Got the Thought … Now What?

In my previous, working life, my conversations tended to deal with current events in whatever town I was working in. Often, it involved politics in county seat, state and Washington, DC, as we pontificated about the sometimes absurdities coming out of these august bodies.

In my current, retired life with three published books under my belt, conversations still tend to deal with current events and politics and the sometimes absurdities coming out of these august bodies. However, some time during these conversations, the talk will migrate towards my books or, more usually, about the writing process.

As a case in point, when I got my haircut the other day, Teresa asked me about blogging between snips of the scissors. When I pressed her a little more, she asked if it was hard to write. Now, that’s a loaded question. She added she was thinking about blogging, but didn’t know where to start. Because we’ve been friends forever, I could get away with the flippant, “Just start.”

Seriously, though, blogging is nothing more than changing your audience from journaling. We’ve discussed this before. Journals are this generation’s version of diaries in my generation. From my perspective, diaries were for girls — so journals, likewise, are for girls and women of today. I know my wife would argue that point {my daughters, too}. In fact, after she died I discovered journals stuffed in just about every nook, cranny, and drawer in the house.

Her writing changed my mind. They shed light on issues she stuffed behind a facade. They explained some of her actions or inactions. They provided a more  complete picture of who she was. They helped develop her legacy.

I have learned that many, many bloggers — including Teresa — have started with journaling, often on tear-stained pages. They discovered themes in their writing that potentially could help other — and took the step to broaden their writing from an audience of one to a wider net.

And it doesn’t have to be personal; it can be practical. In Teresa’s case, her idea is writing about wine for the average consumer. Living in the winery-rich Finger Lakes region, she found herself critiquing the samples during wine tastings. She included notes about ambience, supplemental offerings {like cheese, crackers, pairings}, and even waitstaff and their product knowledge. She first remembers jotting down notes on the back of a napkin, but has graduated to a notebook dutifully tucked in her purse. And the note-taking  expanded to trips and vacations outside the Finger Lakes.

Sounds like the premise for a blog to me.

“But how do I start?”

By starting. Find a hosting service and build your site. Most platforms have tutorials to help bring out your personality.

“Do you have to write every day?”

No. You set the tone and pace. Post once a month, once a week, somewhere in between.

“It’s out of my comfort zone.”

Welcome to writing. Many writers have the passion, but had to learn how to step out of their comfort zone and let the passion rule. Regardless of your regularity, it comes down to consistency. That really leads to putting some regular time aside to just write. Five minutes, half hour, hour … it doesn’t really matter. The point is to exercise your brain on a regular basis so when it comes time to write your post, it becomes natural — and well within your new comfort zone.

“How do you build a following?”

That’s the tricky part. Believe it or not, it’s one reader at a time. Read other blogs dealing with your topic. See what works, see what you like, see what you don’t like. Reach out to other  bloggers. Interact. In Teresa’s case, reach out to the wineries for support. One reader at a time.

I don’t know if Teresa — or anyone else — will take the next step. But I’m kind of looking forward to a blog about the Wines of the Finger Lakes — and Beyond. I envision back stories for the everyday consumer.

If others have a passion and want to cross over from the Comfort Zone, share with me. I’m here to help — a simple writer paying it forward.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it. — Mother Teresa


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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