One year olds don’t need birthday parties.
Birthday parties for one year olds are completely for the parents. They put together this elaborate event with a theme, and balloons, and a cake that all matches. They invite all their friends and family and make all this hullabaloo. For what?
To watch their child absolutely destroy a cake, make a GIANT mess (which, by the way, as a parent you probably wouldn’t have tolerated the day before and you most likely won’t like the next day), take a thousand pictures, and call it cute.
Let me let you in on a little secret. The one year old child doesn’t care. Not even a little bit. They have no idea what’s going on.
One year olds don’t care about giant birthday parties. They care about eating and sleeping and maybe a little walking and playing with some toys. They care about doing all those things around people that they love and feel safe with. That’s it. That’s all they care about.
And so it is with this blog.
This blog couldn’t care less about turning 1. You know who cares? Me.
I do! This is a tremendous day. It’s a milestone marker for me. The blog itself is just a tool. It’s pretty agnostic as to who is using it or even what it does. But to me, today is a really big deal. A really, REALLY big deal.
What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I write every week?
I didn’t start out writing this blog with a “purpose” or theme in mind. All I knew was that God had told me that I needed to be writing. So I wrote.
Now, I make it sound like it was easy. Oh, God said do it, so I did it. That’s not exactly the way it went down. In truth, He and I have been having this conversation about my writing for a long time. I’m talking YEARS. It was a long, long time before I ever wrote the first word here. He wanted me to write. I even wanted to write. But …
If you know me then you know there are at least two things about me that kind of get in the way of me accomplishing anything. One, I get obsessive when it comes to details. Every little thing has to be perfect or I won’t do it. And two, I am easily swayed to just let the world take me where it wants to take me. I have great plans but struggle in the follow through department.
So for years I would “wrestle” with God over details. What should I write about? How long should each post be? Where should I do my writing at? What format should it be in? Blah, blah, blah. Then I would just get tired of fighting through it all and I’d conveniently just forget to start. I’d get started writing something and then miss a day and let the whole writing enterprise fall by the wayside.
So near the beginning of last year God and I were once again having a conversation about my writing. He was telling me how I needed to write and I was confessing my fears about needing to have a plan and a theme for what I wrote and a place to put it all. I was giving Him all the excuses.
- “I don’t have just one thing that I want to write about. A successful blog needs a theme.”
- “I don’t have a website yet. And I don’t want to use Wordpress. I can’t start writing because I don’t have a home for it.”
- “How am I going to find the time to write?”
I could keep going, but you get the gist. Basically I was just making excuses. So in desperation I asked God one last time: “What should I write about?” His answer: “It doesn’t matter. I want you to write. The rest will come.”
It still took me 8 months to write my first post.
You’re a Fool
I have heard it said that the definition of a fool is someone who knows what to do yet refuses to do it. I was being a fool. I knew what to do, I just didn’t want to do it. I felt so unprepared. I felt like I was going to be embarrassed. Like no one was going to read what I wrote anyway … so why bother?
I needed to bother. Even if no one else in the entire world read my blog posts, I needed to write them. No matter what it was I wrote about, whatever it was that God put on my heart, or that had my attention that particular week, I needed to be obedient to the call to write. I needed to write for me. It was (and is) a form of therapy, and time spent with God, and learning for me.
I hope that everything I write about will help others like it helps me. There will come a time (in the very near future I think) where what I write about will be dictated by the problems and pains that you, my lovely readers, are having and that I can help solve.
I’ll be honest. I want to write and sell books and make money at this craft. I want to have an audience that cares about what I write. I really do want to have an effect on peoples lives. What writer doesn’t?
But if all I ever do is write to please others all the time then my audience becomes someone it was never meant to be. My writing has always been on purpose to satisfy a calling.
Ultimately, it’s for an audience of one.
That being said, I do care about numbers and stats because they are a marker of growth. I definitely want my blog to grow. I believe God does too. I know we’ll get there in time.
So, what’s the first year been like?
I started out by publishing my posts on Medium because I needed them to have a home. I’m super grateful that Medium provides a place where people can post their thoughts without having to build something custom and personal right out of the gate.
The very first official piece for this blog was posted on August 17, 2018. It is called “Gratitude Changes Everything.” To this day it has gotten 19 total views. It’s a great little piece. You should read it.
Since then I’ve posted 50 other posts (for a total of 51 - including this post). I only took off one week early on when I thought I would not post on the weeks that I had my sabbatical week. Since then I’ve learned that I can write early and still post something even when I’m not officially working on stuff. Also, that consistency is key. These were big revelations.
Over the course of the year I have published 47,879 words for a 938.8 word average per post. That’s the equivalent of a 192 page book! Week by week it doesn’t seem like a lot, but they definitely add up over time. Also, if I /published/ that many words, how many words do you think I actually wrote before editing? Haha … so many words!
The biggest thing of this year happened on April 26, 2019. On that day I published a piece called “Hello World” in which introduced all of you to my new website. That was a giant day for me. I had wanted a home of my own where I could post what I wanted to, when I wanted to and I finally had one. I love it. I hope you do too!
The top 5 posts of the year (by number of views) are as follows:
- This is My Story (66 views)
- What’s Up For Me in 2019 (48 views)
- Practical Ways to Rest - Bonus Episode (35 views)
- Year Six (30 views)
- Gratitude Changes Everything (19 views)
- Shortest Post: Gratitude Changes Everything (255 words)
- Longest Post: What’s Up For Me in 2019 (2,028 words)
Thank You and Future Plans
Thank you so much for reading along with what I’ve been writing this past year! It means so much to me that you would come along for the ride.
For me personally, this year has been a huge success. Making it a whole year where I consistently posted every week is a giant achievement. Like a really big deal. There are very few things in my life that I have stuck with that consistently over time. It feels really good to make it this far. I don’t plan on stopping now.
I’ve got plans for the future. Slowing but surely I’ll be making changes to my website to make it better or easier to use. Maybe I’ll throw in some new post types and try my hand at quotes or link lists or something - but never in place of my weekly post. I’m about ready to really start working on adding a weekly email newsletter where you can get these posts in your inbox every week instead of just hoping you come across the promotional post on Facebook or Twitter.
But I need your help in so many ways. If this blog is ever going to really succeed, it will happen because of all of you. So I have some requests.
First, if you like something that I write, if it touches something in you, please share it with others. This thing only spreads if we all share it.
Second, let me know what kinds of things you’d like to see me write about. What problems or pain points are you experiencing? What topics haven’t I touched on yet? If you’ve ever said to yourself “He should write about that”, this is your chance. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email. Let me know!
Again, thank you so much for coming along on this ride with me. You are all so special to me.
Happy birthday, my little blog! Keep growing up. You’re doing great.
Because You Read All The Way To The Bottom: Good news! Did you know the song “Happy Birthday to You!” is no longer copyrighted material? It’s true! It is now in the public domain. You can now sing that song at birthday parties without fear of reprisal or being slapped with large fees. You could even record that song and post it on Youtube if you want. Sing away!