In April of 2016, my sister, Christa, insisted that I should start blogging. Blogging is a great way to get my writing out there, and get a following, she said. It worked for her. She writes a blog about delirium, dark fiction, and digital marketing, and is the author of the Sick series. She also lived way out in the mountains of Panama. Without blogging, nobody, other than family, friends, and her clients would’ve known about her series. Now she has an audience that spans across the globe. So she was fully confident that blogging should work for me. However, there was one big honk’n problem.
I was technologically impaired.
I had an I-Phone and a Mac Book Air, which is both accessibility user friendly, and idiot user friendly. Being a technological idiot, at the time, I didn’t venture beyond mastering the most basic of computer skills. My mistake! I didn’t know anything about how to write a blog, or how to connect with other bloggers. Then there’s the visual details, like adding pictures and videos and themes, which I can’t do, because blindness is one of my disabilities. So I argued that blogging would be a terrible idea, for me. Christa pressed on, insisting that she would take care of all the visual and technical details. All I would have to do was, write the blog. I felt that I should pay her for her help, but she insisted that I don’t. Now I was even more leery about this idea.
First of all, Christa already had a mile-long to-do list, every day. I didn’t feel comfortable with my blog becoming another priority that she would have to squeeze in some time for. Second of all, when people do you a favor, free of charge, and out of the kindness of their hearts, and they tell you that they don’t expect anything in return—Don’t believe that they honestly mean it. People will always expect something in return, no matter how humble they try to act. I know this, because in my situation, I often have no better choice, but to ask others for assistance with, like, 500 things.
Below is a list of what people expect in return, when they do you a favor, or when they offer to do you a favor, just out of the kindness of their hearts.
1. Unlimited patience. Don’t be pushy. Just because you’re ambitious about wanting something done, don’t expect those who are helping you to feel the same way. If this gets frustrating, just grin and bare it, and don’t let it show. If you can’t hold in your frustration, be extra careful about how you express it to the ones helping you. Otherwise, you’ll come off as being too demanding. Don’t remind people that they promised to do you a favor, or don’t ask them when they are going to do it, more than twice a week. If you mention it more than that, you’re being too demanding again.
2. Be gracious at all times. Be grateful for what others do for you, no matter what. Don’t utter a single complaint, or express dissatisfactory. If you must, then do it with careful politeness, and apologize for your negative honesty. Otherwise, you’ll come off as being spoiled and childish.
3. Always put the agendas of those you depend on first. Never be self centered enough to expect, or even hope that people will help you out of the kindness of their hearts, according to your agenda.
People have been helping me, and doing me favors, out of the kindness of their hearts, all my life—and I still screw up on giving them what they want in return.
Christa, who is also highly talented with computers, reassured me that doing her 90% of the work for my blog would be easy. So I was convinced enough to at least give blogging a try. She installed the WordPress app on my phone, and set up my account. Then I was ready to get blogging. But I had to figure out what the hell was I going to blog about!?
Christa suggested that I blog about my life, and I was like, seriously? At that time, my life was mainly about reading, writing, and going to the gym. What would a blog about that be called? The Cure for Insomnia Blog? I thought about posting a new short story, every week. Or starting a story, off the top of my head, and just seeing where it goes, post by post. Then I thought of being The Dead-Broke Book Blogger, only reviewing new or recently published free books from I-Books. (Apple Books) So many ideas… Then a million life distractions + nine months came and went. It was suddenly January of 2017, and I hadn’t done squat with my WordPress app. Then a cool idea finally came to my overly imaginative brain!
The 20 World Scavenger Hunt Challenge! It was a story about five teams of young alien scientists who . compete in a scavenger hunt, where they have to travel to twenty worlds, to find all the items. I wanted to make it like, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets South Park, with a different episode every week. Once I got to working on it. the setbacks started lining up.
The I-Phone’s voiceover isn’t designed for blind or dyslexic writers. Well, Maybe it’ll work just fine, for people that write haikus or very short poetry. People who don’t use voiceover, tap each key on their phone’s keyboard, once, to type them. People who have to use voiceover, have to double-tap each character, and every space. Double-tapping letter by letter, to write a full story episode, was agony. Also, unlike with the voiceover on my computer, the phone has no way of letting me read line-by-line, scrolling up and down. I had to carefully poke the screen, and have the phone read the small sentence chunks that were under my finger tip, if I wanted to read back where I left off. The other choice was to do a one-finger left-to-right swipe, and have the voiceover read what I wrote, from the very beginning.
It was time to try dictating the blog, but I had to work around my brain’s behavior. Stories come out easier, when I’m typing them. Trying to dictate them, off the top of my head, is an awkward struggle. The phone’s dictate worked wonderfully. Yeah, it heard me wrong, every once in a while, but it always read back what I dictated. So I wrote my first episode on a Pages document, and decided to have the computer read my document back to me, and I would dictate it into my WordPress app. Then just my luck, Apple said that it was time for my phone’s software to be updated. Once I updated it, my voiceover stopped being reliable with reading back my dictations. I tried my new plan, anyway, but it was back to doing lots of screen poking, after bathroom breaks, or zoning out.
Christa had also installed a WordPress log-in shortcut into my computer, but I procrastinated with using it. The computer version of WordPress seemed all complicated and confusing, compared to the mobile version. But by now, I was desperate. once I got in, things were not as complicated and confusing as I expected. Then when I got to typing a post—stinkeroo! It was awful. WordPress for the computer was even less accessibility user friendly. Or at least, less voiceover user friendly. Every time I typed a letter, the voiceover informed me which font WordPress used, before speaking the name of the letter. It was like, “Twelve point Merryweather, steel gray, T, twelve point Merryweather steel gray, h” I tried to type faster, to make it stop repeating the font, but that only made the voiceover stutter a lot, which was really annoying and distracting. Also what was annoying and distracting, was that, for some glitchy reason, voiceover announced every minute that my draft was being autosaved. So I gave up.
When I confided my woes to Christa, on Skipe, she came up with a new plan. I would simply write each episode in Pages, and then send them to her, spell checked, of course. Then all she would have to do was copy and paste them into WordPress. This new plan started out great. The 20 World Scavenger Hunt Challenge episodes were getting posted, and I was gaining new blog followers with every episode. This was so exciting. My writing was really attracting attention, and winning people over. There was hope for me, yet! The heavenly light at the end of the seemingly endless, career-and-aspiration-failure tunnel was drawing near!
Then Christa and I had a squabble.
From the beginning, she had advised me to keep my blog posts short. The first couple of episodes were too long. So we agreed to divide them at certain points. We also agreed to have one episode posted every week. I wanted to keep the blog’s timing consistent. Just like I figured might happen, her workload, and the million other things she had to do, left her no time for my blog. So she was a little over a week late. So I admit to letting my patience slip a little. Then once the new episode was posted, I was surprised to find out that she shortened my already-shortened episode even more, and without telling me first. So I flubbed up with being grateful for what’s given to me, and I gave her a hard time about this. She had her reasons, but I was all artistic-person stereotype, and I decided that this blogging thing wasn’t going to work out. You know how it is, creative people. Your work is precious to you, and when it’s left in someone else’s hands, you want them to handle it in a certain, specific way. Right?
Come to find out, my writing wasn’t so fetching after all. The only reason I was getting followers was because Christa did all the extra push-ups to get others to read my crazy-ass blog. Boooo! I suck! I had attempted to put in some push-up effort, myself, but I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I promoted my blog, on FaceBook, and then promoted it again, on Messenger. I went through the list of 60+ FaceBook friends, and gave each of them a simple message that just said to go to firstname.lastname@example.org. (This was two years ago. I don’t remember exactly what the old site title was) Yeah, I know, that was a spammy thing to do. Two FaceBook friends had read the blog, and returned my message, with a thumbs-up emoji, but neither of them became followers. My other sister, Gina, had shared my blog posts, on FaceBook. I got some likes, but no additional followers.
Christa had also admitted that re-editing each episode was hell, because there were a lot of nonsense alien words with inconsistent spelling. This was all the more reason to want to quit. The last thing I wanted was for helping me to be stressful.
Another year went by. It was spring of 2018, and I had finished my first full-length novel. My author/editor friend, Jo, had edited my book, (I paid him, of course.) and he and Christa helped me with perfecting my first query letter. I know that, getting a book published doesn’t make the magic happen. It’s still up to the author to promote it, and get it out there. But if you don’t have any “connections”, and if you can’t afford to pay for your advertisements, what’s the best way to get your book out there? Social media and BLOGGING! By then, WordPress had made some improvements. So I decided to give blogging a second chance, and came up with The Dream Dimension. Then disaster struck again…