My Year in Blogging: Happy Anniversary, Baby!

canstockphoto6122459My 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.

canstockphoto6122459The Green Study would like to thank:

Brooke McGillivray at Heart’s Home for being my very first Liker of my very first post. I was able to write a 2nd post because of you.

Top Commenters: Wyrd Smythe at Logos con carne, artsifrtsy at The Eff Stop, Ruth Rainwater, Honie Briggs, Teresa Cleveland Wendel

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:

When the Writer’s Away…

Gender Benders

Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

How to Pack When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

Being Just Right

Thank you!

56 Comments on “My Year in Blogging: Happy Anniversary, Baby!

  1. Congrats on your “loose” anniversary! Good sentiments, good info – not assholeish. Thanks for the Groucho Marx tip – I have found the same with cowboy boots and rubber duckies (though both search terms can get kinky).
    I have recently forced myself to attempt blogging only once a week. It isn’t easy, because there’s so much food for thought in the world! But I don’t want to overload my followers and Facebook friends – I fear if I post too much, they will get bored with me. I was also developing an addiction to following my stats, which I don’t want to feed. Love your voice, love your humor, love your blog. Keep it up!

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    • Thanks! I am looking forward to reading about your post on rubber duckies wearing cowboy boots and Groucho Marx glasses.
      The stats addiction has taken me a little time to put into perspective. Really the thing that gives me the most feedback are the comments (obviously) and that is the surprising piece of blogging. I value the writing experience, but comments really run a close second for enjoyment.
      I have picked up speed on how frequently I post over this last year, but I think it’s because my writing life overall has become more prodigious. Some days, words are coming out my ears and others, my muse stands idly by, mocking me.

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  2. I have lost the occasional follower as well. It is very unsettling and I ask myself the exact same questions. As for the guy and the wheel barrow, what was your post about? :). Just curious to know what the connection was between what you said and what he was thinking (or not). I’ve had very bizzare ‘search terms’ but not weird comments. Yet 🙂

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    • He responded to the post “What You Call Yourself When No One’s Listening”. My friends told me it was gross, but I’m immature AND vulgar, so I thought it was funny. I responded once, but then had to stop approving comments, since I was apparently encouraging conversation.

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      • I probably would have found it funny, too. But sadly, we have to be just as careful ‘in here’ as we do out there, in the real world.

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  3. Happy blogiversary! Cheers to many more years of wonderful, ranty, funny, thought-provoking posts 🙂

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    • Thank you! Years sounds insane, doesn’t it? I have a hard time imagining it, but I know others have been blogging for a long time and still maintain a shred of sanity!

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      • It comes up on you quicker than you’d think. The new year marks my second full year of blogging and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. But I still can’t believe it’s already been that long!

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  4. Congratulations, Michelle, and well done!

    I will confess to being a sometimes “LIKE” button only person. It’s usually when I am stealing time and don’t have time to comment, or when everything else has been said already. And I hate just putting “hahaha” in comments, so I just hit like if I don’t have much to say.

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  5. As a new “follower” of your blog I want to say Happy 1st Anniversary. I admire your writing and your personality comes across in your words. Very witty, very intelligent. It all shows, at least in my opinion. I am one follower that you won’t lose. I enjoyed reading all your highlighted posts! TY for being you.

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  6. It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment to reach this milestone event, isn’t it? You didn’t sound like an asshole at all. Congrats and welcome back from your respite. I’ve missed your words and your visits.

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    • Thanks for the congrats! I’m still figuring out how to juggle offline and online writing, but I’m amazed that I’ve been blogging so long. I’ve missed a lot of posts and I’m trying to get caught up. I’ll be an invasive presence on your blog once again, very soon!

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  7. So if I comment repeatedly about how big my boobs are, our relationship ends here?

    Happy blog year to you. Way to keep at it!

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    • If you comment repeatedly on how big your boobs are, I’m sure we’ll become bosom buddies and I will gleefully use every synonym for knockers that I’ve been saving for just such an occasion. Thanks for the good wishes!

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  8. Congrats on your anniversary. A few thoughts on liking and commenting: I try never to like without commenting, and I frequently comment without liking, only because I kinda hate the like button, and I’m waging my own personal war against it. Anyway, I feel a comment is the least I can do when someone has taken the time to write a post that crossed in front of my eyeballs.
    Also, I never want to be thought of as one of those “fake likers” so I feel compelled to say, “Hey! Yes, I actually *did* read your post and here’s my comment to prove it!” Plus I can talk on and on (and on) about just anything. 😉

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    • I think each person has to figure out what works for them. Sometimes when I have a post that I’m not really confident about, getting a few likes is like a pat on the back (there, there, you don’t totally suck). Some things just don’t merit more conversation. Some things don’t resonate, but the writing is good. Sometimes, I have an 8 year old tugging at my arm for attention and a like is all I can manage on someone’s post. On occasion, I will return to a post many hours after I like it and add the comment I had initially intended. I can blather on just about anything as well, but time is always going to be a factor.

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    • I had written a lot more about the psychology of it, but I think that’s another post. I was getting a bit long on the word count!

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  9. Love this post and so glad you’re back from your break. I smiled, laughed and nodded while reading…now off to check out some of those unfreshly pressed that I may not have read before. x annie

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  10. Nicely done 🙂 I’ve gotta say it’s nice to see how a little conversation can spark thoughts in other folks. I find your posts consistently thought-provoking and smile-inducing.

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    • Thanks – I love the conversation and the differing perspectives. It’s a pretty respectful environment as well. Of course, I don’t write a lot of polarizing stuff. This is what I admire about other people’s blogs – there are some very gutsy people out there. Thanks for your kind words.

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  11. Congrats on the milestone! I was unprepared for the “community” that comes from blogging. I’m glad to have connected and had real conversations and exchanges of ideas with people I’ve met through the medium like you. Your posts are ones that make me think – and I like that.

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    • I didn’t really understand blogging and hadn’t read many blogs prior to starting my own, so the community thing has really been such a wonderful surprise. And while people don’t usually become “besties” this way, I’ve definitely found some really smart, funny people with whom I’ve connected and am so glad to have “met”. You’re one of them!

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      • Ditto! I honestly had only read my brothers chicken blog – who knew? I do think when we do this we bear a bit of ourselves that may not be obvious to those who see us in the real world – I find myself being challenged to understand and take in new or different ideas. I’m glad to have found your work – funny that it was a tattoo that got me to click and check it out 🙂

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        • I laughed when I read how your blog got started and still, on occasion, end up on your original blog page as a reminder. I’ve also enjoyed the ways in which people express themselves – the photos, the haikus, the stories (fiction and nonfiction), recipes, diatribes…really just an endless variety of expression. It really is amazing.

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        • It really is, I find myself learning so much from others about writing, poetry, photography – it’s an inspiring community for sure. Man – that first post of mine was a train wreck.

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        • And out of chaos emerges some outstanding photos and wonderful family stories. Your train wreck – our reading and viewing pleasure.

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  12. I kept waiting for the “asshole” to kick in, like at the end you were going to go “P.S. You’re all jerks and I sprinkle kitten bits on my Corn Flakes.” But, no, pretty much saying what we all feel. Thanks and congratulations.

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    • I’ve got to save something for next anniversary. I’d like to end that post with “bite me” or “nanny nanny boo boo” in a hostile and unlikable fashion. Assholishness (I am a wordsmith) is subjective. Patting myself on the back in my own blog rates pretty high in my book.

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    • Thanks, Gus – my return to offline writing is somewhat less notable. My NaNo novel is a mess! Glad to be back in the blogosphere, though.

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  13. Happy Blogiversary. I love the tips you give in this post. I especially like your term mercenary “likes.” Makes them sound like snipers aiming at our innocent blogs.
    Can’t wait to read more this year.

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