The Plastic Mancunian blog is now five years old.
I wrote my first post way back in March 2008 and it seems like only yesterday.
To celebrate this milestone, I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts and feelings about why I started blogging in the first place and how The Plastic Mancunian has evolved over the years, together with some of the ups and downs.
Many years ago, in the early 1990s, I found myself looking for a new hobby. At the time I was reading a truly terrible and extremely geeky book. I won’t tell you what it is for fear of being ridiculed. However, that particular book sowed a seed that has germinated and is still thriving.
The book was truly awful and as I read it, two thoughts raced through my head:
(a) Why I am I reading this utter crap?
(b) I can write better than this.
As a result of that awful book, I started writing. At first I had no direction; I was a rudderless ship drifting on a vast ocean in search of a literary land mass. There was none to be found.
I thought I wanted to write fiction and began to write short stories and first chapters of novels.
And they were rubbish.
I realised that writing was truly difficult and requires a lot of thought and patience. It was also extremely time consuming, and my inner perfectionist lambasted me for poor writing style, bad plotlines and overly ambitious ideas that would result in huge complicated stories.
My head was full of ideas but capturing them, wrestling them to the ground and turning them into something that people would enjoy proved to be something I simply couldn’t do.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed trying.
I found myself putting pen to paper and writing utter drivel. I locked away the perfectionist and started to write about the thoughts in my head. It was almost like a diary – but not quite.
And I enjoyed it, despite my flaws.
In 1999, Mrs PM and I travelled to China for two weeks and this gave me the impetus to step up a gear. I decided to have a go at writing a travelogue.
I bought a notebook and , as we travelled around that fascinating country, I made copious notes about our experiences and upon our return, I sat down at the computer and turned those notes into a diary of the trip.
It became The China Chronicles.
And while it is really a load of old rubbish, it took me to the next level. Mrs PM particularly enjoyed it because it gave her an insight into the way I felt, my thought processes and my interpretation of events that happened to us.
In 2005, to celebrate Mrs PM’s mother’s 60th birthday, we travelled to Australia. Mrs PM’s mum had never been to Australia – and neither had we. I thought it would be a good idea to record this once in a lifetime journey in another travelogue, so that I could present it to her as a birthday gift, a record of our trip Down Under.
The China Chronicles was gritty and amateurish; what became The Oz Chronicles was a more personal, light-hearted and amusing diary of our time in Australia.
Mrs PM’s mum accepted the gift with, I thought, a dismissive wave of her hand. She assumed that it was just a record of pictures and captions.
When she read it, she was amazed. It served as a memento of what proved to be one of her favourite holidays, complete with detailed memories from each day and my own weird and wonderful interpretation of events.
She loved it. I might actually post it as a new blog some day.
I found myself writing more but needed an outlet. The only person who read my “work” was me – and occasionally Mrs PM.
“Why don’t you post some of your writing on the web and get other people to tell you what they think?” said Mrs PM.
“I’m too scared,” I said. “What if they think its rubbish?”
“Does it matter?” she replied. “If you enjoy doing it, and you want feedback, just do it.”
I didn’t really know what to write about. I knew that I wasn’t going to write a novel (at least not yet), but if I basically just offered my thoughts about the world around me, some people might – just might – be vaguely interested.
I started The Plastic Mancunian in March 2008 with a post about football.
And since that day I have written 452 posts about a wide range of nonsense. There have been times when I have struggled to think of things to write and others when I have had so much to say that I can barely get the words out quickly enough.
The thought of giving up has occasionally crossed my mind, particularly when I have been inflicted by a particularly bad bout of writers block. When such a thought traverses my mind, I simply sit down, clear my mind and look at my little note book of ideas.
I am delighted to say that the world is such a delightfully strange place that there is always inspiration from somewhere. Besides, life is quite capable of throwing enough weirdness in my direction to keep me entertained enough to scribble down my thoughts about it.
What is most surprising, however, is that people actually read it.
And even better – people offer their thoughts and opinions.
I love that.
Of course, the other thing that I love about blogging is reading the thoughts of other people. I have connected with quite a few people thanks to The Plastic Mancunian over the past five years and that is probably the most rewarding experience of all.
While my ambition is to write a book and get it published, I know in my own heart that while I still have a career that such a task will prove too time consuming to achieve, at least until I retire.
Besides, I’m not a good writer.
I am now quite content to just pour out drivel once or twice a week and post it on this blog, knowing that people may read it. I don’t care whether people hate what I write but I love the thought that some people may smile at the weird gobbledygook I transmit into cyber space.
If I can make one person smile, that makes me happy.
To be honest, I think I would continue to write even if I had no readers whatsoever. I find it therapeutic and, in a small way, it satisfies the creativity within me.
Furthermore, I may claim that I haven’t written a book yet, but in five years I have managed to put together so many posts that I could in fact print off several “books” of posts.
As well as that, it’s been eight years since I wrote a travelogue, and I aim to rectify that by writing another one for our trip to Japan in May. Not sure what I’ll call it yet (maybe The Nihon Chronicles - I'm so imaginative aren't I?).
And perhaps I may even create another blog for it.
Finally, I’d just like to thank those of you who regularly come back to read the nonsense that I write, particularly those who add comments.
I love that.
If you are a lurker who feels too shy to comment on my inane balderdash, please feel free to share your thoughts.
I don’t bite and I have a thick skin.
I certainly plan to continue the blog – The Plastic Mancunian is still going strong.
Here’s to the next five years.