Digital Dust? Thoughts on my 300th Post

300 posts. Wow.

When I began this project, I had little sense of an end in sight. It really began as a way of reading C.S. Lewis out loud. Over time, as my roots have deepened, the tree has branched out in brilliant new ways:

Not all things have gone well. On April 1st this year, I thought it would be loads of fun to make a pseudo-serious Lewis exposé spoof. My blog, “The Obscure Writings of C.S. Lewis, Jr.,” did not do well. Nobody got it, I think. Well, some got it. There are always some who connect. But sometimes that “some” is very few, as it was with my Kirk Cameron posts. Apparently 80s heart-throbs are off limits. And there are the forgotten blogs.

But mostly it has gone well. More than well. Here were my goals in beginning, and how I’ve met them:

  1. I wanted to deepen and extend my reading. I really have exceeded my own goals in this. Though I still struggle to read quickly, I’ve grown tremendously. A Pilgrim in Narnia became a place to test out the ideas that came out of that reading experience.
  2. I aimed at getting to the centre of C.S. Lewis’ life and thought. Though I am still learning, I have a sense of who Lewis was, and much of what he was on about. My chronological project for reading Lewis was a great way to get a sense of the man; I’ll spend the next decade understanding his ideas and influences.
  3. I planned on extending my digital and academic networks. This happened far beyond my expectations. Conferences have helped, but I’ve been constantly amazed at the ability of social media and blogging to extend one’s digital friendships. Besides Google, Facebook and Twitter are my biggest portals to new readers.
  4. I intended to move my work toward a PhD program. This was the biggest gamble, and my work paid off. In summer 2011, I began pretending that I was in a PhD program. I set out work programs, reading goals, and blogging schedules. Two years later my plan paid off, and I am doing a PhD in Christianity and Literature from the University of Chester.
  5. I shaped my blogging so I would get better at writing. This is harder to judge, but I think I have grown as a writer. Forgetting about audience response, I have worked on voice, poignancy, and vivid phrasing. I have dug for the narrative arc in an idea and used it to write good essays. Not all are winners, I am sure, but it was a great way to become a stronger writer.
  6. I hoped to increase my readership. Very few writers are content writing to no one. I had been hammering away at the keyboard for five years without any real sense of how the world might respond. Since launching A Pilgrim in Narnia, I have grown to an audience of 6000 online readers a month and more than 3000 followers. Considering the make-up of this blog, that is pretty huge.

These six goals were my master plan. I had other ideas in mind, like a book that might emerge from my posts. That may still come. I also realized as I went on how baffling and discouraging the publishing world was. I had hoped by now to have a fiction deal for Hildamay Humphrey’s Incredibly Boring Life or for The Curse of Téarian. Nothing has come. That world seems to grow farther away rather than closer to my trembling hands.

Even then, I have found blogging a comfort as I spoke openly about my frustrations from time to time. I am not alone, I realize. And there is something in the not-aloneness that spurs me forward as a writer and researcher.

So, the question in the title will make sense to anyone who has blogged for any extended period of time: Is all this work just digital dust? 300 posts, 2 months of hours that could have been paid work, 400,000 words, 11,000 tweets… what does it all add up to?

I cannot speak for the readers, who have their own reasons for exploring the worlds I inhabit on A Pilgrim in Narnia.

But for me, it has been a tremendous project. And one worth continuing, I hope. As I throw these goals forward, as my research deepens and my writing becomes more diverse, as I continue to play in the realms made by marvelous minds, I hope you will continue to join me.

Thanks for sharing!

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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17 Responses to Digital Dust? Thoughts on my 300th Post

  1. Congratulations and well done! It’s all worth it if you and your readers get so much from it!

    Like

  2. djhockley123 says:

    I’ve enjoyed following your journey and appreciate your thoughts and insights! When you, the long-haired, bearded youth guy, leaned on the door frame of my office, and mused over thoughts of youth, ministry, reality etc while peering over your glasses that had slid down your nose, I actually could see you doing something very much like you are now. 🙂

    Like

  3. robstroud says:

    Congratulations on meeting this milestone. I have very much enjoyed accompanying you on a good part of that journey. I am eager to see where it leads… God-willing, to the fulfillment of all of your hopes and plans.

    Like

  4. God bless man, I haven’t written a comment on the blog, but I sure do read your posts. So far since I’ve discovered it, I’ve loved every bit of it. Good reading, and good annotations and recommendations on other things to read have come from here. Greetings from Mexico!

    Like

  5. jubilare says:

    “If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.”
    -Emily Dickinson

    🙂 Sometimes, it’s the seeming-small stuff. It ads up.
    Congratulations! You are a much more reliable blogger than I.

    Also, don’t despair/give up trying to get your stories published. The published authors I know say that persistence is key.

    Like

  6. Congratulations, what an achievement! Your blog is one of my absolutely favorites, and your posts are always thoughtful and interesting. Looking forward to 300 more!

    Like

  7. Sue Archer says:

    Congratulations on reaching your 300 milestone! Although I don’t always have time to comment, I have enjoyed reading your posts – and look forward to more. 🙂

    Like

  8. Pingback: 2014: A Year of Reading | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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