Thoughts on A Decade of Blogging
Today my blog turns 10 years old.
(It’s also my wedding anniversary, so, you know, happy anniversay, Terry! I’m celebrating by writing a post about my blog, a.k.a. “my OTHER boyfriend”…)
(I’m joking: we’re going out to dinner. Me and Terry, I mean, not me and the blog. I mean, the blog’s 10: it would probably prefer McDonalds, or Pizza Hut, or… I’m just going to stop pretending I have a clue what 10-year-olds are into these days, OK?)
So, ten years, huh? It’s kind of crazy, and it’s also kind of… not. I feel like I should be doing one of those photo shoots, where I’m carrying a bunch of balloons while walking along a deserted beach, in a ballgown or something. You know, the ones people do now, to celebrate their “first blog birthday” or whatever? (I should probably be worried that people celebrating their first blogging anniversary are already way more professional than I am after ten of them, but, as Scarlett O’Hara once said, I’ll think about that tomorrow…)
As I was saying, in some ways it’s a little bit weird to think I’ve been doing this for an entire decade now, but in other ways it just isn’t, because I honestly can’t imagine what else I’d have ended up doing- I really can’t. I remember when I was a little girl, I used to try to imagine what my life would be like as an adult, and I just couldn’t do it – which was strange, because I wasn’t exactly lacking in imagination, let’s put it that way. Back then, though, I could imagine everything BUT my own future. I couldn’t imagine myself working in an office; being a teacher, or a nurse, of any of the other things people my age said they wanted to be when they grew up. I couldn’t imagine getting married, or having a house, or a job – it just didn’t seem possible, so I didn’t bother to even think of those things (when my friends started talking about their dream weddings, I’d just tune out: I wasn’t jealous, or upset, I just didn’t think stuff like that would ever happen to me, so what was the point of even thinking about it?), but every night I’d get out my diary, and I’d write about all of the things that had already happened, and that was my world. I had this obsessive need to EXPLAIN myself: to record all the little details of my life, for some unknown (and totally non-existent) audience, who got to hear aaaaalll about how I spent my days, and how closely I resembled Neneh Cherry. That kind of thing.
It didn’t ever occur to me that I was already doing the thing that would end up being my career: telling my story, obsessively writing everything down, as if my life depended on it. If someone had told me, back then, that one day I’d make a living from telling those stories, I’d probably just have laughed: but I think I’d have been excited, too, because what could possibly be better than getting to write for a living – and to write anything I wanted, too? It was all I’d ever really wanted to do, and it still is. From the moment I first stumbled upon the world of “online journalling”, as we called it back then, I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and I’m not really surprised to still be doing it, ten years later. If there’s a way to tell my story – and to actually have people read it – then you better believe I want to be in on that, because I’m not sure I know how to do anything else, really.
Blogging has changed massively in the ten years since I started: I mean, that pretty much goes without saying (er, even although, I’ve said it many, many times now), but for me it’s ultimately still about telling stories: MY stories – the ones I want to tell, rather than the ones I’m told to tell by an editor, or a client, or a boss. I’m doing a job that my younger self would be excited about, and I don’t really think it gets better than that, all things considered. I feel incredibly lucky to be doing this for a living, and, of course, that’s all down to you. Uh-huh, YOU. Don’t forget that I can see you through my computer screen. (Have you done something to your hair, by the way? Because you look AWESOME…)
I started blogging, not just because I wanted to be able to tell my stories, but because I wanted to be able to tell them to people who would understand and relate to them: because those paper journals were all well and good, but they couldn’t talk back, could they? You can, though… and even when you don’t, the fact that you’re still out there, reading along, means the world to me, so thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping this site keep going for the last ten years.
Now here’s to the next ten…