After years of procrastination and false starts, I finally (and very tremulously) pushed the “publish” button on Blogger for the first time on Jan. 1.
Six months and 38 posts later, blogging is still an unfolding mystery to me, but I have learned a lot. Mainly I’ve learned what not to do.
I had built up this complex Rube Goldberg Machine of Doom in my head that was hard to get past. But gradually I’ve learned to put my fear in perspective. I’m writing about newspaper chickens and thrift store makeovers, after all, not sharing government secrets and atomic bomb recipes. My posts might be stupid, but (at least so far) they have not led to disbarment, unemployment or homelessness.
Don’t blog while sleepy. Regardless of how badly I want to get a post finished before bedtime, if I’m nodding off at the keyboard, I have to call it a night.
If I try to push through, mistakes are made (whoops: 2,015 minus 1,848 does not equal 158), I write things I regret (and end up deleting the next morning, and no, I’m not going to re-mention them here) and on at least one occasion I accidentally pushed the “publish” button when I meant to push the “save” button. Those two buttons do quite different things. Why Blogger puts them right next to each other is a serious design flaw, in my humble opinion.
As a wise woman once said, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” And, yes, I just called Taylor Swift a “wise woman.” Deal with it.
Don’t get hung up on statistics. My blog is my hobby. I have no advertisers or sponsors, and I make no money on it. I’m OK with that. In fact, I’m more than OK with that. Being ad-free and sponsor-free means I am beholden to no one. I can write what I want when I want. And I like being one of the “little guys,” a David amongst the Goliaths.
But still. I find myself checking Blogger’s statistics occasionally. Sometimes even obsessively. And I can’t help getting a bit of a thrill over a slight bump in the numbers and trying to figure out why. (Did I write the perfect SEO headline? Was I featured on one of the bigger blogs I had linked to? Was my post just that good, that the world suddenly decided to beat a path to my blog’s door?)
The reality is, when I have a spike (300 pageviews in one day!!!), usually at least half of the visits are from my loyal fans at bluerobot or pornrussia or (my all-time No. 1 referring URL, according to Blogger) “connection: close.” And I’m guessing none of them are checking out my site for my how-to’s or my half-baked humor.
So that’s what I’ve learned about blogging in six months. I could write volumes about what I don’t know yet. And someday I probably will. But it’s getting late and I’m getting sleepy, so I’m going to call this post done before I write something I regret.
**This post was updated the morning after it was originally posted to correctly identify music superstar Taylor Swift. The original post erroneously referred to her to as Taylor Smith. My apologies to Ms. Swift. I’m sure her reputation will recover. I wish I could say the same about my own.