Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog anniversary

One year ago today, I began this blog. Yesterday, I scanned through all of the 85 posts and reflected on the experience.

I noticed that the blog quickly evolved into something more than I thought it was going to be. I started out thinking that I'd be writing short posts that would unearth more meaning behind my daily tasks. I also thought there would be more about knitting. It started out that way, but it didn't stay that way very long. For the most part, I'm examining things that puzzle me using the filter of my own experiences. I also find myself challenging the status quo. That's right, me and Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

The length of my posts has expanded as well. Early on they were in the 300-400 word range. Now the average is 850 words with double that happening occasionally. Not that word count is important on this blog, but it is interesting. I don't know if I was being timid in the beginning or if it was just a function of the shift in focus, but it has changed.

I've learned several things through blogging this past year. First, I quit worrying about whether or not anyone was reading it. Early on I'd worry that no one was reading it if there were no comments. I installed a site meter which shows me the number of hits and sometimes the state or country it came from. I was thrilled when I realized that my blog had been read on every continent. This started out primarily through other bloggers and other people on my social networking site recommending my blog to others. Some have even embedded links to my blog from their blogs. A big thanks to those folks, especially Colin.

I worried for awhile that no comments meant that my writing was too personal and didn't carry anything that someone else could relate to. But then, I started getting e-mails and messages on social networking sites that negated that worry. Although I'm sure that some of the posts didn't speak to anyone but me.

I also learned not to pay attention to, nor feed, the trolls. I've had great exchanges with people who disagree with me and we've given each other food for thought. And those who disagreed also afforded me the opportunity to more fully explore the issue for myself and to offer a clearer explanation. I will, however, absolutely not engage with trolls who snipe from cover hurling verbal abuse. Such people have been out there since the beginning of internet exchanges and they aren't going to go away. So I ignore them in the hope that they will go find another blog or blogger to hate for awhile.

Being the Queen of Why, I naturally considered why I began the blog and, more importantly, why I continue it. I honestly can't remember exactly why I decided to start. I have a vague notion that it was fueled by a desire to put more discipline into my writing with a hope of eventually establishing myself as a writer. But even that seems to be a part of why I kept at it more than why I launched it. Whatever the reason, my journal hasn't seen a lot of business since I began the blog. Where I used to fill up two journals a year, the current one has been going for more than a year and has room for more.

And the why of why I keep at it is even more elusive to me. I know that I enjoy it. I know that I'm very happy with the brief and not so brief contacts with others that have happened. It has given me more discipline in my writing and has helped me move closer to the goal of putting 'author' on a business card. I've also learned not to force a posting if it just seems not to want to come. I guess ultimately I continue with it because it continues to give me things to learn. It gives me a place to flesh out ideas that are swirling through my mind. It has given, for the most part, pleasant interactions with people I most likely would have never had contact with. Not writing has never been an option for me. I've done it since I was a child and I'm not likely to stop before I stop breathing. I've never done it in a public way before this year, so, in a sense, it is teaching me a bit about being courageous. And the exploration will continue.

Thank you for reading.


yarnpiggy said...

Happy Blogiversary, Nan! We started our blogs around the same time. :-)

I don't always -- or even often -- comment, but I always read and enjoy your posts.

Thank you for writing. :-)

Jerry said...

If this were Plurk I'd post a dancing banana.

Congratulations on your first year!

teabird said...

I'm guilty of lurking, sometimes, but I really love your blog. Happy first anniversary!

Knitman said...

I pretty much agree with your post, my experience too. I had not idea why I even started mine and it certainly is now nothing like I might have imagined. I too became concerned abotu what I was writing about -me and my experience and being open about it-until I started to get emails form people all over the world who told me they gained much from it. I was reaching other survivors. I was very surprised and felt privileged. Then I also got emails from people whose professions were abotu helping children like I was or adults who are like me. I don't doubt now.

ccomotto said...

Nan, sorry I didn't realize until now that it's been a year since you began your blog. While I am not an active "commentator", and tend to be more of a "lurker", I always enjoy your writings. It usually gives me some food for thought, as well as a little insight into your life.

Of course, it sometimes disappoints me that you are so far away and that we never had the opportunity to meet in person when you were living here. Maybe some day we'll actually get to meet.

Until that time, cousin, keep up the writing (and the knitting) -- it is what sometimes keeps us sane in an otherwise insane world.