I have learned...
* there is no one GREAT commenting system to rule them all. Blogger's built-in system sucks rocks for all non-Google peeps. The Wordpress feature where you naively "subscribe to replies" because you want to see what other people say about your comment, and get ten bazillion e-mails that are the replies to all comments ain't any improvement, IMO. So far, I'm liking mine (Intense Debate) and Disqus best. They all have drawbacks and technical challenges, and we all have to make adjustments.
* There isn't enough time to work a day job, write & pretty-up my own blog posts, work on my novel, read all the cool blogs out there, and still have time to wipe myself after I... step in cow poop. Just isn't. Sacrifices must be made.
* I enjoy blogging more than I ever thought I would.
* Blogging helps prime the pump, sometimes, when I am stuck on my "real" writing. It can also be an enticing distraction, like cheating on a spouse... I know I should be working on the novel, but I'm just gonna read a couple more blog posts...
* Readers like funny posts better than Serious Ones. No problem, I'll just be funny all the time, right? Easy-peasy. If only...
* My personal jury is still out on the usefulness of Zemanta for me.
* Not all poetry on the Interwebs is laughably bad. Some is truly amazing, and I mean, that without any double meanings. Still, best not to read internet poetry on your lunch hour if you have a tendency to choke or spew liquids.
* The posts where I worried I'd get the most hate mail/comments, have been generally very supportive. It's a (very small) handful of other ones where some people went... strange on me.
* Blogging Groups - where everyone posts on a weekly theme, then tries to visit and comment on everybody in the group - can be very helpful. They can also feel very overwhelming. I learned not to beat myself up for joining several such groups, and later dropping out.
* I've learned not to be a genre snob. Some of the best writing advice and kindest support has come from peeps who don't write in "my" genre (smutty rom-com).
* Comparisons are invidious and insidious and icky. I'll look at my Follower count and compare to somebody else who started blogging around the same time I did, and get all smug and full of myself. Then I'll see the astronomical Follower count of someone else who also started the same time I did, and feel like the last girl picked for the volleyball team (and dammit, I'm a good volleyball player).
It's much easier said than done, but I'm trying to get past the whole angst of competition for Google Followers. There are many variables that influence a Follower count - contests, family followers, and yep, sometimes people just like that other blog better. All I can do is the best I can do, in the time I can make available to do it, and trust that over time, this blog will "settle" at the right size. Truly, it's not my goal to have the biggest number of blog followers anyway, it's to have the biggest number of readers buying my (not yet published) book.
Here's some of my actual F2F (Face 2 Face) fellow blogger meets. They are all incredibly nice and write interesting and funny blogs and you should Follow or at least check 'em out because they are awesome (and they didn't even pay me to write that):
Carolyn West of This Talk Ain't Cheap
Sidney Patrick of My Mother in Law is Still Sitting Between Us...
Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out who also runs the A-Z Challenge
Brenda Moguez of GrrlGuide
Oodles of Writing-related Goodness Found Here:
Author Roni Loren's Fiction Groupie
Agent Rachelle Gardner
Agent Janet Reid
Agent turned Author Nathan Bransford
Agent Janice Hardy's The Other Side of the Story
Author Jody Hedlund
Mooderino's Funnily Enough
Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
Nina Badzin's A Mom in the Middle
Prompts & Groups I like, that you might like:
Liz Shaw's The Writing Reader
The Word Nerd Speaks aka Beth Grace, on FaceBook as GBE2
Romantic Friday Writers
Karen Wojcik Berner's Bibliophilic Blather. She regularly offers a "home" to short stories, so if you're a flash fiction afficionado (trying saying that three times really fast!) stop by for some reading - or submitting pleasure.
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
SoCalLadyBloggers - blog + FaceBook Group
Writer Unboxed - both a great blog by multiple contributors, and a FaceBook group.
These blogs I read because they make me laugh, cry, or both - in the best way:
J.L. Campbell's Snippets and Splashes
Amber West's A Day Without Sushi
Deanna Fry's My One Woman Show
TotsyMae Who'll be guesting here on Jan 11, woo-hoo!
Bella's One Sister's Rant
Such a Nice Guy, Phil Torcivea -
Single Dad Laughing
These blogs feed the Spirit and the Soul (yes, writers do so have a soul!):
Jodi Aman's Heal Now and Forever
Lori Deschene's Tiny Buddha - Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives
Brene Brown's Ordinary Courage
Louise Gallagher's Recover Your Joy
Kristen's The Spirit That Moves Me
Band Back Together
I do have, oh, a couple hundred more favorite blogs (probably yours. I'm sorry I was too tired and lamebrained to include it, above, but will plug it, soon.)
I can't wait to find what another year or two of bloggy learning and friends will bring.
This will be my last post of 2011 - so tell me, in the comments below, how long have YOU been blogging? If more than a year, what surprised you in Year Two as compared to Year One? How about Year Three? Beyond that...?