I was told in school never to fall in love with your first draft.
I always did.
Even still, I learned a valuable lesson – sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right. (Sometimes more than a few.)
For me, that’s exactly the case with this “blogging” thing.
I started in 2010 with a heart and mind full of stories, a husband who worked late, and inspired by the movie “Julie and Julia,” so I started a blog. I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted somewhere to publicly air what was on my mind in a less-invasive, and more appropriate way than a Facebook status or email. Being a creative outlet by nature, I thought “how hard can this be?” Little did I know, blogging was an art form and community all its own, complete with rules, etiquette, and even cliques. Even though a blog is supposed to be your own and completely open to the creative expression of the writer, there is very much a protocol. I’m a sucker for protocol, yet I hate it all the same. I did in fact want a place for my own creative expression, but maybe I wanted to do what everybody else was doing, too? I was lost.
I was most impressed with baby blogs at the time. People would make these cutesy little corners of the internet all about their pregnancies and babies and it was really precious. Except I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t have a baby at the time. Okay, there were plenty of other things I could write about, right? Sure. I was certain I had enough thoughts to fill page after page of internet dialogue, which I did, but it turns out over the next few years those thoughts would be more in the form of controlled rants about the status of our economic pitfalls, infertility, and general angst over life not going as I had planned. Not exactly the enticing prose I was shooting for. Yet, I thought I needed to at least attempt to keep up with what I liked so much about the other blogs – sweet little scattered “scrapbook”-style collections of the writer’s life including blow-by-blow documentation of daily/weekly events, recipes/favorite restaurants, product reviews, fashion updates, musings on current events and life events, and pictures, pictures, pictures. Okay, easy enough.
Right off the bat, I broke the cardinal rule of blogging: thou shalt post often. I was horribly inconsistent in my blog posting. Painful horrible. I would spend half of my posts apologizing to my four readers for being absent for so long. That made it impossible to do any sort of “This weekend, we…”-type posts. Doing any sort of fashion-ish post was way out of my league since I still own clothing I had in high school. Recipes? Unless you consider the directions on how to heat up a microwavable dinner or “how to place a takeout order” a ‘recipe,’ then I’m out. Product reviews would make me nervous because I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and would probably never end up using the product to begin with in fear of deviating from my old standards. And pictures? Of what, our dogs? The new color of nail polish on my toes? I didn’t have much going on in the form of what I thought were interesting pictures at the time. And on top of that, I’m horrible about loading the pictures off my camera anyway – I have to purposely force myself to “clean” my memory card once a month. I was equally bad at importing pictures from the web because 1, I didn’t know how to position them in the post the way I wanted, and 2, I certainly didn’t credit them and their internet location appropriately, so it was only a matter of time before those things started “disappearing” or I got nailed for using copyrighted material. And I didn’t want that. I was rapidly making blogging way more difficult than it should be. Shocker.
Part of the reason I was so inconsistent was because I hated posting just for the sake of posting. For the most part, aside from the aforementioned not-so-fun life issues we were dealing with at the time, our life was insanely boring. I knew people would be just as excited to read “Tonight I got home from work at 6:00, Michael got home at 7:00. He brought home take-out from “O’Charley’s.” I had potato soup and a fried chicken salad and it was good. We watched “Survivor” and some reruns of Friends and went to bed.” about as much as I would enjoy writing it. Plus, I had learned the hard way (after collecting boxes and boxes of scrapbooking material) that “scrapbooking” as a function is only fun and worthwhile if you enjoy what you’re working on, not doing it because you feel like you have to, which is what I had done to myself with blogging. I also felt an odd obligation to make blog posts, even though I didn’t have a crowd of readers, just to ‘keep up.’ Sure, occasionally there would be something I would want to post, but would be so overwhelmed with how long it had been since my last post or how random the topic was that I would often even talk myself out of that. It was a vicious cycle.
So after a respite from blogging altogether and a lot of thought on what I want my blog to be, I’m letting go of the self-inflicted pressure to be like every-other-blog-on-the-block. I accept, enjoy, and applaud those scrapbook-y, baby/mommy, recipe, homemaker, etc. blogs for being everything my blog isn’t. Believe me, Pioneer Woman, you’re not coming off my Favorites list for a long time. But as for me, this blog is just me. All original. I’m not writing for an audience anymore. I’m sure the posts here will follow the seasons of my life – probably including a lot of material about Elly most of the time, or rants about how ticked off I am about something (I tend to get ticked off a lot.) And I unapologetically may take planned or unplanned blogging hiatus from time to time. Everyone needs a break sometimes.
So if you’re reading, thank you. I pray you’ll come back. Maybe I’ll have something interesting to say.