Blogger Kendall F. Person isn’t kidding, in my opinion, when he says: “Writing is a performance art and every post is a show”. When the notion of blogging first came up via the semi-gentle prodding of blogger Lois, I thought, really? Would my personal musings, normally put down on paper in a private journal, have a place in the public realm? Not that the public realm is necessarily a bastion of expert, or even semi-good, public offerings. Was it possible I could land somewhere in the semi-middle?
I looked over some of my musings to see what might be interesting and I thought, n.o. w.a.y! Well, maybe? I eventually settled into the idea that maybe there is someone out there that I’m meant to share some thoughts with. I have to confess, I also wrestled with the idea that any non-fans might have a heyday with my inner vulnerabilities.
Cue up ‘Eye of the Tiger’. This is my tap dance; any naysayers would be braying whether I wrote or not.
So, I searched up how to start a blog and looked at a couple of websites that offered pre-set web pages. Novice that I am, I wanted cool, but needed easy. I chose the WordPress offerings and I was off to the keyboard – which actually, wasn’t that far off.
For my first publication, I settled on a note written for my son after I was hospitalized with a condition that made me wish I had already condensed all my learned life shortcuts for him. It wasn’t Aurelius, but perhaps enough for a decent start.
I followed the directions to send this out to the cyber-world with the expectation that maybe ten of my closest friends and family would bother to have a look. I was content with that idea, and that my son might get a kick out of the latest item added to my first-time-to-do list. I intended to share the post on Facebook with some of my friends, so I also anticipated a like or comment about it on my Facebook wall in the same way I get for status updates.
Despite my low-key expectations, I still held my breath a little when I clicked that ‘publish’ button. Regardless of how well you think you know your audience, putting yourself out onto the ledge of public judgment gives you some degree of heart palpitations that feels a lot different from the quaint idea of butterflies.
Regardless, shortly after, my tried and true came through with their likes, comments, and support for the blog. All was well; I could breathe easily within the cushioned approval of my pals. I was also lucky enough to be unaware at that point, that our website host also supplies statistics on how many people read your posts and from which country they are reading them.
I discovered that statistic counter the next day. I clicked on the link to my post from my Facebook wall. I wanted to see what it looked like from that angle. It brought up my blog website and unexpectedly I saw that it had a ‘Follow’ tab at the bottom. I clicked on it and it said, “Join 235 other followers”. Huh? That was exactly my first thought. Then I realized this was some kind of error, so I logged into my website and navigated around the site directions. This took me to that eye-popping statistical page. It said 135 people read that first blog on that first night, followed by the rest the next day. Now, maybe that’s not exactly The National Post’s readership numbers, but for this average mom in the sticks, it might as well have been The National Post and CNN! Of course I was obligated to check this page every hour for the next few weeks.
I was astonished at the number of people who cared to have a look at my site, especially those who weren’t aware that I existed pre- blog. It was also thrilling to see those geographical stats. First another country popped up, another, then another continent, and now only one more continent to go. I couldn’t believe how fast and how far these words, my words, could travel – Belgium, Ethiopia, England, Qatar, Singapore, Australia and on and on and back to Canada. It was a heady Sally Field moment for me, but you know, just not in front of millions. Of course, that pride puffing up was deflated somewhat by a bit of a reality check. Blog junk mail. Who knew there was such a thing? See blog no. 4 – “First Blog Results in 3 Unbelievable Opportunities”.
Despite blog no. 4, I showed my young son all of these details and he was as excited for me as if he was my agent about to get his 15% of… something. He has big plans for me, as soon as he figures out what they are going to be, something about Ellen DeGeneres.
An unexpected bonus in all of this was that I landed in a new community of extremely interesting, uplifting, fantastically talented, writing thoughtfulness. One as generous with information and tech support, as they are in raising spirits by being quick to like, share, and comment on your work!
I now find myself turning to our host reader page to view their posts as often as I do the newspaper. I feel like I won the literary lottery and now have at hand the most engaging stories of every genre at the ready. Who knew Lois’s kick in the pants would catapult me into writing and reading bliss?
Whatever the long-term purpose of this blog is to be, I am ever hopeful that it helps to serve as much as I get from it. I might also hope that the next time I’m rear-ended by a foot, I may more quickly remember that, many times, if not most, inspiration comes in the form of a good kick and some bruising.
And, I still have the excitement to come of that one last continent being added to my stats.