A decade ago a friend in the States, a professor in Literature, heard about a new blogging platform, Blogger, and she was curious. She played around with it and as I’d just finished with a full-time job she suggested I might like to try it as well. She didn’t carry on with it for long, but I kept going, experimented with the new media, writing posts using weird fonts and lists of Top Tips in witty (let’s imagine that in air quotes), “witty” social media style writing.
In spite of writing what I later saw as painfully experimental blog posts (was it Thomas Edison that said, ‘I failed my way to success’?) people from all over the world started reading my posts and left funny and warm comments and links to their blogs. Instant pen pals, connections with people like me: expats and parents. Not only was it a place to write but a place to share stories and support others, a giant coffee morning that rolled along 24/7. Through those connections I found other, better writers and read their words until I soaked them into my skin like high quality avocado oil and I became a better, smoother, more interesting writer more in tune with my readers.
Reader stats rose, and my blog became the place that helped me get social media jobs. I wrote copy for other websites, I worked on a trailing spouse project for a relocation company, I managed a trial of an online money management site for families, and I edited a column on a major parent blogging site. But those were mostly about money and basic writing skills, less about enjoyable writing and connecting.
I stopped writing for my blog and for other people. I thought I needed a break from blogging. I tried on other social media to see how they would fit. I embraced Instagram. I played with layouts and subjects and filters. Experiments on images, not words. For free, for me. No drive to monetize. I also kept writing for myself. I worked on a novel, I wrote essays on current events, writing influences, and other observations with no audience but myself.
My blog sat quiet and empty. I thought about starting a totally new blog. I kept writing the mini essays because I enjoyed doing the workings out on paper (laptop paper). But something was missing from my writing. Mike Harling is right, blogging, old school blogging, connects one to others on a meaningful level. And when the other day Toni emailed: ‘what about a joint blog with other Old School Bloggers?’ I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. I wanted a place to write and connect to others again. Old school style. It feels good to be back.
by Michelle Garrett. Read more of Michelle's writing at her blog The American Resident.