I wrote my first article for this online blog in June, 2015. I wrote about ageism, the wealth of aging boomers, and the generation born before the baby boomers, which I call the ‘Lucky Few’.
The next month, I wrote about 50s fashion, what old people worry about, and how no one wants to take our advice. I had a vague theme, a workable design and a great desire to finally write.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I had to maintain two separate lives, my regular life of activity and responsibility, and my online writing life, for which I had to get up at 5 am, so that I could write without distraction. I’ve done that every morning since, although I’m finding that now I can steal a few minutes from my regular life to write.
I wrote through the flu, a sore arm, Christmas, family holidays, three seasons of neglected gardens, and two and half years of ignored housework. I clearly didn’t know what was involved, or where I was heading. One thing that never concerned me was running out of ideas. Topics for articles come thick and fast—one topic emerges like magic from another.
Who reads this blog?
My readership evolved slowly. My first subscribers started with my family, my friends, my neighbors in our condo complex, and my book club. I eventually learned how to post on Facebook, I spent several agonizing weeks learning to manage Twitter. Social media, I soon learned, expanded my reach.
I have many to thank for the existence of this blog, my daughter for her unfailing assistance, Bluehost for their 24/7 technological help, my understanding husband Bob, my patient family, my fellow bloggers, and my faithful readers, especially those who comment.
As many of you know, I post only once a week, on Sundays. I started doing this as a temporary measure, but found that a thousand word article, with a valid theme, and solid research to support it, is all I can manage each week. My life constantly draws me away from writing, and I’ve had to be ruthless about my chores and commitments. My ‘to do’ list grows in concert with the time it takes me to write each article. I have to live with the fact that some of those chores will be ignored forever.
How do I know who is reading?
Each Sunday morning, after checking up on my newly posted blog, I open the dashboard, and view the maps displayed there. (If you use WordPress as your platform, you will find this under Jetpack) There, for my information and entertainment, is a map that pops up at the touch of a link, revealing the countries of each reader, as they open my latest article.
The first country to show up, typically, is the US. Next, Canada, then Britain, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, India, and lastly, the Philippines. It’s fascinating to see this process each week! I’d love to speculate about what this map says about the arrival of sunrise in each hemisphere, and the times that readers open my blog. But then I remember that as a young teacher, I taught an entire grade two class that the sun rose in the west and set in the east, and graded them accordingly, so I’ll leave that alone! Geography (or horology, for that matter) was never my strength.
What do I do to promote my blog?
Most importantly, I maintain a network of online connections. I subscribe to over 20 blogs, and, since some bloggers post several times a week, I have an average of 300 posts to read each week. I read them all, but can take the time to comment on only 50 or so. I love doing this, and regret I can’t respond to them all. Most of these bloggers are listed in my blogroll, (although I haven’t updated for months).
I take a few hours each week to read articles on Twitter, sometimes re-posting, and sometimes adding articles from other internet sources. Twitter contacts (I have 455 to date) add up faster than Facebook friends (only 200), It beats me how people rack up thousands of contacts on both platforms, although I suspect they spend many more hours a day than I do, searching for postable news and articles!
I spend up to 40 hours a week on this project. This is not a complaint, since I love doing it. It satisfies the age-old problem of finding something compelling to do in retirement, and keeps the deterioration of my brain at bay. But I realize if I put this much time and effort into any other endeavor like a job for example, or housework, I’d be richer, or at the very least, I’d have a really clean house!
If I was to choose what I valued most about my blogging experience, it would be a close draw between the satisfaction of the creative process, and the pleasure I get from having a network of online friends! Thank you, everyone—you know who you are!