Seven years

I'm far from an early adopter of blogging. Actually, there have been times in the last seven years that I've wondered how it took me so long to just try it out. I have this secret envy of bloggers I know who can say they've been blogging for <insert double digit number> years. (Okay, now it's a not-so-secret envy.) However unfair it might be, I blame some of the voices from Buzz Out Loud that were in my head, from about 2005-2008, critical of "mommy bloggers". 

If moms had nothing valuable to say, then who the heck would want to hear anything from me?

My first post on this blog was seven years ago today. I wrote about a busy day. It was (and is) a boring, unfocused, rambling post that (fortunately) was short. I thought about linking to it, but it's honestly not worth reading. But in the interest of transparency and all that, here it is

Seven years ago I had just returned to work from a 9-month maternity leave and Matt was taking three months off to be home with Brandon. It was the worst possible time of year to be off with a baby. It was a very cold winter - not at all like this year has been for us. There was a healthy amount of snow, though not as much as we'd had in 2008. Brandon was 10 months old and I'd already spent three or four nights away from him right after I returned to work.

The insomnia I'd left behind when Brandon was born came back after I re-established my work routine. Life at work was hard. I wasn't the same person, and therefore not the same employee anymore. The expectations from my employer had evolved, but I had evolved differently. 

I walked in every day feeling like I'd worn shoes half a size too small and they had no give. No stretch. I was uncomfortable at first, but by the end of each day, it was painful. I was close to my co-workers who were also struggling. It wasn't just about me. We all got mixed messages, and worse, were held to standards and expectations that weren't communicated. I went very quickly from thinking this was a place I could work for the long haul to wondering if I could fit in a job search around my work day and the precious time I spent with Matt and Brandon.

When I started blogging, it was an attempt to stretch out the new shoes I was wearing. To test the waters and come up with unique and innovative ways to market what we did. I've always believed in figuring out social media tools personally before jumping in professionally. If you don't understand them, you won't use them effectively and learning them as a business is not ideal.

Seven years ago, I was up late futzing around with a Blogger blog. It was free and I got to do one of my favourite things - play with design. I didn't hide my blog or password protect it (though perhaps I should have, given how rough it was for a while), but I also didn't promote it for months after I got started.

I've liked journaling since I was ten and my mom bought me the first of many, many journals. Blogging turned out to be a natural extension of journaling - the earliest days of writing for me. 

I blogged without intention, without focus. I just wanted to write about my life.

I was savvy enough to keep my mentions of work to general, high-level comments. What I did and who I did it for was the catalyst for my online presence at that time, but it wasn't the story I wanted to tell. 

In the past seven years, I've written over a thousand posts on seven different blogs I've owned or been responsible for, and a few other blogs that I've done guest posts for. The evolution I've experienced - as a blogger, as a writer, as a person in all the roles I fill - is in large part due to that February night in 2009 when I couldn't get to sleep and decided to explore something new.

It took me nearly two years to decide that this blogging thing wasn't a fad for me. It wasn't a temporary hobby. I liked it. I loved it. Sometimes I hated it. But I always felt compelled to come back to it - even when things got busy and I didn't have the time, energy, or ideas to put fingertip to keyboard.

Seven years isn't a terribly long time in the world of veteran bloggers and it's not a major milestone, but it's significant to me for reasons that go far beyond the act of publishing my story.