Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

On My First Year of Blogging


A year ago I literally knew nothing about blogging. I had never used WordPress before. I didn’t read blogs. I didn’t know how to build or tag a post. The idea of reaching hundreds or thousands of readers felt completely impossible. I felt like one snowflake floating down to join  millions of others. How would anyone notice me? How would I find other like-minded folks? Did I have the courage to write about my life, worries, hopes, dreams and fears? Did I have anything substantial to offer? I always thought one had to be an expert at something to blog. The only thing I felt knowledgeable about was grief. I was an expert at sobbing. Would that attract readers?

Of course, I knew other things, a little about filmmaking, a little about writing, a little less about motorcycles, even less about raising a puppy. As a result, the blog has morphed into a hodge-podge of personal reflections, memories, advice and whatever expertise I can beg, borrow or steal. You might not know what to expect from one post to the next, but hopefully that’s part of the fun.

Little by little, I have learned (and continue to learn) how to blog. I learned to stop worrying if I would be Freshly Pressed (or Freshly Pressed again) and stop hitting the Stats button every five minutes after publishing. I learned to let go of fear and just let my soul speak. I learned that blogging is more about relationships than anything else.

One of my very first blogger friends was Paula B of The Temenos Journal. She had recently lost her beloved Tim and started her blog a week after I did. Separated by thousands of miles (she lives in Canada, I in Los Angeles), we would cry and laugh at each other’s posts, and encourage each other to keep going and not give up on life. 

I met Darcy Thiel at Help For Healing who was nearing completion on her heartfelt memoir Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey With Cancer when she proposed doing a few joint interviews about grief. I met DS over at Diary of a Sad Widow, who was chronicling her first year of grief in beautiful, touching, witty posts (Freshly Pressed twice). Now that she’s in Year 2, she has changed her blog’s name to “And Now For Something Completely Different.” I can’t wait to see how she and her blog evolve.

Other blogger friends this first year: Ann at RamblinAnn, who blogs about everything and nothing, all things that happen in life; LB at Life On The Bike And Other Fab Things, a fellow rider and fabulous photographer; Pete at BeetleyPete, who blogs on the musings of a Londoner now living in Norfolk; Jack Joseph’s Mom at Jack Joseph’s Mom, an anonymous blogger who chronicles her grief after miscarriage; Patti Hall at 1WritePlace, another fellow memoirist who writes about grief and life; Kimberly at Words4JP, who writes at least one poem per day; Dara at The Clear Out, whose goal is decluttering, clarifying and connecting one post at a time.

No list of blogging friends would be complete without Caitlin Kelly (also Canadian) of Broadside, to whom I was introduced online by PaulaB. Caitlin is a writer, journalist, author and teacher. She’s also the only blogger I’ve met in person (at a fabulous 7-hour brunch in New York City) so far. Among her many professional accolades, Caitlin has been Freshly Pressed six times (!) and just started a series of webinars on writing, blogging and the business of freelancing. I’m planning on taking at least one of them. If you’re interested in checking them out, go here.

But these are only a few of the friends I’ve made this year. Riding Bitch now has over 1,000 followers and 11,000 views. To the bloggers with tens of thousands of followers/views, this might seem like chicken feed, but to me it is hugely rewarding. If building a blogging community is like building a pyramid, then this year represented the foundation. We’re all helping each other build little pyramids across the blogosphere.

Blogging has been therapeutic, enlightening, entertaining and encouraging. It has helped me find and strengthen my voice as a writer. It has opened my eyes to different stories, experiences and views from all around the world. It has led to friendships which will hopefully last a lifetime.

Thank you for reading and participating. May this second year bring new opportunities and friendships, while solidifying and deepening those that already exist. I look forward to continuing to share the journey with you.

– Niva (and Ruby)

birthday hike with Ruby

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

25 thoughts on “On My First Year of Blogging

  1. Congrats! Great job and great Blog. I totally taught myself and have only been on the internet for 5 years so it’s fun to keep learning! I have made many friends here that I cherish too ! ♥

  2. Congrats!!! That’s a fantastic following and I’m happy to be one of them.

    Meeting you in person (thank you for the shout-out) was wonderful…Felt like we’d known one another for ages, which, at best, is what blogging does — create a tremendous network of peers.

    It is a fascinating way to meet new friends and share the best and worst of what we all go through in life. Best of luck as you move forward with all your projects.

  3. It does make the world a smaller place still, congratulations on finding a niche in writing about your life. x

  4. Congrats on year 1 – and I’m touched and honored to be mentioned by you. If you’re ever in Wisconsin, contact me – I’d be honored to be #2 for in-person blogger meetings. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know you and Ruby and Kaz. I feel like we’re all old friends.

  5. Congrats! I almost at my one year mark too 🙂 Love your blog x

    • Aww, thanks Daile. I just realized I wasn’t following yours. Now I am! I look forward to getting to know you better and cheering you on to the 1 year mark. Thanks for being a part of things over here.

  6. Happy firs year blog anniversary! 🙂

  7. First Year …WOOT WOOT … 😉 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY And someday we will share a fine vintage, somewhere, at someplace… and cheers to that too.

  8. Oh Niva, how wonderful that the first post of yours I see since the wreck is your one year reflecion on blogging! Hasn’t it been the most amazing and unexpected gift? As I get back on my blogging feet (so to speak), I’ll check out some of the other bloggers you mentioned (thanks for the shout out, by the way!). In the meantime, know that finding your blog was a gift for me and as I published my first post-wreck post last week, I hoped you would see it. I’ve met so many wonderful people and love my virtual friends.
    I have major catching up to do, and I’m telling folks to let me know of any particularly special posts that i missed while recuperating. I’m still healing, but making strides every day!
    Congrats on one year!!!

    • Thanks LB! It really has been a gift. I’m honored to be one of your blogging friends. Glad to hear you’re healing and making strides. Your positive attitude is your greatest strength!!

  9. I’m in the must-check-stats-every -five-minutes phase myself. Started blogging 10 days ago. reading your article has been a great inspiration. Come across it in Broadside. Good timing, for me atleast.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I think many of us went through that phase. You’ll outgrow it eventually. Stats are useful but not that exciting unless a post “blows up,” in which case you’ll find out whether you’re checking or not. Congrats on starting a blog!

  10. Is it really only a year? my first year was in June/July, so we are of the same class! Thanks so much for always being around, despite all the heartache you had to face. You are one of the people I associate most with blogging, as we started around the same time. I am so happy to see your blog, and your life, coming on in leaps and bounds, and taking new directions. Even though we may only bump into each other now and again, our hearts and minds are close, even across oceans; thanks to Blogging.
    My best wishes to you today, and always, and regards from a small part of England too. Pete. x

  11. Happy 1st year! I was asked by a group to talk about death and dying (on Wed). Having some anxiety issues but will reflect on what you write. I’m ok one on one but large groups scare me. 🙂 Here is to another ten years !!

  12. A bit late to your post here, but just wanted to say Happy Blog-aversary. I enjoy reading your posts and catching up with how you and Ruby are doing.

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