Lessons from my freshman year of blogging

I just had my one-year blog anniversary (no gifts, please) so I have spent a few moments reflecting upon my magical blogging journey. Join me, won’t you?

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this blog. I just wanted to document my attempts at domesticity because I was personally interested to see what the hell was going to happen to me. Could I actually become more comfortable in the kitchen? Would I be able to cook a meal for my family other than the frozen ‘bag meals’ that had become my forte?

The short answer – yes. I’ve made progress. Hell, I made gyro meat. Once. But overall it’s slow going. And nowhere near natural for me. But I’ll keep trying. Because damnit that gyro meat was good.

It never occurred to me that someone other than my husband or sister might read my blog. In fact, I was so naive about how blogs worked that I didn’t realize if I linked to another blog within my post, that blogger would know.

So like a total idiot, I linked to a few talented, energetic craft bloggers in my early days, praising their creations and productivity, but also saying things like, “I wonder where she buys her cocaine?” Geezus, Amy. It’s a wonder you have any friends.

Then one day I linked to a kiddie craft project and whined that it was kind of lame because it didn’t work for me, and I got this weird message saying I had a comment on my blog. A comment? What’s that? So I logged in and saw a message from that craft blogger, politely pointing out that I had misunderstood the directions.

HOLYSH*THOWDIDSHEKNOWIWASTALKINGABOUTHER??!!???

I was HORrified. I remember checking to see where she lived to make sure she couldn’t come kill me in my sleep. I changed my underwear, took some deep breaths, and eventually realized you can connect with other bloggers and build a sense of community (you know, as long as you’re not talking trash about them).

Despite my social and technological gaffes, I’ve found blogging to be rewarding in a few ways. I’ve met some people who’ve started to feel like real friends, make me laugh, and are supportive.

The first blogger I connected with was Lillian at It’s a Dome Life. We started at about the same time, which is comical because she now has a zillion times more readers than I do. But she has answered my dumb questions, offered words of encouragement, and just seems like a genuinely kind person. (So help me if she turns out to be a serial killer I will be SO disappointed.)

I’ve also learned stuff from other bloggers. About parenting. About cooking. About writing. About the dangers of hand soap. It’s been nice to have an outlet where I can connect with other adults who share my interests and/or sense of humor.

Not to mention, there are some super talented people writing in cyberspace. I love finding blog posts that tell a great story, make me think, or make me laugh until I pee a little.

But inevitably all that online noise – blogging, tweeting, instafacing – can become a bit deafening, and hard to keep up with. And all the other fabulous, successful bloggers, who post ten times more than you and have 10,000 times more readers than you, can make you feel unsure about your own blogging style or worth. And then you get self-conscious and wonder why the hell you’re even doing it in the first place.

Blogging can be like a competitive sport if you let it. And I am, and have always been, terrible at competitive sports.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Heck, it wasn’t that way when I started, just writing about how I was burning cookies and ruining craft projects. So why did I let those insecurities creep in and start tarnishing my experience?

Because I’m normal, I guess. And I have a tendency to doubt myself. And because writing anything – whether it’s about your beliefs, your kids or your new toilet – can make you feel exposed, vulnerable and sweaty.

But as I was struggling to get anything done the other day, it occurred to me that I was allowing myself to be weighed down by this stuff. I realized that I could instead choose to not pay attention to it.

Just be yourself and do what you like to do, how you like to do it, Amy! After all, isn’t that what you would tell your daughters? Lord knows I don’t want to be a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ parent.

Those Negative Nelly thoughts – whether it’s about a blog, a job, or some other passion – not only suck the fun out of things, but they are such a huge waste of time and energy. They take your attention away from the stuff that really matters, and can bring your productivity to a screeching halt.

I battled demons of fear and self-doubt from time to time in my career, but it surprised me to find myself doing it again with my blog. A blog where I talk about creepy dolls and have an average of three readers, mind you. C’mon, self – you’re not exactly saving lives here.

But the truth is that I like my weird little blog enough to care. And it’s the only thing I do these days that is really just for me, about me. So maybe I drudged up my old job insecurities and said, “Hey! You can come do some damage over here now instead!”

When I quit my job, I told myself it was an opportunity to start doing things that scared me. To challenge myself, to be more adventurous, and in so doing, to hopefully teach my kids not to let fear hold them back (something I have not always been great at).

My little existential blogging crisis has been a good reminder of that mission.

So as I enter my sophomore year of blogging (no gifts, please), my goal is to blog when I’m feeling creatively inspired, or when using my words feels therapeutic. I won’t blog if it doesn’t feel good.

And I’ll try not to stress about whether or not to share my posts. Sometimes I let that self-promotional part freak me out too much. It feels bragadocious. But what is wrong with being your own cheerleader from time to time? (another thing I have not always been great at)

So I’ll pimp a post if I feel like it, but not if I don’t. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

I’ll keep tweeting when I’m feeling chatty, punchy or in desperate need of a mental break.

And I’ll continue to ignore my Facebook page, unless I have an odd photo that I feel like sharing but have nowhere else to put it. My apologies to the nine – yes, 9 – people who have liked my page. I will try to do better by you – the few, the proud, the brave.

Ooooor, I might just need to dump that Facebook page in a van down by the river because as I have said before, I cannot master more than three things at once, and I just rediscovered Instagram the other day and OMG LOOK AT THIS AWESOME PICTURE I TOOK OF A SNAIL.

IMG_20130315_182509

Thanks for reading.

———

If you ever find yourself being swallowed by a self-doubt sinkhole, I recommend this video. It resonated with me when I first saw it last year, and again when I re-watched it now.

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Lessons from my freshman year of blogging

  1. Amy. (Maverick.) You just made me laugh out loud. Like, multiple times. I’m old and mean and jaded…I don’t laugh nearly as often as people think I do…which is sad (for me). So it means a lot to me when someone thinks I’m funny and then returns the favor by giving me something to laugh about. Thank you!

    And, thank you for writing so honestly about blog insecurity and self-doubt because I have been struggling with the same issues, even as a “senior” blogger who clearly needs to be taking Senior Formula Bone Density Fortifying Vitamins. Thank you also for linking to me, so I could come and read this awesomeness and see your fabulous snail! PS – You made GYRO MEAT?! Dammit woman, is there anything you *can’t* do?! (Bragger.)

    • My pleasure! I love your blog and always make sure I’m wearing my Depends in case I have an accident while reading it. It’s oddly reassuring to know you have moments of self-doubt too. It’s the nature of the blogging beast, I guess.

  2. Holy cow, the Bearded Iris just commented on your blog. Sorry, I just got a little star-struck there. I wonder if she has seen your creepy baby post yet?

    Anyway, you are so smart and funny. I love this post. I did the same thing when I started blogging. I had no idea other people could find me by the links I left behind. I was also shocked that they knew my email address. Hah! I miss those days where I thought I could say anything and get away with it…forever!

    Just for the record, I probably don’t have any more followers or readers than you do. I just never stop talking so it seems like I am more popular than I really am.

    Happy Blogaversary! Or some other nauseatingly cute phrase that goes with blogging and making it for a year. I’m not sure how we stuck with it for this long. Probably just some rare form of insanity or a deep desire for self-inflicted pain. Either way, glad we are on this ride together!

    • I know, right? Do you think I should ask her to sign her comment so I can frame it?
      Thank you for being such a great blogger pal. At this point my husband even asks about you. But he calls you by your blog name. “How’s It’s a Dome Life doing?” 🙂 Here’s to year 2!

  3. I think that’s the perfect attitude to have (pimp when you really love a post, etc.) There are too many “have to’s” in life . . . let’s TRY to make blogging stay fun. 😉 (Saw this on Twitter by the way. Glad to find you.)

  4. First visit to your blog, and still commenting even though your photo of a creepy doll terrified me. I am early on in my freshman year of blogging (and I will take a gift), and I appreciate your honesty and perspective – I’ve already learned how easy it is to get sucked up in the blogosphere, and I don’t want it to take over my life.

    Congrats on making it through your first year!

    • I swear I’m not as creepy as my doll makes me appear. 😉 It is definitely easy to get sucked into the blogging vortex. I always struggle with finding the right balance, but I think *maybe* it gets easier the longer you do it. Good luck to you – and thanks for commenting despite your fear! 🙂

  5. I just had my first blogiversary this week, and so I say “yes” to everything you said! I sometimes forget that I started blogging as an outlet and didn’t really have any idea that anyone other than my facebook friends might actually read it, so there’s no point stressing that I only have, like, 12 actual subscribers. I crack myself up, so that should be good enough.

    And don’t you get your class ring during your sophomore year? Should we start looking through catalogs?

    • Class rings and letter jackets, yes please! Happy blogiversiday to you as well! I too, am my own best audience. At least that way you know ONE person thinks you’re funny.

  6. Amy, I adore you. And everything you said is sort of how I’m feeling these days. I decided yesterday that I will blog when I feel like it and I will tweet when the spirit moves me. I told that minx, Lillian that I said aloud the other night, “I’m ok with fading into obscurity now…” Or something like that. All this pressure has taken the fun out of it. And I dunno about you, but the health benefits and vacation pay for this gig sucks ass.

    As ever, I am your new friend. Thank you for the link love. i enjoy everything you write.

    Molly

    • You! Your Facebook journey has been helpful for me to read (p.s. you’re very good at writing your feelings and thoughts). I think having all of this ‘you are liked! you are favorited! ‘ business staring back at you every day can definitely play with your head and make you feel “You? Meh. You are not really liked very much.”

      F that! FB is a head game. I hate it. And I really might kill my page at some point. But for now I decided I’m just going to embrace my inferior status and have fun with it if/when I want. Because honestly I really wanted somewhere else to plaster Creepy Baby. That girl might single-handedly bring my ‘Likes’ back down to zero.

      Thank you for all the kind words! So happy to have met you and found someone else who is just a wee bit twisted in all the right ways. Don’t retire yet. Just take lots of (unpaid) vacations when you need to.

  7. Happy blogiversary!!! Whoo Hoo!!

    Your story with the craft writer comment almost made me pee in my pants I laughed so hard. Hahaha. SO funny.

    You’ve gotta be you! And thank goodness because that’s just who we want to read!! (and I just went to your FB page to make sure I liked it. I can’t tell if I just did or if I already had liked it. FB switched me to the new format and I everything looks weird and I don’t know what’s happening anymore. )

    And the snail was truly glorious. Seriously, that was impressive! –Lisa

  8. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! I totally relate to all this – i’m not even at 1yr yet with mine and i rethink and second guess it alllllll the time. Not to mention some major sessions of putting my foot in my mouth. I could seriously go on and on about this – suffice it to say, you’re awesome and i’m glad i follow your blog:)

  9. I’m sure all bloggers have gone through phases of self doubt, at least in the beginning. The difference is that we verbalize or regurgitate our insecurities on our blogs. They probably push them aside and just plow on. I know I was VERY tentative my first 2 years of blogging. I am more comfortable now but still have my doubts. I get some joy deep inside just from writing. I hope you stick with it because I just found you and I’ll be back! 😉

  10. Is there a better word than “bragadocious”? No, there’s not. You win! This is the best first anniversary post I’ve ever read. Honest, funny and you’ve got the great spirit. I love-hate the competitive parts of blogging b/c I am so freaking neurotic. I love your attitude. I just wish you’d let me send a gift.

  11. PS: Is there a way to follow you via email? I am really tech challenged and can’t find that. I would really LIKE that though. No pressure. I like to get emails when you post.

    • There should be a Follow Me via Email option on my right sidebar. Under my tweets. If you don’t see it I will investigate, but i know that has worked in the past.

      And thank you! You figuring out how to receive my posts by email will be plenty gift enough. 😉

    • So I think I just discovered that you can’t follow other wp.com bloggers by email – it actually just adds them to your WP reader. Is that what you’ve found? I tried to click your Email button too and that’s what happens…

  12. Holy crap! You weren’t kidding when you commented on my last post that you feel the same way, as I agree with 100 percent of everything you wrote about above. The good thing is you’re realizing this after only year one instead of two or three years of OHMYGODDOITWEETTHISOUTANDFOLLOWALLTHEBLOGGERS! However, I must express a bit of disappointment, as being my first visit here and your anniversary, I did bring a nice bottle of wine as a gift. Okay. It was a box of wine and it’s half gone already, but whatever. You said no gifts…

    • I didn’t want to be that person who comments and says “I like your post but HEY come read MY post” but yeah, I thought it was funny how similar they were. There must be something in the water. I appreciate the sentiment on the wine. Luckily I have my own box. And straw.

  13. Wow, there are a bajillion comments here! I kept scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling. (Sorry for sounding like Pee Wee Herman in Peewee’s big adventure when he’s holding that meeting in the basement about finding is stolen bike, but aaaannnywho). Great post and message. I have no idea who you are, but every once in awhile, I come across someone who tickles my fancy with words and how they approach blogging. I love the transparency and the humor, and your voice shines through so you did a great job of capturing an audience. Love it!
    http://karen-mamatobe.blogspot.com

Talk to me, Goose

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s