The first official post in a blog is a bit intimidating. Will anyone ever read it? Why would they read it? How can they possibly find it in the first place? I don’t have any answers at this point but perhaps over time I will manage to answer some of them. The real point is that I am 65 years old, retired from teaching but still ranching and I am finally willing to say publicly that I am a writer. I have never been willing to say that before because I have no fiction published anywhere which is probably the same reason that many people feel that same hesitancy. However here is the key that I have finally recognized. I am obsessed with language, poems and stories. I’m the guy at the camp fire who can stand up and do a rather exciting version of “The Cremation of Sam Magee” by Robert Service and another 2 dozen or more poems that have stuck in my head. More important there are several stories that keep coming up and demanding to be told. They haunt my dreams. They interfere with my driving. They impose on my concentration when I am working at other tasks. They guilt me every chance they get.
I may not ever get published. The stories that I write might just be uninteresting to any other person on the planet, for that matter my wife doesn’t seem to be interested and she is always supportive, perhaps that should tell me something. However I must write. I have always needed to write. I have dozens of coil notebooks and gigabytes of files of journal entries that have accumulated over the decades. I have two completed novels that have never seen the light of day and another three that have never been finished. I have about 60 poems in my “Collected Poetry” binder of which only one has been published but almost all of the rest have been rejected time and again. Perhaps I should learn from that, but I am still a writer.
I may not be a good writer but I will never know unless I commit the time and energy to really produce a completed novel (I am actually planning on a trilogy at the moment) and then see if I can market that novel into publication. I hope that I have several decades left to write and experience life but who knows? However with whatever time is left I am going to finally sit down and write, and write, and write.
I’ve started the blog for two reasons:
1. As I work out this journey and experience the difficulties and solutions perhaps I will be able to help other writers make the same kind of decision. I have always considered my writing to be a separate kind of thinking process, a creative flow that suddenly comes up with amazing connections that I did not have when I sat down to do the writing in the first place. That kind of creative excitement can keep you young, keep you active, make life worth living.
2. In this day and age if a person wants to be a success as a novelist they have to be ready to be part of the marketing of their book. This has been pounded home again and again in the books on writing that I have read over the past year and in every issue of every writing magazine that I have read as well. A writer must have a “platform” and should become proficient at social media in order to provide agents or editors with evidence that they are serious about their craft.
So this blog is started. I will let you know and give you a step by step report on my skill development in social media including Facebook, Twitter and more focused sites that I find and learn about. But most of the posts will be simply a journal of my writing experiences over the past few days and what insights I have gained that might be of use to another writer.
I know that I have to schedule some specific times during the week to work on social media because there is nothing more depressing and discouraging than to find a good blog and realize that it is almost dead with no new posts in the past year or two. So I am committing myself to posting at least twice per week and before November to be doing something similar with Twitter and Facebook.
So don’t tell my wife that I’m a writer, she is much happier thinking of me as a nice, solid, retired teacher, competent farmer and loving husband.