Write On Wednesday: For the Longest Time

wow_button1-9-1Last night I realized I hadn’t written anything on my blog in the longest time, and I stared feeling nostalgic for the olden days of blogging.

Many years ago (seven!) when I began writing in this online space, I wrote nearly every day – partly because of the excitement that comes with a new venture, but also because of the connections forming between myself and other writers. We visited each other’s writing spaces daily, like children checking their secret hidey-hole in a hollow tree to see if any new messages had arrived. We joined and created groups that provided prompts for our writing, that gave us a little spark to incite ideas to flow.

We wrote and wrote, telling our stories, honing our skills, learning from each other about writing and life. We emboldened one another to try new things – poetry, haiku, flash fiction, even novels. We encouraged and cheered from whatever part of the world we lived.

Over time most of those connections have faded into the ether. People who bared their souls in words on the screen suddenly disappear from orbit. Having no other way to contact them, one is forced to ponder – were they real? did they exist? have they been abducted by aliens?

I miss them. Miss their unique voices, miss their life stories, miss the inspiration and impetus to write they often provided me. Like the cafe society that Fitzgerald and Hemingway enjoyed so much, the online society of writers we formed in those days was a way to connect with others, to share ideas, to support each others efforts, to discuss books and art and life in general. In this decade, it seems  that personal blogging has been usurped by the faster, quicker connections of Facebook and Twitter.

Writing is a solitary occupation. And writers tend to savor the solitary, so much so that we forget how much there is to be gained by sharing ourselves with others.

I’d like to enjoy that again.

How about you?



Write on Wednesday: Streamlined

I just euthanized two of my blogs.

And no, I’m not in mourning. Not even sad.

It was time. Everything has a season, and it felt like the blogging season as I once knew it was waning.

I had a lovely conversation  – a real live conversation! on the telephone! – with one of my favorite fellow bloggers on this very subject. We talked about how blogging has changed in the years since we started, about the growing tendency to use blogs as one part of a “platform,” about the way social media like Facebook and Twitter have risen to prominence and almost usurped blogging as a digital network.

The conversation was a good one because it helped me recall the reason I started blogging in the first place (I wanted a place I could express my ideas in writing and share them with others), why I want to continue with it (to share those personal stories which I believe create connections between people), and what I hope to gain in the future (the impetus to continue writing, continue connecting with others, continue exploring life in general and my own in particular through the written word).

But it also made me realize that blogging has revealed other ways to satisfy my urge to write, that same urge for connection which provided the impetus to register a blog and push “publish” for the first time. Because of my involvement with blogging and other social media, I can write for e-zines like All Things Girl. I can connect with other readers through Goodreads and my Bookstack Facebook page. I can even go old-school and call people like Angie on the telephone.

I don’t need three blogs to do any of those things. So instead of three separate blogs, there will now be just this one, the place where I started almost seven years ago.

The place where we meet to talk about life in general.

I hope you’ll join me here.


Happy (Birth) Day

Six years ago today, I hit “publish” on my first blog post. Starting a blog was a birthday present to myself. It was the year I turned 50, I was feeling slightly depressed about it, and so I gave myself the gift of a writing platform to cheer myself up.

I never imagined that I would enjoy it nearly so much, that I would meet so many interesting people, that I would continue doing it for six years (with no plans to stop), or start two more blogs.

I’m not in the mood to wax pathetic poetic about the anniversary of my birth. Suffice to say, with the number of people I know in my age group battling serious illness, I’m just happy to be alive and kicking. If I could wish for any one thing today, it would be to kiss my grandson’s velvety soft cheek and see his amazing little smile. But just knowing he is in the world is a gift of such amazing proportion, I hardly dare wish for anything more.

My husband made coffee for me this morning, and I’m happy to have time to drink it in my favorite reading chair whilst being bathed in early spring sunlight.  I’m happy to have a free day in front of me, happy to have friends sending me cards and greetings of all kinds. I’m happy to have this tiny corner of the world where I can write the musings of my heart and invite people to come by to read them and to share their own musings in return.

Thank you all being among that number.


Brave New Blog World

A few days ago I wrote a post that included this sentence:

Change is the lifeblood of the digital age, and regular transfusions are mandatory.

The line referred to recent dramatic changes in the Facebook format, changes which caused an uproar in its community of followers.  But there are some radical, if more subtle, changes in the blog world too and I’ve been observing them with keen interest.

Here’s what I see:

  1. A genre of young lifestyle bloggers who are making blogging a profession, not in terms of generating ad revenue, but in terms of selling their message to the world. They talk about relationship, building your strengths, community, writing. They network voraciously, creating and promoting events.
  2. A group of slightly older bloggers who are using their blog stories not only to connect with a select group of readers, but as a way to expand their professional horizons and develop new career opportunities.
  3. Both groups use social media to the max, posting links throughout the day to their blogs and to other blogs of interest.

When I started my blog in 2006, I quickly connected with a group of women who were writing about their lives, their art, their passions. Blogging was a way to explore and share new avenues of creative expression, whether that was writing, photography, poetry, crafts. It wasn’t difficult to find a group of like minded people to learn from and share with. Memes were king in those days, and were a way of spreading the word about your blog to others with similar interests.  Now Facebook and Twitter have usurped that function, allowing you to send links to blog posts over a far-reaching network of people.

My son, who has been blogging in one form or another since 2003, is in the process of “overhauling” his personal blog for the tenth time.  As a corporate webmaster, he knows only too well the importance of keeping things fresh in the digital marketplace. Here at Becca’s Byline, I just keep on doing what I do – writing about the intersection of life in general and my own in particular. I’m trying to take some pointers from the young folks. Shorter but more frequent posts seem to be the standard these days, an easy change to adopt. Months ago I purchased my domain name, but haven’t been brave enough to switch to a self-hosted sight. I hope to make that happen soon.

Meanwhile, there are so many more opportunities opening up for people who are talented in local search optimization, people who can do local business marketing, or local search marketing.

It’s a brave new world out there in cyberspace, and things are always happening to shake it up.

Not so different from life in general, is it?

How about you? Has blogging changed for you since you began? Do you have changes you’d like to make in the way you blog?