I’ve been writing my blog for one month now!! I decided I wanted to reflect on this time and note what I have learnt and experienced so I remember the details of this part of my journey.
It’s been a much more complex, soul searching journey than I envisaged. Starting the blog.
Deciding to do it was the first step and I feel the biggest.
Last year I was in Bali and thought I wanted to write a book. I wrote ten of thousands of words – then stopped. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to share these thoughts publicly. I’d never thought about this before, about sharing my thoughts. I had to confront questions such as “If I write who will see it? What will they think? Who is my audience? How will I react – especially to criticism?.”
Or not. I could just write for me because I like to write!
Since then I’ve thought about it and decided I would start a blog instead. I love writing and taking photos and love my life so I could make a kind of visual diary for myself on a blog. And maybe someone would pass by to see how a middle age Tree Changer is experiencing life of a farm. It’s a huge cyber world out there but ultimately it would be my space! For me, and if someone else wanted to share, for them too.
I feel my age group (in their 50’s) is very nervous about going public. Privacy and access issues. Part of me totally aligns with this attitude. I can understand why some will not sign up to Facebook. I can relate to that. They hesitate to use the social media tools on the net – until they have a need. A grandchild travelling, a friend posting photos, a curiosity for some sort of connection – with knowledge or an interest. Then we are driven to explore this unknown space.
I went through a real struggle with myself just to set up this blog – to decide to write MY thoughts so they are public. They would be for me but I could make them public as well. My friends were encouraging me to do so. Open for comment and criticism. In the end I decided I needed to focus on doing it for me. To gain writing experience and to grow my writing self confidence and enjoyment and discipline.
At school I was a “maths” person. I did the standard maths subjects – higher level maths, physics, chemistry, economics. I love maths. I love numbers.I had this belief that I was destined for numbers and not words. Numbers have been my professional life until now. I believed I wasn’t good at writing. This seemed to be reinforced through my life.
But then I gave myself permission to write, due to comments from one person who was reading my words. And I’ve discovered I really enjoy writing. So why not write!!
I follow a guy named Seth Godin. He is very inspirational. He keeps saying you have to start, you just have to do it, you have to begin….. No matter what it is you want to do, he perpetually says start – now.
I have travelled overseas a bit in the past few years and have written a travel email to my friends. Many have encouraged me to write more as they enjoyed following me vicariously around the globe. They started me thinking that writing for others is a feasible option.
I talked with a journalist friend and he again reminder me that writing is like anything – the more practise, the better you become. Some people are naturally gifted in some areas but others can work hard and get skilled in an area of expertise as well. He said if I wanted to do write I could. He was right.
Another friend told me how to start – the practicalities, about WordPress, some simply guidelines to follow, reasonable expectations.
And so I decided that I would start. I would just start my writings using a blog and see what happens.
I decided a blog would be the best medium as it was something I would commit to. I started to imagine, believe, there is someone out there who is looking forward to my post most days so I “have to” post. Although I write for me I committ to another person. I am better are doing something for other people than for me!
Writing a diary just doesn’t hold my attention for long so trying a new forum might just make me more committed to practising writing. Plus I enjoy taking photos with my little camera. I used to have a better one but it got stolen in Buenos Aires last year so I bought one I can fit in my pocket. I can blend these two enjoyments together.
All the elements came together so finally……
Even this first post, with the date muddle, showed me how much there is to learn. It’s not just about writing – it’s learning about blogging – the process, the software, the options, the vocabulary, the possibilities, the icons, the logic (Really? There is one??), the extensions, the connections, coping with lines and photos and icons and everything doing unexpected things!
There is the writing side. What will I write about? This is easy for me. I always have lots of things I want to write about.
But once you have pressed “Create Blog” there are sooooo many confused thoughts and questions from the practical side of creating a blog post: “What’s a widget? What’s the difference between a page and a post? How do I insert a photo? And now align it? Why does it keep defaulting to one paragraph space when I want two? Oh – I can insert a URL link. I’m away tomorrow and I think you can write today and post tomorrow – how?”.
I discovered my neighbour Mandy had a blog on WordPress too. She gave me encouragement. She is an experienced blogger of 2 years and a published journalist. Mandy knows she can write. She’s in a different league to me. Her blog looks organised and its easy to find things. I felt mine was an out-of-control confusion. I had things on the side bits (what’s the name for that side bit thing again???) I didn’t want there. I wanted other things in there. No one could “follow” me. I must be able to add “Follow” somehow so my friends on Facebook can automatically get my posts!! I wanted a different colour and whereeeeeeee was that option again……..
I was so grateful for Mandy’s support and encouragement in those first few days. Thanks Mandy.
At the top of my admin page there is this little kind of graph icon (along with 3 gizillion other click on options!). About 5 days after I started blogging I noticed this icon – everything was new so I didn’t “see” everything at once.
I clicked on it and suddenly saw that people were and had been reading my blog. 17 people on day 4 of my blog!! Wow!
OH!! I was so excited. Up until this point I didn’t know if anyone had looked at my blog except Mandy. It didn’t matter really as I was so focused on just getting things posted that someone reading them…. I had enough to think about. BUT….. when the stats came up I laughed – an excited laugh. A laugh of total surprise and pleasure. Wow – that’s cool! There are people out there reading my blog! Wow! My blog is more than just me now!
My blog suddenly took on a different form in my head. It was alive now. Truly alive and well and exciting. I was enjoying writing but now, other people were breathing life into my blog as well. Just like absent friends – by being there!!
Wow!! I’m a blogger!!
(Tomorrow “Blogging Anniversary Emotions”)