Feel the fear and do it anyway. So they say. What do they know anyway? It usually takes a good friend to push you into the water, or off the couch. I have just had a friend give me that push. I have been outed.
For some time I have been tinkering around with having a blog that was just about me and my rambling thoughts. For months this blog only lived in my mind. Some evenings with the help of a nice glass of red wine, I would actually write something merely as a Word document with the intent of doing something with it. But I never did. In Vino Veritas. But it never got any further than that.
Mind you I have been writing professionally as a lawyer. (Divorce, if you didn’t know) A few years ago I wrote a column for a small local newspaper. It was pretty much oriented around getting the attention of prospective clients. It did actually attract clients but also got a lot of comments. My columns were about divorce and how to do it with dignity and respect. Once at a party a man told me he wished he were married so he could get divorced and use my services. Really? He wasn’t flirting. I’m too old to be flirted with.
The newspaper stopped publishing so with the help of my webmaster I began writing a blog that was attached to my web site. It was all designed and formatted for me. I just had to add content. And I did. For a while. Then I got lazy and had “guest bloggers”, people I know who have a service to offer people getting a divorce. Even more lazy, I merely copied other blogs and reposted them. Folks appreciated the extra visibility. But I wasn’t writing. The most I did was recycle old articles and blogs. Hey, they were my most popular, it had been five years and they were still relevant. After all, the important thing is to freshen the content, isn’t it?
I then joined a bloggers support group, took a writing class, and another writers’ support group. I wrote in class and I loved it. I still wasn’t blogging. I did spend several days writing copy for my web site blog. I now have a back log of several articles. I will add them to the blog. I will right after I post all the guest blogs I’ve received. I don’t want to compete with my guest bloggers, after all.
What was really coming through for me was that I wanted to write something personal about me. My random thoughts. My views on life and especially the prospect of getting older without having very many role models of how to do that. Everything I was reading about aging was either women having a crisis about turning 40 for god’s sake, or dry articles that belonged in the AARP’s Modern Maturity. You know, the importance of having long term insurance or why you should take glucosomine for your arthritis. If I were going to truly be authentic, I would have to go public with my age, which, as a woman, I was societally trained never to do. Tell them I’m almost 70? Could I do that? Maybe when I am way beyond seventy. After all, I was barely admitting that I was on Medicare.
The writer’s support group was a big help. In addition to encouragement, I was getting lots of technical advice. I learned that the best platform for me is WordPress. Took me about a month to look for the site and another month to actually sign up. Then in another month I realized that the original URL and title were all wrong. One day my support group led me to “Not Your Grandmother’s 70”. Wow. That clicked. I could really do this.
Now the next impediment, was that I needed a writing room. Of course I did. My office PC, the iPad on the couch and the laptop on the dining room table just wouldn’t do. I needed a real desk and writing room.
So my friend Deborah volunteered to help me clean up the upstairs den I called the “room of horrors”. It contained boxes of every hobby I had ever started — photography, sewing, hand stamped cards and a bone yard of dead electronic equipment. Deborah was ruthless. Out it went. My great IT guy, Neal, excitedly took away the electronics. (I’m kind of an electronics junkie and I had years of old music systems, printers and even Direct TV boxes I was no longer using). A little rearranging, a few cute boxes for remaining clutter, and rearranging the layout of the room for feng shui purposes, and I had a writing room. Now would I write? Oh, and a new keyboard and monitor. Need a BIG monitor to actually write. Don’t you?
Finally late in the evening I found the right “theme” on WordPress that had a look I liked and seemed technically manageable and I wrote. And wrote. I then discovered I could add pictures and found a picture of me at about a year old. Cute. Gives it a certain charm. I previewed the post and thought it was at least a good start.
Then the fateful step. I wanted to send the post to Deborah for her review. But not just content, the whole look. I took the drastic step of actually hitting “publish”. There it was! My first blog post. The technical doohickies were still missing but it was an actual post with an actual web address. At 1:30 a.m. without further thought, I sent the link to Deborah.
She outed me! The next morning I was mortified to see my post, with the picture of the petulant one year old, right there on Facebook. Going to 500 of Deborah’s nearest and dearest. Suddenly others were commenting on it. OMG, I am a blogger now.
I put my toe in the water, got pushed into the deep end and now I have to actually swim on my own.
Yup. You may feel the fear but it takes a friend to actually push you off the dock. Thank you Deborah.