Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of starting this blog. Well, ok, I actually created the blog eight months earlier, in December of 2008, but I then promptly ignored it until August of 2009, so I think of August 21 as my anniversary. Even after publishing 320+ posts in the past year, I'm a little surprised that I'm still here.
My primary reason for wanting to write a blog was to see if I could write (something, anything) on a regular basis. Last summer, in an effort to find out what it would take to be a writer, I looked to a few published authors for guidance on what it takes to write professionally. Most said that the discipline of writing involves spending time writing at least five or six days per week. Thus, my blog began as a 'testing of the waters' to see if I could write on most days. If over 300 posts in a year are an indicator, it appears that I can write on most days!
So, what are my lessons learned from my first year of blogging?
1. Well, for one, I appear to have an almost endless spate of drivel that's ready at a moment's notice to be spewed out into print. Though I panic every single week that I'm all washed up, the truth is that I haven't yet run out of something to say. Far from it, in fact. Though most of my posts are written fairly spontaneously, I also have, on any given day, between five and ten posts in the works, at various stages of completion. The panic of having nothing left to say has lessened slightly only in recent weeks.
2. It has rarely been a chore for me to sit down and write a post. In fact, I look forward to the moment when I can sit down with my computer, and often carve the time out of my early morning or late evening when I am alone in a silent house.
3. I have been able to maintain a fairly consistent and regular pattern of publishing posts, mostly Monday through Friday. That tells me that I'm interested enough in writing to know that it's not a passing fancy.
4. My blog has become about more than seeing if I can write regularly. I love writing it. I like that it forces me to think about what's going on in my life - not merely the day-to-day stuff like the gazillion field trips I've taken Matthew on (though I do like having a means to record them, too), but some of the stuff that's rattling around in the ol' brain box. I recently looked back at the little book I put together of my blog posts from August through December of last year, and it was great remembering events and thoughts that I would absolutely have forgotten about otherwise.
5. To my immense surprise, I also love writing with the knowledge that other people are reading it. That other people might read my blog was, for me, the most terrifying prospect of starting a blog - I feared that people would pass judgment on me based on something I'd written. It was a vulnerable area for me; and so I kept the blog completely private for a while. When I did open it up to the public in October of last year, I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach from anxiety. Then, after receiving my first ever comment on whatever it was I'd written (thank you Gwen!!!), I was so utterly elated that I worried for a moment that I was going to start hyperventilating (Gwen, I guess it's fair to say that you take my breath away!). I still love reading the comments that people make and check several times a day to see if someone's left one for me - it makes me feel like we're in conversation with each other. The odd thing is that I'm not worried any more about what people might say/think about my writing or what they might think of me as a result of it. Writing the blog has helped to free me up, to be a little more myself, to examine who I am just a little bit more, and to be ok with the person I'm discovering. I guess it's been cathartic and a process of self-discovery. This leads directly to the next point.
6. I find that my blog has been therapeutic. There have been several times that writing a post has helped me to think something through - to work through an issue at least enough to put words to it. One example was writing about our decision to change our child request for adoption purposes - writing the posts on this issue helped me to work out a lot of my anxiety surrounding the issue. I find that the people who read my blog, you, have often left me such supportive comments along the way, that I wonder how I managed before!
7. I've noticed that my writing is a little better than it was a year ago. It seems a bit sharper, at times, a bit more focused. I find myself crafting posts more often than I used to, by which I mean that on occasion, I try to figure out what point I'm trying to make and then attempt to shape the post a little more towards that end. I'm going out on a limb here, stating that I think my writing's a bit better, knowing that people may well be reading this and saying 'yeah right!' but that's my self-observation...and I'm more confident than I would have been a year ago in sticking to it!
Having a year under my belt, of blogging and of writing something almost every day, I find that I am ready to take on another writing challenge - something in addition to my blog. I'm not sure what that is yet, but my dream is to write a novel. I have no idea if it'll ever happen, and sometimes I think that I'm not even suited to write anything beyond short blog-length snippets, but that's still the dream. It feels like I'm ready to tackle something bigger, but I need the idea, the thing that feels somehow right. I'll keep you posted on this front. In the meantime, I've written a few articles over the past year, and I wonder if I'm ready to try to get them published. Maybe...just maybe.
Feel free to go back into the history of this blog...read things you haven't read before. Some of the early posts are great...some not so much!
And thank you for reading my one-year anniversary post. Whether you've just started reading it, or whether you've read all 320+ of the posts, I value your presence here.
Here's to the next year!