My Take on the World

People who have blogs generally stick to one topic in order to develop a strong readership. I started out that way, concentrating on books and writing and the various aspects of promotion, but after Jeff died, my focus changed to grief. I didn’t really have a choice if I wanted to continue blogging since grief became my life. Besides, I was so shocked by what I was feeling, shocked that I didn’t even know it was possible to feel that way, shocked by the insensitivity so many people showed toward grief, that I felt compelled to tell the truth. Then later, as my grief started to wane, I wrote about my travels. Now, I write about . . . whatever. The topics range from grief to home ownership to gardening to books to aging.

The problem with writing a blog with such a wide range of topics is that every topic has its followers and every topic has its detractors. For example, those who wish me to focus on grief aren’t really interested in my ruminations on other matters. Some people think I should write more about aging since aging, like grief, is rather a taboo topic in our eternal-youth oriented society. (There’s something almost embarrassing about growing old, as if its our fault that we don’t remain young.) Other people, of course, think I talk too much about growing old.

I suppose it would be nice to have a single topic, and just post once a week on that particular topic, but I’ve done grief. I don’t really have much more to say about it. And I’ve done traveling as a topic, and now I’m pretty much done with traveling itself since I spent my traveling money on my house. Although I sometimes mention the books I’m reading, I don’t want to have a book blog. Writing reviews and critiques seems so much like writing book reports for school, and I never much liked doing that. I read, I think while I’m reading, I finish the book, and immediately start another. What else is there to say?

I really don’t want to talk about age, though it is a focus right now since I’m trying to age-proof my yard. And I can feel changes in myself — not just physically and mentally, but how I view the world, other people, and myself. So it’s hard not to let those things filter into my writing.

Basically, I really only know one subject intimately — me. And that’s what this blog has always been about — my take on the world around me and within me.

Is there a point to this particular piece? Probably not. It is fair warning, though, that the topics I write about will continue jumping all over the place. You don’t need me to tell you to feel free to skip any post that’s not to your liking since I’m sure you do it anyway. But I do need to say (it can’t be said enough!) that I appreciate your stopping by to read any of the things I write.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

What Next for Bertram’s Blog?

In three weeks, I will be celebrating the six-year anniversary of this blog. I will also be celebrating the two-year anniversary of daily blogging. (Two years ago, I responded to a challenge to blog for 100 days, and I just kept going.)

My first post on September 24, 2006 was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

untitled2Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost six years. Later, after I found a publisher, I talked about my newly published books, and when ebooks, Kindles, and self-publishers burst on the scene, changing the face of publishing forever, I wrote various blog posts about the publishing industry, trying to make sense of it all and trying to find my place in the clamor

Three and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My grief posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too.

It’s nice to know that whatever life threw at me, whatever problems I encountered, whatever challenges came my way, this blog was here for me.

But now I don’t know where to go with my life, and I don’t know where to go with this blog. Except for occasional grief updates or excerpts from my book: Grief: The Great Yearning, I’ve said most of what I wanted to say about grief. And there’s nothing more to be said about the publishing industry. It has changed beyond my comprehension, so there’s no point in my writing about it. Besides, there is too much controversy still, with militant self-publishers jumping on anyone they think is casting aspersions on the phenomena. And there is too much controversy with sharing writing tips. Every time I tell what I have learned, other authors stomp on my words, proclaiming that it’s an author’s right to make up the rules. I just am not a contentious person, and I don’t like being pulled unwittingly into such imbroglios.

So, I have three weeks to decide if I want to continue daily blogging or if I want to go back to the way I started, just blogging when I had something to say. I need to decide what, if anything, I have to say — maybe I’ve said it all.

In the end, I’ll probably decide not to decide, and just keep on blogging. It’s become a way of life.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Thank You for Five Incredible Blog Years

Five years ago today I started this blog. I’d only been on the internet a few months (four months to be exact), had no idea what a blog was but knew enough about book promotion to know that I needed one to help establish my online presence. I spent a few days researching the various blogging platforms and ended up here on WordPress.

My first post was tentative, a mere dipping of my pen in the metaphorical ink of the blogosphere. All that post said was:

Am I an aspiring writer? I have written 4 books, rewritten them, and will continue rewriting them until they are perfected.

No. I am not an aspiring writer. I am aspiring to be a published writer.

Not a bad statement of intent for a new blogger. In the beginning I wrote about my struggles to find an agent or a publisher, my attempts to learn all I could about how to become a bestselling author (still don’t know — drats!), my efforts at establishing my online presence. In the beginning, I used no photo of me, just an initial. I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to use a male pseudonym or any pseudonym at all. I’d also started writing a new novel that I now call my work-in-pause since it’s been sitting there, half-finished for almost five years.

Much has happened to me since I started this blog. I entered a couple of writing contests and made it to the semi-finals in both, (one was the very first ABNA contest). My mother died. I found a publisher. My father had quadruple bypass surgery. My life mate/soul mate got sicker and sicker. And throughout those two and a half years of turmoil, this blog sustained me. It gave me a place to escape from my daily life, a place I could count on.

And then, two and a half years ago, my soul mate died. His death catapulted me into a world of such pain, that it bled over into this blog. My posts became not so much a way to escape, but a place to try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life.

This blog also helped me to re-establish my life as a writer because, after all, blogging is writing, too. A year ago, I made a commitment to blog every day for 100 days, and somehow I never stopped. And today marks an entire year, 366 days of blogging every single day. (Leap year, in case you’re wondering why 366 instead of 365.) I recently recommitted to another 100-day challenge. It’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges come my way, this blog will be here for me.

I started with meager aspirations, hoping for the seemingly unrealistic goal of 12,000 views a year, and as of right now, this blog has had 215,817 all time views. On my busiest day, I had 3,542 people stopping by. I’ve been Freshly-pressed three times, written 1,003 posts (including this one), received 7,159 comments and almost 3000 likes and shares. My best ranking on Alexa.com was 607,198 out of 350 million websites. Quite an achievement for someone who, five years ago, did not even know what a blog was.

I never told you how much your reading my posts has meant to me, so I want to do so now. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past two and a half years) than you can ever imagine.