I have been blogging for about eight months now. Before I started my own blog, I read blogs for over a year. Never once in that approximately 18 months did I ever leave a comment. I just read and learned and enjoyed. Even as I get deeper into the blogosphere I am still amazed at how much quality content is out there.
Lately my blog has been causing me some angst. Not major angst, but enough to prompt me writing about it. I have written this post several times in my head for the past two weeks, so I need to just get it out.
Angst #1: The fact that I have a blog
When we were on vacation with my sister's family a few weeks ago, my sister and I were reading blogs one evening and talking about people/posts we liked. My brother-in-law made some comment about blogs being a waste of time and why do we care about someone else's life anyway. I am sure I don't need to explain why I wholeheartedly disagree with him to whoever might be reading this. I read something recently by a blogger that said people who think blogs are silly just don't get it. I wish I could remember who said it and where I read it to give them proper credit, but alas, I can't. My brother-in-law is entitled to his opinion and not to waste his time on blogs. That's fine with me. But don't tell me it's stupid. I love blogging and it's been good to me.
You know how great it can be to meet another mom at the park hoping to have a good venting session while you sip lattes? Well we all know that is a pretty rare occurrence for most moms. You are more likely to spend your time chasing your kids in different directions, doling out snacks, having fragmented, never finished conversation with your mom friends while your latte gets cold.
What I love about blogging is that I can come home from the park or school or where ever, open my computer and I am bound to find someone out there that I can relate to and has written something insightful about whatever is bugging me that day. And I feel less alone. Mock internet friends if you must... my husband calls them my "imaginary friends." But I have connected with some genuinely lovely people through my blog like Maura, Andrea, Insta-Mom, Kate, Carrie, Susie, EatPlayLove and Tracey (if you are not reading Tracey, you should be because she is delightful and a fantastically great writer) just to name a few. Especially Maura, I think she might be the most genuinely lovely of them all. I love getting a little peek into someone's life through their blog and I usually learn something from them.
I've been reluctant to let even my close (real life) friends know I have a blog, but I am growing increasingly confident about it. I am proud of some of the things I've written. If some think it's geeky, than I am a proud geek.
Angst #2: Writing in general
It took me a long time to get the courage to start a blog because I have never been a very confident writer. I don't think my writing is very good. I know we are all our own harshest critics, and I finally decided it didn't really matter if I was a stellar writer. What mattered is that I felt like I had something to share and no one was going to read it besides my husband anyway. My husband who told me the other day he thinks I am "a good writer, not great and I could probably use an editor." Whatever. I am not much of a proof reader. Once I write something I usually just check for typos and hit publish. I'm not even very good at finding all the typos! Even though I am OK with being a less than stellar writer, I still enjoy reading people who are stellar writers like AnyMommy, Black Hockey Jesus or Mom-101, just to name a few (and there are SO MANY more). And I still enjoy writing, very much.
So what's the problem? Well here is how my day typically goes blog-wise. I wake up and write an amazing post in my head while I'm in the shower or while I'm fixing breakfast for my kids. Then the entire day gets away from me and I get distracted by the dishes, the wardrobe battles, the classroom volunteering, tennis class, ballet class, soccer practice, a trip to Target, etc. etc. etc. Once I do sit down to write, I am distracted by the kids or I can see the pile of laundry that needs to be folded or the pile of matchbox cars that needs to be put away. I've tried writing in a coffee shop, but then I am distracted by the noise and the ice tea and the pastries.
Once I do find some quiet time to write I start off by reading other people's blogs. That is where I get into trouble. Besides the fact that it takes me a long time to read everyone's latest posts, I tend to lose my fire. I read someone's amazing post and the one I wrote in my head just doesn't sound as funny or heart-warming as it did before. So maybe you could all write something really crappy next week to make me feel better about myself. No? Well it was worth a try.
Blog Angst #3: Humor
I like to think I have a fairly decent sense of humor. I adore funny people and funny writing. Mr. Mint can end any argument we have just by making me laugh. One little humorous comment from him and all my anger melts away (most of the time). This runs along the same lines as angst #2. I think I have something funny to say and then I read something like this. Marinka is freaking hilarious and even though she makes me feel decidedly unfunny, I look forward to reading her. To make matters worse, she also writes stuff like this that feel like a punch to the gut. Then there's Meg and Amy who I have actually met briefly in real life. If you are not following either of them on Twitter you are missing out. They crack me up. And have I mentioned Tracey? She is delightfully funny. Don't even get me started on Stefanie, she is my favorite kind of funny. So I will probably just keep trying to pretend that I am funny. Was that funny to anyone but me?
Blog Angst #4: Comments
I actually don't have any comment angst, but it seems like everyone who writes one of these blog angst posts writes about comments and I didn't want to break protocol. I don't get many comments here and that is fine with me. I like to visit the people who comment on my blog and it's not that hard for me to keep up with the 3-9 people who leave a comment on each post. I greatly appreciate every comment that I get. I mean where else but here can I get such meaningful and heartfelt comments on something like this? I never properly thanked the amazing PsychMamma for her comment on that post. I adore PsychMamma. When I read her 100 Things post I felt like I could have written it.
So I don't really have comment angst. Except maybe when I read a very popular bloggers post and they already have 30+ comments. I tend not to leave a comment unless I feel like I really have something of value to add to the discussion. Seems to me most people with comment angst have a hard time keeping up with everyone who comments on their blog. Not a problem for me. I also don't take offense if someone I comment on regularly or even occasionally, does not comment on my blog. It doesn't stop me from reading them.
Blog Angst #5: My blog theme
I thought long and hard about what to call my blog and what to name my family. The Candy Land thing sounded great in my head in the shower one morning. I was so happy to finally have an idea and get started that I just ran with it. I do love candy and playing Candy Land and I absolutely use candy to bribe my kids into doing all sorts of things. However, after eight months, I am kind of over it. I love, LOVE my blog design but I am not really this cutesy in real life.
I am thinking about changing my whole blog persona. I hesitate to change things since I have carved out a little space for myself as Mama Ginger Tree. My idea was to change the name of my blog to The Norwindians since I'm Norwegian and my husband is East Indian, and our kids are Norwindian (get it?). But Mama Ginger Tree doesn't really fit into that scenario. I don't mind using my real first name, which is Kirsten, but trust me, Kirsten would only confuse things further since people have been misspelling my name my whole life.
So I will most likely switch at some point when I finally get tired of the Candy Cane Forest or when my kids get tired of playing Candy Land. When that will be, I am not sure. I am torn between just leaving things as they are, changing over now before I get any deeper into blogging or waiting until I get a fancy blog design for The Norwindians. Argh. The decision is driving me nuts.
Blog Angst #6: Mr. Mint
I cant' stand it when my husband reads what I am writing over my shoulder before I am finished. I don't know why, but it drives me insane.
When I read all this over, it sounds like my major source of angst is reading other people's fantastic blogs and feeling inadequate. I'll deal. I am not going to stop reading and I am not going to stop blogging. I am actually happy with my little corner of the blogosphere. I hope my kids will get something out of all this writing someday. I know if my dad had anything like I a blog, it would be absolutely priceless to me today, no matter what it said. It would be a piece of him, his history.
As much as it pains me, I am not going to allow comments on this post. I am not fishing for validation. I just needed to get this all out of my brain, through my fingertips and onto my keyboard.