First of all, you rock. Thank you for your support in this whole “let’s make a website like everyone else” endeavor. Your phone calls, messages, and random encounters in Target where you have voiced your love and enthusiasm is very encouraging.
The truth is that while it’s a lot of work, I enjoy keeping up with this thing. I really do. But guys, blogging is weird.
It didn’t really dawn on me until a few months ago when I randomly googled “mommy blogs” to see if there were any other ones out there. What I found was enough Mommy blogs to wallpaper Texas (duh). I was in awe. Upon further research I discovered what was once glorified electronic scrapbooks is now a cultural force to be reckoned with. Decorated with professional graphics, pithy tag lines and labels like “PR Friendly,” Mommy blogs have become a giant industry. I was so not in the know.
A few months later and I’m a little more blog-intelligent, but not much.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about blogging:
1) Blogging = new friends. Ever since I started Motley Mama, people have sent me e-mails saying they want to be friends. I find this fantastic. What’s weird is when you meet one of those new friends and realize you have nothing to say because, well, they already know.
A few months ago I met up with a young mama who had been reading my blog for a while. Midway through our conversation she said, “So, about those anal fissures…” Oh! The great thing was that she proceeded to give me some very helpful advice. Without the blog intro, I doubt those fissures would have come up organically.
2) Blogging = no privacy. Smarter ones who have come before me said it best: Blogs and family don’t mix. Obviously this doesn’t apply when you have a blog specifically for family, but when your target audience is everyone else–it can be awkward city when you mention your mother-in-law and then see her two days later at a family dinner (Hey Mom Baer!). Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for all the family support, but sometimes I feel the censor bug pop up when I think about Baby Daddy’s Mennonite grandmother reading about my bowel movements and sex life (Hi Grandma Miller!).
Anne Lamott’s advice is to write as if you’re family is dead, which is brilliant. The problem is that they’re not and are probably pissed I said a swear. Eventually I’m just going to start showing up at family reunions with a sign around my neck that says “I’m sorry.”
3) Blogging = a learning curve. Any new blogger will tell you that the blogging learning curve is steep. Every week I find myself troubleshooting very simple website maintenance for hours that should only take a few minutes. Those are not my best moments. Mostly I’ve learned things the hard way (like, always back up your website). But I’m making progress.
4) Blogging = cheap marketing schemes. Look, I understand giveaways. I understand their value and appeal to both parties and I even enjoy entering them from time to time. But when I check my blogger dashboard and all the blogs I follow are featuring a giveaway, it bums me out.
5) Blogging = hurt feelings. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say things like “I would never have time to blog,” as if their lives are too busy and important for such frivolous nonsense. What I want to say back is, how do you have time to do anything? You make time for it. That’s how life works. I would never say to a stamp collector, “I don’t have time to collect stamps” because it’s not true. I just don’t want to make time to collect stamps. You make room for what’s important.
I used to shy away from the term “blogger” because a) it’s kind-of a stupid word and b) its negative connotations make me feel like a dummy. But lately I’m embracing it, because there’s really no way around it.
6) Blogging = mistakes. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are, without an editor, mistakes are inevitable (especially when you have a clingy 4 month old clawing your face all the time).
A few days ago I wrote a post misusing the word “lay” instead of “lie.” Ironically I realized my mistake in the middle of the night while “laying” down and have been horrified ever since.
Even though I made the correction, my face is still flushed from such an atrocious grammatical error. While “blogspeak” allows for a different kind of writing style (ie: incomplete sentences), there is no excuse for poor grammar or spelling.
7) Blogging = hilarious. One of the highlights of my day is checking where my traffic is coming from. A good percentage comes from Google, and I think it’s a riot to see what they googled to find me. Some favorites from this week–> vampire toilet, sucker-punch, japan stuffed toy pee poo, scary toilet, lick wounds, ridiculous vibrating muscle, teeth.
So I’m curious.
Fellow bloggers: How has your blog experience grown and changed?
Readers: What makes a good blog? What are your pet peeves?
PS: This will make you giggle: Over-sharing 2.o: The Rise Of The Couple Bloggers