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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 09: “One small blog for mankind”

I’ve been blogging for 10 weeks now and I love it.

If I’m completely honest I was quite nervous when I set things up and published the first post. It wasn’t a fear of no body reading it. Instead the fear came from how honest I found myself being and the fact that I was putting that honesty out there into the world.

For the first few weeks it was only family, work colleagues and Facebook friends who followed my progress. For that I am grateful. I don’t doubt that I would have given up if it hadn’t been for people asking when the next post was going up or if they could read my stories when they were typed up. Hell, my mother even shed tears of pride after reading the first post (although this is mostly because her son had finally cut down on those pesky video games).

But now my readership has expanded. It’s awesome.

The first part to this came from looking at the stats page on my Blogger dashboard. It records where all the traffic is coming from, how many views I’ve had and, my favourite part, it shows you what country readers are from.

Most of my readers appear to live in the UK and the US but every now and then I get a single view from another country. It’s become one of the little highlights of blogging. I love checking the stats and seeing if a new country has popped up on the list. It blows my mind a little to think that thousands of miles away in a part of the world I may never visit, someone is sitting at home on their computer or browsing on their mobile phone while commuting to work and they are reading my words. I recently gained South Africa and Poland to my collection. Thank you to those two, whoever you are.

While that’s been fun the more important improvement to my blog has been fellow writers giving their spare time and reading about my journey.

Several weeks ago I realised that I needed to get out there and meet people like me. I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I’ve always found it difficult to promote myself but I knew that if I didn’t speak up and tell people what I was doing then no one would know I was here.

After a couple of false starts I finally got help from a reader on Goodreads. She pointed me in the direction of Fringe Fiction, a group composed of indie writers and the readers that support them. On the forums I found a helpful thread where people lay down their blog link for other people to take a peek at. While most of these blogs were for reviewing books, I did come across a couple of writers just like me.

I felt lifted by this. People recording their own progress, sharing their own success and advise. It was like throwing back the curtains and being enveloped in sunshine for the first time in years. I was more than just happy.

As I started to sign up to a couple that peaked my interest I started to get friends requests on Goodreads and follows were adding themselves to my blog. I guess I felt accepted. That’s a nice feeling.

So while writing my stories (which are coming along nicely) and writing this blog I’ve also been following fellow bloggers. It’s added to this experience. These strangers offer little weekly TV shows with each new post like a new episode. Some are established writers dishing out advice and sharing their experiences (both good and bad). Others are like me and just starting out with big dreams of seeing their books on shelves. Some are between the two and are just starting out.

In such a short space of time I’ve gone from being in my own little world to joining a small community of like-minded people all heading towards the same goal. To support these writers I’ll be adding a new feature to the blog where I will post a link to one of the blogs each fortnight. The hope is that some of my readers will discover new authors and books they otherwise might not have come across. I urge you to just take five minutes of your day and check them out. You might discover something you like.

I’m glad that I decided to start this project and I hope it keeps getting better and better.

I’ve been blogging for 10 weeks now and I love it. But it’s only the beginning.

See you in seven.

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