We all write for different reasons, and my observations might not be yours, nor should they be. But reaching a milestone like 1000 blog posts deserves some measure of reflection. As I look forward with anticipation to post number 1001, I pause to give you seven observations about the journey to this point:
- The well never runs dry. You just run out of time. Writer’s block is a myth. If you’re earnest and curious you never run out of things to write about. But you will wrestle with perfection and trying to make a post reach its potential. When you post daily you learn to love it as it is and know when it’s time to let it fly. No, it’s never perfect, but you post it anyway.
- Everything becomes a potential blog post. I started writing Alexanders Map intending to have a local travel blog with historical sites with visits to amazing places. The name itself infers this. But it quickly expanded to include a diverse (some would say eclectic) mix of topics. You learn to listen to the muse, and embrace the new. And in the unexpected you find your own voice. You are the link between each post, and part of you reflects back on what you’ve visited.
- This business of blogging is your own business. You can quickly grow your blog follower list by playing the game of actively following and liking other bloggers. Or you can do the opposite and grow organically. I choose the latter: I’m very selective about who I follow, I “like” what I actually read and appreciated, and I don’t follow to gain followers. You choose what you want to be in the blogging world. I didn’t even mention I had a blog to family and friends until I’d written a hundred or so posts. I do link to Twitter, but rarely on other media. Choose what works for you, because your blog is how you present yourself to the world.
- One sentence at a time, you become a better writer. Let’s face it, none of us start a blog thinking we’re bad writers. Bloggers tend to believe they’ve got some skill for writing or they’d start a YouTube channel or build an Instagram or TicTok site. But the craft of writing develops through the daily struggle. I’m nowhere near the writer I thought I was, and I’m nowhere near where I want to be. But I keep chipping away at it, day-by-day. Blogging is an apprenticeship in writing, but you never meet the master.
- Some of your favorite posts will be completely ignored. You will work on a blog post that stirs something deep inside you, feel a wave of emotion crash over you as you click publish, and see the world react with complete indifference. Write these posts anyway, and write them often. Because when you tap into this well you aren’t blogging for instant fame, you’re writing to find something inside yourself that you thought, maybe, was there all along.
- You develop an eye for the interesting and an ear for the hidden stories. You stop more frequently in fascinating places, detour to find and celebrate the obscure and forgotten, and do things you might not have done otherwise. You become a ghost whisperer, visiting old graveyards and monuments to the past engraved by some soul long forgotten, who was honoring something of note that brought us to where we are today. You learn poetry and philosophy and Latin phrases and stir up the magic in an old pile of words. You hike to places of wonder and seek adventures. In short, you become more alive, and you appreciate this journey more than ever before.
- You learn to follow through on the promises you quietly make to yourself. You want to be a writer? Then write, no matter how you feel, and post that work every day, no matter what. Keep that commitment to yourself today. And tomorrow too. As James Clear puts it, every action you take becomes a vote for the type of person you wish to become. Your blog is a stack of votes for your identity. So craft them as best you can and set them free for the world.
So there we are: 1000 blog posts. As I mulled over this one the last few days, I found myself in a corner of New England I don’t visit enough and chanced upon a couple of roadside wonders I might never have seen had I not set out for an old grave I wanted to visit. And just like that I’ve got three more blog posts in my mind. The world is funny that way – it opens up for the curious observers. I can’t wait to see where the next 1000 take me.