The day the Internet gave me a hug

Excitement!

Excitement!

When I first created this WordPress blog in 2012,  I quickly stumbled upon the “Freshly Pressed” page, which seemed to feature all sorts of interesting-sounding blog posts. “Wow, it would be pretty cool to get one of my posts up on this page,” I thought. But I assumed it was basically impossible, and soon forgot all about it.

Fast-forward to January 6, 2014, and my first post of the year on the group author blog I contribute to, Emu’s Debuts (also with WordPress). For once, instead of throwing something together at the last minute, I actually had most of a piece drafted in advance, reflecting on a surprising phone call I’d recently had with my mom. I’d pretty much been on writing hiatus since early December, when I’d turned Gladys 2 into my editor, so maybe my brain was really itching to tell a story. In any case, I felt pretty good about how this piece had turned out, and was pleased that within a few hours of posting, it seemed to be striking a chord with our blog’s regular commenters and even with some of my friends and family members.

But I certainly wasn’t prepared for the e-mail I received that afternoon. “I hope your blog is ready to welcome some new readers,” it said. “Your post will be featured on Freshly Pressed as a WordPress.com editors’ pick!”

Whoa! I was pretty excited, to say the least. I called my husband at work, and then my sister, but neither of them picked up. Then I called my mom, who did answer, and got as excited with me as a person who barely knows what a blog is possibly can. 🙂

Anyway, the next couple of days saw a great influx of visitors and commenters to our group blog–and while I tried to brace myself for the backlash and nuttiness that I know exposure to the Internet-at-large can bring, I have to say that the notes and stories that have been shared on the post have been really lovely so far. I don’t write to get people to like me, but at least for the past couple of days, I’ve kind of felt like the Internet was giving me a hug. It was a nice way to kick off my debut year.

So, all of this excitement has led to a little reflection on my part. I don’t usually blog about personal stuff, but I guess I need to acknowledge my two most successful blog posts of the last year*–the ones that got the most hits, yes, but also the ones that triggered the most comments and tweets and e-mails telling me that what I wrote had resonated with someone, or helped them out in some way–were the ones where I did go out on a limb and share some personal experiences.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to turn this blog into a weekly confessional (trust me, no one wants that!). But I know that some things debut authors (and not-so-debut authors) debate about a lot is how best to use social media, and how protective to be of your privacy, and how much of your personal story to put out there. And for me, surprisingly, the right answer to that last question may just be “a little bit more.” Because sometimes, sharing a true story really does help connect you with other people in a genuine way.

What do you think?

 

* Those posts were “First Drafting: Now 96% Faster,” and “A Different Kind of Call.”