An Anniversary

Once upon a time, there was a writer with low self-esteem. (ha! like there’re writers with high self-esteem!) After a talk with a friend, the writer decided to start a blog to keep track of the stories he uncovered researching genealogy.

But the writer was scared of anyone passing judgement on things that he wrote. He was also a bit of a perfectionist (this was before i realized perfection is boring). The writer was determined not to let negative thoughts stop him from doing something he liked.  After a week of futzing, he surrendered his first post to the blogosphere just before bedtime on February 14, 2014. (at this point, i’d like to formally apologize for writing about myself in the third person— i promise to never do it again)

Posting was both exhilarating and petrifying. He couldn’t sleep that night worrying about causing an international incident with an unfortunate typo or offending his relatives with a dangling participle. As the night progressed, he flirted with taking the post down several times, but he didn’t. (um, because i finally took nyquil that night and konked out) In the morning, he got up and checked his blog. A few of his friends and family members encouraged him by leaving comments, so he followed up with more posts.

Soon he decided his mind worked better without words clogging things up. He wanted to get back into the habit of writing again, so he promised himself he would publish twice a week for a year barring a vacation. (two postings every week but three, plus a post every day in november: I’d say I accomplished my goal)

After a few months, the writer noticed that blogging was taking time away from genealogy (and, you know, life). The writer was losing steam on both fronts and it was only a few months into his goal. He decided to ignore the issue by signing up for a blogging course.

The course introduced him to a gaggle of kindred writers. Interacting with them, he realized the benefits of socializing and getting inspiration from a diverse crowd of funny, smart, writerly people. (thanks meg, claudette,  hugh, karuna, and kat among many others!)

One of the lessons in the course was to participate in a blogging event. The writer saw an event, hosted by a writing community called yeah write, that required bloggers to write and post a 42-word answer to a question. After the posting deadline, everyone read the submissions and voted for their favorites. The writer entered his first piece to yeah write with this post.

The community left positive comments, and the entry did well in the vote. The writer tried other yeah write contests: nonfiction and fiction/poetry. He found motivation in having a deadline and an active audience. He churned out entries every week, some of them were even pretty good, such as his favorite genealogy post and his favorite fiction post. (ok, switching out of third person)

Blogging has opened me up to so many new experiences (which is surprising because it’s literally sitting at a computer alone for hours). I’ve been interviewed. Twice. I’ve participated in several blogging and writing courses. I’ve won a few awards. A month ago, I was asked to be a yeah write editor. The other yeah write editors are another group of honest and funny and smart people; I’m honored to join their ranks. They and the larger community inspire me every week to sit down and just do the work. Their comments and instruction have made me a better and more confident writer. Case in point: here’s the first fiction piece I posted, and here’s the one I submitted last week. (so. much. better.)

So, thanks everybody, for the encouragement and support. Because of it, I have accomplished my goal and feel good about where I’m at. My goal for this year is 52 posts (but, because I hate feeling left out, it will probably be more than that). I will participate in a non-blogging writing contest and I will try my hardest to get Freshly Pressed.


12 Replies to “An Anniversary”

  1. Well, happy Blog Birthday, Nate. Thanks for the mention and it’s so great to see how well you have done in the world of blogging and to hear that you are still enjoying doing it.

    When I published my first post, I was a nervous wreck, and never in a month of Sundays did I ever think I’d still be blogging in 12 months time and I’d actually have people who read and commented on my posts. What me? Are you sure?

    It’s great that even though some of us from that class of April 2014 have gone in different directions here on Planet Blog, that we all still keep in touch from time and time, and visit each other as often as we can.

    Keep up the great work and look forward to reading more from you.

  2. The portion you wrote in the first person could have been about my life. With one difference. I have (I think – no definite proof) offended most of my family since I have no evidence any of them read my stuff. Which frees me to write what I darned well want with a good measure of certainty they will never see it. I have one genealogy piece I have carried from my old blog to the new. Or, more fun to read is a fictional piece “On Her Way to the Hereafter.”
    You can count on me as a reader.

  3. Happy Anniversary! And thank you for the mention! It’s funny where life takes you and who you meet along the way! When I began blogging, shortly after you did, I didn’t know where I was headed and I certainly didn’t count on thaking a blogging course or meeting other bloggers. You can definitely count this year as a success and I look forward to reading more!from you. 🙂

  4. Amazing, Nate! It’s great to read about how you started and all your successes along the way. Congratulations – so glad you keep on going! And I agree, the people and that feeling of unclogging one’s head are the 2 things that really make this kind of writing rewarding.

  5. Hey Nate, I feel really flattered that you mentioned me. Blogging 101 was great and I think we all made a nice little parcel of friends from it. I was amazed then, and still am now, at your writing, at the way you make words dance for you in a harmonious pattern. Congrats on the editing thing. Feb 2014 must have been a good month, as my anniversary is coming up on the 27th – time flies when you enjoy it.
    Oh – and loving the tribute to Conan the Barbarian with your avatar. Well, I hope it’s Conan and not you on a bad day 🙂

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