Currently I am a freelance writer and researcher.
Since 2015, I have been writing stories and publishing them online. These stories are biographies, chronicles or commentaries about life and life’s lessons, people I’ve met and who have touched my life, family history, local history, parenting and grandparenting, my experience of God, ageing and mortality, places I’ve been, food and recipes.
My website and short story blog, Love in a little black diary, which I began as an experiment, has proved a great success. When I began my blogging journey, it never occurred to me that I would make so many wonderful new friends online through my website and blog. I have been overwhelmed by the response. Readers tell me they love reading my stories. Today, my Facebook page has 3490 followers!
How I got started
In early 2007, long before retiring age, I left the paid workforce to care for my elderly mother who lived with my husband and me at the time. As a way of revitalizing my mother’s memory and finding out more about her life while there was still time, I decided to write her life story. I did so, combining text with photographs and memorabilia, producing two large photobooks. You can read more about me and this process, and a little of my mother’s story, in My mother, a young woman (May 6, 2016).
I’ve always enjoyed writing. And I did lots of it during my academic career and working life! But most of that was formal or technical writing. What I really wanted to do was to write about life and ordinary, everyday things…and in such a way as to connect with people, ordinary people, like you and me. And, as it turned out, when I was no longer in the workforce, I had the time and motivation to begin to write – from my heart!
Let me share with you a little more about me and my blogging journey.
I did a lot of research about websites and blogs before I launched my own. The process took months. I examined many different websites, focusing on content, appearance and ease of navigation. I studied various writing styles and formats. After a while, I understood what I liked and didn’t like, what worked well and what didn’t. I found a couple of trustworthy websites (which I still follow) that showed a novice (like me) how to set up a website/blog. I learnt how to use WordPress (an online writing tool). In the meantime I did a photography course, which included learning how to use photos online.
All of this was (and still is) a huge learning curve!!
One of my hardest tasks was choosing an appropriate name for my website and blog. It involved a lot of research and soul-searching. The title had to be positive and reflect the foundation for my writing. It had to be both personal and intriguing.
The name I chose, “Love in a little black diary” is based on a diary my paternal grandmother kept during World War II. You can read about it here: A Mother’s Love (and a little black diary) (October 24, 2015).
So, you may be thinking, why go to the trouble of setting up a website and blog? Why not just write a book and publish it in the usual way?
The word “blog” can be a noun or verb. As a noun, a “blog” is a regularly updated website or web page written in an informal or conversational style. Each new text entry is called a post. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. Used as a verb, to “blog” is to add a new post to the web page.
My website and blog enable me to publish my writing, that is, make my stories available to the general public. In the past, publishing referred only to text, images and audio-visual material, in hard copies. Today, electronic publishing or online publishing is common. Copyright laws govern ownership of all published material. I own the material I publish on my website and blog. In comparison, what I post on my Facebook page, for example, belongs to Facebook. It’s not mine.
I’ve found that a blog is a great medium for self-publishing short stories.
Why? Because short stories (like magazine articles) are complete, not too long and what most people are willing to read online. From my perspective, short stories are perfect for documenting small chunks of family history and local history, and for sharing food stories and recipes online.
One of my passions is photography.
I use photographs to enhance my blog stories and Facebook posts. The most widely read story on my blog, The Bogantungan Rail Disaster: Have you heard the children cry? (February 26, 2019), is a good example. When my husband and I visited Bogantungan in December 2017, we stopped by the former railway station, now the Bogantungan Historic Railway Museum. I took numerous photographs of the buildings and site. This visit, and my photos, stirred my interest in Bogantungan and the Medway Creek rail disaster (and the seeds of a story were sown).
Do you want to know more about me?
Many of the stories on my blog are autobiographical, my own life story in little bite-size chunks. If you want to know more about me, read my stories! And, please, make yourself known to me by leaving your contact details and writing a comment at the end of the story you’ve read.
A final word about me and my stories
Each story I post on my blog is special to me. It’s like a baby in gestation. I put much thought into how I will construct a story, what to include/what not to include. I ruminate on the topic for a long time before I begin to write. Even the title for a story requires much deliberation. I do a lot of reading and research on and around a topic. I contact people to gain or check information. Each story takes considerable time and effort to put together. I write and I rewrite. I spend a great deal of time choosing and preparing the photographs for a post.
My husband is my main proof-reader and best critic. My daughter also proof-reads some of my stories (when she has time). But I’m my own hardest taskmaster. I won’t publish a story until I am satisfied with it.
Now, you be the judge. Go to my blog and read some of my stories. You have more than 80 to choose from! Let me know what you think of them.
I’d love to hear from you.