My return from a week-long blogging hiatus is filled with gratitude, so I’m going to jump the gun and celebrate this blog’s loose anniversary. Just as a warning, no matter how many times I’ve re-written this post, I sound like a self-congratulatory asshole. Apologies in advance.
I started blogging a little less than a year ago. I was tentative, not sure what my plan was, only knowing that I needed to do something that would make me write out loud. I was very nervous, but I kept writing. Then a few “likes” came here and there. As a novice blogger, that was all I needed to encourage me to keep going.
In August, I was Freshly Pressed going on about my decision to get a tattoo and again in November, when I wrote about calling myself names. I wouldn’t have picked either of those posts as a favorite, but then again, I am not a good arbiter of my own work. I don’t have to act falsely modest – being Freshly Pressed was awesome, but it’s a crap shoot, subjective and not a reliable indicator that you’ve hit the big time. Those numbers rise and fall pretty fast and can be disheartening. It’s a character-building exercise for bloggers. Once the highs wear off, you have to get back to writing and you can bet for damned sure that there’s pressure to make it good.
The other character-building blogging exercise is the gaining or losing of readers or followers. It has happened consistently over the last year. I inevitably lose one and then gain a few after every post. Naturally, being the sunny-natured person that I am, I focus on the one and seem to forget the gains. You question what you could have written that was offensive or uninteresting enough to help someone make the conscious decision to un-follow you. You could imagine yourself tracking them down and begging to know the answer, like a recalcitrant boyfriend who just stopped calling (maybe that’s just me).
And then we learn about the mercenary “likers” – the ones that apparently like every post they lay their eyes on, in the hopes that they will gain more readers or likes. Again, this is not consistently true, because I have an appreciation of the quiet readers, those who want to say “Yeah, I like your post, but can I just sit here in the corner and read it?” I know this, because sometimes I read a great post, but I don’t have much to add to the conversation or I simply don’t have the time. Of course, I wish that the “like” button could be re-labelled for more serious posts. I hate hitting “Like” when somebody’s writing about their rape experience or how a beloved relative or pet just died. I feel like a jerk when I do that, even though I know that “Like” is part of the ubiquitous social media lingo.
Blogging has become important to me and it takes a significant amount of time. I put time and effort into writing my posts – anywhere from 1-3 hours for a 500-700 word post. I like to respond to every commenter (except for the dude who kept bragging about his personal endowment). It is not a money maker or even publicity for my offline work. I have made friends and while we might not want to spend more than an hour together in the same room, online connections matter. Online conversation matters. Different perspectives matter.
I took a week off from writing posts. I missed my friends. I missed my pre-dawn writing sessions. I missed conversation with people all over the globe. I mean, how amazing is it that a suburban mom in Minneapolis is “talking” to a father in Australia about salamanders or a law professor in Ohio about the 1st amendment or a woman in Canada about her fight against cancer? My world grew immeasurably over the last year. There’s no putting that cat back in the bag (and please, as a public service announcement, don’t put cats in bags).
So today, this is my post of gratitude for WordPress, for readers, commenters, likers, even the dude who apparently needs a wheelbarrow for his member. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing your world with the rest of us and thank you for giving me something to miss.
The phrase “Groucho Marx glasses”. Here’s a tip, folks – use that phrase or clip art of Grouch Marx glasses. Literally EVERY SINGLE DAY, someone is looking for these!
Thank you to 355, or 354 or 359 (depending on the day) followers or subscription readers. I appreciate your patronage. Hang around, I’m sure to enrage, bore or humor you in the near future.
As of today, this blog has received 15,215 views. 2,376 of which were me looking at my blog without being logged in.
Here are some of my favorite, un-Pressed posts: