Well, here it is officially June 10, and two years ago, bored at work because everyone was off at a conference or something and I was left to man the phones, I started this foolish blog, knowing nothing about blogging whatsoever. I started originally on Blogger, but quickly got frustrated when the formatting would randomly go wonky, the photos would disappear with no warning, and when I’d schedule posts, they just wouldn’t post. WordPress beckoned and I answered the call and haven’t looked back.
Two years, you guys. That’s a long time. So much has happened over the last two years. Things that I could never have imagined when I was sitting at the reception desk of my office looking for something to do to make the hours go by more quickly and thought, “Well, you could start a blog.” I’ve met some of the world’s most amazing people. I have friends in my life I’d never have met without my blog; friends that I was meant to know, and without my blog? They wouldn’t be here. I’d have never met them. The thought of that breaks my heart, because my life would be such an emptier place without them in it.
Today’s advice to you? Well, I of course saved the best for last. Did you doubt I would?
The most important thing I’ve learned over the past two years of blogging?
Ignore all the advice. Write.
I know, right? Totally bait-and-switched you.
Listen. You can read a million how-to-blog articles. How long your posts should be. When you should post. How frequently you should post. How you should or shouldn’t market your blog or yourself. Your use of social media. What you should write about. What you SHOULDN’T write about. There are plenty of places that will give you advice – sometimes conflicting advice – until you’re so confused you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off, all squawky and discombobulated. Also, it is very hard to count chickens with their heads cut off. All that blood makes for incorrect chicken headcounts.
But the way you’re going to learn all these things, the best way, the way it’s going to stick with you, is to just DO it. To sit at your computer and write out the words in your head, whatever those words might be. Are you going to fail? I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Yes. You are probably going to fail. Probably more than once. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to do things you’re not proud of, looking back on them; freshman mistakes, I suppose you could call them. These things happen. They’ll continue to happen. Even when you’re no longer a freshman. It’s life. Life’s one long learning experience, so take the lessons as they come.
You’ll know when it’s working. It’s something you feel inside; this click, this feeling of rightness. You’ll know because you’ll start building a community. Your words will resonate with others. You’ll start…I don’t know how best to explain this. Ripples. You’ll start creating ripples. And those ripples reach others. And on and on and on and you connect, and you have this whole network around you. All these points of life. All these people whose lives you’ve touched, whose lives you touch. It feels very good. It feels very safe. And you did this. You did this with your words and your work and putting yourself out there.
You can read all the advice; you can even follow some if you want. Yes, you’ll get less hits if you post on a weekend. Yes, it’s good to network with other bloggers. Yes, a presence on social media is a good thing.
But mostly? Just get out there and write. Take the words inside you and get them out of you. Share them with the world, where they can take root and grow and touch others and on and on and on it goes.
It’s the start of a grand adventure. It’s your own royal rumpus. The only thing I know for sure is that your life will never be the same for it.
Thank you to everyone who’s come along with me on my royal rumpus over the last two years. Everyone who’s read a post, who’s commented, who’s shared something I’ve written, who’s been here. Thank you to my friends, who I found along the way and who are so precious to me, so dear, I don’t even have the words.
Thank you. Just, thank you.
Now, finally, my top post for the past two years. Some of you might have already guessed this, I think, and if you haven’t, it’ll make sense once you see it.
Top post in the past two years!
With 3,490 hits – almost 3,500 hits, you guys, is that not insane? – in the past three months…
Freshly Pressed did a lot of that, and you guys did the rest, with your comments and your shares and your reblogs. You’re a glorious group of people. A brave, strong group of people, who feel things deeply, who connect deeply with things, who want to make a change in things that are broken in the world.
I’m glad this post connected with people; I’m glad this post helped people connect. I’m glad Freshly Pressed decided to share it with a larger audience so more people could see it. I’m glad you were all here for it.
Thank you for the past two years, my most beloved little chickadees. I don’t know what the next year will bring; that’s the joy of the future. It’s as-yet unwritten. It’s a shiny new blank journal, waiting for you to start your chicken-scratching.
Off I go to start chicken-scratching all over my shiny new year.
I hope you come along. It wouldn’t be the same without you.