Thank you, Stacy, for the latest meme/tag/interview/whatever they're called - although I understand she stole it off someone else!!
1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
My voice, back in the day (2004)? In one word: immature. I quote: "I finished school about a month ago FOREVER and my friends and I met up at a SERIOUS cafe today. I felt very grown-up." Ahhh, to think of the days when I capitalised everything. Now I am much more mature, I italicise things instead. I also listed all the presents I got for Christmas, and what I got for my family - definitely a mark of a younger Allie, I think.
Likewise, I was much more obsessed with U2 and Jane Austen than I am now!
And... sadly... I was rather preachy.
Although overall I wasn't terrible. Just a bit boring.
I'm not sure who exactly I was writing to. I used to talk a lot about The Spirit Of The Internet back then - basically because no one read my blog! I didn't tell anyone about it, I didn't know anyone who had a blog, and I was too lazy to search out other blogs. I had, basically, absolutely no sense of audience - but I don't think I minded too much at first, because it meant I could write whatever I wanted. But after a while, it began to really grate on me that no one read it... more on this next question.
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment?
My first ever comment was a junk one. Depressing. As I said before, I didn't mind too much at first - but then when I was going through the hardest time of my life, back in 2005, I would pour out my heart on my blog, and the only response I would get would be "Great blog! Come look at my cheap deals on Viagra" and that was super-depressing.
My first real comment (as far as I can remember) was when I started searching through random blogs, and I found this great photo blog. I left a comment saying he'd inspired me to start posting my own photos, and he came and left a really nice comment on my blog. Soon later, a visitor to his blog came to mine, and she became a regular for a long time (that's Patty of Green Tea Obsession).
3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
Yes - this started when Stacy started blogging, funnily enough! (Thanks Stacy) Because I knew Stacy already, through our online critiquing group, it was natural to visit her blog a lot, and somehow, slowly, I got connected with a whole lot of people who visited her blog or whose blogs she visited.
Before this, I'd had a few people visiting my blog fairly regularly, such as Patty, or slskenyon, but these were nearly all isolated from each other, so it wasn't nearly so interesting. But now it is very very fun! And I feel like I have friends all over the world! I also love how this 'community' of bloggers passes around the same memes and we can all check out each others' answers. :)
4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?
Definitely. Once I knew there were people actually reading my blog, I was much more careful about trying to write things that were actually interesting. Ie, I had to stop writing things like 'I'm bored and I can't think of anything to do so I'm writing on my blog'. Sometimes I still do that... but only once a month.
I was also a lot more careful about sharing religious opinions. As it happens, most of the people who read my blog are Christians, anyway. But I felt like this blog should be a neutral sort of place, although as you've probably noticed I don't necessarily hide my beliefs. So when I got sick of this, I created another blog, God is Nice, and I write on there whenever I feel the urge to splurge my current ideas on/experiences of God.
Stacy in her version of this meme mentioned that she didn't mind her family reading this but not other acquaintances. I feel the opposite, really. I've never given my blog address to mere acquaintances, but I don't mind giving it to close friends, whom I wouldn't feel the need to gripe about. Whereas I'm not so thrilled when I know that a member of my family has read it. I don't know why, but if I'm going through something that has ripped me apart, I'd rather I told them myself than they had to read it on here. Again, I don't usually do so, because - again - this blog feels, to me, like it should be neutral and relatively carefree. So to get away from this problem, I made another blog called Another Grief Observed, on which I could vent on a particular issue whenever I wanted to, and for a long time I didn't leave a link to it on this blog or on my profile.
It's definitely worked really well for me having a number of blogs. Even if I'm having a crappy day, I can come on here and make fun of it. But I can be as dieaway and miserable on another or as new agey on yet another as I want. Even when I'm really busy I love blogging; it really helps me to relax, for some reason.
Moving Day: Blog in Review
11 months ago