A year ago yesterday I read this meme over at Beck's (it was started, I believe, at blogrhet, which appears to no longer be in existence). I had been mostly lurking on Beck's blog for a few months or so, occasionally commenting. I liked her writing style, her insights, her parties for Pentecost and the like. Occasionally I'd peek at another blog, if something in the comments struck me. I had no intention to start blogging. I wondered about the ethics of blogging about your children, and how much they would hate you for it when they were older.
But something about the meme grabbed me. And I started poking around and reading other people's answers to the same meme. And this is what REALLY struck me: Community. And so, mainly in a longing for community, a year ago today I started this wee little blog. I tried several other names, all of which were taken. I landed on Painted Maypole, which wasn't. A blog, and a blogging personality, were born. And here I am, a year later. It amazes me, frankly, that anyone reads me at all. Why on earth do you keep coming back to read my random writings? Most of the bloggers I read and most of the bloggers who read me are Mommy Bloggers (not all, mind you, and I love you all!) And at blogher I'm considered a parent blogger. But I think that less than half my posts are about parenting. I don't know how to describe it, really, which is perhaps why I still have told very few friends and family about it. It's like my dirty little secret. A Blog! Shhh...
Anyhow, in honor of my wee blog's first birthday, I decided to take a stab at the meme that started it all...
1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days?Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
Well, because I started blogging BECAUSE of this meme, I was aware of my "audience," or at least my hoped for audience. I was writing for strangers. Or rather, I was writing for a handful of people whom I had gotten to know through reading their blogs, and wanted to be part of their community. However, as I read my early posts, I can see my sort of stretching and reaching, the hopefulness of finding that community, those links, while also trying to find a voice and a writing style that worked for me.
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment?
Both Beck and the blogger formerly known as BubandPie commented on my first post, which nearly sent me to the moon in a fit of ecstasy. I have tried to follow their example and check out new commenters on my blog quickly, and leave a reciprocal comment, but I'm not always as good about it as I'd like. I do usually manage to do it within a few days.
3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
It's what I always wanted... and I would say I had a few moments of feeling part of the community early on, but for the first few months I felt quite a bit like the person pushing their way into the conversation- like I didn't quite belong, but darn it, I would keep talking and keep trying until I finally felt comfortable. I don't know when it was when I stopped feeling like I was intruding on the cool kids in the cafeteria, but I feel now like I've settled in to this little corner of the blogosphere that I call home, enjoying the company of so many wonderful people, interacting and reading and being together here in this virtual community.
It was interesting for me to go back and reread those first posts. I can see that I have become more comfortable. I would say that my voice changed a bit as I got to know my audience. Not that I changed what I wrote about due to a desire to fit in or get more comments or anything, but that as I got to know you, my readers and friends, that my voice relaxed a bit, and I started to write more like I was writing for friends, and less like I was writing magazine articles for strangers. And that's it, I suppose. I write for me, too, of course, but I write to you, my friends, my blogging community.
Thank you for being part of my blogging community. Thank you for making me glad, a year later, that I started this blog on a crazy whim. Thank you.