My blogging experiences have been varied. A few were absolutely atrocious.
The first blog I worked on was just for my family, mostly my Mom, while I was studying abroad. It was a way to keep them updated on things we wouldn’t really get the chance to talk about during regular Skype video chats.
I got to go into detail about working at a kindergarten, about exploring Dresden, Germany and what it was like being away from my native culture and home for so long. I wrote a pretty excellent post about how dropping a wet tortellini on the kitchen floor made me realize I missed my home.
That was about the most on-point blogging I did, as far as the informal format goes.
A year or two ago, I started exploring the form again. I wrote a handful of different blogs with varied topics: one for a mix of students, a hobby blog, an explorative creative thingie, and a travel blog that involved zombies (still turned on by the last one, actually). It was way too much to handle, and I knew that. I went into them expecting to abandon the precious things after a few months.
I basically set up the sites to work on voices for different audiences and to try out new types of posts, along with getting practice with clicking share buttons, to see what different widgets and optional inclusions would look like, and learn how much work it is to get things rolling. I sampled a load of social media and micro blogging sites, too. The idea behind the whole thing was to get a sense of where I could do some decent human being type things online.
As an artist, a poet, what I did was some bullshit. It was another assignment that needed completed, unlike any school, without any roi. As a blog writer, it was invaluable. I learned volumes that I never would have with just following blogs or daydreaming about trying something new. I mean, I still don’t realize how much work it is to actually run a blog or how dirty or positive I would feel about monetizing a site, but I’ve at least got sea legs enough to take to open water.
I’m here now with some insights and awareness of what blogging can be to me. I’ve learned that it isn’t a place where I want to try to force money making schemes—I’m no good as a salesman, anyway. And I understand that this is truly a place where I can meet wonderful people so I need to be as genuine as my keyboard will allow me to be.
I see some cool possibilities of where this blog in particular can go, which makes the day to day a little easier and more hope-filled. It comes down to finally introducing myself to a world of writers I want to be involved with and sharing what I love most.
At first, I thought that blogging is a waste of time for a serious writer. The academy gets you to thinking that everything you do has to be worthy of the canon, that you have to produce work Shakespeare wouldn’t shake his finger at or that if your work isn’t immediately valued, then you aren’t really a writer and should probably just give up.
Some of that is exaggerated. The academy has an abiding respect for lengthy timelines, timelines longer than lifetimes. But I have always gotten a sense of being watched like “are you sure you want to do that? Is that how you want this community to view you?”
And I’m like, fuck yeah. Do you even blog, bro?
At first, there are hurdles to get by: perceived or imagined judgement by people in the writing community, money makers and advertisers, and the fear that you might be reaching past or away from the people in the community who you want to connect with.
Then, the big one, the question if you will be able to manage and maintain a regularly posting blog for the time it would take to gain some readers and dig deep into your topic.
As I started these first blog posts on this site, which I’ve had for a few years as a artist site without much more than a (poorly written) bio landing page, I got one follower after the first post. She is a long-distance motor-cycler who has been travelling around the world on her bike for WordPress knows how long.
I see it as a suitable symbol of what I have ahead of me. Part of me thinks WordPress did it on purpose, as if to warn me or prepare me for the coming trials, the highs and lows, the oil changes and flat tires along the road to blogging success. She’s been on the road for what seems like a decade and for her efforts she has tons of followers. WordPress is like, Dan, you ready for that?
Do you even blog, bro?
And I’m like, fuck yeah. I’ve got time, somewhere below the dawn light and I’ve got enough things to say about poetry and writing to start. And like I’ve said, who knows where this blog will go. Maybe it’ll turn into a place for musing and assuming. Maybe I’ll brand it and sell my favorite writing implements (nooooooo). Maybe I’ll leave it as a short autobiography as I go on to start a digital publisher. Maybe I’ll actually meet the people I’ve been hoping actually exist in the world and befriend/be befriended by them and go from there, happy as silencio.
At first, it doesn’t have to make much sense. New things never do.
I’m just focusing in on what I do as a writer and poet and keeping to the march I’ve set.
At first, the rhythm will be hard to find. There will be bull shit posts and at some point, I’ll accidentally reveal too much. But that’s life.
At first, you can’t get bogged down by what you haven’t blogged yet.