Sunday, 14 July 2013

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE BLOGGER


THE LONELINESS OF A LONG DISTANCE BLOGGER

In December 2012, after undertaking exhaustive research – well, after seeking the advice of a number of people with technological smarts, including my 27 year old son, Harvey, and my 24 year old daughter, Hannah – I decided to ignore everyone’s recommendations and set up a blog with Google+ which I’d discovered after googling, ‘How to set up a Blog’.

   It wasn’t that I’d carefully weighed up the pros and cons of the range of choices presented to me and concluded that Google offered superior features compared with the others. No, being severely technologically challenged, I found myself barely able to absorb any of the information fed to me. I became so confused about which way to go that, for several weeks, I suffered from my first attack of ‘blogger’s block’ and just couldn’t make a decision.

   Underpinning my procrastination was a huge fear of the unknown. What if this quantum leap into the technological age turned my familiar little world upside down? What if - heaven forbid - my cosy, kind-of-predictable existence was going to be disturbed and changed? What if no one reads my stuff? Or worse, what if they read it and don’t like it?  Or worse still, what if I receive lots of nasty feedback from people saying my stuff is crap and I have nothing interesting/intelligent/amusing to say and furthermore, most four-year-olds can express themselves in writing better than me?

   Regardless my self-doubts and paranoia, I faced my fears and with a number of stops and starts and stumbles, I finally managed to set up my blog with Google+. Oh, I didn’t mention why I chose Google, despite receiving plenty of good advice to go with other eminent providers. I chose Google simply because, like Wikipedia, I have warm and fuzzy feelings about it having found Google Search to be an invaluable tool in providing answers to a multitude of questions I’ve put to it over the years.

   I’d better confess what motivated me to become a blogger in the first place. I’m a writer in my spare time. I’ve written four books – two self-published paperbacks and four Kindle books and numerous Kindle short stories. They’re all out there spinning in the vast unmarketed, unknown, undiscovered, unread ethereal universe of Amazon, along with millions of other self-published books.

   Like most other self-published authors, I don’t have the financial means to spend big $ on getting my books out there. So, I’ve invested in a few ‘How to Become a Best-Selling Self-Published Author’ books, all of which say, among other things, that you’ve got to have either your own website, or blog, and build up a following. Then it is suggested that your followers will be so enamoured by your pearls of wisdom, or so entertained by your wit and/or ability to tell a tale, they’ll fall over themselves in the rush to purchase your books. Furthermore, they’ll broadcast the news to all their family, friends and acquaintances and a tsunami of sales is sure to follow.

    Well, that’s pretty much how I interpreted what the authors of these books are saying.

   So, I jumped in (albeit at snail’s pace) and set up my blog.

   Since December last year, I’ve written 31 pieces at, roughly, one article per week. All of them have been self-indulgent. Some have been ‘grumpy old man’ complaints about mobile (cell) phones, or tram-travelling in Melbourne. Others have been nostalgic recollections of misspent youth or making the wrong career choices. Some of the others focussed on topical issues like climate change, gun control and local politics. With much pride and admiration I wrote about my mother’s venture into short story writing for the first time at the age of 92. I’ve written about forgiving my father. Lately I’ve dived deeper into the swirling metaphysical waters of ‘sorry’ and ‘forgiveness’.

   Through the world of Google+, I soon discovered the Writers Discussion Group and other Communities and have enjoyed the contacts, support and exchange of information between fellow writers and others. This has been a huge and unexpected bonus.

   I kicked off my blog by sending unsolicited postings to family and friends and was delighted (and relieved) to receive some positive feedback. Slowly but surely, about 100 followers have jumped on board and I’m grateful for the encouragement and interesting exchanges that I’m having with a range of people from around the world.

   As for my books, I’d like to report a spike in sales, but alas – not so. However, that doesn’t bother me much at all, because the personal rewards I’ve received since becoming a blogger; the interesting people I’ve ‘met’; the enormous amount of valuable information that has come to me - are worth far more to me than a few dollars in royalties.

   Come to think of it, maybe after I finish my current book, ‘Know What You Want – How to find Purpose & Direction in Life’ based on self-development/spiritual topics, I might write one about ‘How to Become a Best-Selling Self-Published Author’!

   Maybe then I’ll become a best-selling self-published author?