Approximately six years ago, I started the blog Unprecedented Mediocrity on a whim. I didn't know anything about websites and I truly just started it at the behest of some friends that said they like my Facebooks posts. Fast forward to today and I've a few million people read the blog and it launched a pretty lucrative freelance writing career. For those interested in paid writing, you can check out my course The Veteran Copywriter where I show you how I made six figures doing so. However, for the rest of you that have no interest in making money writing, I still want to appeal to your desire to write. You see, I'm of the opinion that every military veteran should write and specifically in this day and age, I think you should run a blog. That's because dusty war journals that many of us have kept may reside in the boxes stored in our grandkids attics forever. When you write on the internet, your words live on forever. That's why I think military veterans should write, because posterity needs to hear what we have to say. If you've got a couple of minutes, I'd like to explain in more detail.
The Stories No One Else Can Write About War
In 2003 Al Kut Iraq, we had just come back from a hot late afternoon patrol when I settled down for a little rest. As darkness came upon us, I felt a stabbing and shooting pain in my side. It was severe and it took me by surprise. It progressed through the evening to the point I was calling out for Doc. I had not been shot, but rather, Doc thought I had appendicitis. They called for a Medevac and before you know it, I was flying on a Blackhawk from Al Kut to some MASH style Air Force hospital near Nasariyah. Taken out of war by my appendix, how lame.
When I arrived in the middle of the night, Air Force docs tended to me and determined I did not have appendicitis. Rather, it seem some scarred area of my intestines that came from a surgery I had as a newborn had become inflamed. It hurt for a few days and then I got better. Not too bad of a gig as this Air Force tent had AC and I got to take my first real shower since entering Iraq.
However, days went by and I started to get worried they were going to send me home. That's when I stumbled across a SSGT Garcia from a Marine Engineer Battalion. No lie, he noticed me because I was a Marine in uniform on an Air Force base and came over to tell me to get my hands out of my pockets. Cool guy in general, but I told him my story and he said I could hop in with him. He went and told the Air Force Admin he was taking me and so I went. It really was that easy/chaotic in the early months of the Iraq war.
He had two Humvees heading up north to a town called Diwaniya. That was a staging area at some university for multiple units. There I walked around from unit to unit until I found some bulk fuel truck Marines heading to Al Kut that evening. I asked if I could jump in with them and so I did. I arrived back at Blair Field in Al Kut the next morning to my unit where they told me that they thought I was in Germany getting my appendix out the whole time. That's right, they had no idea where I was. I said no, I was in Nasariyah and they said, "cool, welcome back. Go back to your platoon." So I did.
History Will Now Know that Untold War Story Forever
Now, that's a true story and I can point you to any member of my platoon right up to my Battalion Commander to verify it. I hitch hiked my way through Iraq back to my unit because I didn't want to go home over an appendix. That's a story that would be lost to posterity had I not told it here and on my blog several times. You see, the internet really is forever and even if you try to delete something, there are websites that can still pull it up.
My kids can read this story and my grandkids can read this story and in 200 years my offspring can do a family research project and come across this story. This is why veterans should write and specifically, why veterans should blog. It's really not that hard and my best advice is to pay for a domain name to make sure it lives forever. These free. .wordpress.blog or other free stuff doesn't last. You've got a story to tell and the world and posterity needs to hear it. Not the Medal of Honor gallantry that we know will be recorded, but all the small stuff that makes war what it is. I never judge a war movie by the actions scenes, I judge it by what it shows us all doing when we are not fighting.
How to Start a Blog
Now, lest I do all this without giving you some practical advice, I'll tell you how I started a blog. To run a blog, you essentially need two things. One: you need a domain name. That is the www.unprecedentedmediocrity.com or the www.theveterancopywriter.com Then, you need a hosting package. That's what gets you live on the internet and that's what lets your words live forever.
I use a hosting platform known as Bluehost and they are great. So as a first step, I'd encourage you to go search for a domain name here at Bluehost. Play around with it and find a name that works. Then, make the leap and purchase your hosting package. With Bluehost, you can run a blog for as little as $80 bucks a year or less if they are running a special.
It's important that you pay a little as when you have a little skin in the game, you are more likely to write. My fellow veterans, you need to write and preserve your stories for posterity. Yes, I sell a course that will teach you how to get paid to write. However, I realize that is not for everyone. Yet, writing to tell your stories to your great great grandchildren is for everyone and when you blog, you words live forever. When in doubt, I say write my friends. If you do start a blog, be sure to email me the link at [email protected] so that I can follow along.