The gauntlet has been thrown.

I knew it was coming. It’s like the feeling you have in your dentist’s office when he asks you if you floss regularly and you momentarily debate telling the truth or not. “I do floss. Sometimes.” Or it’s like that moment in college before an exam when your professor says, “And if you’ve been doing the readings…” and you try to justify that skimming counts as reading all 80 pages. It kind of felt like that as I sat across from Aaron Strout and he posed the question I knew was coming.

“Do you blog?”

Finally, I had been called out. The excuses swirled in my brain. I have blogged before. I understand the importance of blogging. I know how to blog. I’ve instructed others to blog. All of my friends blog. I have a blog. I could blog. But I knew the honest response.

No, I don’t blog.

On a very strict technicality, I do. I have three blogs. I had the blog I kept religiously during my semester abroad in France, my Austin move blog and my silly tumblr blog.  The blog from France is closed like a book. It has a beginning, middle and an end and I’m content to let it sit there like that. I actually have a printed version of it that looks like a book. That blog is done, and I’m happy it is.

I also have the blog you’re on right now, my Austin blog, which has been tweaked over the past year but requires a full and utter facelift. A complete re-write. I’m majorly conflicted about this blog. Part of me considers this blog as a testament to who I was when I moved here. I’m sentimental already about those dramatic few months. I’ve never cared about baby shoes but I would imagine that my feeling towards this blog is similar to how a mother of a toddler feels as she packs the first pair of shoes away. That’s the me from a year ago. Unlike a journal, a blog can’t be shoved onto a shelf for a day when I’m feeling nostalgic. I like this domain. It’s been linked to on other blogs. Rewriting it feels like demolishing it and there’s still something I’d like to preserve here.

Part of me relates to this blog as a writer who cringes at a horrible first draft. I see the flaws and I want to scratch the whole thing, erase it, quickly click a very permanent “Delete.” I shudder when people admit to seeing it. Everything must go. A rewrite is a major undertaking, and I’m in the middle of job-hunting. Surely, this isn’t a priority on my to-do list.

Maybe this is why writers are hesitant to blog. Their glaring first drafts remain there, taunting them. Sure readers may be distracted by more recent posts, but the old thoughts are still there. Blogs are graveyards- yesterday’s thoughts buried by today’s, the links to those posts, the headstones.

So I’ve done what many people do when there’s something presenting a challenge to them. Nothing. Nothing at all.

Until now.

Aaron, in his infinite wisdom, is right again. Tim Walker, who similarly has urged me to blog for a very long time, is right. My close friend and wonderful blogger herself, Tolly Moseley who has told me time and time again that I have something to say, is right. Another friend, Richard Gonzalez, Ultra 8201 himself, who has similarly nudged me to blog, is right. Greg Ackerman, who has endlessly encouraged me and has already given me blogger status even if I didn’t deserve it, is right. Chris Bailey, who kindly has linked to me in the past, is right. I wave the white flag. I’ll blog.

I’ve been hypocritical. I urged my authors to blog. I’ve championed their blogs, I’ve vocally celebrated social media and here I’ve sat, silent. No more.

So keep me to it. Angrily tweet at me if I don’t deliver. Be patient if I’m rambling and you want me to be more on topic. Or tell me to cut to the chase. Remind me that I’ve promised this before, and then failed to deliver. Keep me honest. And above all, please keep me blogging.

So here it goes.

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20 Comments on “The gauntlet has been thrown.”

  1. Chris Bailey says:

    Kelly, I’m not sure if its a matter of hypocrisy. Consider it, instead, a way to better understand something. Once upon a time, when I was a membership director for a nonprofit professional association, I made it a requirement that each of my staff (including me) join another professional association. Why? So they’d understand the membership experience from a different perspective and be better at helping our own membership.

    So enough with the guilt – that won’t take you where you really want to go. Go at it so you can know the experience of blogging and building an online community in a new and different way.

    • kellystonebock says:

      Thanks Chris. You bring up a good point- it’s a matter of gaining perspective, this time from within Austin’s blogging community as opposed to standing on the outside. Haha- oh the guilt. I’m Catholic, Chris. It’s what we do.

      But you’re right. In the words of Barbara Streisand, “Starting here, starting now…” Thanks for the comment.

  2. Tolly says:

    Kelly!!

    See? Listen to this smart, sharp, engaging voice. I could read you all day long, and it honestly wouldn’t matter what you wrote about, really.

    Sometimes I think the trick to blogging is just wading around in it, until you find the part of the pool that feels best. Your voice reminds me of one of my blogger crushes, Penelope Trunk. I don’t think girlfriend knew what the F she was talking about when she started blogging, she just done DID IT. And now, it’s pulling her a book deal.

    Which is all to say – keep writing like this, little lady, and your sentimental Austin beginning will all become part of a fascinating narrative. I like that you started right when you moved here, all bright-eyed and innocent. And that you didn’t delete that part. Now that you’ve been here a year, your vision and knowledge have gained depth. And that’s a good thing. We all want to hear your story! So keep typing, my little grasshopper.

    In anticipation for your next installment,
    Tolly

    • kellystonebock says:

      Tolly, your post means so much to me. You’ve been a bit part of my life in ATX so it’s only fitting that you play such an important role in this blog. Thanks for the kind words, friend.

      Are you back from Hawaii yet?!?! I need a spunky red-headed friend to go to Quacks/Mothers with me again please. 🙂 Miss ya.

  3. Kelly,
    Flattering you think of me as some sort of catalyst for your blogging when, in fact, you were obviously born to write. Completely agree with Tolly when she says it “honestly wouldn’t matter what you wrote about, really” because it IS your voice that makes reading your work pleasurable. I don’t really care so much WHAT you write about as long as I get to read YOU.

    I’m looking forward to your next post. I’m sure it will be as enjoyable a read as your previous blog entries (including this one).
    Cheers,
    Greg

    • kellystonebock says:

      Greg, you are a catalyst and I’m thankful you are. Thank you for the unfailing support. You and I started having these types of discussions when I began my tumblr blog and you talked about your personal blog. Thanks for continuing to read and leading the way with your own writing.

  4. Tim Walker says:

    Kelly–

    The good news about blogs is that, unless you’re famous already when you start one, almost nobody reads the early efforts. That sounds harsh, but it’s true: *you* cringe at the naivete of your early posts, but few people will ever read them again. And that’s fine — they’re like home movies documenting your first steps as a writer.

    And you *are* a writer, my dear. You already have more voice than most bloggers ever will. Now you just have to get comfortable — which comes, as you know, from *doing* it.

    Flex those pipes, lady.

    • kellystonebock says:

      Tim, I’m very well-known in New Zealand. I have a strong readership there and I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate you marginalizing their interest in me.

      🙂 Kiwis aside, you’re right. And the line “They’re like home movies documenting your first steps as a writer” was awesome.

      If you see me veering towards the coffee table, please says something. Thanks for the comment and the encouragement to write that post in the first place.

  5. Maura Thomas says:

    You go Kelly! I look forward to reading!
    Maura (@mnthomas)

    • kellystonebock says:

      Thanks Maura! Soon I will bug you to see how I can do it more productively 😉 BTW “Turning chaos into control” is a killer tagline. Props.

  6. Rusty Shelton says:

    I agree with the above, Kelly. You’re way too talented not to be sharing it with the world. I look forward to continuing to learn from you via this blog.

    All the best,
    Rusty

  7. Aaron Strout says:

    Kelly – as the Canadians like to say, “good on ya!” While I don’t consider you a hypocrite (in fact, you know I think very highly of you), your own prose point out the hypocrisy of your actions… but that was before. Now you have remedied that by taking your own “medicine” and you are once again sharing your beautiful, articulate words.

    It’s one thing to realize that you could/should be doing something. It’s another to remedy that fact! As Tolly mentions above, I am very much looking forward to reading your future installments!

    Best,
    Aaron | @aaronstrout

    p.s. once you get to post number three in your new blogging efforts, I will be happy to add you to my blog roll on stroutmeister.com. be sure you keep me honest on that one!

    • kellystonebock says:

      Haha, I have never once heard the phrase “Good on ya” but I love it. Those crazy Canucks- never know what’s coming out of their mouths next. 😉 It will now be my goal to incorporate that phrase into as much as possible during the weekend.

      Thanks for offering to add me to your blog roll, and for coffee and for… everything. Sorry to compare you to my dentist. It was meant affectionately. 🙂

  8. Greg Matthews says:

    Kelly: You summed up nicely how I feel about my own blog. I’ve just finished a job search and started a new job (plus in the middle of moving) so my writing has clearly been deprioritized.
    The thing is that I *want* to write. I have ideas. It’s just so seldom that I actually make the ininterrupted time to sit down and do it. I’m hoping that your post will serve as an inspiration – or at least motivation – for me as much as it will for you. Good luck!

  9. kellystonebock says:

    Hey Greg- I was checking out your blog today. Well written, sir. I’m glad to hear there are others who share my relationship with blogging. Oh, writing. Oh, writers. Of course we think about it too much. I’ll consider myself a writer, but honestly sometimes I hate writing. Sometimes it’s this slow painful process that feels like pulling teeth. Sometimes it flows. But I almost always enjoy the final product.

    You’re an Illinois transplant too, huh? Congrats on your move. I hope you settle into Austin nicely. To say I love ATX is a gross understatement. Thanks so much for your comment.

  10. Breanna says:

    Brava, brava! This is a great post, and I hope the first of many more to come. Just lovely, friend. I would expect nothing less.

  11. kellystonebock says:

    Same to you Bre. I’m excited to see more of your writing on the Austinist and on T’s blog.

    I still need to pitch her my idea of writing only about guilty pleasures. Often these guilty pleasures will either involve full and overly complete re-caps of shows on Bravo or Harry Potter.

    One of the two. 🙂

  12. meanrachel says:

    You can do it! My only advice is that it’s like (for me) exercising – sometimes you’ll do a lot of it, regularly, and it’ll be so easy. Sometimes you’ll mope around your house wondering why you even bother and eat ice cream instead. And sometimes you just have to go out for drinks with the girls and say “To hell with it!” But you’ll always get going again, just as soon as you’re ready!

    • kellystonebock says:

      Haha, I love this Rachel. I not only feel better about blogging, but about my approach to working out. (Same as yours) I was on your blog last night btw. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.


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