Hoping to improve my blogging skills and also to build a bigger audience, I joined one of Amanda Kendle’s Blogging Mastermind groups.
Mastermind? Me? I don’t think so!
You’d think that blogging would come easily to me because I write and I’ve owned and used computers for a long time. In 1985, my brother, Peter Stone, helped our dear Dad choose my first computer. They arrived at my house with an amazing contraption in a carton. A computer! A Microbe computer, to be exact.
You probably have no idea what you will use this for, Peter said. But I promise you will use it all the time. One day you will even grow to love it.
With a house full of adolescents to support and care for, a job and an almost completed Graduate Diploma in Women’s Studies hanging over me, I wasn’t sure how excited I was about the gift. But I also had an ancient Royal typewriter with a key that stuck, and the computer seemed worth a try.
Soon I did indeed fall in love with my little Microbee. When the time came, years later, I replaced it with a PC and then another.
I’ve had the same internet service provider for sixteen years. When I call for help (as one does, for example after moving house) the technicians ask for my birth date. As they do! Then they comment on how long I’ve had my account, and they act as if an 80-year-old using the internet is rare.
When the first blogs began to appear on my computer, I had to look the word up. Then I thought blogging might be fun. It would certainly challenge me, and I’m always up for a new challenge.
The blogging for fun file heads the list in the documents on my computer. Once, in a frenzy of decluttering my files I must have deleted or renamed those very important files that bore AAA or AA before their titles. Files full of information about degrees and novels and memoirs eventually lose their status, and apparently, their AA ranking in my mind. They stopped being the most important files in the world. Blogging for fun took over.
I’ve typed millions of words since the Microbee but, for all my nimbleness on the keyboard, I am still a tourist (as Susan Maushart calls us in her book, see below) in computer-land.
Its an age thing. I am not acclimatised. I do not speak the language. I need interpreters. I need guides. Constant fumbling my way through Dr Google’s and other people’s instructions does not always produce good results.
Above all, I’m downright scared. S-scared that I’ll break something. Afraid I’ll import a virus and indeed my fears are not misplaced. Once I downloaded a pattern for a knitted tea cosy, of all things, (to knit as a present – I don’t drink tea) and blew up the whole machine. Backup? No, I don’t think so.
The computer doctor charged $400 to reclaim my data. Worth it, probably, considering those draft novels and the saved theses that may come in useful one day. And of course, my photos.
Amanda Kendle is a skilled teacher and group facilitator. She knows her blogging. Her patience and kindness are legendary. Just as well. I’m a dummy, out of my depth, but I persist until there’s blood under my fingernails. You can probably hear me yell in triumph from five kilometres away when I make even the smallest progress.
One day, my dream of blogging for fun will come true again. I can now boast a working Mailchimp account, I’ve managed to create one ‘campaign’ (newsletter!) and an automated welcome letter.
Younger than me, the other participants in our group manage their homework with aplomb, but I think write more posts. I’m comfortable with the words, but not with the insides of computer programs.
My blogging for fun needs your help
Somehow, in the process of changing from my old system to Mailchimp, about two thirds of my mailing list has gone missing. i would prefer not to answer questions about that, if you don’t mind, dear reader.
If you are reading this and wondering why you don’t get emails from me about new posts, I would love it if you reconnected by signing up again. I promise to take better care of you in future. If you have stumbled upon this post by accident, and would like to read more posts please also sign up.