I have a confession to make.
For the last few weeks and months (well, probably longer, if I’m really being honest), I’ve been planning an escape route. Drafting in my mind a final post. Recapping the last almost-eight years. Plotting ways to put a period on my blogging career altogether.
Except that, every time I think about actually sitting down to write that epilogue, to tell you that I’m done here, that blogging has changed and that I’ve changed, too, I start to feel an immense sense of sadness. Second thoughts creep into my headspace like verdant vines grabbing hold, and then I remember why I started blogging in the first place.
To write about my life.
When I started my blog in 2004, I didn’t do it with the intention of monetizing content or creating a brand for myself. I did it because my then-fiance worked nights, and I was bored. But then it quickly turned into Something. People started reading and commenting, and I was buoyed by the strange-to-many notion that someone in another part of the country whom I’d never met found my words and stories interesting or amusing or even, at times, inspiring. That they came back, before RSS feeds and Google Reader, of their own volition for more.
In the almost-eight years that I’ve occupied this small piece of real estate on the internet, I’ve met some truly incredible people I never would’ve known had I not opened a Blogspot account that October night in 2004. I wouldn’t have the job I still have today had I not met Kate. I wouldn’t know Jon and Andrea and their brood of delightful children my son calls his friends. I wouldn’t have met Sizzle and danced with her at my first Zumba class. I wouldn’t have a standing drinks-and-dinner date at BookExpo with Jennie or Ginger. I wouldn’t have shared pizza with RA and her husband at Delancey just the other weekend.
And of course, I never would’ve known Kerri, who I feel privileged to consider one of my very best friends in the whole world.
I miss blogging. I miss being able to open up a blank doc and just write about any and everything, from the most serious of topics to the silliest, and to know that there’s at least someone out there who will relate, who can in turn offer advice, or simply just commiserate. I miss being able to tell a story that’s longer than 140 characters. I miss an inbox full of comment notifications. I miss reading other people’s blogs, too.
Blogging has changed, there’s no doubt about it, and I could go on about the business of blogging, how I’ve dipped my toes into the sponsored and paid content pool only to feel like I was lost at sea, or how social media has all but killed long-form blogging, but the more paramount issue is that I’ve changed a lot, too. The less anonymous I became, and the more family and close friends started reading my blog, the more I felt myself closing off and retreating from the online spotlight, cognizant of the familiar faces in the audience and how my words and stories might affect the people I know and love. As a mother, I’ve also become more selective in what I choose to share online, on Twitter, Facebook and here, not so sure that every nuance of raising a son has to be documented or Instagrammed for it to have happened. Some stories, some memories, are just for me.
There’s also just this inexplicable pressure when you’re a blogger, to always be increasing traffic or pageviews, to cross-promote and link back to and name-drop, and frankly, I’m done with that part of blogging. I said goodbye to advertisements awhile ago, and I’m two days away from being able to give notice at another sponsorship site to which I belong. I want to get back to my blogging roots, to again write about my life, how I want and when I want, and not feel beholden to anyone other than myself.
The truth is, I want to give blogging another try before closing the door for good. I don’t think I’m done yet; I think I just need to NOT think about it so hard. To start from the start.
Hi, I’m Jen. I’m 32. We have a lot of catching up to do.