It feels weird to say it, but ten years ago, I started this blog. At the time, I didn’t know why I wanted to start a blog or what I was going to do with it. I just knew that I was serious about writing. So, I did what any aspiring writer in 2011 would do if they wanted to reach a large audience — I set up a WordPress site, I shelled out for a fancy domain and I forgot about the whole thing for several months. Then, in the fall of 2011, I came back around to the project and started a posting frenzy. Within a year, I had posted a staggering 76 blogs.
My output has slowed significantly since those wild, experimental early days when I would post literally anything that was on my mind. I wrote about my writing process, about my struggles with motivation and procrastination, about major milestones in my life, and the minutiae of daily existence. No topic was too broad or too small to avoid being beaten over the head with a hackneyed metaphor (okay, I still do that). It wasn’t earth-shattering, but I was having fun with it.
A few people commented. A handful of people subscribed. Everything was going well.
Then, in the spring of 2012, I returned from a weeklong trip to Guatemala. My post about the experience, Guatemala in the Rear View Mirror, was selected by WordPress for its Freshly Pressed feature on their homepage, which brought thousands of people to my site. That single post was viewed more than 3,600 times and as a result, hundreds of people subscribed (and many of them stuck around, much to my amazement). I was surprised and elated.
Like any 15 minutes of fame, my time in the spotlight didn’t last long. It was an experience I may never repeat, but it taught me that people were hungry for the kinds of things I write about, so I kept it up. Even with that early boost, over time, I found myself blogging less and less. By 2018, I was only averaging four or five posts a year. Now, I feel like I’m back in the swing of things. I’m more confident in my writing and more established in my writing career. Much of that success is thanks to the countless hours I’ve spent posting on this blog and to the encouragement of my readers.
I don’t think I’ll ever stick to a schedule as rigorous as the two or three posts a week I used to write on this site. I simply don’t have the time or the energy (and I’m sure my subscribers appreciate not being bombarded with dozens of notifications each month). However, I still find the practice of blogging to be beneficial. It gives me an excuse to flex my creative muscles and I still feel a twinge of excitement whenever I hit the publish button, knowing my words are reaching my small but mighty audience around the world.
Here are a few of the most popular posts from the past 10 years (most of them from the early days of the blog):
- The Best Birthday Resolutions Ever (Aside from the lofty headline, I have no idea why this post persists year after year.)
- An Examined Life: In Memory of Dr. Joel Olsen (An obit I wrote when an influential professor of mine unexpectedly passed away.)
- An Open Letter to Sherlock Holmes (A follow-up, An Open Letter to the Doctor, was not nearly so popular.)
- Why Do We Read Love Stories? (To this day, I have still not read Twilight, nor do I intend to.)
- 9 Things “How I Met Your Mother” Taught Me About Storytelling (Written shortly after the controversial finale, this post has had a remarkably long shelf life.)
- How Mickey Mouse Killed the Public Domain (It turns out that a lot of people are quite passionate about US copyright law. Who knew?)
I expect to be here in another decade, toasting to twenty glorious years of writing on this blog. I hope you’ll stick around for more thoughts on writing, travelogues, and whatever is interesting to me at the moment. Thanks for reading!
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Jonny Eberle lives in Tacoma, WA with his wife, three typewriters, and a puppy. His fiction has been featured in Creative Colloquy, Grit City Magazine and All Worlds Wayfarer. Read more of his short fiction, follow him on Twitter, and subscribe to his monthly email newsletter.