The first writing prompt for August on the SITS Girls website is to write about what blogging has taught you about yourself. I have been blogging for years. I started an online diayr in 2002 and kept one on about every diary site that was around. In 2007, I transferred my DiaryLand diary, which had become partly a blog, to WordPress and started a real blog. My old blog died from inactivity in like 2011 and I had some blogs on and off for a few months until I started this one in August of 2013.
Blogging has taught me many things. It’s helped me improve my English and writing skills in general, and it’s helped me develop online connections and even a few friendships. Maybe it’s even helped me meet my husband, because he was reading my blog when he decided I was an interesting girl to meet. When I think, however, of something it has taught me about myself, I have to be really honest and say I have learned that, deep down, I crave attention.
In a way, this truth should’ve been crystal clear to me by early secondary school, when I allowed new “friends” to read parts of my journals. These friendships usually didn’t last long, in part probably because I was way too clingy. But I yearned for real friendships at the time.
This continued in the age of the Internet, when I exchanged E-mails with some people I’d met on Yahoo! groups and we exchanged URLs of our online diaries. DiaryLand didn’t have a comment system for free users and I had no clue about stats, so there was no way of knowing whether anyone actually read my diary unless they told me so. At that time, I really wanted people to read my diary, but not so I was a successful writer. I wanted to communicate things I couldn’t communicate face-to-face. I didn’t care how many people read my diary, if those people I cared about did.
That changed when I got a real blog in 2007. Now on WordPress I had a comment system and stats, so I could actually view how many people were reading my writings. I was, at the time, quite a successful blogger in my niche of disability rights bloggers. I didn’t read the big lifestyle and Mommy bloggers, so I didn’t care or even know that I was only a tiny blogger in the bigger scheme of things.
When I started my current blog in 2013, however, I knew about the bigger blogging world. I don’t even know how I found out, but I learned about blog support groups on Facebook, writing prompts and link parties. I decided I wanted to spread my wings and reach out to the bigger blogging world. At first, I only wanted to teach them about disability issues and autism in particular, but of course other people’s stats stared at me.
In absolute numbers, I’m more successful a blogger now than I was with my old blog. However, now I know that you can be even more successful. I also know that there are essentials of blogging I will never master, such as including images. And the sad truth is, this makes me feel inadequate.
After all, I crave attention. There is some research my husband mentioned that asks people whether they want a car when everyone else gets a car or they want a scooter when everyone else gets a bike. Most people choose the scooter and I’m no exception. In this sense, it’s sad that I got to venture out into the larger blogging world of people with bigger cars than mine, so to speak, even though I now have a car too. If I’d stayed in my little disability rights niche, I’d have had the proverbial scooter but at least could’ve measured up to everyone else.
In this sense, there are two things blogging has taught me about myself. Firstly, indeed, I crave attention. I smile when I get a new comment even when it’s from a blog support group. But the second thing I learned about myself is, and I only realize this now that i write this post, I’m more competitive than I thought I was.