The Lockdown One On Lone

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In 2011, I had aspirations about this thing called 'blog' something to be owned, rather than do. As social media emerged into this post MySpace monster, it became a quest of mine. It was never quite the right time to start one. The effort was all encompassing at my first foray into the realm. I just needed the right template, how hard could it be? Face to face with Html coding scared me off immediately. As it would later turn out, self publishing a book would be a darn sight easier. In fact, 4 x poetry pamphlets and 3 x novellas later, uploaded ready for purchase on Amazon and guess what? Still no blog. 

All these years the blog eluded me, somehow it became my agent for change, spurring me onto other writery projects in the meantime. As you are reading this you may be forgiven for wondering, well you've done it now. But the road to this blog is stranger than romantic fiction. I thought I should share, with the lesson in it. 

I threw myself into honing my social media skills, hoping that one course or workshop would springboard me into some blogging action. Er, no. It's one of those subjects, no course I undertook would make it make sense. Other digital skills accrued such as websites via third-party platforms or graphic design apps, video editing, yet I couldn't get my head around those pesky Wordpress templates.

I embrace most things digital so why would the blog bother me this much. There was a blockage. No doubt about that. 

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Roll on 2020, the most productive January I ever had when...Well, we are all in it now aren't we? I joined a band after 20 years of sessions in outhouse music studios. I was serious about it, bought myself a new cable for my old microphones and a stand! As the rehearsals became a regular set up, I jumped at the chance to join a local gospel choir for beginners. It was low key (pun unintended) as in not in an old church building, where I was to garner the secrets of the harmony. An enhancement to my vocals in the band. Covid enters stage left, and put paid to rehearsing in small spaces. 

January turned into February, I almost had a regular slot on local radio station, having pitched an idea for a show. One days training in and by March...Covid Lockdown stopped play. 

I had just had an interview promoting my novellas on Portobello Radio podcast. Thrilled, I felt confident to generate a book tour of other local stations, but...Believe me, I never do anything in January unless I can take myself off to Goa, India and forget about it, as in 2019. The Lockdown crashed in, a new word in our conscientiousness, a new life sans style was upon us. My most productive first weeks of a year ever, dashed! 

At first I relished the freedom of staying home, staying safe, finishing some of the novels on my slate these unprecedented times had presented. Keep healthy. Eat well. Embrace the solitude. Every writers dream was free unfettered time, or so I believed. How wrong was I? 

My deferring tactics started kicking in again. I recognised it as it was happening paralysed to do anything about it. I began prepping my home for a pandemic puppy. I sourced fabric and sewn pelmets for my huge blinds. I upcycled an Ikea, Malm chest of drawers my neighbour was throwing out and one Chinese marriage cabinet, embellishing them with gold leaf for the first time. I baked banana bread, using 3 minute only recipes via YouTube. Writing? What writing? Writing what? I had not opened my laptop in months. 

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While I was waiting the recommended 10 weeks before bringing my fur baby home, the blossoms filled the vacant streets of West London during the heatwave. I had a moment, in a chat with a friend. One of those friends that is a human 'note-to-self', a gracious sounding board. 

Blog envy spilled out of me at once. I'm supposed to be a writer, it's a necessity. This friend, in fine troubleshooting mode suggested a contact of hers who 'knew about these things'. How much was he going to charge, was the first thing I needed to know.  She put me straight and wondered why I hadn't considered hiring someone to take the headache away before now. Call it kismet, but the universe answered my call, because shortly after an old friend of mine reached out via Facebook who happened to specialise in blog websites. He was to become my blog Svengali. 

I was astounded why I hadn't considered outsourcing my blog build all along. I'm officially a megalomaniac. Don't put it off, just pay someone if you can, when you can. When I desire something, I usually set some goals in order to attain it. Get someone in, find someone who can, failing that then doing it myself. Here endeth the lesson. 

Look mama, I'm blogging, I'm blogging! 

Lockdown One also led me down a Zoom-fest rabbit hole. Since I wasn't writing, online creative writing workshops became my latest distraction. At least this way, I was building my author credentials. Especially, c/o the marvellous Stay At Home Fringe. Not to mention Zooms with established authors sharing their wisdom and inspiration. 

Exalting my enthusiasm to the same note-to-self-friend (she's good isn't she?) when she whispered mystical words ending in 'Harvard University'. I missed the start, but my ears were suddenly fully engaged. I pressed her to clarify. Harvard was offering short courses online for nominal fees. I was buzzing at the courses on the prospectus at the prospect of learning from home virtually from Harvard. Really buzzing! I diligently set to work, registered and followed the lectures and set to read channelling full geek 'A' student. Rewarding myself with a Netflix box set in between modules. 

Let me fast track this episode and the Harvard certificate in Masters of World Literature my raison d'ĂȘtre for 8 weeks. An achievement no less satisfying as being awarded a Masters degree in Literature. Yay! Well done me. 

We are entering what is fast turning into the dystopian with Lockdown 2.0 underway? Now is the winter of my 'this content'. Sorry...I do hope I master what I should actually write in a blog!

Stay safe all. 


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