Five years of blogging

My little blog is five years old today. Ahhhh. Please excuse a brief metabloggy interlude.

This site started when a friend of mine began blogging and I thought ‘that’s a good idea. I’ll steal it’. So I did, with a dubious design involving unicorns – really, I have no explanation for this – based around Movable Type 2.something. The name ‘wongaBlog’ came a few days later, based entirely on a short story I’d written in which the main character had a site called ‘wonkaBlog’, I think because he liked chocolate.

Since then it’s become a big part of my life, and I passed 3000 posts last month. It’s also, in no particular order::

  • briefly bathed in a pagerank of 5
  • been banned in libraries for swearing
  • pissed off two girlfriends – I think both eventually stopped reading entirely
  • been made fun of by the Guardian
  • regularly attacked by Russian spammers, which is quite the problem for my webhost but as close as I’m going to get to being in Spooks
  • served as a terribly cowardly way to ask someone out (not linking to this one, but it’s in there somewhere)
  • become the go-to-blog for Googlers of ‘wank-a-thon‘.

There’s lots more, but those are the ones that popped into my head while typing.

I love blogging. It gives me a chance to write, which is pretty much my favourite thing, and it’s also cathartic as hell. It helps me stay in touch with far-flung friends, as well as acting as a reasonably decent diary. And the very best aspect of blogging is a cliché, although none the less true for it: it’s the people you meet. I found myself in Bloggers4Labour a few years ago (not quite sure how, but I’m glad I did!), and I’ve met – both electronically and physically – lots of lovely people as a result. The same with various atheist / skeptical sites. It’s great, and makes me happy.

I don’t remember starting with a blogging goal, and I’ve never really developed one. Norm‘s Friday profilees are always asked for one piece of advice to a novice blogger, and a common reply is ‘know what you want to write, and who for’. I’ve never done that – this blog has always been for whatever I feel like at the time, with no plan or target audience – but I can see the attraction. For me the hardest part of blogging is discovering you’ve been read by people you respect, but don’t know personally. For a while it’s nigh on impossible not to second-guess yourself and think ‘oh god, what must they think of that‘ every time you click ‘post’. I can happily research and write a long piece on the problems of organised religion, say, then follow it up with a post on why I’m scared of women, or a snapshot of a particularly fascinating twig, or something. I’ve never come close to stopping, but it’s the thought of boring the hell out of interesting people that’s given me most pause.

I know this is silly. One of the best features of blogging is that it’s passive – if people don’t want to read, they don’t have to. It’s why the occasional hate-spewing trolls are so funny. But related, and trickier, is that many, if not most, people I know are by now aware of this site, and often mention it to me. Which is great, but does sometimes complicate things. I’ve a few posts permanently assigned to Drafts (over 100 at last count) because I never quite had the nerve to post, knowing they’d resonate with particular people. Sometimes it’s polite to spare people’s feelings when there’s no reason to post – I was at a really dull party this evening – but more often it’s over ideological disagreements. And it’s silly to worry about discussing those.

So my aim for the future is to worry less about what people will think. I shall write whatever I fancy, and if people stick around, great, if not, that’s fine too. And as long as I’m not rude and feel I can reasonably back up the more contentious stuff, that’ll do too – if I’m wrong, as I often am, people can tell me why.

Ok, enough wankery. I figure a five-year anniversary is an ok excuse, but I promise not to do this again for a long while. Incidentally, I was going to title this post after the appropriate anniversary material, so I hit Wikipedia for the list and discovered that four years is a ‘silk’ anniversary – how nice is that – while five years is ‘wood’. Wood. That’s crap. Plus I have no intention of ever typing ‘anniversary of wood’.

Finally, just to say thank you to anyone who comments, links to me from their own site, or just drops by and reads anything I write. It’s really very nice of you.