(This post is part of a series called APADO, where I try my hardest to post once a day for the entire month of October. So far, so good.)
(I’ve been giving a lot of advice recently and it feels weird so I’m just gonna talk about cringey old posts okay? okay.)
What was I doing in 2016?
I was being a little weirdo (and enjoying it).
I was playing in the snow, hiking and camping, riding bareback at Willow Tree Farm, and really enjoying my childhood (even though I was technically a teenager).
I was starting this blog.
According to my first post, I was a horse-nut, writer, gardener, photographer, half-crafter, artist, and reader. What is “artist” doing so low on this list?
I had a huge vocabulary and no discretion on when to use it. I was throwing around words like “liable”, “whatnot”, and “filibuster”, just because I could.
I was clueless on how I should talk to my followers. Or to anyone, for that matter.
In short, I was being every 13-year-old: living life, having a good time and thinking I was better than everyone else.
And, as a result, my first posts on this blog are really dumb and self-absorbed. On one hand, I want to bury them and hope they never meet the eyes of anyone I respect and trust.
But on the other hand, why bury what you could ridicule? Publically? For your followers’ enjoyment?
The things I do for you guys.
Let’s go see what 13-year-old me was up to.
We’re diving right in with my first post. It was called “The Beginning Of It All”, and it starts:
G’day. I’ll bet you came here from Silver Sky Dolls, my other blog, and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to begin the personal blogging adventure.
Okay, Tess. Never assume that your followers are wondering anything, because they’re probably not (unless they just worship you). Oh, I forgot. You don’t have any followers! Yet.
Why Steeplechase? It’s sort of a crazy name. A steeplechase in the horse world is a race that goes through several jumps and ditches. My outlook on life is a lot like that – a lot of it is going through obstacles. In this same way, my blog is not themed persay, unless me-themed counts.
I know you’re trying to sound like you’re knowing what you’re doing by explaining this blog’s name. Why don’t you just tell them the truth – that you just picked the name because it sounded cool?
(Honestly, I’m surprised I was able to be trusted to pick a good blog name at age 13. By some miracle, I still like it.)
I have my feet wet in a lot of places, and I am liable to get them wet in several more over the years.
Yep! You’re right! You might go on to try animation, embroidery, and sticking googly eyes to anything and everything.
I went on to talk about envelope art. I didn’t really make a point, maybe besides that presentation is important.
I finished that post with this little specimen of a note:
(P.S: Soon, I will go to THE TALLEST PLACE IN TEXAS….Guadalupe Peak! It is an 8-mile round trip for hikers. I’ll be traveling every week next month, so we’re going to have a little bit of a traveling theme for here at Steeplechase and at the partner blog Silver Sky Dolls.)
Get used to travelling, Tess. You’re going to be doing a lot more of it in years to come.
(Also: is the hike the eight-mile round trip or is that the distance to the park? Clarity is important.)
(And: please stop considering SSD as a partner blog. It really is its own thing.)
I did end up going to Guadalupe Peak a few days later, though. That hiking trip was a lot of fun.
I must have been exhausted when I wrote this post, though, because it has less energy than a slug taking melatonin.
So…We Meet Again…For The Third Time… (Let’s hope I can say that without sounding like your nemesis.)
That’s creepy, Tess. Please stop. It’s not “cool” to be creepy.
This is a very bad, very blurry picture…
Oh, get used to that, too! Your pictures will be bad and blurry for years to come. Isn’t that comforting?
I had intended to go to bed at ten o’clock the night before, but that didn’t happen, and I was in bed at eleven-thirty. (I sort of go to bed kind of late all the time. Nobody’s perfect.) I didn’t get to sleep until midnight. (I have a minor form of insomnia, I think. It always takes me a little to get to sleep.) And I woke up at four the next morning, because we needed to leave at five, so I ended up with four hours of sleep. Yippee.
You really should try going to bed earlier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in the habit of doing that before sleep becomes a thing you crave?
That’s the scope of things. Consider Guadalupe Mountains National Park as your next hiking destination!
Unless you’re a couch potato. Then you can enjoy my photos!
*slow clapping* Very nice. You just called all your followers who aren’t athletically inclined couch potatoes. Oh wait, you didn’t have any followers at this point.
Until Clara was nice enough to follow me, that is. Love you, Clara! Thanks for dealing with me through thick and thin.
I decided to talk about amateur art after that. It was definitely still amateur at the time.
(WARNING: BIG BLOCKS OF MONOLOGUE AHEAD. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THEM.)
So…people will probably not read your monologues, no matter how much you beg. Why don’t you do the obvious and just REWORD YOUR MONOLOGUES, YOU VERBOSE CHILD?
Random tip #1: You can draw anything, even if you don’t specialize in that specific field.
Um…okay? But just a question, Tess – why are you giving art advice? Didn’t you just begin this post by saying you weren’t really an artist?
Random tip #2: It is very, very normal to have bad drawings, sessions or even days. Don’t give up just because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.
Alright, I’ll give it to you – that’s actually pretty solid advice. I mean, that’s a pretty solid “random tip”. You take yourself so seriously, don’t you?
Random tip #4: Draw from real life, but draw from imagination too.
Well, that’s nice and elucidated. You’re so thorough!
I am not telling you to invent weird creatures or design spaceships (but if you want to, knock yourself out; no one’s holding you back).
How does that sound, CLARA??? I know you are my only follower right now, so I will start addressing YOU more often. Sound good?
See ya later, CLARA!
So there’s this thing called a signoff, and you can use it so you don’t sound like a sarcastic jerk begging for followers.
I decided to get more personal after this. And hopefully stop giving advice. But I didn’t stop being condescending?
I share a bedroom. I have shared a bedroom all my life. Before you go, “Oh, how dreadful!” hear me out. Bedroom sharing is an excellent practice. After all, you’re not always going to have a room all to yourself, be it rooming at a college or grown up and living with your family. Thus, if you have your own room, I am better off than you.
All the flavors in the world, and you choose salty! Okay. This is a good concept worded abhorrently. Maybe you should go for something that doesn’t make people with their own bedrooms feel guilty? Just a rule of thumb – never make your followers feel guilty. Tess, you have so much to learn about writing blog posts.
I hope this inspires you to clean your room!
Spoiler alert, Tessie – it probably didn’t!
Maybe you meant “sincerely yours”?
I started to get the hang of things, though. Which is good. I started to try to add humor into my posts. Which…is good in some ways and not really great in others?
Random tip: If you want to draw a horse in action, but can’t draw a rider for beans, put it on a lunge line, like so:
TESS. “RANDOM TIP” IS NOT OKAY. NO ONE CARES ABOUT “RANDOM TIPS”. OR THE WORD “RANDOM”. OR ART ADVICE FROM A 13-YEAR-OLD.
Gah, I was so cocky back then. Or is it confidence? I can’t tell which is worse, though – to draw horribly and be proud of it? Or to draw well and stress about improvement?
I’m leaning toward stress, though. At least you’re tolerable to be around.
Unlike a certain 13-year-old me.
Ready to be blown away?
(Well, don’t take my word for it, but I am positive you will be.)
Do yourself a favor and stop taking yourself so seriously.
Most Western bits are made of a metal called sweet iron. The reason they call it such is because it tastes sweet in a horse’s mouth, the same way pennies taste sweeter than dimes. (If, as a young child, you ever ate your father’s coin collection, you would know what I’m talking about.)
So, this is actually okay, Tess. You went straight to the point, you explained it well, and you actually made it semi-funny.
(But maybe I just think it’s funny because everything else in these posts is so unfunny, this stands out as mildly amusing. Hm.)
That minor success doesn’t stick around for long, though.
I went and did the stupidest thing. The unthinkable. I wrote a self-centered, boring, rambly “top ten things you didn’t know about me” post. Oh, Tess, you’re an idiot.
7. My second favorite animals (horses are first) are blue macaws.
Tess? There’s this animal -it’s called a wolf. It’s majestic, beautiful and fun to draw. Have you ever heard of it?
I’m still drawing. Still doing amateur art.
It still looks kind of terrible.
What would you like to see me draw? I’ll consider it.
What would I like to see you draw? Something that has respect for proportions and volume. Ahem.
Things I wish I could tell 13-year-old Tess
- You are a cocky little jerk who can’t stop talking about yourself. Seriously. Yes, it’s your blog, but that doesn’t mean you can think you’re better than everyone else. Newsflash: you’re not.
- Your art needs improvement. Also, please start learning to shade now, so that when you’re older, you’ll be better at it.
- “Random tips” do not equal sound advice.
- Drop gardening as a hobby. You have a black thumb and you kind of know it, but you’re too prideful to admit it, aren’t you?
- Be nice to your followers. They might end up being your best friends one day.
- And please, please, please tone down on the verbosity! THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO USE THE WORD “LIABLE” IN A PERSONAL BLOG POST. EVER.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean to bash beginner bloggers. There’s a learning curve to it, just like anything, and it takes quite a while to get the hang of the right tone of voice to use.
(Here’s where I wonder if I’m being cocky again. I think my blogging tone is good right now, but that’s what I thought back then…oh no, here comes the anxiety.)
I think I was most shocked by my personality back then, though. I haven’t ever realized what a stuck-up, prideful twit I used to be. In fact, I used to think I’ve always been a nice person. Maybe not so much anymore.
It’s very, very encouraging to look back on these posts and see how far I’ve come. In maybe more than just my posts’ quality. Hehe.
tl;dr: Don’t be cocky. Unless, of course, you want an ample supply of cringe to read later.
Sayonara for now,