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So, it's ten years to the day that I committed to writing a blog entry every day of my life. And today's the day I'm ending that commitment.

What a ride it's been. And it's time to capture some observations of the experience...

About the writing

  • People have often asked me what inspired me to do this, and my response has evolved over the years—but at its core, it has to do with these three things:

    • I thought it would be neat to have a record of my life, so that when I got Alzheimer's (or that devastating brain cancer), I could look back, read, and think (while I could), "Wow, what a fun guy. Wish I'd've known him." (No shortage of ego in that.)

    • One is not a writer unless one writes, so what could be better than writing every day, or striving to, at least?

    • Since I've done technical writing—which is pretty dry writing for the most part—for most of my work life, I wanted a creative writing outlet, which I've definitely found in blogging.
  • For a long time, I said, "I've blogged every day of my life for the last x years," until one day a pedant challenged the accuracy of my claim. So, I changed my schtick to, "I have a blog entry for every day of my life for the last x years." This was to accommodate for the fact that sometimes I got a little behind, and I'd go back and write my blog entries for the days I missed. In spite of the means, I'm proud of the end.

  • When you make a commitment like this, it's got to be for you, or it isn't going to last. Don't get me wrong, I loved when someone commented about one of my entries—either electronically on my blog itself or talking to me in real life—but if I wrote only for only that, I'd've stopped a long time ago. At times, there were days, weeks, and even months—totally understandably—when no one commented at all.

  • It never ceased to amaze me that during the years when my entries were a blow-by-blow accounting of my day, several people found said accounting interesting enough to either read every day, or to "catch up" on when they had time. I always recognized—and appreciated—that as an affirmation of my writing.

  • In late 2011, I stopped publicly publishing my blog entries due to real life drama, but I continued to write them and publish them as private entries up until January 12, 2014.

  • My private entries became a lot less interesting to me in terms of my daily accounting, which is particularly interesting in the context of writing for oneself as opposed to writing for others, and it's probably what was the impetus for my eventual decision to stop writing daily entries. The fact that I stopped at exactly the 10-year mark, however, is attributable to my (un-debilitating, as of yet) OCD tendencies.

  • Even now, looking back on any entry, no matter how many years old it is, if I find a typo or grammar error in it, I correct it. That's what I do.

  • The day after my last entry, I was in orientation for a new job, and in introducing ourselves, we had the opportunity to "tell people something interesting about yourself," and I said, "I have a blog entry for every day of my life for the last 10 years. And yesterday was my last one—exactly 10 years to the day I started." One of the class facilitators asked, "Why'd you stop?" And the only answer I could come up with—trite as it is—was, "It was time."


About the challenges

  • With great openness, sometimes comes great scrutiny and concern:

    • When you make your thoughts and feelings public, they become eligible for public debate.

    • People got to know that if they were hanging out with me, they would probably end up in my blog, and sometimes their privacy concerns clashed with my lack thereof.

    • It's harder—or at least becomes more involved—to tell "little white lies" about what you did, when, and with whom when you're putting it all—or most of it—out there, right?
  • Sometimes I just didn't feel like blogging about my day. I mean, think about it—every single day for 10 years.

  • A couple of times over the years, it was—literally—difficult to post entries:

    • One example being back in October of 2008, when I was in China—and therefore blocked access to LiveJournal by the "Great Firewall of China"—and I had to rely on the kindness of a friend and fellow LiveJournal user, cpeel, to post entries on my behalf.

    • Another being those times when I was just not willing to pay for a wi-fi connection in a hotel or coffee shop.
  • Negotiating the ever-blurring lines between public space and private space as the Internet and social media evolved over the years was educational. A debate I particularly cherish was one with a BFF about whether pictures taken on public transportation are public or private.


About the joys

  • My "buscapdes" became a much-anticipated highlight of my blog for several years. I took public transportation to and from my job at NC State University for 5 years—at times on the "Wolfline" university buses, and at other times on the city buses, with the latter providing the best of blog fodder by far.

  • On a couple occasions over the years, someone told me that they were wondering where they were on a certain evening, so they checked my blog to see if they were in my blog entry for that day to help remember what they were doing.

  • After installing the "FEEDJIT" app that shows where people are accessing my blog from, I was often surprised—and always thrilled—at my limited, but worldwide, audience.

  • At one time, my blog was chosen as "Blog of the Week," which both tickled me and earned me a free t-shirt.

  • I like having a way to look back at all the movies I saw during those 10 years, with a link to the entry where I captured my thoughts and observations about the movies. Same with the theater.

  • Two of the most extraordinary things that happened in the ten years were described in these two blog entries:

    • How a complete stranger came up to me at the bus stop and asked me if I blogged about riding the bus. Read the entry...

    • You have to click on "Comments" link at the bottom of this entry after you read it to see the extraordinary part, which was a comment from a victim of a crime for which I was on the jury for. Read the entry...

It was a wild—and at times difficult—ride, but like all things involving discipline, challenges, and time, I feel a real sense of accomplishment having done it.

    Comments

    ( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
    e_musings
    Apr. 18th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
    will you be blogging now and then or has daily haiku-ing supplanted it? (It kinda has for me)
    dailyafirmation
    Apr. 18th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
    Yes...
    I hope to get blogging again soon. The first thing I want to do is catch up on several movies I've seen since I've stopped blogging—creating an entry on my thoughts and observations about them. I've marked them on my calendar, so I know which ones, and when, I saw them. :-)
    (Anonymous)
    Apr. 18th, 2014 06:14 pm (UTC)
    Kudos to you, my friend!
    While I was never a regular reader, the entries I read were always entertaining. Job well done. :) And I made two entries! ;) xxoo
    dailyafirmation
    Apr. 18th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
    Re: Kudos to you, my friend!
    Thank you! Was this Alex?

    Edited at 2014-04-19 02:32 pm (UTC)
    cpeel
    Apr. 18th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
    A couple of weeks ago a random coworker came up and asked me "So, are you not blogging anymore" which surprised me since I didn't know they read my blog (no one cares about your blawg!). At the time all I could think of was "geeze, Big Me never has this problem"!

    I've always enjoyed reading your blog when they were public -- doing so through my LJ Friends feed was always a part of my daily routine. I'm saddened to hear that you've stopped but my OCD highly approves of doing so on a nice round number. Perhaps this will free you up to do more creative writing in a more relaxed format. Or maybe just provide more time by the pool with a diet coke and rum!
    dailyafirmation
    Apr. 18th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
    Thanks, Casey!
    I do plan to keep writing on and off! And in other news, after 35 years, I've switched from drinking bourbon and diet coke to bourbon and (club) soda! So that's what I'll have by the metaphorical pool! :-D

    Thanks for your reading and commenting over the years!
    (Anonymous)
    Apr. 19th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
    Admiration
    Hey John, ... you're the real deal. I can say my own journey has not only been enhanced by knowing you, but the standards I hold myself to are raised every time I read your writings. So proud of you, friend.
    dailyafirmation
    Apr. 19th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
    Re: Admiration
    I appreciate this affirmation! Who posted it, please? (If you'd care to share.)

    Edited at 2014-04-19 02:32 pm (UTC)
    ( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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