It was one year ago today that I began this blog. When I started blogging, it was because I lacked the confidence to call myself a writer. Prior to this blog, I have only rarely shared my non-academic writing with others. To give you an idea: the last time I read my non-academic work in public, I was so nervous that my entire body shook. I really didn't know if it was good enough to read in public. And I felt uncomfortable calling myself a writer when I had not taken a creative writing class since middle school.
I felt inauthentic. And yet, writing is what I did. All the time. And I wanted to see what I could do, and if anyone would be interested in reading what I wrote. I was hopeful that the nature of blogging - generally short, frequent pieces - would help me to share my words with an audience without freaking out too much (at that point, I was planning to blog daily, and I figured that the deadlines would just force me to perform).
A year (and a week-long writing workshop in June) later, I have much more confidence. If a writer is one who writes, then I am that thing. And I have become much less anxious about writing less-than-perfect posts. In fact, I've written some crappy ones, I've made typos and grammatical and spelling errors, and I'm ok with that. Blogging has helped me write better, faster, and less self-consciously.
But I also rather unexpectedly found a community in blogging. I've found blogs I love to read, and now that's what I do with what used to be my evening television time. I've made blogfriends. I've had real-life friends stop by my blog, and I've stopped by theirs. Our conversations, begun in the blogosphere, have continued over coffee.
At times, I get anxious about how many people are reading and whether or not I need to adjust my topics in order to attract new readers. It can be difficult to write what I want to write and not be swayed by what I think someone else might want to read. It's one thing to write for yourself when you think no one is paying attention, and quite another when you know someone is reading your words.
I've also wrestled with (and felt slightly inadequate about) the open focus of this blog. At first, I figured I'd just share stories and insights from all parts of my life and interests, and that the one thing that (maybe) would be consistent would be that all of this would be through the eyes of this particular feminist, mom, and academic. (The name of the blog plays on the idea that these are the thoughts of just a plain ol' feminist, as well as a feminist who who lives on the Plains.)
But then, for a while, I got involved in local politics and focused especially on abortion. After the election, I felt burned out on abortion politics (though it's a topic I will continue to discuss from time to time) but unsure of where to turn. To make matters more confusing for me, several local political blogs had in the meanwhile added me to their blogrolls, and I was worried that if I didn't keep talking about local political issues, they might drop me. (I didn't start a blog to be linked to, but once you are linked, it's extremely depressing to be de-linked.)
More recently, I've begun exploring the feminist blogs, all of which focus more intently and narrowly on feminist theory than I ever could. (I took Women's Studies classes for more years than I want to tell you, and I have had quite enough of this kind of theorizing. Well, not really - I love posting on their blogs and I will occasionally theorize here. But I just can't do it every day. Plus, it's too close to what I do in real life.)
And finally, when I did a couple of posts on knitting a little while ago, I picked up a whole bunch of new readers, which made me wonder if I should make knitting a more concentrated focus. But I am still, for all my efforts, a beginning knitter, and while I expect knitting posts will be featured here from time to time, this is not the place for real advice.
So, the reality is that I have never seen this blog - or me - as having any one driving interest. I'll continue to write without focus for now (or with many foci - whichever). And I hope you'll keep reading.
I began this blog last year with a New Year's story. I have another to share with you, and it would be fitting to post it now, but I have class beginning tomorrow and much to do, so it will have to wait for another day.
Wishing us all peace in the New Year,