Why I blog?

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I’ve been asked several times in my life why I write and why I blog? To give back to a community that has given so much to me while also answering that question, I decided to ask several of my favorite bloggers (sorry Josh, it’s never going to leave my vocabulary) the same question and collect their thoughts as guest posts. There are links at the bottom to each of the articles and there you will find links to these five wonderful blogs. Now it’s my turn:


 

Well, to be honest, I’m one of those strange people born with a need for self-expression. And not so much self-expression, as a need to share the beauty of what I see with the world around me. I see trees, clouds, sky, grass, birds, a magnificent horse, the heart-breaking death of a warrior, a child’s laugh and I feel the need to capture it, package it, and share it with the world. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. What does this mean? Before I’m a writer, at my most inner core, I’m a story-teller. I love stories. I always have.

I tried painting. Oh, how I wanted to be an artist with a canvas and a world of colors. But, paintings never flowed from my fingers. I tried drawing and got an A for coming to class every day, not for any great piece of art—although my doodling improved. I tried music. How I longed to capture what I felt and saw in the stringing of notes together. Is there anything more powerful than music for expressing the human condition? I did okay. But when I reached the crossroads of more practice or dropping my lessons, I dropped my lessons. More practice just didn’t seem worth it. I tried photography. And while I can shoot a pretty picture, I fail to see the story in my own shot. It’s just not there.

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Somewhere along the way, much inspired by Tolkien, and encouraged by my husband, I picked up the one art form I hadn’t tried. I picked up a pen and started writing. It was like coming home. Writing allowed all that I saw in my head to flow out of me. It gave me a means to share the magic of the world that I constantly saw around me.

I couldn’t capture the dust floating like so much fairy-powder in a golden sunbeam in music, paint, shutter lens, or graphite, but I could capture it in words. I could show you how they dust glitters and sparkles. I could let you see the magic through my eyes that would change how you look at the common sun shining through the window. I can turn common into a glowing soldier locking tiny sparkles in an incandescent prison. I can drive common away with mention of Peter Pan, happy thoughts, and fairy dust. I can sit you in a sunbeam and sail you away to Never Neverland. With words, I can paint. With words I can weave together a song all people can cling to. With words I can capture a moment and freeze it forever. With words I can smug just a little gray to make a powerful shadow.

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Words, writing, storytelling. This is why I blog. I blog because blogging is the easiest way in our modern-day and age to share what I’ve always wanted to share. Blogging lets me interact with readers in a way in which I couldn’t if I had to wait until my novel was finished. Blogging lets me encourage, inspire, challenge, and build up in a way that would be impossible in any other time. I could submit articles to magazines, but why not let you just read what pours out of my fingers?

This way, you the reader can sort and find the authors you want to read. You can find people who are like-minded, or very different in their mindsets and beliefs. You can read my blog, or Heather’s, Deanna’s, Raelea’s, Josh’s, or Rob’s and find articles that make you ponder, that help you as you tend to those in your life, that inspire you, inform you, and share a little of each of us with…well…you.

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That, my friends, is why I blog. I blog because I’m a writer, and I’m a writer because I’m a storyteller. So jump in the deep end of blogging. Read, comment, and start one yourself, if you’re so inclined. Take the advice and thoughts from this month’s guest posts and put them to good use. Ask questions. Get advice. Network with other bloggers.

And if you’re not a writer, thank goodness. Cause there’s one thing us writers need: Readers. We need readers to cheer us on, offer a counterpoint and advice, share our musing with others, suggest article ideas, and connect us with the world. We need you! This is why I blog!

 


 

I hope you’ve grown to understand why we bloggers do what we do. I hope you’ve seen that our takes on blogging are as diverse as we are. Maybe you’ve even a little inspired. The blogging world is a pretty friendly place, ready to offer advice and support. Feel free to comment on any of our blogs and ask questions! Thanks again for reading!

Guest Posts:

Heather FitzGerald

Deanna Brown

Raelea Hiller

Josh Magill

Rob Akers

Guest Post: Rob Akers on Blogging

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Rob, with only mild kicking and screaming, agreed to be the last guest blogger talking about why they blog. I can understand the fear of being the last one in a row of excellent writers, but I trusted Rob and that trust wasn’t unfounded. On his blog, Rob shares personal thoughts, which are always amusing, and he also shares the story of his time in the Middle East. I found Rob through a mutual respect for our men and women in uniform and have enjoyed reading his posts. Now he’s asked me to do the first Alpha Reading on his novel. I have his permission to bleed all over it. I took him at his word.  He may regret it later, but it’s too late for that!

Rob is a husband and father residing in Culloden, West Virginia. An airline pilot by trade, he served twelve years in the West Virginia Air National Guard at the rank of Major. He deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan among other foreign nations and earned multiple medals including three Air Medals, four Aerial Achievement Medals and two Meritorious Service Medals. He is a freelance writer for the Putnam Herald-Dispatch and the online magazine The Magill Review. He hosts his own blog and has been published in a collection of works including the Words for Warriors Project. He is working to complete his first fictional novel.

Check his work out!

Next week will be the last installment of this series where I will talk about why I blog. But for now, enjoy Rob’s thoughts.


 

Hey Y’all,

If you are thinking that the usual link to Abby’s Gentle and Quiet World took you to a strange place, don’t be alarmed. This is only a temporary phenomenon that will soon be replaced again by the quiet and wonderful musings of the beautiful soul that is Abby. Unfortunately, Abby made a poor decision; she invited me to take control of the airwaves for the day. Let the record state that she approached me, offering me a seat at the motherboard of one of the most wonderfully peaceful places on the internet. Initially, I declined the invitation. But she persisted and we all know how a persistent woman can get what she wants. Is that called preaching to the choir or saying it like it is?

Abby told me that she wanted a man’s perspective on blogging. I always welcome comments from a professional and Josh is the walking embodiment of a professional writer. But Josh likes to wear those little biker shorts while pedaling his mountain bike in the hills of Colorado. I know from experience that it is really tough to be a man while wearing spandex. That is what my friends said when they caught me walking down Bourbon Street, dressed in a fishnet shirt and biker shorts. My friend, Mercedes kept calling me “En Fuego.” I still don’t know what that means and this is a story that I probably should cut short.

My point is that I refused Abby’s request to write this article because I didn’t want to be responsible for leaving man smell in the boutique. She said that potpourri and candles work wonders. Then I asked what does an audience of respectable women want to hear? She said just to be myself and we all see where that took us. I asked what could possibly go wrong. She said that y’all would immediately know that my wife is a lady of honor, full of the Spirit, compassion, integrity and that you would bless her soul. Out of excuses and ideas, I took a double dose of testosterone, a cycle of steroids and a shot of Five Hour Energy before I summoned up the courage to say yes. Ladies, strap in tight and hold on because we are going behind the curtain.

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The topic is why do I blog? The easy answer would be because I have something to say. But that isn’t true. I don’t feel like I have to express myself to be happy and complete. In fact, I prefer to sit out of the spotlight and throw verbal rocks at those in the public eye. In times past, I served as an Air Force pilot. Returning from the Middle East, my wife and another lady were interviewed by the local news station while they waited for us to land. They agreed to allow the cameraman to follow them, record the reunion and then interview my friend and myself for the nightly news. When I stepped off the airplane, my wife ran up and gave me a huge hug and kiss. I didn’t mind that by the way. Out of the corner of my closed eyes, I felt the presence of a stranger.

I came unglued yelling at the cameraman and reporter. I told them that they were not allowed to film me and if they didn’t turn off the camera immediately I would break it. As I remember it, the words came out a in a hostile tone smothered with inappropriate language. I have embarrassed my wife before and since but the possibility of being filmed never entered my mind as the ideal start to the reunion. They did stop filming us and walked away. My friend and his wife had center stage for the one minute segment on the local news station. It turned out to be very cheesy, we all laughed later. The moral of this story is that I really don’t want to be on TV. I really don’t want to write for the local newspaper, I don’t want to be a blogger and I don’t want to be famous. I could be perfectly happy living a quiet life, staying in my little cocoon, raising my kids, working nights for my airline, watching TV during the day, doing fantasy football and never venturing out into the public arena.

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Why would anyone do something they don’t want to do? I am a seasoned veteran of life having lived out all seven of the deadly sins to their fullest extent. All I learned after twenty years of excess is that the allure of sin nearly turned me into a dead beat, ex-husband. Fortunately, my wife is a lady of extreme forgiveness and understanding. In the last ten years, I have tried to replace hate with love. It is a hard way to live and I am by no means a finished product. But I began to recognize that love is the path to true happiness. It is the path to forgiveness and to healing. When my life came crashing down, someone told me the secret. The Bible verse Matthew 22:37-40 held the key behind my future life and to my blogging/writing career. I urge you to read it for yourself, I interpret it to say; Love God with all you got and love every human on the planet the way you would like to be loved.

I don’t write for me, I write for others. If you read my blog you might think the main goal of my writing is to write stories about my life in the Middle East. But those stories are for my kids. They are too young to understand today but they should know about the guy that would become their dad. I occasionally write about the novel that I am working on. But the purpose of that novel is to honor the men and women who keep us safe and to serve as a fictional example of how we should deal with evil. That answer is with Love, by the way. I write for the local newspaper. But the articles I write tell the story of the local community in a way that honors and encourages us all. I write for The Magill Review but I write to bring a different perspective that goes much deeper than what we would find in any mainstream news publication. I accept invitations to do guest articles on friend’s sites. But that Abby invited me in and gave me the run of the place. Sometimes smart people do dumb things. Ha Ha!

I am still the same fun loving guy that is documented in the stories above. But now the lenses that I view the world are colored by love. Yes, I still like my music loud and inappropriate. Yes, I am prone to an off color comment in the wrong company. I do get a kick out of the look I get when I say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong people. I don’t enjoy the elbow from my wife and her reminder that I am out of control. But I can’t help if people don’t get my extremely sarcastic, gallows worthy humor. I built a reputation and an aviation career on the fact that if you give me an inch, I will take a mile.

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I will leave you with this. When you come across the guy or gal who doesn’t quite fit in with what is going on in your world. Don’t be surprised if they throw out an unsuitable comment that hangs in the air like a floater in the punch bowl. Just redirect them like you would your five year old. But sometimes you can’t stop a guy like me because his mission to bring a shot of reality to your life. There is a chance that he is doing it because he likes rattling the cage or maybe he is doing it because he wants you to have a greater appreciation of your husband. In either case, never let him know he is irritating you because that is the best form of encouragement. Sometimes all you can do is accept him because even a knucklehead needs love and acceptance. And sometimes, your example can teach that knucklehead to love and accept others. We are all works in progress and when given a chance, that scoundrel might turn into someone that you can trust when life veers off the tracks and will surprise you with a wonderfully positive outlook when times are tough.

I want to thank Abby for the invite and access to all you wonderful folks. Once again she proves that she is a lady that walks the walk. At my heart, I am a writer of fiction. One of the stories I told is 100% true and the other is complete fiction created at 01:30 AM. Choose wisely.

On my site, I always sign off with this phrase: Until next time, keep on rockin. I truly hope there is a next time because I have enjoyed the trip behind the curtain. I hope you did too. Faith, Hope and Love to all.


I think Rob’s article was the most interesting of all my guest posts…if that’s the right word. 😉 Actually, I really enjoyed the fact that he took the more humorous point of view. Again, we see another take on blogging, and we get some good advice: Write for others. Josh said this same thing in his article. Notice the beauty of writing? Josh said it one way while Rob said it another, both made a good point. We are here to love and serve one another. Your blog should be no different even if the themes are as diverse as the guest posters I’ve featured this month. Thank you for reading. Next week I’ll answer the question as our last article on the issue.

Check out the other Guest Posts here:

Heather FitzGerald

Deanna Brown

Raelea Hiller

Josh Magill