If you've been hip to the thinky blog world lately, then you've heard about BlogRhet. And if you haven't, you should check it out. BlogRhet is the brainchild of some wonderfully thinky, blogging women, with the goal of discussing blogging, community, identity, and all that wonderful stuff. Rhetorically, of course. BlogRhet. Get it? Love the name and I love big ideas. So I loooooove these women.
The fabulous women of BlogRhet have started a thinkfest known as the Blog on Blog Action Survey. The rules? Answer one or more of the questions below - I went with all of them because I'm an overachiever, link back to the original BlogRhet post, and tag 3 bloggers.
I must admit this is the first meme I've really been excited about answering, aside from the very first meme tag I received. I even commented yesterday that I couldn't wait to see where this meme goes and how it evolves. So, the wonderful Mary G of Them's My Sentiments was kind enough to tag me. Mary is a BlogRhet contributor and comes from a long line of thinky women. Her prose is amazing and she never fails to engross me. She claims to be new to this blogging thing, but she immediately fit right in with everyone and she's a wonderful writer. If you've never had a chance to check out her blog, please do. You won't regret it.
1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
I started my blog as kind of a journal. I didn't really have a clear view of exactly what I was going to do with it, but I knew that I wanted a place to write about myself, my kids, and whatever else I felt like ranting about occasionally. I was asking questions, but I wasn't really expecting anyone to answer. For the first couple of months, I was finding my voice and my audience. I ranted about a few things that annoyed or upset me, but the posts that I most enjoyed writing, and the posts that I most enjoy reading now, were about my family or me as a mom. My writing style hasn't changed much, perhaps because I write often professionally, albeit a bit more formally. I honestly think that within a month of beginning to blog, I had found the voice I have now. I didn't take many chances or really let it all hang out, but I can hear myself when I read my earliest posts.
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
My first post was your basic, "Hey, I'm here," post with cavernous echos reverberating around my space. There's not much else to it but John Lennon lyrics. There's a comment on it now, but it's a recent comment by someone new to my blog, Stephanie of Missing Me. (I had to give her a shout out because of her awesome name.) My second post, a short paragraph about my never ending debate over whether to work part-time, contains my first comment from someone I don't know in real life. Yet. (I fully intend to hang out with Pundit Mom at BlogHer in July.) Joanne really gave me my first glimpse into the Blog community. Someone I didn't know was reading what I wrote, understood my struggle, and took the time to leave me a supportive comment. WOW! That's better than therapy! And it's addictive as hell. It really is.
3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
There were a couple of moments that led up to a really big moment of clarity. At that point, I realized that blogging is now a really important part of my life because of the wonderful dialogue I have with all these people. The first "moment" was not a post for my blog. It was actually a guest blog that I wrote for the On Balance blog on the Washington Post. (Bear with me and click through the links to find it. And hint - this is how people who Google my real name can find my blog.) Go ahead and read the comments and you'll see why I took notice.
People who had seen me elsewhere in the Blogosphere and people who were already Lawyer Mama readers saw my On Balance post and came by to be part of the dialogue. There were even more comments that you don't see - from people who googled my name and emailed me. One woman from Tennessee even called me to tell me how much she appreciated what I had written. It was amazing. And it was really the first time I realized that what I wrote in my personal life, and not just my professional life, could really make a difference to anyone.
After that, honestly, I really felt like I was having a conversation through many of my favorite posts. Finally, all of these thoughts that had been building up inside of me about the blogging community, and "Mommy Bloggers" in particular, came pouring out in response to a troll at Pundit Mom's place. That was it. I had found my people.
4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?
Yes, discovering my community has definitely changed how I write, but in a good way. When I was first finding my voice, I was very careful about revealing too much of Me. I mean, the gooey, snarky, messy Me. The Me that my family and close friends love. Now, I tend not to care too much because I know that any judgment I find in my community will be from random, anonymous trolls. Now I talk about my fears and I take some chances. But frankly, this is a recent occurrence for me. I've only been blogging since August of 2006, although it seems like much longer.
In fact, my favorite post was written just last month. It isn't my favorite because of the writing or anything. It's my favorite because it was the post that was hardest to publish and is still the most difficult for me to read. This blog didn't start out as a way to push myself emotionally or intellectually, but in a way that is what it has become. I feel like I'm growing as a person and a writer because of the conversations I have in the Blogosphere. It's a wonderful thing, this community and this audience.
Let's continue this conversation. I tag Jen of One Plus Two (when she is healthy again, of course), My Queen Ms. Miller of Queen of the Mayhem, and my first Bloggy friend, Joanne of Pundit Mom. Now, none of you can get indignant about being tagged for another meme (I'm talking to you, Queenie!) because this is a special meme. Get to it, ladies. I can't wait to hear what you have to say!