A Look Back At 12-Plus Years of Blogging

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.

This was the header image for an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe).

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. 🙂

Wrapping up 2019 #ThankfullyReading Weekend

So the best laid plans…

In my initial post announcing that I was in for this year’s Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted again by Jenn of Jenn’s Bookshelves, I had grand plans to read three books over the five days (Nov. 27 to today):

  • The Lord God Made Them All, the fourth book in the All Creatures Great and Small series, by James Herriot.
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (a reread)
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle.

I got home early from work Wednesday night as the library closed early at 5 p.m. but didn’t get any reading in that day. Thursday, I only got a little reading in in the morning. Then my wife and I celebrated Thanksgiving with all the fixings. We watched our traditional Thanksgiving movies Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Pieces of April, AND Home for the Holidays, one of my wife’s favorite Thanksgiving movies.

Friday, I was off from work, but instead of reading Good Omens as I had planned, I started in on another book: The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch. Then unfortunately, after getting about halfway through, a lot of it skimming, I decided to DNF it.

Saturday, I worked only from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but as we were getting ready for a book sale that was scheduled to start today, I was beat by the end of the day. When I got home, I had no energy to read and actually ended up taking a short nap before getting up later to watch a few episodes of Cold Case which I recently rediscovered on The Roku Channel. So much for reading.

And on this the last day, it is almost 2 p.m. and even though I have been up since 8 a.m., six hours later, I have not read any of The Lord God Made Them All, which I wanted to continue today and maybe even finish. But it doesn’t look like, even though I might read some of it, that I’m going to finish it. I don’t have any excuse not to read either as we’re in the middle of a freezing rain, sleet, ice, and snowstorm that is expected to go into tomorrow. I even put up this photo on Instagram earlier:

View this post on Instagram

A good day to be inside #thankfullyreading

A post shared by Bryan | Book Blogger 📚 (@stillunfinished) on

False advertising.

Then I told Deb at Readerbuzz that I would participate in her Thankfully Reading Weekend Tic-Tac-Toe Game she created especially for Jenn’s event even though I wouldn’t enter the contest. Deb has been gracious enough to send me one book earlier in the year and now she is sending me another so I figured I already have two books from her, it’s not fair to try for yet one more. Now I am entering, but only because I don’t have tic-tac-toe in any direction and now have no chance of getting as I might not even read anymore.

I’m not going to eat a healthy snack, read more than 1 book, read for a total of 8 hours, read before breakfast (since this is the last day), post a bok review, read a recipe, wear something bookish, take a break and do some stretches, read outside (see about weather earlier), recommend a book to someone, read 200 pages (since I am past that point in the book and have less than that left), and/or write down a quote from a book. So I’m out.

And with that, I’m also out of this year’s Thankfully Reading Weekend. 🙂

It was fun, though, as I connected, and reconnected, with some fellow bloggers, including Heather at Froodian Slip, who also works at a library here in Pennsylvania and is working toward getting a librarian degree. It was good to get reacquainted with her.

Being honest here again…

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Back in May, I wrote a blog post “Being honest here,” where I rambled about how I don’t know how or where I fit in in the book blogging world, and how I don’t comment on posts as well as I should. Today, I’m going to be honest again with how I feel about book blogging in light of a giveaway I ran last Sunday and then extended until this past Wednesday because I didn’t get very many responses.

In the May post, I mentioned how I don’t take review copies, I don’t do blog hops (except for The Sunday Salon, which sort of is one), I do readathons but on my own terms, and I don’t read your blog posts as carefully as I should and as a result, don’t comment as well as I should. It is on that last point of not reading blog posts as carefully as I should that I would like to focus today. In last Sunday’s blog post, I mentioned I was having a giveaway to celebrate the end of my birthday month. I only received one entry that day. [I did get six entries when I extended the deadline until Wednesday and I’m glad for those who participated and were able to pick up a free book that they wanted.]

Why is that? I think it is a combination of factors, not just that you might not have been interested in any of the books I was giving away, but also included:

  • that I had two posts that day, the main one on my looking back at June and ahead to July and the giveaway one with the giveaway only running that day. So you didn’t even know what books I was giving away unless you followed the link.
  • Who wants to click through to another link? I already had several links in the post. I get it. Eyes glaze over at all the links sometimes. I work at a library and we have signs everywhere. Eyes glaze over at all the signs, I get it. Too much information, too many choices.
  • The bullet point list nature of blogging, even seen right here, where the blogger puts up a bullet point list of his week. The reader skims and sees what applies to him or her, if anything, and then moves on to the next post after maybe a cursory comment.
  • I didn’t promote the giveaway on social media, until the next day when I decided to extend the deadline until Wednesday, because I envisioned the giveaway just being for my blog readers. Then when I did on Instagram, I put the announcement up three times, once on Instagram Stories, and felt like a book gigolo in the process.

So what does this mean for the future? I’m doing away with the bullet point list posts. I will focus on one topic: reading, for example, with my Sunday Salon posts, and if I do other posts on TV, movies, music, or my personal life, they will just be on that topic. That way, maybe, just maybe, you as a reader also can focus on what I’m writing about for that post and not lose the thread. Hopefully I won’t lose the thread either.

Being honest here…

…Here’s where I am. At only 10 books finished for the year so far, and one more, All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot, that I am planning to finish by tomorrow, I am not a “real” book blogger.

…I’m okay with that. I still read what I want, whenever I can, even if I don’t fit the normal mold of “book blogger.” As always, this blog, as my life, is a work in progress, hence my being “still an unfinished person.”

…Plans don’t always go as…well…planned. For example, this past Wednesday I planned for Kim and I to write a blog post on short season shows we both liked. I then abandoned that and instead we had a post about our favorite Mother’s Day movies. This coming Wednesday, we plan to return with our recommendations for short season shows, those shows that didn’t or don’t expand beyond five seasons but are still worth watching, in our humble opinion.

…I’m not going to see my mom for Mother’s Day, not because I don’t want to and not because I don’t love her, but I need two days down this weekend, of not going anywhere, to rest my still sore (but slowly getting better) knee.

To join The Sunday Salon, visit Readerbuzz or go to the group’s Facebook page.

…I don’t know how I fit in with all of you Sunday Salon bloggers as I don’t consider myself a book blogger anymore. I don’t take review copies…er, obviously, with only 10 books read so far and all of them already published when I read them. I don’t do blog hops except for the Sunday Salon if that’s what you want to consider it, which in some ways, it is, but in other ways, it isn’t and why I like participating because of the people like many of you from around the country and around the world that I have met.

…I do readathons, but when I do, I’m not “in it to win it” like some of you seem to be. And I don’t get some readathons like Bout of Books (coming up this week and please join if you’re so inclined) that go for a week. I work during the week and when I got home from work, usually at 8 p.m. since I usually work afternoons, after being on a computer much of the day, one of the last things I want to do is read fine print on a screen or even worse in a printed book. Like I said in a previous post on “How Do YOU Read?”, I’m weird in that I like longer stretches of time in which to read. I’m not accustomed to reading in short bursts, and yes, probably why I’ve “only” read 10 books so far this year.

…That “only” will be a post for another time: The “only” and book blogger guilt of not reading the number of books per year we’ve read in the past and how some book bloggers can look down their noses at people who choose not to read for whatever reason or maybe can’t read. Not all, but some. I just have to figure out how to write it without coming across as a snob myself against what I perceive as book snobbery and not looking down my nose either at them.

…I feel sometimes I don’t read some of your blog posts as carefully as I should because I feel like I’m rushing through posts to try to respond to every post here in The Sunday Salon. I also feel sometimes that some of you don’t read mine either that carefully, so there is miscommunication on both sides. I’m sure that I’ll get at least one comment to this post that misconstrues something I wrote or doesn’t read the entire post and get the point, if there even is one, in context. And on the flip side, I’ll probably do the same with my response to your response or a comment on one of your posts.

…That said, I’m trying to do better and not just comment for commenting’s sake. If I don’t have something to say on your post, I just won’t say it. If I relate to something, I’ll respond, but just because I don’t comment doesn’t mean that I didn’t read your post; it just might be that I didn’t relate to what you were writing, at least not at the time I was reading…and maybe never. Likewise, don’t feel obliged to comment on my blog posts. I welcome your comments, but don’t expect them. I will attempt to be more attentive to reading your posts too and not rushing through them for the sake of reading them.

…I don’t know if I said all this correctly or in the spirit this post is meant to be taken, as a sort of a mind dump for me.

Honestly, this probably doesn’t work with this post, but honestly I don’t care. 😉

Honestly, where are you this week in terms of reading books, watching TV and/or movies, listening to music…in life, in general? Be honest. It’s okay. I asked for it.