So, this is now my 1000th blog post! I guess that is a good occasion to reflect a bit on this blogging journey I’ve been on.
When I started blogging, a thousand posts ago, all I knew was that I wanted to write and share my thoughts. Up until then I had only been on message boards to relieve my fangirl passions but what I really wanted was a place of my own to do as I please without adhering to anyone else’s rules and hopefully without the drama that inevitably always ensues in online fandoms. I wanted my own little fangirl corner and my own outlet. How to approach it, though? Yes, I loved Richard Armitage but I didn’t want to be limited to writing only about him. I liked other actors too and shows and movies that Armitage wasn’t connected to. And maybe I’d occasionally want to write about other stuff too but I figured if I did all that it would become too much of a hodge podge and I’d just embarrass myself online.
I figured if I couldn’t decide on one topic, maybe I should decide on one form. So, I decided my blog could be a collection of letters that I would never actually send but that I would still write and share on my own outlet. My very first post in May 2013 was a very short little letter announcing I was going to start blogging, immediately followed by a second letter (and a bit of a mess) that I ‘wrote to’ John Green about loving The Fault in Our Stars. I planned on following that letter post up with a third letter post but couldn’t figure out what letter to write and to whom. And so I remained silent for over a year, trying to figure out in my head how to do this.
Then one day I had the brilliant insight that I was over-thinking this. So what if my blog would turn into a hodge podge of topics and there was no one form it would adhere to? Blogging was always going to just be a hobby, something to do for fun, so why put any constraints on myself? I would just jump in, without any specific audience in mind (which meant there was no one to embarrass either) and write about whatever struck my fancy. It wasn’t necessarily about the readers, I figured, it was all about me just wanting to express myself, and boom, my third post was born in September of 2014 (16 months after my first post).
That third post, and the true start of this blog, was about having seen Richard Armitage live in The Crucible earlier that summer. It was the “summer of love” and I had been reading all these exciting stories all summer about the play and meeting Richard at the stage door. I decided to finally jump in and add my own voice to all the excitement. I wasn’t much for self-promotion so I don’t think anyone really read that at the time, but that was fine because I had finally taken that plunge and put my words out there and this time I was going to stick with it.
People started actually reading here in December of 2014 when Servetus linked to a post I had written collecting reviews for Richard Armitage in The Hobbit and it all grew from there. I never aimed at having a large audience (often the larger the audience, the larger the drama and I’m not so fond of drama) but it was nice having a few readers. My follower count has considerably grown since then (many follows are not actual readers, though, just ‘commercial followers’) but I think the most people that read here consist of a fairly small group and I like it that way. It’s my own small community. Going by my blog statistics I know that I have more readers than commenters and I feel a kinship with those who just lurk as I used to be a big lurker too on blogs and forums. All lurkers are more than welcome here. 🙂 I had never expected more than five people to ever read here, so I am grateful for each visit to my blog.
So, seven years of actual blogging and 1000 posts on, what is my takeaway from this writing journey?
- Love what you write about and this blogging thing remains fun. I’m glad I stuck with my hodge podge topics, even if some posts are barely read.
- I’m happy to blog whenever I want. Sometimes (like this past week!) that’s daily, sometimes I’ll stay quiet for days and even, on rare occasions, a few weeks. I put no obligations on myself, I write purely for fun and don’t want a set schedule or set topics to interfere with that.
- Commercial blogging is not for me, I like to remain constraint-free, and so I have no interest in ‘growing my audience’ or ‘attracting advertisers’.
- My main audience, going by statistics and comments, are Richard Armitage fans. My most read posts are the ones I wrote about Richard at the Newcastle International Film Festival in 2018 (here and here).
- A successful blog post for me is not necessarily a well-read post. For me the ones that are most successful are the ones that gave me real joy or real relief to write.
- It usually takes more time to write a blog post than I initially think (like this one, which in it’s first draft from a few days ago was really short but then grew and grew). Even short posts I need to re-read regularly to make sure I say what I want to say before I hit “publish”.
- Sometimes when I start writing I’m not even sure what I want to say. At the beginning when I blogged I always felt I needed to make some real point but that has changed. Now, even when I have nothing in my mind at that moment that I want to say, I just pick something randomly and start writing. There is always something in my head that preoccupies me and only by writing it down does it start to take any form. Sometimes it even turns into something completely different than I initially thought. Some posts are lovely journeys of discovery and some have virtually no point at all.
- Few people in my real life know about my blog and I like to keep it that way. This blog is my escape, my brain drain and I’m not looking for real life daily feedback on it from family, friends or colleagues. Only my husband and kids and two close friends of mine in real life know of this blog.
- I am more involved in the community aspect of blogging than I ever expected to be. I like that I have made some blog friends whom I love interacting with and I have even met some in real life! Community was not necessarily what I was looking for but I like that it came along with the blogging. I also love that I sometimes learn things from my commenters, that they sometimes challenge me and it’s been great for refreshing my German too! Some readers here are German and have their own blogs that I comment on, which made me write and ‘speak’ German in my head far more. The writing and speaking were slipping away from me but that has been reversed now to a better, fairly reasonable basic German standard.
- I like honest discussion, I don’t like personal insults and sometimes it’s just best to agree to disagree and move on. With all that, except for a few minor incidents, my blog has remained relatively drama free, for which I am grateful.
- As time went on, I have shared more and more personal things about myself, but I also like to maintain a certain distance and not get too close. As much as I truly enjoy interacting with you, my blog friends, and love being friendly with you, I also guard my personal space. Automatic self-protection mode, I guess, and a bit of an introvert’s trait as well.
The big take away here, after writing one thousand posts, is that I still love to blog and that it has brought me so much relief, unabashed fangirling and community. Maybe I even love it more than when I first started out because I have found a kind of groove that I feel comfortable in.
Thank you to each and every one of you for being so tolerant of my musings, for indulging my nonsense and for making me feel comfortable enough to share all these hodge podge posts. Thank you to all for reading, for commenting and for challenging me, for lurking and browsing and with all that helping to make this such a good experience for me.
I plan on continuing this for a long while yet. On to the next 1000 blog posts!