Six Months is Not Even Enough Time for A Baby to Gestate. So, If You Look At It From That Perspective, This Blog Is Like a Premie In the Gifted and Talented Program

by anna on January 7, 2009

Well, if you’ve been paying unnecessarily close attention, you’ll know that this blog turned six months old on Sunday. That’s right–my first (regular) post was on July 4, 2008. And yeah, you can find entries in the archives from as far back as 2004, but those are republished message board posts from my experiences in online dating. They were lived and chronicled a lifetime ago, in blog terms, and well before the concept of me as a blogger or of ABDPBT View definition in a new window per se was even a twinkle in my optical mouse.

[Did I just really write that? What has HAPPENED TO ME?!]

Yeah, I know retrospective posts are kind of toolish. When I set out I had some concrete goals for the blog to have met by the end of six months, and rather than bore you with graphs and statistical analysis here, I thought I’d reflect a bit on these past six months in a more waxing-philosophical, touchy feely, Free-To-Be-You-And-Me kind of way. Since I spared you my version of the immensely overdone “Looking back on 2008″ tear-jerker posts last week, I’ll ask you to cut me some slack. Jack.

What happens in six months of near daily posting? Lots. Lots and lots. I think you start out the blogging process with a wealth of ideas and topics, because hey, you’ve been silent all this time, and now that you’ve decided to spill it, everything you see is a topic of another post. And so that keeps you going for a few months. But you do end up with a bunch of posts that are kind of bad. But it doesn’t really matter, because nobody is reading. Until they are.

Audience.
I think audience is the most interesting dynamic to have been infused to my writing over the past six months. I have written for various audiences throughout my life, but never one this large, with these kinds varying experiences and perspectives. What kind of people would congregate here, to read what I’ve written? And if that stuff changes, who will stay and who will go? Like everything, it’s all kind of theoretical.

At first it’s kind of odd, because you don’t really have an audience, or if you do it’s comprised of people you know in real life, and they don’t know you as a ‘blogger’ yet, or even as a writer. And who you are going to be is somewhat shaped by that–because although you set out with the best of intentions and an expectation of complete candidness, the fact is that blogging is a space in which worlds collide. There are people who meet in this space who would never agree to meet together in a room, and some of them know me and some don’t, some think they do and others thought they did, but now aren’t so sure. People just meeting me are trying to form their opinion of me, and people who already knew me are trying to reconcile their thoughts of me with what I’ve written. They are starting to get to know me from the inside out, in ways that perhaps they had never anticipated. Or wanted.

And it is all so wonderfully narcissistic for me! And uncomfortable. And, eventually, I will probably just start not giving a shit, but that’s probably something to save for my second year at least.

But most importantly, the introduction of a larger audience has influenced my writing in ways that I never anticipated. In thinking about who will read my work, I have delved into different genres and methodologies than I ever would have attempted in another medium. And on occasion, the audience provides a source of content, or a way of looking at an issue I wouldn’t have considered before. And because of that, the work becomes more interesting and dynamic, and in a way a group effort more so than other forms of writing. I think that is one of the more exciting aspects of blogging for people concerned with Writing as a Craft and other pretentious pursuits.

Missteps.
I think if I had started blogging earlier on in the Web 2.0 movement, I would have made many more missteps in my first six months. As it was, I knew from the experience of others that I needed to set boundaries about the content of the blog. Though I do deal with my family’s lives, I have tried to limit it to the extent that their lives reach into mine, and shape my perceptions of the world and my place in it. On occasion I have perhaps revealed more than they would like. That remains to be seen.

In any case, these kinds of restrictions present challenges–not limits, really, but challenges, because you can talk about things but you must figure out a way to do so in a way that is respectful and non-invasive. And as people get to know you, there are more missteps, because its tough to keep to mixed company conversational rules in the realm of the blog: eventually, politics, sex, and money will be discussed, and the people will disagree.

And though it saddened me to see some of my early readers jump ship over my occasionally hot-tempered assaults on these and like issues, I also believe these changes were growing pains. Though I could have tempered my critique of people with whom I disagree, it would be dishonest of me. Because although I want your traffic, I cannot pander consistently. Maybe a post here and there, of course, but not all the time.

The Future.
Well, basically, I’ve met or nearly met most of my initial goals for the behind-the-scenes plans of the blog. Looking towards the future, I suppose you guys can expect more of the same for a while, except insofar as I’m always changing my content to suit what I feel is my place in the zeitgeist this moment. I have no plans to add more sections to the site, or any new features at present, but rather try to hone the quality of my posts on the various topics and jumpstart submissions to The Bathroom Wall (not sure how to do this yet). As always, I am interested in your thoughts, and grateful to have you reading.

{ 14 comments }

Kerry January 7, 2009 at 8:58 am

Say, you’re a Really Useful Engine. That’s a very helpful post for a blogger who is just starting out.

I think you’re doing it right. Google thinks so too. I can tell, because today all the ads are about Gifted Student programs. That’s a sign right there.

Christine January 7, 2009 at 9:29 am

Six months- way to go, especially since you seem to post daily. I know because I stop by frequently. You often provide me with a laugh or something to think about. I can’t wait to read your posts when Mini starts bringing home homework, or girlfriends, or new tricks he’s learned on the school bus.

Christine´s last blog post..Minutes of the He Man Woman Haters/Pippi Longstocking Fan Club

Ryan January 7, 2009 at 9:50 am

I am of the opinion that as long as it is well written and keeps me reading, I don’t care if it is subject matter that relates to me or that I disagree with. I just love to read great writing. That is the consistency that brings me here. I like it here.

Ryan´s last blog post..Smoking in the Backyard (more therapy)

Ginger January 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

It boggles my mind that you’ve only been at this 6 months–your site was one of my “model” sites when I started planning my blog because of how professional, well-written and personable it was! (plus, I love the design…pretty blogs make me happy).

Congrats on 6 months!

Ginger´s last blog post..Who needs resolutions when you’ve got goals?

weezy January 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

I really enojoy your blog. I’ve introduced a few friends of mine to it and they are regular readers, too.

Congratulations on the first 6 months, and best wishes for many more to come!

anna January 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Hi @weez! Thanks for your continued support and spreading the news to your friends. Also, thanks for marrying me. I mean, performing my marriage ceremony to Mr. Right-Click, not for getting married to me. Of course.

@ginger, yeah, you started your blog not so long after me, which means you’re closing in on six months, no? There’s kind of a steep learning curve to this, but I think things change a lot during the early days anyway.

@ryan, awesome. thanks for commenting–if you could just find fifteen thousand or more people with that same attitude for me, that would be great. thanks in advance. :)

@kerry, thanks, and thanks for being such a useful reader, too. your fledgling blog seems to be off to a great start–I invite you to look at one of my early posts to see how far ahead of the game you are already.

@Christine, thanks! Yes, Mini is already turning into quite a character. I think once he’s really fully verbal and dealing with the world, things can only get wackier.

jenni January 7, 2009 at 10:57 am

Happy birthday to abdpbt!

jenni´s last blog post..On Our Own

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) January 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Only six months? Your blog feels so comfortable and well written that it ‘reads’ older than that. I’ve only had a couple of months to read you and have enjoyed each post.

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)´s last blog post..sledge, sledge, sledgehammer. wait! why do you have a sledgehammer out?!

Kerry January 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Wait–this is veering dangerously close to a group hug. Quick, somebody accuse her of stealing the New York Times while I make a nasty Proposition 8 sign!

anna January 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm

@fadkog, thanks, but maybe I should have kept the whole “only six months old” thing under wraps, eh? I think I can hear my stock falling.

No, that’s just Mini’s 529 account, I guess.

@Kerry, I know some people who can help you with that, if you’d like. They tend to live out in the Mojave desert area.

anna January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I kinda like the whole kumbaya thing.

anna January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I mean, not for every day or anything.

J. January 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Congrats on a milestone! My blog is pretty much as anonymous as I can make it, no one I know IRL knows about it or reads as far as I can tell (and hope). This is pretty freeing, but that’s what I wanted. And I think you’re doing a decent job, that’s why I keep coming back.

J.´s last blog post..Text Messaging and The State of My Relationship

The Stiletto Mom January 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

Happy 6 months Anna!!! Your blog keeps getting better and better! Now I need to go catch up bc I’m way behind!

The Stiletto Mom´s last blog post..I’ve Shown You Mine, Now Show Me Yours

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