Happy Birthday, Blog (And Why You Should Start One)

It occurred to me earlier today that I’ve had this blog for three years. Turns out I just missed the anniversary of my first post, which was September 18. So, I’m a couple weeks late in wishing it a happy birthday. Okay, a few weeks late. Well, just pretend I’m not. What are dates, anyway? What is time? I’m not sure it even exists.

For anyone who wasn’t around as a reader back in September 2017 (all of you), here is my very first post, which was titled “Hi

On the way to work today, I decided to start a new blog about running. Specifically, what I want to accomplish in the next year until 2018’s Cow Harbor 10K. So I might only have this blog for a year. Unless I die before then! Then it would probably end.

It’s not really necessary to do this – I’ve been running fine on my own without a public blog my entire life. But for the past year and change, I’ve been writing daily at 750words in a private journal only I can see. It’s just a boring diary. I mostly do it at the end of the day and only takes me 11-12 minutes, but it’s been a great exercise: it’s cathartic, it unravels my brain, and I make a point to do it daily (I only skipped one day in the past year when I went into the city one night in February and it just completely slipped my mind). So I thought, what if I started a second journal dedicated to running but make it public? That way, I’d be accountable for any goals I was trying to achieve, and maybe along the way I’d inspire 2 or possibly 3 people to read it? I’m honest-to-god not doing this to get a writing job or a book deal or become famous – I just want to a place to document stuff and stay consistent.

I’ll write more later, okay? This is just an introductory post! Calm down!!

That was waaay back in 2017. The olden days!

In Earth years (as opposed to blogging years), I realize that 2017 wasn’t that long ago. But it’s a far cry from the current social-distancing, mask-wearing, sky-high-unemployment, world-on-the-edge-of-collapse, pandemic clusterfuck we’re all currently experiencing.

It shouldn’t feel that far away, but it does. Sometimes it feels like another lifetime.

Why I Really Started This Blog

As I wrote in my first post, the initial reason I started this blog was to document my journey from one Cow Harbor 10K to the next – truthfully, I wanted to get faster. With a lot of hard work, I was successful, running the 2018 race about a minute per mile faster than I had the year before.

On a deeper level, although I didn’t fully see it at the time, I began this blog because my mother was dying.

I’d moved in with my mother about nine months prior, thinking my stay would last a few months while she received treatment for cancer and surely got better, as all of her doctors had suggested she would. She was a very healthy person and was determined to get better, and there was no reason to think that she wouldn’t.

She did not get better. By September, she was slipping away.

I believe the Cow Harbor 10K may have been the last race I was able to tell her about before she began fading, before I could no longer have a conversation with her because it didn’t seem that she knew I was there at all.

This only just occurred to me in this very moment, but maybe I started this blog as a way to talk to the world when I could no longer talk to her.

I would never have dreamed that, two and a half years later, I would also lose my father. Among other numerous positive qualities, both my mom and my dad were so supportive of my running – something I had done on and off since my 20s but found a new love for in my 40s.

My mom wasn’t well enough to come see my 2017 races, but my dad was always there when he could be, on the sidelines, cheering for me. My mom was always happy to hear about my runs when I got back from them. I don’t think either of my parents ever ran 100 feet in their lives, but they both understood what running meant to me. And if it meant something to me, then it meant something to them.

Why You Should Start a Blog

I’ll be honest, this was the main thing I wanted to write about today. I got sidetracked. This is what happens when you don’t plan!

Despite what I just wrote, I’m not actually saying that you should start a blog. If you don’t want to start one, then you don’t have to. Really! I am not requiring it! What a relief, right?

But if you love to write, and you’ve been on the fence about blogging because it feels “too late,” or “nobody reads blogs anymore” or “what’s the point?” I am here to explain why you should ignore all of those thoughts.

When I started this blog in September 2017, I posted about it on my Facebook page. An acquaintance of mine wrote something to the effect of, “Wow, a blog? In 2017? Cool, but wow, so crazy!” (Remember, it was 2017, so saying “2017” felt very modern, not very three-years-ago.) He was basically saying that it felt very late and therefore strange to be starting a blog.

The truth is, I have felt like this every time I have ever started something. Every time. No matter my age, no matter the year, no matter how supple and youthful my skin (oh supple and youthful skin, how I miss you). It never mattered what it was; I have always felt late.

When I started this blog, I decided to ignore that feeling and do it anyway.

Here’s the great part about all of this.

I’m at a point in my life where I am attempting to make money as a freelance writer. I’ve had a few things published, including over 250 posts on this blog. I now have over 250 posts I can link to as evidence of my writing abilities. That’s 250 blog posts that I wrote, none of which existed three years ago.

I can also say things in pitch emails like “I’ve written 250+ posts on my blog.” Although it’s still a personal blog and not a published novel or anything, being able to say this makes me feel a bit more established, like people might take me a bit more seriously. As if I am a, dare I say it, professional writer.

Are my 250+ posts all great? No. But are they all good? Also, no. But are they all examples of putting words in an order that is somewhat pleasing? Debatable. But I have a handful of pieces I’m really proud of. I’ve written long-ass race recaps, marathon training logs, advice on getting faster after 40, musings on running through grief, and more.

I’ve written much more than I had planned to when I started this thing.

If I had listened to that little voice back then telling me “Don’t bother starting a blog, it’s too late,” then I wouldn’t be writing this right now. And I guess you would be doing something else at the moment. Sorry about that.

So start that blog, artwork, business, or project you’ve been thinking about starting. Don’t worry about where or when in your life you are. Don’t worry about what year it is. Remember, in 2023, saying “2020” will feel just as ancient as saying “2017” does now.

Just start. In three years, you’ll look back and be glad you did.

Girl with a mop of curly hair opening a big-ass dictionary.

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Blog (And Why You Should Start One)

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