Like a lot of people in my blogging sphere I had the most extraordinarily enjoyable day on Saturday at the Second Bloggers Bash. I’ve a few thoughts to pass on, on that event in a later post.
One part was a talk from Luca Sartoni of WordPress. Amongst his bon mots and sage advice he suggested we remember why and how we got into blogging, if we become obsessed with statistics or jealous of other bloggers. Don’t forget where you’ve come from.
I began blogging in April 2014. My first post was on the Cornish language (yeah, I know, whatever). I was clueless. I knew one blogger, Anne Goodwin at Annethology and of some others through those who commented on her posts. I began blogging as a step towards taking my novel to publication. I wanted/needed to connect to other writers but how?
The second blog I followed was The Carrot Ranch, run by the delightful Charli Mills. She runs a weekly flash fiction prompt. I’d never thought about flash, never heard about it in truth, still less tried it. But her posts and her comments were so kind, empathetic to the keen and nervous writer that I left a tentative comment. I was instantly enveloped in an electronic hug.
I gave it a try. I was crap. She was both generous and helpful. Helpful, not as a critic, far from it. Rather she stimulated others to write, in 99 words, extraordinary stories. She prompted them to excel and I tried emulation, comparison, a smidgen of plagiarism and oodles of practice. I improved, she dragged better work from me. She kept me wanting to try and please her.
Through her fan base I met all sorts of delightful writers, who helped me in many different ways. It was Charli who held open the door, took my hand and led me into the light. Without that encouragement I wouldn’t have tried short story writing. I wouldn’t have put them here. I wouldn’t have entered competitions and even won one. I certainly wouldn’t have developed the confidence to create and publish an anthology of short stories alongside the Bash this Saturday.
Today Charli is on the cusp of homelessness. She and her husband Todd have been kicked from pillar to post, all the while maintaining a quiet dignity. I don’t find this easy to write. They are an honorable and proud couple, but they are in need. I attach here a link to her blog post and ask you consider visiting to donate to help the Ranch continue.
She says this about her work, and here you might be able to help too if you have something:
If you are interested in hiring me for an editing or marketing project, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My fees are $50 an hour. I’ve had some people in the past buy hours and gift them to someone else. I can provide a gift certificate.
We all have calls on our time and money, causes big and small, great and personal. This is one where I know I’m asking for a favour, a thought please. Believe me, right now every small piece helps. If you cannot help with a donation, which of course if completely understood, please consider sending her your best wishes. It is amazing what the sense of community does in those deep dark hours.