Two Years a Blogger: Lessons Learnt (Alternatively, the “I Still Have a Blog” Speech)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for blogging in the history of our nation.

Two years ago, Mushroom Sup, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, successfully clicked on the “Create A Blog” button on WordPress. This presented Problem Number One, which she had never anticipated: what to post? Banging her fist on the keyboard repeatedly for 53 minutes did not produce the results she had hoped for, so she adopted a different strategy: writing a post using only the “w” key, and the “increase brightness” key.

Lesson #1: When the closest you come to being a writer is Writer’s Block: More often than not, I’ve sat down at my laptop with no idea what to write about. The Lucky Ones have inspiration at their disposal, but me, panic is more my thing (“I can’t let this blog die. Where else will I get notifications telling me that I’m pretty awesome?”). My first go-to is to think of random words. Socks. What’s up with socks, right? Warm and smelly. What else is smelly? What are my opinions on body odor? The train of thought is slow, and it breaks down a lot (“I should go out and buy a new deodorant, I don’t want to smell like socks”) but it gets there eventually. Conversely, I think of the last good, bad, funny, horrific or mildly emotional experience that I had and blow it out of proportion. Or I look at the news (same thing). Anyway, I try to be funny by forming a strong opinion on the chosen experience/ news article and defending it till I’m blue in the face, using fabricated facts and words that I don’t know the meaning of. If you don’t want to write humor, you could do the same thing but with real facts and real words (thank me later).

It worked. Mushroom Sup conclusively proved the Infinite Monkey Theorem, and what she produced was even better than the complete works of William Shakespeare. It actually made sense. Relatively speaking. The only problem was, it was just as long as his works, too.

Lesson #2: A Blog is Not a Book: Brevity is virtue. Short Sentences. Short Posts. Long posts = bored people (apologies for generalization). DOWN WITH DEFINITE ARTICLES.

As her devoted fan base grew wider to include spammers, in addition to her mother, she grew braver. Post by post, slowly but surely, she expanded her horizons. One year later, she had written a post using all – ALL – 26 letters of the alphabet, numbers from 1 to 7 and the “mute” key. This was a genius move. She achieved every blogger’s dream: REAL-PEOPLE-FOLLOWERS.

Lesson #3: We are Family: I am privileged to be part of this beautiful WordPress community. I want to read, like and comment on every post in my sundry Reader but I always fall short of this. I’ve made up my mind to consciously make time to read and like posts from the magnificent blogs I follow. Additionally, other blogs are a wonderful place to find that much-needed inspiration (I promise I’m not advocating plagiarism).

But even though Mushroom Sup’s name is Mushroom Sup, it wasn’t all highs. The only other thing Mushroom Sup had been able to sustain over a period of two years was bad grades in Math. Like in Math, she often considered giving up. Moments of existentialism, desperation and hunger overcame her as she thought to herself, “Why am I doing this when I could be eating a donut instead?”

Lesson #4: Keep at it: You’ll have dry spells. There’ll be days, especially in the beginning, when your ego reserve is as empty as your inbox. But never stop. Love what your write. Be in love with what you write. Nobody laughs at my own posts more than me – my mother has pointed this out many times. And one day, who knows, you’ll be Freshly Pressed, and you’ll be Meryl Streep.

And this, dear friends, countrymen and lend-me-your-ears, is what Mushroom Sup learnt in her miraculous journey from amateur (and immature) blogger to the great beacon light of hope to millions of WordPress spammers.

I am the joyous daybreak to end your long night of captivity.

Good morning.

I really shouldn’t be allowed to operate a blog.

I think I’m a blog snob.

I know that it’s free to have a blog. I know that the only qualification you need to have a blog is a pair of opposable thumbs to make a username and a password. Wait – you don’t even need that – I know a couple of blogging dogs. They’re better bloggers than I am, actually. They don’t use sentence fragments at every possible opportunity. They don’t mention opposable thumbs in every single post. Their vocabulary is undoubtedly more…um, evolved (ha ha). They don’t laugh at their own puns. In fact, I think one of them has published a book.

And yet, having a blog makes me feel special.

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu right now, it’s probably because I have written a post like this before. It’s called ‘I like you, WordPress. I like you a lot.’ In that particular post, I whinged about having five followers and made a virtual puppy-dog face in the vague hope that something would come out of it. WordPress felt pity for this blogger who had apparently been driven to the edge of desperation, and as a result, Freshly Pressed me (that still sounds wrong). On a side note: I should probably clarify that the post in question was not shadow advertising. It’s a mere coincidence that I was Freshly Pressed for a post that hails WordPress as the giver of all good things and the beacon of light that dispels the darkness from my world of hopelessness and oblivion.

Moving on.

Now that I have sufficiently flaunted my Freshly Pressed badge in your face, I’ll come to the point. This post is not like its predecessor. That one hinted at my miserable narcissistic tendencies. This one openly flaunts my miserable narcissistic tendencies. So you can keep reading (unless you had already stopped reading when I began waving my Freshly Pressed badge in the air).

So why does having a blog make me feel special? Well, of course, it’s firstly because I have followers – the very word makes me think of hoards of people genuflecting (I can’t let the blogging dogs get ahead of me so I bought a dictionary) at the altar of my magnificence. But it’s also because having a blog makes me feel like a member of the elite. I personally know only three other people with blogs. And although anyone can have a blog, as I’ve ascertained above, the fact that I was actually allowed to have one makes me feel good. Different. Privileged. Not just another member of the motley crowd.

It’s alright if this is just limited to feeling good about myself. However, I’m ashamed to say I’m not a background blogger. I do my best to mention my blog in any appropriate scenario. It’s not obvious enough to make me seem like a prig – I don’t go around yelling, “Look at me! I’ve got a blog!” but it’s meant to send out subliminal messages to anyone who’s listening:

“Now that you mention it, I wrote something about that on MY BLOG the other day.”
“I was so happy yesterday because somebody new followed MY BLOG.”
“Do you have a blog? I MYself love to BLOG.”

Another thing I do when it comes to my blog, is behaving like a blog snob. It’s like intellectual snobbery, but with absolutely no valid reason to behave like a snob. When I have an argument with someone who doesn’t have a blog, I’m ashamed to say that the first thing that comes to mind is always, ‘Do you have a blog? Didn’t think so.’ I don’t say it, but the thought’s there in my head, hand in hand with another thought, ‘I have a blog. Therefore I am better than you.’ These thoughts cloud any rational arguments that I may have, and I’m left saying, quite limply, “I’m telling you, I’m right. I can’t explain exactly why I’m right, but be sure check my blog periodically – I’ll post an explanation when I can think of one.” Just a bit of advice: That doesn’t work. Especially not with your mother.

Sometimes, when somebody says something I don’t like, my first thought is, ‘I’m going to write about you on my blog.’ It’s a different matter that I don’t actually end up doing that. But the fact that I actually thought of it makes me devious.

Yes, the thug life did, in fact, choose me.

To conclude: I love having a blog. I love having followers. I love to walk around, knowing that I’m somehow superior to everyone else simply because I have a username and a password. I love that there is a platform on which I can be the intellectual equivalent of a dog with circumlocutional abilities.

And, WordPress, I will use this platform well, because with great power comes great responsibility.

P.S: A message to the guy who tried to trip me over today:
You’re fatuous. So there.