When did you join WordPress and when did you start blogging? How did it feel like at the beginning? How much has changed since then?
I started blogging when I was 13 I guess, in a programme developed for the blind. It served as a way to get blind people together, or something like that, it was fully accessible of course, people could message each other, there were forums, groups, people could have their sound avatars, it could play a variety of multimedia, stream Internet radio, YouTube videos, had a very simple browser, some audiogames etc. etc. and also blogs. It was very easy to make a blog there, you didn’t have to do much except agree that you want to start a blog and write. No making up a URL, choosing a theme, playing around with widgets, SEO or plugins. It was both good and bad. Good because of course it was easy and fun, very quick and absolutely everyone could blog and pretty much everyone did blog, more or less consistently. You didn’t have to worry about how your blog looks or that something doesn’t work with a screenreader or whatever. Bad, because despite it was built somehow based on WordPress, there was a very slim chance that someone outside of the community, who didn’t have an account there, would find your blog, unless you’d give them the URL address. And you weren’t able to make it more personalised, like adjust things and make them more your own, which would annoy me right now but I didn’t care about that back thenn at all. I started blogging out of curiosity, it felt very interesting and cool to me, and people were telling me I’m good at writing so I thought I could do that well and enjoy it. I did. I wrote mainly about my daily life I guess, and some other silly stuff like logging my dreams, I don’t remember really… I had 3 different blogs there over the years, one after another. The programme was soon left by its developers and it was hanging in the Internet for some more years before they killed it completely, but slowly different features were dying, for example YouTube was gone when YouTube got an update, stuff like Google search and Wikipedia browser followed and so – very slowly – did the blogs since they were based on WordPress so people were migrating to different platforms, seeing that things are getting less and less stable, before their old blogs would disappear completely, or they just stopped blogging altogether.
And that was more or less when I started blogging on WordPress, no idea which year it was but I guess I could be about 17. I’m not sure. I had little to no technical idea how one sets up a blog properly, I don’t think I have it now but the second time round I guess I either had more luck, more help or more determination to do it right. That first time was a disaster and the blog wasn’t even very accessible for myself, let alone for my blind readers, and my readers were mostly blind, mostly people from that old community, because my blog wouldn’t even show up in Google, unless you’d search for its actual name, which wasn’t very generic at all so not many random people would think about that. 😀 It was called Drimolandia, so kind of like Dreamland (it doesn’t mean Dreamland in Polish but I’d say you could call it a polonisation of the English word Dreamland, drim is how you would phonetically spell dream in Polish, and -landia is like English suffix -land, in countries). So, my traffic was just absolutely, extremely, unbelievably low, how low I can fully comprehend only now that I have a (much) better performing blog, seriously, in the whole career of that blog my record daily amount of views was 35! 😀 I think I could also blame Polish WordPress, there is a lot of Polish blogs set up on pl.wordpress.com but, at least from my observations, people don’t get many comments usually, and forget about the kind of community that is in the English blogosphere, with stuff like writing prompts or blog awards (okay I’ve seen a blog award post once). I copy-pasted all my posts from the previous blog I had onto Drimolandia, hoping to expand that further and write new posts over time, but because working with WordPress editor was a really painful, slow process – I don’t know if WordPress was so inaccessible then or if I had such a rubbish theme or what – that I had less and less motivation and finally abandoned it altogether and just left it hanging in the Internet by itself.
Then I joined another blind app which is still alive and being developed, based on that first one in terms of the general idea, created by one of the former users of that old app who is also a programmer. It had blogs too and I was blogging there for virtually a couple months. That was about the time when I started having my wild ideas about having an English blog, and not necessarily, preferably not, in the blind community. I really enjoyed being there and I liked a lot of people, I know many of them in real life from school or other places. And that was fun in a way, and in a way it wasn’t. I’d been thinking for a long time that I actually don’t like the fact that a lot of people there knew me in real life, or knew someone who knew me, that they had their own idea about me and had every right to it of course, and I felt like that was holding me back from making all those blogs what I really wanted them to be and I felt that I had to hold myself back and wasn’t really writing for myself and was censoring myself all the time or I felt very exposed otherwise. Maybe freaky for some, but that’s how I felt about it. Also, I was interested in things, or involved in things, that I wanted to write about, but even when I did, I didn’t really feel it was interesting for my readers and that they got it, because they didn’t feel it. I felt weird, I mean, I know I’m weird and I like being weird and if someone tells me I’m weird I take it as a compliment, but it wasn’t that kind of weird. I wanted to have a wider group of readers and for it to be more likely that someone who can really relate and/or will be interested can read it, whether they will let me know about that and comment or not, so that I could seriously feel that my opening up is useful and pays off somehow. Otherwise I could write in my diary, which I’ve had for years and write freely in it about everything that comes to my brain. Then also all the mental health stuff started to come up to the surface for me and I couldn’t ignore it any longer, some time later I started diving deeper into the English Internet, writing with people, learning more about myself and people in general, finally it felt necessary for me to have an outlet, for all that was going on in my brain, especially the mental health struggles as I had little support then, and that community wasn’t an option for me to write about such private things , and I also felt for other reasons that I needed to leave it.
And that’s how My Inner MishMash started out, in 2018! I’m so glad that I actually did it, and made this idea come true, it was beneficial to me in so many ways. I wonder now if I have written a post on that, if not, one would definitely be necessary at some point. My Inner MishMash was born on January 24th, but more officially on January 26th, as I was setting it up for 2 days, I was so scared not to screw it up! 😀 I don’t think it has changed very significantly over those two years (though maybe it’s different from a reader’s perspective?), other than when I sometimes look back at my older posts I can see that my English has improved a bit more and I have developed a bit more of an individual writing style, though it’s still very far from my very characteristic Polish writing style and sometimes I feel like that sucks, but I guess such things take time. On the other hand, as I’ve said many times, I feel much more emotionally expressive in English so everything has its good and bad aspects.
How about your blogging? 🙂