Happy 100 blog entries and 20 years on the internet!
A happy celebration for today!
I’m excited to say I’ve posted 100 blog entries on this site and it just so happens to correspond with me having the internet for almost 20 years.
I was born way before the internet and due to the type of rural life we led, we didn’t have a phone growing up and sometimes we didn’t have TV. Even going to the library was a treat. As a young adult, I didn’t have a normal college education, but I taught myself anything I wanted to know.
After a few years of the internet coming to homes, in June 1996 (almost 20 years ago) my ex and I purchased a brand new computer and signed up for our first account through AOL. I took to it immediately. I had used computers for years at work, but having the internet at home was a brand new world.This was amazing! I spent years learning everything I could from the internet.
I wanted to learn everything and even learned how to make my own webpages. I took C++ and all kinds of computer classes.
I started making little 5 page websites for CVs and resumes, and charged $25 per page, plus extra for photos. As the blogs became more important to people, my upper income was $30 per page for a 5 page website. I expanded and created pages for families and photographers looking for places to store their work. My favorite website was created for a Veteran who passed away. He was a WWII Veteran and his family wanted something special for his funeral. The funeral home had the internet, so I created a full webpage, 10 pages, with his career, family photos, his career photos, and so much more (I did this for free because he was a WWII Veteran and I’m a Veteran). His family brought a computer to the funeral home and his extended family and friends were able to enjoy his childhood and career memories like never before.
With the personal websites and CV websites I created, I also started accepting a few business clients. I was making a few hundred dollars a month. I never claimed to be anything I wasn’t. I was the small business webpage designer for those businesses who were just starting out. I was a busy mom and wife, so I could only accept a few pages at a time, so personal attention to each one was important. The clients really liked that. Making these little websites was extra money for our family. My work was growing and people started requesting me. I thought that was pretty cool for a farm girl.
Through many late nights and just plain stubbornness I eventually earned my college degree in May 2002. At that time, I was a 34 year old single parent and I finally had the coveted piece of paper I had wanted since I was little. That one piece of paper opened many doors. Using my internet skills, I started working on more classes, and even though I haven’t finished my graduate degree, I actually have two graduate degree paths I’ve almost completed.
When I retired from the Army, in 2014, I realized my writing skills were severely lacking. During my career I picked up some really bad writing habits and I wanted to correct those mistakes. Most people don’t realize, in the military we write in simple sentences, bullets, and blurbs, anything else is turned away and considered “flowery.” After a lifetime of writing this way, I knew I needed help. There was only one problem. Due to my degree path, foundation writing courses, or actually any writing courses, would not be paid for through my GI Bill. I was on my own. I searched and searched and ended up taking many free courses on Coursera, Khan, and even You Tube. I’m still not up to the standard of where I wish I was, or need be, but I’m better than I was last year, and that is progress.
During the process of learning to write better, I wanted to also start a new blog. I wanted something that reflected my new retired life.
I’ve kept personal blogs before, but they were used for a daily journal and, before bookmarking or Pinterest, they were also used as a place to keep my favorite links. I never went beyond the “one page” blog. I didn’t even know how to. I knew how to load photos on many pages, or information, but not how to create drop-downs for more information. After some work in 2014 and watching as many free courses on You Tube as I could, I started a brand new blog in 2015. This wasn’t in E-blogger, like I had used before, and it wasn’t “Webs”, which I also knew how to use, but this was WordPress. This was a horse of a different color.
Basically, I was starting from scratch. I had to learn everything all over again. I had to understand categories, drop downs, widgets, and so much more. I even took a long break from my blog because I didn’t think I would ever learn how to use it. While facing many physical ailments and feeling sorry for myself, I figured this was just too much to learn at this time. I became really frustrated with myself for giving up, so I jumped right back in and learned more. I figured even if I was the only one who read this blog, I was going to learn to use it and I was also going to learn to write a book. Again, even if I was the only one who read it, I was going to write it.
During 2015 and the winter of 2016 year I also met some wonderful people. These were people different from my military career (some crossed over, but not all). These were writers, artist, filmmakers, and bloggers. They encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing and not give up. I took their advice and kept going.
This week I received a message from WordPress that I had 100 public blog entries (I have some private ones also), and I rejoiced. That little message meant I was learning how to use this silly blog thing and I could learn more.
In the background, I’ve also been working on my book a little at a time, and putting in the effort to create some YouTube videos of my very own. Without actually going to a real school, I’ve used my personal time in 2015 and 2016 to learn various means of communication and I’ve experimented with different styles. In just over one year I’ve learned more blogging skills, how to use more social media sites, how to create short videos, how to write a book, and I’ve learned an abundance of background information that makes all of these things work together.
I say all of this to remind those who want to give up; don’t. Just don’t. This advice is from a 48 year old disabled woman, who grew up in the backwoods of NC and had very little access to technology as a child or young adult. Now, I’ve been on the internet almost 20 years and for my first “real” blog, I now have 101 public blog entries. Is it perfect? No. It isn’t. I have a very long way to go.
I know there are times when my writing sucks. My editing is terrible, my punctuation needs tons of help, and my sentence structure sometimes resembles examples from my 7th grade book reports, but my friends and family have continued to read my work and support my dreams, so I’m gonna stick with it and I’m not giving up.
It’s like the first time someone tries to create something great from clay. More than likely, the first few times, they will end up with a big pile of clay. Eventually, if they stick with it, and keep their hands dirty, they can throw some fantastic pieces of pottery. I’m not giving up just because I created a few piles of clay instead of works of art.
It’s hard, frustrating, and at times, it seems impossible, but whatever you do, don’t give up the dream. Even if you have to take breaks or scream at the computer, don’t give up. (I’m so glad my computer can’t repeat everything I’ve screamed at it).
It takes a lot of hard work, determination, and many long hours of practice to create something worthwhile. If you are creating art, film, writing a book, keeping a blog, or as my friend is doing, learning a new instrument later in life, just stick with it. These new talents will eventually click.
Thank you to all those who support me, encourage me, and those who given me a big kick in my rear-end when I needed it. I plan to remain part of our creative family for a very long time. The world needs more creative people. One day, I hope to be considered one of those creative people who made a difference.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.