Five years ago, I started contributing to the plethora of useless information filling the internet in the form of blogs. This was back in the day when most bloggers blogged in order to blog. Sponsors, ads and money-making ventures were rare back then, and we only wrote to amuse ourselves and our friends.
|Buzz and Jessie in October 2007|
Initially, I told nobody my blog was here. I wrote a few tentative pieces and then told my sister what I was doing. She thought I was mad. Then I told my husband. He was most amazed that I'd managed to do something technology-related without his help. Then I told a few other people. I had a readership of about four, and they only read because they were worried about what I might have said about them. I saw that blogging was going to need a few rules.
Rule One: Don't blog revealing things about people you love.
You don't want friends and family to be nervous about what you're saying about them. It's possible I broke that rule by being honest about my biggest struggle in the early days of my blog: Buzz' habit of doing a late-afternoon poo on the back path. He was only two, but now he's seven. Yikes.
Next I tackled the related issue of exactly how grumpy to be on my blog. The answer to that was going to be dictated by how private my blog was, and I really wanted to blog publicly and meet new friends. Therefore I imposed ...
Rule Two: Don't blog honest things about people you hate.
I know that I have broken this rule a bit by blogging about our local lollipop lady. But she's an autocrat and needs to be outed, you know what I mean? Today she left Buzz and about 10 of his schoolmates waiting beside the road as she furiously and ostentatiously scribbled down the license plate of a car standing in the loading zone beside her crossing. The driver and the lollipop lady exchanged furious words and angry gestures before the car sped off, but the lollipop lady made a big show of scribbling LOTS MORE down in her little black book before attending to the waiting children, who no doubt got an earful about "standing in loading zones," none of which they would have understood. So there I go breaking rule two AGAIN.
Rule Three: Don't get too serious about blogging.
• I didn't want to aim to make money, only to find I'd only made enough to buy a packet of chips, and to be disappointed.
• I didn't want to aim to have a massive readership, only to find my only readers were my mum, my sister and You, and to be disappointed again.
• I didn't want to be tied down to "having to write" for the benefit of my readership or my sponsors, and to sit under high pressure staring at a blank screen only to churn out the literary equivalent of boiled manure.
So far, I've stuck to that one. I've made no money, I have kept my readership small, friendly and cozy, and all the boiled manure I have written is honest, legitimate, natural boiled manure, not boiled manure produced under high pressure to write something brilliant.
Rule Four: If you don't have anything to blog about, for the love of all that is good and pure DON'T blog about having nothing to blog about.
To my absolute shock and horror, I have broken this more times than I want to admit. From memory, I've only done this once or twice, but in reality, about one in every 10 posts I re-visit from my little "Random Posts From The Past" in the right sidebar contains some apologetic moaning about how I've got nothing to blog about. It's pathetic. I've written nearly 1000 posts on Killing a Fly, and I'm tempted to delete all the "I've-got-nothing-to-blog-about" posts to bring the total to about 900.
But if you thought that five years has been a little rough on this site, you might be shocked to see how brutal it has been on the very ukulele that inspired its name. When I started Killing A Fly, the ukulele with which I was urging my offspring not to kill flies was a little less battered, and still had all its strings. These days, it only has a few bits of broken nylon string hanging from its tattered, decrepit frame.