It is a phenomenon we can all relate to. Look at a picture of yourself from 10 years ago or watch yourself on video from 8 years ago, and I am sure you might have a reaction such as this: What was I thinking?
You assess what you were wearing, how your hair looked, and how you sounded and compare it to your present state. More often than not, we criticize the earlier version of ourselves.
I do this for my professional pursuits as well. Social media posts I have published, graphics I have created, and communications I sent out in 2013 sure look a lot worse to me in 2018 than they did back then.
The same can be said about a certain hobby of mine—blogging. Today I celebrate my seventh anniversary of Don’t Blink on brentreser.com. Out of the 1,458 posts I have written over the years, I went back to the first one I posted on May 14, 2011.
It was pretty scary.
My first ever blog post was the stereotypical “I am now writing a blog and this is why” bore fest. But before I could even write a word, I had already started off rough by the title I decided to give it. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I titled it “My Coming Out Party.”
Of course my intention was just to write about how I was beginning a new blog but I ignorantly (but not intentionally) used a term that is mostly reserved for people revealing their sexual orientation. But in my defense, back in the day, a “coming out party” was used to announce that someone was bursting out onto a scene, whether it be in an industry or sporting league. Nevertheless, the title has not aged well and doesn’t describe accurately what I was writing about.
I then started actually writing, and it wasn’t very pretty. However, I will give myself credit: I was honest.
“I have marginal writing skills. Sadly, those marginal writing skills have deteriorated over the two years since I have graduated from college. I apologize to everyone in advance for this. When I read the blogs of other people I always marvel at the tremendous voice they are able to express in their posts. Through time I hope my voice shines through just like some of the bloggers I admire. This, I hope, might help cover up my less than perfect writing skills.”
Besides my frank evaluation of where I stood as writer, I managed to use my first blog post to push my Twitter account, mention that I enjoy gambling, enter into a tangent about journaling, and manage to convey nothing of real substance.
As I look back on that post 2,555 days later, I have the same reaction that I have when I look at a photo of myself with braces and shoulder length hair. I think a portion of it is psychological—we are just naturally wired to judge our past selves more harshly than our current selves. But I also like to think that some of my ire toward my debut blog post is justified in the sense that I have actually improved as a writer.
By continuing to write and read on a daily basis, I have expanded my capacity to write content that people actually want to consume. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a knack for producing some Don’t Blink duds, but I think my persistence has paid off and led to other writing opportunities beyond my blog.
To my most loyal blog readers who have been with me for 7 years—thank you! It has been a fun ride. Although I might not write as much as I used to, I will continue to connect with you as time and life allows. I appreciate you putting up with me. Don’t Blink.