When I started blogging a little more than a year ago, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. More than anything, I started blogging to give myself a place to think out loud. Blogging has given me that, but it’s also given me something even more valuable: community.
I started blogging as my world was shifting dramatically: I was weeks away from leaving my full-time office job to become a stay-at-home mom. It was the right decision for my family and me, but it was a huge change and as I sat in my nearly empty office with a dwindling project list, I found myself typing out my very first blog post. I hit “publish” and took a deep breath…what was I getting myself into?
I have friends who are fantastic and accomplished bloggers and writers, and I’ve read dozens of blogs for years and years. What I didn’t realize until I started blogging myself is what a warm, welcoming and supportive community bloggers can be. My blogger friends reached out immediately when I joined their ranks, and their comments and support in the early days kept me writing. I needed to write in those first weeks and months at home with my two children, because writing grounded me at a time when I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing.
At the beginning of the year, one of my best blogging friends invited me to join The DC Moms, and my blogging circle of friends grew larger. I was so anxious before our first writers’ night out – some of the others were bloggers I’d been reading for years, and all of them had been blogging for longer than I had been. Surely I didn’t belong. That anxiety faded as I walked into the room, for every woman there was friendly and funny and smart and welcoming. I felt like a “real” blogger for the first time that night, and it was the first time I realized what a strong community I’d joined.
In just over a year of blogging, I’ve been amazed over and over at the sense of community among bloggers. If one blogger is in crisis, friends from across the country and around the world are there with words of support. If another knows about a wonderful opportunity, then so do the other bloggers in her circle, because she’s shared it with all of them as well. Bloggers are a kind, generous, supportive, smart and creative community…and I’m so glad I took that leap and joined the ranks.
If you’re new to the world of blogging (or contemplating becoming a blogger), reach out – you’re part of an amazing community even if you don’t feel like it just yet. Keep writing, and try to fight the urge to compare yourself to others. Your voice and point of view are valid no matter the size of your blog.
Next month I’m heading to my very first blogging conference, something I set as a goal for myself this year. The first Femworking Blogger and Small Business Conference brings bloggers and small business owners together for a day of education and networking. I’m excited to meet more of my fellow bloggers and learn more about blogging from a talented line up of presenters. If you’re in the DC area, I hope you’ll join me there (please don't make me sit by myself)!