POSTED ON Feb 01st 2013 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Blog Admin, Bloggers and Blogging, Gadgets and Techology, Online Debate, Social Media
I’m not being clever, starting a blog with anti-blogging advice. I’m only starting this particular blog that way. I’ve been a blogger for almost three years. As a Texpatriate in London, I started at a blog called An American Housewife in London. That little blog grew a bit. Then, about 2 years in, that blog got me a freelance gig at PJMedia’s Lifestyle page. Just a few weeks ago, my son, 9 year old Calvin—inspired by his mother, he says—asked to start his own blog; my brother joined him, originally for the adult supervision, but he’s getting the blog bug. I am quite pleased with these developments and obviously blogging isn’t that bad if I keep growing my endeavor.
But blogging has a drawbacks.
First, it’s addictive. When James Delingpole quit blogging, my husband saw his farewell article in The Spectator and had it waiting under my morning coffee:
[E]very spare scrap of time that had hitherto gone on stuff like pottering in the garden, having the odd game of tennis, taking the kids to school, listening to music, reading, walking and relaxing, had been almost entirely swallowed up by blogging. And I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy doing it: that’s the problem — it’s an addiction. As a blogger you can’t read a news story without wanting to comment on it. You’re constantly trawling your other favourite blogs to see whose story is worth following up.
Earlier in the piece, he described bloggers as having some “missionary zeal.” It is an apt description. My last post at my old blog was, in part, about my need to tamp down on that zeal for a moment to gain some perspective. (The other part was about my mis-adventures in hairdressing. The problems were related.)
Second, blogging suffers from that dilemma that plagues most modern conveniences: does technology serve us or do we serve it? I spent hours trying to find the proper apps so I could blog from any of my devices. I spent days fighting the text formatting poltergeist—I did not have the text set to small or the font to random, though I would forgive readers for thinking that I did. Then, there are the blogging extracurricular activities, most notably Twitter, the incredibly useful ultimate time waster.
I’ve recently realized it was just cocktail party conversations in pixels. That helped, as did scheduling tweets to keep from flooding friends’ threads. I’ve found help with rules for following, insight from Alton Brown, and thoughts from Andrew Moon. As for blogging itself, I had avoided moving to WordPress, the devil you know and all that, until I had to use it for PJLifestyle and then on my son’s blog. WordPress is easier, emphasis on the ‘-er,’ not the ‘easy.’ I did not know that there are two different WordPress entities. Intending to streamline my blog accounts, I used the same user name and email for all my blogs, but alas, I now have two separate and un-mergeable WordPress accounts with the same handle and email. That won’t cause any issue down the line, I’m sure.
Third, blogging can be an emotional wringer. Bloggers expose themselves to the whole world. It’s daunting, even for the mundane stuff. I sometimes write about routine life, but I don’t shy away from weightier topics. In fact, I like to cross the streams on a regular basis. But most people are more comfortable reading reflections of their own opinions, especially in politics. Since I don’t like hunkering down in comfort zones, I’d wager that close to half of the readers of my old blog would not publicly admit to reading me. I don’t have to wager on some, they’ve told me as much, a few even asking me to remove them from my blogrolls because they did not want any public association with me. (That’s why, on my About page, the two left leaning mommy blog links are an Aussie and a Brit. American leftists would more likely protest even a compliment from me). I’d be lying if I told you it never bothers me. But then, as burdens to “do good, and to distribute, forget not” go, mine is light.
Every now and then, I get encouragement anyway. For instance, at dinner and a movie with a friend a few months ago, she hesitantly brought up that she hides my Facebook feed from time to time because my tweets and posts annoy her because she has to go research the foundations of her own opinions. (For more on hiding feeds, see here.) I surprised her by smiling. Better, more informed discussion, that’s my goal. I wanted to dance a little jig that I’d inspired research. (I didn’t. Jigs and sushi bars don’t mix.) Such comments seem to come whenever I feel like throwing in the towel. And so I keep going. I took a break, negotiated my mini-crisis of confidence and am ready to start again.
For any new readers, welcome. For old readers, I hope you like the new clean format. Those hands in the header are mine and one of my daughter’s, though I admit that I can’t tell which one.