The Willful Caboose celebrated its second birthday a few days ago, and it got me to thinking about blogging.
I’ve been blogging consistently for almost four years now. Before I wrote TWC, I wrote a personal blog for the amusement of my friends and family. When I got caught up in the Sabres playoff run in the spring of 2007, I stumbled upon BfloBlog, and then I was absolutely hooked- both on the sport, and on the sports blogosphere.
It is not an exaggeration to say that blogging has changed my life.
My personal blog was where I discovered that I loved writing, and it’s also where I realized that I have a bit of a knack for entertaining people in short, written bursts. In the great scheme of things, it’s a frivolous skill to possess, but I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless. In the beginning, the best thing about blogging was that it gave value to behaviors that I had previously considered to be time wasters. I began to consciously cherish the silliest aspects of my life, because they were good blog fodder. Ridiculous, I know, but viewing my life through this lens grounded me, and best of all, it made me much more aware and appreciative of all the wonderful things I have in my life, no matter how small. I believe it ultimately helped me be a happier person.
I want to encourage any of you who think you might want to start a blog to give it a try. It’s free. There is really nothing to lose. It doesn’t have to be about hockey. It can be about absolutely anything in the entire world. Any hobby, profession, music, religion, whatever. You name it, you can blog about it, and you can read blogs about it. Or, it doesn’t have to be about anything. If you don’t like it, you can quit. If you want it to be anonymous, it can be. You don’t have to have any readers. If you think you might want to start a blog, you should.
There are very few rules to blogging.
1. Don’t forget that once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever. If you are attaching your name to something, remember that it will be searchable for the rest of your life.
2. Don’t blog about work. Seriously, it’s not worth it.
3. Be safe. Use common sense when deciding how much to reveal about yourself and your whereabouts.
That’s pretty much it.
My one bit of advice would be to do it for yourself in the beginning. Don’t worry about your stats or followers or links, and don’t make a big ta-do about it in the beginning. Don’t email everyone you know with a link on the first day you start your blog. Just tell a handful of your closest friends and family. Give your blog a little breathing room before you go shouting your URL from the rooftops. Just start writing and see what what sticks.
As far as I can tell, the internet is infinitely large, so my theory is that we shouldn’t worry about filling it up with nonsense. The internet will always have room for more, and we can’t hurt it by throwing in our two cents. If, for some mysterious reason, your blog sucks SO HARD that you become concerned that it’s actually damaging the internet you can just erase it and we’ll pretend we never had this conversation, but I seriously doubt it will suck that hard. It might be great.