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Y is for You.

As in, the other half in what makes this whole blog “thing” work.

Y is for the blogging community and in particular some of the new bloggers I have met through this A to Z challenge.

Blogging as an experience is really rather an odd manifestation of the whole social media explosion when you think about it.

I often think about how I’d explain it to someone from the 1980s.

It’s like a diary, that I let everyone read and comment on.

Regardless of how foreign this idea might have sounded even a generation ago, given my interest in writing, and early play with other platforms like GeoCities back in the 1990s, I think I was destined to blog.

Wikipedia tells me we’ve been online journaling since at least 1994. The running updates of online diarists combined with links inspired the term “web log” which was eventually contracted into “blog”.

There is a great 1998 Salon magazine article by Simon Firth interviewing bloggers and reflecting on the genre to that point. Some were abandoning the form:

It’s grown dull. Tedious … [Web diarists are now] slowing down, drifting away, and not publishing at all, abandoning unfinished projects, flailing in redirection and redesign, coming to no real conclusions and no more happiness. – Alexis Massie, wrote the former personal narrative web ‘zine After Dinner.

However, Simon Firth seemed to conclude that:

While many of the movement’s pioneers may be tired and disillusioned, the genre shows plenty of signs of life — of blossoming, even, into something remarkable: a new literary form that allows writers to connect with readers in an excitingly new way.

Speaking on behalf of bloggers in 2017, I’d just like to say: Well, done Simon. Personal blogging is far from dead.

Wikipedia tells me that, on 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs worldwide. That doesn’t even count Blogger, the most popular service used today, because they don’t offer public statistics.

I’ve been blogging at this site since 2013. In that time I have connected with some wonderful people around the world.

However, as I mentioned at the start of this challenge, I’d hit a bit of a crossroads as far as blogging goes.

So, I joined the A to Z not only to challenge myself, but also to find inspiration from others.

And wow did my plan deliver!

Here are a few new bloggers who I met, have enjoyed following through the challenge and who have given me inspiration for what else can be explored through blogging:

Kim from Ramblings of K. While I appreciate she has the advantage of being in Australia, she has been my first comment on many of my A to Z posts which is always great for a blogger. Her A to Z has focussed on her travels around the world and has included beautiful travel pictures and renewed my travel bug. I have also discovered some new vampire and zombie reads to add to my Goodreads list from our discussions.

Weekends in Maine. So, at first I wouldn’t have thought I’d have much interest in 26 posts about Maine, but she gave us so much more as many of her posts had a focus on making environmentally conscious and sustainable choices. I learnt about Community Supported Agriculture, to consider alternatives to dryer sheets, and that my parents probably picked up my Maple Pepper while visiting Maine. And lastly, we have similar parenting experiences – and with her daughters a few years ahead of mine, I have enjoyed the experience and perspective provided in her comments.

Kat from Dandelion Fuzz. With grown kids, she gave me the benefit of perspective on my posts while reflecting in some moments on her parenting memories in a few posts that really resonated with me. K is for Kindness stuck out where she recalls the kindness of another parent who helped her out. I also learnt that Lady Gaga is an introvert.

Also lending her perspective was Leanne from Cresting the Hill. Her A to Z was all about what makes mid-life fabulous. While I’m clearly not there yet, I’m a planner. So her posts were a joy to read. And much of what she writes about I can apply now. I connected with her posts on looking for new experiences, having the courage to change jobs, and celebrating the grandbabies.

Barbed Words. Writing a collection of flash fiction and reflections on life from the UK, her A to Z posts have been a fun collection to read. While I still don’t know her views on Rihanna, I had fun failing her Movie Mash-Up questions and reading her fiction. Oh and Joan Rivers is awesome.

Speaking of writers, I have also enjoyed following Sreesha Divakaran’s story on Petrichor and Clouds told in 26 parts over the A to Z challenge. The tale is about a couple – the beginning, the during, the ending.

Cheryl at Plucking my Heartstrings A to Z’ed all about the plethora of Facebook support groups out there. It was a theme I loved because it speaks to the good the Internet can do. In reading, I wish I’d known about the group for kids with vision problems a few years earlier and will direct my husband to the Quit Smoking one when I think he’s ready (because I don’t want to be seen as nagging!)

And lastly, I discovered Barbara from Life and Faith in Caneyhead. She has been blogging her perspectives on life from A to Z. Her perspectives come from a childhood in the 60s in small Texas towns. She writes a lot on issues of faith, which given I am raising my kids Roman Catholic but stopped practicing in my 20s find interesting as I figure out my thoughts on the subject. I also simply enjoy reading about a life very different from mine and seeing the similarities and differences. It’s one of the things I like most about blogging. Her post on Pretenders and Posers is my favourite to date.

I hope to continue reading more from all of them beyond the A to Z.

With that said, XOXO, a song for you (appropriately covered by a band that first hit it big by being YouTube sensations), and let’s get back to blogging!

Which new blogs have you discovered on the A to Z? Tell me about them in the comments.

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