My blog turned four two weeks ago. Surprised? I was. I didn't even realize it until my Time Hop told me that last year I wrote about my blog turning three. It's sad that this birthday has come and gone without much fanfare. But maybe that is just age and maturity. Like when you stop making a big deal out of your birthday after you turn thirty.
Four years ago I started a blog to make myself feel better about motherhood. I started this blog to be honest about my failures and obstacles as a mother. I knew that I wasn't the only one out there royally effing up their kid, so I thought that if I talked about it, if I admitted it, I'd be joined by other mothers just like me. I also knew that I had something to say, something that was important to me, and I was tired of waiting to share that voice. So with no knowledge of what it took to start a blog, with no list of what to do and what not to do, I grabbed a basic template on Blogger and wrote. I wrote most days, just whatever struck my fancy, and whatever I wanted to say. If I got any comments it was from friends and family. And I was totally okay with that... Until I found another blogger.
I'm not going to tell you who she is, or where she blogs, because wouldn't you know, I've actually met her. I don't want to seem like the stalker I already feel like, because my heart honestly skips a beat when I see her at a certain blog conference. But I found her blog and it was suddenly everything I wanted my blog to be. I wanted the beautiful photography with the camera I would never be able to afford on a stay at home mom's salary. I wanted the beautiful furniture. I wanted the food I cooked and the things I baked to look as wonderful and delicious as the ones that she posted on her blog. I wanted to master "tutorials" for re-purposed items, jewelry from whatever she had in her junk drawer, new curtains out of thrift store bed sheets. She was beautiful, her life was beautiful, and her blog was beautiful. It was everything I wanted my blog to be. Honestly, she was everything I wanted to be.
So I spent the next year "building" this blog. I linked up to every link up know to blog-kind. I posted recipe after recipe, tutorial after tutorial. I posted about anything and everything. I joined round robins and follow backs and blog parties. I worked and worked and worked so hard to become a "Blogger". And in a way, I did become a blogger. I made so amazing and terrific blog friends. Some that I have now met in real life. And these bloggy friends supported me and I supported them. We gave each other follow backs and shout outs and shared each others posts. And by the end of year one, I had followers and readers that I didn't know in my real life.
To celebrate my first year of blogging I did my first big giveaway and I totally felt like I had made it.
Which is totally laughable today.
By my second year of blogging, I had higher hopes. I didn't necessarily want to be like my "blog idol", but I knew I wanted to be a writer. This was the year that I went back and forth with sponsorships and paid or promoted posts. I realized I worked so hard to get these posts up, and that no one really read them. In my head I thought that the key to being published was to do the giveaways and the sponsored posts. I thought that if I did some promotions and got paid for them that the money would eventually start rolling in. It didn't. But I kept doing them anyway, and then the jealousy crept in when bloggers who were just starting out were getting more sponsors and comments and money. With the jealousy came some ugliness and I had to re-evaluate what I really wanted out of this blog. And what I really wanted to do was to write. I wanted to write and get published. I wanted magazine articles and bylines and a book.
So by year three, I had taken a step back from the promotions and the sponsors and began to concentrate on my writing. By year three I was having some major traffic spikes, I wrote so things that went semi viral. I was published on BlogHer three times, and I was getting comments from people I didn't know at all, not even the blogging world. And again, I was convinced that I was on the cusp of "making it".
Yet, four years came and went without much notice. It's a little poetic that I got a really awesome anonymous comment on my fourth birthday. Proof that maybe I have made it a little. This last year of blogging was really hard for me as a writer. I had so much to say, but with a full time job, I had little time to say it. I took some chances last year with fiction and my regular stuff, I continued with my honesty, even when it may have been faulty. I didn't write my heart out like I had planned. I did less writing last year that I desired. I kept thinking that as long as I kept writing it would all work itself out. Some days were better than others, but overall I wanted more for me and this blog last year.
So here I am, four years old. If I can be totally honest it took a lot just to get me here tonight to write this post. My blog turned four almost two weeks ago with zero fanfare. And that's sad, because this is the only thing I've done consistently in the last four years of my life. I've gone off diets and back on them. I've started exercise programs and quit them, only to start new ones again. How many jobs have I had? This blog is the one thing that I have kept, even if I only get to this space once a week. I'm still writing, I'm still fighting. But it's getting harder and harder daily.
Today I had a epiphany. I realized that I didn't really have writers block, that I have actually been suffering from Blog Block. I've been so focused on getting something, anything, up on the blog, that I have been putting off writing all together. I've been so worried about traffic and followers and commenters that I have just stopped bringing myself to the keyboard. I constantly worry that all the hard work, all the readers I've been privileged to acquire, all the time spend building the traffic has been for nothing, because I just blog less and less every month. I worry that I will never get published if I don't blog every day. I worry and worry and worry. All the while not writing out of fear and loathing that I'm not hitting publish on this blog.
Stupid, right?How stupid is that? How stupid that I'm so worried about hitting publish, and that I have basically ignored the advice that I have given time and again to bloggy friends: just write. Just write it out, maybe you hit publish, maybe you don't, but for the LOVE OF GOD KEEP WRITING.
I'm going to keep writing. I'm going to take my own advice and not worry about that bright orange publish button. I have to keep writing. I have to fall in love with writing again. I have to take it from feeling like a chore, to feeling like the love that I know it is. I never wanted this blog to feel like work, but suddenly here I am. In the beginning I wanted to be a blogger, the kind with the beautifully styled life and blog. And let me tell you that I wrote every kind of post to prove I was a blogger, the kind with the top knot and infinity scarf and the outfits of the day. When that didn't really fulfill me, I decided to do more writing from the heart, and that helped a little. But when I really let go and decided to write for me, that is when I gained traction. Unfortunately I've lost a little of that traction since I've returned to work, but I still have the desire to write and use my voice and let it take me where it may.
This blog is four, and it will again take on a new year with a renewed life. It will most likely be a journey that my voice and heart will decide on. At times it may be random, both fiction and non fiction. Don't be surprised if I share a recipe I think is really tops, or some outfits I put together. But don't be surprised if some weeks I may share nothing at all. As hard as I have tried, I can no longer ignore the voice that is telling me to write, even if I will never hit publish. I can't ignore the pull to fiction and poetry and some stories that I'm just not ready to tell.
So please, dear readers, hang in there. I promise, I'm still writing, I'm still occasionally hitting publish, and I'm still Absolute Mommy. I'm just a little older, a little wiser, and ready for wherever my writing life takes me.