I think I got through the cobwebs, the branches that broke through the roof, and shooed away the nest of raccoons. I let this blog become a shambles! I didn’t intend to let it happen but, much like every person ever featured on Hoarders, I had the best of intentions and let time and expectations and anxiety and all sorts of mind junk get in the way and the next thing I knew, months had passed and ideas were stacking up like a newspaper maze. I would have things I wanted to share, or stuff that happened that I wanted to write about, or general feelings* but I would remember that it’s been months, and then figure I should write some explanation. However, I couldn’t bring myself to write the explanation, and felt like I couldn’t ignore the fact that I hadn’t posted in roughly a billionty years, then I would doze off, or do some WoW quests, or think about all the things on my to do list that weren’t getting done and the next thing you know it’s 2015.
Which, does anyone know how that happened? I know I must have missed some parts of 2014, a lot of 2013, and if I’m being honest, I’m not really sure every year of the double-aughtsactually happened. So, if anyone wants to fill me in on what’s happened to the last decade or so of my life, that would be super-fantastic. Thanks.
If I’m being honest, among the things I want to be when I grow up** is an internet sensation. I don’t really need to be a sensation, per se, but at least some level of internet famous. Enough to pay my bills, at least, so I can fulfill my real dream of being a performer-taxidermist-fashion designer-artist. We live in a world where there are lots of folks doing just that. The internet famous part, not so much the performer-taxidermist-fashion designer-artist part. Bloggers, vloggers, cosplayers, photographers, comic artists, and a bunch of other stuff that would make a list that’s days long. I’ve had this blog for roughly a decade, and an online journal thinger before that. It was mostly because I was just doing it because I liked doing it. It’s been a good way for me to keep the writing skills I acquired during high school and college reasonably honed. I like reading blogs of all stripes, as well. Over the years, I couldn’t help but notice the popularity of some of those blogs. Many were just random people practicing hobbies, or people who were looking for something to fill 40-some hours a week while unemployed when they started. Then, they would get deals for articles, books, invites to New York fashion week, Europe, guests spots on televisions shows. They would quit their day jobs, or not get new day jobs. I kind of like that idea.
But, I’m all sorts of crazy. I would question what I wanted to post. I would over analyze every photo I took. I would come up with reasons why people weren’t reading. So, I looked at the successful bloggers et al for things I should do to make my blog better. I read posts, and tips, and articles. I’ve got bookmarks up the wazoo. The biggest thing I tried was putting together a schedule. Based on what all the cool kids were saying, it would make blogging easier. I could plan things ahead, not have to overthink them. It kicked my ass. Just finding a squirrel to post once a week, and keep all the links straight that I wanted to share one other day consumed way more time, energy, and effort than I ever thought. While I had subjects I wanted to tackle on the remaining days, I struggled to come up with anything more than the two days I had covered. I managed to get some things up here and there beyond the other two, but overall there were five days of crickets. Then, I fell behind on those two days. I stopped reading at least 75% of anything I would have before.
I started freaking out. According to all these bloggers I perceived as successful, I needed to fill a need. I needed to look at what I had to offer, what people wanted from my blog. I was winding up with a big fat list of items I needed to check off if I wanted to gain an audience. I already have anxiety, OCD, narcolepsy, and am a bit of a bipolar bear. Instead of making things easier and blogging my way to the top, that list gave me a big fat list of things to obsess over. If I did manage to put something together, I would just rip it apart mentally before I even allowed anyone else to have a chance at it. The more time that passed, the worse it became.
It didn’t help that when I switched platforms for my blog, I chose a generic template to tide me over until a custom one could be created. The plan I had for a custom page fell through. So, I had one more item on my list to use against myself. Being an artsy person, I was sure that everyone who looked at my page just couldn’t take it seriously.
Granted, the blog wasn’t the only thing aggravating my health issues. However, when one’s mental health is already not in peak condition, a big fat list of epic failures*** does not help.
Recently, I discovered a couple of new blogs by chance. From one of them, I discovered a site mainly dedicated to blogs people “hate read” or are annoyed by. Talk about a weird thing to kick me in the ass. I discovered a local blog that I once read, but lost interest in, had one of the largest threads in the forum. I discovered that there were scads of people articulating why I stopped reading this blog, but hadn’t put my finger on. I started thinking about why I like the blogs I read, why I stopped reading so many, and what I sought from them.
Most of the blogs I stopped reading, I quit because I became bored. They regurgitated a lot of the same posts, either by linking directly to them, copying all the text directly, or tweaking the text and hoping no one would notice it was a repeat. Instead of sharing true insights into their life, they began doing things specifically so they could post about it. Instead of sharing something they thought was cool, they had to present themselves as experts whether they were or not. Yet, many of them would have disclaimers saying they weren’t actually experts, legal mumbo jumbo, yada, yada, yada. Instead of regular people being featured in a post, it would have to be a model, or expert, or famous something-or-other that we weren’t necessarily supposed to know was somebody so it still seemed organic, or that we were totally supposed to know and OMG-FANGIRL (or BOY) all over ourselves.
I realized that I didn’t start reading these blogs because I expected them to know all the answers or change my life. I read them because they seemed like cool people. People I could see hanging out with. People I related to. People who were totally cooler than I but by reading their blog, I could feel like I was a cool kid too. People that had something that I aspired to or that inspired me. Not because they were trying to inspire anyone or because they knew they were better/stronger/faster/smarter. Just because they were brave enough to share insight into their lives. Because they maybe started their blog because of friends or families being far away, and by reading it, I felt like I was a friend, too.
All reasons that I started my blog. I have that I adore that are far away. I like to let them know what I’m up to. While I’ve managed to convince a lot of people otherwise, I am actually an introvert. I get exhausted when I’m around a lot of people or I feel like I have to be “on.” But on my blog, I can share away, and not feel like I need to lock myself down in my PJs for roughly a decade to recover. I can share something, and maybe someone will read it and relate and not feel so alone. They can roll their eyes at what a nerd I am. They can do whatever they want with it. I can boast about a challenge I completed that made me feel awesome, or one that was a fail and just get it out of my system. I can share whatever super-cool-to-me thing I am excited about, and maybe someone who wouldn’t have heard of it will now know about it, or maybe they totally heard about it like three years ago and are totally over it. But, if I don’t worry about any of that part, I can just be genuine, and me, and if people like it, that’s awesome. But it’s totally the opposite of the point if I’m just doing this because I am planning on a very specific reaction and perception, and planning my whole life to revolve around this one thing.
I mean, even a day job doesn’t require that, and why wouldn’t I just aspire to a day job that I could punch a clock in that case?
So, in this (almost brand) new year, in addition to my usual resolution of being more fabulous, I resolve to blog like I did in years gone by. To put myself out there, and give zero fucks as the kids say on the internet. To not worry about whether this thing makes me internet famous, but let things happen the way they are meant to. The way I live the rest of my life.
If you’ve already been with me through all of this, thank you for sticking this out with me. If you are a newcomer, just pretend you didn’t read any of that, and be prepared to be OMG dazzled by my mad blogging skillz. Or not. I guess that part’s up to you.
*I almost wrote “feels” but I just can’t. My fingers will not type it. Or my keyboard won’t let it appear. Either way, I chalk it up to a guardian angel making sure I don’t do something totally stupid I’ll regret later.
**If I’m being really honest, I’m not growing up. I’m older. I’m old enough to do just about anything I want to outside of join AARP, and too old for some things, yet I am most definitely not a grown up. I’m totally fine with this, but would like to eventually be one of the things I aspire to as a grown up.
***Yeah, I know they aren’t true epic failures, but my brain is not fully convinced.