The Awkward Blogger
I began blogging in June 2012. As I started my blog, Mommy, For Real, I simultaneously read several books and numerous articles about blogging, particularly those featuring “mommy bloggers.” Over and over it was made clear that the way to have a successful readership was by putting yourself out there and interacting with other bloggers. Taking a deep breath, I began to do just that.
I felt like the new kid in town.
I felt like I was late to the party.
A day late and a dollar short.
Are there any other metaphors I can use to properly convey my feelings of self-consciousness? I had no trouble finding bloggers I identified with whose work I admired, but the prospect of “introducing myself” as a reader, or more daunting yet, as a fellow blogger, was overwhelming. I haven’t felt flooded with so many feelings of vulnerability and awkwardness since I was a 7th grader trying to find a lunch table to join. (Shudder. Those were dark times.)
Though I am relatively new to blogging, I am not new to writing. I have been writing as long as I can remember having conscious thought. So consumed was I by composing inner dialogue, one day when I was 8, I asked my mother, who was on the phone, “Who are you talking to? She demanded.” Yes, I said, “she demanded” out loud. The years that followed were a blur of short story composition, poetry writing, and even some literary awards in high school. I felt most at ease with myself when I was writing.
About four years ago, I began writing a book: a narrative non-fiction work that encompassed my experience of parenting a toddler. When I initially started writing my book, now complete and cowering in the corner until the perfect publisher invites herself over to tea, the blogging craze was not in full swing, but there were definitely successful bloggers around. I was terribly reluctant to join their ranks. Raised as a “nice girl” from the Midwest, and a nice Lutheran girl at that, I have a hang-up about being too self-absorbed. Putting my ideas and stories out there for the whole world to read felt too much like publishing my diary online. It seemed grandiose. Make no mistake, now that I have begun, I blog unapologetically and with great fervor.
And so I waited, four whole years to join the blogging party. And I feel late. And underdressed. And perhaps with an out of date hairstyle. Say it with me... aaawwkwaaard!
I have connected with some bloggers who are at my level of expertise, which has been so helpful and definitely helps to salve the isolation I have been feeling. I still continue to “stalk” my favorite mommy bloggers and leave comments as often as it seems appropriate. I even developed a personal mantra for interacting with other bloggers.
- Be complimentary without being an ass-kisser.
- Appear confident... but not too confident!
- Be friendly without seeming too needy.
Are my neuroses showing? Don’t even get me started on using Twitter for self-promotion and inter-blogger socializing. I wake up in cold sweats wondering if I have been using the hashtag appropriately. #obsessmuch?
So I will continue to put in my time, writing quality content to the best of my ability, until I have earned the right to upgrade from the new kid table. As my father always said in terms of career climbing, “Sometimes you have to eat a pound of shit before you do anything else.” So for now, I shall eat my pound of shit. And like it.