Blogging lessons learned

I have a dear friend who is contemplating a return to blogging after a couple of years absence. She is not reviving her former blogs, but considering starting a completely new one that reflects her life today. In chatting about it earlier, I thought about my reasons for starting my blog and how the motivation has evolved in the year-plus I have been writing and posting here.

  • When I began, I was reading a lot of personal finance blogs and thought that was where my blogging heart beat. I have since discovered that while I worry about manage money for a living, I have no fresh new ideas of present-day success or struggle tales to share. Money comes in, money goes out. Some is saved, a lot is spent, retirement is looming, and debt is a choice. It’s but one facet of my life, rich or poor.
  • Genre of blogs seems less important to me than the real people writing them, telling their tales, seeking help or a safe place to share their joys and sorrows. I have always known the blogs I follow and love most are those with real people, sharing. Commercial blogs plugging the next big thing are not my thing, although I do not begrudge anyone from making a buck from their blogging/writing and wish them every success. On any given day I can probably type in a search term and find there is a blog for that; I have and I frequently do. There are legions amazing women and men out there writing about a broad spectrum of their lives and times, and I feel so fortunate to be able to find them and read their words, be a passenger on their journey, perhaps even interact with them and the others along for the ride. I am an eternal student in the school of life and appreciate every opportunity to sit in when the path of study and/or experiences are different from my own.
  • My blogging “voice” is as varied and as random as the rest of my life. When I wrote my first posts, I could not imagine anyone ever reading me even once, much less casually or as a follower. If there were comments they would be scathing and mean and meant to humiliate me into stopping or upgrading my writing skills. Reality has evolved into a lot of kind, encouraging, helpful comments, with a few ridiculously off-topic, generally mean comments that never see the light of day. I even have followers – for whom I am eternally grateful – and have learned that there are far better and far worse writers. Blogville is a very large, diverse neighborhood and there seems to be room for everyone.
  • How I say it and who may be reading has become less important to me than the exercise of writing and expressing myself. I comment more now on other blogs than I did a year ago, and I find that takes a lot more thoughtful consideration than the drivel I might throw out here. The stuff I write here is for me, a marker of where I was this day in history. When I comment on someone else’s blog, though, that’s me leaving a mark on this day in their history, so I want to make it count. I strive to stay on-point, to offer something positive or at least constructive, to not be negative or mean just because it might give me a fleeting nanosecond of that thrilling feeling of smug superiority. The prolonged self-loathing I would turn upon myself would be too high a price, because I never want to look back at comments I’ve left for others and cringe and/or flinch wishing I could turn back time and erase my petty snark.
  • Talking about my family and friends is not off-limits, but I am respect their privacy and things expressed to me and meant to be private. There is little worse than being outed by another, offering details of problems or issues without advance permission and in a way that embarrasses or causes discomfort for the other party. My husband, my kids, any of my friends mentioned or referenced in this blog read my blog. There is nothing I say here that I would not say to them in a real-life conversation, and 99.99% of the time the post is a result of an ongoing or prior discussion. I am happy with the balance I have found in sharing things from my life and about those I love most without violating their confidence or upsetting them. I get the occasional “TMI, mom!” text from one of my kids, but it’s okay. They know all too well about my human failings.
  • I have not explored all the features and capacity of wordpress, and that’s okay. I am quite possibly the village idiot when it comes to the cool features and tools available on WordPress. I am quite sure I could make my blog prettier and with really cool features and tools. Yet I do not. I do not even try to learn about these things and still rarely check my stats. Thus far in this adventure it has not been important enough to prioritize. The day my posts do not post and my comments disappear into the cyber blackhole will probably be the week I start learning more about the program. Some days it is a huge victory that I am online reading posts.
  • I am not a slave to my blog and you are unlikely going through withdrawal when I fail to post for awhile. At some point in my adult life I grew weary of hearing people report they are busy like it is a badge of honor to wear. Most adults are busy with something which we each judge against our own activity levels and judge as more or less worthy and productive on the “busy” scale. Majority of the time I like writing and posting whatever happens to come flying from my fingers. Then there are days I am extraordinarily boring or lazy or both and cannot think of a single thing to say … other than I am being extraordinarily boring or lazy and cannot think of a single thing to say. Hopefully that is not a post I ever actually write and publish. Hopefully that will just be a day, or string of days, when I simply do not post anything.

My friend is a kind and beautiful soul with stories worth sharing and reading. She deserves the opportunity to find her way and discover her own voice in whatever realm or fashion she chooses. Unfortunately her past blogging experiences and life’s challenges have scarred her, make her gun-shy about starting again, even though she yearns for the sense of camaraderie blogging frequently provides. I do my best to support and encourage her in this endeavor. Once you have seen and experienced the darker side of blogging, though, it is difficult to overcome that hurdle. I truly hope she finds the urge to widen her influence more powerful than her fear of being dragged back to where she once dwelled.

The light on my doorstep is on for you when you are ready to return, dear friend.

2 thoughts on “Blogging lessons learned

  1. Hmm…this post reminds me of the blogger that introduced you to me. I wonder if its her?

    I love your take on life. I don’t care if you blog about money or not.

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