About The Blog
I’m exploring something new. I’m going on a journey to figure some things out. Hop along for the ride, and you can explore too. Explore what you really want to do. Maybe even push yourself to be more literary (like I’m working on). Whatever it is, it’s a journey we can embark on together.
I’ll even try to make it entertaining for you – or at least worth reading.
So what’s this all about?
Nick Offerman is an actor. He plays one of my favorite characters, Ron Swanson, on one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation. Ron Swanson is a Libertarian who hates the government, despite the fact that he is a government worker. He loves everything old-school masculine, including woodworking, bacon, steak, and women named Tammy.
The character of Ron Swanson is wildly entertaining, and is always great for a laugh on that show. He has emerged as the show favorite – whenever I mention the show, somebody has a Ron Swanson quote to deliver.
To be Ron Swanson, it seems like Nick Offerman has only a couple things he has to do: grow a nice mustache and deliver the lines that he’s given. The character is not a “thinking man’s” character – he’s mainly a punchline, or there to give series lead Leslie Knope some life advice.
In an October 2012 interview with Nick Offerman in The Believer, Offerman was asked this question about the idea of Ron Swanson being elected president of the United States:
“Who would his inaugural poet be?”
“Probably himself. Or Wendell Berry. I think Ron would be a big Wendell Berry fan.”
This is a throwaway joke. The interviewer and Offerman are just riffing around a little bit. And yet, this statement, pretty early on in what turned out to be an awesome interview, stuck with me and hung around in my brain for a while.
My reaction: This is a guy who acts for a living. He plays a purely emotionally-driven character on a funny-but-not-all-that-deep TV show on a major broadcast network. And yet, he’s joking about poetry and literature – and I have no idea what he’s talking about.
Nick Offerman has no need to be well-read at this stage of his life. And yet, he appears to be incredibly educated, particularly in classic literature and poetry.
I sit in my office as I write this, glancing up at the diploma on my wall, which says that I have a degree in English. Who’s Wendell Berry? Why haven’t I read and appreciated fine works of literature?
Setting Myself Up for Failure
I’m an entrepreneur. I am a freelance writer. I work from home, and I dream of having a strong following of fans of my work. But I haven’t been reading, nor have I really been writing.
Oh, I feel like I’ve been reading. I read historical nonfiction, mainly. I love history. But I haven’t been reading things that challenge me or expand my brain. I don’t know the classic works of literature. I don’t know any poets. I’ve been entertaining myself, but I haven’t been teaching myself.
And writing? I’ve had blogs before. I ran a ‘90s nostalgia blog. I ran an aimless advice blog. My last one was centered around advice with a superhero theme.
But I keep losing interest in writing. I’m just spitting out random pieces of advice instead of getting introspective. I worry more about branding than about the quality of the work I’m putting out.
So I’ve got two goals with this blog:
Learn to Read Again
I’ve built a list of classic pieces of literature that I’ve never touched. I haven’t read The Grapes of Wrath or Catcher in the Rye. I haven’t been challenged by the works of Tolstoy and Camus. I haven’t pushed myself to be better.
So I’m going to read. I’ll use some online study guides (like SparkNotes) to guide me a bit, and I’m going to pore over these works of literature. As I move through them, I’ll share my thoughts here in a few posts. The comments will be open, and you’re more than welcome to join me on this journey.
I’m trying to expand my horizons and keep my brain sharp. I want to be well educated, and a college degree doesn’t mean that I am. So I’m going to work on it publicly.
Learn to Write Again
This isn’t about being entertaining. It’s not about being inspiring. It’s not about anything other than the craft and art of writing.
Online, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Again, I haven’t challenged myself. I’ve pigeon-holed myself into different brands, perspectives, and approaches, but I haven’t pushed myself within those boxes. As a result, the writing I’ve pumped out has been largely sub-par. Even boring at times.
So I’m taking myself out of the box. Here, I’m going to write about whatever I please. If something interesting happened in my life, I’ll write about it. If there’s a piece of advice I feel like the world should know about, I’ll write about it. If I see something funny or weird, I’ll write about it. If I want to rant about something, I’ll write about it.
I’m taking the blinders off and making myself follow one simple rule: make it worth writing about.
It’s got to have some kind of value – even if it’s just something fun to read for a minute or two. It might get personal, it might get weird, but it has to be worthwhile. That’s all I want.
I am not here to be a blogger. I’m not here to be an expert. I’m not here to be a guru.
I’m here to be a writer.
No launches. No branding. Just writing.
Instead of getting seven steps ahead of myself and trying to figure out how I’m going to make a buck off my writing, I’m just going to work on writing the best damn content I can write, as often as possible. If something comes out of it, great. If not, that’s fine too.
This is about my growth – and hopefully yours along the way, if you join me. Either way, thanks for stopping by.