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June 05, 2008

Go For It: Start a Blog

Jessica_3 It's not too late.

You didn't miss the boat.

You can start a blog and you can start it today.

Sure, there are veterans out there that have been pouring their words and wit onto the Internet via weblog for over a decade, but thousands of brand-spanking new blogging voices sign on and start posting every day. Your voice is unique and no one exactly like you has shared his or her words before. You have something original to say and if you are bursting at the seams to say it, if you'€™re dreaming of your URL and writing posts in your head, nothing should stop you from making it a reality. What are you waiting for?

I started reading personal blogs in 2003, while expecting my first child. I'd be on a yawn of a conference call at work and, preoccupied with the life inside me, type something like "23 weeks pregnant" into the Google search box. Paging down through the predictable baby sites, I'd happen upon a new website with a preview text that looked interesting. I'd click and be transported into the autobiographical yearnings, humor and perspective of a completely unknown woman, joined with me in the sisterhood of pregnancy. I'd read her recent posts, delve into her archives and only come up for air when a client or supervisor started shouting for my attention through the speakerphone. I was hooked.

I started finding blogs on countless topics of interests and I loved reading the personal accounts of those who dove before me into realms where I’d only dipped a toe. I'd read the blogs of candidates in graduate programs I was considering, travelers to countries I wanted to visit, reviewers of cars I was thinking of buying. I discovered bloggers via search engines, on the online versions of favorite print pubs, in dinner party chitchat and through comments on other blogs. Soon I was a blog groupie. Before RSS feeds were common, I bookmarked my faves and became a daily clicker of some sites, an occasional scanner of others. I tentatively started leaving comments on posts that particularly resonated with me. I cheered for my favorite writers€' successes and cried when they despaired. When I found myself adding a favorite blogger to my prayers amongst my petitions for my real-life friends and family, suffice to say, I knew I was fully affected by this medium of communication.

Blogging makes one of the most powerful genres of literature - the personal memoir - available for immediate consumption by the hungry reading masses. It gives both the layman and accomplished writer the gratification of publishing whenever he or she desires. A blog can be whatever the writer wants.  There's no editor or boss red-penning your copy, diluting or changing your message. No matter your blog's reason for conception - be it the documentation of your daily life, the recording of your child's milestones, the promotion of your business or brand, a soapbox for your political agenda - your basis for starting your blog is pure. Whatever inspires you to share your words is legitimate and blog-worthy.

I finally started my own blog in January, after pining to do it for five wimpy years, and in the past six months I have never felt so personally or professionally fulfilled.  I have honed my writing, widened my horizons, made friends and exponentially increased the scope of my communication with others.  Though riddled with doubt that I was a novice, a poseur, a sham of a writer, I soon realized that as long as I was writing and communicating in a way that was real and true, no one cared what date my site went live. I learned that there's no secret handshake. All I needed was the desire, the words, the geeky bravery to hit publish and the drive to repeat it all over again.   

One of the greatest benefits for starting a blog in 2008 is that it can be completely free of cost and the blogging tools have been whittled into user-friendly submission. The templates and software and framework are waiting for you, the only thing you need provide is the message. E-mail the writers you adore and comment on their blogs and ask them for advice.  Link to writers you admire.  Send your posts to family and friends and get them reading you, market yourself and launch your blog on the world, or keep your blog completely anonymous and as private as you like. Focus on one aspect of your life or write about the whole messy enchilada. There'€™s no single way to go about it. There's no right or wrong way.  All you need to do is throw yourself into the river and the current of your passion will take you where you want to go.

If you have been thinking about blogging but something is holding you back, just do it. There's no better time. What the heck are you doing still reading this drivel?  GO.  Start your own blog today. I can't wait to read it.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post. Jessica McFadden began her personal blog, A Parent in Silver Spring, and joined the DC Metro Moms Blog in January 2008.  She also contributes to We Covet and Blissfully Domestic.

Photograph courtesy Lawrence Luk.  All rights reserved. 


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