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Jed Boal ReportingWeb logs, or Blogs, provide a personal pulse on the Internet. Families share photos, politicians present platforms, and soldiers tell the tales of war and even emerge from obscurity to celebrity.
Words travel fast these days. So fast, in fact, that Captain Lee Kelley of the Utah National Guard grapples to explain exactly how he became a writer, read around the world in less than 18 months.
Lee Kelley, Wordsmith at War: "I was writing it to gain an audience, but I didn't think it was very likely."
Kelley started blogging when he deployed to Iraq two years ago. He always pursued writing as a dream, quietly labored on a novel, and humbly hoped he would someday get a break. At first only friends and family of unit members read Wordsmith at War, then the blog started to sizzle in cyberspace.
Lee Kelley, Wordsmith at War: "The media for some reason got wind of it. For the last year, year and a half it's been one surprise after another."
Bloggers speed prose around the globe and come from out of nowhere to find an audience. Wordsmith at War went from two-thousand hits to two hundred thousand in a year.
Lee Kelley, Wordsmith at War: "That's the most humbling part. I just write the way I love to write. I write things I'd love to read myself."
His readers agreed. Wordsmith at War became one of the top ten military blogs among hundreds. The New York Times got him to write several columns. And check this out, he was featured in Time magazine as a maven of new media.
Lee Kelley, Wordsmith at War: "I'm just very humbled. I've been wanting to write for a long time. When people start reading and responding, it's a great thing."
Kelley landed a literary agent in New York who's working with him on a manuscript of his blog. Kelley is stunned by the attention, thankful for a potential big break, but grounded as a single Dad dedicated to his kids.
Lee Kelley, Wordsmith at War: "It's something I really enjoy doing. I aspire to make it a career. But now I'm just working and taking care of the kids."
For the Wordsmith at War it always comes back to the pictures he paints with his prose.