Monday, June 10, 2013

Blogiversary: 5 Things I Learned In My First Year of Blogging

I launched Urban Moo Cow one year ago today.

I decided to start the blog approximately two days before launching it. (Once I make up my mind....) Not six weeks later, I stumbled, green and clueless, into the BlogHer '12 conference in Times Square.

"Hi!" I chirped with a big goofy smile. "I'm a blogger!"

No, I was not. I did not have the first clue.

Thankfully, Liza Hippler, who is developing a cool new way to organize your blog life called Bloganizer, took pity on me and directed me to the SITS Girls website to learn a little bit about what I was getting myself into.

A year later, I have learned a lot. My husband even conceded that I wear the "interwebs social media" crown in our family. That's a big concession from a computer nerd. (He quickly clarified that he is still family king of the entire interwebs; he's just giving me the social media sliver. Thanks, honey.)

1. Blogging is not (always) the same as writing.

I started blogging because I wanted to write, and I needed a creative outlet for my brain. But blogging is not the same as writing. Blogging is about social media and self-promotion and blog hops and tons and tons of time reading and commenting on tons and tons of blogs, not all of them as well written as you might wish.

Sometimes you get in a flow and you feel like you are writing. But the sweet spot can be elusive.

2. I made friends in spite of myself.

I didn't think I would make any real friends in the blogosphere. Despite all the hype and  conference hullabaloo... well, I didn't really plan on making friends. I wanted to write. And I don't always play well with others.

But it's true. You do make friends in the blogosphere. Even me! I've listed a bunch of my bloggy friends down there on the right in my blog roll, but I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to my real saving grace in all of this: Rachel at Tao of Poop. She is insightful and genuine, and I honestly do not think I would still be blogging if I hadn't met her.

Henry and Claire playing IRL

3. I'm so thankful to have a record of new motherhood.

I'm not the type to write things down for posterity. I used to be. But then I stopped wanting to read my depressing monologues. I even shredded several journals when I was in my twenties because I never wanted to read them again.

As much as I've written down in Henry's baby book, nothing will compare to the detailed record I have kept for the last 12 months. Even if I stop blogging today, I will always have these stories. And so will he.

4. I don't have to be a broken record.

These days, I can jump right into conversations with good friends where we last left off. Since a lot of my in-real-life friends follow the blog, I don't have to repeat and repeat the crazy crap that happens to me, like the time Henry took a protest poop in the Baby Fun Zone or my jeans ripped in the crotch on the way to baby Italian class or I wheeled an empty stroller frame up the block with knee-high black boots like a schizophrenic hooker. It's quite liberating, I must say.

5. I miss The New Yorker.

What started as a creative outlet has sometimes become an obligation. Instead of blogging when I want to -- or when I have something interesting to say -- I find myself trying to publish on a regular schedule, because that's what "successful" bloggers do.

To "keep up" in the world of mom blogging, I've left behind some important pastimes.

I miss reading other things. Books, magazines, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic.

I miss writing fiction. I miss writing beautiful, careful prose.

I have found some amazing work out there in the mom blogosphere. But it can't be the only thing I read. That's just not who I am.

Starting today I vow to get back to reading and writing what feeds me. It might mean I publish less here. Then again, it might not.

Writing is meant to be read; thank you for following my journey this year. Happy blogiversary to us, and many happy returns.