Way back on September 20th, 2007 I hit publish on a blog post for the first time. It’s very short and not terribly interesting. I knew nothing about blogging, didn’t have a Facebook account, and pretty much only used the internet to look up recipes and send emails.
Our. House. Didn’t. Even. Have. WIFI.
I can’t imagine a world without WIFI now. It was a dark time in history.
I was the mother of an almost three-year-old. I was home with him by myself the majority of the time. I needed an outlet, because I was sick of watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, and I had fantasies about throwing the entire annoying cast of The View off the Brooklyn Bridge.
I posted every other day. Sometimes more than once a day. I fumbled my way through until I discovered that the answer to almost any blog or internet related question could be found with a simple Google search. I bought a URL and paid for hosting. I designed and redesigned my site. I gathered a small following and companies started contacting me about doing reviews and giveaways for free products. Then companies started offering to PAY me for sponsored content.
Woo-hoo! I was a small-time blogging success story.
My first header. Ah, memory lane.
It was a brave new world and marketers were only just beginning to realize the selling power of the personal voices on the other side of the keyboards in America’s living rooms and coffee shops. When I look back, because in internet time five years is a millennium, I think of 2008-2012 as the Good ‘Ol Days. In the beginning, 600 Feedburner subscribers was huge. Then we watched as The Pioneer Woman and Dooce took their blogs through the stratosphere with fame and book deals and TV shows. There was this heady, unruly, maverick feeling to all of it. I think we knew we were on the cusp of something big that would change everything, even if no one else did.
Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram and Google + and Pinterest all became important. Bloggers needed professional photography skills. All of sudden there were blogging best practices and social media strategies to follow. Cutesy blog headers decorated with photos of all your children and the family dog that filled the entire screen and took five minutes to load on dial-up became passe, because Content was King.
You couldn’t just read blogs and comment on them for fun anymore. You had to do it with intent to grow your readership. We began to really see that this could be a job, and marketers saw that we could be their bread and butter. There were rules, rules, rules to follow. Everyone suddenly became professional which was good for everyone’s bottom line, but the feeling of Community started to fade.
Then newness and pioneering spirit of blogging also waned. People no longer fell into blogging success when a hobby accidentally went viral. Now thousands upon thousands entered for the sole purpose of making a buck. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it changed blogging, and for me made it a little less fun. I too stopped doing it to entertain myself and started looking around every corner of the internet for a paycheck. I never even came close to making a living, but every little penny and Amazon gift card felt like validation.
Then last Christmas I became sick. I hadn’t been that sick in years. I was miserable with a throat infection that wouldn’t go away, and I went weeks without posting a single thing on this blog. Half of me felt bad for neglecting my site and the other half felt relieved I wasn’t constantly trying to think of what to write next, how to get more people to read it and how much money I could get paid for it.
I went back eventually, but for the last year I’ve only posted on average once a week. I even had a few more stretches that went longer than that. I didn’t want to let it go. I’d worked too hard to build my tiny online empire. But I needed a break. I didn’t get excited about writing anymore. I didn’t feel like whipping up graphics in Photoshop. I didn’t care that the emails from PR companies stopped coming. Worst of all, I had writer’s block. I didn’t have anything to say most of the time, and even when I did it felt like it came out bland.
This fall both my kids were finally in school all day. For years I dreamed of the day I could get up in the morning and just write all day. But I didn’t want to. Instead I cleaned and reorganized just about everything in the house and binge watched all seven season of Gilmore Girls on Netflix like it was crack.
Netflix and Amazon Prime have to be the single greatest blow to American productivity in the history of ever.
Slowly over the last month ideas started coming again. Ideas that I was excited to write about, and just last week I felt an urge to write like I hadn’t felt since 2007.
Oh, it’s probably all going to be worthless drivel. It feels really narcissistic and completely ridiculous. I wonder why anyone would really care about what I have to say. I’m going to write it anyway.
But I think I might ignore some of those rules and best practices, like this post is longer than the recommended 850 words. Google + turned out to be a bust anyway. I might just do it for fun, and for you and if some company wants to throw a Target gift card at me I won’t say no.
“I’m just going to talk about life as a wife, mom, homemaker and Christian woman and hope that it brings some encouragement or laughter to those who read it.” That’s what I wrote in that first post back in 2007.
It feels like the first time.