We all have to start somewhere

I sometimes forget how vulnerable blogging can make us feel; I’ve been doing it for so long it’s become a muscle I guess I take for granted. As I watch my current Blogging from the Heart group take flight with their own blogs and sharings, I’m reminded that it can be scary to put our thoughts and feelings into words for others to read. That we get choked up with perfectionism and wonder who we think we are to do something so daring. We want others to like our words and for connections to grow. We’re hungry to be seen just as we’re shy when people see us.

I still get nervous about certain posts. This post I wrote earlier in the year was raw and straight out of my disappointed heart, and it took a lot of courage to leave it online when all i wanted to do was take it down the next morning. I still remember the posts from the past that were turning points in my healing. And there are plenty of others that no longer exist on this blog, deigned not good enough and deleted out of space and time.

I tell my BFTH peeps that a blog is a constant work-in-progress, a space that’s never finished. How often do we get to create a place that’s just for us, an online home we can change and evolve as we ourselves change and evolve. Last week I showed them screengrabs* of older versions of my blog so they could see how it has developed over the years — and, frankly, to reassure them that we all start somewhere. I’ve loved every incarnation of this space, and if i’m honest I sometimes miss the simplicity of my first Blogger blog. Blogging felt simpler back then — I had absolutely no expectations for it. I wrote my feelings out onto my computer and put them online. It was such a release, such a joy to be able to get it out while I was still reeling from my bereavement. And then people came and said hello – the community feel was like it is today but on a much smaller scale. There were no ecourses, no advertising, no Facebook, no Twitter. Flickr was the new kid on the block and figuring out how to upload a new banner onto my blog remains one of my greatest tech achievements :)

So as I looked at my old blog designs last week I felt such tenderness for the beginning blogger I was. The links in the sidebars reminded me of the blogs I used to visit (some of them I still do; others no longer exist) and the people who have come in and out of my online world. But most of all, I remembered what it felt like to be sitting at my desk with a cigarette in my hand and those first blog posts pouring out of me. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet, as I make my plans to move back to London nearly eight years after I left, it could have been yesterday.

Time doesn’t really have any meaning any more. I think when we write a blog we’re really making a time machine for ourselves.

Ink on my fingers, April 2006 – view full sized here

Ink on my fingers, August 2006 – view full sized here

Ink on my fingers, November 2009 – view full sized here

*hat tip to Kelly Rae for finding this fantastic site

21 responses
  1. Eadaoin

    You made me giggle with your line about learning to upload a banner to Blogger! I remember the banner being one of my biggest battles with Blogger in the first year or so of blogging, it took a long time to get it right. But when I did it felt awesome!

    I love the idea of a blog being a time machine! And also the thought of a blog being a space of constant growth & change, just like our hearts and the journey we take them on in learning to live (and love) life :)

    I spied a copy of I Will Not Die An Unlived Life in your photo. There’s a copy of it on my bedside locker right now, and I’m taking your shot as a gentle nudge from the universe to get back to reading it!

  2. susannah

    hee! Once i’d figured it out i used to change my banner every few weeks ;-)

  3. Vanessa

    Oh, the memories! All good, so good. Vxxx

  4. Zarina Ávila

    you’re right … this is a personal time machine!

  5. Gennifer

    It’s so wonderful to see that everyone had to start somewhere. Gives us newbie bloggers hope!

  6. Sabine

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. It’s really nice to see, how someone so talented as you are started at some point too and made your way. It always reminds me of being patient and just do the things I love.

    PS: Love your first design too. So it’s not me alone, who likes to change her blog every now and then. ;)

  7. Anita

    I’m on blogger right now. Not my first blog. But my first authentic blog. I’m trying to find my own voice. I plan to take your blogging course this winter, and I purchased Jen Lee’s writing program…Finding Your Voice. I have so much inside of me, but for some reason my voice is quiet and I tend to get so frustrated.

    I love love your current blog. I’m encouraged by seeing your older blogs. I love that you share your heart and I totally love that you have been able to support yourself with doing what you enjoy doing.


  8. La plume et la page

    It’s not easy to share thougts on a blog… It’s diffuclt to say all we feel and think.
    (I love the picture at the beginning of the post: romantic and peaceful!)

  9. Sherri B.

    Oh yes, I so relate to this post…as a private person, it’s hard to share myself and my writings, yet there’s something about the armor that the computer screen provides. It gives me courage to be more honest, and I know I won’t see any judging eyes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – they truly resonated with me.

  10. Fiona

    Lovely to see the previous incarnations of your blog. This was just what I needed to hear today, that having everything such a long way from perfect is ok.

  11. Monica

    So thrilled you posted this, especially since I’ve only known you with your current version. We can learn so much from each other when we peel back the layers, no? My website just got it’s umpteenth make-over this week and seeing this post made me wish I had taken screen shots of the former incarnations to see the progression. I also completely agree about the simpler times. On the other hand, I’m grateful for tools like social media so I could find you and hear your story in the first place:)

  12. Carol

    In brutal honesty Susannah, I have found myself having pulled back an awful lot from the blog world within the past few years because of the lack of simplicity within the blogging world now.

    I have gone from reading 20-30 blogs daily, to just a total of 7 blogs on a regular basis and one or two that I return to every few weeks to catch up on.

    I found myself overwhelmed with e-courses and other promotional events. This is not a criticism, because hey, we all have to walk our own path in life and I understand the motivation and desire to share our passions with others (and if we can do that and pay the rent at the same time, then kudos). But when I found myself thinking ‘Oh ffs, another e-course’ on yet another blog I knew it was time to take a step back.

    Ironically though, a few of the blogs that I do still continue to read (yours included) do offer e-courses, but I think that I continue to read because I’ve read your blogs from the early years and have formed a ‘relationship’ for lack of a better word, with them.


  13. Lee

    I, too, am finding my voice. I have been writing for so many years, and have just started a 2nd blog to put my personal fact/fiction story together. The fiction parts are to somewhat protect the innocent, and somewhat due to memory lapse…or perhaps intentional memory block. It’s not been easy, but I feel it is time to get my story out! I need to unload in order to gain inner peace.

    I’m so glad I found your site. Thank you all for being here:)

  14. Lee

    Thank you for being here. I’m glad I found you. The inner turmoil I am feeling at this point in my life, is being soothed by your blog community. I will post your link on my new blog…dedicated solely to release the anguish and start anew!

  15. Grete Kempton

    Read through your old posts. Loved them. Seems you’re dipping your pen in the ink well of your heart whether you spill that ink on your fingers or whether you merely stand there, naked in your own name. Also read your book. Have no words other than I brought the book wherever I went…… :-) Thanks, Susannah!

  16. susannah

    thank you for still being here, honey! and you’re right — we build a relationship with a blogger, even if just by checking in once in a while :)

  17. susannah

    oh wow, thank you Grete! :)

  18. amystery

    Funny to see that old design and my old blog on that roll. I’ve still been following along all these years, just in a more quiet way. You’ve come a long and fabulous way!

  19. susannah

    Hello love!!! Xx

  20. Elly

    What a wonderfully refreshing page and post. You are so right with your comment about creating a ‘time machine’ when you write – I can spend hours at my computer and it’s only when my dogs nudge me to remind me it’s their dinner time that I realise another day has slipped by. I look forward to reading more from you. Warmest Regards from Sydney Australia xx

  21. Nicola

    I’ve just been searching for a post I thought I had read on your site and this one popped up in the search. Which then sent me looking at some of my old websites using the archive.org link. Wow. I ruthlessly deleted my old blog and being able to re-read some of it is a revelation! Thank you for that link.

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