Don’t Start a Blog

Don’t do it.

I know some of you were considering it.


Don’t do it.

I know how it goes. I’ve seen it happen to lots of people. You see all these blogs that you like and you think to yourself, “Hey, I’ve got plenty of good ideas. Maybe I should start a blog.” It sounds like such a fun idea. And maybe you’ll even get a following. Maybe you’ll get lots of readers and find a way to make a little extra cash through ads. At very least, you’ll be able to get all these ideas down onto paper.

What happens next is the excitement of the platform. WordPress? Blogger? Maybe you could even build a site from scratch! How much could that cost? Well, okay, it’s an investment. But it’ll be worth it to have all that freedom. You’re going to want total control of your blog site for when it gets big.

You spend about one to five hours setting up the site. The number of hours is based on a complex calculation that factors in your interest level, your frustration tolerance, and how much time you are willing to spend making things line up precisely. You’ll throw in some dummy content, probably an About Me page. It will be vague. “This is my blog about my thoughts!” There is a 70% chance you will use the words “random” or “weird” or “fun” to affectionately describe yourself and your blog.

Your first post is a little boring, you can admit that. It’s only an introductory post. You just need to have something up. After it’s done you take a look at the site and decide to change the color scheme or the background or the widgets. This takes another hour. It doesn’t matter though, because you’re doing this on a Saturday when you have plenty of free time. It’s not like you’re coming home every night after work, setting up the site 20 minutes at a time. Of course not. You’re doing the whole thing in one day. It’s better this way. This way, you’ll have a good, solid foundation from which to work. If you spread it out, you’d never have time to get all these little things done. You’d never have time for the REAL blogging.

Depending on your confidence level, you will then tell either a small selection of very close friends, or the entirety of your internet sphere. Most likely the latter. The link to your blog will be all over your Facebook. It will be on your Twitter and maybe even in a mass email to your contact list. And you will get a lot of page views, because a lot of people you know will be interested. And it will feel pretty great.

And then Sunday comes. Sunday is kind of a lazy day anyway. You never get much of anything done on a Sunday. Besides, most blogs don’t post new content every day. You just put up your intro post yesterday. You’ll post something tomorrow. Yeah, that’ll work. You can make it into an every-other-day sorta thing.

This decision will be the last active thing you ever do with your blog. Your blog will sit in the vast internet wasteland of mostly-finished but never-started websites. A few of your friends will have bookmarked it, and they will check back several times over the next week to see the new posts. But there will be none. Within four months you will have forgotten your login information, which you didn’t write down.

R.I.P. little blog.

You may be thinking that it wouldn’t happen to you. You may be thinking that if you decided to blog, you would have more dedication. You would be able to stick with it. At very least you know you’d be able to go more than a couple of days.

But thoses are Saturday thoughts. And no matter how good your Saturday thoughts are, Monday always happens. You go to work at your normal, every day job. You come home in the evening, and you get something to eat. You’re about to sit down to write your next post when you remember some important task that has been left undone. Maybe you promised a friend you would do something by Monday. Maybe the trash is supposed to go out Monday night, or you promised to do the dishes. These are all very legitimate and very important things. And by the time you are done with the legitimate and important parts of your life, it’s late. You’re tired. It’s time to go to bed. You don’t feel like writing now anyway, it’s best to wait until morning.

The same thing happens the next night, and the one after that. Occasionally you sit down in an attempt to write, but it’s hard to think of anything. You can’t remember any of those ideas that used to spin around in your head. You do a lot of staring at blank screens. A lot of writing bad opening sentences and then deleting them so you can write something worse. Once or twice you manage to finish something, but once you go back to read it you realize it’s dreadful and not worth publishing.

So don’t start a blog. You will feel bad about it constantly, every time you’re late with a post or forced to put up content you’re not happy with just to keep a schedule. Don’t start a blog. You’ll have to work on it every day, and you won’t want to. It isn’t fun. Don’t start a blog.

Only fools start blogs.

What’s Next

I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve finished the written aspect of my trip blog. I have several more photo posts to do, so those will keep coming for awhile. I never did do that packing list post, so you’ll probably see it before long. But more written posts? This specific blog was built to chronicle this specific adventure, so it feels strange to put anything else on it. It seems a shame to lose the connection to all this content, though I am running out of media space on my WordPress account.

This isn’t the end of my blogging, and it’s certainly not the end of my writing. I intend to turn my road trip into a book, hopefully in ready-to-sell form by the end of this calendar year. I know I’ll be blogging next summer when I attend the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, as I have done the past three General Conventions.

Until then? Some days when I need to write and I don’t have a project to work on, I just write about whatever interests me. I suppose that’s what a blog is supposed to be, but I’ve seen so many people start blogs with “This will just be where I post my random thoughts and whatever!” Those blogs rarely see a second post and never see much interest. Most people don’t want to follow randomness.

The unstructured “blog posts” I’ve been writing haven’t manifested into a theme as of yet. Popular topics include organization, feminism, TV, movies, productivity, writing, diets, and geek culture. The range gets laughable sometimes. I’ve got nine articles on business development. I’m finishing up a forth post on the Bechdel Test and female characters in popular film. I’ve got 800 words on what’s wrong with the song “Let It Go.”

So my blogging future is still undefined. Stay tuned for more photos and more info. Once I know where I’ll be putting my writing, I’ll be sure to let you know where to find it.

A Real Writer

Library FountainA strange thing happened while I was visiting Boston. Regular readers of this blog will know that these posts are no longer in real-time, and that by the time you read about an adventure here, I have long since moved on from it in the real world. This means that I was in Boston the day I published my post on the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.

Occasionally I will get nervous before publishing. There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes I worry that I’m making too bold a statement, and that perhaps I haven’t thought it through enough first. I worry that people will read it and instantly point out all the holes in my argument I never considered. The WBC post was my first big post of this nature, my first post to really make an argument. It was also about a very controversial subject. A subject that inspires the worst in people. And I was suggesting a position I hadn’t heard put forth by anyone else. I was very worried.

Words and PhrasesBecause I almost always publish between 7AM and 8AM Pacific Standard Time, the post didn’t show up until after 10AM in Boston. By then I was on my way to the Boston Public Library near Copley Square. I had been told by friends that the library was worth checking out, and I found it to be a large and lovely place in which to get lost. After wandering in and out of the hallways for some time, I made it my mission to find the rare books section. It was somewhere up on the third floor and in a corner. I went back and forth, up and down. Not all of the elevators reached all of the floors. Not all of the floors were continuous. As I walked I started to wonder how people were reacting to my post. I finally reached the reading area right in front of the rare books section and pulled out my phone to check the responses on Facebook. A few of my friends had hit the Like button. Whew. At least I wasn’t completely crazy.

PuppetsThere were different levels of rare to the rare books section. The first seemed to be books that were generally interesting and old, but not fragile. The room wasn’t remarkably different than others in the building. Off to the side was a collection of old marionettes in glass cases. To get to the next section, I had to go through through a glass door. This was no ordinary door. It was the sort that seals completely when closed in order to maintain the temperature of the room behind it. This was the main section of rare books. The lighting was very dim. A woman was seated at a desk, explaining in whispers what they had in their catalog to a pair of patrons. Everything was delicate. Everything was unusual. They were featuring works by Daniel Defoe, including first editions of Robinson Crusoe from 1719. Behind another glass door was a third room, but this one was available by appointment only, and only to researchers. You couldn’t casually look at the books in that room. You had to prove yourself first.

I left the rare books area and went back out into the reading section. I couldn’t help it – I checked my phone again. There were a few more Likes, and now some Shares. My friends were saying very complimentary things about the post. What a relief.

Copley SquareI walked back out of the library, taking a quick detour to the map room because maps are great. I walked across the street into Copley Square and took a photo of two women taking photos of a turtle sculpture. The square was a nice open respite from the large, imposing city buildings. I saw a small fountain off to the side of the square, the shallow kind that kids will jump around in when the weather becomes too hot to bear. I sat on the edge of the fountain to take in a bit of sunshine. I pulled out my phone again. I read more feedback, now from strangers. People I didn’t know were sharing what I had written. People I didn’t know were complimenting me on it. I laid down and smiled.


I know many writers suffer from a sort of perpetual doubt, myself included. No matter what people say or how many times you hear it, there will always come those days when you think what you’ve written is not good enough. One might even say it’s what makes you into a good writer – the obsessive need to improve what you’ve created for fear that it is secretly worthless. I have received compliments on my writing before, and I can only hope I will receive them again in the future. But on that post, I actually got people talking. I got people arguing. Shirley Phelps tweeted about me, which was something I didn’t even realize was on my bucket list until it happened. No one pays me for what I do. I’ve never had anything traditionally published. I am still a beginner, an amateur. But on that day, leaning back onto the warm stone of Copley Square, I felt like a real writer.