Starting out

I thought I might start writing a blog. There are various reasons for this, which I’ve listed here in no particular order, in an attempt to convince myself it’s a venture worth pursuing. Hopefully, this list will also serve to keep me committed to the blog.

  1. I enjoy writing and have done for as long as I can remember. The older I get, the more focused I become on making time to do things I enjoy.
  2. My brother-in-law edits a local newspaper and recently asked me if I’d like to review a book about the Pentland Hills for the paper. I spend as much time as I can cycling, running, and walking in the Pentlands, so I was happy to oblige. Plus, I like my brother-in-law. He’s the sort of guy who knows when someone would almost certainly benefit from doing A Thing but definitely wouldn’t get off their arse to do it themselves. So he presented his request in a way that appeared as if I‘d be doing him a favour, when actually he was doing one for me. He’s that kind of brother-in-law. Not that I jumped straight to it when he asked. It took me three months to start writing a measly 700-word review, but when I did finally begin the words came fairly easily and it reminded me about reason number 1, above.
  3. The four people who have read the piece referred to in no.2 above gave me positive, reaffirming feedback. One of them is my wife and the other three are family members but I’ve chosen nonetheless to accept their opinions as objective and use their encouragement as fuel to write more regularly.
  4. I have the good fortune to work alongside three people who have weekly columns in national newspapers and a few others who might have, if there were enough newspapers to go around. They’re all incredibly busy folk but they always find the time and motivation to file their copy every week, regardless of what else is going on. I admire their commitment, their willingness to wear hearts on sleeves, and usually their writing and opinions.
  5. I have a terrible memory and am convinced it’s getting worse. I hope that by writing things down more regularly, it’ll help preserve my thoughts in some sort of order.
  6. A friend, Renee Rowland, is doing this and she has inspired me. [DISCLAIMER: Renee’s journey is vastly more interesting than anything I’ll have to say here, but even if nobody gets beyond no.6 on my list and heads to her blog instead, never to return, I’ll rest easy.]
  7. My grandfather wrote books and I wish my dad had too because he is very funny, thoughtful, and he writes extremely well. I’d like to try and be a bit like both of them.
  8. Eighteen months ago I left a good, well-paid job at a large plc to do things I hoped I would find more rewarding, inherently interesting, and from which I might be able to eek an existence whilst spending more time at home with my two young children. (Oh, and my wife.) The change has given me a different perspective and new sources of potential material. Not that those things guarantee an engaging blog, of course, but hopefully I have a competitive advantage over the 2014 me.
  9. About nine months ago I rediscovered my love of running. Hill-running, specifically (or fell-running if you’re reading this south of Dumfries). Like writing, I’ve enjoyed running for most of my life but, for various reasons, I haven’t indulged myself as much as I’d have liked, so I’m making up for lost time. The idea of writing about running appeals to me and is one of the key motivating factors behind starting this blog. I’m acutely aware that a great deal of writing about running is dull, dry, and of no interest to anyone beyond the author and a few vest-wearing fanatics. But I know too that it is a subject that has inspired some truly great writing - some of which has, in turn, inspired me. If I can avoid churning out blogs that match the former description in striving to achieve the latter, then it’ll be worth it.
  10. Writing stuff is part and parcel of my day job as a communications adviser, but I don’t do it simply for pleasure nearly often enough. I’m intrigued to know what I’ll allow myself to write about, whether it will be of interest to anyone but me, and how honest I’ll be, given I’m not naturally inclined to share freely my views and feelings on matters of any significance.
  11. David Smith, a hero of mine, wrote this blog last week. Need I say more?
  12. Because why the hell not? I’m quite prepared to post inane guff on twitter and instagram for anyone who cares to look, so I feel increasingly like I owe it to myself to attempt to form slightly more coherent and considered thoughts here.

Here goes. Wish me luck.