Shaker Village Bonnet – as featured on shuttersisters

I’ve been blogging for two years now, and since I reflected on my first year of blogging a year ago, it’s time to think about what this second year of blogging has brought. Thankfully, it has brought more readers, more friendships, and more insights:

Blogging reflects me back to myself. Of course this blog is an edited version of me, and yet I find that because I have this outlet I can share something that I otherwise would not have recognized as a story. My “What’s Left of a Friendship” post, for instance, was prompted by one crystal that beckoned me to tell its story once I had hung it up again and was looking at it from my desk. That post has gotten a lot of hits. Blogging continues to be a journey in figuring out who I am as a blogger. And if I knew that, I could sit back and relax!

Blogging has made me more relaxed as a writer. Not that I don’t doubt my work anymore, or don’t get anxious about acceptance. But this blog gives me an outlet for all those little insights that wouldn’t make a personal essay. I can do what I want! I don’t have to hope for an editor’s acceptance letter just to get read. While blogging is its own medium and doesn’t necessarily make it easier to write an essay or a book, the constant practice of blogging keeps my writing muscles in shape. It is simply true that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Blogging led me to discover myself as a photographer. I got my first DSLR camera last summer; I took a photography class and have been reading a lot of photography books. It’s become an interest that has given me lots of joy. One of my happiest pursuits now is to sit with my laptop and get lost in looking at my photos after a shoot. I had my work featured on shuttersisters. This blog has become a great outlet to showcase my photos and to develop visual stories.

Stone Fence and Barn at Shaker Village, Kentucky,
as featured on shuttersisters

Some of my blogging realizations this year have a twinge of bittersweetness to them, perhaps because the second year of blogging meant the honeymoon was over and real life set in:

Blogging friends come and go. This shouldn’t make me sad, but it does. Why should blogging friendships be any different from in-person friendships: Some last, others don’t. Some are steady, others fade. Readers who buoyed me on a year ago have vanished, and I miss them! Thankfully, other faithful readers like William Kendall have miraculously appeared. How do you manage to comment on nearly all my posts, William? I don’t know how you do it, but I thoroughly appreciate your generosity. Thank you!

Keeping a steady pace is a good thing, but it’s also a challenge. I managed to do so, but there are times when putting up a post is a drag. I deal with it by always having a few draft posts waiting for when I might feel uninspired. It also helps that I’ve settled into a blogging routine that works for me, namely posting 2-3 times a week, usually on Mondays and Thursdays. It seems my readers are accustomed to that routine, too, because when I miss it, such as last week when I was waylaid by a trip to New York, I get emails asking me if I’m OK. So thanks, dear readers, for looking out for me!

Hosting guest bloggers is not what it’s cracked up to be, at least not in the sense of resulting in guest blogging opportunities for me or significantly growing my audience. Over these two years, I’ve hosted 21 guest bloggers on my blog, and have only been invited once to guest blog in return. I didn’t expect to be invited in return every time, and some of my guest bloggers don’t even have their own blogs, but I did expect a little tit-for-tat. Clearly that does not work and my expectation was wrong. And as so often in life, I have found that it’s my expectations I have to watch. Hosting guest bloggers also means, in many cases, that, as the “editor,” I have to hound the writer, something I don’t particularly enjoy. Some guest posts were easy and fun, others took months of follow up, some never materialized. And yet I will continue to invite guest bloggers because I think it’s valuable to offer my readers a variety of voices and insights.

So this is where I’m at after two years of blogging. I am looking forward to this continuing journey of discovery, and I am thankful to all you readers who are in for the ride and who let me know that I’m not alone in it.