For my eighth birthday, a friend gave me a fill-in-the-blank Ramona diary, and that was the beginning. Once I filled it up, I spent some allowance money on a proper blank diary, and then another, and another. I kept a diary until I graduated from college 15 years later, sometimes writing almost daily, sometimes going for weeks between entries. I wrote about major events and boring day-to-day occurrences, about crushes and enemies, vacations and the family pets. By the time I finished college, I was spending less time writing in my journals and more time thinking about how I wanted to be a Serious Fiction Writer. But then I got married. I couldn't find a full time job, so I got two part-time jobs instead which often added up to more than 40 hours a week. I spent a lot of time reading but barely any time writing, and I started to miss it terribly. Then our landlord decided to wire our apartment building for cable and roll it into the rent, and it became feasible to get a cable / internet package at home for the first time. And not too long after that, I discovered blogs. After a year or so of reading, I decided I wanted to start my own.
When I set up my own site, I definitely had delusions of grandeur. I never really believed that I'd hit the big time, but I think I always secretly hoped I would. Unfortunately I jumped on the blog bandwagon a little too late and I just wasn't very good at it back then. I was out of practice and my early entries were infrequent and stilted. But blogging has been good to me. I have made friends, read stories that lifted me up and others that made me cry. I've been educated, I've laughed until I had tears running down my face. I've celebrated births and mourned passings and discovered a new kind of community. The (neglected of late) Photo Friday project inspired me to keep taking pictures. It took a while, but I eventually found my voice again.
I don't really know where I expected to be five years after I posted a painfully un-ironic picture of my cat and called it my first official blog entry. On this blog's five-year anniversary, I find that I'm pretty content in my little space. I no longer check my stats twice a day (or even once a month) or feel terrible when a post doesn't get many (or any) comments. A big thanks to anyone who reads and anyone who does comment, because even though I write for myself, it helps to have an invisible audience as well. I'll never be famous or land a book deal or even be picked to host a Wii party (sob!), but I'll always be grateful for the friends I've met and that blogging reminded me how to be a writer.