Two weekends ago after I already published my post for the Sunday Salon, I received the above message from WordPress.com. I later added a message on the end of the post that I would commemorate the occasion, and all my years of blogging, in a post the following weekend. That didn’t happen, but now here I am…
I began my first blog, in late October 2005, with the now defunct just a (running) fool to chronicle my journey to reach a marathon by the time I was 40. In late April 2008, I started another blog, also defunct, Just A (Reading) Fool to keep track of what I had read, was reading and wanted to read. Then in December 2007, I began Journeying with the Saints (you guessed it, also defunct) to chronicle a journey through The Spiritual Exercises Of St. Ignatius of Loyola that began in September 2007 and ended May 2008. Somewhere in the midst of those blogs, I also had another blog, Unfinished Rambler, a humor blog.
In 2011, I consolidated all of my blogs into one on a self-hosted WordPress.org site and called the blog an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe) after being inspired by this quote:
“We live in an open universe,” said William James, “in which uncertainty, choice, hypothesis, novelties and possibilities are natural.”
But if the universe is unfinished, so are we. Each one of us is, in fact, an open universe. Each one of us is a microcosm of uncertainty, choice, hypothesis, novelties and possibilities. Each one of us is an unfinished person in this unfinished universe. And each one of us feels an infinite and mysterious obligation to complete ourselves and somehow contribute to the completion of the universe. [emphasis mine]George Sheehan in This Running Life
The primary purpose of that blog was to serve as a portal into one unfinished person’s life, especially through three elements of not only who he (I) is (am), but who we all are: body, mind, and soul.
I even had a signature I created that I used at the end of each post:
In 2015 or 2016, I “lost” my self-hosted site to the host that I believe changed the terms of our agreement, so after trying Tumblr and some other platforms for a year or two, I returned here to WordPress.com with the blog that you are on now: Still an unfinished person. I also decided to come out from behind the curtain and use my own name. It wasn’t, and isn’t, that I’m trying to promote my own name. I think it’s more that – now especially after turning 50 in 2019 – I can own my own name, if that makes sense.
So what have I learned after 15 years of blogging besides to own my own name?
Mainly these two things:
- Write what you want to write.
- Interact with whom you want to interact.
Write What You Want To Write
While it’s all well and good to have a set schedule, it’s also good to break free of that from time to time and write outside the lines. For example, occasionally, I don’t want to do a “traditional” monthly wrap-up post, with the clearly marked breaks: Books, TV/Movies, and Music. Sometimes a month just flows together. And sometimes I don’t want to title it “Pushing Forward Back…” as I have.
That also means not always keeping to those breakdowns in each week’s Sunday Salon posts: books, TV/movies, and music. The Sunday Salon is supposed to be focused on reading so sometimes I just focus on the reading and not just on list but something I’ve gotten from the reading, or even just a quote or two from the book I’m reading. For example, I did that recently with a post on a collection of poetry, Blue Horses by Mary Oliver.
Writing what I want to write also means not writing what I don’t want to write. For me, as mostly a book blogger now, I eschew book reviews. Why? Because I don’t like feeling the pressure of reading something I don’t want to read, or maybe not at this time, which is often why I don’t do well at reading challenges or readalongs. I like to read what I want, when I want, and most of the time that doesn’t mean reading newer books by newer authors. To me, there are too many books from the past by authors from the past that I want to read. For example, I’m slowly making my way through the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories (more about what I’m reading in next week’s post).
Interact With Whom You Want To Interact
I identify myself as a book blogger so those are the bloggers with whom I like to interact. However, I choose not to interact with all book bloggers, but a select circle of book bloggers and groups, namely The Sunday Salon. Many of the book bloggers that I follow have been around for at least five years, some 10 to 15 years, and at least one even longer than that. Many have come and gone and some return later, so I’ve also learned to keep those bloggers in my feed reader in case they return (example: Florinda of The 3 R’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness) and also reconnected with others through Instagram after many years of no contact.
Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t interact with new book bloggers or welcome comments or conversations or interactions with those bloggers with which I might not be familiar. I do both, but mostly I stay in the circles with which I am familiar. You are my people, book people. I embrace you:
So how did we first meet? Was it through The Sunday Salon or was it somewhere else? Do you remember? How long have you been blogging? What are the most important thing you have learned in your years of blogging? Or if you want, do your own blog post on your own blog and let me know and I’ll add the link here. 🙂
29 thoughts on “A Look Back At 12-Plus Years of Blogging”
Congratulations on your Blogoversary.
Our connection is through the Sunday Salon meme. I enjoy seeking out new book bloggers, not only through this meme and others like it, but also by randomly following links or comments etc, I like being exposed to variety, and try to avoid creating my own echo chamber.
Book’d Out will turn ten this year, but like you I previously hosted blogs that are now inactive on blogspot before moving to WordPress over a period of ten years (for digital scrapbook design)
My best piece of advice is ”You Do You”. I write reviews and keep my focus on books because it’s what makes me happy, even if no one reads it.
Wishing you a great reading week
Yep. You Do You is the best advice, really. It’s whatever works for you :).
I honestly can’t remember when I started following your blog, but Sunday Salon seems to be a safe bet. I loved following Weekly Geeks but by the time I thought of participating, it was shutting down. I’m also someone to stick around with familiar faces but occasionally if I read a post that just matches my reading tastes or opinions, I may follow along. Congratulations on your many years of blogging! May there be many more wonderful years coming along. My reading blog will turn 12 this year but I started my first blog in 2006 so I’ve been blogging 14 years now.
I thought you were one of the “old-timers.” 🙂 I just know I’ve always enjoyed your reflections on reading and your life.
It’s interesting to read your journey. I totally agree with your two main points.
I used to participate in both Weekly Geeks and Sunday Salon, but had forgotten about Weekly Geeks until you mentioned it. It is fun to some times look back at old posts. There are lots that I am proud of but others not so much!
As someone who has taken a break and come back I am trying to navigate the balance between all the older blogs I have been following for years and finding new bloggers to connect with.
I start my blog for a class. It is an online class for school staff to learn how to use the tools of the Internet by actually using them. It was called 23 Things. My earliest posts are trying Meebo and Rollyo and Technorati (do these even exist now?) in early June of 2008. I have no intention of being a blogger.
Unexpectedly, I am doing Dewey’s Readathon at the end of June. By early July I have joined Sunday Salon. In September I am a Cybils judge and I’ve found Weekly Geek. And I am blogging every week.
I look back at those early posts and I see a lot of familiar names…I see Dewey first (sadly) and Andi, and there you are, Marg, and JoAnn, and Les, and Wendy (Bookish Kitty), and Molly, Ti, and Diane…good memories.
I think I remember hearing about 23 Things, but I never heard of Rollyo? You got sucked in quickly, it looks like. For me, it was Weekly Geeks that kicked it off all for me. I miss some of those people you mentioned, including Dewey, of course.
I liked doing Weekly Geeks, too. Maybe you need to revive Weekly Geeks….
Well…not in the foreseeable future. The next two weeks, I’m off and going to be reading, reading, reading (at least that is the plan…of course, TV, TV, TV too — see my most recent post, just published about my own readathon).
Yeah, I’m not completely disappointed that some of my old blogs aren’t accessible anymore. I have found some blogs, mainly through The Sunday Salon, but sometimes just by happenstance.
I don’t remember when I first stumbled cross your blog but I’m glad I did. Here’s to 15 more years!
Cheers! (clinking glasses) 🙂
I fall into that 10-15 year group of bloggers — it has been 11.5 years for me, which is bonkers. I saw you mentioned Weekly Geeks and I’m wondering if that’s how we may have met? I think I came in towards the end of Weekly Geeks. Maybe a readathon? If I had to guess, it was probably The Sunday Salon. Regardless of how it happened, I’m glad it did!
I think it might have been Weekly Geeks, but then later more through The Sunday Salon. But yes regardless of how it happened, I’m glad that it did too. I enjoy your (often) uncensored take on the world, whether books or otherwise. 🙂
Wow! Congrats! I’m approaching 3 years……so just a baby in blogging years!
Thanks. And congratulations on almost 3 years.
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I like hearing people’s blog journeys and yours is certainly filled with a number of blogs, which is fun. I found you through Sunday Salon. I think turning 50 makes us relax into ourselves, which is a good feeling.
Both your points make a lot of sense to me Bryan. It’s your blog so you can decide to do with it whatever you want to – or don’t want. After 15 years you’ve figured out what you really want it to be about and to be comfortable with that.
I’ve sort of fallen out of the habit of Sunday Salon – when I was working I found it so hard to keep to a schedule…..
You should come back to The Sunday Salon. You would be a welcome addition. It can be found now at http://www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com.
Will think about it Bryan – I’m currently thinking how to be more systematic with my posts so will figure this into my consideration
Congratulations on such a long blogging life!! I’ll celebrate 12 years in June. At first, I was all about promoting it and finding new blogs to read, etc. Now, like you, I just want to stick with tried and true friends. I keep them in my reader, too, in the hopes they’ll hop in with something to say.
Yes, it might be a small circle that I have, but it (you all) are a good circle.
Happy Blogging Birthday! Timehop just told me that I was thinking of a name for my first book blog 10 years ago today. Wow. I’m pretty sure you and I met through sj’s blog, maybe? For the LotR stuff? I’m trying to remember…
I’m not sure, but I don’t think that’s where it was. I discovered “the LoTR stuff” later…I think our paths crossed separate from sj, perhaps, when you had your first book blog. (Sorry for the quick response, commenting on some other blogs on WordPress’ Reader and also The Sunday Salon. Were you ever involved with that? Maybe that’s how we met or do you remember Weekly Geeks?
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I never did Weekly Geeks, but I *think* I joined Sunday Salon early on. That might be it. Or Twitter! It could have been Twitter. Regardless, I’m glad we crossed paths. 😊
I’m not sure. I think at first it was Sunday Salon, but then more through Twitter later with sj and the drinkalongs.
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