The newest blogging challenge from Lorelle on WordPress asks for our blog’s story. Well, my blogs had a unified start, so it makes sense to start both stories the same, and then follow their development apart individually.
I was gifted with an online journal in January 2002, not long after moving to San Antonio after grad school. She had just met me, and was adamant that I should have this journal (She was doing this to her friends, and she decided the moment she met me that we were going to be friends. In an interesting twist of events, we no longer speak to each other.) At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with the space. I stumbled through a couple of random posts before discovering quizzes. Before long, I started writing random reflections and thoughts about what was going on around me. After a while, it became more a place to tell friends what I was up to. I actually started meeting new people through the community, some of whom I’m still good friends with.
A few months after being given this online journal, I was introduced to Curt Rosengren’s blog. It sparked something in me. I decided I wanted to write more than just silly little “Hello, world” posts. I set up a Blogger blog and started writing in it about personal observations about informal learning (one of my passions). Eventually, I started writing more about education, and then started writing posts about personal development, changing careers, and writing resumes (I was starting to realize I had to consider how I was going to reshape my career path. Still am, come to think of it. I was also spending a lot of time helping friends and family navigate their own career changes.)
After a while, I felt like I had no idea what I was trying to accomplish anymore. The Blogger blog was split up among three TypePad blogs: CareerNiche, DesignNiche, and EducationNiche. They covered the main topics I’d been blogging about at that point. People would occasionally stop by and leave comments, or email me. But TypePad had a series of meltdowns, and I became frustrated at not being able to write when I wanted. This blog dabbled briefly as a Drupal blog (which is where JewelryNiche became a blog, but someone mentioned WordPress, and I checked it out.
I can’t remember when exactly I moved this group of blogs to WordPress. but I remember it was a bit painful. My web guru finally used Multiply to get everything here the way I wanted. (Funny thing, we’re actually finally looking into MU, but I don’t really want to move anything until I have a design and a good idea how everything is going to change around here.) At some point not long after that, I started WritingNiche.
I also created a personal blog. I just wanted to be able to talk. It served me well for a while. People would occasionally stop by and leave comments, or email me. But TypePad had a series of meltdowns, and I became frustrated at not being able to write when I wanted.
I think Kirylin’s Voice has been on WordPress since September 2005. Same template because I have no idea how I want to redesign the site. The categories and sidebar have changed, at least.
As for what keeps my personal blog going, I couldn’t tell you what kept it going at first. I’m sure I would read something wacky in Bloglines and react to it, or something would happen in my real life and I’d react to that. These days, it’s feeling my own growing pains. I pull inspiration from Google Reader, other friends’ blogs, my own life experiences. I review books I read, games I play. (I really need to review the newest CD in my collection…Someone, remind me!) For a while, I was writing about cultural symbolism and research (a minor hobby of mine). Over the past several months, my writing has really reflected my reconnection with my love for animation, and my frustrations with this one really talented group of voice actors that causes me no end of giggles.
My motivation is purely internal. I need to be able to get things out of my head, and this medium works well for organizing discarded thoughts. Others read and link these blogs, and I’m very appreciative of that fact, and a bit surprised anyone finds this useful. My inspiration comes from life, my own learning efforts, and the blogs I read. The biggest challenge, especially now that I’m trying to reorganize everything, has been figuring out where certain topics fit.
Would I give up any of my Niches? Except for JewelryNiche (which is on an indeterminate hiatus), I don’t think I could reasonably give up any of them. To some degree, they all represent some facet of who I am and what makes me happy. I guess that’s all one could really ask for.