I started a blog a few years ago because I like to write. For me, writing is a release and often my way of dealing with issues. I also like talking about myself. So ya know, it was really the perfect combination. I gave the address to a few friends and family members, and given the pathetic size of traffic I received, I have my doubts as to whether anyone stopped by to read my ramblings (and let’s be honest here. Can you blame them?) I didn’t care. I wrote for me. Like, literally. I wrote FOR ME. I was in some sort of strange twilight zone mindset where I would write about my innermost thoughts and feelings ON THE INTERNET, hit publish, and then be all “THIS IS ON THE INTERNET! WHAT IF SOMEONE READS IT!” What can I say? I’m strange.
But I continued to write. I switched my platform to WordPress. My “writers anxiety” started to settle down. I’ve always been a faithful reader to a number of blogs, but I started actually leaving comments and communicating. This was one of the best things my blog has brought me – a sense of community. Mental illness can be so isolating, and I now I am in contact with so many wonderful people, blogs, and communities who all share similar experiences.
Suddenly people were commenting on MY writing (always lovely and supportive. No trolls, although, to be honest, being trolled would have probably just amused me. Disclaimer: this is not an open invitation to trolls). People were even “following” me! I was like “What the dickens?!” Even the closest person to me in the world, my husband, only reads my posts under duress. The thought that people “liked” what I was saying, and that they were signing up VOLUNTARILY to read more pleased me to no end.
Anyway I kept chugging along. Writing about what ever took my fancy, on whatever day I felt like it. I opened a Twitter account and spent about a week trying to work out how to use it. Oh, who am I kidding. I’m still working out how to use it. But even though I love all the comments and feedback I have received on Finding My Sunshine, I still write for me. I have never written a post with the intention of gaining a lot of traffic. I wouldn’t even know how to do that. I write about what is on my mind. Some of it is serious. Some of it is ridiculous. But it’s me.
On Tuesday, the Sydney Siege was on my mind, so in the 45 minutes I had before picking up my Dad from the airport (which, by the way was a complete disaster because I broke down in the middle of the road causing mass chaos and pandemonium. But that’s a whole other story), I wrote I’ll Ride With You. That night I was far too occupied with good-for-nothing cars to think about my blog. I certainly didn’t feel my post was anything particularly special.
So imagine the next morning when I woke up to my phone going berserk. Well, that and the fact that Master D was calling up the stairs that he had a pooey nappy that needed changing. After yesterdays poo explosion (his. Not mine) I was doing that “pretending to be asleep” thing that all parents do at some point or another. As soon as Hubster left to deal with the “shituation” I grabbed my phone and checked. About 30 seconds later, I became completely overwhelmed.
I had a very nice email from the WordPress editors congratulating me on being featured on Freshly Pressed! The first thing I did was open up I’ll Ride With You and check I hadn’t written something incredibly stupid that was now going to be seen by hundreds of people. Phew. It looked good. People were liking it and commenting and following me. I could not believe it! I may have squealed.
Obviously I had always known about Freshly Pressed. But it was never something I even anticipated ever being featured on. I never wrote to try and be featured. It was all completely unexpected, and no one was more shocked than I. In 24 hours, hundreds of people have “liked” the post. My follower count has more than doubled. I am SO excited about this…but there is a small part of me that feels that I have been caught singing in the shower and pushed onto a stage. I have lots of new followers, no doubt, expecting me to write something spectacular. I’m not sure I know how to!
So, I am going to continue on as normal. Writing about my experiences with mental illness, desire for the reduction of stigma, and sometimes, completely random crap. That’s all I know and all I can do. Thank you all, awesome readers, for your support, your comments, and your participation in my journey. And to my newest followers, welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride.