Blogging From the Heart: 'Sparks and Butterflies' Blogger and California Mom Michele Wilcox Shares Her Thoughts About Marriage, Children and Headlines That "Tick Her Off."
Michele Wilcox says that through blogging, she has discovered she is stubborn, strong in her beliefs and intensely loyal "even to those she has never met."
In her 'Sparks and Butterflies' blog, Michele Wilcox, of California, blogs about topics that come from her heart, whether it is her marriage, children or a headline that "ticks me off and I need to spout." She sees her blog as an outlet to her feelings and community that "connection at midnight when you cannot sleep." Through blogging, she has discovered that she is stubborn, strong in her beliefs, and intensely loyal, "even to those she has never met." She writes: "I've discovered that it doesn't matter if I can write - as long as I do it. It doesn't matter if anyone reads, as long as I write it. It's not about 'them' it's about me. And that's a good thing."
Commitment: Tell us about your blog, 'Sparks and Butterflies.' What motivated you to blog?
Michele Wilcox: Really, it's a Life Blog. I've been writing online since 1995 and my archives go to 2000. Well before "blogs" existed. Writing html from scratch, before platforms, before HotDog (an old webpage creation software.)
I've always been a journal writer - and I've always liked the physical act of typing rather than the physical act of handwriting. In my love of things web, it was a natural progression to publish my thoughts online. I've had and used this space for longer than my marriage. That's one long relationship.
Commitment: What topics connect you most closely to your readers?
Michele: I write about my life. I don't stick to one topic. It could be about my marriage or marriage in general. It could be about my kids, or parenting in general. Perhaps a headline ticked me off and I need to spout. Perhaps I'm just linking to other places I write. Perhaps I'm just melancholy and need to get it out so it doesn't stay in. As a life blogger, it's whatever comes into my head.
The topics though that seem to connect with my readers are the the ones that really come from the heart. If it evokes truly strong feelings in me, that seems to translate into my blog, and that's when I notice an uptick in comments. The topic doesn't seem to matter, however, the strength and depth of feeling towards the topic seems to evoke the same in others.
Commitment: What new discoveries have you made about yourself through blogging?
Michele: Because blogging has been a constant through my adult life, I'm not sure I can target out the changes/impacts it has brought to my life, but I'll try.
I know that as a mother, wife, daughter, and all the other hats I wear, I'm very busy trying to keep all those balls in the air. That's hell on a social life. I know that beyond being an outlet for my own feelings, my blog has been a conduit to others, both via connection in others' blogs as a reader, and as friends through social media...
The others looking for connection at midnight when you cannot sleep. That's been extremely beneficial. It's community. As for discoveries about myself...
While I'm not sure that blogging is what brought it about per se, I have discovered that I'm stubborn and strong in my beliefs and opinions. I'm stubborn and strong in my belief that I'm entitled to my space to air those. I'm stubborn and strong in my belief that you can just click the "X" if you don't like it.
I've also discovered I'm intensely loyal - even to those I've never met. I've discovered that it doesn't matter if I can write - as long as I do it. It doesn't matter if anyone reads, as long as I write it. It's not about "them" it's about me. And that's a good thing.
Commitment: What about blogging is most challenging to you?
Michele: I sometimes struggle with how to properly convey what I'm feeling into words, and when I try, they seem woefully inadequate. Sometimes, I have to deal with my own fragile ego, and remind myself not to compare myself with others.
I sometimes have to remind myself that this is my space, and to write for myself - not what I think others would like to read.
Commitment: What do enjoy most about blogging?
1) Having a space to call me own. Being married, with kids, equals almost no privacy and all material things shared. This space is my own.
2) Community and connection that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
Commitment: What advice do you have for others who want to blog?
Michele: To constantly remember that it's about you, or the topic, not about the audience or the readers. While they matter, OF COURSE, if you let yourself go down that road you'll actually end up losing your readers as your writing will become less authentic. Always remember your original purpose and go from there.
Commitment: Can you share with us some of the posts you are most proud of, and seemed to elicit the greatest response from your audience.
Michele: I wouldn't say these are what I'm most proud of. But this is what seems to get the most response from my audience. They are examples of not necessarilly great writing, but written from the heart and my audience responded in kind:
Please Help Me Understand
"So I’m going to BlogHer ‘08 (woot and yay!) in two – TWO – weeks.
I have never met a blogger in person before. I’m especially nervous about this. I’m anxious about the social thing. (what if no one likes me waaaaah) So, figured the best way to attack this was to list my flaws so you won’t be shocked or surprised. heh. You probably wouldn’t have been anyway. But this is my way of attacking my anxiety head on. Here I am, take me or leave me, with all my flaws.
If I’m drinking, I talk. If I’m nervous, I talk. Drinking and nervous? Oh dear. Also – when I’m nervous I start talking louder and louder. The problem is – I was (literally) dropped on my head too many times as a child and it effected my hearing. I actually cannot hear myself talk. So, while I may be talking louder, I still can’t hear a difference in my head.
If I’m passionate or excited about something, I start repeating myself.
I smoke. Please don’t lecture me, unless you too fought an addiction to meth. I will only smoke in appointed smoking areas, and I won’t blow smoke in your face.
I’m missing two teeth. This is very very upsetting to me and makes me very self-conscious. But here’s the story: I did take care of my teeth. However, genes suck, and I was born without 8 permanent teeth. So, that means that the permanent teeth weren’t there to push out the baby teeth. So, the baby teeth just stuck around, until they just couldn’t hold on any more. My bottom front teeth have been fixed, and I still have two babies that are hangin’ on for dear life in the bottom on both sides. But on the top, one on each side, couldn’t hold on anymore. It will take several thousand dollars to fix, and I don’t have that kind of cash, so, they are missing. Yes, I brush and floss. I’ve had one cavity in my life. Just bad genes. So – I may not smile big, and if I do, it’s because I forgot about my mouth for a minute.
I snore. But you won’t have to worry about that since I’m alone – NO KIDS OR HUSBAND – in my room. I may hide in my room because of the beautiful beautiful silence, but I digress.
I talk with my hands. I’ll try not to smack you.
I’m a notorious clutz. I’ll try not to drop my drink on you.
That’s me. In all my glory. I can’t wait to meet you there."
Visit Michele at http://www.sparksandbutterflies.com.