Ten Things I Learned from a Year’s Worth of Blogging

I’ve reached my one-year anniversary as a blogger, so it seems like an appropriate time to pause and take stock. My blogging experiment began when I agreed to write once a week for the HBU humanities blog, Reflection and Choice. Then I decided that I wanted a place for my more eclectic musings, so I started this blog. Then First Things magazine asked if I wanted to contribute to their group blog, First Thoughts. Juggling three blogs is more effort than it’s worth, but I’ll try to keep it up for a while longer.

In writing more than a hundred original posts for these three blogs, I learned the following:

1. A blog post is its own kind of writing. It isn’t an essay or an article or a poem or a memoir, but sometimes it’s all those things. Blogging has a few rules, but no two bloggers can actually agree on what they are.

2. Short posts are better than long ones. Personal preference. I just don’t have time to read really long posts. I figure you don’t either.

3. It’s hard to know how readers will react. I’ve written things in order to stir the pot, and readers shrugged. I’ve written things that I thought were uncontroversial, and angry readers exploded all over my comments section.

4. I can’t know what’s going to catch on. I’ve invested hours writing on a topic that I’m passionate about. I attempted to be both witty and poignant. I gave it my best effort because I cared. And no one read it. I’ve also written some posts off the cuff without giving them a second thought. Some of those have been my most popular. Go figure.

5. Humor helps a post.

6. Not everyone can tell when I’m joking.

7. My mom isn’t the only person who loves me. I am genuinely surprised when people I know tell me that they read all my posts. Then I get embarrassed as I make a quick assessment of the outrageous things that I’ve said.

8. Trolls live in the comments section. Some people are nasty. Let’s not waste more time on this point.

9. Wisdom lives in the comments section. Sometimes commenters show me where I’m wrong. Sometimes they show me a different perspective on an issue. Leave a comment on this post. It’ll help me do a better job next time I write on this topic. I promise.

10. Writing begets writing. This is probably the most important thing that I learned this year. The more you write, the more you will write. Everything gets easier with practice. Not only do the mechanics get easier, but the ideas come faster too. Even if I don’t count the almost 70,000 words that I’ve written for blog posts, I’ve written more over the last twelve months than I did the two previous years combined.

It’s been a successful experiment. I’ll let you know how the second year turns out.

Top Two Posts from each Blog for the Last Twelve Months

At Reflection and Choice: Pixar’s Subtle Bravery and The Liberal Arts: An Education in Cattle Raiding

At CollinGarbarino.com: How to Make an “A” in Every College Class: Six Steps and Five Reasons Why I Don’t Read Your Emails

At First Thoughts: Baptist Colleges Can’t Accept Baptist Theologians and Casual Dress and the Body of Christ: A Plea for Bathrobes

6 thoughts on “Ten Things I Learned from a Year’s Worth of Blogging

  1. I only comment on various posts but I have found some things from that.:

    Not everyone can tell when I’m joking.- that is so true. I have started putting joke or sarcasm in parens for things I think could be misunderstood.

    A lot of people do not care if what they say is true. They type stuff that supports their opinions but is easily disproved. This surprised me as I verify everything I type. I am a nut on Truth.

  2. This is a great post because it follows the points you laid out.. 🙂 I love reading your stuff.

    My wife is an extreme example of #4. We’ll have you over for dinner some day and tell you the story.

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