Five years ago today, I started this blog. That’s pretty cool, no?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned in my five years of blogging. It seems to me that the number one rule of blogging ought to be this:
Have fun with it.
The second rule, a companion rule to the first one, is this:
Write a blog that you can love.
It’s easy to get tangled up in worrying about readers, and page views, and search engine optimization, and making money off your blog. I know. Because we can publish blog posts in the blink of an eye, it’s a medium that encourages the desire for instant gratification. You publish something, and you want the world to tell you how wonderful it is. I know. But blogging has never worked that way for me, in part because I’ve never built a huge reader base. I still publish posts that get no comments. I’ve been slow to make blog friends. It took me a long time to find other nerdy women who write blogs.
This blog has been a slow project for me. Whether or not it fits other people’s definitions of a “successful blog,” it’s been a terrific pleasure for me to write. My blog and I have grown together. It’s like having a constant companion, this space where I can talk about anything. I rarely feel pressure to write a blog post just for the sake of a new blog post. Instead, when I blog, it’s because I have something to say or something I want to share. Sometimes the thing I want to say is hello, like when you call up a friend just to say hi. For me, blogging is and always has been a very personal thing, even though the blog itself exists out there on the interwebs where everyone can read it.
In my time, I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go. It always makes me a little sad to see a blog that’s been abandoned or gone private. And it reminds me that to make a blog last is no small feat. The reason that I’ve lasted so long in this space is because I really, truly love blogging. I know it’s a weird hobby, but I love it. Blogging has fulfilled so many needs in my life: the need to write, a place to share and store my recipes, a diary in which to record my adventures and observations. I love going back into my archives to read posts that I wrote years ago, back when I was in graduate school, or obsessed with granola, or when Matt and I first started seeing each other. It helps me to remember what it felt like back then. It helps me to understand how I became the person I am today. I don’t think that personal growth is a linear process—we wander all over the map—but looking back helps me to trust the process. It also reminds me to enjoy the moment, to enjoy this life, right now. Life is short. I try to remember that, too.
I guess the advice I have to offer about blogging is the same advice I’d offer to someone who asks, “How should I live my life?” Have fun with it. Build a life that you love. I can’t tell you what exactly that means for you. No two blogs, and no two lives, will be the same. And that’s the great thing about blogging and living—there are so many ways to do it and to love what you do.
Thank you for reading, friends, and for your comments, encouragement, and friendship. I think you and I both know that the best things in life are built slowly and thoughtfully. We can’t really hurry these things along. By enjoying the process, we learn that gratification doesn’t have to be instant if it’s been there all along. It’s my hope to write a blog, and live a life, in which the best part is seeing how it all unfolds. Tomorrow is another day and another mystery, and I’m so glad we have another chance to live and love and eat.
Happy birthday, little blog.