When I started blogging, with a old and defunct platform Greymatter, in 2002, blogging was this new and fascinating thing. I could have a website… and I could update it semi-regularly about my life… and it would be exciting!
By 2004, after I’d realized that Greymatter was absosmurfly terrible, I installed Moveable Type on my server. It was Perl-based, and I couldn’t get it to run. A friend’s blog post on Moveable Type mentioned another platform, WordPress, and though he wasn’t using it he had heard good things. I downloaded WordPress — version 1.2! — and installed it, imported my Greymatter posts, and I quickly discovered that it was so much easier to create blog posts with WordPress. Greymatter felt like work just to write something. WordPress didn’t get in my way.
I blogged for a long time. There was a three-year stretch where I blogged every single day. I won’t say that what I wrote on any given day was worthwhile, I won’t say there weren’t days where I had no idea what to write, but I wrote something new every day.
Three things happened, and taken together I lost a lot of interest in blogging.
First, the landscape of personal blogging changed. By 2010-1, much of what used to be fodder for personal blogs had moved to Facebook and Twitter. You didn’t need a blog, you just needed a Facebook profile. I saw many friends who blogged move away from blogging to Facebookery and Twitterpations. When the audience moved away to Facebook and Twitter, it made sense to follow the audience, but that also meant that blogging felt… less important.
Second, I was emotionally and creatively burned out. I may or may not discuss this in greater depth as time goes on. Suffice it to say, I reached a point where writing more blog posts simply didn’t enthuse me, and there were other things I needed to, wanted to, had to expend my mental energies on.
Third, my hosting company was bought by another company, they moved their servers to new hardware, and there was an accident that resulted in a rollback of my WordPress database to a state about six months previous. I hadn’t made a back-up of my data in about a year, and those posts were gone. That’s the thing about having a self-hosted WordPress install, as I do; you have to perform routine maintenance on your site, like keeping WordPress and themes up-to-date or making back-ups of posts and comments. I was lax, and I got burned.
Taken together, these things made me question why I had a blog. A website, that I could understand. I should have a personal website; I have a writing career, such as it is. But a personal blog? Was that as necessary?
The thing that kept me going, intermittently though it might be, was WordPress itself. I like the platform, and I especially like digging into PHP code. I’ve written some plugins, like one that renders dates in the format used by Hobbits, I’ve worked on custom themes for clients, and I like working on themes for myself. (Currently, my website is using a child theme I made for WordPress.com’s Apostrophe theme. The child theme is about eighty percent of the way to what I want, and I’ll finish it when the WordPress.org version of Apostrophe is released.)
This blog, The Chronicles of Awesome, is an attempt to kickstart my blogging engine. I want to see if there’s any life in the old and grizzled blogger. Perhaps I’ll find new purpose. Perhaps I’ll even discover a new focus. Or perhaps, when all is done, I’ll smile and say, “This was fun.”
Rather than do this Blogging 101 on my main blog, I’m doing it here, as a separate thing, not because I feel like it’s less important or should be hidden (since my intention is to roll these posts into my blog when all is said and done) but because the expectations are different. This is a virgin blog, there’s nothing here. The weight of thirteen years of blogging with Greymatter and WordPress isn’t weighing this down. In other words, there are no preconceived notions with The Chronicles of Awesome. That’s actually freeing. I can just write and not worry about it.
After all of that prelude, who am I?
My name is Allyn. I’m a writer.
I get paid to write about comic books and toys. Sometimes I get to write about things that interest me, sometimes I have to feign interest into something I am indifferent to or simply dislike. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes, the work environment isn’t the best; honestly, I could use more sunlight at my desk.
When I blog, I write about things like books and movies and politics and baseball. Whatever is on my mind, really.
There’s more to my story than that, and some of it can be found on my website, but, for now, those are the important points.
Let’s get this show on the road and start adding entries to The Chronicles of Awesome. 🙂