You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. – Octavia Butler
I’ve had a lot of new blog followers over the recent weeks, and that’s fantastic! Welcome! I hope I can simultaneously manage to be real without oversharing, energetic without straight up lying to you (I’m tired!), friendly without the saccharine, “truthy” without sanctimony, and inspiring without making you all roll your eyes and eventually hate me.
I’ve been writing here since…2011…I think? My stats tell me that people think my posts about travel and photography are swell, are mildly interested in recipes (although that baked buffalo wing post is killing it on Pinterest), and love reading about my family. Most people stumble upon my blog whilst searching for famous quotes, as above, or, and this amuses me, because they’re looking for a photo of SpongeBob crying or Homer Simpson drooling. Occasionally people find me because they’ve lost a parent and are looking for support. That’s something I’m proud of (and if you’re here for that reason I’m giving you virtual hugs).
I enjoy looking at these kinds of things, but I admit that I don’t let them persuade me in what I write. Very few people read my post about tutoring a little boy in Indianapolis, but it remains one of my favorite pieces of writing. My post on art and design in Lima, Peru was Freshly Pressed, but as I look back on it I wish I’d done it a bit differently.
Abel Bentin exhibit in Lima, Peru. If you came here looking for vaguely threatening ice cream cones, I’ve got you covered. This piece is called “I don’t believe in Guilt.”
All this has had me thinking, though, about how I write. Like, how do I decide what to talk about? And then how do I put idea to keyboard?
Honestly it varies. In the olden days of Loni Found Herself I’d plan weekend trips with the very idea of taking photographs and writing about my experiences. I had a lot of fun doing that, too, but then it felt like I wasn’t really absorbing the experience so much as documenting it. Around the time I had Margot I read an article imploring women, especially, to put down the cameras and phones, stop recording every moment of their child’s life, and actively participate in those moments. What’s more important? Having photos of your child so that they can have memories or actually being a part of those memories? Will Margot remember me as the mom who stood off to the side taking pictures of her swimming, or will she remember me as the mom who jumped into the pool with her?
So now I write less about outings (though I still do from time to time) and more about, well, other stuff. Really, whatever strikes my fancy. Sometimes the idea comes to my head and I mull it over for a few days. Sometimes I sit down intending to write one thing and, through the course of typing, it turns into something else entirely. Like this post. I thought it would be a list of my favorite pieces of writing from my blog. You can see where it maybe could have gone in that direction, just after the paragraph about tutoring and Peru.
Is this blog any good? I hope so.
And, more than that, I hope it’s getting better.