Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why a Blog?

Many people ask me why I started a blog, so thought I would share that journey today.

I first had a journal that I used as a pool diary.  You know, what we used to write down on paper?  I kept the journal with me and would write in that after my tourneys.

Then I decided to move up in the (digital) world and started to journal my thoughts online.  However, it was a private blog and so no one even knew about it but me.

I did eventually tell a few close friends and they wanted access to it, why I do not know, but I gave them rights to view it.  Back in the day (10 years ago) I only really blogged the recaps of my tournaments - who I played, what happened, how I felt, etc. 

A few years later, I was getting such a great response from those friends, they suggested I open it to the free world!  It was quite the step for someone who was really only using it as an online diary of tournament recaps for myself.  I was extremely apprehensive.

When I finally had the guts to click that "not-private" button in my blog settings, it then "unlocked" all my past entries too, so I had to go back through past blog entries and either remove names or give players a nickname.  For instance, to Turtle 1 or Turtle 2.  Or how about the guy who kept a tape measure on his belt even while he played?  He was nicknamed 'Tape Measure Guy' in my blog, lol.

I would eventually learn that I was fine with using someone's name if it was something I would say directly to the player/friend/opponent in person.  I hardly ever talked bad about anyone, but the few times I vented or the few times I shared a tourney encounter, I would be cognizant of others and just not use names or even nicknames anymore.

About 5 years into writing on my online blog, I was working on an instructional website project with a friend I met through the AZB forums.  After awhile, he would say things like, "I read your blog entry today.  You allude that your Mom is sick.  What does she have?"

I shared with him that she had advanced emphysema.  Turns out his Mom had it as well.  And then he suggested I open up more in my blog and share the personal side of myself.  Make it more human.

Here is what he said, which really propelled my persona online:

"No one can tell anyone how to write. After getting the technical skills down everything else must come from within. I think you've progressed nicely on both counts.

Observation (not criticism) No. 1. My favorite post is the one about Lisa Marr's tattoos.  In many ways I feel I now know more about Lisa Marr than I know about you through your blog.

My definition of journey would encompass everything you see on the trip. Not just everything you see on the pool table.
With your blog you have a "hi, how are you, let's have a drink" type of relationship with your readers. Obviously people who know you know much more.  You definitely don't cross a certain line with your personal life.  That's a choice - there's nothing wrong with it.  But as your blog/discussion evolves, the next step really is to start tiptoeing across that line.  I think you wouldn't mind it, it just isn't something that comes natural right now.
I'm not saying you're not giving enough personal details.  It's not the details; it's how you're telling the story.  You're not telling it from your heart.  You're telling it from a safer (to you) place. "

I heard his words, but I was still extremely apprehensive for some reason.  But, he has a way with words and is quite compelling as you can see above lol.

Reading this now, makes me wonder why?  I talk about SO much now and really don't hold back anymore, and actually love that, so what the hell was I thinking back then lol.

But like with most things in life, it morphed through baby steps.  First I had my foot barely nudged in the door, letting out a few personal things I was going through. Then I pushed opened the door a little more and was telling every day stories I was witnessing in the pool halls, and also shared even more of my life.

I received a lot of positive feedback for showing all various aspects of my pool journey, and eventually the door flung open past it's hinges.

I actually strive to blog 12-15 times a month, which is quite unheard of.  I am pretty sure I'm the only pool blogger that keeps an up-to-date blog, which is the number one complaint about blogs. 

I have won a couple of awards for my blog which is SUPER cool and I never imagined that would or could happen (OR that there was that type of award).

But prolly the coolest is when someone tells me randomly that they enjoyed a certain entry, bring up my blog at a tourney, or more so, when someone shares with me that what I wrote helped them with their pool game or in a tourney.  That's one if the main reasons I keep blogging....to help others.

I now write about anything and everything.  Everything is up for discussion.  Whether tourney recaps, instances that occur in a tournament, something upsets me, things I learn from, something I read that relates to competing, tips I share, stories I hear, leadership aspects, personal reflections, etc.

People actually may find themselves written about in my blog.  Names withheld of course.  I hardly use names at all anymore.  It's the story behind the name, not who was involved in the lesson or turmoil or funny story.

One side note.  I think my blog actually helps me compete.  I write about so many tips (new and past learning experiences), that writing them down actually helps in my competitions.

Ironically, blogging is prolly the best part of my pool journey.  You see, I didn't start blogging after I won titles, but when I didn't even know what 3-ball shape was or could barely get "into the money" in tournaments.  Heck, my nickname back then was "one-out-of-the-money Melinda" for years.  Yet, I was still writing about my pathetic matches and wondering why I play this game lol.

So, to have written about my journey from day one into a "someone" in the pool world is pretty dang cool to me.  I'm so glad I finally opened up my private blog, then started to make it more personal, and then really let the flood gates open with all the different topics. 

One of my favorite joys in life is this blog.


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