In January 2007, Kevin and I started blogging as a way of keeping connected to my family in the US as we awaited the birth of our first son. The blog went through the ups and downs of having a tiny pre-term newborn, who turned into a high need baby that challenged us in ways that we never knew possible.
The blog puttered along with sporadic posting and some pretty heart-wrenching happenings over a 2 year period. However, at the start of March 2009, I decided to commit to blogging more formally as my 'hobby', started this blog as a record of our lives and creative endeavours. I promoted it, got some tutorials on some crafty websites and saw my readership grow substantially. This week will see Slugs on the Refrigerator hit 40,000 page views, 400 posts and 200 subscribers. Unbelievable.
I can not describe how much blogging has meant to me. I have been able to be creative in a sphere (writing) that I had been told throughout my life I shouldn't bother with as I wasn't very good at it. I have also used the blog for exploring other areas of creativity like photography, knitting, and sewing that I didn't ever consider previously. I have connected with people all over the world and built real and meaningful friendships. I have built a circle of stones of people that strengthen my own beliefs of parenting, green living, attachment parenting, etc etc, that I didn't have in real life. Most importantly, I have this amazing record of our life over the last 8 months (and going back to pre-Ellis in unpublished archives) that covers everything from our favourite recipes to notes to myself to our lazy afternoons.
And that is the crux of why I blog. I moved to the UK with 2 suitcases 8 years ago. My childhood possessions, my memories, the people who knew me from the time I was knee high to a grasshopper are all based 1000s of miles away. I didn't know how much I would lose when I left them all behind and I don't want Ellis or any future children to be without some record of their early journey in this world. Or, God forbid, something happens to Kevin or I and they have nothing but a handful(OK, thousands) of pictures to piece together their life with us here in the UK (if something does happen to us, my younger brother will get custody of the children and they will go to live in America). I look back on my archives and I am proud of the collection of things I have to send with them into the future..the memories, the stories, their mother's painful ramblings.
But recently, I have really struggled with blogging. Maybe its that my initial enthusiasm has waned. Maybe its that my fear has been realised that I had creative energy only when I longed for a second baby and now that I am pregnant, I don't need that outlet. Maybe it has to do with the reality that my competitive streak has kicked in once I learned how one gets more readers, I began to desire that above other reasons for blogging. Maybe I read too much about how to blog. I began to Twitter, because that's what you DO. I began to chart other bloggers' stats, as well as my own. I began to see it as a sport, rather than a gentle pastime.
And so, knowing that there is an 'audience', I have found myself on and off writing for what I thought the 'audience' wanted. Unsurprisingly, I find myself struggling to write anything I can be proud of. I look at some posts and I think, "Why on earth did I post that?" (Hence why I deleted the previous post after publishing it, in case any of you caught it). I have every so often thought to myself that we should go and DO something because it would be very bloggable.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything amiss with seeking out or even creating "bloggable moments" in my life. Because I want to capture the beautiful and funny, the blog is a useful tool for making space for those moments in my life. But the problem comes in when we stop creating something to share, but create something to get and keep readers.
And so, I find myself in need of taking a wee break from this sphere to rethink what I am doing. Reinvest in blogging for myself and the reasons I want to blog.I know some of your are bloggers, but most are not. So I am sorry if this discussion of blogs and blogging has bored you to tears. I can guarantee future posts will go back to the navel gazing of the ever-expanding variety.
And so I will leave you for a while. It may be a day or two, it might be a week. Heck, I could be back tomorrow. I don't know. Feel free to check back, or subscribe or not. I'll leave it to you. I may be on Twitter, I will probably be on Facebook and I will definately be at Cafe Creme on a Friday morning at about 10am scoffing bacon baguettes.
In the mean while, enjoy Ellis' new theme song. It took 45 minutes to get him dressed this morning. Developmentally, I would have thought it made more sense to get over the "I want to be naked all the time" phase BEFORE actually learning how to undress oneself. No such luck in this house.
See you soon!