When I read Om’s post today celebrating 10 years blogging, it made me think back to when I began. Oddly enough, in three days, it will be exactly 7 years since I started blogging as well.
I actually remember the timing and the thought process. I had recently graduated from college and had just left everything and everyone I knew back east and drove 2,000+ miles by myself out to California. I had been living in Los Angeles for about three months and thought the new chapter in my life was a good time to start doing something new.
In other words, I was bored.
I recall debating setting up the blog for a couple of weeks. On one hand I was worried it would look lame to friends back home — “blog” seemed to be something of a derogatory term at the time (at least in the circles I hung out in). More importantly, I was sure I would have nothing to talk about. Certainly nothing that mattered. For several months, that was very much the case.
But I stuck with it. I wouldn’t write a post every day, but every few days I would try to weigh in with some random thoughts that popped into my head. Essentially, I was using it as many people now use Twitter or Facebook.
The only way I knew if anyone was reading was if someone would comment. For the first several months, if anyone did, it was always just a friend. And that was usually after I emailed them a link. There were maybe a few dozen people total that read my blog in that span.
Then something magical happened: other people started commenting. People I didn’t know. Random people. I didn’t know how they had found my site (I didn’t set up Google Analytics until mid 2006); I didn’t care. It was awesome. I was hooked.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I would turn blogging into a profession. But those early years were vital. My key takeaway from Om’s post is the “3 posts a day” mantra. He got there quickly. It took me a long time to get there. And I needed that time. To find my voice, as it were.
And it can be hard to keep your voice. With my new day job, I am finding it hard to blog in the way that I was accustomed to. Perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising, but it does give me a newfound respect for people who blog in addition to their other jobs.
It’s not so much about the lack of time (though that’s part of it), it’s more the lack of the right state of mind.
The real key is rhythm. When you’re regularly blogging, you get a rhythm going and it keeps going. Content is key, of course, but at times, words can seem to find a flow. It’s almost as if you don’t have to think about what you’re going to write, you just write it.
But once you interrupt that rhythm, it’s hard to pick up again. And life is continually trying to interrupt that rhythm.
As Om writes:
Be regular. And show up to blog every day. After all you are as fresh as your last blog post.
That’s true and it can be daunting to anyone. Even if it seems like no one is reading, just stick with it.
I don’t have nearly the data to share that Om did — maybe in three more years! But I will share the Google Analytics graph below that I pulled tonight — mostly because it makes me happy and maybe it will inspire some of you to stick with it. Remember, the flatline you see early on in 2006 is basically what things looked like from 2004 until that point.
Hard to believe it has been seven years. Blogging has absolutely changed my life.
Thanks for reading.