Short answer: Not exactly.
Now for the long answer …
I’ve been struggling with this question for months.
Just to be clear, this isn’t about writing—that can be done without a blog and in many, many places. This is more about where I want to write.
Going back to its beginnings, the primary purpose for this website was to document my success or failure as a new writer (publicly anyway), during what I’ve come to call my ‘second act’. My goal was to inspire, inform and support everyone who is on the same journey.
My desire to do those things hasn’t changed. In fact, I’ve turned it into a service business and I love helping writers for a living. Now, with the input I’ve gotten from the survey, I understand even better what you need.
The plans are in motion. But that’s business.
What About Writing?
I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but I don’t have a lot of writing out there, beyond what I’ve done here on this blog plus one or two guest posts. It’s the writing life that isn’t.
It’s not that I don’t have a stockpile of dreams and ideas, because I do. I’ve just let this blog become a block.
Why did that happen? Because the work required for one single post made my desire to write shrivel. I didn’t feel as though I could just write, without a lot of time-baggage attached to every single post.
Just to give you an idea, one average post on this blog typically takes what amounts to a full workday of my time from start to finish, assuming an 8-hour work day:
- » 3 hours to write and edit 1000-1500 words (+research when needed)
- » 1-2 hour to find images and format them for social media platforms
- » .5 hours to post on all social media platforms
- ».5 hours on webmaster/technical updates
- » 2 hours to share to groups & explore fellow blogger’s posts (including sharing, commenting, etc.)
- » .5-1 hour to respond to comments on my post
(The time it takes to write the newsletter is not included.)
When I considered the ratio of time spent to results achieved in traffic and readers, I often felt like I was spinning my wheels in mud. Yes, I could’ve written every day (advice that I’ve heard often for building an audience), and I could’ve kept grinding away at social media promotion.
But I don’t want to, not every day. The writer in me just wants to write.
There’s writing and then there’s business
This blog is very niche specific, something that I learned early on was a good thing. And it is, for business.
But what if I want to write something different? Do I start another blog for personal essays and daily reflections? I thought of starting up TOWeller.com, building the website, promoting it on all the social media platforms, and then finding ways to connect it back to this blog and cross-promote.
Honestly, the thought turned me cold. I couldn’t see my way clear to starting from scratch and building, supporting and promoting another self-hosted blog.
So, for a while, I tried to write just for myself and forget about sharing it with others, until maybe I was ready to publish it all in an ebook or something.
I do have that kind of writing in a notebook, but I wanted to strengthen my experience of craft through the process and practice of publishing daily. Add to that, there’s something about the commitment to publish—I’m not as likely to put off writing when I get busy. (Who hasn’t done that?)
Along came Medium
It’s a site for writers.
It shares elements with other social media platforms, including blogging—you can follow, share and like people and their posts. There are a couple of neat features I enjoy using, like the highlighter (which appeals to my inner quote-collector), and I discovered quickly that my response to a post also became a story on my profile, which I could title and tag. In that way, stories can interconnect in fascinating ways … and make you, as a writer, that much more findable.
I’ve been poking around in it for a while now, enjoying the writing and responding to it, making new connections, and learning why and how writers use the site.
From what I’ve been able to tell so far, there are a range of approaches. Some writers post their work there in tandem with an existing blog, others replace their self-hosted blog all together, while others start up their own business/blog website after the fact and promote it to their followers on Medium.
So, I’ve decided to give it a try. I’m writing and publishing reflections, essays, and observations every day, without the added time demands of a self-hosted site.
So far, with markedly less effort, new readers are finding my work and it’s been really great to connect with so many new writers who are also there to work on their craft.
I’m approaching it as place to learn, share, practice and grow, and the environment there seems ideally suited for exactly that.
What about ‘Never Too Late’?
It’s not going anywhere! It’s still about exploring a variety of ways to build a writing life, and my experience on Medium will be one of the many things I’ll share with you.
As I mentioned earlier, the survey gave me much food for thought and I plan on following through. That hasn’t changed. However, this site is about to change.
I’m in the midst of redesigning it and, as I enrich the services I offer, my approach to the blog will change. You’ll see the experiments first hand, and then I’ll share what I learn with you in the writing, products and services I offer.
While all of this is being planned and implemented—and while I also enjoy some much needed summer R & R with friends and family—I will continue my writing project on Medium and take a short hiatus here on “Never Too Late”.
Coming Soon: The Unveiling
We’ll be trying new things and breaking new ground. It’s one of the things I love about working and writing online; the environment is dynamic and the options are plentiful. It’s about learning from what others have done before and then making our own successes.
I love how Ralph Waldo Emerson advises us:
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”
Thank you for letting me share my experiments with you!
As you know, I always love to hear from you so please do share your thoughts and questions below.