“Historically, Mr., like Sir, once indicated an ill-defined social status only applied to gentlemen or persons at or above one’s own station as a mark of respect. This understanding is all but obsolete today.”
One day I was telling my neighbour, Paul Dalton, about how I would love to write for a living, but that I had no clue on how to get started.
He was very computer savvy, and suggested that I should start my own blog, just to get in the habit of writing each and every day. He also suggested that I should start off by writing about things that I knew about, which obviously made a lot of sense at the time, despite the fact that I didn’t really think that I was an actual “expert” at anything in particular.
A blog sounded great, but I had no clue on where to begin.
It wasn’t too long after that conversation however, that my neighbour eventually moved out East. Then one day, I received an email from him. He told me to click on the following link: http://www.mrjamesryan.com
Much to my own shock and amazement, Paul had taken the initiative and set me up with my very own blog. He told me that he had created it for me, but only on the condition that I promised to actually use it.
“What’s with the ‘mr’ before my name?” I laughed.
He told me that it was the only domain that was available for my name.
Apparently, there were a lot of James Ryan’s out there (try to Google Search “James Ryan” – almost 57 million results turn up, but I am very proud to say that I am currently ranked #6 and #7 in Google), and so with my teaching background, he thought that it made the most sense, which I suppose it did.
Ironically however, I never had a student who didn’t just call me “James.”
To know me, is to know that I am very big on respect and professionalism, but I am also a very easy-going and laid-back person. Admittedly, I don’t always come across sounding that way in my articles—particularly if something has me worked up or annoyed, in which case, you had better watch out!
So anyway, great, I wanted to be a writer. But what exactly was I going to write about?
The pressure was on.
At the time, I was teaching Customer Relations at a local College, and I had been coaching youth football for my son’s team for a few years, so both of those areas seemed like perfect starting points. I figured that whatever I wrote about, it obviously had to be consistent with my professional career, and as a result, it had to set a positive example for our youth in terms of life lessons and behaviour.
I began writing about youth football and various other topics, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across Bleacher Report that I gave any consideration at all to writing about the topic of mixed martial arts.
I had studied martial arts for most of my life, but I was really on the fence about the whole sport in general. There were a few elements that I enjoyed, but there were also a lot of elements that I did not enjoy (lack of respect, lack of sportsmanship, showboating, etc.). Maybe I was getting too old, but those pro wrestling antics just really didn’t appeal to me, and they certainly didn’t seem very “martial arts” like.
To be honest, I didn’t even consider myself to be that much of a fan of the sport. I didn’t own anything that had “TapouT” or “UFC” written on it, and I didn’t even like to talk about my own martial arts training with other people. When it came to fighting, I had always believed that modesty was essential.
In fact, looking back—the day that I actually wrote on my blog that I have a black belt was a really huge step for me in terms of accepting who I am.
It was a strange feeling, but I knew if I was going to become a professional writer some day, I would need to overcome my deep feelings of privacy and insecurity.
Today, I can honestly say…mission accomplished.
Thanks for reading—that’s all for today.