Friday, 11 September 2015

Three years of Rob Vogt80s

Today, we celebrate three years of RobVogt80s.

One of the reasons I chose Sept. 11 to start this blog is because, as I wrote in that first post, “I have always respected milestones and anniversaries and been interested in the interconnectedness of the world. In the past, I have launched new projects on Sept. 11 to commemorate the occasion. For a long time I have also thought about how I could reflect on a formative period in my life – the 1980s. I have so many memories and thoughts I would like to share. Being a writer, it seemed logical the best place to do that would be to start my own blog. So, bearing all this in mind, I am starting a new adventure – my own blog about the 1980s“.

It was also because it is an easy date to remember.

A lot has happened over the past three years, and it has been an interesting journey.

In the beginning
Ironically, I came across some old newspapers last week from the days leading up to the launch of this blog. It again illustrated what life was like for me before I had a blog. So many times, I thought to myself, “I’ve got to start a blog”, because something I came across or was talking about would make perfect fodder for it.

Now, looking back over the 217 entries over these three years, many of those ideas have turned into posts. And that is gratifying, refreshing, and a bit inspiring to me.

Starting this blog symbolized some things for me. The biggest one was that I stopped being all talk. That has always been an Achilles heel for me. I’ve had so many ideas, yet rarely followed through on them.

This blog was different. Having determined to launch it on Sept. 11, I had a deadline, which has become a friend since I started working in newspapers, so I had to teach myself how to blog. It really wasn’t that hard – once I started. And that is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in life: the hardest part of anything is starting.

So, on Sept. 11, we launched RobVogt80s. It was a little rough at first, and unfocused. Eventually I settled on a structure that works.

The voice
Another thing I often thought about was if anyone would be interested in reading my blog. My goal was always to get these stories out and, eventually, I would stitch them together into some sort of book. As it turned out, there are people out there who are interested. I have received some comments, both directly to the blog and by private e-mail. That in itself is gratifying.

It's funny because, one of the things I used to say back then if you asked me what I want to do with my life was, "I just want to be heard." It was nebulous and cryptic, and I was just trying to be philosophical, pseudo-intellectual really. Yet, with the 14,000 newspaper stories I've written, the five NaNoWriMo novels, and the 217 entries on this blog, that is exactly what I have done.


The neverending story
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned, is a belief I actually just had confirmed. Once upon a time, while I was musing about starting this blog, someone asked me if there was really enough to write about.

After 217 entries over three years, I can honestly say I have barely scratched the surface. There are so many things I want to write about that I have not got to yet. Topics I thought I’d address right away, have been set aside in favour of more timely ones. So, even if the hopper was empty, there is this whole other pile of things waiting.

It is very comforting.

Parting thoughts
One of the things I have kept trying to do with this blog is set goals. At first, they were completely unrealistic. Three hundred entries in a year? That’s crazy. This blog would be my full-time job. Then I thought maybe 100 in a year. Given, I am now averaging a little more than 72 a year, that seems high but more realistic.

The one thing about goals is, once I set them, I try hard to meet them. That’s why, if you look at the entries, they tend to come in bunches – right after I set a specific goal.

The challenge with that is that I really need an entry to percolate. I want every entry to have an introduction, body, and conclusion, hopefully with some insight, lesson, or observation to end it. That takes time.

The best part is, that this blog is whatever I choose to make of it. For now, as I look back on three years in the “blogosphere”, I’m pretty happy with 72 entries a year, which works out to a little more than one a week. Not the worst situation.

So, having said all that, I will see you at the next milestone – be it 30,000 hits, 300 entries, or four years. I can hardly wait.