Thursday, January 1, 2009

New blog start-up: Derek Maul on the half-shell

Welcome to my new blog! It's a new year (Jan 1, 2009) and "Derek Maul on the half-shell" is a key element in my commitment to re-tool my writing life. I'll grant that today's entry, the initial start-up, is a little long. But that's necessary in order to lay the groundwork, and to talk through what I have in mind.

It's a new year and I intend to be more deliberate when it comes to writing - across the board, and one of my goals is to move away from simply clattering away on my keyboard in reaction to deadlines and to enter into a more disciplined regimen that is actively responsive to daily life.

I'll still write my weekly Tampa Tribune columns: the op-ed, the community profile, and my Q&A feature for Plant City. I'll continue the weekly column I pen for the Live Oak paper in north Florida. And I'll maintain the blog I already post, at But the direction of all that writing, plus my new book-length projects, will be rooted in this space, my new routine week-day exercise, where I intend to get my writing head together for the day - with God's help, and see where the Spirit leads me.

Those of you who already read me know that I started experimenting with a blog just a few months ago. What I came up with was fairly typical for first efforts: haphazard, prepared in a rush, unfocused, few and far between... I didn't know what to call the blog and I misread the instructions; so the web address - "" - was hard to remember.

Then in December - during the season of Advent - I tried to write something fresh every day, kind of a "getting ready for Christmas" journal. I managed 26 entries over 31 days - not quite 100%, but creditably close.

Something else happened in the process, and if I'm correct in my conclusions then this next phase of the blogging experiment is going to be an important step in my writing life.

What transpired was this. I discovered – in the discipline of writing every day – why I was writing in the first place. It turns out that, in the slicing open of my life and laying it out for other people to read, I am not engaging this journey alone. Fact is, none of us are; and that is exactly the point.

So I have retooled my blog, and I've re-titled it. Now it's simple, uncluttered, and designed to serve as an encouragement for fellow-travelers on this journey we're all taking through 2009 and into our future.

This new blog is titled "Derek Maul on the half-shell: A life examined". Interactive writing requires accountability, so I'm asking for some feedback as I take the plunge.

Theoretically, this process will make me better equipped to do all of my work. The Greek philosopher Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". It's a maxim we could all take to heart as we work together to steer our passage into the immediate future.

Love and blessings - always - DEREK

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