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This is a Texty Tuesdays post, looking at different types of text from the printed word to blogs to things you scribble when you’re bored.

This year I started my first ever blog, and managed to keep it up, and, more importantly, I managed to enjoy it.

Here’s the top ten things about blogging, in reverse order:

10: I Learned that People can be Horrible:

I generally have a lot of faith in the human race. I think that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that if someone isn’t very pleasant to you, there’s probably an underlying reason.

On the internet, however, it’s a lot easier to be horrible. Things people would never say to your face get typed with no quality control, and can hurt feelings. This year, I was called ‘unpleasant’, ‘tedious’, and ‘self-aggrandising’, among other things, and initially I was offended.

Then I remembered that we’re on the internet, and that if I ever met these people in real life they would probably be lovely. I’ve only deleted five or six comments, which had foul language in them, which isn’t a lot over seventy-something posts. The majority of people are fantastic readers and commenters. I’ve learned to have a thicker skin, and consider the polite feedback over and above the one or two trolls and stirrers. If that doesn’t work, a scathing reply usually does.

9. I Battled Through a Few Difficulties:

For a long period of time, I had seven followers. That’s a depressing number, especially when you’re pretty certain only two of them actually read your posts. Getting past those early stages took a lot of effort. (If you’re in those stages, battle through – it gets better!)

Then, after gaining a few, I had internet problems. This meant I had to write my post in word, copy and paste it in, and hope it got published. For anyone who had to read some poorly formatted posts, I’m sorry. A lot more were lost in the void of ‘Your Connection has Timed Out’. Often, I couldn’t reply to comments or sometimes even approve them. Again, apologies. This all comes with working in a campsite in France. You’ll be glad to know I’m returning again next year, so look forward to some poorly formatted posts and unreplied-to comments!

More recently, I had a lot on at uni and elsewhere, and didn’t have time to keep up my normal rate of posts, and there was a moment when I thought I’d lost the momentum for good. Luckily, I got the ball rolling again and I’m back!

8: I Learned How to Explain Things

The trouble with studying a subject means you lose sight of the basics. After a year of studying English Language, you forget that the average person has no idea what Grice’s Maxims are, or what an adjacency pair is. When it comes to writing essays, however, we’re supposed to be able to write as if your reader hasn’t got a clue about the subject you’re writing about.

That’s where blogging comes in. The majority of my followers aren’t experts in English Language, so my metaphorical reader becomes a real one. Before writing an essay, I write a blog post about it, meaning I know how to explain the topic from the ground up; an invaluable skill.

7: I Made Mistakes

No-one ever got anywhere without making mistakes. If you’ve never made a mistake, you’re either lying or not taking enough risks. We learn from our mistakes; they teach us how to develop and improve. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my blog, like not proof-reading, making posts too long, veering off the subject… and each time I’ve taken something away from the experience.

6: I Engaged with Things

No longer simply travelling through life, books, language, and everything else I write about, I now experience them. Of course, I always did to an extent, but writing about how I felt bungee jumping, or my reaction to Edith Wharton’s Custom of the Country made me engage with them. And beyond that, I also engaged with others people’s reactions to my reactions. It let me think about how I feel, personally, about things, and how they affected me.

5: I Learned a Lot

Sometimes, I would start to write a post, and then I’d double-check a fact or point, and learn something new. I dropped History of English before I started my blog, so a lot of my posts were taken from books I read in my spare time, or research from the internet, which meant I learned a lot as a wrote them. For instance, my post on the names of the months started off one way, then I did a little more research: and discovered I’d been wrong! Learning for enjoyment as opposed to as a necessity is so much more interesting, it inspires more passion, and above all it’s more enjoyable.

4: I Got Freshly Pressed:

The feeling of elation and the gratitude to WordPress for choosing my post and to people who took the time to read, comment, and follow were simply overwhelming. Of course, posts appear in my reader every day which are worthy of being Freshly Pressed, so I’m fully aware that a lot of it was down to luck mine happened to be read. For people who found me by clicking on a link on the Freshly Pressed page, thanks for sticking with me! To WordPress, thanks for choosing me.

3: I Got Promoted:

My boss discovered that I blog, and I am now the Social Media Editor for the private art gallery I work at! Unfortunately, this apparently means I need to get twitter, instagram, a few other things I’ve never heard of, and preferably a smart phone. These are things I’d managed to hide from for so long! Still, having a new job title like this opens up new doors in the future and gives me even more experience (and time to make mistakes). I look forward to this very much.

2: I Discovered New Things

A very small number of blogs I follow talk about English. I spend my life learning about English; when I’m not doing that, I want to read about other things. Like  craft, photography, culture. I want to be amused, interested, stimulated, enlightened. And I most certainly am. WordPress is an amazing way to find new people and learn new things, and each blog is individual and interesting for it’s own unique set of reasons.

1: I Entered the Blogosphere:

Hello blogosphere!

Who knew there was such a strong, intelligent, interesting, varied community just waiting online for me? Not built on simply reading eloquent posts and learning interesting facts, the blogosphere is built on genuine likes and follows (by which I mean not for self-centred reasons like “maybe he’ll follow me back” and “hmm, she might like what I write about”), on thought-provoking comments – or comments which encourage, support, and show interest in what you have to say. You can gain so much from supporting others – and not least their support in return.

And that just about rounds it up.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to keep up my blog.

Once again, thank you for an amazing 2012, and let’s hope for the best in the blogosphere in 2013.

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