In the blogging world, new bloggers often celebrate their one year anniversary of blogging by acknowledging it as their “blogiversary.” While it may seem a bit grandiose, it is kind of a rite of passage, and a nice opportunity to reflect back on the crazy journey that is the first year of blogging.
One year ago, after a slightly unpleasant but extremely memorable Father’s Day outing, I sat down and wrote my first blog post. I’m quite certain the only person who has read it is my mom, so everyone else, go ahead and read it. I’ll wait. Here it is: Father’s Day: Celebration of Family or Ironic Joke?
It is amazing to me how much my blog has evolved since those first few months. First of all, my blog looked nothing like it does now- it was back when I first started out on Blogger, two designs ago, and pretty much everything was different. Some of my first few posts kind of sucked, and I’m quite certain I had about 10 people who read my blog back then. I had no “network” of blog friends, no idea what social media promotion and networking involved, no knowledge of blog etiquette, no FB page for my blog, no Twitter handle, and certainly no Pinterest account! (I am still terrible at that one…)
I had no idea what I was getting into.
A bunch of my blog pals have celebrated their “blogiversaries” this past month, and I have greedily devoured their posts, eager to find some ideas on how to approach this epic (too much?) one year post. I’m afraid to say, even after reading their inspiring posts, I got nothin’.
I could write about all the things I have learned about blogging, but I already did that here on Julie’s Fabulous Blogging: First Year Bloggers series.
I could tell you about why I decided to start blogging and why I continue to do it, but I wrote that post a few weeks ago: Blogging: My Sanity Saver.
I could write about how unbelievably awkward I felt entering the blogging world, and how self-promotion made me squirm, but I did that already too, with The Awkward Blogger.
I could list my ten favorite posts of my first year, but that seems like a cheap, sneaky way to get you to go back and read all my old stuff. (Scratch that- I’m totally going to do that later this week.)
Huh. So how do I acknowledge this last year, and all that it has meant to me? It may sound hyperbolic, but starting my blog literally changed my life. In mostly good ways, but a few that still make me uncomfortable.
Blogging has helped me rediscover my voice as a writer. It has connected me with people that have become true kindred spirits. It makes me feel like I am doing something that matters to other people. Sometimes I worry that my posts sound too whiny, like a rant about how hard it is to be a parent. But I have found a genuinely positive result of this venting: I have realized that once I purge myself of my negative feelings about something I find challenging, I am often better equipped to cope with it.
For example, when I was writing that book I mentioned (I really think it might be time to dust it off again.) I wrote an excerpt about how much I hated taking my then-toddler to the bathroom, how much I loathed bending over, stretching wide the leg-holes of her Pull-Ups while she wobbled around and tried to stuff her feet into them.
Now, four years later, I am right back there with a toddler and a whole new set of Pull-Ups. And do I enjoy helping her put them on fourteen times a day? No. But I don’t hate it as much; simply giving myself the permission to acknowledge that it made me crazy alleviated some of the tension, increased my self-awareness, and somehow gave me the ability to cope. I find that is the case with most of the things I vent about that pertain to motherhood- it is a catharsis to express my ambivalence in writing, and it makes me a better mother.
I am still trying desperately to find balance; my one regret is that much of my free time is now taken up by blogging. Though I love it, and find it restorative and invigorating, it drains a lot of my energy. I realize that before I started blogging and writing regularly, I exercised more, meditated more, kept the house cleaner, read more books, and even stayed caught up with Grey’s Anatomy.
Meredith and McDreamy aside, I feel very guilty about those things. And I’m working on it.
So I will continue blogging. I never dreamed I would be where I am today, one year after I started. Am I a world-renowned blogger? Hell no. But I am doing things I never dreamed I would have the knowledge and skills to do (SEO anyone? Widgets? Buttons?) and I have “met” people I never dreamed I would meet. I get the privilege of going to BlogHer ’13 in Chicago next month, and I am eager to absorb all that there is to learn there.
As for this blogiversary week, I am going on vacation, and taking a much-needed blog break. I think I’ll post some of my favorite posts from this past year on my FB page and on Twitter throughout the week (hey, I am a self-admitted nostalgia junkie, after all!) and you can still link up here for FTSF on Thursday at 10 pm EST, but I am allowing myself to fall off the face of the blogosphere for a little family time and relaxation. (Yeah, I know. What an oxymoron.) I’m certain our adventures will inspire some amusing posts upon my return. Please forgive me if I am not as responsive this week! I’ll catch you when I am back in town…
OK, here is the part where I thank you. (Yes, I’m crying a little now. Dammit.) Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for reading my work. Thank you for leaving thoughtful comments. Thank you for inspiring me to do better. Thank you for being patient with me as I find my way. (I’m talking to you, husband.) Thank you for the honor of sharing some of my life with you.
It’s been a great year.