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?

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

37 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Blogging Is My Life…”

  1. Great post! I wish my husband, who has also just “retired” as permanently disabled would be able to figure out something like this to do! Sadly, he is not technically savvy and does not do well with computers (so he’s driving me crazy instead-LOL). I did not know you could simulcast on Blogger! I have a WordPress account too and it is empty because I wanted to save my name but don’t want to post in both places! Where do I research doing that? You didn’t say if you are able to make any money blogging and I don’t notice too many ads or outside links on your site other than the groups you participate in. You must be doing it just for the fun of it. Congrats!

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          1. I saw! Thank you for the shout-out. Just one word of caution: don’t set it up where you repost from WordPress to Blogger and vice versa, or you’re going to cause a loop that might just bring down the Internet… 😄

            I’ve tried it both ways, and it works from Blogger to WordPress as well, so if you’re more comfortable working in Blogger, you can do the opposite.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. The one thing I noticed when I started simulcasting is that a lot of stuff that works on WordPress won’t work on Blogger and vice versa. They use a whole bunch of CSS tricks and HTML extensions that look great on their platform but lousy on the other. As such, I end up writing a whole lot more HTML than I’d like, but fortunately I have all the code snippets in Google Keep and cut-and-paste them where I need to.

      I haven’t tried to make money at blogging. I think if I wanted to try, I’d start a second blog. I follow a lot of bloggers who get paid for it, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

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  2. I started blogging on the advise of numerous agents and publishers, but that whole idea of doing it to “build a platform” fell by the wayside a long time ago. It’s all about the people, and the connections we make. I’m an amateur radio operator, so the idea of making friends with a broad network of people all over the world wasn’t new to me, but I was honestly surprised at how “real” the friendships can be on the blogosphere.

    You alluded to a story about a safe. I’ve got one of those stories, too. My father was quite a drinker, and sometimes… make that most of the time… he did foolish things while under the influence. Once, he bought a safe for fifty bucks from some guy he met in a bar, even though he did NOT know its combination. My mother and I figured it out, so we were able to hide things from him in his own safe. Still tickles me to no end.

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    1. You’re a ham? I could never get past the Morse code portion (although I understand they’ve dropped that from the exam). I guess with the Internet there’s not the interest in it there was when I was growing up.

      Hiding things in his own safe, huh? HHAHAHAHA!

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      1. You’d be surprised. There are actually more hams now than ever before. And yes, the Morse code requirement has been dropped, but there are still plenty of hams learning it just for fun.

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        1. Never quite had the money to put together a ham shack, but I did enjoy shortwave listening when I had the radio. Maybe I should get another… I know that “Passport to World Band Radio” is no longer printed, and I remember reading that the reason was countries were getting out of the shortwave business, and I guess I extrapolated it to ham operators.

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  3. I wouldn’t want to write stuff I didn’t want to. That would be too much like writing the essays in some of my college classes.

    You’ve been doing a great job with keeping up with your blogging.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  4. You almost make me want to start blogging, John. I remember back on GHOSTLETTERS, the fiction list we were on, when I used to write something every day and I experienced a lot of the things you talk about. I appreciated very much the comments I got off list, enjoyed the planning and routine and felt a great satisfaction when a story came together. And sometimes I would use it to talk about the experiences of friends and people I worked with. (You might be interested to know that Marguerite always knew when I did that.) Maybe if I keep reading your blog I’ll pick up a pen (or rather keyboard) again. Keep ’em coming. You are always interesting and entertaining.

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  5. Hi John – can I add two more … being educated – I’ve taught myself more and learnt more from fellow bloggers on all sorts of ways of life in 8 years than the previous xxxxx decades!! The other thing is – once you’ve got out there – the positivity of comments really boosts one’s morale … especially when feeling low – as I did fairly often when my mother was terminally ill.

    Thanks for that mention re WP and Blogger … I must look into it … cheers Hilary

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  6. Well said. To Blog on a regular basis does that a certain discipline and it certain helps to have some kind to topic schedule to stay on point. I reminisce for my elderly Mom with Mama Kat topics pretty often, because she enjoys reliving the memories. WGN certainly isn’t what it used to be.

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    1. WGN used to be a great local station, and even in their early Superstation days they were all right. Things started going downhill when they affiliated with the WB, which became the CW. I’d go into Chicago and watch it and wonder what they did with the old WGN. I guess nothing is really the way it used to be.

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  7. Good for you for planning and for the daily posting…I’m not there yet…Keep up the fun work! Visiting from Mama Kat…

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  8. I love blogging for all of those same reasons! I started when my 9 year old was born and it continues to morphe and change every year…just like him!

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