I am working tonight … have been working most of the afternoon, in fact, on a post about the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement. This post is not that post. I have researched and thought and researched some more, taken a few breaks, baked some homemade honey-wheat bread, took a shower, and I am still struggling to get that one just right. Sometimes I write a post in an hour, and I am satisfied with it. That one, however, I need to get just right. It is a very serious topic and one that I have very strong thoughts and feelings about, one that deserves the extra time and attention to get it just right. So I will not post it until I am satisfied that I have done the best I can do. Instead, I am doing this “fallback” post about my thoughts on writing this blog. A bit of a departure from my norm, but …
I began this blog in 2010. I wrote one post that year, the first of my published 9/11 annual posts and a post that nobody read. I must have forgotten about the blog in 2011, as I wrote nothing. Then in 2012, I wrote four posts and had 17 visitors! Moving up in the blogging world, I was! I don’t recall why I started this blog, what my goals or intentions were, but apparently I mostly intended it to be another venue for the book reviews I write. Interestingly, I rarely do book reviews anymore, except by request, if I receive an advance copy, or unless I read a book that stands far above the crowd. At any rate, by 2015, this blog had evolved into something I took seriously, a venue, an outlet for the many issues inherent in the world today that evoke serious thoughts and emotions within me. By the end of 2015, I was posting 4-5 days a week, had 80+ followers and was receiving an average of 200 visits per month, so I was pretty content with it.
Sometime during 2015, I began following a blog called Harsh Reality by Jason Cushman writing as AOpinionatedMan ( https://aopinionatedman.com ). I’m not sure how many followers Jason has now, as he just switched from WordPress to self-hosting, but last I knew he had 55,000+ regular followers, myself included. I am still not sure if that inspires or intimidates me! Jason works very hard on his blog … far more than I have either the time or energy for, and that in spite of the fact that he has a full-time job, a wife, and children! I admire him, but his level of commitment supersedes mine. Still, we are all different, are looking to get something different out of our writing experience and have different things to put into it, so I don’t worry about it too much. Jason has been helpful and encouraging, giving my blog favorable reviews and honorable mention on his blog from time to time, which always results in additional views and a few new followers. Many thanks, Opinionated Man! One thing I learned from him is that if you want followers, you have to connect with other bloggers. I never knew that before, and it came as a surprise, but I have found there is a great deal of truth in it. I now have followers from around the globe … Ghana, The Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Kenya and many from the U.S. I try to respond to all comments, try to read as many of their posts as possible and leave comments when so inspired. I did a happy dance last week when I hit 100 regular followers.
So I ask myself the question: what do I want from writing this blog? I know I do not write so that I can feed my ego by gaining a readership. I am in the preliminary stages of writing a book about comparative education systems around the globe, am writing an autobiographical work, so why do I bother writing an 800-1,000-word blog post every day? Well, I do it because this is my outlet, my venue for the things I see in the world that I want to change, or sometimes the things I see that are good and I want to give them a thumbs-up! I like to believe that I am helping people see another side to some issues, like racism, bigotry, the environment, and yes, political issues as well. I like to believe that … whether it is true or not, I do not know. I rather doubt, but I keep on trying, and sometimes I just like making people laugh. I keep on writing, and why? Because that is what I do … that is who I am. I greatly appreciate it when people take a few minutes of their time to read what I write, but in the final analysis, I write for me, just as every serious writer does. But writing for oneself, writing what one believes in, and writing to gain readership do not need to be mutually exclusive. It just takes some tweaking sometimes.
I am told that I think too much. I am told that I “overthink” things. Both of these are probably true, and that is where my writing becomes my salvation, my outlet. I enjoy writing, love it, some days hate it, but I am always challenged to do better, and in the words of a dear friend, it is all about the journey, not the destination.