Reflecting on Four Years of Blogging

What if no one reads my blog? What if someone leaves me a really mean comment? What if I’m criticized? What if my ideas are only interesting to me? What if this blog is a mistake? What if I just go to sleep, instead?

Four years ago today, those were just a few of the questions that shook every bone in my body as I sat in my bedroom with the lights off, in the wee hours of the morning, and started this blog.

I think back to that moment quite a bit. It’s a good one.

At no point in my life did the thought of starting a blog ever cross my mind, until a few days before I actually did. As weird as it sounds, it felt like something I had to do. As if the universe was pushing me in that direction.

And I’ll be honest, most of my life has been like that – where all of a sudden I feel compelled to do something I’ve never even thought about before.

Early on in this blog’s life, I was always so worried about every sentence, and every word, and every comma, and every semi-colon, and every little detail. It ate away at me as I put words on the screen. I would write three sentences and delete two and a half of them.

I felt like it had to be perfect, or someone would criticize me.

After a few months of being a “sports blog”, I reached a turning point.

It was the first September in about 18 years where I wasn’t going to be at school. I was missing it like crazy. My friends, my roommate, my late-night walks to McDonalds. Everything. You name it, I missed it.

I tried to convince myself to write about sports that night and just ignore this huge weight inside of me, but I couldn’t do it. So I talked myself into writing about missing school. It didn’t take long.

And that’s when I stopped caring about every single word, sentence, comma, semi-colon, and detail. That’s when I learned how to write from my heart.

If you want the secret, here it is.

I imagined that everything that was holding me back from being completely honest in my writing, was all stuck in my shoulders. So I shook my arms until I could feel the words exit through my fingertips.

That sounds extra cheesy and really lame, but it’s what I did. And if I’m honest, I still do it whenever I feel like I’m over-thinking the words I’m writing.

I figuratively strip myself of everything that is preventing me from saying exactly what I feel. Because once those restraints are gone, all that remains is my heart.

I knew as soon as I pressed “Publish” on “I Miss School, Already” that it was something special. And later that night when I received word from WordPress that it was going to be featured, my first reaction was, “Of course it is, it’s the first thing my heart narrated.”

That post connected with people in a way I wasn’t expecting. I had always thought the Internet was a mean place, where strangers fed off of your honesty and insecurities. I was fully expecting 80% of the comments to tell me to “Get over it” and “Stop whining about the past.”

I didn’t get that.

I showed people my heart and they showed me theirs. I couldn’t believe it.

I had people from different corners of the planet tell me I had saved their college experience. Say what?

It’s weird. I went from being afraid that no one would read my blog, to being afraid that I reached over 1000 views in a day. I was overwhelmed and my body was shaking constantly. That is not an exaggeration, trust me.

From that point on, I felt free. I felt like I could take my inner voice and put it directly on a computer screen without thinking twice.

I knew that if my intentions were good, then it wouldn’t matter what anyone commented on my blog. Fortunately, I figured out that WordPress is nothing like YouTube and people here are actually nice and supportive.

I started expanding the things I wrote about. All of a sudden I was writing about music, television, and food. Then I somehow started digging into poetry and fiction and completely random posts that I don’t even know how to explain.

Shoutout to Chef Paulo – a fan favourite, somehow.

As I got more comfortable with myself and the things I was writing about, people started following what I was doing.

I never knew I could make so many friends around the world without leaving my house. A lot of them were for a short period of time, while some have been a notification in my queue for years.

That sounded dirty.

I often say that blogging is like talking to yourself, and then realizing someone heard you.

There are so many rules about how to blog, and what to write about, and how to present your thoughts. I try not to follow any of them – it’s just not me.

I never know what I’m going to say when I sit down and write a blog post. I also don’t know when the words are going to come out. I just sit down with a topic and maybe one line that I wrote down on my phone, and go from there.

I can’t write half a post, walk away, and come back the next day and finish it. It has to be in one take. I can’t schedule a post three days in advance. I can’t plan ahead.

If I sit down to write and I feel like I’m forcing the introduction out of me, then I close my laptop and go to sleep. (I write in the middle of the night). Because if I have to force it, then the words aren’t ready to come out yet. That’s my philosophy.

I write until I’m satisfied. I don’t write until I hit a recommended word count. If I did, I’d press “Publish” and still feel “heavy” – this is what I call it when I don’t say everything I want to say. It’s like the words are still inside of me and are weighing me down.

“I feel heavy.”

Writing should be a release from that heavy feeling. That’s why when you read something written from the heart, you call it “heavy”. Makes sense, right?

I’ve written some posts, mainly poems, where I finish typing the last word and immediately start crying. That’s how I know I’ve written something special. That’s how I know every last word is out of me. And when I stand up, I feel so much lighter. It’s an incredible feeling.

I’m not here just to write random words. Everything has to mean something, whether I put smiles on faces, raised eyebrows on foreheads, or a proverbial arm around shoulders.

I’m not aiming for apathy on your end, or mine. If you’re going to read my blog, I’m going to try and make sure you walk away with something from it. I would hope you do the same.

This blog has given me so much and has taught me even more. It’s made me realize how powerful our words really are. We have the ability to say anything we want, all we have to do is put words in the right order.

When you do that, beautiful things happen.

And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

This post was featured on Discover on July 17, 2017.

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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206 Responses to Reflecting on Four Years of Blogging

  1. Wow, it’s so inspirational to read this. I just started my blog and I am a little scared, specially because I have no idea if people are going to like what I write. I am no writer, but I’ve always wanted to do this and now I am really inspired.
    Thanks for sharing this with the world!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hi Lily, welcome to WordPress! I know how you’re feeling, I was there too. It’s hard starting a blog. My advice would be to stay honest to yourself and write whatever you want to write. If one of your post doesn’t get a lot of views or likes, it’s only because you’re a new blog and people haven’t found you yet, not because no one likes it. So don’t let your stats page discourage you early on! Build relationships with other bloggers and slowly but surely you’ll get more comfortable with all of this. Best of luck!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing! I started my blog almost a year ago and I still find myself constantly putting off writing/fighting perfectionism/being insecure about the quality of my writing. It’s a process, I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It definitely is a process. The more you write, the more comfortable you’ll get – to the point where you’re not even thinking about writing, you’re just doing it. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mel says:

    Happy that you’ve found your voice, and following your passion for writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing blog and post keep it up. Since ur a former sports blogger come check out my blog Sports On Draft. Would appreciate it thank u!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Paul,
    I just read your blog through the featured blogs on discovery. First of all, congratulations for having your blog featured there. Secondly i just wanted to let you know how encouraged i am by reading your blog, writing from the heart is i think the best tip i have gotten so far and i will do my best to use it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is uncanny. I just wrote my first post about being a writer who doesn’t write – in part due to the strains of feeling that I need to stay strictly between the lines of a ‘niche’ topic. Even after posting it, I still felt reticent, thinking that somehow a blog that reflects the complexity of me is not enough. Your post has gone a long way in helping me fight back that feeling. Thank you for your help.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading this inspired me and made me want to run to my keyboard immediately. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m just starting a blog with my sister/best friend, and was at a bit of a loss as to what to write about. Your post helps. A lot.

    –Julia

    Liked by 1 person

  9. fosyed says:

    Reblogged this on Fo Syed and commented:
    This blog post talks about me. I still feel like what I’m writing isn’t good enough, so I keep erasing sentences and re-write again and sometimes in miss out important points that I wanted to write because of that.

    But i always write from my heart.

    I really loved these quotes:

    “I imagined that everything that was holding me back from being completely honest in my writing, was all stuck in my shoulders. So I shook my arms until I could feel the words exit through my fingertips.”

    “I often say that blogging is like talking to yourself, and then realizing someone heard you. ”

    “There are so many rules about how to blog, and what to write about, and how to present your thoughts. I try not to follow any of them – it’s just not me.”

    Like

  10. Pingback: Reflecting on Four Years of Blogging – Fo Syed

  11. Reblogged this on Anxiety&Me and commented:
    Brilliant

    Like

  12. Rio Abby says:

    Reblogged this on Amazing Things In My View and commented:
    I Gotta Keep Going

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rio Abby says:

    18 and inspired by you
    with love thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

      • No… Thank you for this post. Every paragraph resonated with me. I can’t seem to plan or schedule my articles. Sometimes the message ‘strikes’ me, and other times it’s been brewing for a while. Either way, I worry how it will be judged… how others may perceive it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Over time, that worry goes away. I can’t control what other people think of my writing, I can only control what I want to write. I figure, if someone has a problem with something I say, they can go write their own blog post about it.

        Like

  15. This is so inspiring! I have wanted to start a blog for so long, and couldn’t find the “niche” everyone said you had to have in order to blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! Yeah, don’t worry about finding a niche. The theme of your blog is you, which means you get to write about anything you want! I follow blogs for the blogger, not necessarily because I love their specific niche. Good luck to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Discover | The Captain's Speech

  17. sminoferio says:

    Yes that’s true, when I was a child I really want to become a writer or a food blogger, fitness blogger, and a travel blogger, its not easy i have a lot of what if also, because when you publish your blog a lot people will read on your blog or comment, on your blog,, im a afraid to critizie im afraid of negative comments, but one thing i learned is, negative comments or cirtize makes me inspired to write more. thank you for making us inspires more. god bless and more power to come.:0n

    Liked by 1 person

  18. barbganias says:

    I have not been at this blogging thing very long, but I think I needed this post. There are a few things that are so close to my heart that I fear writing about them, so I skirt around them. It may take a while before I muster the courage to go there, but maybe now I will. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jaimieweb says:

    This was really good article. Thank you for sharing this. I just started blogging a couple of months ago and I feel the way you felt 4 years ago. But you’re welcome right when you stop thinking about making it perfect, the words and inspiration just comes. I need more of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. crystal says:

    This was wonderful to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. maryammunir says:

    Truly inspirational… i think in any field you need patience, tolerance and keep on going attitude to make things work for you… criticism is a part of life and we just need to overcome it while moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Laura says:

    This piece was every bit as powerful as you described it to be. No wonder so many people have reached out to say it’s changed their lives. Bravo, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You have beautifully and honestly summed up my blogging experience so far. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but that feeling of a weight being lifted after finishing a blog post is certainly something I can relate to. I would be honored if you would take a look at my blog (mostly poems and short nonfiction so far, but it’s evolving in unexpected ways as yours has.) Look forward to reading more of your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Simon says:

    Like you I cant force things, if it wants to come out then it will, if not do something else. I love that you were so honest about crying at the end of some posts, I’ve done the same… and half way through … and … oh you get the idea. Anyway, just wanted to say: Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. hollyporter says:

    Thank you for sharing. Can completely relate to the feelings you felt, having started my blog nearly a year ago its fair to say I still struggle with deciding what to write or whether its good enough because of this idea we have behind blogging. I think I really needed to hear this to keep powering through knowing that it will get better! Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Tiny Rubies says:

    This a great piece – reading it has helped validate how I already knew I felt about blogging but have been too self-conscious to start acting on. My (current) blog is relatively sparse at the moment but I’m hoping to fill it with ‘posts from the heart’ over the coming years. I wrote a post today that you might be interested in, hope you enjoy it if you decide to give it a read: https://tinyurl.com/yasvf5dp.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Reading your first paragraph reminds me so much of me right now. I’m so consumed with if someone will like what I post or interested in the same topics. It should just be about writing what comes from the heart and it will eventually all come together. Thanks for this. Much needed advice.

    Like

  28. I really enjoyed this. I just started writing a blog myself and it was because I too had finished college while half my friends are still in it, and I’m stuck in this place where I don’t have anything I am too passionate about. So instead of worrying about it I decided to write a blog about whatever is in my head when I decide I want to write. It helps quiet the head and helps me fall asleep.

    Thank you for reminding me that it doesn’t matter what people think about my blog so much as I like it and am satisfied.

    *Shameless plug* “Passionless Millennial” is the name of my blog if you have time to maybe read and give me some tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Awesome. Exactly how I was when I started blogging – I wondered how on earth i would find enough topics to keep going, now Im finding that I can write fairly easily on a word. I’ve stopped feeling uncomfortable with how people view my work. Now I just need to work out how to add pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. misspixiie says:

    So true. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics but it’s about not being like everyone else. It’s about being yourself and letting your voice cones through. Sometimes I get so critical about a post and read and re-read and re-draft but it’s about learning from the imperfections and mistakes. Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Yuliya says:

    Thank you for this article! I am just starting out my blogging life, and I totally agree that writing should come from the heart, and can never be forced.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: Mardi 9h52 | Quand les mots refusent de se mettre en rang… – Tortue d'encre

  33. Assurance Aigbodion says:

    I think this post was written for me. I’ve created over five blogs and deleted them until I finally created this one. diamondsheart.wordpress.com
    Before creating that blog, I felt I’ve been writing Wikipedia articles and not blog posts. I discovered that blog posts have to be from your heart. I’ve been asking myself those questions James mentioned in his first paragraph. I’ll take James as my mentor as from now. Thanks for this post James.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Congrats! Just found your blog. Trying to learn from experienced bloggers. I love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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