And the winner is! (1st Annual Porcupine Creek Blogging Awards)

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I’ve been blogging for one year now.  To commemorate this anniversary, I decided to organize the 1st Annual Porcupine Creek Blogging Awards, and I am very proud to announce that I personally have won every single category in the contest!

It was a tight competition considering there were no other entries but mine, and the judge (that would be me) had a hard time deciding some classes… but still, I am humbled and grateful to accept the recognition I’ve bestowed upon myself.

I’m just going to take the stage for a few minutes here to talk about blogging.

In the last year I’ve added 299 posts to prairiemom.me. I loved writing each and every one of them.  I loved taking the pictures I’ve added to my stories.  Far and away the two most popular blogs of the year were The Prayer I Pray Without Ceasing and The “I Love You” Challenge — both had more than 1,500 readers!  Both dealt with death within the first sentence.  Here’s a secret: by gauging the stats on my posts (I can tell on my admin page which of my posts are more popular than others, and I try not to keep track of such things just for my own sanity and also because I don’t have a lot of spare time, but still… I take a peek sometimes) I’m getting an inside glimpse at the human psyche.  I’ve definitely learned this so far:  readers like blood and gore. If you lead off with a sentence or two that promise content ripe with drama, folks are more likely to click.

(I promise not to abuse this blood-and-gore knowledge I’ve gained.)

(*wink*)

I hate to brag, but here’s the list of all the categories I swept in the 1st Annual Porcupine Creek Blogging Awards:

Most uncomfortable retelling of high school:  Letter to a high school girl on prom night

Title most likely to make all our old family friends and all Treasure County residents click:  Get well soon, Dad

Post most likely to bring visitors to our neck of the woods:  The Ingomar Open Rodeo

Most humorous admission of the side effects of parenting:  The Crying Baby Torture Method and The day I got my Old Mom Card (tie)

Closest interaction with a state senator:  22 hours at the LO

I’ll also have you know that various stories with my byline were named “most touching” and “most snarky” and “most heartbreaking” at these awards.  I also took the “widest variety of topics covered” trophy.  Worst photo:  mine.  Best photo:  mine.  Most consistently incorrect use of semicolons, italics, and words like “notwithstanding” and “doubtless”?  It was me, all me!  (See:  I love italics! and The Oldest and the Bestest.)  And the win of which I’m obviously the most proud:  “Most consistently brazen promotion of one’s own self, one’s own kids and husband, one’s place of employment, and one’s own imagined abilities.”

Through this blog of mine I’ve gained some followers (I like to joke that they’re all women over age 55, all related to me, but in actuality I’ve discovered recently that I have 406 followers, at last count; check out So… I have followers.).  I’ve also made a few new (online) friends from the blogging world through my blog.

Yes, I’ve gained some friends this year, but I suspect I’ve lost some friends and family, too — I’m the first to admit that my opinions which I perceive to be common sense and which I love to record for all the world to see are really just opinions that some probably take offense too.  Oh, and then there’s the problem of readers possibly growing weary of reading more about me, me, me and my awesome, awesome, awesome family. For the first few months of blogging I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I should promote my blog through Facebook or otherwise, because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I was ramming my stuff down throats (for instance:  On PreschoolOn DaycareYou’ll eat it and you’ll like it!Sanction Shmanction).  Finally I gave up on worrying and decided to just let it be.  And yes, I’ve gotten the feeling that not everyone loves my stuff.  But oh well… you win some, you lose some.

I’m confident in many ways but just your typical ninny in others.  I actually vacillate between the fear of everyone reading what I’m writing and the fear that NO ONE is reading what I’m writing.  Just about the time I’m thinking no one’s reading, though, I’ll see some random person somewhere and that person will share with me a knowing smile which suggests that he or she recently read about some embarrassing thing I did. Or someone will reference one of my stories in conversation with me and I’ll be reminded yet again of the weight of responsibility that comes with writing and influencing readers.  Better yet, some people will mention a particular story that they really identified with, and it always amazes me that with every person it’s a different story.

I’m running out of time here on the stage, but there are some people I need to thank. Uh… they’re playing that music that means it’s time for me to stop talking… uh…

Thanks to my parents for teaching me perseverance and the value of hard work.

Thanks to my most regular reader, my mom, who I suspect reads mostly out of fear of what sort of family secret I’m going to spill next… but still.

Thanks to my kids and husband for providing continual fodder about which I can write.  And to my husband for making sure I get the time to do this.  Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy, right?

Thanks to my niece and nephew, Tay and Nate, for forgiving me for bashing Santa in Do you do Santa?.

Thanks to my fellow writers, Susan and Leesa, who encouraged me to start blogging, and to my old (definitely not in appearance, but what I mean is older than me) mentor, Linda, who stops by occasionally to shower me with encouragement… and to ask me how to run this dad-blamed site of mine.

Thanks to everyone who’s suffered through being mentioned on my blog or photographed for the blog.

Finally, THANKS SO MUCH to all my readers for caring about what I have to say.

Why do I write? I promise I’m not writing for fame and glory. I write because I’m not a fast talker and because I like to sit at my desk in the quiet and mull things over and then put down for all the world to see what I really want to say.  Sometimes I think I’m writing letters to my younger self, or to someone like me who might feel awkward and alone and who really shouldn’t have to feel that way because I’m here. I’m here.

Even if I didn’t have a blog, I’d be writing, just like I did before I had a blog.  Not many of those stories in my pre-blog days made it onto the computer screen, or even on to paper, though I will readily admit our house has always been — and remains — an aviary for little scraps of notepaper on which I have scrawled various ideas, thoughts, words, and lines.  These papers flutter and perch all over our home, causing some inspiriation, causing some memory jogs, but mostly just teasing me in the reality that they need to be organized and that I still haven’t organized my notes from 10 years ago.

This blog is a way to organize my thoughts, to just discipline myself to get that stuff down.  You readers are a sideshow.  But you also help me to gauge if I’m using correctly what I believe to be a God-given talent and also if this ability of mine can ever be a boon to our bank account.

We shall see.  I’ll definitely keep on blogging, the good Lord willing. I’m not running out of ideas here on Porcupine Creek — I’ve got way more ideas than I have time.

Goodnight, everyone. Thank you and hugs and kisses. I’m going to exit the stage in my gown now.

© Tami Blake

(photo by Shirlee Langston)

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