Day one, and a commitment (to myself) to complete The Seedsman’s Daughter, my Memoir of Emilie May, my grandmother, within a year. While on that journey I hope to find others who are on a similar journey, share a similar experience and/or find the blog interesting.
Well it’s not actually Day One, but a resumption of writing this blog from three years and one month ago. Then my intention was wider – to chart my writing journey since my return from Kenya. The blog took over from the diary of that trip in which I walked in my grandmother’s footsteps to the places she had lived in, and my quest to find KK, the house that my grandfather built 22 miles west of Kitale on the slopes of Mount Elgon.
So why did I stop writing then and why am I now restarting? What’s changed?
I stopped because my website was overwhelmed by a blitz of spam bots. Reviewing the comments to find ‘real’ comment took time, everyday. Usually, when I thought I had identified one, it turned out to be a spam bot after all, these bots are devilishly clever at disguising themselves, and once in the door the number rose exponentially. To say it was dispiriting is an understatement.
I tried anti-spam blockers but that did not deter the spammers. The only way to effectively deal with the epidemic was to close the blog to comment or pings – but what’s the point in writing a blog if nobody gets to read it. The whole point of a blog is to find an audience. Well maybe not the whole point, it’s also to create milestones and deadlines so the book gets written. When I was working as an editor or writing for magazines, I had deadlines and word count. But there are no deadlines for a personal project and the word count is whatever I decide, within sensible limits of course.
What has initiated this re-start? An agent found? A publisher? I wish but alas no, not yet. Nothing so concrete as that but I’ve reached a line in the sand nevertheless. Claire Wingfield, literary editor and author, has agreed to mentor me and the first meeting was last Friday. This is a major move forward in my goal of getting my book published. With critical honest comment and feedback, as well as agreed deadlines, this book has a real chance of getting written within a year.
Saturday morning last, I set to with great enthusiasm to get this blog written, but its taken a frustrating week to get it published – frustrating because I first had to wrestle with my website. ‘It’ wouldn’t allow me to edit or publish without ‘review’, which is obviously nonsense as it’s my blog, my website and there is no ‘reviewer’. Not being able to publish, though, is obviously a fundamental problem when writing blogs.
I went onto support forums for advice and many responded with their solution to the same problem – an upgrade to a new version. I learnt a lot of jargon, took advice and upgraded – but still I had no ability to publish. I had a different problem. Then by chance, and believe me I was running out of things to look at and patience, I saw that my database was full. That was easily expanded and proved to be the solution. I am now up and running.
As to that not-so-small problem with spammers, I’ve found an anti-spam warrior provider and with excellent reviews. I’ve paid the fee and reopened for comment. Fingers crossed for no more spam and trouble free blogging.