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Where I think about how my blogging voice was formed

by John on March 19th, 2012

Like many things in my life these days, my intentions were grander than the reality. Last week was the link-up, celebrating my one-year anniversary . . . and I actually had hoped to write one of the prompts per day (except for Wednesday, because I wanted to let my guest post at Quasi Agitato get the limelight that day). Alas, between trips to the ER and work and both symphony & band practices, I just ran out of time.

There was, however, one prompt that I truly wanted to write — so you’re getting it now, a week late. Which bloggers were instrumental in shaping this blog, the way you see it now.

Unlike most bloggers around, I’ve had a few false-starts along the way. So, while I’m approaching a year at, I’ve been writing for far longer — but, I have to start with Stacey, of In The Kitchen with Stacey. See, she & I went to college together . . . and, like you do with many people who you had a crush on you went to school with, you find yourselves in the same circles in the social media scene. Only, well, Stacey had a twitter presence far before I did . . . and, come Fridays, I’d greatly increase my twitter “following” list just by following anyone she said to follow during #FollowFriday.

Soon enough, there was another blogger who I was chatting with, pretty regularly — she was funny and smart and loved wine and had two kids (at the time, I had one kid, with the second on the way). Mainly, though, when she wrote, I wanted to write more. She made blogging seem effortless (even though I know that she put a ton of effort) and fun. When you read a post, you had a thought that blogging would just make you feel better. And, for the most part, that’s true — when I’m writing, I’m better.

But, one day, she went on vacation, and she had a parade of guest bloggers2, and one of these was the estimable Momma Kiss. Momma Kiss is a gift to the blogging world. She’s funny, heartfelt, and always looking to ensure that she’s the best person she can be, whether this means working crazy hours, or walking for days on end to raise money for breast cancer research, or taking her kids somewhere that she knows will drive her crazy (but she knows they want to go).

Around the same time I found Momma Kiss, I stumbled upon both Kris of Pretty All True and Pop of Go Pop, Go!. I would do dirty, dirty things for Kris’s readership, and I’ll admit that, when I first started reading her blog, I was intimidated. She had sponsors, she was posting regularly, and, unfathomly, she was scoring 100+ comments per post. I’d have been elated with a dozen comments per week over at my place.

The thing is, when I commented on Kris’s blog, I’d get a response. And if I commented on that response, I’d get another . . . despite the fact that she had more people reading & commenting than I could comprehend, it was obvious that she was appreciative of my visit and the time I spent reading her words. And, that makes you really, really feel special, as a reader.

Then there’s Pop, who was also in a place where I wanted to be. See, he was working, and cooking, and parenting . . . and, for the most part, he was sane. Honestly, when I launched Daddy Runs a Lot, I was terrified. I was a father, a husband, a web developer, an aspiring musician, author & composer . . . and I feared that I was failing at each & every of those initiatives. Life, simply, wasn’t a lot of fun then, and I was in survival mode. But, whenever Pop would post, I’d see someone with similar issues as I had, but he always, always, always wrote with a sense of humor. Honestly, he reminded me a bit of my grandfather, who would always say “I’m not worried about anyone who can maintain their sense of humor.” Pop wore many hats — but he was always Pop first . . . he never lost his sense of self. When he posted, he reminded me that, perhaps, I needed to look out for myself a bit more.

And I’m looking over my post, and I can’t believe that I’ve gone on, at such length, without mentioning who is, likely, the single most influential blogger to me. While she never sees it, herself, she balances work and parenthood and marriage and “being herself” so masterfully that I find myself, constantly, in awe of her. She has a wicked sense of humor, an unparalleled ability to convey emotion through her writing, a deep appreciation of both boobs and sex that rivals (if it doesn’t supercede) my own, and a complete lack of taboo, which I’m sure some might find offputting, but I find refreshing. Yes, The Mad Woman is a huge part of the voice of this blog. Seriously, there are things she writes that I think “damn, I think she looked in my brain when she wrote that.” When she’s training for a race, her enthusiasm is downright contagious. She loves dark beer. And, she’s really, really good at reading through any code that you put into your own post (possibly because she’s attempted to deploy the same barriers, herself).

And that doesn’t even begin to start the day-long emailed conversations about parenting strategies or bitching about housework or, really, whatever surfaces.

Anyhow, these are the voices that you can blame thank when you read my words, as they’ve brought me here. The one thing, about each of these bloggers? I feel that I feel that I know them more than “just bloggers.” Sure, there are friendships that have sprouted thanks to this little section of real online estate – but of those who guided me when I took my first online steps as Daddy Runs a Lot:

  • Stacey, for drawing me into a whole new world
  • An unnnamed, but greatly missed personality, for showing me that a blog can be part journal, part experimentation station, and can evoke wonder
  • Momma Kiss, for, basically rocking my socks
  • Kris, for showing me that each reader is important, and it’s damn important to make each reader feel just that
  • Pop, for reminding me to keep a sense of humor, and to find love in stuff (even if that love is only through food . . . because, well, food is yummy)
  • And the Mad Woman, for always providing a bit of whatever-it-is-that-I-needed-when-I-needed-it-whether-she-knew-thats-what-she-was-giving-me-or-not and for teaching me that, while my voice my be unique, there’s those with similar voices – and they sure like it when you’re loud.

1 That this blogger is no longer on Twitter, or blogging, is very, very sad. Many of you know who I’m talking about – but because she has no footprint left online, I’ll respect her privacy enough to not mention her by name.
2 You’ll notice that I employ this same strategy every time I head out for an extended period of time — while I never post as often as I’d like, if I know I’m not going to be posting, I want to open up pathways to other bloggers that I know you will all enjoy

From → Blogging

  1. I had no idea you personally knew Stacey. How cool.

    And, The Mad Woman is a freaking hero around these parts.

    Keep blogging, John. Some days, my sanity depends on it.

    • Yeah – Stacey & I have known each other from before the days of MySpace . . . if such days actually exist.

      These days, my own sanity depends on my blogging more & more.

  2. Speechless.
    And honored.
    And maybe crying, just a little.
    Love you John.

    • Love you, too, Mad Woman — I highly doubt I’d be blogging today if it weren’t for your blog.

  3. Well I’m totally honored and willing to let my shoulders take part of the blame for your ongoing blogging voice. I’ve got big ones.
    Shoulders, that is.

    • Yes, big shoulders, uh-huh.

      Actually, didn’t you get a “mommy lift” to ease the burden on your shoulders a little while ago?

  4. You should never forget where you came from and you should never fail to tell those people how much they mean to you.

    You did both, here, like a champion.

    Very moving

  5. A. You are so full of awesome for doing these shout-outs and you remain one of the most generous bloggers I know (for this and other reasons).

    B. Remember that you, too, are probably an inspiration to people (including bloggers) you don’t even realize.

    C. There is never enough time. But you’re doing it right, my friend.

    Don’t forget it.

    • You know – I do know that my words serve as inspiration to others . . . but it’s something I have to remind myself of, often. So, thank you for reminding me here 🙂

  6. Great post. I had a few false starts when I first entered the blogging world, too. I started back in college and it was all fluff and memes (before meme was trendy). I’ve only really considered myself a serious blogger since late 2009.

  7. Those ARE some awesome bloggers, John. Great influences, that’s for sure – I ‘know’ all of them and understand/agree with all you said. Plus, you have a wonderful blogging voice yourself.

    • Why thank you, Kim — you know, your little corner of the webworld ain’t so shabby 🙂

  8. benzeknees permalink

    Thanks for sharing these tributes with us John. It is a wonderful idea to thank the people who have influenced our blogging. Even though I’ve told most of my influences quietly, I think I should be more public about it & acknowledge them for role they have played in shaping what I do. Thanks for the great idea!

  9. I don’t know anyone who blogs from my life growing up. And I honestly don’t think i want to. But it is nice that you have created a little community for yourself.

  10. Wow. I’m so honored! *sniffle* That was so nice of you to say.

    Since your start, you’ve far surpassed me in the Twitter and blogging departments. 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  11. Hmm…that is a pretty damn impressive list of bloggers who have helped mold you. No wonder you are so awesome.

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