I am a writer — a year and a half later

Laptop computer and screen, with blog in process of writing. 2nd screen with ClaesJonasson.com open to blog.

About a year ago while at the Tribe Conference, I talked with another writer. I mentioned that I had a blog and he commented: “I couldn’t do that — writing something new on a blog every week.”

I was a bit surprised to hear that from another writer, because, after all, he’s a writer. And writers write. Then again, blogging is a very special form of writing.

People I talk to about building websites for them have much the same comment. The idea of having to put fresh content on that website on a regular basis (like every week) apparently brings out cold sweat, just at the thought of having to do all that work on a regular basis.

My first thought would be more along the lines of “What if nobody reads the stuff I write?” But then, if I write and just put it in a desk drawer, I’m guaranteed nobody will read it. So better take a chance.

This blog is actually not my first blog. There were others, several years ago. Each started with a good idea and the premise that “if you write it, they will come.” Sometimes that works out and more often not. In my case, not. Eventually, I quit. 3 different blogs came and went that way.

Jeff Goins tells of how he started 8 blogs (and abandoned each of them) over the years. All before finally landing on the one that took off and helped build his audience.

Here I am, writing this blog since summer a year ago. That means it’s been going for almost a year and a half now. The first few months were a post here and there. Then in September a year ago, I went weekly and stuck with it. (Here’s one of the first posts I wrote, about being a writer.)

So I thought I’d take you with me on a quick look back over the past year and a half. Actually, I have 2 blogs. This blog at ClaesJonasson.com and another blog at ClaesJonasson.Design dealing with online platforms, design and business strategy. Quite a different animal. Which is why I didn’t even consider combining everything into one blog or one online platform. (But if you’re interested in both topics, you’re most welcome to read both blogs and subscribe to both email updates.)

This blog is about the intersection of life, faith and stuff. About finding meaning and making sense out of life. To be more intentional with how we go through it.

And it’s about my writing aside from the blog, although that hasn’t popped in much yet. It’s coming though. I have several ideas for short stories that are begging to be written and there’s a novel-in-progress (draft stage). I look forward to providing previews and more info about those efforts over the coming year.

As I look back over 61 posts and 1.5 years of blogging, there are 4 takeaways that stand out:

It can be done

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney

It’s really possible to keep a weekly blog going over time.

No doubt it can be a challenge to write weekly. It’s the deadline that never quite goes away. Get one week’s post done and it’s time to get on to the next one.

In that sense, not really any different from other creative projects. I’ve worked in creative media all my life and it’s more the rule than the exception that by the time one project launches and is in front of its intended audience, the creator is already well into the next project.

That said, I admit that some weeks it’s a challenge to get the blog post ready and out. If you’re on my email list (if you’re not on the list, don’t get left out any longer — sign up here), you have no doubt noticed that my blog post emails are not always in your inbox first thing each Wednesday morning. While that’s my goal, it doesn’t always happen. Because life. Because client deadlines. Because stuff happens.

There are different approaches to writing content for a blog. You can write one post at a time, a little every day and get it done just in time.

Or you can plan and write several posts at one time and then drip them out on the blog over several weeks (batch writing).

So far, I’ve mostly been in the write-a-post-a-week camp. I’m itching to try batch writing though — to see how that works in my overall workflow and with my muse.

Not running out of ideas for blog posts

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” — Thomas Edison

When I started the blog, I was a bit concerned as to whether I would have enough ideas. Maybe I’d run out after a few months.

So I listed a handful of ideas to start with. Now, 61 posts later, I have a list of well over 100 ideas — each with some research/background/draft material. In other words, if I got no new ideas and actually wrote a blog post on every one of the ideas in my Evernote files, I have enough for 2 years of weekly blog posts.

Not that I will actually ever write all those ideas. That’s the wonderful thing about ideas: They are a springboard and while some lead to a finished post or article, others just help get the brain going, leading to more ideas yet. Having lots of possible blog posts also means that I can choose what’s right for the season, mood and everything else going on.

Done regularly, writing becomes a habit

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all: Read a lot and write a lot.” — Stephen King

By now I have a system for writing a blog post and everything that goes with it. There’s a habit element. I would most certainly miss it if I wasn’t writing regularly.

I’m definitely a better writer after 1.5 years of blogging. There’s no substitute for practice and at this point I’ve written 87,996 words just on this blog. (And not counting this post.) That’s the length of a decent novel!

Writing regularly is good for the soul

“A blog is neither a diary nor a journal. Many people think of blogging in relation to those two things, confessional or practical. It is neither but includes elements of both.” — Lemn Sissay

As I write, I’m also learning more about myself and about life. Because we’re never too old (or young) to learn more about either. Some blog posts have had me revisit things that happened a long time ago. Others have seen me do research and dig deeper into a new subject, putting pieces together and learning along the way. That’s life. Really a giant puzzle that we keep adding new pieces to as long as we live.

Writing definitely gives me new perspectives. Feedback from you, my readers and friends, adds to those perspectives.

As I’m sure you know, I read all comments, whether they come here on the blog, on Facebook, via email, text or any other means. And I respond as well. Because conversation is good. We can definitely use more dialog today.

Looking to 2019

I will definitely be here each week with new insights, thoughts and perspectives.

Also look for more about my other writing projects to pop up on the blog and in the weekly emails. Writing is not done in a vacuum and I look forward to share new writing here on the blog as it happens. I will also be eager to hear what you think about it.

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