I’m coming up on three years since I began blogging about my “road to motherhood,” as I so obnoxiously dubbed it those many moons ago. I say “obnoxious” mostly because it’s been three years and I’m still on this same damn road. But I also say obnoxious because this journey has taken me many places over the last three years, but none of them have been motherhood. And so my own tagline scrapes at my emotions like nails on a chalkboard. The irony is not lost on me.
When I first set out to share my story, I did so because I hadn’t found the information I was looking for online. There were plenty of blogs about lesbian moms, but I couldn’t find any that actually told the stories of HOW they became moms. So I decided to share mine. And, for the most part, I’m glad I made that decision. In fact, any reservations I have about blogging come solely from my own boredom with writing about a road I can’t seem to turn off of.
I’ve had a few friends start their own blogs over these past few years, and I know plenty of other people out there learning WordPress, Tumblr, etc. And I say, go for it! Do it. Create it. Write it. Share it.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I a narcissist?
People will accuse you of being one, so dig deep and really answer this question for yourself. Some will say it takes at least a degree of narcissism to blog (after all, narcissism = self-centeredness, and what’s more self-centered than thinking people care about YOUR story?). I started from what I believed was a noble thought: there was a need for stories like mine (turns out, I was right) but even that line of thinking (people need me!) is narcissistic in itself.
My point: If you’re not a narcissist now, you will become one — especially after you realize people are more apt to click your post if there’s a picture of your face attached to it, which means you’ll inevitably turn every outing into a photo opt because you can never have enough photos (or the right one. In fact, I’m pretty sure the picture I used here has absolutely nothing to do with this post. But, that’s me!).
2. What are my boundaries?
You have to have them. And then you have to recognize that you might say goodbye to them. If you ever told me that I’d write a post about the six inches of tubing that hung out of my vagina for days after my hysteroscopy, I’d literally LOL in your face. But then these bizarre and sometimes embarrassing things just become part of the story, and it feels stranger — and disingenuous — not to talk about them. People want honesty and they can read right through BS, so your blog will be crap if honesty isn’t your first commitment.
3. Do I value the relationships I have with my friends and family?
If so, you need to check with them about what is and isn’t okay to share. Even if it’s a small detail that doesn’t have their name attached to it and it seems like totally no big deal, let them know you plan on mentioning it. These people, by default, are part of your story — but not all of them want to be in it. Avoid a huge fallout by running even the cookie-crumb details by them first. I’d share my own personal example, but I fear I’ve already said too much.
4. Do I have a thick skin?
People are cruel. Even if you write from the truest, most real, and deepest part of your heart, your work will be shredded by those who don’t understand you. You should commit NOW to never read past two negative comments, because the likelihood is that the negativity continues and it will rip you up a bit, even if you are tough. You won’t understand how someone (often multiple someones) could be so mean and so, so wrong. Know your truth, and recognize others just might not get it. Don’t invest your time there; just keep doing your thing.
5. Do I care if no one reads my work?
We’ve already established that you’re a narcissist, so this question is redundant. If you’re lucky, people other than your friends and family will read your blog. I remember when my blog’s Facebook page finally had more strangers following it than people I knew, and I felt strangely validated. In the same vein, you also need to prepare to get the fewest reads on something you poured your heart into, something you’re really damn proud of — to then sit scratching your head when the least-thought-out thing you’ve written since you drunkenly typed a college paper blows up on the Interwebs. The real answer to this question is, truly, that you should first and foremost write for yourself. From the heart. It’s what real writers do.
6. How do I handle embarrassment?
Without fail, you’ll write something that ends up making you cringe after you’ve posted it. For me, it happened early on (as most mistakes will). It was a post about vaccinations, the title was something like: Healthier Babies: Vaccinated or Not? I can’t even dig it up right now; it brings back such terrible memories from before I knew not to read comments. I had just started blogging and knew so little about vaccines except for some awful hippie propaganda. To this day, I’m embarrassed my name is attached to that post. Lesson: You will write something that you later despise. And you’re just gonna have to live with it.
7. How many hours can I lose to social media?
I’m not kidding. Figure it out and schedule that shit. Otherwise, your life will be consumed — consumed, I say! — by it. Your blog will go nowhere if you don’t promote it, and you can’t promote it without social media. So figure out how many hours you can spare and use that time wisely (i.e. not reading 300 comments likening you to the devil).
8. Why am I doing this?
Aside, of course, from the fact that you’re a self-centered narcissist. The truth is, you won’t make a ton of money. It requires a big time commitment. People will berate you. You’ll likely cause a riff in the family somewhere. There will be things you say that you just can’t take back. You will make awful mistakes and misuse words YOU KNOW because you’re just so excited and had too much wine. But. There is nothing like it. Putting your truth out there for the world to see (even if that world is just Aunt Edna and your coworker Wanda), putting that truth out there, documenting your story, reaching people in other countries, and connecting through the written word — well, there’s just nothing else like it.
So, I say: blog away, my friends. Blog away.
Photo courtesy of Aela MassMore On