How to Birth a Blog in Nine Painful Months

Amy J. Devitt, Ph.D.
5 min readAug 26, 2018

Or 3 years

Baby in hand, Pixabay Public Domain CC0 Creative Commons

​It’s my anniversary! No, I don’t mean my wedding anniversary (though that was just a week ago. Happy anniversary, sweetie!) It’s my blog’s anniversary, which is either three years old or just over two years old. So I thought I’d share lessons I learned from birthing and raising a blog.

I published its first post in “Genre-Colored Glasses” on August 19, 2015, making my blog three years old. On August 19, 2015, I published “What I Notice — and Write About,” laying out the reason for the weird title Genre-Colored Glasses and the topics I expected to write about — things like how genres affect us, how language makes a difference, how to teach writing in ways that show people the choices they can make, and fairness and equity. Truth, justice, and the American grammar joke. I love grammar jokes, especially the groaners.

​The difference a comma can make: “Let’s eat Grandma!” [Let’s eat, Grandma] “Stop clubbing, baby seals!” [Stop clubbing baby seals]

​I warned you — groaners. But punctuation saves lives! So that was my first post, describing my blog and its focus, with one bad grammar joke attached. And then . . . I didn’t publish another post for over nine months. Apparently, this baby needed time to develop.

I lost my nerve, in part. What if no one was interested? What if nobody read it? This was a new genre itself for me. I was good at writing academic stuff, I thought, but I might be really bad at writing for a broader audience. What if I’m a bad parent? What if my blog is terrible? What if I expect everyone to admire an ugly baby? (I love Seinfeld references, too)

The Beeker Baby, AntToeKnee Lacey, flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

​I drafted several new posts, but I didn’t hit Publish on any of them until nine months later — May 30, 2016. Then I read an article in The New York Times on “The Psychology of Genre: Why we don’t like what we struggle to categorize,” by Tom Vanderbilt. That piece was full of great research on why brains like to categorize, so I could tell others about someone else’s research and add my comments. A lot like what I already knew how to write, but more fun.

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Amy J. Devitt, Ph.D.

Writer, teacher, researcher, optimist. I explore language & everyday genres to help people see & choose the language & genres they use. www.amydevitt.com