posted by: gretchen
Like everything else iffy in the expansive, mysterious universe, it could be George Bush’s fault. I published my first post at my home blog, Lifenut, on September 30th, 2004.
During the months leading up to the 2004 elections, I found myself online a lot. I visited many political debate forums and websites, and was completely caught up in the news of the day. Many of the debate forums I liked linked to smaller, more personal slices of the internet where a person could share political views, cake frosting recipes, and baby photos all in the same day. It was intriguing and I wanted to be part of the trend.
I determined I didn’t want my blog to focus on politics, however. There were plenty of blogs which did a much better job at rehashing and ranting and hand-wringing. At first, I didn’t really have a mission or goal in mind, other than to have a few more readers than my mother.
Most of my posts were snippets of large family life. We had five young kids at the time, who provided typical blog fodder: potty training, sleepless nights, general mischief, cute sayings. At first, I put a lot of pressure on myself to post something every day. Personally, I think this will make you crazy or make you start churning out posts just to put something out there into the void. I call that my “What I Ordered At Starbucks Today” period of blogging. There is nothing wrong with writing likes and dislikes, or sharing coffee preferences. But I craved a deeper connection with readers and a chance to truly challenge myself and improve my writing.
It took a tragedy to change my approach to blogging. I had a miscarriage and suddenly I found myself in a very defined, very expressive blogging community. Sorrow hates inhibition, and my writing changed from the safe daily diary of my life to way to howl, knowing others would catch, confirm, and carry my words with them—as I did with their words. It made me brave.
My biggest blogging advice is to be brave. Write essays, poems, reviews, fiction. Mix it up. Talk about where you’ve been, what your fifth-grade teacher looked like when she was angry, what you cook well, why you don’t know how to swim. If ever a communication tool called for transparency, it is the blog. It is unique to our times, a product of our tendency to analyze, teach, spew, snark, express, connect.
I have six kids now. Family life is never dull and provides plenty of inspiration. With over 600 posts published at Lifenut, there isn’t one definitive favorite. I have a short list of about twenty I am especially fond of. I like the following post because I wrote it about two of my stalkers. From February 13, 2007, I present:
The shortest play, ever
Fall: Hello, Pride. Why don’t you go first?
Pride: Okay. flounces ahead
Fall: Oh, look. There’s a woman who is congratulating herself on the successful potty training of her fifth child, her ability to exclusively breastfeed, and her organization skills.
Pride: I think I’ll go shake her hand.
Fall: Watch out. She has a tendency to not let go.
Pride: That’s where you come in.
Fall: I love my job.