500th Post: Likes and Dislikes of Blogging

bloggingVirginia Hart7 Comments

:: Welcome to my 500th post! ::

Today also marks three years since I started this silly little blog of mine.

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If it's okay with you, I'd like to just get real here for a minute and discuss a few things that I like and don't like about blogging.

We'll start with what I don't like. 

I don't like when people assume they know everything that is going on in a blogger's life simply by reading his or her blog. There are plenty of things I choose not to share on here and I'd bet the same for others. And they're probably the things and feelings and happenings that you should know about if you're a friend. I think we all need to remember that reading blogs and updates on other forms of social media are not a replacement for asking and knowing how someone is doing. It's easy to just read a status, a post, a tweet and pretend that we are somehow still connected to that person even though we have made no sort of effort in interaction. For someone you hardly know or don't even know at all, that's perfectly fine. And you probably do feel closer as a result. But let us make it a point to not be so lazy in our closer relationships. We are all at fault, including myself. Pick up your phone and call someone. Send them a letter or an email and start with, "how are you?" Be the one to schedule a date or a visit. It's hard enough to make new real friends. Don't let the ones you already have slip away because you made no effort in maintaining the relationship. While my blog can allow my family and friends to see glimpses of my life, I deeply cherish all the separate talks and letters and emails and visits that allow for important and less surface-level conversations. Besides, my blog is mainly me yakking about my cooking ineptitude, latest doodles, and my current shoe obsession. Please don't let that be a reflection of the extent of my story or what I view as important in my or my loved ones' lives. 

I don't like when people read blogs and think that the lives of the bloggers are "perfect." It's an easy misconception when many times, you're only seeing small portions of a bigger picture. Don't envy what looks like a happier situation...'cause it's not. Even the most perfectly-styled-fashionista blogger has her disheveled days in sweatpants. Even the most in-love-happy-go-lucky couple argues and fights. Even the person with, what seems to be, the perfect job has days where he or she absolutely hates it. Don't ever interpret someone's entire life based on their blog, assuming they don't have their own struggles. We're all battling something.  For the record, my life is far from perfect. And I am far from perfect. I have insecurities. I have days when I wake up and want nothing to do with anyone. I am stubborn. I make mistakes. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least a little tired. Right now? I feel exhausted. I'm still trying to figure life out. The one thing I think I've figured out? Is that I know I will never have it all figured out. 

Maintenance. I don't have time to squeeze in a hair appointment let alone time to sit here and make all the adjustments I envision for this blog and my main website. But I know I need to tweak some a lot of things with the layout and links and go back and clean things up. One day! :) Blog maintenance is --simply put -- difficult. I just had to buy more Google storage and I'm in the process of figuring out this iCloud business at home to back up all of my work. It's exhausting trying to keep up in a way that allows for an easy system that has room to grow. I can't even imagine the behind-the-scenes work professional bloggers must do. Keeping up with blogs and social media can be tiring, for sure. Do you ever wonder when we'll all just throw our hands in the air and stop already? But seriously, how long do we have to tweet? 

Pinterest. I love it, but I hate it. Nowadays with Pinterest, it can be way too easy to just regurgitate others' ideas. Some people host entire blogs that never include anything original. Yes, blogging is a conversation of re-sharing ideas -- and I find Pinterest and other blogs extremely inspiring and enjoy including my favorite finds here -- but bloggers (myself incuded) must sit back and show more individuality with adding more of our own photographs, designs, images, discussions, and ideas. We can't let Pinterest and other sites impede our creativity.

And what do I like - better yet, love, about blogging?

I love giving myself assignments. It's like homework with zero repercussions. You're just putting something out into the world to be read and if people don't like it, oh well. As a kid, I used to play teacher and pupil simultaneously (what happens when you have no siblings your age and the farm pets don't speak English). What kid makes herself worksheets to fill out? And then grades them? And purposefully makes mistakes for the "teacher" to have something to correct? For fun?! Yep! That'd be me. There's something very exciting about thinking, "let's find some great gift ideas to suggest!" and following through with that idea. In a weird way, it has pushed me in other areas of my life. If I truly decide I'm going to do something, no matter how big or small, I surprise myself and actually do it. 

Meeting new people. I am aware of the fact that the majority of my readers are either friends, my mom, people I'm connected to on Facebook & Twitter, my mom, and people that stumble upon my blog from Googling things like "crying little girl" and "funny orange kitten pictures" (two actual traffic sources from yesterday). But there is a group of you out there, that for whatever reason, have stuck around despite not knowing me any other way. Honestly, some of the most rewarding moments from this blog have been emails I have received from readers...people that are seeking advice on moving to this big scary city and whether it's physically possible to find an apartment (and I sit down and spend hours on an obnoxiously long response because I know how much I could have benefitted from that help when I moved here)...or people that present other blogging opportunities and inquire about hiring me for  custom illustrations, etc. It's extremely rewarding to feel like I've pushed "little lady" past the eyes of my mom ;) and I can try to help / give / motivate / inspire others.

Keeping track. As Patrick can attest, I have the world's worst longterm memory. On the contrary, he remembers everything. Like what I was wearing and how I was standing when I met him in 2005. He's told me before, but not surprisingly, I can't remember! Guess that's why I keep him around. ;) In all seriousness, when I look back on my past, so much of it is just one. big. blur. I remember some vivid images/memories and time frames, but most of it is jumbled in no particular order and based on pictures I have seen since. It's pretty sad and pathetic, really. I absolutely love, though, that I can look back on old posts from these past 3 years and read about what I was up to and remember how I was feeling in that particular moment when I wrote it. It brings it all back and helps me keep track. And for that, I am very thankful.

Thank you to anyone out there that reads my little blog. Thank you for keeping in mind that much of what I discuss is just silly nonsense to lighten our days. Thank you for remembering that there is a lot more to the lives of the bloggers you read about. Thank you, if you're another blogger, for joining me in striving for originality within our posts. And thank you, little lady in the big apple, for surprising me these past 3 years...and giving back so much in return.

until next time,