Hi everyone. This is going to be a more personal post where I talk about my purpose for blogging and how it has been going for me so far. I gave myself a year to figure out blogging in the public sphere and since I started in January, this month marks the six months mark of that year.
I have been writing and blogging in some shape or form on the internet since I was 16. That’s when I discovered LiveJournal around 2000. It’s scary to realize that is almost half my life because it doesn’t feel that long ago! I also started posting at FanFiction.net around that time, and no, I will never in a million years reveal my username. At that time I barely had a grasp on the English language but for some reason that didn’t stop me from publishing my angst-filled work and even build a reader base. Ah, it truly was a more innocent time for the internets. The front page of LiveJournal looked like this:
It’s difficult to describe now what LiveJournal was in the early 2000’s, before Facebook, Twitter, even MySpace, and way before pictures became the main form of communication online. Back then, it really didn’t matter what you looked like or how old you were, or even where you were from, as long as you were a decent writer and conversationalist because that was the only side of you that was represented. This was pre-dawn the age of high quality webcams, usb sticks, memory cards, cheap digital cameras and even home scanners, so it was actually kind of a chore to get your photos online. Wow, I sound so old, haha! LiveJournal was really advertised as a journal so most people would treat it as such, writing pretty personal accounts of their lives and thoughts without being too concerned about who was reading. Mainly because it was just friends or fellow nerds. Eventually though, maybe around 2005, the need for privacy kicked in and the majority of the journals went ‘friends only’ meaning they were locked for everyone except those on your approved friends list, much like Facebook is today. But even as candid as most of these journals were, they were still anonymous in the sense that hardly anyone went by their real names yet.
I still check in with my LiveJournal friends list almost daily but it is mainly a wasteland by now. Bless George R.R. Martin for still keeping it moving, but otherwise there is a lingering sense of nostalgia in the rare event some of my close friends posts an entry. The attitude to LiveJournal these days seems to be that if there is something on your mind that is so private it can’t go on Facebook but you still want to talk about it, it goes on LiveJournal and into a void where maybe three people will ever see it. But sometimes that’s all you need. I’m not lying when I say LiveJournal forever changed my life. I met some of my best friends on that website. From being a nerdy teenager in Norway I started traveling the world at 19 as soon as I had saved up enough money and my first stops were all LiveJournal friends whose intimate life details I had been privy to over the years although we had never met. This was before meeting strangers from the internet was acceptable and I didn’t just go to the next town over, but continents and time zones away, to Toronto, Los Angeles, Portland and Germany. I will probably never know the extent of the worry and sleepless nights I have caused my mother but I thank her from the bottom of my heart for always letting me go and always leaving the door open when I return.
The intimacy LiveJournal provided strangers on the internet is probably gone forever. Right now we all seem very caught up in impressing our real life friends and distant acquaintances with photos of our awesome lives right down to the food we eat and how much we exercise, bashing people’s beliefs and opinions on mainstream media discussion forums (thanks, news media, for keeping us all so divided) and gaining the attention of celebrities in worship-like fashion on Twitter or Instagram, be they actors, musicians, authors or youtube personalities. I’m seriously not hating. I am guilty of it all. But I miss the intimacy of realizing you just spent four hours talking to this person on instant messenger when it’s three in the morning and you have to be up by eight. You may not know what they look like or exactly where they live but for a brief moment in time, which could span months or years or just a couple of days, you connected with someone across time and space just because you had some initial quirky interest in common.
I also started this blog as a way to force myself to write more frequently, even if no one was reading. I have the not-so-very unique problem of wanting to write for a living but finding it hard to 1) get started, and 2) take it seriously. Because I have been writing my whole life I find it difficult to understand that people would pay someone to write something for them – why not just write it yourself? So I experimented with freelance writing, which is kind of like being in school, only you get even less credit for what you turn in. So this blog has become a mix between the two; a place I can write articles about things I genuinely care about, the stories that impact the way I live my life and also a journal of sorts, chronicling the more personal stories of my life.
The most exciting day for me on this blog happened when Charmaine Olivia shared the article I wrote about her work on her huge Facebook and Twitter network, and my fledgling blog received over 1,000 visitor in one day. For someone who has kept only a locked, friends only journal for 30 people for the past 10 years, that was an interesting experience. I can’t imagine those bloggers who write about their lives and regularly get tens of thousands of hits a day. Wouldn’t you get massive performance anxiety? I think as a writer I had never really considered these aspects before, especially since my writing tends to be so autobiographical. Is being a public figure something I am really interested in? I always thought so, but now I’m not so sure. I suppose even writing fiction is revealing in some ways, and popular authors today catch a lot of flack. I’ve been following GRRM on LiveJournal and Anne Rice on Facebook and it seems to me that authors are also supposed to be public figures today and they need to develop thick skin, fast.
So hello, dear reader. I am thrilled that you are reading. This is a brave new world for me and I’m still finding my footing as a blogger. I know what kind of content my favorite blogs have. They are often lifestyle or products blogs in which eventually the bloggers become big enough for the brands to notice and they are able to receive products for free or even make a living from it. I don’t foresee that happening to me – not because I don’t enjoy a lot of brands, usually natural/organic and socially sustainable in nature – but because I feel there are so many other blogs out there with better cameras and commercial mentality. This blog is almost anti-commercial, starting with the first post in 10 Steps to a Sustainable Life. And I’m certainly not getting paid for my views on sustainability, and I don’t mind that. I write because I love to write. But I would like to hear what kind of content you are looking for if you are reading this blog. More personal stories, or less? More articles on sustainability, which is my degree and area of interest? Or should this be writer’s blog where I talk about my current projects and current/fave books, movies and TV. So far it’s a kaleidoscope of all three. Is that confusing?
If you are still reading, please leave a comment and tell me something about yourself or how you came across this blog. I would love to get to know my readers more and maybe together we can figure this thing out!