image001-1So much pressure. This is my first post of 2016. It must be.. epic. I am imagining this post being shared across the inter webs, going viral within its first two hours. So what in the world do I write about that will produce such frenzied sharing? How can I write a post in which a grandmother in Wyoming posts it to her granddaughter’s Facebook page, saying, “You have to read this, honey. It cured my dyspepsia.” (To which the granddaughter would reply, “But I thought you liked Pepsi?”)

I’ve been blogging since 2004. I started with iBlog (which you have to use the internet’s WayBack Machine to find). Then I moved over t0 Typepad in 2005 (and my old blog is still there – crazy!). I switched to a self-hosted WordPress blog and imported my Typepad one and never looked back. 1,859 posts later, and here I am, composing the first blog post of 2016. No big deal, right? [See all 2015 blog stats here]

Sometimes a blog entry comes easy. Other times, the writing process is more of a discipline. There are days that I ask myself, “Why even blog at all?” The answer is somewhere in between the I’m-A-Writer-And-Writers-Write and I-Am-Avoiding-Something-And-Blogging-Is-A-Good-Excuse continuum.

I wrote an entry that became a series of posts back in 2007 called Why blog? One of the things I pointed out then was simply the joy of creating something. I love to write, and if my writing can evoke a response from someone that is helpful, encouraging, uplifting, humorous or the like, then I feel like it’s “successful.”

Over the past 12 years of blogging, it’s been awesome to see others start blogging. I try to follow everyone I know personally who blogs by using Feedly. I think everytime a blog is started an angel gets its wings. However, over the years, most of those who’ve started have also quit. That plopping sound you sometimes hear outside are angels falling when blogs die.

cartoon-gapingvoid-blogging-historyofmyblog-800I’ve tried to be helpful as well, passing on the meager blogging tips I’ve gleaned. My post for beginning bloggers back in 2006 still has some good tips for those beginning today.

With the advent of Twitter in 2006 and the following social media explosion, digital content proliferated at an unbelievable rate. For many purist bloggers, social media sucked the life and creativity out of the internet. Suddenly, thoughtful blog posts were replaced by what Suzie was thinking about the socks of the girl next to her at Starbucks. And America became dumber for it.

Facebook commenting replaced blog commenting, and soon everyone had unfriended someone as a result of opinions they couldn’t stomach. We all learned that it’s just not worth getting into a comment war. Or did we?

Meanwhile, blogging experienced a revival, as another generation took up the digital opportunity of creative expression. It was a surreal day when my son began to blog (he was eight when I started). Blogging – when done well – can be a helpful influence. When done poorly or maliciously, it’s destructive. It can be a strategic influencer for people of faith (here’s an entry to help the Christian blogger). For some, it’s not quite so strategic. Their digital footprint is simply a way to share recipes, sports opinions or even UFO speculations.

I truly believe writing is a beautiful discipline. It’s therapeutic. My love for writing resulted in a self-published book in 2012 called Super Center Savior. I hope to begin another book this year, but it’s blogging that I still love.

If you blog, I’d love to hear about it! Leave your blog address in the comments. I promise I’ll at least visit once. And make sure to leave a link worthy of grandmothers in Wyoming.

On this day...

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