Tell me a story

What makes a blog post great? Tell me a story.

Don’t try to make me to “Like” your post. Don’t optimize your prose for search engines. Don’t spend time trying to pick a pinnable feature image for your post.

Just tell me a story.

It doesn’t even have to be a great story. As I reboot my writing life here on this blog and elsewhere, I know I’m going to tell my share of just “ok” stories. The most important thing that makes a story a story is that it’s real.

What’s real? Real is what you, the writer, make it.

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An Explorer’s Heart

I had big plans for this first post. I, the good dutiful student that I have always been at heart, planned to analyze the first blog posts of five of my favorite bloggers, comment on how their first posts hinted at the bloggers they would become, and reflect on what I can learn from them for my own blog.

Then, life happened.

Boston has been through hell and back this week. On Monday, the Boston Marathon was bombed, killing three people and injuring approximately 180 others. On Thursday, pictures of the suspects were released to the media. By the very early morning hours of Friday, there was a full-scale manhunt underway, just miles from my apartment, with explosions, gun fights, SWAT teams, home searches, and an 18-hour lock down for 1 million people in Boston and the surrounding suburbs. There are only a couple other times in my life that I recall being that anxious for that sustained of a period. The manhunt ended with the successful capture of the second suspect, which eased much of Boston’s immediate anxiety, but for everyone who’s lived this week, but I don’t think we’ll ever be exactly the same as we were before 2:50pm on Monday.

I’ve already been dealing with a lot of crap in my life lately. And then the bombing and manhunt happened. And I think I realized that the most important thing that I can do right now, through all of the crap, is to keep exploring.

Why exploring? Because exploring encapsulates both bringing a sense of adventure to everything that you do, and having a keen eye of observation turned to the world so you can absorb what the world has to teach you. It’s so easy to get downhearted and judge everything as terrible and horrible. But with an explorer’s heart, I can say, “There is something for me to learn here,” and use that to keep going even when things are so very tough.

I created this blog a month ago and this is my first post just now. I’ve realized that I can’t wait for the perfect time and place and conditions to start. Things will never be perfect and, for the foreseeable future, things might not even be good. The most I can do is soak up what the world has to offer and try to see the wonderful stories in everything that happens, such as my friend Mr. Rogers’s great words, “Look for the helpers.” Mr. Rogers continues, “I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

I am joyously looking forward to sharing my explorations with you.