Sobering Lessons From the Blogosphere

Honest_PortraitI started blogging this summer to chronicle the countdown to my 70th birthday that was on September 12th.

Armed with a new FitBit, it was my plan to spend the summer walking at least 10,000 steps a day, losing weight, working out, having head-to-toe medical checkups and putting my finances in order. I thought blogging would be a good way to keep me on track. I also thought that my summer shape-up might inspire others to follow my lead.

The title of my blog Countdown to 70…And Life Beyond, gave me the built-in option of quitting once I turned 70 or to continue if I discovered that blogging was a calling for my senior years. My first post, Milestone Birthdays, went out into the blogosphere on July 15th.

Related Post: Milestone Birthdays

Ten weeks and 17 posts later, here are the sobering lessons I’ve learned:

  • There’s no getting around it; blogging is a whole lot of work. Serious bloggers post several times a week. There are those people who love to write. I’m not one of them. Writing has never come easily for me, so the process was stressful. Committing to a blog is like constantly having a term paper due. It can quickly become a grind. I made the decision to keep the commitment I had made to myself and continue blogging until I hit my 70th birthday.

Related Post: To Blog or Not to Blog, That is The Question

  • A bloggers day is never done. Writing a post is just the beginning. Once written, you need to promote it through a variety of social media platforms if you want people to read it. That means spending hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Not my idea of a good time; so I didn’t do it. I simply wasn’t interested in putting in the time and energy needed. Consequently, I never built an audience for my blog.
  • The most important lesson I learned is that I would much rather spend my time living my life than writing about it.

As I start this new chapter of my, I may choose to write a blog post from time to time but it is not something I will be doing on a regular basis. Blogging like all writing is a solitary activity, and I want to be out and about interacting with people.

My foray into the blogosphere was an education. I have the utmost respect for people like Rene Syler and my friends Deb Mitchell and Lora Wiley, who have been blogging for years. This newbie doesn’t have the motivation and tenacity to join your ranks.

Though I did not find my calling as a blogger, I’m proud of the 17 posts I wrote, which will live forever in cyberspace.

Many thanks to all who followed me this summer.

Related Post: Blogging-Not a Beginner’s Game Anymore

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To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

Marian Rivman with Davida Earnold at BlogHer15
Marian Rivman with Davida Earnold at BlogHer15

I was a freshly minted blogger when I arrived at the BlogHer15 conference at the New York Hilton this past weekend. The first post, Milestone Birthdays, for my new blog Countdown to 70…and Life Beyond had hit the blogosphere just days earlier.

Looking around during the introductory Keynote, I realized that aside from the waiters who hovered near the tables, I was one of a handful of gray-haired people in the crowded ballroom. It was conceivable that I was the oldest person in the audience. What a thought!!

The impetus for my blog was my impending 70th birthday that is on September 12, 2015. Having spent my 60s caregiving for my now deceased mother, I am devoting this summer to getting my body, mind and spirit in top shape for the rest of my life. I thought it would be interesting to chronical that process, and share some of the stories of my life; a blog seemed to be the way to do it.

Mine has been a life of the road less traveled. It is my hope that sharing my stories will inspire others to live their lives to fullest which is what I’ve always tried to do with mine. Now seemed like the right time.

I wondered how the blogging community that I had self-selected to join would respond to this newbie blogger who was pushing 70. I need not have had a moment’s trepidation. Never have I been with a group of people who were friendlier, more supportive, creative or downright fun than those I met last weekend. They embraced me literally and figuratively. I could not have felt more welcome.

Marian Rivman at BlogHer15 with Juliette Acker, Camille Acker, and DeDe Brown, the clever and creative masterminds of www.thespinstersunion.com
Marian Rivman at BlogHer15 with Juliette Acker, Camille Acker, and DeDe Brown, the masterminds of www.thespinstersunion.com

Count me in!! I had found my peeps.

Bloggers, who are predominantly women, come in all shapes, sizes, religions, ethnic origins, sexual orientations and locations.They write about family, food, finances, fashion, politics, parenting, painting, travel. The list is endless.

Bloggers are a powerful force in the current media landscape. Time and again over the weekend I met women who were fierce agents of change, and I wanted to join their ranks.

What most people don’t know is how hard bloggers work. Writing a post is the least of it. Once written, it has to be marketed over a variety of social media platforms. Hours are spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest trying to attract both followers and sponsors.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. When I first thought of starting a blog, I met with my old friend Debbie Mitchell of Deborah Mitchel Media Associates who did her best to give me the lay of the land.

Carolyn Sonnek, WordPress and my mentor, Debbie Mitchell of Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Carolyn Sonnek, a WordPress goddess and my mentor, Debbie Mitchell of Deborah Mitchell Media Associates at BlogHer15

However, after attending several of the workshops offered at the conference, and listening to bloggers I met, I wondered if I was cut out to be a blogger. I had just spent a decade with my life on a short leash because of my caregiving responsibilities. I was rejoicing in my new-found freedom. Did I want to tether myself again; this time to the care and feeding of a blog?? It was an opportunity to examine my priorities and boundaries.

The reception my blog and I received at BlogHer was personally empowering. I even got more comfortable having my picture taken.

MarianHeadshot
Marian Rivman  Photo: Prudential
Marian Rivman Photo: GoDaddy
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Marian Rivman  Photo: Amazon.com

After much deliberation, I’ve decided I’ll continue to blog. But, I’m going to do it on my terms, and I’ll probably break some “this is how it’s done” rules. My days won’t be spent tethered to my desk, computer, iPad or phone. Facebook is my friend, so I’ll continue to post there. I can’t promise that I’ll ever be adept at Twitter. Living my life, rather than writing or tweeting about it, is my priority.

I hope you will continue to follow me on my Countdown to 70 and my life beyond.  Marian Rivman