I had lunch with my friends Jan and Anna today. They are a dynamic mother and daughter duo. Somehow, the topic of blogging/writing came up; OK, it always comes up when Jan and I talk.
“Cathy, you have a problem.” Anna smiled.
“Yeah, I think I realize that.”
Jan interrupted “Oh are you registered for Blogathon?”
“Jan, what is Blogathon?”
“You commit to posting a blog for 31 days straight in May. I am emailing you the link now.”
I have always dreamed of being a writer. I actually dreamed of writing a bestseller and having Oprah beg me for an exclusive interview. I dream big. I have written my bestseller several times – in my head. I have written four or five versions of the first chapter and changed the name several times.
I was seeing a therapist two years ago and it was not for being an obsessive-compulsive writer. During the time I was in therapy, I attended a writer’s workshop. I shared some of my writing with her. When I left therapy, she encouraged me to purse my writing. I wasn’t sure how to begin.
I bought a domain and created a website that had a blogging feature. About that same time, my son told me he wanted to pursue writing. I knew he was talented. He had started a blog. I discovered two other friends who had starting blogging as well. They used a Google program called Blogger. I decided to jump in and try it.
My first blog was not an instant success. I wasn’t sure what to blog about so I played with a variety of things. Eventually I seemed to find my niche. I wrote blogs as the amazing rate of about one every month or two at first. I shared my blog with a total of ten people. They “followed” my blog and would often comment on my posts. Realizing that someone had read my words was an amazing rush.
About a year into the blog, I created a second blog on WordPress. This system is a bit harder to navigate and seemed to be for the more serious blogger. I kept this blog private. I was free to write without editing or censoring myself. I would occasionally share a post with a couple of people. I kept both blogs going until January of this year.
I believe I have a story to share with people to encourage and give them hope. I would even be so bold to say that maybe I have a bit of talent. Did you hear the confidence in that statement? I believe I have a journey of faith that will resonate with people. I believe God has called me to do this. I know writing is therapeutic for me. I know I have to write.
In October last year, I took a short course in writing fiction. I had never given much thought to fiction writing but wanted to see if it might be a fit for me. I quickly learned that writing fiction is much different from blogging. There are things like voice, character, settings, conflict, resolution, verb tense, and more. I was falling more and more in love with writing.
My son had participated in something called NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month’s goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 pages) novel beginning on November 1 and ending by 11:59:59, November 30. I decided to try it. Writing 50,000 words in a month is much more difficult than I imagined. I managed to finish just one day before the deadline.
In January, I made the decision to switch from my Blogger to my WordPress blog and make it public. By now, I had a facebook account, Pinterest, and Twitter. I also created a Tumblr and Digg account, although I am not sure I know what they are. I created a group on facebook and shared my new blog with about twenty people. I kept it public so anyone could find it, knowing no one would search for it. I was still dealing with some old demons of fear. I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough. I worried about friends or family learning things about my life that may change how they feel about me.
I quickly realized that I would never be able to write my book if I was afraid of sharing the very things I so desperately wanted to share. I knew it was time to jump in with both feet. I shared my blog with my 350+ facebook friends list. Some shared it on their profile. I created a facebook page.
I started getting more hits. I knew that because now I had a stats page that told me so. I started getting more comments. People seemed to like my blog posts. Some said they were inspired or encouraged. Someone sent me a link to a weekly blog site where you write and submit a post on the site every week. I didn’t know such things existed. I had to learn how to post a button and link my blog.
My posts started getting more hit and comments. One of my posts received the Lurkers Favorite Award. More people started following my blog. Now I was committed to writing on a deadline. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the next blog post. I read blogs by people who shared the same subject matter as my blogs. I started hitting “like” on people’s blogs in order to lure them to my blog. Occasionally someone would ask a question and I would answer with, “You will just have to read my book when it comes out.”
I joined a large blog site that required a paid membership. This would mean writing a second blog each week with a bit of a different voice. Before you ask me why I would do that, let me explain. This blog site has published authors, editors and publishers who will read your blog and give you some honest feedback and recommendations about your writing skills.
In the past two weeks, I have linked my blog to several blog sites. I am now on Write on the Edge, Blogaholic, YeahWrite, FaithWriters, Lightening Bug, and Sober Blogs. I still keep my Blogger account and link to it. It may take you as long to see all of the links in the right hand column of my blog as it does to read a new post. Some of the sites have weekly blogs with specific topics and time deadlines. OMG—that is going to mean writing more blogs each week.
Today, I followed Jan’s link and signed up for Blogathon. Yes, that means I will writing one new blog post each day for the next 31 days. This blog about blogging will be my first. Did I mention Camp NaNo? It is the same idea as NaNoWriMo but takes place in June. Of course, I have signed up for that as well.
To round out the first four months of 2012’s writing and blogging, I will be traveling to Montreat Conference Center on Friday for a three-day retreat and workshop. Go ahead; guess what kind of workshop it is. Yes, it is a writer’s retreat for women. Now I just have to figure out how to write three blog posts while I am there.
I read a blog (bet your didn’t see that one coming) that described a new disorder they hope to add to the DSM-5 (the book psychologists and psychiatrists use to pick which disorders you have). They are going to name the disorder, “Blogging Addiction Disorder” or BAD for short.
Yeah, I’m BAD.