27 August 2010

Looking Ahead on My One-Year Blogoversary

Photo on Display at the Museum of Appalachia
I've been blogging for a whole year! I'm glad I've been able to stick with it because it has introduced me to new friends, relatives and concepts, and it's a wonderful way to jot down fleeting thoughts. I will continue to blog because it spurs me to think outside the box and it gives me an outlet to express my views.

I've been thinking about my recent "media blitz": I'm quite uncomfortable with it! At the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Knoxville, Tennessee I was honored to receive a certificate of appreciation from the Assocation of Professional Genealogists (APG) for my leadership of the New England chapter last year. After having attended so many talks on marketing I felt obliged to announce to the four corners of the earth my humble achievement. So why do I feel uneasy?

The problem is my achievement is not genealogical in nature. Rather it lies in more of an organizational/motivational arena. It has virtually nothing to do with my skills as a genealogist. Instead it called heavily upon talents first learned in my days as an executive secretary long ago, and later finely tuned as a mother. Oh sure, some of the skills overlap with genealogy, but so do some of my skills as a knitter, chorus singer, blogger, and graphic designer. All it proves is that I was able to take advantage of being in the right place at the right time. My predecessors had prepared a solid groundwork and chapter members were instrumental in carrying out the tasks. I just facilitated.

Immediately upon receiving my award I intensified my thinking about writing an article. I've been contemplating this for quite a while, but just never seem to focus long enough to do it. As of yesterday, my blog is a year old. While I enjoy writing it, the style is off-the-cuff, casual in nature, inconsistent and fun. But because of this I don't feel it reveals much about my abilities as a genealogist. Though I make a point to mention my sources in narrative format while blogging, I do not use formal citations. I don't have to assemble vast amounts of information. No complicated analysis or corroboration is necessary. There is a lot of nostalgia and talk of my own opinions about things. It's like looking at the world through a magnifying glass, up close and personal, but with no perspective.

But an article! An article published in one of our field's top journals would make me feel very proud of myself. About that I would gloat! With an article I would stand high on a hill and survey the horizon. My eye would scan the view, and perform a reasonably exhaustive search of my surroundings. I wouldn't be able to leave out inconvenient conflicting evidence. I'd have to search for things I couldn't see. I'd have to tell a story, convincing readers that they had all the information necessary on the subject. I'd have to go somewhere no one has been or revisit a spot where the first visitor was blinded by something, and correct the story. I'd be contributing something to the community. And most frightening/exhilarating of all, I'd be edited by the best genealogists in the country. I'd receive their precious feedback, and that would enhance my skills. Investing a lot of energy into creating a logo, brochure, website and conference booth presence is helpful, but doesn't improve the genealogical community in quite the same way.

Blogging has been so rewarding! I've met a whole line of family that had been invisible to many of us for fifty years! We held a family reunion in the summer and my kin seemed really excited about genealogy for the first time. I've made lots of geneablogger friends, and read others' fascinating and entertaining blogs. I have even gained a few clients this way. So while I will continue to blog, I am content knowing I have a New Year's resolution ready to go.

2011––Year of the Article! Now, anyone got any good ideas?


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4 comments:

Sheri said...

Oh Polly, If you managed to get yourself certified, you certainly have it in you to write that 5 star article. I know I've told you this before, but it is worth repeating - I really want to be like you when I grow up!

And now I shall sing-

HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY TO YOU, HAPPY BLOGAVERSAY TO YOU, HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY DEAR POOOLLLLYYY, HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY TO YOUUU!

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

Thanks, Sheri!!!!!

Bill West said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Happy belated blogiversary! I'm a little late with the kind wishes, but I wanted to say not to worry about the 2011 article topic. It will come to you at the most random time, when you least expect it, like aisle 2 at the supermarket or something. It will happen, and when you're published I can say, "Hey, I know her!" :)