Them’s the Rules – A Blogging Year in Review

I am a rule follower in most areas of my life. But not in the blogging world. I don’t proofread (and I make lots of typos!:) ). I fail to spend time formatting pictures. And I’ll post multiple times in a day. Furthermore, I am absolutely horrendous at following the guidelines for awards (although I am eternally grateful to those of you who have graciously sent them my way). However,  there is one blogging tradition that I feel like I just have to honor – the year in recap, especially since the one year anniversary of my blog coincides with the conclusion of 2012.

So, here goes – a look back at Lessons From the End of a Marriage 2012. I apologize in advance if I get this wrong. Again, I don’t follow the blogging rules so well:)

The Beginning

Last December, I spent some time with my friend Christian. I showed him the outline of the book which I had started two years prior and had just committed to finishing. He recommended that I start a blog as a way of pre-marketing the book. I knew nothing about blogging, so I downloaded two Kindle books on the subject – one free and one $.99 – and I set up my WordPress site that afternoon. I set a goal of posting at least three times a week, but I was intimidated by the thought of coming up with that many ideas.

I didn’t need to worry. The ideas just began to flow and I found myself posting daily. I found a rhythm of writing in the mornings and jotting down ideas throughout the day in a small spiral notebook I kept in my purse (no iPhone yet:) ). I started following other blogs and found myself pleasantly surprised at the supportive WordPress community. I was still working on the book and the blog was a great place to explore ideas and solidify the themes.

I experimented with Facebook and Twitter and tweaked my blog settings. I never really knew what I was doing; I simply did what felt right in the moment. Looking back, some of the posts makes me giggle and some make me cringe. But I’ll leave them – they are part of the history.

I learned the humor inherent in seeing how people found my site. My favorite search terms?

  • lisa arends bigamy (This one always makes me giggle. I’m not the bigamist! 🙂 )
  • monkey lifting weights (because of this post)
  • shaved monkey (that would be this one – I guess my monkey mind titles are a little strange:))
  • how to get away with bigamy (please – just say no!)
  • happy birthday to my car (I felt weird when I wrote that title, but I guess I’m not the only one)
  • goddess flexibility pics (uhmm…thanks but I’m no goddess and I’m not very flexible)
  • math show sole (????)
  • squish bikini (eww! there is a pic on here of me in a bikini, but I don’t consider myself to be super squishy)
  • crying is okay here (yes it is)
  • the joy of outdoor showering (I know I love it)
  • who did mrs wayne dyer marry (I would hope Mr. Wayne Dyer)

I went into blogging with the idea of promoting a book. I had no idea that it (and writing) would become an inherent part of my life.

Key posts:

How it Began

When is a Phone More Than a Phone?

Softness Isn’t Just for Selling Tissues

The Garden

Wanted: The Ronald McDonald House for the Recently Seperated

10 Things My Vibrams Taught Me About Relationships

The Importance of Love Mentors

The Blame Game

Rebooting: Are You in Safe Mode?

Taming the Monkey Mind

Goal Post

I Was Lucky

Two Years Ago Today

You Make Me Happy

What Set Theory Can Teach Us About Marriage

The Big Time

As I made my way into the blogging world, I found myself commenting on sites all over the net. Huffington Post was a frequent visit of mine and I often found that the articles in their “divorce” section spurred my own ideas, which I frequently left on their page. Then, in April, much to my surprise, I was asked to write a piece for them sharing my story.

And, oh what a ride that was. The piece went viral, sending over 20,000 visitors to my site in two days. It was cross-posted around the world in a variety of languages. The comments poured in. Most were shocked. Many were supportive. And some were hateful.

It was a strange feeling. Until that point, I had a relatively small and insular group of readers. I had kept my name hidden (thus stilllearning2b). My readers were supportive and understanding. The readers of Huff Post? Not so much. This was a crossroads for me – I had to decide if I wanted to pull back or go full force with my story, not knowing what the repercussions would be and having to thicken my skin in the process.

I think my choice is evident. I remembered my motivation to share in the first place – I didn’t want anyone to feel alone in their journey as I once did. I kept writing, adding more Huffington pieces and adding MindBodyGreen and others to the list.

Key Posts:

Check Out My Article in the Huffington Post!

Signs in the Rearview Mirror


Strange Place to Be

Tsunami Divorce

8 Ways Yoga Supported Me Through Divorce

Have You Taken Out Your Mental Garbage?

The Long Con

Getting Away With Bigamy

The Book

By the end of July, the book was finally finished and ready to be published. I wondered if I would still feel the compulsion to write now that the project was complete. Again, I had nothing to worry about.

This period was when I really began to identify as a writer. I decided to be transparent in the process and share my story of self-publishing and writing for Huffington Post. The completion of the book also put me in a different place emotionally, and my posts began to focus more on present day rather than with wrestling demons from the past.

Key Posts:

When Can I Call Myself a Writer?

Adventures in Publishing

Adventures in Publishing, Part II

From Victim to Victory

How to Become a Huffington Post Blogger

Welcoming the End of an Era

Write Yourself Through Divorce

Beyond Belief

Things exploded in the early fall. Another Huffington article went viral and I began to be contacted almost daily by producers. Most offers fell flat for one reason or another, but The Jeff Probst Show became a reality in September. It. Was. Surreal.

I had already exposed my identity to the internet, but now my “teacher persona” and “blogger persona” met for the first time. My coworkers read my book and approached me in the halls, giving me sympathetic hugs. My student’s parents sent me encouraging emails and engaged in whispered conversations at school events.

My little blog project wasn’t so little any more and it had grown well beyond what I could control. There was some anxiety associated with being so “out there.” It’s not always easy to have strangers comment on your life, your feelings and your actions.

Key Posts:

Time Travel

If You Missed the Show

My Motivation

Who Is He?

Lisa Arends on The Moffett Message

Marital Fraud: Questions Answered

The Blessings

I keep coming back to this. Every time I ponder pulling back, I receive an email or comment that helps me recommit to sharing. I have been so touched, so humbled and so inspired by the messages I receive or the posts I read from others who are surviving their own tsunamis. Additionally, I have found that writing reminds me of what I have in my life; it makes me grateful for what is rather than bitter for what was lost. I no longer feel alone. I am amazed at the supportive community that is all around us if we are willing to be vulnerable and show our pain. You guys are awesome:)

Key Posts:

Extend a Hand

Marathon Recap: I Won

Forgiveness 101

Quitting vs Letting Go

This is a Test of the Emergency Rant System

Practicing What I Preach

Love After Divorce: A Reflection on a Journey

I am a planner by nature. It is somewhat uncomfortable for me to accept that I don’t know what 2013 will bring. So here’s to letting go of expectations, staying in the moment, practicing gratitude and sharing the love:) I wish all of you the happiest of new years!

Thank you for sharing!

14 thoughts on “Them’s the Rules – A Blogging Year in Review

  1. Only having just subscribed to your blog a few weeks ago, I want to tell you what an impact it has taken on my mentality of my own divorce after reading half of your posts from last year. I was horrified and shocked in reading the day your marriage ended but it is motivational to see that you have overcome so much heart break and tramau and are using it of show others a road to their own recovery.

    I have just begun my own blog on my divorce and though it does matter to me what others are thinking that are reading, it has been so therapeutical for me to just write my own story.

    Congrats to you on your accomplishments and finding your strength and your own life, may 2013 be the best year yet!

  2. hurthealer – Having overcome a 20 year battle with depression and alcoholism, ‘The Hurt Healer’ celebrates my life today filled with faith, love, healing,serenity, joy and creativity. For many years I called alcohol ‘The Hurt Healer’. It helped numb me from the pain of being abandoned as a child by my mother and abused by my father. It gave me confidence to deal with the present and took away my fear of the future. But my addiction also kept me trapped in a cycle of despair and hopelessness. It is nothing short of a miracle that I am alive today, but I have found freedom in sobriety and have overcome chronic depression. Your past doesn't have to define your present, so join me on an inspirational journey to live life as the person you were meant to be.
    Carolyn Hughes says:

    And a happy new year to you too! Wishing you lots of happiness and success 🙂

  3. You’ve been a big inspiration to me this year. You took recovery in your own hands and didn’t wait for it to happen. I’d like to look back and say I’ve done that too.

  4. wanderlustryramblings – Blogging has always been a cathartic experience for me. There is something about seeing your thoughts, dreams and desires in black and white. Writing down the multitude of thoughts passing through my mind every second almost gives the thoughts a sort of finitude. So here I have come to blog about the events and happenings that have affected my profoundly and will continue to affect my life as I endeavor to move on. I am also here to write about anything and everything that will help those like me seek solace in the understanding that they are not alone to ultimately begin to deal with their own pain and sense of loss.
    wanderlustryramblings says:

    2012 was some year. I remember reading your blog in the midst of my emotional shock earlier this year when I randomly searched for divorce blogs on Google. In process of digesting (for the lack of a better word) the pain that you had gone through and finding a way to come to terms with my own pain I totally forgot to check the blog address which resulted in many months of searches and it is strange that I could not find your blog. But as luck had it you found my blog and I gladly came back to yours :).
    Your blog and the support community of WordPress have been more than inspirational. You have helped me find a way to deal with my pain and emerge a better person. 2013 scares me too, for I have lived most of life planning to the ‘T’, more so because my divorce case is still pending in court leaving my life hanging by a thread. But having been through worse before like so many of us I hope to emerge much stronger and laying to rest the many fears the events of the recent past have given rise to.
    A very happy new year to you. Wishing you all the happiness, joy and success! 🙂

    1. Thank you:) I had no idea that I was lost and found – how cool!

      I was in a similar place as you as 2009 rolled into 2010. It is a scary place and one with so little control. Just know that it will not always be this way and that you will be okay. Divorce court is awful, but they don’t hand out death sentences:)

      I wish you the best in 2013 and well beyond:)

  5. ourlifein3d – Life In 3D started as my Daddy Day Dare. I became a stay at home Dad years ago. My fast-paced professional life was thrown in reverse as I taught phonics and watched yet another episode of Dora The Explorer. Now, many years later, my girls are starting to grow up a little. 'Cute and cuddly' is being replaced with homework, spankings and braces. Check in from time to time to see how this experiment continues to evolve. See if I can survive as the only male in the house. I will offer our stories on the girls' escapades; never dull and hopefully amusing!
    Our Life In 3D says:

    I love to see the various searches that find my blog. I will have to ‘search bomb’ you later. Have a wonderful New Year tonite. You seem to be going strong. I wish you more great health and tons of happiness in 2013 and you accomplish all your goals. I have learned a lot about inner strength from you this year. Through the Tsunami you have become a great inspriation to many. Happy New Year!

  6. Ella a/k/a unConfirmed Bachelorette – Austin – Ella a/k/a Confirmed Bachelorette (f/k/a Unconfirmed Bachelorette) is a 50-something recovered lawyer who left the practice of law to embrace a full-time writing life. Never-married, child-free Ella resides in Austin, Texas and Ontario, Canada with her four bad cats.
    Unconfirmed Bachelorette says:

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and allowing me to find yours. I have been wandering around here for hours. Aside from the beginning, what an exciting journey you are on. Love the photo of the mud run. Happiest 2013 to you!

  7. elizabeth2560 – ABOUT ALMOST SPRING Two and a half years ago my 37 year marriage ended suddenly through no choice of my own. I survived the heartache. I have taken control of my present. I am planning my own destiny, which is moving onwards to a life of purpose and meaning. This is my journey.
    elizabeth2560 says:

    So glad you decided to blog. i did not realise that your idea for the book came first – then the blog.
    Your first comment to me was in my very early days post separation and you sent me the link to your ‘tsunami’ divorce.
    This and many other comments have continued to help keep me sane.
    best of luck with 2013

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