Blog Life,  My Story

Why a website?

Hello World. Readers. Internet.

However you happen to have come across my website/this post, I thank you: for taking the time to click, and hopefully to read on. It’s all quite exciting, sat here writing my first post, hopefully connecting on a deeper level and starting a conversation with people who’ve followed me on social media for a while – or perhaps entirely new faces.

Stephen J Proudman - Welcome to my New Blog
Welcome to my New Blog

But why a website? Didn’t blogging die out in the days of dial-up? Isn’t it too much to expect people to read a whole post, rather than just scroll mindlessly through retina-assaulting squares with witty captions? Well, that last point, particularly, illustrates why I think blogging is just as important as ever, if not more so.

A picture can say a thousand words.
But does it always?

So much of the content that we spend time looking at – aspiring to, comparing ourselves against, trying to emulate – is just that: ‘content’. Something to gaze at as we while away our valuable spare minutes. Content without context has become so pervasive that it’s scary to realise just how much time we waste on it. ‘Social’ Media, ironically, seems to have eroded meaningful human engagement, to the point where close friends are simply a subsection of Instagram followers, and DMs are considered going above and beyond.

Social Media: A blessing and a curse

Now, I’m not completely decrying the internet, or even social media. There are times when we all need some light relief (particularly in 2020, ey?), and to stare at somewhere beautiful, imagining ourselves there. Technology has smashed physical barriers and made the world smaller with almost anything we need a few taps away. But I feel it’s important to balance time spent scrolling with time actively being informed or broadening our world view. And that’s something a pretty picture can’t always do alone.

Can we not say so much more on things we care about in well-written, considered pieces than in a video-story or TikTok (don’t get me started)? Different subjects suit different media, so why not use a combination? Whether we’re learning a new skill, discovering the experience of someone different to ourselves, or discussing our thoughts about the world, let’s make our time online mean something.

Over the last few years, I’ve experimented with photography and video as hobbies, also picking up skills through my career. These are interests I’m passionate about, and after experiencing a surge in following on my own social channels, I’m keen to build on them, but I also wish to complement them with this blog and then bring together everything I do in one central location.

Words, words, words

I’ve also always loved writing. Cliche, I know. That old “I’ve wanted to since before I could tie my own shoes!” line. But honestly, it’s true. I was scribbling down stories, poems and sketches as early as the age of 6. I remember vividly directing a group of fellow Year 2 Students in a performance of Ozzy the Octopus: a play I’d stayed up all one night to write, and that I also starred in as the titular cephalopod (obviously). A year or so later, I was handing out stapled first editions of a sci-fi “book” I’d written and ‘self-published’ with my trusty Lexmark inkjet, each copy gradually fading in saturation and eventually available only in black and white as the cartridges squeezed out the last drops of extortionately-priced ink.

Mrs Wilson, a teacher I was particularly fond of, told me early on that she knew she’d one day read something with my name on the cover. That assertion, despite many fluctuations in my aspirations, has always come back to me and rung clearly in my head. Words seem to come easy to me – rolling off the tips of my fingers and into the computer. I derive great joy from seeing something I’ve brought into existence reflected back at me so quickly, without even having to leave my chair. True, I love the traditional, reflective feel of pen on paper, but it is 2020, and I’m also one of those people that saves my notebooks for “special” occasions and masterpieces that never quite seem to come (one day, for sure).

Blogging 2020 style

Just doing it

Despite my love of wordsmithery, I’m also a master of procrastination, and a perfectionist and self-saboteur to boot. Take this blog, for instance: I bought the webspace, set it up, started writing and then…

Was it good enough? Would anyone read it? Is this going to help my long-term career? Questions and doubts engulfed me, and I convinced myself I wasn’t ready. It wouldn’t work. There was no point.

Two month’s worth of hosting payments left my dwindling bank account, and I still couldn’t buck up the courage to get going. Well, it’s finally time to say “To hell with that”. If not now, when? Whether it works or it doesn’t, here goes nothing. I can’t learn by waiting. If I never publish anything, I’ll definitely never have an audience. What’s the worst that can happen?

I’d like to think I have a lot to give in terms of my “story” – how I got to where I am, the twists and turns in my relatively young but exciting career and how I’ve dealt with some of the obstacles I’ve faced. So, stay tuned on the blog to hear more. And don’t forget to keep up with my adventures over on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, too.

Here’s to enjoying it together.
Steve

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