Why You Should Travel Back Through Time

I recently had to peruse the archives here at Men with Pens. The experience was… well, surprising, honestly. When you’ve been blogging for nearly four years and written quite a bit more than 1,000 posts, you tend to forget a great deal – like the fact that you actually wrote this stuff, and that hey, some of it is pretty darned good.

That’s part of the problem with blogging – you write, you post, people read your work for a couple of days, and then it gets buried in the archives. Sure, someone might stumble on the post in a year and leave a comment, reminding you that it exists, but for the most part, if that post isn’t on the Recent Posts list in your sidebar, it’s as good as gone.

All right, to be fair, some posts really should stay gone. As much as I was pleased to reread certain posts, like this one about my daughters, I was just as pleased to know that posts like this one would probably never see the light of day again.

And you thought your first blog posts were bad. Sheesh.

This post was one I wrote when I was feeling particularly tossed around by all the “must do” advice out there. Life was moving too fast and I needed to tell myself – and my readers – that it’s okay to slow down.

I liked reading this one about repeat clients again. And this one about carnies, and this one about a rotten roof. Oh, and this one about a camera. The posts I write that combine personal experience, a story, some expertise and action tips that you can take away are always my favourite.

One thing I noticed as I read back was that I seem to be pretty big on the optimistic view, ever the hopeful that this too shall pass. That inspirational pat on the back shows up from time to time in my work, and it’s posts like this one about losing everything and this one about finding faith in your dreams again that leave me feeling good just for reading them.

There are the posts I wrote that came from the heart, the ones where I tried to reach out and tell readers that it’s okay. It’s okay to take a break from blogging, it’s okay to write with your own voice, and it’s okay to be proud of a tiny readership.

In fact, a friend of mine wrote out that last post by hand in blue and gold pen as a gift to me. I have it hung on my wall. I look at it every day.

And that’s what I want to say today – that we should all look at the past, look back over what we’ve done, even if it’s only for five minutes each day. We should be proud of our successes, of the trials and tribulations we’ve been through and all the distance we’ve come.

Our blog archives are our history, in more ways than just which post went up on that day.

We should laugh over our goof-ups. We should revisit our knowledge, then and now, and see how much we’ve learned. We should explore some of the things that we wrote about in more detail, and bring those ideas back to life so we can talk them over some more. We should enjoy our own work, and we should linger on words we wrote that we felt strongly about at the time.

As I read through older posts, I relived a lot of memories, too. Good times, hard times, fun times, thoughtful times. I could see my business growing and revisit the phases of its journey. That was a pretty neat thing to do, and it left me feeling inspired and content with where I am today, because of all I’ve been through.

I also examined how I wrote then and tried to compare it to how I write now. I found it intriguing to notice what types of posts I used to write and which techniques I used to get messages across to readers. I read some comment sections and looked at what worked for people and what didn’t.

I’ve grown and I’ve changed – perhaps I’d forgotten that I would. That realization reminded me of a conversation I had one day, in which an artist I admire told me he believed fans grow and change right along with their favourite singers and authors.

So let’s do a little something today, shall we? Go back to your blog archives and find something you wrote from long ago. A post that meant something to you, one you really liked, one that you felt in your heart.

Then come tell us about it – leave the link in the comment section. Because words like that shouldn’t be forgotten forever.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.