A Blogger’s Life


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Okay, I am feeling decidedly playful tonight. I’ve been editing.  And I must say, despite the topic and issues raised in this work of mine, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve produced to date.

I’m polishing it up.  Taking those phrases when last I passed through this book of mine, which was a year ago, and defining them in a way that is more conducive to the meaning trying to be conveyed.

A year ago I had read through this work of mine approximately seven times or so.

And truth be told I didn’t want to look at it again.  For two years I’d worked on it and during that tenure, I had been living part of the book.

Emotions were at times volatile.  Behaviours were erupting in a tidal wave that I found myself swept up in with the only hope that when all settled, I would have survived and grown as a result.

Then on the heels of all these momentous changes came the health issues, shifting this life in yet another direction.

Really there was no other choice than to run with it.

Things have settled considerably now after some four years of some rather extreme challenges.

And now as I read back the words, let me tell you, I got it right this time.

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I have told  something so very personal that it exposes my vulnerabilities and fears to the world. I put out all my flaws and weakness’ without excuse .  I’m happy with the effort and result.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length, then you’ll know I want more than anything to become a respectable wordsmith.  To take this craft and be able to lend the words to such a favorable position that their meaning might well touch the reader in a manner that is positive and profound, that quite humbly is my only wish.

There is a blogger that I follow on this site with some 70,000 plus followers.  I loved his writings and his depth.

Now it seems every post is requesting finances from his followers for some crisis he seems to be having in his life.

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I’ve not reached such popularity, however, I have remained true to the purpose of this blog and shall remain as such.

I will never ask you to donate for my aging computer equipment,  nor I will never ask you fund my online subscriptions, for my health care, my rent, etc.

It has truly saddened me where he’s taken his blog.  This makes me wonder why we are all on this forum.

I, for one, read all the posts I’ve signed on to.  If I am moved to comment then I do.

Still, this morning, when I rose and checked my email and saw the blog from Christian stating ‘Help!” I knew he would again be asking for money.

I sighed wearily.  It’s just such a turn off.  Time to sign off.

For me this forum is where we can all come and express ourselves.  There is no expectation, and hopefully no judgment.

You either like it or you don’t.  It either speaks to you or it doesn’t.  This is a place where we can all share our thoughts and ideas.

But for fifty dollars, I could pay Christan to upload one of my posts!  After all he has some 70,000 plus followers.

Don’t we all wish for that?  And then I saw the posts being re-blogged as he said he would.

In some there was an odd desperation in these writers trying to gain exposure for their work.  Like me they probably don’t know shit about marketing.

He got lucky. What you have to understand in this world, is that sometimes people just get lucky.

There is an old saying that it’s 25% talent, 25% who you know and 50% luck.

I don’t know.  I’m not into statistics.

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I see this happen all too often though.  Someone becomes popular in their writing or delivery of words, written or oral.

And the price goes up.

Think of these so called prolific wisdom gurus such as Tony Robbins and the like.  Hell, the fees attached to their seminars are exorbitant.

If you’ve attended any of their seminars, what have you learned?

I can tell you now, they will not disclose any information to you that you’re not already in possession of.  What they’ve become masters at is unveiling such information in a manner that seems new and invigorating.

And I feel like that with a many of bloggers whom I’ve followed.

Then you have the ones that seem to be buying into their own ‘greatness’ after all, how could 70,000 plus followers be wrong?

And admittedly for a time, this confused me. I blogged about it.  Why were the words and thoughts I was expressing not being acknowledged by WordPress?  Why had I never been ‘Freshly Pressed’?

Then it came to me.  I am here only to practice the craft I love.  I will never ask for any compensation other than you like what you’ve read.

It’s just that simple.  I have no agenda to separate you from your hard earned cash.

If, what I’ve written, brings an emotional connection to you in any way, then I’ve done my job.

It’s just that simple.

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If we cannot share our words and expressions with honesty, then what?

Last evening, as I have done for the last six years, I boarded the Britannia here in Vancouver as a staff volunteer to kick off a cruise for the Pride weekend in Vancouver.

I have many friends who are gay, and you know, I learned a long time ago to judge people by what was in their heart.

So if I can assist my friends’ and make this celebration that much more exceptional, then I will.

I took my camera and snapped some 300 photographs on the cruise last night.

I spent another three hours today reviewing and correcting any inconsistencies then uploading onto my friends Facebook page, along with mine.

And as I did this, I felt blessed for the people I have in my life and even more so that I can write the things that I do.

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marketing Files: Refocus


Forward thinking in a backward world, or is it backward thinking in a forward world?  In any case, I had an interesting conversation last evening at a friend’s birthday dinner.  I began discussing my curiosity about marketing and how I was looking at some of the things I could do to develop more traffic for my blog spot.

Some interesting points were brought up.  I was challenged on why I wanted to do this.  Did I have a product?  If I did, then I should be trying to attract people who could assist in promoting said product.  In other words, marketing isn’t a popularity contest. 

Pointedly I was asked if those of you following my blog would purchase my book once it was released.  I was asked if any of my current followers could assist in getting the news out about the publication.  It was a bit of an assault, but one that I really think I needed. 

I actually found myself feeling extremely protective of all of you who read my posts.  Then I wondered (GASP!) if I was selling out by wanting to improve the amount of traffic I receive.

It was an odd reaction.  I started this blog for the purpose of writing on a regular basis.  I have stated this previously.  This still holds true. I guess, too, this was a way to introduce myself to the world of writing. 

This is the first forum that anyone has ever read any of my writing.  I had not joined the writing groups when I began this blog.  I truly was in my little corner of the world hoping that someone would hear me. 

I thought about the ‘product’ that I would be promoting in the grand scheme of marketing and it would in fact be me.  I am the one who is writing.  All these ideas are coming out of the expansive grey matter that resides between my ears. 

It was very strange to think of myself as a ‘product’.  As I considered this, it occurred to me that we sell ourselves all the time.  If we’re looking for a job, resumes are developed to highlight our skills and abilities pertaining to the position applied for.   So the shift is a minor one really with this line of thought, yes? 

Yet when I applied this ideology to promoting myself as writer, there was a moment of panic that occurred, a moment of doubt. 

No solid background exists in this area.  I did not graduate from high school.  While I took a non-accredited Creative Writing course several years ago, there are no other educational credentials or pursuits on my part.  My education in writing has come from reading and the need to put my thoughts down on paper.  A few years ago I went from describing myself as someone who loved to writer to a writer. 

This change in how I regarded myself demanded a certain discipline and respect if I was to take this seriously and regarded as such.  My belief was and still is that if you want to be good at something, anything…practice regularly.  Find and acknowledge the areas that you are weak in and work that much harder to develop your skill set.

And this is where I am currently.  Working hard to become a wordsmith of sorts. 

What I realized last evening as well, is that I have succeeded.  Perhaps not to the acclaim that many might equate success with, but those of you who have followed my posts hopefully have gained something from them.  Or perhaps I have simply entertained you. 

I will continue to research various marketing techniques and I will report my findings to you.  But this is not a popularity contest.  While I joked about being the Belle of the Blog, it really was meant in jest. 

My interest in marketing is simple.  I plan to self publish. I have a few reasons why I want to go this route.  First and foremost, I wrote a memoir.  It is a very personal telling of some extremely difficult issues regarding abuse I have had to deal with during my lifetime. 

I want to have control over this and that was why I chose not to try and ‘sell’ my story.  Second, I thought what better way to get to know the market I am wanting to be part of.  If I am going to make mistakes, and I can almost guarantee you that I will, then why not do it with my own story? 

I am now writing my first fictional novel and am six chapters in. I also have about six others in various stages to be developed down the road. I am always coming up with new ideas as well.  I am exploring various genres and I am having fun with the telling of stories and I want to become good at it. 

The plan then will be to post any new marketing information I have come across and my ideas surrounding it perhaps once a week.?  All other posts will be in keeping with what I have done all along of whatever happens to be firing in my head at the time. 

Just needed to adjust my focus a bit.  There, I can see so much better now. 

Enjoy your day!

 

 

The Business of Blogging…the Next Level


After writing the ‘Marketing 101‘ post I decided to focus on sourcing out this platform of blogging.  I can say the one thing I have done correctly is write consistently.  What I’ve neglected is my fellow bloggers.

For this I do apologize.

Having researched this element and what I am finding is successful blogs have one thing in common.  They generate commentary and they interact with their community.  And you cannot generate commentary unless you read and comment on fellow blogs.

Patrick gave me some very sage advise about social networking to which I am very grateful.

When I began this blog, in all fairness, I really didn’t know what to expect.  For me it was simply a tool to write on a consistent basis and hopefully become better at it.  I had not finished the book at that point.  I was still experiencing growing pains with it as it and the format had not fully taken shape. I don’t believe I had even started up with the two writing groups I now belong to.

There was this notion, an immediacy to focus on writing and photography.  Two things that I always loved and for whatever reason put on the back burner as the rest of my so call life seems to dictate.

Somewhere in the mix of the past few years I adopted the ‘no excuses’ rule.  Meaning simply that when I say things like ‘I love to do (blank)’, and I ask myself why I’m not then doing (blank), if it starts with ‘because‘ then it’s an excuse.

For example I love to run.  Right now I cannot run.  My feet are numb as a result of the chemotherapy and until they are back to normal (which will hopefully be in a few more weeks) it is not advisable as I could do permanent nerve damage.

An excuse would sound like this, ‘I love to run but I just can’t find the time right now.’

The most common excuse we use is that we don’t have the time.  Our lives are so busy that we just don’t make the time for the things we love.  Sad really.

This shift in thinking has been pivotal to where I am now.  But I digress, as I often do.

I am now going to embark on a marketing plan that I’ve put together and we’ll see if it works.  Again, it is about the journey and I do hope to learn a thing or two along the way and will share them with you (the good, the bad and ugly!)

I will be calling this segment of my blog ‘The Marketing Files’. I will follow it with a catch phrase of what I am researching, discovering or so completely in the dark about.  The point of these will be to attempt to learn how to market a blog.  This is where it starts.

One thing I need to be careful of is my sense of humour.  It can be very strange and not everyone ‘gets me’ as a certain child o’ mine as pointed out a time or two.

For example, several years ago the giant phone, internet and optik TV provider, Telus, sent out small stuffed red chameleons about six to eight inches in length.  This was a very poor marketing campaign.

These were sent to business customers as a way to thank them for their loyalty.  I still have Jason.  That is what I named him and the reason why is another story altogether.

Anyway, several years ago a certain radio station was having a contest with a top prize of $25,000.  The idea was for the listening audience to come up with a creative way to visually show they listen to the radio station.  A brilliant marketing campaign!

I took a picture of Jason (the stuffed chameleon), mocked up a headset on him and gave him a boom box to rock out with and added the catch phrase

WHY IS THIS IGUANA SMILING?  HE’S LISTENING TO (RADIO STATION)’

I put the posters up around the City.  One of the delivery people for the printing company that we used put it in her car window.

Now the first thing you may note is that I called it an ‘Iguana’ when clearly it was not.  My clever thinking was that a chameleon can change and this one changed species.

In any case, people had to call in if they saw signs, take pictures and email them to the radio station.  It was brilliant and when I saw the contenders I knew that my efforts were amateurish at best.  Still, it was fun.

The winner would be determined by having generated the largest audience.  The guy that took the top prize?  He was at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.  He held up a sign in a massive crowd toward a camera that read ‘I LISTEN TO (RADIO STATION)’.  I think it was Matt Lauer of the Today Show or some such personality who saw the sign, tracked down the guy and had him on the show the next day.  Can’t get more publicity than that, can you!  And he won hands down.

What did I learn from this little endeavour?  Don’t be weird!  That’s what I learned.  Most people looked at this poster and the first thing out of there mouth was that it wasn’t an iguana.  I lost them right there.

Because of this colossal error on my part,  Jason later turned into a serial killer.  Being the empathic personality that I am, however,  I cured him of this irrational behaviour and he now sits on the rear-view mirror of my car happily directing me in my travels.

So once again I took the long way around and have given several examples of why my humour should not be brought into the mix.

At this point you are likely asking yourself ‘what the hell does any of this have to do with the business of blogging?!’

That, my darlings, is my point.  I need to focus, focus, focus.  Not lead you down several back alleys and causeways to the point that you can’t even recall what I began discussing in the first place, which was marketing a blog.

And I’ve just given an example likely of how NOT to market one.

I’m looking forward to this little venture and I do look forward to your feedback as well.

Stay tuned.

Peace.

 

 

Choices


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This is an anniversary of sorts for me today.  One year ago on this date I was admitted into hospital where an angiogram was performed and later an angioplasty.  Which means, for those of you not familiar with the terminology, I had a heart blockage that was investigated then had a stent inserted to open up the artery which we discovered was 95% blocked.

And the thing of it is, I had virtually no symptoms.  We  kind of stumbled upon this through some other tests.  A year ago I was feeling far too human and far too fragile by the day’s end.  But what I realized in that moment as I laid in the operating chamber, very much awake and watching as the doctor moved his instruments inside my heart, was how little time on this planet we actually have and how much we take it for granted.  It was the day after this event while I sat curled up on my sofa, ruminating about all of the things that I had been through in my life time that I began this blog.

I have always wanted to write and I want to be a good at it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always written,  not always in a particularly coherent manner, mind you.  At this time last year no one had ever read any of my writings.  I had been working on a memoir, which last year was still a compilation of emotional writes in several notebooks.  I embraced the New Year with a vim and vigor never quite experienced before.

I found a writer’s group that focused on offering positive critiques for ongoing novels and/or short stories. My first meeting with them was rather intimidating.  I can recall thinking ‘What if I’ve just been kidding myself all these years and can’t really write very well at all?’  To this little offering of doubt that presented itself, I smiled and decided that I best learn the craft then if I want to write, yes?  And so began the exploration of learning to become a decent wordsmith.

I joined yet a second writing group which tackled different issues regarding the world of publishing and all the little intricacies and nuances and gave me insight into a world I really knew nothing about.  I have been a sponge, wanting to take in as much as possible.

Sanctuary Photowalk 087This is my 219th post over the course of this past year.  I have had emotional highs and lows.  I have challenged self consistently and have moved forward steadily.  To where, I can’t say just yet.  What I’ve been doing, I realized today,  is that I have been laying down a foundation of sorts.  I have become far more disciplined in the task of writing on a daily basis.  The appetite to read, to explore, to research is at times voracious and difficult to satisfy as there are only 24 hours in the day.  In that mix I work two jobs, run, workout, do Yoga, write, cook clean, socialize.  I punched it up into high gear and just ran with it.

Over a four and half month period I put the book together.  And other ideas began to blossom in this fertile head of mine.  I participated in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour.  And now not only do I want to write, but I want to contribute in a positive way to this world that I belong to. And I guess that has been one of the most exceptional realizations is that I do belong and that I matter right along with all my other beings on this beautiful planet.

For so many years I looked out at this world from a carefully constructed shelf.  As this year began I jumped into the fray and woke to this world of so much splendor.  I wondered why I had not done this previously, but then decided no point dwelling on a point that was now moot.  I run now into a presence that encourages as much as it challenges.  I no longer have the attitude that I can’t do something.  Now the neurons are firing and assembling thoughts and ideas at a pace that I sometimes can’t keep up with.  And so I sit, meditate and slow the thing down.

It’s not about me, the individual any longer.  It is about me, the participant.  What can offer to the grand design?  How can I be used by this life source that feeds me and give back?  Those are the questions that dance through the head now.

flowerI do consider myself a writer now, not just a person who likes to write.  I have made several choices in my life…some not so good…some not so bad.  But the best choice I made over this last year was to live and live well.

For those of you that have followed my journey over this past year,  I thank you and hope that you will continue on with this evolution of mine.