Three years ago in the sleepy town of Descanso, California, I decided to start a WordPress blog because a book I had read said such a blog would help me develop a platform for my novels and I would sell more books.
I didn’t really want a WordPress blog. I had a blog, on blogger (still do, several, but they’re set to private). I didn’t want to do any stupid-ass daily prompt, either.
and THEN…three years and 1048 followers later, here’s the net result.
One of my stories recently won a prize in a literary contest put on by the library in a small town nearby (but the biggest in my “hood”). I happen to be very proud of that story, and I would never have written it had it not been for the Daily Prompt. You can read it here.
People from almost every country in the world have read something I’ve written. Some have even liked them. I’m a bit concerned because no one in Greenland has read any of my posts, but I’m stoked because Cameroon and Senegal have weighed in. You just can’t have everything.
As for my original goal… Did my WordPress blog make me a famous writer? No. Did it help me sell books, yes, but, actually more than that. A few people, who would never have heard of me or my fiction, have read and loved my novels and have been kind enough to leave reviews for the books where other people can find them — on Amazon, Goodreads and here on WordPress.
What else? I would never have known about what has been one of my favorite books of the past year, A Walk to the Water by Daniel Graham without having, myself, a blog on WordPress. There are several people I have “met” whom I consider friends, not in the “friend me, Dude” sense of a lot of social media, but, you know, like real people in my town that I actually know and see. That is the result of sharing ideas with others — conversations, some spats, some consolation, moments of understanding (occasionally profound) everything that happens between people who know and like each other but across vast distances. It is amazing.
And, I’ve found it inspiring. Inspired by Danny Graham’s book, I decided to compile my hiking stories. At first I thought I’d put them in a scrapbook, but then decided to make a blog so I could read them over easily, include photos. I thought it would be mostly for me and it is, though it’s public, it’s here.
I left my teaching career of 35 years two years ago, and moved to my home state, but into a town I’d barely seen in which I knew no one. It was a financial decision combined with the strong desire for mountains (I am now surrounded by them), cold and snow (4 or 5 months a year) and yet with more than 300 days of sunshine annually. My perfect climate. It was a very difficult process physically, psychologically, logistically — but at the encouragement of friends in California, I wrote a blog about the adventure. I am so grateful for their persuasion because it has inspired others to take a chance like that and move toward their happiness (successfully, as in my case) and it’s a record of a transitional moment in my life. You can read it here Colorado or Bust.
Leaving teaching, I was somewhat disenchanted by the “future,” but here on WordPress I’ve read (I follow) the blogs of many young people, and I am not disenchanted for the future any more. I’m grateful to be in a place where I get to share in their free expression of ideas rather than the classroom which modern education models have turned into a hostile environment. I would not “know” them if it were not for WordPress.
And, finally, three years later, among the several blogs I have on this platform — there is one that convincingly mimics a website, marthakennedy.co Hardly anyone goes there, ever, but I read that you want to sell novels you need to have a website.