I’ve been blogging for nearly seven and a half years, and the paths I once shared with many bloggers have diverged, or dead-ended for one reason or another, along the way. Then I realized that one thing about having blogged for so long is that at one time or another, I’ve probably mentioned some of those who helped form me as a blogger…whether they know it or not.
(NOTE: All blog links in the following are those currently used by these bloggers, and may not be the ones they had back in the day.)
“Gosh I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Mommy blogs. I am very focused in my blog reading on book blogs I guess.”
—comment from Lenore, March 2009 (before she was Lenore), on a link-roundup post
I was never that focused. My interests are pretty wide-ranging, and so is my blog reading. On the Internet, I’m a bit of a wanderer, but I’ve found “homes” among two communities: the “book bloggers” and the “mom bloggers.” I launched this blog
two years ago today over seven years ago, and it seems to me that much of my second blogging year was spent building community ties.
I’d known about blogs for a few years before I started one, although I didn’t personally know anyone who had one other than my son, who started and stopped a few during his university years. But I was seeing blogs becoming a component of some of the websites I regularly visited, and it made me curious to explore them. I actually started, and then killed, my first blog several months before The 3 R’s was born, because I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.
Book reviews were my reason for starting this blog (so I could remember things about what I read, mostly), and at that time, I didn’t even realize how many other people were blogging about books. I started looking for them not long after, though, and finding them through activities like the still-active (as of last month) Booking Through Thursday, the long-gone MotherTalk blog tours, and Sassymonkey’s book posts on BlogHer. Slowly I discovered the book bloggers, and through them, I found more…and more…and others found me. It was a while before I truly felt like part of the group, though, and as is the case with so many things related to the book-blogging community, it happened at least partly because of Dewey, thanks to her starting the Weekly Geeks activities and giving me the opportunity to host a Bookworms Carnival. The other big catalyst for my sense of belonging to this community was participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, during which My Friend Amy became a friend of so many of us.
If there’s a “typical” book blogger, it’s not me, and that’s part of why I haven’t always been sure I should call myself a “book blogger” at all. There are bloggers who only post book reviews, reading memes, and book-related news; you can find those things here, but you’ll find a lot of other content too, whether you’re looking for it or not. What I love about being among the book bloggers is that it turns out that a lot of us aren’t “typical” after all, and it’s a very welcoming environment. We’re giving each other stuff to read–how could that be bad?
On the other hand, one of the first sites where I participated after I began blogging was Work It, Mom!, so the blogging moms weren’t a big surprise to me, and I sought them out. Seeing myself in that community was more of a surprise, though, since I was even less of a “typical” mom blogger than I am a book blogger. My kids were older–two aren’t even “kids” anymore–and I’m LONG past the trials and tribulations of early motherhood, a period which also gives birth to many blogs. However, “mom” is one part of my identity that will never change, and I was excited to become part of the Los Angeles Moms Blog during its “soft launch” phase in the fall of 2008. (The LA blog was under the umbrella of the Silicon Valley Moms Group of regional moms’ blogs, which folded in July 2010.) The first bloggers I met face-to-face were part of this group, which gave me another outlet for writing and exposed me to the whole mom-blog-marketing thing, with its opportunities and its pitfalls. But the best thing it did was help someone who always felt like “the misfit mom” finally feel like she had a moms’ group of her own, for a while.
Over time, bloggers in both of these communities have come to feel like family to me… and there’s more blending and crossover between them than you might realize. I know book bloggers who are moms, even if they don’t often blog about their families. I know blogging moms who love to read and talk about books–and not just books for their kids. My favorite bloggers in both groups are probably the ones who, like me, are a bit less “typical”–the ones who can’t help bringing a bit of themselves and their lives into their book reviews, and the ones who have something to say about the world at large as well as its effects on their families.
Thank you all for helping form me into the blogger I have become, whether you knew it or not.