I started this blog in 2007 just after Imbolc, so it is now 9 years old. How time flies! I'm not really sure why I started. Several of my friends were blogging and it looked like fun. Also, I had always wanted to write and I thought it may be a relatively pain-free way of getting feedback on my writing.
It turned out it was, but really that was only one of the many benefits of blogging that I discovered. I found a voice, for one thing. I found that people liked my writing, which was a confidence-booster. That in turn led to me having the courage to attend writing classes and workshops which I have enjoyed and learnt a lot from (including the fact that you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition - but hell, rules are made to be ignored, right?). My writing has improved, and my confidence has grown so much that I am actually working on writing a book, something I have wanted to do for many years.
Reading someone's blog is a little window into their world, giving an unexpected sense of intimacy at times. I have deliberately guarded my anonymity on the blog, being vague over the details of my and others' real names, or the exact location of Halfway Up A Hill. And yet reading over old posts I am sometimes astonished at how much of my inner self and feelings I have revealed. Possibly much of that is because just over a year after starting 'Moonroot' I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself in the middle of a divorce. The blog was and is a source of comfort through difficult times, and looking back I'm certain that it was therapeutic during some of my darker days to be able to write about them in the way I have. That's not to say I haven't self-censored; there is stuff in my personal journal that I wouldn't dream of sharing with the rest of the world. But looking back I find that I have shared far more than I would have expected, and I think it has been positive and healthy to do so.
Blogging has also helped me with journalling, oddly enough. I always loved the idea of journalling but the perfectionist in me wanted my journal to be a thing of beauty, not poorly constructed rantings and crossings out. The journals that people share pages from are usually works of art, poetry, insight. Every journal I started before I had a blog, I began with such high standards that I couldn't possibly maintain them and invariably gave up shortly afterwards. Blogging has no such drawbacks as unlike writing with pen and ink, things composed on a computer can be retrospectively edited, cut, pasted or deleted without spoiling the overall 'look' of the thing. But then when I found myself unable to access my blog for whatever reason, I missed it so much I still needed an outlet for all those thoughts and ideas rattling around in my head. So I bought a cheap notebook and some pens and started noting it all down. And before I knew it, I was journalling. Now I can't imagine how I would cope without my journal and have already decided that should I ever appear on Desert Island Discs my luxury item will definitely be an inexhaustible supply of pretty notebooks and nice pens.
I have also met many wonderful people through blogging, either through commenting on their blogs or through their comments on mine. Some of these people I am still in touch with - though we have never met - and others have dropped away over the years. And I miss those who have dropped away. I enjoyed the glimpses into their lives, I felt that we were friends even though we had never sat down over a cup of tea together. If you're on my blog-roll, even if you haven't posted for years, I'm still hoping I'll hear from you again one day! I guess this is one of the weird side-effects of the digital age, where we can share so much with total strangers, feel such intimacy yet lose touch so quickly when our point of contact - e-mail address, Facebook page, blog etc gets deleted. Even so, on balance, I think this sharing with strangers is a good thing. I have had insights into other lives all around the world, views through different windows. People I have never met have shown me great kindness in difficult times (and I hope I have done the same for them). If this sharing means better understanding between people, greater compassion, more empathy then I do not think it can be a bad thing, even if the relationships we create turn out to be ephemeral.
So here's to blogging and its many blessings. Long may it continue.