A year ago on February 24th, I launched The Furry Bard with the post Telling the Story. It was a terrifying day for me – I had no idea if a single person would read it. If anyone did read my words, what they would think? Would they think I was an arrogant jerk for believing people would want to read my stories? Would they laugh at my pathetic prose and talk about how I need to spend some time learning the English language? Would they get mad at me and *gasp* defriend me on the Facebook? I was petrified when I hit the “Publish” button.
I did hit the button though. I did so because I always wanted to be a writer of some sort. I don’t know that I’ll ever make the New York Times Bestseller list, but I love telling stories. At age 34, I no longer wanted to wait for another day to start writing. I spent far too much of my life pursuing goals that I cared nothing about – the time had come for me to actually do something I have a passion for. So I decided not to worry about my fears and just start writing. I set a goal of writing 20 blogs in 12 months, and I sat down and captured my thoughts.
Then an amazing thing happened. People did read it. And they didn’t talk about how my grammar sucked (although I know it does). And only one person sent me a private message telling me I am a pompous a$$ that wants to feel important by writing stories no one cares about (yes, that did happen). With my fears unfounded, I discovered a delightful way to spend my free time.
Along the way, I learned some things too. Here’s a quick list of lessons I learned during my first year of blogging:
1. I can accomplish my goals: As I mentioned, I set a goal of 20 blogs. This blog will mark my 70th of the year. Holy crap. Looks like I was aiming low.
2. Blogging has made me a better dad: The simple fact that I always think about “the story” makes me so much aware of the relationship I have with my daughters. The fun times (like Daddy Daughter Day), the hard times, and the sweet times – all of these might have slipped by unnoticed if I wasn’t making an effort to capture the tales as they happen. Although their business idea of sleeping with people for money still gives me nightmares!!!
3. I am more fascinated by others: Being more aware of my own story made me so much more interested in the story of my coworkers, friends, family, etc. We all lead such interesting and varied lives – and I love finding out more about the people who I come in contact with.
4. I will never make a stupid promise again: Well, I probably just did make a stupid promise. But one promise I never should have made was to my in-laws in saying I would keep them out of the blog. Seriously, like 3/4 of my best stories involve the hillbilly in-laws. Like the one when my mother-in-law… nevermind. Or when Virgie… gah!!! Can I at least tell the one when Uncle Richard sent two little girls across the church with his fake leg to tell me he needed a ride home? No? Seriously people! If you know my in-laws, let them know you want to hear stories – you NEED to hear stories wherein they are the main characters.
5. Blogging has made me a better husband: If you have been reading the Furry Bard since the early days, you know the wifie is my main antagonist. From the most popular post of the first six months of the blog to her devastating blow to my Christmas dreams, she constantly shows up to foil my plans. But in real life, I have come to appreciate her much more these past 12 months. We haven’t always had the best marriage… when you are 21 year-old kids getting hitched whilst barely knowing each other, the road isn’t going to be very smooth. By examining our story and choosing things we are willing to share, we came to a much deeper appreciation of each other and the amazing life we have lived… even if I ruined it all by sharing the story of my monthly shopping trips.
6. I want to do this more: This might confuse you, as I already said I exceeded last year’s goal by 250%. Plus, I wrote enough words last year for a novel (no lie). I don’t necessarily want to do it more in terms of quantity. I just want to get better. A lot better. And I certainly want to be more consistent. I feel like half the time, my blogs are a mess that just happen to make someone laugh, and I know that I write so sporadically that some people don’t even check in anymore. I want to be more intentional.
I recently watched a video on a friend’s Facebook page and I thought it perfectly captured how I feel. You can watch it here (Note: the sound is kind of funky until the 30 second mark):
So expect more from the Furry Bard this year – much more!
7. I want to touch a life or two: This is the main reason I want to get better. I so deeply desire to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I mean, my whole career is tied up in trying to improve the lives of my students – I want them to feel valued and affirmed and brave and willing to take chances when they are in my classroom. But the truth is, I only have them for 5-10 months, one hour a day. I pour myself into what I do just hoping that they will see how much I care and it will change their lives for the better… but then they are gone, on to another grade or college and a busy life and I can only hope that the seed took root.
This blog is my chance to do the same with words. Even though my skills are not what they could be, I hope that people can sense the thirst I have for life and the passion I have for the stories we create each day. And if I get better, maybe those stories will be shared and spread and make a difference for someone, somewhere.
I hope you have enjoyed year one of the Furry Bard. I hope you’ll enjoy year two even more.