How Old Are You in Blog Years?

Old and Slow
Originally uploaded by bartmaguire.

Tim Jackson, the MasiGuy and Chief Kool-Aid Dispenser, is celebrating a year of blogging. Yesterday, Tim left a comment that got me thinking. He said, "Don’t you feel like an old hand now? I know I do … ok, just old maybe."

So with a smile on my face, I started to write this entry up. I was thinking about how blogging is like ACCELERATED experience … or it can be if you are open to learning. I am thinking of something akin to "dog years" — where what you learn from a year of blogging is the equivalent to FIVE years of "normal" experience (like I know anything about being normal ;)).

When you start blogging it is easy to get carried away, to post every day or more and to ramble on. But then, after a month or so, you start to get a sense of your own VOICE … you start to write from a certain, consistent perspective. David Armano mentioned talks a little about this process in his Blogs Eye View video.

For me, there was definitely a shift. My first month was about establishing a rhythm to my writing … I wanted to commit myself to writing something … anything … but the most important aspect was discipline.

From there, my writing began to take shape — mostly driven by my interests. I read widely and weirdly, collected items for my blogroll, studied my very small traffic statistics and commented far and wide. I looked back on posts and realised that I was really interested in marketing and storytelling — it was the underlying theme that was coming through in everything that I wrote.

I tried for a while to attract new readers … I participated in some carnivals and so on, but could see no great readership spikes. I went off on a tangent for a while, focusing on readers rather than writing and watched as the stats dropped off. Luckily I saw the error of my ways, and came back to being true to my writing and my readers — and both of you came back! Thanks!

Since then, I have been very clear in my thinking about what I write here. The only really strange challenge came when Ann Handley asked me to contribute to MarketingProfs Daily Fix. Suddenly I was going to step into a whole different realm … in writing my first post I was more nervous than commenting on Russell Davies’ blog. How would it be received? How should I write it? And then there was the question of authorship …

I had focused on writing this blog under the name Servant of Chaos … and I still sign-off most of my posts with the letter S. In many ways, I see these posts as letters to my anonymous and not so anonymous friends — like an asynchronous conversation delayed by hours, but sometimes by weeks or months. And over the last few months particularly, I have been pleased to see these friendships grow — with comments and emails containing insight, analysis, FUN and some silliness.

So it has been a year … but it is only a year. Thanks to all those who read and comment. The NEXT year should be even more interesting!


5 thoughts on “How Old Are You in Blog Years?

  1. Very nice post Gavin. I really like the way you write your stories. It does indeed feel like you’re “being true to your writing and your readers”.
    I completely agree with you on the idea that “blogging is like ACCELERATED experience”. It is amazing, especially when you decide to participate, launch a blog and start to post.
    As a matter of fact, I am going through the same kind of process. There is indeed an evolution in the way I see blogging, write and post. It feels like being a chrysalid, learning and growing in a way. Don’t know what’s going to come out of it yet… but I believe it will fly! ; )
    My great frustration lately has been to find time to concentrate and write. End of the year is busy-busy time in advertising. Work and family is asking all my time & energy. But hey… reading posts like this one gives me a boost of extra-energy.
    Thank you for that!

  2. Congrats on a year, Gavin. Writing (via blogs, books, or articles) is no different than any other activity — you get better at it the more you do it, or the more you exercise that muscle, so to speak. It takes a while to find your voice, but it’s an exciting process. Interesting that it took you only a month — you are a fast learner, I’d say! I feel like it’s taken me a good six months over at the Daily Fix…! (Maybe I’m not the brightest bulb, LOL!!)
    BTW, I completely agree that a blogging year is equal to a dog year. (Although I thought a dog year was equal to seven calendar years?) In the past, I’ve suggested that a blogging month might be equivalent to a calendar year…but that might be pushing it.
    Congrats, again, Gavin…S…or whatever your name is.
    : )

  3. Thank you for the mention and link love my friend- truly appreciated.
    With all of the blogs I do now, I am somewhere in the realm of 800 posts… I can hardly believe that number because I feel like I haven’t done enough, or all that I have wanted to.
    Yes, a blogging year is truly accelerated. It’s amazing really because you learn and experience so much so quickly. In the end, you look back and think “did I really do/ say all of that?”
    Finding your voice is the key, I think, to having a site that will ultimately succeed. People will find that voice and identify with something in it. Once that happens, you’re golden.
    Congratulations! Here’s to many more of them.

  4. Hello Gavin:
    I’ve been reading your comments on David Armano’s blog and have come back frequently to your writing here.
    In my experience, technology is an incredible accelerator — whether that be as medium, like the blog or output, as in writing code or creating Web products. It creates a context where change is possible at a very fast pace, which makes us feel overwhelmed at times and exhilarated at others.
    The other interesting thought for consideration is on learning. The act of blogging — with all auxiliary issues (e.g. coming up with content, time, discipline, etc.) — makes for a *shared* experience right off the gates. I relate to your thinking, as the context in which we both operate is the same.
    Congratulations on your resilience and commitment. Your thinking enriches ours.

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