I STARTED BLOGGING MID 2010
BY THE END OF THIS MONTH—JANUARY 2015—I WILL HAVE WRITTEN OVER 1,000
DO THEY SERVE ANY USEFUL PURPOSE? YES, THEY REALLY DO—AND IN WAYS THAT I’M ONLY BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND.
I started blogging in 2010—primarily to keep in touch with readers and as part of an effort to become familiar with social media.
I pretty much hated blogging at first. It felt like a waste of time and I was just not comfortable with the process. Four and a half years later, I am somewhat staggered to find I have written nearly a 1,000—one as long as 10,000 words. Most have come in at around 700 words—or about two pages. Many have come close to—or exceeded—1,000 words
700,000 words represents a great deal of writing. If you think of a traditional Big Thriller as being 150,000 words long, then you are talking the bones of five such books. In terms of classic literary novels—which are normally shorter at around 100,000 words, then the total equates to seven.
That would be pretty good going even if I hadn’t written anything else—but I have also written two novels, a book-length website (which has still to be put up) done extensive work on my publishing company (including writing and revising a series of plans) and have both written and received (especially received) an ungodly number of e-mails. Apart from all that, I have done extensive research every day—focusing primarily on the economy and military matters. And I have also written seven drafts of a screenplay, wasted a great deal of time researching software (ultimately with success), done extensive work on design (though I am not a designer), and lost perhaps six months over the four and half year period through illness and injury.
I have also edited, and extensively re-written, several manuscripts I had written earlier. This, in itself, was a mighty task—but I have learned to love re-writing.
I rarely cease to function entirely even when I’m ill but my injury really did throw me because not only had I been severely concussed, but I was in pain. Eventually, I took meds (which I hate) but though they dulled the pain they also dulled my mind.
Am I forgetting anything? Yes, I’m forgetting the time I spent helping to nurse Jo when she was dying of cancer—and the year of death (2011 into January 2012) which followed and which left me feeling pretty shattered emotionally (with adverse physical consequences).
Am I satisfied? Well, I would be a damn fool if I wasn’t impressed with that level of output—truly remarkable given my rather difficult circumstances which included a slow computer and internet connection for much of the time, lack of adequate software, and much else besides—but I also have to face the fact that I haven’t done a number of things which I should have done. The worst is that I haven’t got my new website up—which is pretty unforgivable.
As they used to write on my school reports—even when I was winning prizes left right and center—“Room for improvement.”
Very much the story of my life.
Still, I’m not going to repine today. Instead, I want to comment of the effects of blogging daily—apart from the obvious of keeping in touch with readers, family, and friends
- It helps me get into the writing zone on demand.
- It has made writing as normal as breathing.
- It enables me to write other things—books in particular—with with more facility and authority
- It has improved my memory.
- It stimulates thought because—quite deliberately—I don’t plan my blogs. The whole idea is to so discipline my mind so that I dredge up a concept, analyze, develop, and write—in one continuous flows. am I entirely successful? No—I do pause to think—but rarely for long.
- It has increased my intellectual curiosity (which was considerable to begin with).
- It is extraordinarily therapeutic.
- It energizes me.
Frankly, I’m pretty amazed at all this. Yes, there is a downside in that it takes time—and arguably distracts from other priorities—but I’m learning to integrate it into my work routine in such a way that it actually enhances productivity.
Do I now know how to blog? Yes, up to a point—but I don’t see blogging as a formula I have discovered. Instead, it is a window into my mind (which I am still trying very hard to develop).
As far as I am concerned, the hardest part of blogging is writing a short blog. I haven’t mastered that yet.
I intend to—though once I start writing, I find it very hard to stop.
Would I have persevered with blogging if my friend, Tim Roderick, hadn’t cajoled me in his inimitable way?
Possibly not. As I have said elsewhere, no one achieves anything entirely alone.
Happy New Year.
VOR words 805.