People publish a blog for many reasons, to earn a living or to promote their career or to connect with other people or to share some expertise. I’ve been writing for decades, going back to keeping a journal with regular entries when I was 13 years old. I started posting online on my first blog, Suburban Sirens, in 2009 when I was a 41 year old stay-at-home mom with 6 and 8 year old sons. Looking back, I think I began blogging as a way to reconnect with writing and editing, a career I jettisoned in 2001 with the birth of my first son. I felt separated from the art that had become so much a part of me that when it was gone I felt I had lost a part of myself. I was a bit lost without writing. I felt adrift.
If I put my thoughts out into the universe, if I started writing again, then perhaps I would feel slightly less invisible and slightly more heard than I felt as a stay-at-home mom with no income. And I had gotten to a point in my life where the boys were in school and I had a little quiet time to myself to reflect. As it turned out, blogging became an important way for me to process my sons’ struggles with learning disabilities and my difficulties adapting to their difficulties. Blogging became for me a type of low-cost therapy.
All of this is to say that I never began blogging to gain a following or even to be read, necessarily. I started posting a blog as a means of keeping myself accountable and figuring out what was going on in my mom brain. When I began posting on Live Now and Zen, I was genuinely surprised that 1) anyone (even my friends) took the time to read anything I published and 2) that some people who didn’t even know me read what I had to say. So, imagine my total shock when people I didn’t know began commenting on my posts. When I hit 1k subscribers, I was in denial. What are these people thinking? Don’t they have anything better to do? I’m still in denial about their readership and kindness. I don’t get it because, honestly, I do not spend much time reading on WordPress. I should read more. I should be spending a great deal more time seeing what others are saying. But, damn, I barely find time to write and publish most days. I feel guilty for not being a better blog community member and, next year when I am officially no longer a stay-at-home parent, I plan to ameliorate this situation at long last.
Despite my inattention to other’s posts, along the way I found several bloggers who were/are kind enough to read my posts often and leave me a comment. I cannot thank these individuals enough because their attention, encouragement, feedback, and comments have been more of a gift than I ever imagined or felt my writing deserved. So, I want to take a self-indulgent moment to thank my friends on WordPress: Paz (Armchair Zen), Gail (nightowlgail), msw (reallifeofanmsw), E.A. (bleuwater), babsje (babsjeheron), and Real Women (realwomen1). You have made me feel heard, appreciated, and understood during times when I have been struggling to find myself. Your encouragement and kind words have changed my opinion of my efforts. It’s been astounding to me how something I never sought or expected has given me so much.
You never know how a kind word can touch someone else. I encourage anyone who engages in an artistic practice to tell people who are working at their craft that you see them. You don’t know how that one comment might change everything for that struggling artist, writer, actor, sculptor, or performer.
Oh, how sweet! Yours was one of the first blogs I started reading and still one of my very favorites. I guess I felt I had a lot in common with you (I was also a stay-at-home mom of two sons) even though there’s about a decades difference in us in age. You are a good writer Justine!
Just know how much I appreciate you, Gail! Your many kind comments and observations have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, even if I don’t happen to be the world’s best at reading other people’s posts just yet.
I’m with Gail, as yours is one of the first blogs I followed when new to the community.
Yours was the first family I “saw” grow up in this unique realm.
And I truly like your writing and enjoy your posts.
I’m a widowed 62-year old grandfather of six, but we still share some things in common.
Such as the love of our craft, and a virtual village that loves it, too.
Write on, Butterfly!
All my best,
Thanks, Scott. One thing I like about writing is being able to track my thoughts and see where they have changed and grown. One of the things I like about blogging is having other people offer their perspectives on what I have written. It has expanded my thinking. Truly thankful for all the generous and insightful comments you have made over the years.
So, much truth in that last paragraph. I also find this is a particular wonderful time to shop small and invest in someone else’s dream!
I love to shop small too. I always find time to do that during this season and often during the year for birthdays.