Saturday, June 03, 2006

Down the Road a Piece

As promised – some reflection: Where I’ve been and where I’m going and the 167 days in between. First off – some statistics:

• According to the Blogger Dashboard, this is post number 102. There are a couple of posts that are saved as drafts, so I’m not sure if they are included or not… I’m not going to go back and count them. The point is that there have been around 100 posts since embarking on this project.

• As I already mentioned, it has been 167 days since my first post. Ya, ya, I know – my May 19th post was titled “Six Months…” Sue me, I can write or I can perform complicated mathematical computations – not both.

• My hit counter will turn 4,000 visits within the next three or four days. Although many of those are my mom and dad (and I’m just tickled that they read my stuff – they never post any comments, but they are my biggest fans!) and plenty are “drive-bys,” many spend a considerable amount of time viewing my blog – and the trends are ever-increasing.


Additionally, I have started two new blogs. The first is called Overflow and contains what its name implies – extra stuff that I didn’t want to post on The 25 Year Plan because it would burry the previous post before I was ready to take it out of the spotlight. Yet, I still had a need to post it so it wouldn’t die in the dark. Hence, Overflow was born. It has the freedom to grow into just about anything, but right now it emulates my main blog in its content.

The other, This is Fiction, is a departure for me. It is an attempt to tell a story based partially in real life (mine and other’s) but with the freedom to embellish and fabricate details as necessary. This blog represents risk-taking and stepping outside the box like nothing else. I have posted two installments so far – both components of the same story. I don’t know yet how it’ll unfold – if those posts are the beginning, middle or end. It should sound somewhat familiar to some of my regular readers, but it important to remember that I do not represent any of it as fact. Sure, some of it is, but in its entirety, none of it is.


I still don’t consider myself a “real” writer. I know I write well and I know that I am not a professional writer (although I will be when I start getting paid for it). To me, a “real” writer is either sitting in a noisy newsroom pounding on a typewriter or on the quiet deck of an isolated mountain cabin. A beachfront bungalow works for me too. He, or she is lost in brilliance as the words virtually write themselves – the author living through each tantalizing moment. Me? Not so much.

It’s not the setting but the attitude – the romanticized, cinematic vision of magic flawlessly flowing from an author’s fingertips. For me, it’s an excruciatingly painful journey to achieve the impossible – perfection. No matter how much I like what I write – and I like most of it initially – the more I re-read it, the more I find wrong with it. It’s not just typos, although they drive me batty too. It’s about flow. I want the reader to be able to just float over the words and know.


One hundred and sixty seven days ago, I didn’t know much about much. I still don't, however, I have stumbled onto a vehicle that has given me the means to discover more about myself than I ever dreamed possible. It’s more than just the writing, I think. It’s the sharing. There’s a certain authenticity that comes from allowing others to peer inside my soul. It’s cleansing and freeing. Indeed, six months ago, I would not have been capable of writing, let alone posting anything in the genre of fiction.

In my archives, there are a number of posts that deal with my motivation to start blogging. If taken at face value, one would think that there was not much “chance” involved. It would appear that I had a desire, knew something about the medium and set out to experiment with it. And although that is not a false impression, it is not the whole story. As with so much else, I feel that “fate” or “luck” or “divine intervention” or “coincidence” played a role as well.

While growing increasingly bored between my first and second semesters (winter break – five weeks) of my junior year, I decided that I needed to do something to keep me writing. It was motivation I was looking for, although I’m not sure I realized it. One of my journalism professors has a blog, From where I Sit, that I discovered by following links from the school and the department. He did not disclose it to his students – it was not used as a teaching tool. It happened to be on Blogger. I decided to follow the “get your own blog” link and the rest really is history. Would it have happened anyway? Who knows?


It’s the feedback that kept me going. Early on, it was pretty sparse, but as time wore on and I commented on other blogs, people began to read mine – and comment on it. I’ll say this: I get just as excited about reading a new comment as I did about that first one. I now have a group of regular readers (you know who you are) and it’s growing all the time. Some have moved on or otherwise gone away, but the blogosphere is like any other world and that’s life.

Recently, I have been participating in a blog, Sweet N’ Saur, that deals with local governmental issues in Pinellas County, Florida. I find the energy there invigorating – talk about citizens getting involved! I have been lucky enough to have something to add to the ongoing conversation and have applauded their efforts and encouraged their continued discussion as well. This is real, tangible evidence of community involvement in government and it makes a difference.

That’s pretty much all I have to say – I’ve reached my 1,000ish word limit, anything else I may have to say will only be repeating what can be found in my archives. Thanks to all, keep coming back!



Bar L. said...

Keep coming back cause it works if you work it...oops sorry, I got lost there for a second :)

Mike, this is one of your best posts yet because it clarified for me some of the reasons I blog as well. I have no idea how you and I found each other but I am sure glad we did.

I also had two blogs up until a few days ago when Blogger ate one. Now I am unable to post there so have been forced to combine two onto one. I admit, I fear I am going to lose readers.

Thank you Mike, for taking the time and putting in the energy and effort to share your thoughts and yourself with us!

X said...

Congrats on almost-hitting the 4-thousand mark. LOL, I'll probably be the ground-breaking visitor, given my track record! :)

Being a writer is not so much a state of finances, but a state of mind...and from what I've read, I consider you a writer with not a doubt in my mind!

I'm definately going to check out your other blogs when I get the time, but keep up the good work on this one! :)

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Congratulations on your 102 posts, and your two new blogs.

To me blogging is all about self-discovery: uncovering, discovering and disguarding...

Have a good weekend!

Snaggle Tooth said...

Hmmm, I got on blogger a similar, incidental route, while looking up my daughter's n I decided to sign up on the spot also. That was over a year ago n past the 100 mark awhile now. I've had a few web-pages before, (n pages for other people - I wrote html for them) n showed computer art n made ads for myself too.

I'd no idea how dedicated I'd get to blogging, or how I'd feel to be such a part of this world-wide community, (like you're 3000 miles to the west but seems like you're right here). I feel I'm part of this blog-community, in a new movement of written communication never available to society before, the world forever changed n being an agent in the forward change.

It gives us power, you're so right it's the power to share-
n I'm forever greatful for the opportunity of meeting you n everyone else taking part!

BTW, Great job with your words n concepts in these few 6 months. I hope your one year Blog-B-Day is even more to be proud of!

CyberKitten said...

Good post.. Keep up the (very) good work.

What did I do before Blogging...? Probably read more books..! [grin].

mckay said...

i look forward to reading your words each day. almost as addictive as coffee.

i've never gone through your archives to read up on your past posts. i prefer to know you as you are now, not where you've been.


Helene said...

If I ever could figure out the linking thing I would link ya... I enjoy it here.

I think it is great that your parents visit!! My Dad would, but I hesitate to let him as I refer to him in my posts about my childhood and it might hurt his feelings. No use in that! I actually do copy some of my blogs and email them to him. I just have blog fear I think... the fear of having all of these deep dark thoughts exposed to people in my real life!

Saur♥Kraut said...

It's been so much fun to have you in there, Mike! I'm glad to have your input (as we all are) for three reasons: the added testosterone (there's only one other guy in there), the input from another point of view across the continent, and the calm and pragmatic input.

Love the new blogs!

Michael K. Althouse said...

barb ~ thanks. I'm not sure what happened to your orginal blog either... it still comes up, but not the way it used to look.

oilf ~ you do have a knack for hitting those milestones! I get what you mean and I'm not worried about the money thing - that will happen sooner or later. It's just when I'm feeling like I'm getting there, I'll read someone else that just nailed it and think "who am I fooling?" I know, I know, but it's where my head goes sometimes.

bfc ~ ditto ;-')

snaggle ~ Thanks, I'll let you know when the one year party is - probably early - math wiz that I am.

ck ~ thanks - and I totally hear you!

mck ~ so I'm like a drug? hmmm. There is an awful lot in my archives... if someone were that interseted in me, I might be a little worried!

kate ~ linking isn't too hard - zombieslayer told me how to do it and look at me now!! If you want - just shoot me an email and I'll tell you how to do it.

My parents didn't know until yesterday that I could tell who visits through site meter! I agree though, it's cool that they read my work. They say they like it... and I think they mean it! ;-')

saur ~ What can I say - if I lived closer, michelle may have a chance! You were there early on and I've appreciated your imput all along. I hope to stay involved on sweet n' saur, but I'll most likely just be doing drive-bys .


michelle said...

Ok, I see my name. What am I missing?

michelle said...

Oh great. Sweetnsaur is going to have Saur's drive by mouthings and now you!

COOL! Welcome any time!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Congrats to you Mike...Keep On KEEPING ON, my dear...

Like you...this blogginf stuff has become very important to me and especially because of the wonderful people I've met, like you...!

Do stop by when you have a moment, my dear...