Reflections of a Blogger

On WordPress, when you post on a blog, there is a screen that tells you how many blog posts you have published. I recently hit 400 posts here at BCC (I think this is 402). That didn’t really mean much to me until I did a little math. My first blog post here was published on January 24, 2006 (as you can see, the Bloggernacle was already pretty mature by the time I got in the game), which was approximately 6.5 years ago. That means I’ve averaged over 61 posts per year, or over 5 per month. Now, that’s nothing like what Ardis does at Keepa, but still I was kind of surprised at how prolific my blogging has been; I had had no idea I had posted quite that much.

I do enjoy writing. Of course, professionally I do a lot of writing, but that is highly technical, legal stuff that wouldn’t mean much to the average person. But as a boy I did a lot of creative writing, and it was something I thought was fun and did pretty well at.

I think the genesis of my career as a writer was in junior high. My 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Zielke, on whom all the boys had a major crush, was a huge influence on me. She seemed to laugh almost all the time, and for some strange reason she seemed to think I was funny and that my writing was golden. Her encouragement meant the world to me, and gave me the confidence to actually try. A couple of friends and I actually started a newspaper called The Blab Gazette, which we ran off on a mimeograph machine (am I givng away my age?) and sold for something like 3 cents each, or 2 for a nickel. In addition to writing stories, I drew a comic strip, “El Marko,” a superhero I created based on a series of commercials for a certain brand of pen.

Somewhat later I wrote a whole series of thinly veiled autobiographical stories about the exploits of my group of Church friends, beginning with my classic “The Boy Who Ate 12 Hot Dogs and Died of Puppy Love.” My friends would fight over who got to read them first and argue over who was whom in these stories. This was sort of my Charly phase.

In high school I would illuminate my English papers with various drawings. Most of my teachers got a kick out of that; a few were annoyed; one even suggested I should look into getting art credit for the practice.

On the mish I gained an interest in scholarship, and I began to try to write in that vein. I even typed up a couple of “scholarly” papers on an old manual typewriter we had in one apartment. These of course were terrible, but one has to start somewhere!

After my mission, when I returned to BYU I saw an ad for a student writing contest. I decided on a whim to enter, and I won my (sophomore) division, complete with a $50 prize and publication in the student journal. Like my seventh grade teacher, the journal editors were very encouraging, which I greatly appreciated.

While I was in law school I published my first real scholarly article, on the Joseph Smith Translation in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. After I got an actual job as a practicing attorney, I stopped writing for several years, until one night my wife basically kicked me in the butt and told me to write something. The Ensign was running their annual writing contest, on the Old Testament, so I took a crack at it and ended up winning first place (this became my only Ensign publication, on Hebrew poetry; you can find it in the June 1990 issue). From there I began to write more scholarly articles on a regular basis, most dealing with Mormon scripture. I haven’t counted, but I think I’ve published about 30 such articles.

In the late 90s, e-mail lists were all the rage, and I was on several: SAMU-L (a BoM oriented list run by Martin Raish of the BYU library), Scripture-L (run by Greg Woodhouse; that was where I first e-met Julie Smith), Morm-Hist, LDS-Phil, Eyring-L, and maybe a few others. Eventually the e-mail list went the way of the dodo bird, being replaced by message boards and blogs. One of the lists I mostly lurked on was lds-law, the active participants in which eventually created Times and Seasons. In February 2005 Kaimi invited me to do a guest posting stint at T&S, which I did. For one example of my posting there, see this post on Temple Marriage Policy.

About a year later, Ronan Head invited me to become a perma here at BCC. I wasn’t all that familiar with BCC at the time, but I had a tremendous amount in common with Ronan, and I figured if this was a good home for him, it would be a good home for me. And it has been. My blogmates are really good, sharp, compassionate people, and our readers are (almost) universally intelligent and interesting. Blogging has been a great way to negotiate my relationship with the Church, and for me at least that has been a very healthy thing.

So thank you for reading me, commenting and participating in the process. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey!

Comments

  1. Everyone needs their Charly phase.

    Kudos to you, Brother Barney!

  2. Congratulations on all your success here and in life. :)

  3. Here’s a link to the Ensign article, in case anyone’s interested:

    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1990/06/understanding-old-testament-poetry?lang=eng

    I’m still in the nascent phase of writing – I haven’t quite made it over the hill yet (shut up, John C.!) but I’m getting there. Your posts are at least amusing and often inspiring. I hope you’re still going at 4000 posts. =)

  4. Congratulations, Kevin! I’m curious to know if, and especially how, things have changed since you first started blogging.

  5. Well done, Kevin. I’ve always enjoyed your stuff, and the fact that you and many other bloggers have demanding professional careers, and are still able to find the time for these scholarly pursuits. If ever I need an attorney with ancient Hebrew language skills, you’re on my short list! Looking forward to many more posts.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Gary, for me personally I feel myself slowing down a little bit. When you’ve posted that many times you’ve already said publicly a lot of what you have to say. But although I post less frequently these days, I still occasionally will have a thought and think “I need to blog about this!” And I still appreciate having the power to just roll the ball out there and almost immediately crowdsource information, perspectives and stories from a lot of really smart people on whatever Church topic captures my fancy.

  7. wreddyornot says:

    Thanks. As mostly a lurker and only an occassional commenter, I appreciate what you share. It is very, very important to me to have people of your wit and faith writing here. Thanks again.

  8. I always have loved what you write, Kevin.

    When I look back, it’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for five years now – thanks largely, ironically, to Steve Evans’ patience with me.

    I’ve slowed down publicly (since it would be impossible to comment more than I did the first couple of years), but I still write and comment actively at a couple of sites – and I still post daily on my personal blog. It’s the only “journaling” I can do, and I really enjoy reading (almost) everyone’s insights. I’ve gained a lot over the years.

  9. Left Field says:

    I didn’t remember you on Eyring-L. I still must be signed up because every few months I get a post from Carl Cox, Richard Russell, Brian Rhees, Ronn! Blankenship, or one of that crowd.

  10. Love me some Barney. It been a good 6 years, bro.

  11. Peter LLC says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your posts. Is there anyone besides you from 2006 and before that still posts with any frequency?

  12. I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts, Kevin.

    And I sympathize with this: “Blogging has been a great way to negotiate my relationship with the Church.”

    Keep up the good work.

  13. Mark Brown says:

    Kevin, you are exemplary in so many ways. Thanks for your contributions to BCC over the years, I’ve learned a lot from you.

    Well done, thou good and faithful blogger.

  14. Mark B #13 BCoTW

  15. Congratulations on 402, Kevin. That’s an awesome achievement of quality work.

  16. I have read much of what Kevin has written here, and I respect his voice and moderation.

    But – the ever present “but” – the effervescence of these blogs, and all the time not only spent on writing the posts, but (there it is again) on monitoring the comments, may twin Keats (“Here lies one whose name was writ on water”) and Eliot (“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”).

  17. But (again) maybe the surviving knock is on the lives of readers (I am thinking of comment 7).

  18. Having left the Charly stage, what would you consider here?

  19. And the rest of us Twitter our lives away!!!

  20. Kevin, I always enjoy your posts. Congrats on the 400 mark. May there be many more.

  21. Christopher says:

    Good stuff, Kevin. I enjoy much of what you write, and appreciate your reflections here.

  22. Wow… This just reminds me of how much time has actually passed. I first discovered Times and Seasons – and then other bloggernacle blogs, including BCC, in 2004 I believe. I had no idea Kevin that my introduction pre-dated your permablogger status.

    I’ve always taken you as an example of how I’d like my Internet style to be.

  23. Well, you predate me. Thanks for sharing your history. Here’s to 400 more great posts from Kevin!

  24. Sharee Hughes says:

    I always enjoy your blogs, Kevin. May you blog another 402 times. You’re on my list of people I would like to meet.

  25. Well done, son.

  26. Love reading your thoughts Kevin. It almost makes up for the fact that I can no longer sit and soak up the glory that are your EQ and GD lessons.

  27. christine says:

    it is addictive and it will not make you rich…blogging…it is nice I am sure when you get 30-ish steady readers.

  28. 400 is … a nice little number. {grin} Yours are at least 350 of the most significant posts in ‘nacle history, Kevin.

  29. Congratulations, Kevin! I really enjoy your posts. Also, your comments. You’re one of the most thoughtful, reasonable, interesting voices in the Bloggernacle!

  30. Great story, Kevin. It is always interesting to hear how people evolve to their present state. It is quite amazing how much you accomplish and still manage to practice law. But then, from experience, I know that stepping back from your daily legal life can be a life extender. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Congrats, Kevin! A remarkable accomplishment, given your other responsibilities (and the calibre of your writing).

  32. Lee Hartman says:

    The best is yet to come! Seems to me, that even though you may be slowing down a bit, what you ponder on may have a richer insight to it. Congratulations, former (not old) Ward brother. Hum, wonder what Ward that was?

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