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Jan 15 2016

Reflections on a decade of blogging

Reflections on a decade of bloggingOne week ago I hit a milestone anniversary and, true to course, totally overlooked it because 1) I suck at memorable dates unless I’m married to you or pushed you through the lady bits and 2) please see item number 1.

January 8, 2006, So Why A Blog?:

Really, it comes down to “why not?” Yeah, blogs are trendy right now and mommy bloggers are the hot news item, but I don’t think that’s why I decided to do this. I’m far from trendy and certainly not hot (though my husband would argue that point; love that man!), it just sounded like something I could have fun with. I’ve been reading blogs for close to a year, and have been so inspired by so many bloggers out there. So here I am, spending what little free time I have doing more on the computer, and loving it.

I started blogging ten years plus one week ago. Originally called Never a Dull Moment, I dove into online writing just because. Because it sounded like fun, because I could write out all the little personal essays I’d been composing in my head since I was a child, because I wanted someplace to be ME, because being a mom is invisible and difficult. At first I just slapped up little snippets of writing and online quizzes, much like what you’d find on Facebook these days. Gradually I eased into writing more thoughtfully, getting a little recognition from other bloggers (I’m still proud of the post I wrote about our little library). I wrote about whatever came to mind: politics, bicycle helmets, that time I nearly ran over a cow. Then as I found my voice, I discovered I was writing more and more about giftedness and parenting and the difficulties of gifted parenting. That led to a book, then a contract for a second book, and recognition from the gifted community; apparently people liked what I had to say.

And say I did. Like that time I railed at the Today Show. Or when I shouted that not all gifted parents are bragging about their kids.

I’ve met so, so many people through blogging these last ten years. Most of them I still only know through my computer, but a few I’ve met in real life. Some have greatly influenced my life, changing its trajectory and those of my sons. All of them I call friend, none of them I would have met if I hadn’t taken the leap ten years ago.

But blogging has changed in a decade. It’s nowhere near what it was when I created Never a Dull Moment on Blogger on a cold January night ten years ago. You can’t just write about what’s in your head, you have to have a focus, a niche. You can’t just slap up an amusing post, you have to optimize for SEO and have a pinnable image and cross-promote it. The community is on social media now, very rarely do people comment back and forth on blogs. A lot of the lighthearted fun is gone. The fun is on Facebook, the back and forth conversation is on Twitter, the pictures are on Instagram, and long-form blogging for the love of words is…flailing in the breeze. It saddens me, and it’s been harder and harder to write here over the last few years. I still love to write, I journal every day in Day One, but the glee of writing a blog post and reading comments (if there are any) is greatly diminished, because the community is gone. I love playing with words, with taking an absolutely shittastic situation and crafting the description to make people laugh in empathy. I’m a trained musician, and we get instant feedback at concerts; I got spoiled by the instant feedback blogging allowed. I continue to hope that the pendulum will swing back towards long-form writing and that I’ll be here waiting to grab hold, but in the meantime? It’s hard to write for a medium that provided instant feedback and no longer does; it’s hard enough to be solitary enough to sit down and pour out the words.

I never expected to be where I am today, ten years ago, but I’m grateful for it. In 2006 in never occurred to me that I’d have a book under my belt and another one in the works, with some fiction ideas tickling my brain. It never occurred to me that people would listen to what I had to say about gifted kids and parenting (I still can’t believe they do, talk about Impostor Syndrome). It never occurred to me that I’d still be writing, ten years later, and still enjoying it…when I finally do sit down and do it. There are so many interests in my life, all demanding my attention (especially those tween/teen boys who were so, so young when I started blogging), and unfortunately writing has been shoved to the back of the closet (see: instant gratification…I have to practice my flute or I’ll pee down my leg in rehearsal every week, that takes up valuable writing time).

After ten years, part of me thinks I should hang it up, because if I can’t do it to my high perfectionist standards maybe I should direct my attention elsewhere. Try something different, a new blog, a new focus. Write some short stories, let the guilty stress of not writing here just go. Yet another part of me acknowledges that this blog has been an important part of my life for nearly a quarter of it. Hard to give that up. So I don’t know.

Happy Blogaversary to me and Laughing at Chaos. It’s been a hell of a decade.

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  1. Pamela Kranz

    Don’t do it! I love laughing with you (I’m sure you’re laughing. Otherwise, it would be rude.) and commiserating with the day to day insanities we call *LIFE*. 🙂

    1. Jen

      You’re not laughing AT me, you’re laughing NEAR me. 😉 And WITH me.

  2. Bea

    I’m a recent fan of your long posts and would be dismayed if it were to disappear. In fact I just learned you have a book! Aaaaah! Why don’t I have this gem yet? I’m very embarrassed to say that I didn’t know that at some point life changed and it is now proper to have only one space after a period, which I learned from you! Ugh! Now that I’m blushing… Could you give me the name of your wondrous book?

    1. Jen

      Thanks Bea! The book is “If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?” You can find it here: http://amzn.to/1OugRUA

  3. Melanie Luce

    By all means please continue! I enjoy it.

    1. Jen

      Thanks Melanie. I’m working through some things in my own head and hope to be in a better place to keep writing. I love it, it’s just…yeah.

  4. My Kids Mom

    I’ve enjoyed your writing, both before you found a focus on giftedness and after. Our boys are about the same in age and similar in behaviors.

    I’ve given up my blog. I didn’t really mean to, but I find less time to write. The stories form in my head and it’ll be weeks and weeks before I can write them, and then they’re meaningless. I miss it too, and the stories will probably always form in my head. I even thought I could shift from silly kids I live with antics to silly kids I work with antics… but privacy issues got in my way and I felt uncomfortable when I learned some family and friends were reading. So, that’s that.

    Best of luck as you figure out where you’re going from here.
    ~Jill
    My Kids Mom recently posted…friggin’ adorable: Tyson’s adoption storyMy Profile

    1. Jen

      “The stories form in my head and it’ll be weeks and weeks before I can write them, and then they’re meaningless.”
      Exactly. I have so many half-started stories it’s embarrassing. The boys just don’t stop talking to me! I can’t hear my words if they’re talking to me non-stop! I’m not kidding when I say I’d give a piece of my liver for a door to my loft office. Out of sight, out of mind. :/

  5. Corin Goodwin

    Don’t stop!!! Nooooooooo!

    1. Jen

      HA! Thanks for the vote of confidence, babe. 🙂

  6. Terri Tyson

    I second Corin. I love your blogs!

    1. Jen

      Thanks Terri.

  7. Lynda Carter

    I just found your blog via Facebook and gifted forums. I hope you will continue so I can catch up.

    1. Jen

      Thanks Lynda. There’s plenty there to read as I get my head back on straight. Enjoy!

  8. Pamela Price

    Write what feels right to you. Because it’ll be terrific. 😉
    Pamela Price recently posted…25 Things Your Community Can Do to Curb BullyingMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Thanks hon. I have mind-work to do to figure it all out. Not writing isn’t really an option in my life anymore, it’s just…bah.

  9. Nikki Linn

    I’ve loved your blog since before I was involved with GHF, and even more after I met you. I hear you though – life, kids, personal interests don’t leave much time for putting all the thoughts in my head down coherently either. Making time for yourself and what you love is a huge priority. I hope that continues to intersects with your thoughtful, hilarious writing. 🙂

    1. Jen

      Thanks Nikki. I’ll figure it out, it’s just going to take time, which none of us have a lot of. :/

  10. Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot

    It sounds like you had a very fructuous decade? What if the next decade brings about even more discoveries and good surprises?
    Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot recently posted…Mindfulness – Slow DownMy Profile

    1. Jen

      It’s not often I read something that stops me dead in my tracks with my jaw hanging open. Your comment is one of the few times. YES! What if the next decade brings more discoveries and good surprises? I’d never thought of that, and reading it was like the slap upside my head I needed. Thank you.

  11. qH

    From someone who has been blogging for an embarrassingly long time and before that had a vanity domain (ahem, 20 years ago) that was frequently updated (but who switches things up every few years), I know exactly what this feels like. My reaction to being required to have images and care about SEO and when to post, was to continued to blog and quit the groups that made the requirements.

    There is no rule that says you have to have a pinnable image to blog, and the people who already follow your blog will continue to do so if you have the image or not. If you’re not cross-posted on Facebook…does it matter to your writing? To your expressing your feelings? It won’t affect your readership, because (imposter syndrome or not) you are looked on as someone with wonderful insights and you’ve helped me a lot, most likely without having a clue you were doing it. 🙂

    Also, can Julie please bottle her optimism and sell it? I’d buy some in a heartbeat.

    1. Jen

      I know you’re right, and you make very very good points. When I was just writing whatever was in my head it didn’t matter as much. But I feel, given the niche of a niche in which I tend to write, that having pinnable images and proper SEO and the like makes it more probable that those who need to read what I’ve written actually find it.
      That said, you were the first blogger in a VERY long time who commented on a few posts…then I found your blog and commented…and you came back, etc. It was great to feel part of a blogging community like that again. 🙂

  1. What I've learned from four years of reluctantly homeschooling a twice-exceptional kid - Laughing at Chaos

    […] « Reflections on a decade of blogging […]

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