Every few days, I get an email from my retired stepfather. A normal person’s parents would email them, telling them about the goings-on of their now VERY OPEN schedule, talking about what’s new, maybe a movie they saw or some improvements they’ve made to the house, and then ask what I’ve been up to. But not mine. No, my stepdad combs the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and others for articles on issues he strongly disagrees with (or, on occasion, agrees with), pastes the link in an email, and types a solid 500-1000 word email worthy of any Op-Ed page. He sends it off to about 12 recipients (which include me, my sister, two stepbrothers, his mother, his best friend, and a few ex-coworkers), and then the discourse begins. The comments are great, the back and forth is fun to watch, and sometimes the emails get forwarded around to people we don’t know, coming back to all of us with long-winded debate-style responses. He loves it.
“Why don’t you turn these into a blog?” I asked him last week at dinner. At first he was 100% opposed to the idea, because, as tech-savvy as he is (he actually writes the emails on an iPad!), he seemed to have some misconceptions about what a blog actually was, or what purpose it served.
Many of you may also be under the impression that blogging is not for you. You may think of it as very public journal, and you won’t want your intimate thoughts exposed. You may (like my stepdad) be hesitant to publish your very controversial opinion without being able to limit your audience, and with the fear of being judged. Or maybe you don’t think your thoughts are interesting enough, or that you might run out of things to say.
I follow many (probably, too many) blogs on all different topics, in all different styles. But my favorites over time have been: people I know (or don’t know) living abroad and telling their experiences; non-professional chefs constantly experimenting with new recipes, blogs that update frequently with reviews of new tech products, blogs that constantly showcase gorgeous images of craft projects, and one particularly tragic, frank and honest account of a woman’s experience with the loss of her husband. Three years later and I am still with her on her journey.
That’s not to say that there’s no room for your words in the blogosphere. Your blog doesn’t have to be heavily opinion (or fact) based. You may choose to blog about your experiences as a UFO or entrepreneur, or single parent, or the challenges of being a husband-and-wife team, or raising a child with a disability while operating your own business. You could blog about your journey through weight loss, pregnancy, addiction recovery, recovery from an injury, training for a marathon, or anything ongoing that you feel others could gain something through reading. Blogging is also a fantastic and subtle way to showcase the UFO lifestyle without being too pushy (like we talked about in this article: Five Tips to Make Sure You Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Accounts).
Bottom line, if you have a message to share, why not share it? Worst case scenario, no one will read it, and that’s the same worst case scenario of keeping it to yourself. But you’re reading this blog, aren’t you? A week ago this topic was just a line of text on a legal pad. And as for my stepdad, I’m still wearing him down, but I’m pretty sure that since I’ve called him out publicly in this article, he’ll have no choice but to concede and make his political rants a regular fixture in the blogosphere.