Yes, I’ve got gray hair. The guy at the gas station calls me “madame,” and the man who sat next to me on my last flight asked, “who configured your iPhone for you?” Get the picture?
But, I’m going to my first blogging convention in Chicago this July!
Here’s the story: I’ve always enjoyed reading blogs. Blogs about style, cooking, fashion, books, makeup, lipstick, nail polish, international and royal gossip. The world seemed so open to bloggers. They had readers from everywhere and they made friends from all over the globe. I just ate it all up.
But, I felt my own life was contracting not expanding.
My friends were leaving Los Angeles in a virtual stampede. And if they happened to stay here, they were getting hips replaced, knees replaced and new heart valves. I wanted more. I’d been a professional artist for years, but now wanted to try something new.
So, I began talking to everyone about blogging. I told my son, who works in the computer world, that I wanted to blog. He said fine, but before you can post online you have to write ten pieces. Of course, he was shocked when I actually wrote the ten pieces. In fact, he’s amazed that I’m still blogging.
My daughter, who is a very busy mom with three young children and a job, said, “Why blog?” But, now, she’s my biggest booster.
My husband said "Great! Do it." My friends said they’d read it. Fine. I was going to learn everything I could about blogging!
I started talking to bloggers. While in northern California, I had lunch with Lisa of Amid Privilege. She couldn’t have been more charming or looked cooler in one of her famous outfits. She encouraged me to “Just go for it.” After our lunch, I went home and started watching videos to learn the Wordpress blogging program at Lynda.com. You want to learn anything? Go to Lynda.com. People ask me how I learned Photoshop? A healthy dose of obsession and Lynda.com . But, I digress.
While in Sun Valley, Idaho, an artist friend , Lisa Holley, talked about another artist in Ketchum who really knew how to blog and tweet. She didn’t remember her name, but, from her description I knew it was Lori McNee. I discovered that she’s one of the most influential tweeters in the world! We had coffee, she invited me to her studio and gave me tons of advice-- a very giving woman. I must confess it was a lot to understand and it really all sounded like geek to me.
But, I wrote it all down and persevered. Watched more training videos on Lynda.com. and asked more questions.
Six months went by and I was still not blogging, but spending a lot of time doubting whether anybody would even be interested in what I had to say. Here I am 72-years-old and everyone on the web is SO YOUNG. Why would they care? Honestly, I was also scared to death of putting myself out there. I sent an email to Jennifer Scott at the Daily Connoisseur telling her of my fears. I’d been a long time subscriber to her blog. What did she say? “Just do it!”
I still had a lot of doubts, so I had lunch with a writer friend, Janine Smith, to help me deal with my reservations about blogging. She listened to me patiently, looked me in the eye and said, “Just write for 15 minutes each day. Don’t read any books on writing, just do it. Stop watching videos, just do it.”
So, I started writing every day. I still whined that I wasn’t a writer but she said, “Are you writing?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Then you’re a writer. But, you must write in your voice.” As if I knew how to do it any other way.
I bit the bullet and went back to writing. I was impatient to start the blog. Of course, I needed a name for it. My nephew, Rex Wilder, is a brilliant writer and poet. I asked him to help me name my blog. He asked me if I was going to write about my art. I told him that it was not going to be about my paintings or drawings. So, being the genius he is, he quickly came up with, “Apart from My Art." Perfect. Fastest blog decision I'd made to date.
But what kind of blogger should I be? The blogosphere was saturated with Mommy bloggers. I’ve been a mommy; been there, done that.
Then there are the mid-life menopause bloggers. Been there, done that, too. I even have the tee shirt and fans.
Then there are the food bloggers, the photoshop bloggers, the tech bloggers, the snarky humor bloggers, the "I-have-nothing-good-to-say-but-I'll-say-it-anyway" bloggers. And there are millions of them! What was I going to do in this maelstrom of bloggers?
What was I going to blog about? I didn’t think my life was that fascinating. I simply lived it. But, I pushed through my mountain of doubts and started to write.
And I discovered something as I started blogging.
People began to point out how unique my life has been. Julie DeNeen from Fabulous Blogging said "Holy Cow, do you have any idea how fascinating your life has been? How out of the ordinary? Plus, look at your paintings! You need to write!" Huh? Blogging was supposed to be about finding my voice, and here people were opening my eyes to my own life in ways I didn't expect. People were telling me, "Write more! Your life is so amazing!" It was?
Slowly, my doubts have been replaced with a passion to write about my life, my stories, and my obsessions. To share, with anyone who will listen, the journey I’m on.
And there are a lot of miles left for this 72-year-old blogger.
"Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese."
–– Billie Burke