Four Years on…Celebrating Blogging.

Four Years on…celebrating blogging.

 

Today is a special day for this blog. Four years ago today I made my début into the world of blogging. I’d been feeling a sense of stagnation in my online life, which at the time consisted entirely of the internet forum for Sacred Hoop magazine, to which I’d belonged since ’99. So in the autumn of 2008, I made a decision to step back from it and see what came to fill the void. By the Christmas of that year, I’d realised that blogs were a medium I’d hitherto known nothing about, and in the January I became part of a co-authored blog Café Crem. By the end of the month, I knew I wanted a blog of my own, and Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking was born.

Blogging is a way of connecting, for me anyway, and of sharing the thoughts and observations that come to me. It’s been a way of meeting extraordinary people, too, and while one or two have proved to be men or women of straw, the vast majority of the folks I’ve connected with have been people I am proud to call friends, even if most of them will never be sitting in the same room, enjoying a coffee with me.

The general focus of this blog has always been about trying to find a sense of balance in life, especially when challenged by mental and emotional distress, and I am always deeply moved when I receive feedback to remind me that while I often feel I am typing into a vast empty void, there are people reading and who find my words and experiences resonate with theirs. If I do nothing more in my life, knowing that I have offered comfort, reassurance and inspiration to others with my words is something I can hold onto in my darker days.

I’ve long wanted to do a collection of blog posts, rounded up and licked into shape as an e-book(or even a paperback) but the scale of the task defeats me. There’s over 700 posts here now. Some are like this one, words for a moment that will pass. There’s poetry (yes, and I keep promising to do an entire book of poems, but am discouraged by the knowledge that so few people read poetry, as well as the fact that I have no clue about creating a table of contents for an e-book of any sort) and there’s fiction. There’s dozens of essays about grief, depression, and spirituality, and even a few humorous ones too. I’ve announced the release of my novels here, and also of life changes too. I try to answer all comments but sometimes I just can’t. I sit and stare at the comments sometimes and I cry, because they’re often so kind I don’t know what to say. Sometimes I can’t answer because I have nothing to say. But I appreciate each and every comment, even the occasional critical one.

The last year, I have posted less often, aiming to post weekly rather than more often. This is simply because I have limited energy these days. I’m trying to conserve it, and use it as wisely as I can. I’ve covered vast areas of subjects and some posts receive daily traffic even years after they were first posted. Some posts seem to slip by without anyone noticing. It’s baffling. I’d love to write one of those posts that goes viral and gets read by tens of thousands but in honesty, it’s probably not going to happen. That’s often down to luck but also to appeal. I write about things that are not really terribly fashionable or appealing, and I know that it’s not a popular cup of tea kind of blog. That’s OK, really. Like with my novels, I write primarily to please myself, to let the being who dwells inside me have her voice (and Monday’s post is about her, the Invisible Woman) and though sometimes I moan about the relatively low number of people who read my stuff, I am content that I do not change who I am and how I write to chase a market that is as nebulous and changeable as the British weather. Writing for a market is a dangerous choice. If I write for myself, then there is one person in the world guaranteed to be pleased with it.

Anyway, I am glad to have all my readers along for the ride, so thank you all for taking the time to read, whether once in a while or as regular thing. Without readers, we would all be just talking to ourselves in the darkness, and without connection we would all be dreadfully alone. Some days I feel so alone, and then I remember that perhaps I am not.

 

Still Crazy After All These Years ~ or Why I Am Still Blogging

Still Crazy After All These Years ~ or Why I Am Still Blogging

Today is the second anniversary of my first post here at Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking and the last few days have been full of thoughts concerning why I blog.

Why does anyone blog? I guess to answer that question you might need to do a comprehensive survey because the chances are people blog for some very diverse reasons. I chose to blog because I felt I had things to say, and I sought dialogue with others. Unlike those who begin a blog with a ready-mixed agenda and function, I really didn’t know what I was doing or why. At the start, I had no clue about building a platform for my books, or any of the things I have since read that writers’ blogs aim to do. I just wanted to talk to people and to have them talk to me.

It’s said that at fifty you get the face you deserve and I think the same is true about blogs. When you let a blog develop without forcing it into a mould, it can become something that reflects you very clearly, and the readership self-selects too. People who enjoy what you write come back, they subscribe, they comment, and in many cases, they become real friends.

In two years I have posted over 460 posts, some of which have sunk into obscurity, and some of which still get numerous daily visits. My most popular post is the one concerning Susan Howatch, second most popular is About Me and coming a close third, Miracle at Mont St Michel. If you haven’t had a look at the astonishing photograph on that post, please do; I promise you it is genuine and unaltered.

A short way down the list of popular posts is Strangers and Pilgrims, about the novel I released into the wild last year. It’s doing quite well so far, but if you’d like to see this unusual and genre-defying story for yourself, it is available from Amazon and also as a download. The reviews at Amazon speak for themselves. I’m not very good at blowing my own trumpet, but thankfully others are happy to do so for me. Those who have read it have found it to take them on a journey that stayed with them long after the last page was read. I’d like to think it has changed lives in a small but significant way. Anyone who buys a copy and posts a review between now and the release of my next novel will get a free pdf of that new novel.

I’ve posted a number of short stories, which are currently being gathered into a book ready for distribution in the Spring. This will be available as a free download and also as a hard copy. If you fancy being one of the first to get your hands on this unique volume, please get in contact (details on the Contact Me page).

Anyway, finally, I would like to say a massive big thank you for all my readers, many of whom are now my friends, and express my deep gratitude to you for making blogging such a worthwhile experience and a journey that has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d ever go.

Thank you. I love you.