How I Started Blogging

Everyone and everything has to start somewhere, right? None of us comes spends the toddler phase thinking “I think I’ll start blogging when I can read.” For me, that urge did not begin until I was well and truly seasoned.

Almost exactly twelve years ago, a fellow in Oregon named Paul Niedermeyer started a website called It began as a modest little thing, which picked up on a series he had written at another site. As one who was always into old cars, I became an avid reader and commenter right away. I was probably kind of insufferable then (presuming that I am not now) with a belief that I knew everything and had to share it all. But that is not really the point of this story, so let’s move on.

The basic idea was that Paul would photograph interesting old cars that he found out in the world and would write something about them, one every day. After a few months, the site had settled into a kind of rhythm. It was a one-man show so Paul did all of the writing. Then later in the afternoon, a second post would come up which would be a clue for the next morning’s feature. It would usually be a close-in shot of some interesting detail. Lots of us made guesses every day and I was wrong more often than I was right.

One week it was announced that the site was doing a theme – it would be 1959 Week. One afternoon that week, the clue came up and I could identify it immediately. I even combed through the old photos and found the very picture that was used as the clue. OK, did everyone guess it? What? You don’t know this?

Well I did. It was the side trim from a 1959 Plymouth Fury. Not a Plymouth Savoy or a Plymouth Belvedere or a Plymouth Sport Fury, but the regular Fury (which was the highest trim level for all but the sportiest models.

I knew this because I had owned one of them when I was a kid in college. I had really loved that car, and spent hours in the driveway fixing little things and polishing it to a high shine. I memorized every little trim detail on that car and I could ID a 59 Fury at a hundred yards.

The next morning I was immediately affirmed – I had been correct. Here is the car that was featured that day. But then I was immediately crushed. Paul, who did this as a hobby in addition to a life full of real-life things, had hit the wall. The pictures were there, but so was a brief post saying that he was sorry, but that he was over-committed and just couldn’t keep this thing going. He thanked us readers an said that he might be back at some point, but that the site was going to go on a temporary hiatus.

That was when I wrote what is probably the longest blog comment I have ever written in my life. It started out something like “What terrible news, and this was a car I was really looking forward to reading about. Well, somebody has to write something about this car, so here goes.” I knew the story behind the car’s development and had the added experience of owning one. I barfed it all out there on the screen and then went to work.

At mid-day I went back to see if anything had changed – and it had. My comment had been inserted into the body of the featured post with an introduction congratulating me as the newest contributor at Curbside Classic. Soon I got an email asking if I was interested in contributing more and I jumped at it. I knew almost exactly zero about putting a post onto a website but Paul gave me some quick tutoring and provided me with some written material for reference. That was when I started contributing to the site about once a week. And suddenly, I was kinda-sorta a published author.

Those first several pieces that seemed so brilliant to me were really kind of cringe-inducing, but I kept at it. It was fun, I was learning something, and things were good. And if I must be honest, I have to admit that I liked the notoriety that came with being someone with a by-line. It wasn’t all that much notoriety, but we take what we can get. It wasn’t long before a few others started to contribute, each bringing a unique style.

After about three years I found that I had not lost my enjoyment of writing about things I found interesting. Along the way I had learned of another fellow who read CC who was local to me. I also learned that Jim Grey wrote a blog he called Down The Road. I started reading it and found it interesting too. After awhile I asked Jim if he could offer me any advice about starting a blog. He was a fountain of wisdom and generous with his time and advice, and around the first of July of 2015 I went live with this little effort you see here each Friday morning.

One of Jim’s bits of wisdom was that a regular schedule was essential. I soon discovered that he was right – partly for gaining readers, but even more because I tend to procrastinate and a deadline is a good thing for me. Having that Friday deadline requires some effort. I usually have a handful of half-finished drafts to polish up and line up for Friday morning. But occasionally I do not have that luxury and need to find something to write about to keep the schedule. And so here we are – with a story about how I started blogging. I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it comes together fairly late on a Thursday evening.


28 thoughts on “How I Started Blogging

  1. I don’t know how I got to your site, but it had to be jazz related instead of car related. Keep up the good work, and yes, a specifically timed schedule is the key. I’ve lost interest in sites that don’t publish on a schedule, some that have entries that vary so much, it can be up to a month or longer before something new arrives…I really lose interest. Always pass your jazz stuff on to those I know will love it…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t it amazing how one can sometimes so easily get pulled into something having such a huge life of its own? Especially when these people aren’t the typical suspects for being so easily pulled.

    Jim, you deserve credit for branching out into having your own blog. You also have a tremendous variety of subject matter which makes me wonder if that makes the writing element easier or not.

    Regardless, keep it going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your first statement is very true. On the second, that’s a good question. I think I might have burned out if I had stuck to a single topic. Or else I might have become that guy everyone avoids in social situations because he can only talk about a single topic. Assuming I’m not that guy now, anyway. 🙂


  3. This was interesting. I like origin stories. I am a terrible procrastinator and need to steal a lesson from your playbook. Schedule. Yes. I’m kind of of the Douglas Adams’ School, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was kind of the article, but I re-wrote it pretty thoroughly several years ago after I had some more experience under my belt.

      The scattered and ADD thing is kind of the reason my topics bounce around so much. And I’m glad you come around.


  4. There’s a certain “magic” about those late ’50s cars. My admiration for them started when I was real little, seeing them (occasionally) on the road. It bothers me a little that people my age & older are the last ones who have any personal memory or experience of them growing up. Younger generations, for the most part, don’t and won’t care.

    It occurred to me recently that I’m quite thankful for where & when I was born. I was exposed to a lot of interesting things during childhood in terms of cars, music, TV shows (not just major network stuff), architecture, etc. These are all “special interests” of mine; things that still inspire me and keep me going.

    I kind of feel sorry for the younger people today–growing up in a world of dull minivans, and the major focus of interest is what’s happening on their phones, TikTok et. al. It all seems so superficial and corrupting–not innocent. And most of them now won’t have a father like I had (you know, one who lives at home, is still married to my mother, and is very intelligent–a product of an even older generation), who exposed me to many interesting older, scientific, and shop-related things that I would not have known about otherwise. If I were growing up now, how meatball and “blah” my life would be.

    Time never stops moving. Americans of the 19th century would find our present world and its people bewildering, confusing, even repulsive. (Although some of the technology–once they’d understood it, they’d really love!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree that it was great to come along at the twilight of these dinosaurs on the roads. I too was always fascinated by cars from around or before the time I was born.


  5. J. P., Thank you for all the time and energy you devote generating content for your blog, plus your extensive contributions at Curbside Classic. Roughly a year ago I located your blog via a link from Curbside Classic, and I’ve followed it since from here in central PA. Your discussions of cars, family, food, faith, and even music have been most interesting and insightful.

    Please know that I very much enjoyed your COAL series on Curbside Classic, although being more reserved by nature, I have not commented or contributed there. In particular, I can relate to your ownership of the Chrysler minivan and the Honda Civic. Our 2002 Chrysler Voyager (in Aquamarine) served our family well for 184K miles over 15-1/2 years. We likewise found it comfortable to drive, plus maneuverable in its relatively compact size. The transmission held up throughout our ownership, however the powertrain control module, a costly item, once had to be replaced. The 1996 Civic (in Cyclone Blue) came included when my wife and I were married. It served us even longer, covering 198K miles over nearly 19 years, the last 9 years mainly for my commute to work. That experience led us to purchase Hondas as replacements for each. Also, over the years both vehicles also shuttled our children to Catholic school. Thanks again for sharing your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jim, and thank you for reading and contributing to the comments. And I am glad you enjoyed the COAL series too.

      Central PA is a beautiful area, so you got to enjoy a lot of great scenery during those many satisfying miles.


  6. I’ve read a few “How I Started Blogging” stories and they’re all more interesting than my own. I simply wanted an outlet for creative writing and blogging was an easy way to put my thoughts on “paper” for all to see. I love the flexibility to write about anything I want. I also agree with the importance of regular posting and adherence to deadlines. If it becomes a chore, hang it up and find something else to do.

    I’m drawn to J.P.’s Blog because you cover a genre of music I’m not at all familiar with. I also love your in-depth journeys back in time to products our generation enjoyed as kids. I find these subjects infinitely more interesting than travel, cooking, and other run-of-the-mill blogs you find out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I started Blogging in 2016, I posted every day for over five years. It did not seem like a deadline because I did it like I eat every day. My bigger problem is having no deadline for reading posts of others. That never had the innate urgency of breathing, eating, and in my case jogging, all things I do naturally every day. I never realized how important reading (and commenting) is if you want to be a good Blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for commenting on my blog – I’m glad I have now found your blog. It is like old home week in the comment section – I’ve been following Geoff, Dave and Herb for a while now.
    On my blog, my husband is ‘The Car Guy’ because that is his passion. We go to quite a few car shows every year and I am always impressed with how much he knows about vehicles. I’ve started to post photos of car ‘faces’ now that I’ve hit upon how unique so many of them are. I particularly like the older ‘happy’ looking cars!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve asked him if he would be interested in doing some posts for me – I like the idea of photos of pieces of cars that you try to identify. I used to do that with macro photos of household things.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. It was serendipity for sure JP – what better way to get initiated into blogging than writing about a favorite topic for you and one you were skilled in writing about … a marriage made in Heaven for sure. For sure you were not at a loss for car posts since you told us you had 30 cars through the years. I’ve learned about cars and jazz through your posts and other general topics as well. The nostalgic posts about food and even clothing (brogues) are among my favorites as I can identify with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brings back memories.

    I got into it about the same as you, however it really came about because I was downsized by the bank I worked at at the end of 2009. I had all this free time, and it was driving me nuts. I’d followed TTAC since probably 2006, and after Paul left and started the new site, I moved there too.

    I loved the Clues. Not sure of exactly how it came about, but occasionally I’d see something interesting here in town and I’d email him a pic. I think my very first one was the ’85 Cutlass Cruiser. I’d found a 90s version but only had a single pic, he said, hey, I have a full set of an ’80s one. So wrote it up with a Fargo theme, and it was off to the races.

    Later he got a leetle too persnickety and I departed. But he got me into it, ha ha. Well, that and the bank. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • If you’d asked the grounded 2008 boring loan ops me that I’d be writing for a major auto site in a dozen years, I’d have accused you of imbibing of “wacky tobaccy.”

        The best part is I wound up right back where I started last spring, the insurance company my grandfather, he of the Lincolns, got rolling. But in claims.

        Let me tell you, working in a claims department is VERY interesting. Our liability claims supervisor and one of our adjusters is very close to you, too.

        We should maybe do the Studebaker Museum again this spring or Sumner. I’d love to go back.

        Liked by 1 person

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