Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Rewards & Benefits of Blogging.

Mabel's Labels is running a contest to search for a blogger to send to BlogHer '09. To qualify for entry into the contest, you must write a post answering the question "What have been the rewards and benefits of participating in the blogging community?". The following post is my entry into the contest. Enjoy!

**********************************************************
Fickle Feline started out five years ago as a fun little website where I'd blog about reality TV and celebrity crushes. Since then, it's turned into one of the most rewarding and enriching parts of my life.

This world we live in, it can seem so big and impersonal at times. Participating in the blogging community makes the world seem smaller and has connected me to people I would have never known if I hadn't reached out through the blogosphere to tell my story...

My first post was very deep. After all, it was imperative that the entire blogosphere know of my love for Jon Stewart. I also wrote about important topics such as my fat cat (may she rest in peace), Christmas (still a favourite topic), the sexy co-stars of Law & Order: SVU, and expensive items that I would like very much, but could not afford.

I got a lot of comments, I blogged often, cursed like a sailor, and I kept my writing impersonal. I enjoyed getting comments, so once I figured out what types of posts would garner the most feedback, (mainly gossipy, humorous, tongue-in-cheek posts), I started writing more in that style. I specialized in writing posts about music shows (favourites included RockStar INXS and American Idol). Heck, I'd even take notes while I watched these shows and then stay up late to update my blog (I mean, I would hate to disappoint my faithful readers). I loved getting positive feedback about my writing. I loved people telling me I was funny. I loved it when other bloggers would link to me. To be honest, it wasn't so much about the community of blogging I cared about, it was about being popular, being one of the "cool kids" in the blogosphere.

And then (cue music), I got pregnant. Things changed. All of a sudden, it was personal. I no longer really cared about writing gossipy posts about how sexy the stars of Grey's Anatomy were (though I still internally struggle over McSteamy and McDreamy on a weekly basis). This personal pregnancy wasn't really that hip for my readers. I was tired, so I didn't post as much, and being preggo...it wasn't a lot of fun for anyone, myself included.

I started making friends with other pregnant bloggers, blogging about my belly, farting, and how I hated it when people asked me how much weight I had gained so far in my pregnancy. Suddenly I was checking my comments not to see if someone had responded telling me how funny and charming I was, but to see if any of the other preggo ladies out there had a cure for the terrible heartburn I was experiencing. To this day, I am online friends with the very same ladies I bonded with while pregnant with my first baby. I have even spoken with some of them on the phone and sent handmade gifts for their babies. Many of the relationships I have built through blogging are as meaningful as "real-world" relationships I have with people I see face-to-face on a regular basis. Because it is personal.

When my first baby was born, I started blogging about him. Actually, that's about all I blogged about. I mean, I was the first woman on earth to give birth, and he was the most beautiful child ever born. (Admit it, first-time moms, you all felt this way.) I posted monthly updates about him, the requisite videos, I even wrote a series on losing the baby weight where I (*GASP*) disclosed how much I weighed. The mommies stuck around, but a lot of my other readers fell off. I was okay with that, because, well, mommies are pretty much the most awesome women I know. We are a special club, us mommies. Membership is typically earned through extremely painful measures and sleepless, barf-ridden nights. I have learned so much from the online mommies I know - life lessons, recipes, parenting tips, marriage advice, you name it, we've discussed it - no holds barred.
The one regret I have is that I stopped blogging for a period of time. It was a very difficult time for us - I was pregnant with baby #2 and our son was starting to show the signs of Autism. It was very difficult to talk about, let alone write about. I was worried about blogging about my son's developmental delays and symptoms in such an open forum. Would I be judged? More importantly, would he be judged, and could this potentially hurt him in the future? In retrospect, I wish that I had persevered and kept blogging, because I know that the community of friends I have made through my blog would have supported me, lifted me up, reached out, and been there for me. It was too hard to write about at the time, but when I did start blogging about my son, and his diagnosis of Autism, the support I received was incredible. Knowing that so many people cared, and were deeply interested in the challenges we were dealing with helped me get through the day. The kind words made me want to continue to share my family's story, not just for me, but for the other families out there coping with the same struggles. There have been days when I couldn't talk about what was going on with my son without breaking down, but I was able to blog. Blogging is what has helped me stay sane.

Over the past five years, I have grown a lot and my blog has grown with me. I have learned that through my blog, I can reach many people, and just as important, they can reach me. This may be one little blog, but it is one in a million. Literally. I have a purpose in my life that I did not have before, and that is to help beat Autism. Not just for my son Max, but for all of the children locked away by this devastating disorder. With the power of my namesake hurricane "Katrina", and the support I receive through my blog, I know I can do it. Never underestimate the power of a momma blogger, never.

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful entry to Mabel's Labels contest. What a journey through blogging you have had! Thank you for sharing it with us. Caitlin from Mabel's Labels

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Great story. Persevere your purpose. Don't let anything get in your way. The world needs more people with your attitude.
    Vera

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just got done reading the finalist entries for BlogHer and your entry was the best. I voted for you to win. I hope you do and that we get to meet in Chi-town!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations on being a finalist!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats on being a finalist! Good luck to to us all :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks everyone! I hope we all figure out a way to get to Chicago :-) It is such a great city!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your story is so touching. Blogging has taught me there is always someone going through the same thing you are no matter how alone you feel.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Thank you for sharing your story. Stay encouraged in your fight to bring awareness to autism. Your son is very blessed with a wonderful mom!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Came through Also a Talker, and just wanted to say congrats on being a finalist - good luck, and thanks for sharing your story.

    Yes, I can certainly appreciate the 'fluff' that you originally blogged about, but it's the community that is far more satisfying.

    Daisy

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Jen is right, you are a talented writer. I am glad that she is directing people to your post. Good luck!

    JF

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats to you!! Wow! I will be at BlogHer. I hope we can meet! : )

    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just read your entry for the contest, and it totally rocks. You certainly deserve the win, as the trip your blog has taken during the last 5 years is incredible. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats, Katrina!
    I'll see you at BlogHer! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations on your win! Your post was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderful post... no wonder you won!
    See you in Chicago!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations!

    Looking forward to read your reports from BlogHer!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Blogging is such a great help for business in so many ways.

    Able to promote your site, showcase your products and another thing that make blogging helpful is your ability to express your ideas. There are type of people who doesn't like to talk about what they feel but if they do it through writing they can definitely say it well.

    Somehow blogging becomes a therapy too.

    ReplyDelete
  18. These images are so cute seeing that woman pregnant there, and then seeing the baby in her arms, I'd like to have an story like this one day.

    ReplyDelete