I’ve been spending a lot of time considering the future of my blog. Until now, it’s followed a relatively linear evolution. I started blogging in the fall of 2008, interested, but hesitant and unsure. I had no real direction, I just did it. I thought it could be an outlet for me, much like a journal has been at different points in my life. But I was reluctant because it seemed so public, even though no one was reading. I wrote random posts about my son and life as a mom. They were about everyday experiences, but written like I was on the periphery. They weren’t from my heart and they weren’t a reflection of my real self. They were more a series of stories, safe and under-explored.
I shared the fact that I was blogging with only a handful of people and, of course, it didn’t take off. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to promote it or whether I even wanted to. I didn’t receive comments because so few people knew it existed, and those who did weren’t really into the blogging thing. I received e-mails from friends who said things like: “It’s great that you are doing this,” “It’s right up your alley to write about motherhood,” “Good for you, it will be such a good outlet.” But no one commented directly on the blog itself. I felt I was writing in a vacuum, saw no purpose and abandoned it for several months.
Fast forward to the birth of my second son and the onset of a year-long maternity leave. I was spending much more time at home than I did after the birth of my first son. It was the way I wanted it, but several weeks in I started to feel that sense of isolation that comes from being home for hours on end with two children under the age of 4. I needed an outlet, I was starved for adult stimulation, but I needed it to be on my own time. I decided to reach out and explore social media. I was already an avid facebooker, but hadn’t yet explored other online communities. Yes I blogged, but sporadically and without the interaction of other bloggers. I didn’t regularly visit other blogs because I felt no connection to the writers. I didn’t feel compelled to comment when I did.
I was uncertain that the writers would have any interest in what I had to say.
Then I joined Twitter. It opened a whole new world for me. I followed, I engaged, I started to be followed. I developed relationships. I learned. I watched. I started to blog more and with meaning. Through my Twitter relationships I started to generate a small following. I became more serious, I started to feel like I was getting something out of blogging. I started reading blogs and became connected to other authors. The blogging community blossomed for me. I gained something not only through my own writing, but in reading the writing of others.
Which brings me to today. I’m starting to feel like a real, contributing blogger. What does this mean exactly? Yes, I’ve grown a small following, and that’s part of it. But even more than that, it comes from the relationships I’ve developed. They are unique relationships because they are, for the most part, virtual. But the are real. Every day I peek into the lives of others in a very intimate way and then offer the same glimpse into my own life. Every day I read blogs that are so well written, by authors who are creative and write with meaning. It’s exhilarating to discover and it inspires me. It inspires me to write more, to explore more of myself, and share that exploration with words for others to read.
When I write, I’m gaining a better understanding of myself. It’s therapy yes, but it’s more than that. It offers self discovery in a very unique and engaging way. When others comment with thoughts of their own, offer tokens of wisdom, or share their own experiences and perspectives it opens a door to self-understanding that would otherwise be closed. When we are busy living our own lives, just getting through the day, we can become single-minded and it can be difficult to see reality. When I write about my feeling, emotions, experiences, and thoughts, I explore these things more deeply, share them with you and open the door to perspective. It’s what motivates me to continue. At the same time, in reading the blogs of others, I feel encouraged to dig deeper, write better, and take this to new places.
I’m looking forward to all the places my blog will continue to take me. To the relationships that will unfold through it, and the self-understanding that I hope I will continue to discover.
What motivates you to blog? What are your inspirations? Has your blog evolved or changed? How so? Where do you hope to take your blog in the future? I’m learning through all of you and loving it.