"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
May 1, 2012

Freedom Is Blogging

I’ve been blogging on and off since 2001 and without fail every month since late 2004. I’ve blogged my way through three international relocations and a complete career change of direction. Blogging helped me land my first professional photographic assignments and my first newspaper writing gig. Blogging has given me opportunities to speak at events […]

I’ve been blogging on and off since 2001 and without fail every month since late 2004. I’ve blogged my way through three international relocations and a complete career change of direction. Blogging helped me land my first professional photographic assignments and my first newspaper writing gig. Blogging has given me opportunities to speak at events and opened doors into the worlds of PR, Fashion and Food that would otherwise have stayed shut. And, blogging has brought scores of wonderful people into my life who have been friends, teachers, entertainers and role-models to me.

Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear

One of my all-time favourite bloggers, Hugh MacLeod has a new book coming out Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear. I’m really glad to see Hugh emphasising the importance of blogs. As he puts it,

“Having a blog, a voice, having my own media, utterly chan­ged my life. Sud­denly my career as a car­too­nist wasn’t depen­dent on other peo­ple: the “gate­kee­pers”?—?publishers, edi­tors, Holly­wood exe­cu­ti­ves, etc., etc.

Sud­denly I had direct con­tact with my audience. They had direct con­tact with me. I could just do my thing, without having to wait for some­body else to give me the “green light,” some­body else to write a check. I didn’t have to wait around for some­body else to deem me “worthy” …

This gave me the free­dom I spent most of my adult life searching for, the same free­dom I believe we’re ALL searching for, in one way or another.”

My Blogging Map

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve recently gone through all 1642 posts on this blog, which is a body of writing that stretches back to October 2004. It was an amazing experience to go back and see the way my writing, my focus, my interests and my attitudes have changed and evolved over these years.

Four things have remained constant for me. They are the reasons I got into blogging and they still guide my blogging today.

Self-Publishing – When I created my first websites in the mid-nineties, my academic environment considered me crazy and, not in a good way. They really feared the internet. But, it became clear, over the next few years as blogs emerged, that a revolution had begun in publishing. Blogging is the freedom to express your own ideas and experiences in your own words and in your own way.

Education – Blogging is at the heart of a change in the way we learn. Not just academic or formal education, but the way we learn about everyday things, like cooking a meal, fixing a bike or being a better parent. Whenever a blog catches my eye (and I start reaching for the subscribe button), it’s because the blogger is sharing something they have learnt, or offering me the opportunity to learn.

Authenticity – Blogs are a great way to combine our work and love, or as Robert Frost put it, our vocation and our avocation. That’s one of the biggest struggles in life. To be authentic both to who we are and who we want to be. For me, blogging has been the road to finding my own voice, as a writer, photographer and musician.

Accountability – I started out in the company of a lot of bloggers who were writing about faith and spirituality. There was a sense of community, connected to a desire to become a better person. I see that sense of community all over the blogosphere in bloggers who encourage each other to become better photographers, cooks, musicians, marketers, entrepreneurs, designers or writers.

The Long Road

I often thought about giving up during 2008-09. But, blogging had given me so much in the early years and has given me even more in the years since.

A blog says so much more than a massaged LinkedIn page or thousands of frantic tweets could ever manage. A blog carries far more weight than a business card or the best introduction you’ve ever had.

Apart from comments and tweets, this blog brings me hundreds of emails a year. Those emails have brought me business opportunities, but, more importantly, they have helped me connect with and be inspired by countless stories of creativity and courage.

The Blogger’s Goal Gold

Blogging isn’t just about “having your say,” it is a way of being in the world. Blogging allows us to think in public, to inspire each other and to built up a public and recognisable identity through our words and our work.

I was kind of amazed looking over my old blog posts. There’s a lot of useful stuff. Easily enough for a book on creativity, a portfolio of film, theatre and concert reviews or an eBook on photographic techniques.

I look at this blog as a story; my life told my way. But it’s also a resource, a treasure of work and experiences. And, the blog sustains a community who help me remain positive, authentic and committed to being the best version of me I can be.

bookjunkie 12 years ago

What a beautiful post about blogs. I too appreciate the direct connection with the audience. And being your own editor. No middleman as such and it’s your voice out there.

I love the way you write. Wish I could write half as well. There’s a rhythm to your style. Must be because you’re a musician 🙂

Kevin@OutOfYourRut 12 years ago

I’m right there with you Fernando! Blogging is a way for the average person to join the information super highway, in a way we could never be heard in the mainstream media. I’m blown away by the fact that I make money doing it too.

There aren’t many opportunities like blogging for everyday folks, and I’d encourage anyone to give it a try, stay with a while and see where it leads. You really never know. Guest blogging on established sites is how I got my start, and I’d never written anything that had ever been published before! Now they pay me to do it.

But apart from money, I really enjoy the feeling of making a difference. When your writing stirs people to make comments in response, you know you’re getting somewhere.

I expect to be blogging for the rest of my life. And that’s another factor–every phase of life creates new subject matter…I guess you can say that blogging is as dynamic as life itself.

Fernando Gros 12 years ago

Hey Bookjunkie – thanks! There must be a crossover, between writing and music, since both skill depend on expressing ideas in phrases and rhythms.

There is a book called Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams, which has really helped me. Williams shows how the structuring, word order, length of sentences and style of punctuation can shape the clarity and impact of our writing. Style is a book I re-read every two to three years. In fact, it’s sitting on my “to-read” pile right now.

Fernando Gros 12 years ago

Kevin, I agree. Many, perhaps most, of my favourite bloggers are people who would have really struggled to get heard in the old media model. That includes some truly amazing artists. It used to be those who can, do. Those who pass the media gatekeepers get to do stuff in the public realm. Now, it’s those who do, can. Blogging opens doors!

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