I renewed my blog domain tonight, so I decided to come back over here and maybe write again. I'm just going to write and see where this takes me. In fact, I don't think I'm even going to go back & reread and edit. This is me.
I've blogged since high school. There's something cathartic about writing out what's going on in my life and allowing people to read it. In high school and college, the writing was rarely read by anyone else, but when I moved over to Blogspot in 2006 shortly after I moved to Texas, my adult friends started reading my posts, and I found my voice as a casual blogger.
Fast forward to 2009 when I returned to Walt Disney World as an adult and somewhere soon after I converted my blog to a "Disney blog" where I typically shared trip reports and tips from my family's & my trips to my happy place. I discovered posts with images were better received, so I made sure to add photos to each post. This post won't have photos.
Along the way I found others in the Disney community who shared my joy in Disney and my love for writing about it.
At first this community of Disney lovers was full of pixie dust and excitement! I was taken on as a writer/blog stop on for a group of bloggers who linked their blogs for monthly blog hops. I met a man on a Disney dating site, and we went on two trips to WDW together. We vlogged while we were there, and those trips were some of my favorite Disney memories.
Then something changed. I can't pinpoint what exactly happened or when it did, but at some point I stopped writing just for the joy of telling my story. I started learning as much as I could about promoting my blog. I wanted page hits, comments, shares, and more! I wanted to be KNOW as a Disney blogger! I dreamed of being invited to a press event like other Disney bloggers. I longed to be a household name when people talked about planning a Disney trip! "Joanna, the goddessofmath!" they would say! "She's phenomenal! Go read her blog!"
But. Instead. I let my joy be stolen from me.
That's the key. I allowed others to influence my love of writing. You see, there's so much that happens behind the scenes in the blogging community. So much of it is honestly very good and supportive. I've made some great friends who I have stayed Facebook friends with even now. Sadly, I also made some enemies...
I had stopped writing for the blog hop. The topics were starting to feel like a stretch, and they were no longer fitting well with the other series I was writing on my blog. I remained friends with those bloggers though. Then, a giveaway happened. I linked up with those bloggers to write reviews for a product that was sent to me free of charge with the understanding that I would get to participate in a HUGE giveaway later. I wrote the review to their standards. In fact, my review was darn amazing! I also commented, tweeted, Facebooked, all up to what they asked me to do. It was a TON of work, and it spammed my friends. But I did it because it would lead to the giveaway which would drive major traffic to my blog.
Somewhere in this mess, I was still writing, still promoting, still working to make a place for myself on the internet. Every post had special images, they were pinned, they were tweeted, they were promoted like it was my job! But it wasn't my job. It was supposed to be fun. It stopped being as much fun as it used to be.
Back to the giveaway: weeks passed, months passed, and after asking around, we (those who participated in the reviews but no longer wrote for the blog hop) were told they were going a different direction, and we were no longer allowed to participate in the giveaway. All that work, and the pay off was taken away. On top of that, there were MAJOR hard feelings over it. New people had taken over the blog hop, and the camaraderie that we all shared was exploited and destroyed. I unfollowed, unfriended, and blocked multiple people over it but only after I privately BEGGED them to change their minds, to see what they were doing was unfair and breaking an understanding we all had. They remained steadfast in their unilateral decision. Others begged. They blew them off. That was the end of some friendships and a huge chink out of the Disney magic.
Sometime in all this my friendship with my travel buddy also deteriorated. I reached out and tried to understand what happened between us. I was never told by him, but I was told by a mutual friend what was said about me. It was all untrue. To this day I believe what happened was a grossly overblown misunderstanding that could have been settled as friends had we actually talked about it. But I couldn't force him to talk with me. I was in a new relationship with a man who was jealous of me traveling with my male friend anyways, so I let it go. I should have tried harder. I suppose some friendships server their purpose and are only meant to last for a season rather than a lifetime. It's unfortunate that things ended as they did. However, that was another chink in the Disney magic.
Meanwhile I've gone on two Disney cruises since my sisters trip that I abruptly stopped writing about. I have so many photos and so much Disney awesomeness that I'd love to share, but I've always felt like I needed to explain to my readers (if I have any anymore) why I stopped writing. The joy was gone for me.
Maybe "Inside Out" is right, though. Maybe I can look back on those memories with the mix of emotions they brought on because emotions are complicated. Over time, the anger and resentment has faded into sadness. I honestly don't regret much of what happened, but I do mourn the loss of certain friendships. The bottom line is that I don't believe in pushing people down to promote myself.
So there you have it. That's why I stopped blogging. Maybe now that I've jumped this hurdle, I can go ahead and start writing about things I love again.