15 Years

15 years ago this month I started this blog. Back then, I called it “A Writer’s Diary” as a  homage to the Virginia Woolf book of the same name, the one with all the writing related entries from her journals assembled by her husband after her death. I read Woolf and other writers’ biographies, memoirs, and even their collected letters. I read May Sarton’s “Journal of a Solitude” and Hemingway’s “A Movable Feast.” Pretty much anything writers had to say on their craft, I read.

The internet was pretty new then, or it was to me. I did belong to one fan group though, on Yahoo. Are there still fan groups? I don’t even know. Anyway, a fan started a group to talk about one of my favorite contemporary writers so I joined. I got really into it. Maybe a bit too much. I posted lots of writerly type comments, asking the other fan/writers questions or just getting something writing related off my chest. It was fun and a highlight of my day. Then it wasn’t anymore.

I know this about myself: sometimes I am too enthusiastic and I can get ahead of things. Always with good intentions, but some people don’t like it and if I try to leap over them, I stumble. This happened then and I left the group. I was telling my son about it while he was hooking up my new computer. Telling the story, I started to cry a little bit, which was embarrassing because I always try to be strong for my kids. I told him how stupid I felt about tears. It was a dumb fan group and the mean girls made me look bad in front of the famous author. Big deal.

My son was so sweet and sympathetic. He said “You should start a blog.” This was 2002. I said “Aren’t blogs over?” He laughed and said “No, they’re going to get a lot bigger.” And he set me up. He registered cynthiaharrison.com, found me a host, designed my first page and managed my blog for ten years. Eventually it grew into a website highlighting my blog posts.

I uploaded an entry every day of those ten years, usually about whatever novel I was working on, what was going good and what my problems were with the days’ pages, which editor from what publishing house was interested in a query. Who had rejected the current manuscript. It was raw data. I never edited those posts. Really, when I started blogging, nobody edited their posts and they weren’t meant to be polished pieces.

My first novel came out around that ten year mark and I realized my son had been exactly right. Tons of people were blogging about writing, some of them authors using their  websites as platforms for their work. The official word from marketing departments  was that writers should blog to keep their websites “live” and attract readers. Not every writer has a website, and not every writer with a website has a blog. But lots do.

After 2,519 blog entries, and ten published books, my blog is now occasional and only one part of the ever-expanding website. Barb of Bakerview Consulting (I found her five years ago on Twitter!) designed a site I love that reflects my pride in having become a published author as well as my new laid back approach to blogging.

Today I was having coffee with a friend who suggested I take a look at my blog posts. She believes there’s a book in here somewhere. I just sent my current manuscript off to my editor, and I don’t have a good idea for new novel yet. Maybe, like my son’s suggestion 15 years ago, this is something I can do.

Feels Like Home

condo2photoLast Friday morning, my website went dark. It felt like losing a friend. I knew I would get it back eventually, just didn’t know exactly when, so I took to my paper journal, read a couple novels, and tried to enjoy the respite from my online public life.

I met with friends at a charity lunch over the weekend, and I told them about how I was feeling a little lost without my blog. None of these people are big on social media, so they stared at me like I was from the planet Weird.

“It’s not real,” someone said, turning the conversation to something else. I didn’t disagree, at least not out loud. But in my head, all I could think about was that they didn’t understand.

I recently visited my son in California and we were talking about deep subjects like emotions and how people handle them in various ways. For me, I told him, it’s easy. I write. I use a private paper journal, am active on social media, have my website, and am always in the  middle of writing another novel.

They’re all forms of writing, and each in its own way helps me deal with my emotions. I don’t think I could have gotten through this life without writing and the internet is just a big fat blessing in that I don’t have to feel alone with my strange preoccupation of writing lots of words.

I sweated out the weekend, waiting to see when the site would return. This morning, I checked, fully expecting to see a void where my website should have been. But, surprise, someone stayed up late last night so that I could post today. Whew.

It’s a brand new look, which is always nice. So clean. A little too clean. I need to get some book covers up. Meanwhile, it’s good to be home.