I missed an important anniversary this summer.
It wasn't because I forgot it, I had a marked on my calendar, was aware of its occurrence and told a few close friends. I didn't make a big deal of it, because, well I wasn't sure what to actually make of it.
July 26th marked the 5 year anniversary of my blog.
Big whoop right? At this point in our social history it's only inanimate objects and some gerbils who don't have blogs. In fact having a blog now is like having a tattoo, it used to make you stand out, now it almost seems to make you blend in.
I've talked before about how five and a half years ago I was reticent to start a blog, even the word itself activated bile in my mouth.
In our day and age, when everybody is aware of everything that everybody else is doing, the pressure to become a sheep can be unbearable, while the actual understanding of what it means to be that sheep escapes everybody.
I tried to focus on the simple idea that I just wanted to write. And that's been something I've tried to hold on to week after week. And it has been so many weeks.
Reflecting back on it now, it's crazy to think that I have written regularly, weekly, for half of my 20s, and 17% of my life.
There's almost nothing I have been doing that long, that regularly. And certainly nothing that has been that formative, that significant in shaping what I want to do, and helping me better understand myself and the world around me.
That wasn't the intention though, and like all great things in my life, actions with somewhat misguided intentions brought about unexpected and amazing results.
For the last 5 years I had really had only one goal. Write every week without fail. And largely I was successful. Minus the times I travelled over seas, or holiday weekends, I published. Every sunday night, and on lazy weeks, early monday mornings. And on really lazy weeks, late monday mornings.
I will be the first to admit, when I have written, what I have published has not always been gold… or even silver. There have been bad jokes, half-fleshed out ideas, and typos. Jesus, the typos.
But I published, good or bad, week after week. It was about the craft, committing to it, forcing myself to dig deep and find things to write about.
And while it's not exactly coal mining, it hasn't been easy. And like anything worth it, it's what I have loved and hated about it.
Bloggers are notoriously neurotic about stats. Who is reading? What are they reading? Is anybody reading? What did they think about it?
Should I even be writing this? Does it even matter?
People writing business blogs or trying to create some sort of brand that makes them money can a/b test, and create surveys, etc. But if you're writing just to write, not concerned about ads, or making a revenue off something.
But if you're writing just to write, it can be hard to stay motivated if you don't have a lot of readers, or don't know how many readers you have.
So what's the point?
What do any of us write?
Better people than me have answered this question.
It's easy for me to see now that blogging led to essay writing, which led to screenplay writing, which led to stage play writing, which led to video contests, which led to web series, which led to professional video production, which led me to my current profession.
Five and a half years ago I could never have imagined any of that. Best case scenario I thought was I get famous and make money.
While neither of those things happened (directly) from my blog, they led me onward and upward to a more fulfilling experience.
And that's why lately I have struggled as the weekly routine of publishing a blog has lagged, specifically in the last 4 months. As my personal business, one reliant both on a tremendous amount of commitment to networking and creativity, has become a larger part of my life, the amount of time I spend writing, and thinking about writing has dwindled.
Sometimes my blogs (like this one) will go out later in the week, and sometimes I miss a week altogether. I find myself grasping a bit for meaning. Why did I miss this week? Why does it matter? I find myself questioning if I should be writing every week anymore, if I should keep writing a blog at all?
I know that in the beginning it was important to do it regularly, to teach myself a craft, to commit myself fully to something to see how it formed, how its as created, what it was like to live inside that craftsman's shed. Looking back I have to say I feel both proud and impressed. I have this journal of my life that I can always go back and reference even when the memories themselves fade, this wonderful history of a 20something easing into a 30something.
So after a half a decade of writing down my thoughts and feeling on everything from toilets to cosmology, I realize that while my love of writing is stronger than it's ever been, by relationship with it is changing. And that can be challenging, especially when people come to define you by one (of many) things that you do, when certain people expect a certain thing from you that doesn't always want to emerge from you.
Going forward I don't know what's going to happen, but here is what I am left with:
You (I) have to figure this out for yourself. You have to derive your own significance. You have to find a reason for yourself on why you write. If you're lucky you get recognized, if you're lucky you have followers, if you're lucky something awesome happens.
The luckiest of us have our lives evolve and enhance around the center point of our created words.
For some it's an end in and of itself. For some, its a means to some ends, and for some it's discovery, always discovery.
Something I pray it always is.