Thursday, October 6, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: Blogging Is My Life…

I’m retired. Okay, permanently disabled. I decided I needed to do something or I’d go crazy, and take Mary with me. I thought I might want to be a writer of fiction and started reading author sites, specifically those for people just starting out in the writing biz, and everyone seemed to have the same idea: if you want to be a successful author, ya just gotta have a blog. So, in January 2012, I started The Sound Of One Hand Typing as, of all things, an author blog.

The more I tried to write fiction, the more I realized, I don’t even like to read fiction (at least not all that much); what the hell am I doing trying to write the stuff? At the same time, I realized I was getting more comfortable with writing a blog, and having fun doing it. In July 2014, I decided I would blog every day, rain or shine, no matter how good or lousy I feel (right now, I feel lousy, thanks to this cold I picked up).

So, you could say I’m a full-time blogger. That’s what my Facebook profile says, anyway, so it must be so. One day I’ll get around to fixing it on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest, but not today. Instead, I’m going to share the ten things I love about being a blogger.

  1. The interaction. That’s what blogging is all about. I thank heaven every day for those of you who come and read the blog, or who get it on RSS or by email, and for the comments I get.
  2. The commitment. I don’t have to do this, but I want to, and needing an article every day means I have to come up with something new each day. (Yeah, I know I repeat myself a lot…)
  3. The mental exercise. If I were to just sit around and mindlessly flip through the Internet, or the TV, pretty soon I’d start to lose mental acuity. Doing this helps me avoid that. I admit there are times when I can’t remember a name, or forget a song or a TV show; I wonder if I’m forgetting them or so busy thinking about something else that they get shoved back in my memory. I think I have to start using Evernote more.
  4. The research. I’m on Wikipedia and IMDb all the time, and DuckDuckGo (like Google, but it doesn’t track you) is my best friend (maybe the reason I don’t write more down). There are a lot of times I’ll think of something and it’ll lead me down a path that might, but usually doesn’t, lead to an article here. It’s something else that gets stuffed in my brain and waits for me to find a reason for it.
  5. The routine. I adopted a lot of the blog hops I participate in so I could say, “okay, Monday is ‘Monday’s Music Moves Me,’ Tuesday is ‘Two For Tuesday,’ etc.” I realize there are times when I rely too heavily on the routine, something I’m trying to break myself of.
  6. The planning. Again, not one of my strong suits, but when you write a blog every day, you have to have a plan for what you’re going to write about. Even if it’s not complete. To use some fiction-writing terminology, I’m less of a plotter and more of a pantser. That doesn’t mean I always fly by the seat of my pants, though sometimes I do.
  7. The reminiscing. The stories I tell on Wednesdays for My Wife and at other times are an excuse to relive some of those moments, even if they happened forty or fifty years ago. Talking about things like how upset I was when Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers went off the air is an example of that. I had forgotten Mom “calling” WGN when that happened, and it reminded me of other things that happened when I was that age, living in that apartment on Magnolia Avenue, such as the safe in my parents’ bedroom (more on that later).
  8. The sense of accomplishment. I write a blog post most every day, and some days I write several and schedule them. When I tell Mary that, she says, “You’re just wearing your Panties of Righteousness, aren’t you?” And I laugh, and deep inside I say, “Yeah, I sure am.”
  9. The technical aspect. I spent most of my adult life working with computers (writing code, installing software, training clients, etc.), and I appreciate feeling like I still got it. Whether it’s using IFTTT to simulcast this blog on Blogger, or learning Markdown to simplify writing these entries, or having to figure out how to get things to appear nicely on the blog, it’s still a rush when I learn something new and get it to work.
  10. The fun. This is the end result of #1-9. It’s fun. I had a manager when I was a trainer who said, “John, you’re in the classroom almost every day. You have to find a way to make this fun.” This is an extension of that.

As long as we’re talking about work and fun…

Incidentally, Matthew Garber, the boy in the clip, was born the same day I was, albeit a half a world away. Sadly, he died in 1977 at the age of 21. He appeared in three movies in his career, all with Karen Dotrice (the girl in the clip).

See what I mean about research?

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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