It’s hard to believe, but here is a truth: I’ve been blogging for more than 13 years. When I started, Kaleb was just a baby, Haley was only ten, Jake & Nathan were cute little boys happily thriving in elementary school. My dad had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but he could still talk to us. All of the other grandparents were still alive. We knew one day fairly soon, Kendell would have to have his hip-replacement surgery, but we had no idea all of the health issues he’d be facing. I’d recently left teaching and was so happy being a stay-at-home mom again, hanging with my baby and the Bigs, writing articles for Simple Scrapbooking magazine.
Back then, in 2005, so many people had blogs. So there was sort of a blogging community. Lots of commenting, lots of memes, lots of interaction. I never was a blogger with a ton of followers, but I had enough that I loved that part of my life, too. I thought more followers would come with time, because (I thought) I was writing about real and personal things, and because I always have tried to write posts that were well-written, with a point to be made.
Really, though, I was just writing about my life. Random pieces of stuff I experienced. And, it turns out, people are mostly only interested in the random pieces of stuff that well-known people experience.
So many of the friends I made through blogging no longer blog. I see them on Instagram or Facebook, but the interaction is different. Yet, here I am. Still blogging. (Just like I’m still scrapbooking even though literally NONE of the friends I started scrapbooking with, the ones who introduced me to it, still scrapbook.) (Also like I still use WordPerfect.) (And I never gave up Dr. Martens, even when they weren’t cool.) (And I still listen to some of the same music I listened to when I was sixteen.)
Because for me, while I did want to be one of those people who became well-known for her blog, deep down this blogging thing hasn’t ever been about followers. Or, at least, that wasn’t the main point.
For me, blogging was about writing. It was about writing the random pieces of knowledge I gained from my experiences and then sharing them with the world-at-large, even if the only person who ever read my posts was my sister. (I’m not sure my mom even read my blog!) It was about the fact that I have always processed my experiences by writing about them, and a blog made that act feel less solitary.
I’ve slowed way down on my amount of blogging, but I’ve never really stopped thinking like a blogger. Last weekend, for example, I went hiking; deterred by mud, we took a different route and ended up at the path of an enormous avalanche. Not only did I enjoy scrambling (very carefully) up the edge of the avalanche and then walking out across it, but I was also thinking about how I would describe it. (As if an enormous wave were turned into snow and then frozen.)
But let’s be honest here: blogging is a lazy approach to writing. Not because it doesn’t take time or concentration—at least, since I try to write interesting posts, time and concentration are definitely involved. But I write a blog post and I click on the “publish” button, and that’s the end of it. Hoping someone might stumble upon it. And, sure, some people do achieve writerly success that way.
But usually, it takes much more work. Submitting, for example. Writing query letters, searching for calls, polishing my pieces and sending them out again after they’re rejected.
While I still think like a writer, and while I still sometimes write, I am not doing the work. And I’ve gotten out of the habit of actually writing my ideas.
So here I am, trying again. I’m whispering this…I’m not going to write about it on my Facebook or my Instagram, where I have a few more followers. But I’m putting it out into the universe: I’m joining in with the 100-day project with this goal: to blog every day for 100 days. Not all of my posts will be long, but all of them will be longer than something I could write on Instagram (so...more than 300 words).
And yes…I know my history of success with trying to do anything for any number of days in a row. It’s dismal. I never, in fact, have actually achieved it. And maybe I won’t with this one, too.
But I want to. Not for blog followers (although of course, I wouldn’t be sad if I had more!). But to get myself back in the habit of writing again.
Because here’s another truth: this month, I’m turning 47. So much of my life is behind me, and fewer people need me, and maybe it’s becoming my time to be something I’ve always wanted to be.