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.