When I first started writing short articles I had no real plan. At the time I was inspired by reading the things that others were publishing, it was early 1999 and personal websites were slowly on the rise.
Reading those words, with the slow realisation that I could do it too, seemed like a new and exciting thing. There weren’t that many people doing it at that time (I’d guess at a number in the thousands) so there was a sense of being at the beginning of something, pioneering, blazing the way.
That may sound a little hyperbolic but remember that the internet, the world wide web, was still very much a shiny new thing full of possibilities and no-one really knew what it would become. Some would argue we still don’t. Others would then point out that that is exactly the point. Then someone else will jump in with a photo of a kitten. I digress.
Looking at the first few things I published I can see that they were more articles than diary entries. Sure, they aren’t particularly well written but they were my words, available on the internet for others to read. It was scary and exciting.
At the time my entire website was in hand coded HTML (using Allaire/Macromedia Homesite) and within the first few months of self-publishing I soon found myself looking for ways to make it easier to do, I had to find a way that would let me concentrate on the writing rather than the construction and maintenance of all the surrounding paraphernalia that a website demands.
Ahhh hand-coded menus and permalinks, how I do not miss thee.
Then along came a publishing tool called Blogger, and everything changed, but that story has been told.
Since then I guess it’s safe to say I’ve mostly continued in a similar vein. I’ve used a publishing platform (currently WordPress), tinkered with it at times, but more and more I’ve gone back to my roots and pushed to find ways that let me focus more about the words than the website.
Whatever your blog is, and the term is so fluid as to be unhelpful at best and trivialising at worst, it’s something. The first thing you ought to do is give yourself the respect you deserve. Publishing your words online can be a daunting, exposing, soul-baring experience – I know. I’m still haunted by self-doubt before sharing certain pieces with the world. But I do believe that those pieces have value.
Which neatly encapsulates my view of this website and why I have it. From time to time I’ve struggled with the self-doubt he mentions, and over the last 15 years I’ve watched other people find a niche and become very successful publishing their own content but that’s never really been what I wanted to do. I tried it for a while on another blog but once my focus changed it was hard to maintain.
This website remains as it began, a place for me to publish things I write and that have value to me, right now I don’t really have the desire for it to be anything more than that.
And, for the record, I’ve never really liked the word ‘blog’ anyway.