Taking Stock

121712_2256_BlamingViol2.jpgI started blogging on WordPress on the 21st of March 2012. I had been blogging on two other sites the previous year and felt I needed a change. WordPress had a lot to offer a novice like me, easy access to images that could be related to my blog and the ability to do “pingbacks” to other articles that were related by content. It also offered an increased readership, although I did not know that when I started out.

I’ve passed the 40,000 hit mark today and I’ve reached the 200 mark on followers (except when you back out the publicize numbers it’s still just under 200). To say that my blogging is exceeding my humble expectations is the understatement of the century. My goals, when I started blogging way back at the tail end of 2010 were two-fold. I wanted to get in the habit of writing daily and I wanted this writing to be a springboard of sorts. A springboard that might just propel me back on the track of writing fiction.

So far those goals have been met. I’ve written two pieces of “flash fiction” and finished a short story that I did the first draft of over ten years ago. I’ve uploaded these onto my blog for perusal from the community and as a signpost for myself. Just writing and uploading those three bits of work has proved to me that I can still do it and that my dream of publishing my first ever book, a collection of short stories, could be a very real possibility.

Of course I am working on the “no news is bad news” philosophy here. No one commented on my three fictional offerings in an actively negative way nor in a passive one; might I add. And I don’t think it has been because of a lack of input, my little blog has gotten over 2,200 comments on my 481 blog posts. Not too bad for a blog that has only really existed for ten months. Of course quite a few of my initial blog posts were re-hashes from my other sites. But it did not take long to get into the swing of doing multiple posts on any given day.

Blogging has really been a lifesaver for me. My last three years have been quite eventful and even traumatic at times and once was actually a life or death event. Despite taking more pain medication than “Carter’s got little pills” I’ve managed to get a post out every day; sometimes more. Blogging has allowed me to trot out a rusty seldom used vocabulary and writing skills that I had thought lost forever. My confidence grows with each post and I now look at the folder that’s labelled ‘Mike’s Writing’ with excitement and not a depressed sort of dread.

When I look back to my early years of attempting to write “grown-up” fiction and the first ever typewriter I used, I chuckle. I had a borrowed Underwood that required you to have Arnold Schwarzenegger fingers and it had a lazy t. I then saved up my pennies and bought the cheapest electric typewriter you could find, a Brother. The funny thing was as my equipment got upgraded, my input went down. I can recall my excitement when I got a Brother word processor. I wrote part of three short stories (one was almost a ‘novella) and that was it. I did not write anything else on it.

Life and it’s every day challenges (along with a marriage that required a lot more effort than it should have) was slowly killing anything resembling creativity in me. The short story The Haunted Pub Tour, I actually wrote the entire first draft at work and saved it on a floppy disc (a big one) that followed me on two successive moves. When we got our first home computer, the disc was too big and I had to hunt around for the printed copy so I could write a second draft.

I then put that particular story in my folder along with a screenplay and a myriad of short stories none of which had ever gone beyond the second draft stage. It was when my daughter Meg went to university and had to “blog” as part of the curriculum that I learned of this interesting medium. She used to complain bitterly about having to do them and that was the only reason I took notice. I thought to myself that these blog things must be terribly difficult for her to hate them so much. I did eventually learn that it was not the difficulty of the blog that she hated it was the very fact of it that irritated.

I investigated and decided that this blog thing might just be what I needed. For the record, my first blog post (posted in October 2010) consisted of  just two sentences; written after consuming a huge amount of beer. For posterity here it is:

I’m still coming to grips with all these internet phenomenon call social network sites.  Now I’m trying to learn about these Blog thingies…Why do I bother?? Cos it’s nice to learn new things!

As you can no doubt tell from the two (or three now I look at it a bit closer) sentences I was also trying to get to grips with social networking; a project that I am still working on.

So I’m going to raise my metaphorical glass high and toast firstly my followers and all those lovely people who have stopped by, pulled up a chair and had a look around. (I appreciate it more than you could possibly know) I’m also going to toast myself and my daughter; myself because without me, the blog would never be written and my daughter because she’s never stopped supporting me in my writing quest.



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