Thursday, November 08, 2012

Blogging--a personal history

Some months ago a friend who runs an academic press casually mentioned the possibility of publishing a collection of my blogs. Flattered, I thanked him but said I was in the midst of a novel. The idea however stayed in the back of my mind. Today, having finished the first draft of that novel, with many revisions along the way, I put it aside to send to a beta reader and probably won't go back to it until after the holidays. So it's a good time to start reviewing blogs.
I've been blogging since June 2006--over six years, which means I have a lot of blogs to review. Today there's controversy over whether or not blogs are good marketing tools and I admit I blog in hope that peole will like me enough to want to buy my books. But six years ago blogging was still new, and I only got into it because daughter-in-law Melanie said she thought I had a lot to say. When I protested I wouldn't know what to write about, she said, "Writing, cooking, grandmothering." And she's the one who come up with the name Judy's Stew. I didn't have books to promote, so I began because it turned out to be fun, not because it was a marketing tool. It will be interesting to trace the change over the years, but the early blogs I read tonight are highly personal.
My brother wants me to pull out the family blogs and compile them separately as long as I'm going through, and one of my surprises was how many of my posts have to do with grandchildren and family. I had thought they were mostly either random thoughts or a chronicle of a writer's journey toward mystery. So I'm trying to separate them into those categories. It's kind of daunting to keep the files straight in your mind--and on your computer, and I didn't get anywhere near through 2006 tonight but I'm ready to give up for today. I'm also trying to edit a bit as I go--excerpting relevant bits and pieces but not including an entire blog. It's work, I tell you.
But it's fun to think how much things have changed, how much my family has changed, in six years. My oldest grandchildren was still a child--now she's a sophisticated teen. My youngest wasn't even born. A family picture shows many fewer of us than when we last gathered for a reunion.
Of course my writing has changed dramatically too--I was working and struggling with my first mystery and now I have three in print, one more at the publisher, and one in draft form.  Six years ago I was still working and my daily life was very different--today it's all about writing and cooking and keeping Jacob and going to lunch with friends.
This is going to be an interesting--if long--project, and one I'll do in bits and pieces between other things. But if nothing else I should get a good family chronicle out of it. And I'm enjoying the nostalgia. It's like reading anything else you yourself have written--sometimes I think, "Damn, I'm good" and other times I shudder that I signed my name to something an idiot wrote.

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