My Online Shoebox
About 3 years ago I began writing a blog. I hardly even knew what a blog was, but it's satisfying and amazingly easy to get into. "Blog" is short for "Web Log." It's a kind of online diary, complete with photos and even videos. Does it have to be public? No! It can be set up as public, "for your eyes only," or open to a select few by invitation. A group of family or friends could use a blog as a personal, private alternative to Facebook. Facebook entries fly past at warp speed and they're gone. A blog goes into more depth, and it's always there.
Many of my friends of a certain age want to record their memories and wisdom for their families. A semi-private blog would be perfect. Or it could be entirely private, with a trusted family member given the username and password needed to share it later. (Let everybody wonder exactly what you're writing).
Each blog entry is called a "post." Dashing off a little "post" is a lot less intimidating than sitting down to write a whole book. Some people write novels in a blog, post by post. Some people publish their poetry in a blog. We all have a lot to say. Starting to actually say it is pretty easy, and it becomes addictive. You can post from a smartphone, wherever you happen to be. Bored in a waiting room? Start tapping away!
Actually, writing is not even necessary. I follow several blogs where the author mostly posts photos.
Maybe your subject is just waiting for you. What is your passion in life? The possibilities are endless. You could start a blog about cooking, baking, sewing, quilting, painting, ceramics, theater, movies, books, fashion, boat building, golf, skiing, biking, hiking, music, being a volunteer, grandchildren, life after retirement, a second or third or fourth career, spiritual growth, or coping with a major illness. It's an election year. You could even start one about politics. It's your space!
My blog happens to be about my passion for the art and history of Europe and Great Britain. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of frequent flier miles to play with, and I've become a bit of an expert on budget travel. I'm also a self-taught painter (not very good, but getting better!) I love wandering in art museums, historic buildings, churches and castles. I love walking in the footsteps of historical figures: Henry VIII and his six unfortunate wives at Hampton Court Palace, or Winston Churchill at his country home, Chartwell. I love visiting the homes of my favorite writers, like Jane Austen.
Last fall, I visited Chawton House, where Jane Austen wrote her greatest novels at a tiny round table. Talking to a friendly man standing next to that table, I realized that he was a direct descendant of Jane's brother. Six degrees of separation!
Until I started my blog, I hardly ever looked at my thousands of photos. And I quickly forgot details of my trips. Now I've written around 300 posts, each one a little essay with photos. I can look back and see where I've been, what I saw, what intrigued me, and what I learned.
My blog's name is castlesandcoffeehouses.com. Amazingly, quite a few complete strangers have found one of my posts online and signed up to get an email every time there's a new one. I've made some nice friends this way. The same thing would happen with any other kind of interest. Quilters would find other quilters!
My blog has led to active membership in several Facebook art and history groups. People with similar interests check in daily to inform, enlighten and entertain each other. (What's Facebook without cute cat videos? In my Medieval History group, kittens wear lovingly handcrafted chain mail. Recently an elderly cat named Sir Lumpy died after many medieval misadventures. His human "scribe" received hundreds of condolences from all over the world).
It's easy and free to set up a blog. Mine is at Wordpress.com, one of the most popular platforms. Paying a small yearly fee gives me some custom features and technical help any time I need it.
There's a blinking cursor right now, just waiting on your iPad, smartphone or computer. Why not see where it leads you?