For as long as I can remember, my mom has kept a journal. Sometimes, she wrote in her journal daily, oftentimes, she wrote in it every few days or whenever the mood struck her. On several occasions during childhood, my mom tried to get me to embrace the same habit. My first journal was more like a log. I divided pages of a composition book into rows and columns where I wrote what I did each day: “went to the park,” “watch tv,” “eat at McDonald’s,” etc. When Mom told me I needed to add more substance to my journal, I moved from a log to writing a short paragraph about what I did each day: “Today, I went to the park. We had lunch at McDonald’s. After that, I watched tv.” I still wasn’t grasping the concept of writing about my feelings and inner thoughts and I eventually gave up because I thought journaling was a pointless exercise.
As childhood morphed into adolescence, I wrote sporadically in journals or in Word documents, usually if I was going through a difficult time and wanted an outlet for my feelings, but I never achieved any consistency. I even started a few blogs as an adult, but none of them lasted very long. Thanks to Mom’s tutelage, my attention to detail and my voracious reading habits, I became a very good writer, but I was the last to realize I was a good writer; I had no confidence in my ability to come up with ideas and to put words on paper on a consistent basis outside of assignments for school. I didn’t understand that, in order to become the best writer I could be, I simply needed to write something, anything, on a regular basis. I didn’t understand that, like anything else, the key to tapping into my writing potential was to practice. Instead, I became a perfectionist when it came to my grammar and my ideas; nothing I wrote would ever be good enough and, no matter how good my ideas were, I thought there was no way I’d be able to properly articulate them on paper – or in a Word document.
During the 2011 Major League Baseball season, under orders from my boss, I started blogging regularly about the Kansas City Royals, the team I reported on and hosted a pre- and post-game show about on the team’s flagship radio station; the blog posts appeared on the front page of the radio station’s website. I was pleased with how most of the blogs turned out, but they were easy to write, since they didn’t have to be very profound and they were Royals specific. In May, I came up with the idea of blogging about how the public perception of some baseball players differs greatly from how baseball evaluators see them. As I started to write, I realized such a post would be quite an undertaking and much longer and more involved than any of my other Royals blog entries. Perhaps I could write something and post it on my own, personal blog?
After many stops and starts, a few changes in direction and several revisions, How David DeJesus Helped Me Find My Voice was written. And Radio Guy Diaries was born. I hadn’t set out to create my own blog, but I quickly seized on the potential of the medium. I decided to try and post regularly and, unlike previous attempts to journal or blog, I found myself filled with ideas. I worked on my second post, Have You Paid Your Dues? for most of the following week, finally able to articulate something I’d been thinking about for a long time. I liked the idea of blogging about whatever I wanted because it allowed me the freedom to write about whatever came to mind. I’ve always had high – sometimes, too high – expectations for my writing, so I didn’t feel I needed any self-imposed restrictions or rules, beyond making sure I wrote something every week. Blogging would be a more effective tool to get me to write than a private journal would be, I thought, since the blog’s public nature would force me to write new content frequently.
As the weeks rolled on and the blog posts started to mount I began to realize that, for the first time in my life, I was enjoying the writing process. Some weeks, ideas and content came easily and I was done with my post with several days to spare, like with Mikey, My Failed Baseball Career and Dress To Unimpress. Other weeks, I have trouble coming up with something to write about until a day before I’m scheduled to post, like with The Path, A Critical Look At Criticism and 9/11 & Me: It’s Complicated. Some posts start as a few paragraphs that are abandoned, only to be picked up again weeks later and developed fully, like with Never Far From Home and Syracuse Is Going Where? I have yet to feel pressure or writer’s block; I always feel like I’ll be able to come up with something coherent and somewhat interesting and/or entertaining.
I’ve intentionally chosen not to focus on the same topics or subject matter for every post because I thought that would limit me and there are lots of areas I’d like to explore with my writing. I would probably gain a more consistent and loyal following for Radio Guy Diaries if I narrowed things down more, but a consistent and loyal following isn’t my chief concern; sure, I want people to read what I write, but I don’t want to feel that I have to write about something – or that I have to avoid writing about something – simply because of what I think my audience desires.
Looking back at 2011, I’m proud of the steps I’ve taken in my career. It’s been a blessing to watch my daughter continue to progress and grow during her first full calendar year on this earth. I continue to marvel at the beautiful, strong and loving relationship I share with my girlfriend. And, yet, when I think about 2011, nothing makes me prouder than Radio Guy Diaries. I’ve enjoyed sharing a bit of myself with the rest of the world on a regular basis. May 2012 be filled with even more success and plenty of blog posts.Follow @raford3