Feeling Published

Remember flame wars? In 2002, this same week, I got torched on a Yahoo Fan Page. Which led me to leave a group I’d really loved. It was so hard, and so much on my mind, I told my son about it. I shocked myself when cried a little bit before wiping my tears away and laughing at myself.

My son Mike asked me what I’d liked so much about the group. I thought about it. I finally said I liked talking about writing. Which was something we did a lot in that group. I’d miss having that outlet. Mike said “Mom, you should start a blog.”

I sniffed and said I wouldn’t know how to do that, and anyway, weren’t blogs over? He replied that he’d set up the site for me and also, no, blogs were not over. They were only going to get bigger. He was in IT, so I figured he knew more about the internet than I did. I said yes, thank you, that sounds like fun.

I hadn’t published a book yet, just some poems, short stories and book reviews in magazines, but the minute I posted my first blog entry, I felt published. It was an incredible validation. All these years later, I still feel so good about my blog, which my son continued to help me with for more than ten years, until his first son was born.

I have such happy memories of this adventure. Choosing wallpaper for a custom template, learning to write a key lines of code, blogging every single day about the novel I was working on. In 2002 there wasn’t any software that did tech things for you, so Mike did them for me. He was so patient when I wanted to change my blue stars wallpaper to pink flowers. The blog was a joint project and my son was my teacher. What a gift.

Mike said he could still do the work on my blog after the baby came. By this time we had been through Blogger and Moveable Type and were firmly into Word Press. I’d met Barb of Bakerview Consulting online and was sure she could do the housekeeping chores. I was also sure Mike was about to be way busier than he could begin to imagine. Both of these things turned out to be true.

What started out as a way to talk about writing became my author platform and I didn’t even know it until I read Colleen Story’s “Writer Get Noticed!” I’m learning more about my writing self from Colleen’s book…like what specific things I want from this writing life I’m living. The answers will be different for everyone, but the discovery process is the same.

It starts with the question Mike asked me all those years ago: What do I like about doing this? Why do I like it? These days I’m revisiting those questions and so many more that Colleen poses. Doing the exercises in Colleen’s book is an illuminating way to fill my morning pages. Which is the way I always start my day. Why? Because I like it.

Why do I like it? Any of it? Morning pages, blogging, writing novels, participating in a Twitter hashtag? It’s all one reason, really. It’s the best way, the perfect way for me, to communicate with the world. And I didn’t really put it all together quite like this until I read Colleen’s book, so thanks Colleen. And thanks to Mike, who set me off on this adventure. And most of all to you, whoever you are, wherever you are, reading this. ❤

Someone To Watch Over Me

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Since Mike and I recently parted ways (for the happiest reason in the world) as far as this website goes, I’ve been trying to pull things together around here. We’ve had WordPress for awhile, so I’m familiar with the dashboard and know how to add widgets and things. He’s always been helpful and patient, teaching me how to do stuff, so I thought, snap. Ha!

A door closes and a window opens. Enter Barb Drozdowich, sacred dove on my shoulder and new web person. Because guess what? It took me 20+ hours to do less than she accomplished for me in an hour. My results were just okay. Her results, spectacular.

Wanted to give a shout out to this WordPress Warrior Woman, who is so easy to work with and charming besides. Also want to officially debut the new look of the blog to the world, now that it is almost complete. I still have a bit of homework…which I will do this week. I would have never thought to add excerpts and reviews to my books page, but Barb did. Great idea! She also sized all the books properly, both on the book page and the sidebar. Then she linked them to Amazon in a much better way than I even knew was possible.

During our first conversation, Barb said the magic words every writer wants to hear “I’ll do this so you can spend your time writing.” Spend my time writing! Yes, please. And you read my opening right, everything she did here, she did in under an hour. Mostly, she tidied up my messes. And I look forward to her continuing to do so for many years.

Yes, this is pretty much a love letter to a special woman, who is so unassuming I had no idea she published her own books, non-fiction titles that help authors and bloggers, until I looked her up for this post. I found Barb’s books on Amazon and immediately bought two:)  Barb also runs Sugarbeat’s Books and that was quite the find for the book lover within me. A treasure trove of titles and reviews for Regency buffs (why yes, I am) and lovers of contemporary romance.

Barb’s official title is “Social Media and WordPress Consultant.” Her company is Bakerview Consulting. She has taught at University, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors (including me!) develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world.

Barb, my gratitude knows no bounds.