Welcome to my blog.
“There is something I have to tell you,” I said to @Adwiti.
Her smile encouraged me.
“I was sitting on the dock where condo owners can park their boats. I made a probably-not-going-to-happen wish that I would see a dolphin lollipop down Ole River. It does happen sometimes. My mind wandered off to something else. Then I heard the swishey sound a dolphin makes when it surfaces for air. I focused toward the sound and there, close to the end of a finger of the dock, was a dolphin. He seemed to pause and look at me. It felt as if he had a message for me. He was no more than six or seven feet from me. Then he was gone. I watched for him to resurface but he did not. A few minutes later, still excited, I walked back toward the condo. A man sitting on his balcony said he had never seen a dolphin that close to the dock. And he said it was like the dolphin wanted to talk to me.” I finished my story with a giggle.
“Wow, said Adwiti. “You have to write a story about that.”
I remember than my high school English teacher told me I was a good writer and encouraged me to write more. I got a part time job at the local newspaper, studied journalism in college and later wrote curriculum materials for teachers. As a kindergarten teacher and then a salesman, I used my writing skills and took joy in playing with words. Writing for myself became a hobby.
Could writing children’s stories become an option for me? It will be fun. And I am younger than Grandma Moses was when she started painting. So, yes, I think so.
During the days after sharing my experience with Adwiti, I created a story about the dolphin. It became a story about my little nephew, who was playing with crabs on the bank of Ole River which is really an intracoastal waterway. A dolphin glided up, looking for a conversation.
My nephew loved my little story. So did Adwiti who shared it in her Qigong class. Some of my fellow students liked it too. One of them said, “That was awesome. You have to keep writing.”
Based on their encouragement, I created a blog. Friends and family liked my blog posts. Some posts were children’s stories. Some posts were articles about things that interested me.
Then I started an account on Instagram. After three months, I finally reached the milestone of 50 followers. I could not see much follow through from there to my blog.
Obviously, I was on a very slow boat to becoming a published author. I was writing stories, posting on my blog, and getting a few readers.
I decided to expand to Facebook, hoping to reach more people with my blog. Again, friends and family followed. I even connected with a few children’s book writers. One of them had a private group listed on the side of her profile. It was Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators: Publishing, Marketing and Selling. It was Christmas Eve when I found it. I was sitting at my new writing desk. I excitedly applied for membership.
Membership was granted. What a wonderful Christmas gift.
The posts were kind, encouraging and informative. I jumped in and introduced myself. A few people took time to say hello and welcome.
Then I started responding to some of the posts. It felt like talking to friends. I actually had written conversations with few people.
Another person new to the group posted a request to be followed on his Instagram account. I immediately followed him. I posted to him, “I followed. See you on IG.”
Guess what happened next! Well, it was like a snowball rolling downhill. And the snowball got huge. There were posts and conversations. Within a few days, my-slow-as-molasses Instagram account exploded from 50 followers to 80 followers. Now it is amost 125 followers.
While this feels good, feels personal, and is definitely exciting, there is something even better. I am encouraged to keep writing. I think I will figure out how to get published. I am sure I can be as encouraging to others as my new friends have been to me.
I am on an incredible journey that started with a dolphin. It will be fun to see what 2020 brings.