is not the best fuel for art, anyway. I think creative work is best fueled by the search for specific truths, whether they be ugly or beautiful. That, and an unforced love for the materials you work with – in my case, words. What do you love, naturally?
Blogging is also a good way to work out one’s beliefs. I might write out an opinion only to discover that it looks ignorant on paper and I don’t really agree with myself anymore. It’s a great way to release bias. I try to catch it before actually posting anything to that effect, but sometimes I learn through the reactions of friends, or my own discomfort with my public self. Nothing like self-inflicted humiliation to make a lesson stick.
While trying to think of things I’ve learned about writing and blogging this year, I (of course) couldn’t help but compare it to parenting. Formulas and stubbornly held ideas eventually fall by the wayside, leaving us feeling like we know less than when we first started.
But you also know more, inwardly, in ways that can’t be conveniently summed up in one article or theory. The inner knowing is a gradual trusting of one’s own instincts, a confidence that things will be okay as long as we follow our own values. Also, a confidence that things will be okay even when we forget our values or are too tired to uphold them, because we will come back to what’s important to us eventually. (Sometimes all it takes is one good night’s sleep.)
Anyway. (I say anyway too often on this blog – I do know that. I also constantly say “So.” or “So,” or “So…”) (I also use parenthesis way too often.)
Happy first birthday, dear blog. And thank you, dear readers, for the gift you’ve given me by reading.