Girl at the Mirror, Norman Rockwell
A year ago, I dove in, head first into the blog writing world. I had no idea what was in store. Just in the last month alone, I’ve reached so many milestones: I hit 100 comments on my blog, 50k words in NaNoWriMo, 100th post, here, in addition to my one year anniversary as a blogger.
I’ve since created a Facebook page for Mirror Muses, I’ve opened Twitter and Tumblr accounts to link my posts to. I’ve averaged an entry every 3-4 days for the entire year. I’ve had 1,027 views, 38 hits on my best day, been viewed by 43 countries; my best month was October and my top viewed post is “Fire! Miss.”
What I’ve learned the most is to be BRAVE!
Putting myself out there was not an easy task. I lecture to my students all of the time about sharing work as a form of publication. And to some degree, I practice what I preach, though in my own little safety zone. I’ve published my work to audiences of fellow writers, colleagues, students– a safety net. I’ve attempted to publish my work to a number of publishing houses and agents, but when I fail, no one knows but me and anyone I care to share the information with.
Putting myself out there on this blog was a leap of faith for me, one I confided in only a few, at first, giving it a test run for a couple of months before boldly going PUBLIC.
One concern I had early on was the kind of blog I wanted to write. It’s taken me a while to find my way. Some of my initial considerations included– a blog about the being a woman in the middle of life (and everything really: marriage, motherhood, career…), the wisdom I’ve acquired along the way, and the uncertainty that still persists. I considered a blog about what I do– teaching is such a passionate part of my life where I could discuss serious topics like pedagogy and content; likewise, I could share the zaniness that exists working with a bunch of teenagers and a crazy, fun English trust. The most obvious approach to my blog was to share my writing, to just slit a vein and put it out there for all to see (and critique!! YIKES!). I think in not wanting to define myself by choosing, I’ve defined myself by morphing it all. It’s become my journey– me looking in the mirror everyday and writing about what I see and think and feel. Along the way, I’ve also considered this a legacy of sorts for my children, for they are at the center of all that I am and do.
Once I put some of my writing out there, I’d poll those I allowed access to it. I cared if they thought it was good, or appropriate, or informative…. I really did care. Until I stopped caring. Because, on my journey, I decided that this blog isn’t really for other people as much as it is for me. While I am mindful of my audience, my vast array of readers, I write honest and true to myself. If I can’t do that, I can’t write it at all. So no more being safe. No more caring if people LIKE it. While I hope they do, I’m not governed by trying to please others. In fact, if I write well enough, I might even piss a few people off or touch a few hearts or make people think about something in a way they hadn’t before.
I became brave when I created a Facebook page for Mirror Muses and linked my blog to it. I became even braver when I branched out to wider audiences to put my work out there.
Walt Whitman writes in his poem “The Noiseless Patient Spider”:
Like that spider, I’m looking to connect, working endlessly, toiling my web.
What I’ve learned about blogging (and ultimately myself) in a year:
I’m glad I went with WordPress as my host, after doing a lot of research and considering other blog spots. I learn a little more about its capabilities every day and my own in utilizing it. I’ve made so many connections with other bloggers whom I’m grateful for. They make me a better thinker, a more informed reader, a more empathetic person. They validate what I do and think and believe.
Just go for it! Put yourself out there. Believe in what you do. Life is too short to dream about what you want, to take baby steps, give into the fears– the fear of failure. No one will take your hand and lead you to your dream. You need to make progress toward attaining your goals each and every day. Some days I make little strides, sometimes great ones that I look back upon from the perspective that I didn’t think I could make: and I did.
Find inspiration in the little things in your day… like an interesting article title…a person you see that does something to catch your attention…a majestic butterfly flittering in your path… be open to all that you see and realize you were meant to see it in that moment for a reason– explore the reason. Or don’t. Simply enjoy the moment.
Be honest. Don’t hold back. Some of my most honest writing are the pieces I’m afraid to put out there because I’ll be judged or they’re controversial ideas that may offend. Yet, in looking back on my last years’ work, these are the pieces I am most proud of, also the ones that garnished the largest audience.
Acknowledge others’ work. Tell them what makes you smile or laugh or inspires you because it feels good. Just a little note to acknowledge their work means a whole lot. When someone takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, take the time to write back. Even if it’s just to say, “Hey, thanks for reading what I’ve written.”
Goals for 2013
Keep my passion alive
Take a step or more forward a day
Get freshly pressed
Reach 100 or more followers
Reach 200 blog entries
Garner more responses to my work
Start a community of writers
Get an agent
Have my work published (in Print)
Write every single day (in one form or another)
Pay attention to the muses
Comment please– to keep the conversation going. If you cannot take the time to comment, at least LIKE my posts if you like them, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and RATE my posts. By taking a second to rate them will help me to gauge how I’m doing (what is working and interesting or not) and who my audience is.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for musing with me undaily about all that matters most. ♥