July 10, 1778 – Louis XVI declares war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.
July 10, 1966 – The Chicago Freedom Movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr, holds a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
July 10, 2008 – Susan Morrison writes her first blog post, brilliantly titled: Welcome.
Yesterday marked my three year anniversary as a blogger. I’m not much for recognizing formal milestones and routinely forget birthdays and anniversaries - including my own. But I’ve decided to mark this one with a little trip down memory lane.
In the beginning
Wanting to branch out beyond the local world of garden design and explore a new avenue of creativity, I began blogging on a whim. Most of my advice came from my friend Maureen Decombe, who gave me two suggestions: read Gardenrant for inspiration and make posts frequent and brief. I might have gone overboard on the first suggestion. Gardenrant blogged on Typepad? OK, me too! Gardenrant uses a three column template? Must be the best one – I’m on it! Then I left a few comments on Gardenrant, certain that overcome by my wit and wisdom, their readers would flock to my blog in droves. Yup, I was pretty clueless. Which leads me to…
Finding an audience
For a long time, as I wrote my heart out for the benefit of my seven readers (six if you don’t count my mom, who, by the way, no longer reads my blog unless it’s a post that includes pictures of her garden) it was hard not to get discouraged. Like most bloggers, I finally realized the way to find an audience was to be one, and I joined Blotanical. I found myself particularly drawn to some of the bloggers who joined around the same time I did, and still consider Our French Garden, Lost in the Landscape, VWGarden and The Inadvertent Farmer among my favorite blogs. An early blogging highlight was when I wrote this post about Blotanical and several garden blog superstars like Pam Pennick and Carol at May Dreams Gardens left a comment! (And even though we’ve since become friends, I’m still excited when writers like Pam or the Germinatrix, who were my blogging heroes in my early days, drop by and share a few words.)
Virtual friends become real ones
Over time, blogging led me to Twitter and Facebook, both of which expanded my circle of virtual gardening and designer friends even more. Although I’ve yet to attend a Spring Fling, I’ve established lively email and telephone friendships with many bloggers and have had the chance to meet a lot of them in person – including my first virtual friend, Daffodil Planter, who emailed me two and a half years ago to check if I was ok the first time I went three weeks without posting. (FYI, I was never able to follow Maureen’s second piece of advice of short, frequent posts and continue to be a somewhat erratic blogger. DP doesn’t worry about my lapses anymore, although she still corrects my grammer and spelling.)
A hobby morphs into a second career
As I mentioned already, I began blogging with no clear goal, other than to expand my horizons and the chance to create something with words instead of pictures. Three years later, not only do I belong to a virtual community of gardeners, designers and writers from all over the world that is every bit as real and valuable to me as my real time friends, but social media has blessed me with so many opportunities. I’ve helped to create online forums for topics close to my heart, like the Lawn Reform Coalition and the Garden Designers Roundtable. I’ve contributed articles to various garden and lifestyle magazines and had my designs published in several publications. Best of all, I’ve written a book.
And this blog was the start of it all. So to all of you who have made a part of this journey with me, and particularly to those who have taken the time to share your thoughts and leave a comment or two, thank you!