One year ago today, I uploaded my first blog post. That wasn't the first day I'd tried but the first day I succeeded. I'd been encouraged to start a blog by other participants in the ethnic knitting online group. I'd been extremely resistant to take on anything new because I was all too aware I didn't have time for one more thing (which has turned out to be true).
But after reading a couple of books on blogging, I started one. Leaning heavily on the perspective and guidance in Rebecca Blood's The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog, I decided to start slowly, find out what blogging was about for me, and see what happened.
(It turns out that Rebecca Blood is also a knitter. . . . )
My initial intention was to write two or three posts a week, of about 200 words each, which I'd learned was the "optimal" length. I borrowed, then traded some work for, an old digital camera. I signed up for a TypePad account and began figuring out how to post. I didn't do anything to attract readership (one of Rebecca's smart suggestions) other than add the blog URL to my e-mail signature and make up business cards with the address that I could hand to people if we happened to be talking face-to-face about blogging.
It's been a year and it's time to evaluate.
- I've written 100 posts, which over the year averages out to just about two posts a week. The intervals vary widely, but the overall goal has been met.
- The 200-word framework is a joke. If I could limit myself to shorter posts, blogging would take smaller chunks out of my days and readers would find it easier to skim the contents—but 200 words rarely gives me time to find out what I'm thinking, much less to shape those thoughts with any nuance. And nuance is how my mind works. I don't edit the posts much because they'd never get published. ("Don't edit much" for me is probably not the same as it would be for most people; I am an editor, after all. I edit reflexively. But the blog posts are not "finished" in the sense that an essay is "finished"—often after months of exploration and revision. I could do 200-word posts, but they would take five times as long to complete.)
- I get to talk about things that normally just rattle around in my head, and sometimes people comment on them. This is a huge plus for someone who generally works in solitude in a small home office in a basement.
- Blogging takes even more time than I thought it would, in part because I enjoy it. At the time I began considering the blog experiment, I was doing individual creativity coaching with Eric Maisel. Eric said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Watch out. A blog may consume time you could be spending on other projects," the implication being that those other projects would be more creatively and/or financially rewarding. Eric was 100 percent right. I've been spending time and energy on blogging that other projects could use. Those other projects would have had more creative mass, and might have helped pay the mortgage. What I need to do in the coming year is figure out how to do both the blog and the bigger projects (plus, of course, the independent publishing and the knitting and occasional housework, deadlines permitting).
- Digital photography is fun. I've even indulged in a smaller, more convenient camera that has opened up many possibilities for me.
The best thing is this:
- I've met new people I'm delighted to know . . . some only through the internet, and a few in person after making blog connections.
Conclusion: I'll keep posting, even though it's amazing how much time it takes! Yesterday's post began at about 9 a.m. and finally resolved about twelve hours later. I spent a chunk of time chasing down links through Google and then entered changes to update and revise some of them thanks to input by another of the High IQ Kids editors.
(1. I could have chosen not to include the links, which would have cut my time by two-thirds, but I thought they were interesting. 2. In the realm of regular work, I did get one medium-sized Cowichan knitting chart completed before bed, and probably kept a few other balls in the air that I don't remember because I take that kind of work for granted. As I recall, I did tasks related to shipping 3,000 books in the new printing of one title around the country and set in motion an order for more advance reading copies of another title, because the printer's going to be about ten days late with the real books and we have a blog tour starting October 1.)
On the positive side, by the end of the day I felt like I'd not only started a job but also finished it. Most of the work I do, including those other, more substantial personal creative projects, takes years to get from idea to completion.
Thanks to everyone who's visited my blog over this first year, whether you've commented or not. You folks who comment: thanks times a hundred. I appreciate our conversations a great deal.