Being in Africa, separated from family and doing our life's work, we wrote update letters regularly for two years, sending them out to my family and friends - most of whom didn't read them.
They sucked the life out of me.
After awhile, the update letters were “Look what we did!” and “See, this is why we’re here!” I felt like we were justifying the calling we had on our lives. They became less and less frequent.
One day (a normal day I would never include in an update letter) I spent at the church office syncing my pocket calendar with the church calendar. Charles (our church administrator) and I filled in the empty spaces before getting interrupted by an emergency: there had been a possible assault of a child in the township.
I left quickly with my friend to check it out. After I did, Charles noticed I'd left my calendar and emailed Mario with a subject line: “Janet’s Diary”. The bulk of the letter told me that I had left my “diary” – my pocket calendar in his office.
Mario saw the email and thought Charles was alerting him to a website or some link that he read. When I got home (everything was alright with the child) he suggested that I do something different: move the update letters – along with excerpts from my journal - to an online storage place where people could see, even access an archive.
I really wasn’t interested - I said "I don't have time,"
So he dared me.
“You should do one of those online blogs,” he smiled. “And call it Janet’s Diary.”
I smiled back. “What in the world would I write about?” As soon as I said it, a flood of inspiration knocked me down.
I would write about anything I wanted to.
By the way, "Janet's Diary" domain was taken. I had a whisper in my ear to call it "Brazen Princess" - at the time I had no idea the real definition of "brazen"
·Most bloggers seek something called “an audience”
I grew up in a house that had two built-in fireplaces that were about one foot off the ground. I used to perform “on-stage” for my sisters and brother, and they used to perform for me.
I’m used to a relatively small audience.
Still, the master bloggers can attract several thousand hits a day to their own blog. Today I was surfing twitter and found a post I loved and lapped up that was posted by a well-known literary agent – “7 Signs That You’re Not a Good Blogger”.
I checked out the site and saw that I was not a good blogger. I make critical mistakes in marketing myself. Ha!! He gave me many tips – plus a “how-to-bulk-up-my-audience" book he invited me to download J.
When I looked at it this morning it had 2 comments- right now it has 19.
A good blogger not only captures attention, tells a good story, shares a good recipe, shows good art… they reach a broad audience.
As I searched for an agent to represent my upcoming book, “Treasures In Diepsloot”, one of them told me to “brand myself.”
“You should be actively building your blog audience,” she said. “You’re a good writer, more people should be reading you.”
“How many people is a good audience?” I asked her, uncharacteristically shy.
“A good blogger has in the neighborhood of seven hundred followers,” she said, flatly. I felt like someone hit me on the side of my head.
At the time I had 36.
·Posting gives people a window to my world.
People blog for all different reasons. In the end I realized that I blogged to share my heart. The update letters have stopped and the daily writing sometimes comes out here - on this blog. In it I have a connection to my family, my friends and the others who read anonymously.
One of the greatest joys of writing is sharing a story; sharing my heart. I will eventually have to figure out how to do this thing properly… until then I am all about sharing my world. It’s a unique and special world.