Friday, November 7, 2014

What I Learned From 31 Days of Blogging

It's been one week since I posted my last 31 days post.  While it's been really nice to take a breather and have time away from my blog and from the computer screen, I couldn't stay away as a long as I originally planned (2 weeks).  I've been thinking about what I learned from the October blogging challenge and how it will influence my blog in the future and I wanted to get it all out there in a post before I lose my momentum.

So Here goes.

I really really like blogging! 31 days was hard at times, but over all I had a lot of fun. I liked having a theme. I liked planning out my posts in advance. I liked working on multiple posts at a time. I really like writing and I really love sharing stories.  Blogging is a nice hobby to have along side the stay-at-home-mom gig because it's something separate from being a SAHM. I love being a mom! But I have other interests and abilities and blogging is a way to make sure those things don't get rusty during this season of my life

I don't like blogging EVERY day. If I didn't have a baby, and if I wasn't married, and if I didn't have a house to keep clean, and if I didn't have 20 piano/violin students to teach every week, then I might like blogging everyday. But I have a lot going on in my life and blogging everyday meant that those other things didn't get as much attention as they need and deserve (Sorry Johnny and Alex!) I had a goal before 31 days to post once a week.  Now that I have pushed myself to the max on getting posts up I think I would like to aim for two posts a week. Which brings me to my next point:

I perform well when under pressure. I didn't need a 31 day blogging challenge to learn that about myself.  I've known that for years. When I was in college and had 2 piano lessons a week and was preparing recitals I practiced for HOURS everyday. Now I don't practice at all.  I really really wish that I did and every once in a while I put Johnny in his exersaucer with some crackers and try to play for 15 minutes while he snacks. But the sad reality is that unless I have some pressure- playing for mass or a wedding or something, I just don't practice. I need the pressure, not so much that it becomes stifling, but just enough to keep me from getting lazy.

While I may need a little pressure to keep me writing, I don't need or want any pressure when it comes to content.  I write first and foremost for myself. That may sound a little selfish, but it's my blog, and my blog is a place for me to share my heart, and to catalog my memories. I love the idea of making connections with people over the things I share. Maybe there's another mom out there with a kid with hearing loss, or a husband who's going back to school and we can relate. That's great. But I'm not going to tailor what I write to what I think might get me the most hits. I write first for my own cathartic experience, and if you follow along and feel that we are kindred spirits that just makes it all the better!

31 things I Learned from my parents didn't get as many reads as most of my other other posts. Maybe that's because I didn't share every single post to Facebook and Instagram like I usually do.  Or maybe a post every single day was just a little too much for my readers to keep up with. Maybe people found it boring. Whatever the reason, it's OK! I loved writing and reliving all those memories. I know a lot of my family loved reading them too. So to me, it was a success.

As I began publishing my 31 Things, some discrepancies in some of our memories. I had to fess up to my mom that I may have used a little poetic license when retelling our family history. Not because I was trying to make things sound better or worse than they really were, but to better convey to you how something felt or appeared to me when I was 6, or 16. Sometimes it's hard to keep blog posts from turning into tall tales. But don't all stories change a little bit each time we tell them? That's just a natural part of the art of story telling.

That being said, I do feel frustrated that life tends to look more perfect through the lens of a blog than it does in real life. After reading 31 Thing I Learned From My Parents, you may have this image in your head of my family all holding hands and skipping through a field of flowers, or sitting around the breakfast table together in our bathrobes, smiling and eating cinnamon rolls (ok, that one could happen, but just on Christmas). The reality is we get grumpy and angry and have arguments just like any other family. But when I share stories and memories that belong to other people, and not just myself, I have to think about what they may or may not want out there on the world wide web. I don't have a problem telling you about the time I had a meltdown and was a hot mess, but my mom or sister may not want me to tell you about the time they had a meltdown and were hot messes. You may find a blog post here about when I was being a terrible person, but you won't find any about Alex and I having a fight.

Sometimes it's hard to strike a balance between trying to present life with honesty and respecting the privacy of those I do life with. I hope my life doesn't come across as perfect and idyllic, because it's not. Sometimes things are great, and sometimes things are really hard. But all of the little imperfect moments of my life come together to make something that is real and beautiful.  It's a life I really love living.

And in case you thought all our pictures turn out great, I give you: Family Outtakes!

Not perfect. But we love each other anyway!


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