My blog is my gun.

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of getting to know Alvin Tatum as a Twitter pal and {grow} commenter.  I love his blog and am sure you will agree that you probably have not read about blogging from the perspective of this guest post!

By Alvin Tatum Jr.

“This Is My Blog.  There are many like it, but this one is Mine.”

If you’re familiar with this line you know I’m making a play on words from the movie “Full Metal Jacket,” but it’s actually the opening line to the Rifleman’s Creed. Through my own personal experience however I learned how true that line is (“This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine”) and how you can apply it to your blogging life.

My Background

My name is Alvin Tatum Jr. and I’ve been in the United States Navy for almost 17 years where I serve as a Weather Forecaster.  In 2008 I began a tour to Baghdad which really gave a new meaning to the term “a fish out of water.”  Typically sailors don’t find themselves in sand, but there I was preparing to go into the heart of a war zone to provide weather support to the Army’s top brass.  First I would have to make a detour to Basic Combat Training in South Carolina. There my best friends would become an M16 and 40 pounds of body armor. My enemy?  The unrelenting August heat.

In the Navy not everyone is required to carry a weapon, but for the next eight months I would have an M16 by my side 24/7.  I had to become intimately familiar with it. I had to learn how to break it down and put it back together. Most importantly I had to learn how to fire my M16 from various positions, and learn how to shoot targets up to a quarter mile away. Thankfully I wasn’t expected to learn these skills overnight and I had about 4 weeks to master them. By the end of training I could take it apart and put it back together like a pro, and the “Rifleman’s Creed” resonated with me all to well. This brings me to a few points about life … and blogging.

Get Mentally Prepared

(This is my blog)

Whether you’re in the military or just an average Joe, at some point in life we all have to prepare ourselves for something difficult.  It doesn’t matter if it’s personal or professional, the first step in any challenge is to move forward. Procrastination is mental not physical. If you want to achieve your goal then you must get your mental house in order. Going to war takes a lot of mental preparation. Blogging is not war, but don’t let the mental process become a battle within yourself.

Be Original

(There are many like it)

My trip to Iraq required a lot of time and training, but it came from people who had already traveled the road.  Look at your niche and do the same. Become familiar with it, be able to break it down and know who’s who and what they do well. This will help you find your aim and the position that’s best suited for your talent. 

Quality is King

(But this one is mine)

Quality only comes from hard work, determination and preparation. I needed all of these traits to accomplish something I’d never done in my military career, and blogging is no exception.  You must have all three of these traits to be successful and know the Core Values of Blogging. Quality is not necessarily showing up in the numbers either. You will come across all kinds of information that will sell you on fast success. More followers, more comments, more traffic, but it’s all a facade.

At the end of my training my M16 wasn’t just a gun it became a part of me and I felt naked without it. Your blog should be an extension of you. Most importantly it has to be yours and provide your readers with a level of intimacy that will lead to an inseparable relationship.

In war and in blogging it’s not how many rounds you fire, it’s how many you hit on target.

Alvin Tatum Jr is a husband, father, and 17-year Navy veteran who loves blogging about technology. His site is

All posts

  • Alvin,
    Love the analogy between your rifle and a blog.

    And the *ammunition* we use to hit our blogging target, that’s the backlog of ideas we have – and committing pen to paper (or video, or audio…or whatever medium we choose to share). 

  • Thank you Lance I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s all about commitment.

  • Alvin, my friend, it’s great to see you guest-posting on my favorite blog! You always bring such a unique perspective. “This one is mine”… I love it. Nice job.

  • lavender williams

    Wow. I recognized the analogy between the gun and LIFE! Love it, love it, love it! This post was more amunition to be the ME I was created to be! My niche is mine!

  • Thank you Elyse for the kind words.

  • I’m glad you see the connection. Being who you are will carry you far. Thanks for the comment Lavender!

  • Alvin (feels funny calling you that), you’ve known me longer than I have known you, but this side of you, I LOVE! This is a great article and it’s wonderful to be able to see a little bit more into the life of my favorite cousin! 

  • Anonymous

    This was right on target for me. I needed it. I will think of this message often and thanks to the brilliant parallels you illustrated, I’ll have the lines from that movie resonating in my head too. This is my blog. Brilliant.

    Thanks for your service and for your inspiration Mr. Tatum. You sir, are a great writer and a great American.

  • Touching. Strong. Poignant. Call to action. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much. Glad I  surprised you :-).

  • Billy I feel you. After going through the process the lines from the movie was like an epiphany. Thank you for commenting.

  • Your welcome Jayme!

  • Really interesting take. I loved the metaphor! You also provided some great perspective on how to really make your blog become your own.
    p.s. Alvin, thanks for serving in the Navy and for all you do for this country!

  • Wow, that photo is enough to scare the heck out of me – you sure look serious!  I love it when people surprise me, and the post following the photo was beautifully done, almost choreographed.  I will take a wander over to your blog.  You’re right – each blog is a reflection and extension of ourselves and if executed well, it takes on a life of its own, under our control.

  • Alicia

    Life and a gun…great analogy.  I absolutely love this piece.  I am committed to staying true to my truth with my blog.

    By the way, thanks for serving our country. 

  • This is cool. This statement is not the most brilliant I could make, but I loved the mindset this blog left me in after I read it. Thanks, Alvin.

    And yes, thank you for your service!

  • Karen Bice

    Great post! Will check out @twitter-36009804:disqus’s blog.  Nice to get a military perspective on blogging. (I’m not a blogger, yet anyway). My son’s currently in training for October deployment. Semper Fi.

  • Karen thanks for your comment and tell your son I said hello and God bless. I hope he has a safe deployment.

  • I’m glad I was able to give you a different mindset. I’ve read a few things on “Grow” myself that have made me think. Thanks Jenn!

  • Alicia that is the key to anything we try to do. If you’re not true to yourself you can not be real with anyone else and give the best you have to offer. Thanks you.

  • LoL This photo was taken at a Baghdad elementary school. I went with my Petty Officer Association. We delivered school supplies to the kids. So it was a rewarding, but always serious moment when you leave the safety of the compound and out in the open public of Iraq. Thank you for commenting. 

  • Meredith I’m glad you liked the perspective. And thank you for following me on Twitter as well.

  • Great post!  I agree and especially like the nod to quality.  I may not be as prolific in my blogging as others, but I try to keep it, as one of my readers described, and I liked that he noticed – fundamental. With every post I try to have meaning beyond the words on the screen even though my most frequent topic is rock climbing.  

  • Well Alvin, I have a girl in the Army and she is good at what she does. I like the post a lot. Saw the movie. Takes time to grow a blog, and then know how to use it. Nice switch up from the stuff I have been reading lately. Thanks. Billy

  • Alvin, I  opened this post today simply because of the title. I’ve hit pause on my blog due to a current business situation which is leading every post I begin to sound like a loaded missile aimed at one person, rather than a true offering to my greater community. So I saw this title and thought…”yay! justification to use my blog as a weapon!” when, of course, your post served to remind me of the importance of creating quality content, not scathing diatribes. So I may have to wait a bit longer before I can write from higher ground. In the meantime, I’ll check out your site!

  • Loved this post Alvin… What a great mindset here Mark!Discipline, like anything else in life, is what it takes to be successful. And save lives (or enrich them : )Cheers to you on this great post Alvin and great guest post Mark!

  • Hi Alvin, great post. I love the analogy between blogging and war. I agree that your blog is an extension of yourself. It should reflect your style and philosophy as well as great content! 

  • Great to see you again Sherrie! I’m glad you enjoyed the analogy.

  • Nice to meet you Mark. Discipline is the key to success for anything in life and blogging is no different. 

  • Thank you Billy. Being in the military often gives me a different prospective on things, and I try to apply that approach to everything.  Glad you enjoyed it, and Hooah to your daughter.

  • Alvin,

    I have known that you were in the service but I did not know you were a weatherman.

    Learning how to handle a weapon and make it a part of you sounds like intense training. I like how you have likened it to your blog. I would imagine that handling a weapon does take perseverance and skill. And because you are the one handling the gun it is unique to you.

    This post shows how you can take that uniqueness and make a blog your own and yet one that others can relate to. Well done on all accounts.


  • Thank you very much Sheila.

  • Great read Alvin, thanks for the insight

  • I love the analogy & you have helped me to be want to work on my procrastination.  Thanks so much for serving for our country, and for you posts.  Sally

  • wow!nice idea thanks to shere with me this kind of stuff…..

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: Sourcing3 Buyer & Supplier Magazine - Best of B2B Marketing for Week of July 23, 2011()

The Marketing Companion Podcast

Why not tune into the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast that I co-host with Tom Webster.

View details

Let's plot a strategy together

Want to solve big marketing problems for a little bit of money? Sign up for an hour of Mark’s time and put your business on the fast-track.

View details


Send this to a friend