Jul. 16th, 2015

duchessmalva: (Default)
the first blog i ever made was on wordpress. i was fifteen.

it had no focus, initially. i had no idea what i wanted to write about, and so i wrote about whatever popped to mind. i wrote about all the bad books my teachers had made me read in middle school. i wrote a walkthrough for a room escape game on iOS. i wrote a short story. posts were infrequent — maybe 1 or 2 a month. no one looked at my blog besides a couple relatives who had seen me post the link on facebook.

at the time, the computer i owned was a hand-me-down from my dad, a 2001 model iMac with no wi-fi card. it was slow, but still pretty reliable as long as you didn't leave too many apps open at once. every couple months i brought it downstairs to connect it to the internet in order to check for software updates. the rest of the time i had no internet access from that computer at all. i borrowed my mom's laptop when i wanted to make blog posts, which i always wrote beforehand, in pages or textedit, and then moved onto my mom's computer via flash drive.

in december or january when i was fifteen, i finally saved up enough money (by hoarding my weekly school lunch allowance rather than spending it) to buy a new computer. well, i use the term "new" loosely. it was actually a secondhand refurbished computer that i got; another iMac, this one a late 2006 model that must have been top of the line in its day. it had a 20-inch screen, much more RAM than my old machine, and, yes, a wi-fi card. i could finally blog whenever i wanted.

does anyone know of Operation Head Pigeons? it was (and, i guess, still is) an Invader Zim fan group, aimed at bringing back the show (after rumors that it had almost been uncancelled surfaced). somehow, i ended up being one of its "control brains" — admins. it was mostly an issue of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people (i was internet buddies with most of the other people who wound up with admin status). anyway, i say this to set the scene — Invader Zim was my primary fandom at the time, it was also my first real online fandom experience, and i had online friends in the IZ fandom.

being new to fandom, i was not prepared for the phenomenon that is fanfiction, but i was especially not prepared for Invader Zim fanfiction, the vast majority of which is alarmingly awful. bad Zimfic was an occasional topic of conversation among me and my online friends. out of impulse, i guess, i did a MST of a bad Invader Zim fanfic (a short one, a oneshot) and posted it on my blog. when my friends responded positively, i kept going.

(if you don't know what a MST is — it's essentially doing a running commentary on something by reproducing the original text and adding your comments. usually the intent is to be humorous. i was fifteen, so i don't know how well i succeeded to that end.)

the blog didn't get much more than 10 or so hits a day until eventually, one of the MSTs i did got linked on TV Tropes. then suddenly my traffic was climbing into the hundreds. i kept going, posting every day for long stretches. the blog was almost entirely MSTs now, but i sprinkled it with odd content now and again. a year or two in, i got the idea to simply write summaries and reviews of longer fics rather than sporking them. i also had plenty of side projects, like doing episode-by-episode Invader Zim reviews (Portal was my primary fandom by this point, but i had attracted a crowd with my Zim stuff). sometime in late 2011, when i was 16, i started blogging over on tumblr, but the wordpress blog remained my primary blog.

i was always going back through my old content on the blog, trying to improve it — change old jokes that weren't funny to me anymore, that kind of thing — and i guess this constant reflection on what i'd done in the past started to get to me the longer i kept running the blog. some of the people whose fanfics i MSTed? they were kids — as young as 11 or 12, in a few cases. this had seemed like fair game when i was 15, i guess, but the older i got the less fair it seemed. many of the fics had mary sue characters, and, as much as i oppose such characters on the basis that they're bad writing, was it really okay of me to make fun of some tweenage girl's self-insert for cheap laughs?

i felt like the blog needed to do some growing up. i started doing fewer MSTs, trying to be more fair and less purposefully inflammatory in my posts, and i started doing book reviews. but something still felt wrong. i wanted to start fresh, but, at the same time, i didn't want to give up on all the work that i'd done, especially not when i'd already earned myself a TV Tropes page, gotten through all of My Immortal and Fifty Shades of Grey, and cracked 1k individual daily site visits. besides, i knew i had loyal readers — i didn't want to let anyone down.

there was another reason, too. from when i was fifteen to shortly before i turned seventeen, i was extremely close friends with a boy who turned out to be extremely abusive and manipulative. he was on that blog — comments he'd made, even a series of guest posts he'd done. i didn't want to be on a site filled with reminders of his presence in my life.

so, about a year ago, i remade the blog on tumblr.

it went well, at first. i was happy to have all my blogs in one place, and there was something pleasing about reworking content from the old blog into something i didn't have to feel ashamed of, or discarding outright the content i no longer stood by (such as any MSTs of work by young children). but a few months after making the move, i began to get very ill. i couldn't post much at all. when i was clear about this on the blog, i got met with sympathy initially, but as the months have worn on it feels as though the crowd is getting hostile. i don't know how much of this is in my head (i'm pretty paranoid, to the point where i've wondered if i have PPD) and how much of it is real, and of course the internet lends itself to nasty behavior, especially when you have anon on (which i did until recently).

i haven't gotten a ton of nasty mail — at most it's been five or so people, over a period of close to a year. but when i'm already low on spoons, that fear of opening up the blog to find a nasty message waiting is a pretty compelling reason not to keep the posts coming. (and then i get more messages asking why i haven't posted, and so on.) i know i can't really take the moral high ground here, and certainly i understand if someone's coming onto the blog with a grudge; i mean, i did get this blog popular because i was making fun of writing by children, there's no escaping that, as much as i'd like to turn the blog into something better (we do published authors now).

but, between that and my reasons to want to start from scratch with the blog anyway, it's tiring.

i run a lot of sideblogs on tumblr. i have one where i write about my headcanons and story ideas. i have one where i liveblog. those blogs don't have anything like the audience my old wordpress blog used to, but they're about as much fun for me as that blog was. the liveblogging one i update most days because the posting style is casual, i can just write about whatever i'm reading/playing/watching, and it's not exhausting in the way that running the other blog has become.

i still don't want to give up on it. i have good memories associated with the blog, and i really am proud of some of the stuff i wrote for it. it's not all garbage. but right now, i don't know what to do. it's stressing me out.


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