Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Celebrating the bicentennial mark

The last entry was the 200th for Robvogt80s. That is absolutely unbelievable for me. I still think back to the days where I contemplated starting a blog, but it seemed so daunting.

I had not really read too many blogs, and had no idea how they worked. It all seemed so mysterious, until I just started playing around with this one. As with most things, it just takes time to figure out what’s going on.

Once I did, it has been a fascinating journey. I have re-visited people and places I forgot, or hadn't thought of in years. I have received some interesting feedback, both directly on the blog and in private e-mails.

Looking back, these past 200 entries have taught me about a lot of things.

The process
Often, a post simply starts out as a simple topic. Before I became a journalist, I often would be paralyzed by fear, or perfectionism, or writer's block before I even started writing. Something I learned by working in newspapers is there is no such thing as writer’s block. Newspapers are driven by deadlines, and nothing forces you to start writing like a looming deadline. The surest cure for any paralysis is just to start writing.

That is what I have discovered more than anything this past 200 entries is the only way to actually write about Joe Cocker, or Patrick Macnee, or whatever, is to start writing. I often find myself brainstorming on the page. I start thinking about all the memories I have about a particular topic, and just start writing. I also list ideas and memories in point form at the bottom of the document so I don’t forget, then delete them as I use them.

There have been many times I fretted writing about a particular topic. Then I did a bit of research and just started writing. And that is the ultimate victory – triumphing over procrastination. The posts may not be perfect, but I make my point. Something is always better than nothing – and I can always go back and update, change, and improve everything.

Lately, I have received more comments and feedback than through the first two years of this blog. What always amazes me is that people have the same memories I do. The most recent example was a person who commented on one of my first dozen posts. She actually said she could have written the exact same topic, her memories were the same.

Another person has corresponded with me personally, thanking me for the memories.

Sharing common experiences, triggering memories, those are the things that are validating for me, they really are.

The choice of topics has evolved over time as well. Initially, it was things I remembered and wanted to write about. Now, most topics have a current slant and I make a connection to the ‘80s. Lately it has been the deaths of personalities, but has also included birthdays and anniversaries. Perhaps this evolution also comes from my journalism background, where I am always trying to find a connection to our local community in all our news stories.

Parting thoughts
On one hand, 200 entries seems like a lot, but on the other hand I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface. There are so many things to write about – movies, music, sports, TV, world events, pop culture – it really seems endless. That is truly exciting.

Looking back at this adventure, 200 posts symbolizes something else for me. I marvelled when I began that I actually followed through and started this blog. Now, I marvel at the fact I have stuck with it.

Lately, I have been re-reading some of my posts, and they are not as bad as I thought. What I have observed most is a style, pattern and form has emerged over time, and I like that.

I can't wait to see what the next 100 entries brings. I’ll see you at 300 entries.

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