As of today, I’ve been blogging for one month. Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned:
- Real and honest is more interesting than safe. Most of the writing I’ve done in the past has been professional writing about facts, ideas and concepts. The writing on this site has focused on my reactions to life and loss. At times, I will want to play it safe and write about something bland. However, as I begin writing about a “safe” topic, it becomes clear that safe is another word for boring. And so I go back to what I really want to say, but would find easier not to say. Honest writing is best.
- There’s an asymmetrical relationship between writer and reader. It’s strange to run into an acquaintance that has recently read my blog. He or she knows everything going on inside me and I may just barely know their name. It’s like going to a party naked (not that I’ve ever done this before!), when every other guest is fully clothed. It’s awkward at first, but gradually, I’ve realized that everyone else at the party is naked too. Their clothes just cover up their birthday suit. It’s been scary, at times, to be so honest in public. But I’m getting more comfortable with it because of the warm reception I’ve received from readers.
- People confide in me. Since starting my blog, I’ve noticed that friends I’ve known, some for a very long time, tell me important things that are new to me. One told me how he once gave a speech and his heart-felt comments ended up persuading a teacher to stay in education, instead of changing careers as planned. Another friend told me that she had never experienced unconditional love until she had kids. Many have shared with me that I’ve found a way to express feelings they’ve had, but haven’t been able to verbalize.
- We are all in this together. I’ve been amazed by how much appreciation I’ve received from readers for sharing my posts. I’m doing something that I consider fun and others are grateful for it. What the? I didn’t expect that. I think most of us don’t like to talk about pain, loss and fear because it hurts. But when we read about someone else’s experiences, it may help us feel like we are not alone. Because we’re not.
- Readers get motivated. When I wrote about my struggle with meditating regularly, many people privately let me know that I had inspired them to return to meditation. (I motivated myself to do that too, but will save that experience for another post!) Other readers have made efforts to get more organized. I enjoy hearing about when somebody gets motivated by what I’ve written.
- I never know what post a person will most like. Friends often tell me what their favorite post has been. I’ve been surprised at how little commonality there’s been when readers tell me about their favorite topic. Everyone likes something different.
- I’m enjoying blogging more than I expected. Right now, my loose goal has been to post twice/week, once at the beginning and once at the end. After I write something and post it, I have a spring in my step and an extra smile for the store clerk. I also have a list of possible blog topics that is expanding like bread rising. I’ve thought about posting more often. However, I’m going to give this question some time to mature and figure out what posting frequency works best for me.
- I’m always on the lookout for pictures. On my walks, I’m now an investigator, looking for possible pictures that can be used on my blog. I have countless pictures of graceful trees, swaying prairie grasses and inviting trails. It’s fun to see the world through this lense.
- I now treasure unstructured time at home. It’s an opportunity to write!
- The blogging world is new to me. I found an article online about 20 ways to boost traffic to one’s blog. So far, I have about 1.5 of the ways covered. There’s a lot of room for improvement!
Thank you for taking the time to read what I write and for your feedback. I look forward to many more posts and to hearing about how you might relate to them too!