Twelve years ago, January 5th, 2005, I started this blog.
Yeah… Happy B-Day / Blogiversary To Us!!!!!
The main reason was to improve my writing skills while I was in the process of becoming a teacher. You see, I was never much of a reader when I was a kid, or even a young adult. Because of this, I didn’t absorb the fundamentals of the written English language that many of my peers did. I was not a complete English language washout though. As a kid, I had one ambition… To be an actor. Although I didn’t read or write much, I did pay attention to certain details because of that. I could write. And if the subject was something I cared about, like writing dialog or reports about tornadoes or earthquakes, or other sciencey stuff, I did pretty good. My grammar was high C to B average. My HUGE Achilles heel was spelling. In 1991, my junior year in college and long before this thing called “spellcheck” was a thing (you kids don’t know how well you have it), I had a professor write an assessment telling me I needed to make a dictionary my best friend. She was more than a little bit of a jerk about it. Of course she was not wrong. My spelling WAS horrible. But she handled it poorly. Some encouragement would have been more motivating. I graduated in 92 with decent grades, but never took any jobs where there was a lot of writing. But I felt the need to get better, and when I decided I was going to start a new career as a teacher, I knew I HAD to get better. The Sonicfrog blog turned out to be the perfect vehicle to improve my writing and spelling skills. I still make a mistake hear and their (just kidding), but I’m much much better at proverbially putting pen to paper, and with some confidence. It provided the practice I needed to become a better writer and become a good teacher.
There are a couple of other benefits to starting and maintaining a blog. Even though this was never an exercise in trying to get fame, some of my posts were featured on other more popular blogs, such as Instapundit, Ann Althouse, and even a couple of links on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. There was a time when I thought about writing more provocative content in order to attract more eyeballs, but I watched what happened with other blogs that went in that direction, and lets just say, blog management became a full-time unpaid job for many of my blog-pals. And that maybe would have caused me to lose sight of why I started doing this in the first place. Plus… MAN… When blogs really became popular, the comments section because freaking zoos.
Who needs that aggravation.
Not only did I decide not to try and become popular – I succeeded at that well enough – but also decided at some point to start challenging some of my own preconceived notions about the world. I came into blogging as a right-wing leaning fellow. I was more of a libertarianish type than anything. But I WAS a strong supporter of the Iraq war, and my early posts reflect that. 2005 was right when a lot of disturbing pieces of news had started to break. I would at first be the parrot, echoing what Conservative media said. But, because of my pledge to try and be accurate, I started getting into the habit of researching things on my own. Being someone who graduated with a degree in mass communications, I studied media / journalism quite a bit in college. One of the most important lessons I was taught is that there is no such thing as “unbiased” journalism. Every single human on this Earth is biased in some way, even me, and journalist, editors, photographers, news anchors, etc, ALL are biased in some way. The better thing to strive to find is the accuracy of information being reported, and look for things that may be omitted. The more I looked at all sides, not just the cherry-picked information each sides relies on to bolster their case, the more I grew to recognize that many of my long held beliefs simply didn’t hold up to scrutiny. So my blogging activities changed my perspective on the world. That was not expected.
An even more unexpected side effect of starting this blog was the act of writing itself. When I started blogging, it was a chore to sit down and write. Twelve years later, not only can I sit down and write on a whim, but, this ability extends to my songwriting as well. I used to have to wait for some sort of inspiration to erupt in my skull to get something down on paper, now I can typically write something at a moments notice. I’m not saying those lyrics are on par with those that are backed by the mysterious creative urge, but I can do it if needed. I find it kind of cool actually.
Oh… And one last thing. I used to have a hard time writing in first person. Because of mm twelve years of experience writing my blog…