A year ago today, my blog was born. I sought to learn WordPress, but I soon grew to love the international blogging community and the creative, amazing people in it.
The blog and I evolved over time. As I became more proficient with WordPress, some of the blog’s appearance changed and it expanded from a blog about writing, editing and proofreading to a blog that also discussed books, writers and social media. Since good writing is essential in social media and social media is one of my passions (chocolate is a close second!), talking about social media fitted into the blog nicely.
I developed virtual friendships with people all over the United States – the North, the West, the East and even my fellow Southerners (hi, y’all). I met others from many other countries, too. I’ve seen images of places I may never see in real life and heard the moving stories of others’ experiences. People generously shared little slices of their internal thoughts and their external worlds with me.
I bantered with witty bloggers like The Byronic Man, year-struck and Pouring My Art Out. I sighed enviously over the photos of Little London Observationist, Jess in Belgium, Bella Bagni di Lucca, The Dorset Rambler and Northwest Photographer. I exchanged thoughts with other bloggers (CricketMuse, shout-out back to you), suggested books to fellow readers and received book recommendations from others. I also saved tasty recipes (Covered In Flour, My Healthy ‘Ohana and Rantings of an Amateur Chef) and took in others’ views on movies, photography, art, family life and other subjects. I was wowed and touched by the videos and photos you shared, felt bad for you when you shared your pain, and was glad for you in your triumphs (new jobs, birth of children, recovery from illness).
I learned quite a bit, too:
- It’s a gift beyond measure when one of your readers takes a few moments to share his or her thoughts, knowledge, stories or experiences with you in a comment.
- There are a LOT of people Googling the phrase “top 10 books to read in your lifetime”.
- There are a LOT of people who actually know what “defenestration” means.
- Posts that I didn’t think would be too popular were popular. Posts that I did think might be popular? They weren’t.
- According to my stats, the blog’s been viewed in 117 countries and about half my readers are in the U.S. For my readers outside the U.S., I like to throw in bits about American culture for them to experience vicariously.
I got addicted to the work of British actor Richard Armitage (thanks, RAFrenz) and to the music of German rockabilly group The Baseballs (thanks, Another Exile from Paradise). And yes, Exile, I bought one of their CDs.
It fascinated me to watch the stats rise with each new blog post. In June 2012, I got Freshly Pressed for my blog post about wacky word origins. That brought even more readers and hits. My e-mail box went crazy for a few days and then settled down again. And then it happened again in December 2012.
Writing all of these blog posts was not easy. Sometimes I’d get inspiration and couldn’t wait to get to the keyboard so that the words could fly onto the screen and be shared with readers. Other days required me to dig deep and think hard to find something worthwhile to say; these were the days in which I had to labor hard and drag every single word out of me. Ironically, “Wacky word origins” was one of those posts.
I made mistakes at times. No matter how carefully I word something, there is the risk that someone will get miffed and say so. But that’s the price of posting your thoughts in a public forum.
I got puzzled the first time I was reblogged (“Reblogging? What’s that?”) and the first time I got a blogging award from another blogger. Then, I understood what it meant: respect.
I saw the world through your eyes. And you saw it through mine.
I wonder about all of you sometimes. Do you read this blog on a laptop, a PC or a smartphone? Do you sit in a library, living room, office or coffee shop right now? What do you see outside your window – the woods, a city sidewalk with people and cars buzzing back and forth, a suburban neighborhood, a mountain, an ocean, the woods, a lake? (It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me. Just me speculating in friendly curiosity, that’s all.)
I appreciate everyone who reads this blog and I wish I could thank everyone personally who takes the time to come by and read, but there isn’t enough space here. Here are some thanks to certain people in particular:
- Jeanette Monahan and Samir of Cecile’s Writers, the first people to welcome me on my first day in the blogosphere. (My first reaction was “WHOA! How’d they find me so fast?” That was before I discovered the Reader.)
- Kathy Drue of Lake Superior Spirit, whose wisdom helps me so much.
- Suzanne Rogers, who always causes me to roar with laughter with her funny wildlife photos and zany blog.
- Robin Coyle, who makes me a better writer by improving my awareness of strong versus weak words.
- The people at Automattic (the company behind WordPress) in San Francisco, for making all of this possible.
Thanks, people, for an unforgettable and incredible first year. And to celebrate, I’m throwing in a summing-up-the-year video from one of my favorite movies. Happy 2013!