So, you’re interested in blogging? You’ve never written anything before…and you are no longer considered young. How’s that going for you? Tough isn’t it?
‘When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now’ …so goes the opening line of The Beatles song, ‘When I’m 64’.
Though I’m not quite 64; even though it sometimes feel like it; no seriously, being middle-aged everything hurts or creaks, and I mean everything – even my brain at times, entering the ‘Blogging Arena’ later in life can be hard work.
You need to get the right head on.
Millennials VS. Generation X
It’s a young persons game isn’t it? All that technology and stuff that never existed until the late 1990s – by which time some of us were already fully-formed adults with kids of our own and probably set in our ways.
“In my day…” comes the desperate, confused and, quite frankly, moany response from the non ‘Millennials.’ I’m Generation X; post Baby Boomer, pre Millennial; what was once described as the ‘alienated youth’.
Well I’ll be damned if I’ll be alienated in later life!
I fall into the 7.1% (according to Sysomos), of bloggers over the age of 50 years.
The vast majority of bloggers are 21 to 35 years of age; that is young to me; you too? These ‘youngsters’ are all over the place, writing their thoughts and opinions, offering advice to others who want to express their thoughts and opinions.
Anyway, isn’t 50 the new 30?!
The Gloves Are Off
But what about me (and you, old geezer at the back; I see you reading this post), don’t I have something to offer in this age of ‘click and share’, of information sharing expansion -that is – everyone potentially having access to digital sharing across the world! Damn it! Who says its a ‘young persons game’? Where is that written? Show me and I’ll give ’em a slap!
Join the 28 million middle-aged (and older) folk who already do. Your age has nothing to do with restricting your attendance to the blogging bash – it’s all in the mind; time to gate-crash this party!
Take a tip from Dylan Thomas
But ‘it gets harder as you get older,’ I hear you cry. Stop complaining; you sound like an old person!
Your older brain isn’t slower because new stuff i.e. technology, is ‘hard’ – it’s because it’s already stuffed with information – and it’s this information that you, the older blogger, can tap into for your posts.
An active brain is a healthy brain, you know this is a fact. You simply need to get out of your comfort zone (or comfy slippers) and try something new.
Have laptop, will travel (in cyberspace)
Sure, you need to understand some elements of this modern, digital world. In ‘the old days’, if we wanted to tell someone something, and it wasn’t face to face we wrote a letter – yes young readers, this was a thing; pen, paper, handwriting – or pick up the telephone; in your house (not a cell phone, they didn’t exist) and actually speak to another person.
I’m going to assume that, as you’re reading this, then you must have access to a computer; whether it’s your own laptop, the local library (or you’re at work! Tut, Tut), so you must at least have a passing acquaintance with some technology. You’re already on your way then!
You do need some knowledge of how the blogging world works and that includes the accompanying tech.
Engines, Garages and Traffic
When I first started blogging, I noticed the initials SEO popping up all over the place. “What’s this SEO?” thinks I. Search Engine Optimization, says Google (a search engine!)
I had visions of minions under the Google offices pedaling faster and faster on bicycles attached to a ‘Mother Computer’, trying to speed up, or Optimize, my searches. Well, not quite (not really actually), but I made efforts to find out what SEO is – what is the point of it, and how do I get me some?
Make Google Your Friend
As it happens, Google itself has pretty much everything you need to learn the skills for promoting your blog. I found Google Digital Garage extremely simple to use. It delivers a series of short lessons about what SEO is and how to utilize it to promote your business; use it at your own pace, I know, your blog isn’t a business, for now! But it could be, and even if you’re not interested in following that route, you still want to drive traffic to your lovingly crafted word vomit!
Grab your ‘Soapbox’
There are plenty of free blogging platforms to choose from; Blogger, Wix, WordPress, Weebly and Squarespace are a small selection. Just a little research will help you select what suits you; I personally use WordPress for my blog, Flailing Through Life, as I find it has everything I need, or understand so far on my journey through blogging.
If you can afford it, there are also Plug-ins like Yoast, that assist with your SEO. Plug-ins are not plugs that you literally shove into your computer, think of them as add-ons to your blog site that expand the reach of your posts.
WordPress itself also has online training sessions that can be easily accessed and understood by ‘newbies’ and ‘oldies’ alike. Just take it one-step-at-a-time.
I’m not saying this journey into blogging is going to be easy. It takes time, commitment, research, learning a new way of thinking.
You’re not telling me you didn’t have to learn new skills when you changed jobs! There may be tears of frustration (been there), there may even be kicking and screaming.
Long ago, I had a second-second hand computer, it stalled, it rebelled, it lost three years worth of fiction writing! I kicked its hard-drive to death. I have a very understanding husband who knows to keep clear at these moments, and believe me, there have been a few.
On Your Marks…
But I’m still at it, why? Because I love sharing my ideas; they’re as relevant as anyone else’s; aren’t they? So are yours.
Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Who am I to argue with Einstein?!
Your age gives you an advantage over all these ‘young things’, you have a whole shitload of experience/advice/warnings etc. to impart. Step up to the starter’s line…Go for it!
Wait! But What type of Blog Should I Write?
Ever heard the saying ‘Variety is the spice of life’? Well you have a whole world of variety in the blogging community alone. You can read about anything, and I mean anything, online. From Ageing (A) to Zen (Z). There is a plethora of topics; you just need to find your own.
Do you live in a tiny flat and successfully grow herbs in a window box? That’s a lifestyle blog.
Are you going through an age-related illness? Make an inspirational blog.
Have you begun a new hobby late in life? Right there is your motivational blog.
Do you simply want a platform to vent your spleen at the world (as I often do)? You can bet your bottom dollar that if you want to write about it, someone, somewhere will be interested in reading it,(Believe it or not, I have had someone in Mongolia viewing my site!).
You just need to start.
Stop thinking like an ‘old’ person, get your blogging head and your reading glasses on, research, read, write.
Alexandra is a visual artist turned writer, currently working a ‘real’ job as a Learning Support Practitioner in a F.E/H. E college.
She writes horror, speculative fiction, sci-fi, and more, and is the author of a number of short stories that can be found in The Asterisk Anthology, Game Over , Tick Tock, Sticks & Stones and The Singularity magazine.