By David Joel Miller, writer, blogger, and mental health professional.
My writing journey – the blog.
In the last installment of my writing journey, I left off with the story of my discovery; there was such a thing as a blog. I had been working as a substance abuse counselor, and the years had been ticking bye. Along the way, I completed my MS degree in counseling and began working with people who had both substance abuse problems and mental health issues.
While I was working towards my license as a marriage and family therapist, I kept running into problems, issues, and things that clients wanted to talk to me about that hadn’t been covered in my graduate program. I was also studying to take the license exam. As a result, I ended up reading more books and more research after graduate school than I had in the process of getting my degree.
Don’t worry now; I’m coming to the part where I actually start writing things.
The next thing I knew, I had gone to work for the county behavioral health department as an unlicensed clinician, and shortly after that, I passed my license exam. The next step in my progression, logical or not, was while working as a therapist. I took a position as an adjunct faculty member teaching substance abuse counseling to beginning substance use disorder counselors.
One of the best ways to learn things is to teach them. I began teaching counseling in 2008 and, by 2011, had accumulated quite a list of questions about substance abuse, mental health, and having a happy life.
I began counselorssoapbox.com in 2011.
I started the counselorssoapbox.com blog. After a little bit of investigation, I discovered that WordPress made it very easy to get a domain name, and I began publishing my blog. In the beginning, it was a slow start. It took me two years, 2011 and 2012, to get that blogging thing figured out. At least, I thought I had figured it out.
In 2013 I made a strenuous effort to turn out one new post every day and ended up publishing 366 posts and receiving almost 83,000 views. Between 2013 and 2022, the number of posts grew to nearly 2000. Despite that frantic pace and all the challenges, those posts from 2013 continue to be some of the most-read posts.
In those early days, the spelling and grammar checking programs I was using did not catch a lot of the mistakes. Working full-time, teaching, and still trying to write didn’t leave a whole lot of time, and unfortunately, I sent out a lot of posts with errors in them. Slowly the spellcheck programs got better, and then I discovered Grammarly.
Three times during those years, I went back through all the old posts and re-edited them. I’m afraid to take another look at them because I fear there may still be typos and errors I haven’t caught.
I can’t say that I ever got clear on why I was writing all those blog posts. I didn’t start my private practice until much later, and I really didn’t have anything I was trying to sell beyond sharing the knowledge that I was accumulating and giving myself a good reason to continue reading and researching. I found blogging a lot of fun, but I can’t say it was a highly productive use of my time.
In 2017 I received over 300,000 views despite having cut back my time commitment and writing only 128 posts that year. Sadly, Google changed its algorithms, and my readership declined significantly. Despite my having two licenses and one of those little cards that allowed me to diagnose someone with a mental illness and put people on 5150 holds, it would appear that Google decided only MDs who prescribed medication were qualified to talk about mental health and particularly about talk therapy. I think not including other licensed professionals was an error.
With declining blog readership and my declining enthusiasm for writing those blog posts, my writing career took a sudden shift. Then, late in 2017, something happened that shifted my focus from writing blog posts to other creative endeavors.
I’ll tell you about that change and how it came about in my next davidjoelmillerwriter.com blog post.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller.
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.
For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more information about David Joel Miller’s work in mental health, please visit the counselorssoapbox.com website.
For my videos on mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel