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Blog Retrospective

23 Apr
Lazily 'shared' from www.wittysam.com

Lazily ‘shared’ from http://www.wittysam.com

I started the outline for this post sat with a pint and a weighty book, in both senses of the word.  As usual I was agonising over the next topic to write about and that led me back to thoughts of the beginnings of my writerly journey.   You remember those days when we all walked fast in black and white, accompanied by piano music and there was no such thing as hashtags or trending.

There are many challengers new bloggers face but the biggest one I think, is perseverance.  It’s easy to decide to blog but then there is the initial struggle to come up with a decent name for the thing before you can even think about writing.  After a while the shiny new blog is up and running, with a first post and your pride fills the room like something metaphorical would.

It feels a bit empty though, this of course is understandable, anybody wanting to be noticed needs to ‘advertise’ and get out there and be social. That in itself is a challenge,  All the blogs out there seem to have loads of likes and comments from people who are friends, and seem close-knit, how do you penetrate that and become part of the group?

Luckily we are a nice bunch though so eventually it all starts to come together, the to and fro of commenting and liking, then most excitingly those slow beginnings towards solid friendships with people you never imagined you’d be chatting to.  But wait, with all that good stuff comes a troubling notion…it turns out I am not as well read as I thought and my writing is below par with the standard in Bloggaria. Having made it this far, the strong again persevere and keep writing.

What becomes clear is that no matter what you do on your blog, it is art and it needs to be honed through experience.  There needs to be a humbleness and willing to learn, to use that to gain confidence and perhaps go off topic and expand your repertoire in new directions, to present your particular view of combined thoughts that are uniquely yours.

This explosion of enthusiastic inspiration colliding with the realisation of so much more to be discovered and chronicled is the catalyst of a growing awareness coupled with friendship base that can grow and be a testament to hard work and a creative mind.

Over the years for me, it has been a heady mix of books shared, people met friendships built and a quest to always the new,  after all that is the thing that keeps life most interesting.  It is perhaps only in the last few months that I feel like a confident writer not just the confident blogger which I started to feel last year, of which I feel there is a difference.  So keep it up people, you are not alone in your struggles or worries but you are part of an awesome group of people and also, I might add the best looking.

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65 Comments

Posted by on 23/04/2015 in Blogging

 

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65 responses to “Blog Retrospective

  1. Jill Weatherholt

    23/04/2015 at 14:56

    Right back at you, Ste J! Thanks for the motivating post.

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    • Ste J

      23/04/2015 at 20:40

      I often see so many bloggers fall by the wayside and it is sad when they have talent, they just need to stick with us and we’ll keep them encouraged.

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      • Jill Weatherholt

        24/04/2015 at 00:05

        I’ve lost a lot of blogging pals over the past couple of years. Some I keep in touch with via e-mail, so that’s cool.

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        • Ste J

          24/04/2015 at 10:18

          It is good when that happens, blogging may be temporary for some but the friendships last longer.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  2. shadowoperator

    23/04/2015 at 15:12

    You know, one of the main things that has changed since I started (I was a relative latecomer, in July of 2012) is that a lot of the people I followed are no longer blogging. I don’t know whether they all ran out of time, or enthusiasm, or both, or what happened, but it’s a bit discouraging. I don’t post as often as I started out doing, but after a few stops and starts I’m at least still holding on. And then there was the guy who used to post several times a week, stopped for about a year, and now is posting again, about once every two weeks. But he’s an exception. Do us all a favor and keep posting, Ste J! Don’t get discouraged as I have an occasional habit of doing!

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    • Ste J

      23/04/2015 at 20:46

      I will keep going, the odd time I think about giving it all up but those times are rare and you guys always talk me down from that. 2012 was the year I restarted my blog and I know a lot of people that still blog from that time…in fact of the core people who have followed me for years, only one has been lost to me and several are on long hiatuses. it is extremely sad when we lose our blog friends but there are so many new people out there just waiting, the potential is massive.

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  3. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    23/04/2015 at 18:13

    I can fully relate to the feelings…

    Really there is much difference between being a confident blogger and a confident writer….I think I’m yet to achieve the second one… 🙂

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    • Ste J

      23/04/2015 at 20:42

      I think there is also a lot difference being writing well and believing you write well. Only when you know will it be true but for what it is worth, I like your writings, they’re very varied and always make me think.

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  4. Sheila

    23/04/2015 at 21:24

    The friendships are the best part. They do make it all worthwhile, but sometimes it’s too tempting to fall by the wayside. I’ll have to start posting with a pint in hand. That makes it sound more fun. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      23/04/2015 at 21:28

      A pint or two always lubricates the thought muscles, it i incredible how many posts I have come up with when a nice beverage is at hand. I think now were I to stop, I would feel like I was letting people down, not that I want to stop of course but it is interesting to see how doing so would not affect only myself.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sheila

        23/04/2015 at 23:57

        Here’s to not stopping (and yes, I’m toasting you with a pint now)!

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  5. gargoylebruce

    23/04/2015 at 21:56

    You said it buddy. Especially the “good-looking” part.

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    • Ste J

      24/04/2015 at 10:16

      Rule one flatter your blog pals thus guaranteeing future visits!

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  6. clarepooley33

    23/04/2015 at 23:56

    Very motivational, Ste J! I am very new to blogging (only a year) and still have great difficulties, mainly with the technicalities. Also, I would post more often if I had the time!

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    • Ste J

      24/04/2015 at 10:23

      Ah, time that is the thing most in short supply these days for all of us it seems. I tend not to be too technical either,I played around with the widgets to start off with and then just left it to continue writing. I think the best advice for anybody no matter how long they have been blogging is keep faith in what you are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Claire 'Word by Word'

    24/04/2015 at 05:48

    Great post, hanging in there, for me, I choose to write just about books, as I usually read at least one a week, so when I get too busy to read like now, its not good for the blog, but I never feel like I want to give it up, that would be for me like saying I want to give up the act of relaxation – never!

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    • Ste J

      24/04/2015 at 10:36

      Those times when time is scarce are the worst, I hate that drought of posts that signals a decline in the stats, which aren’t that important any more but do help me feel loved. If you do give up relaxing, I will take it off your hands!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Lyn

    24/04/2015 at 07:52

    I haven’t posted anything since 19th March. I just haven’t had the energy and my pain levels have been particularly high. I’m still reading and commenting on favourite blogs, but my own has sadly been lacking. I usually do 3-4 flash fiction pieces a week, but nothing has motivated me. Oh it’s not the prompt’s fault, I’m just wanting the prompt to suit me rather than me use my imagination to create something. Maybe next week 🙂

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    • Ste J

      24/04/2015 at 10:31

      Being inspired can be a challenge sometimes but have no fear, you will get all your regulars (and new people!) back. I find it harder to visit others when I am not writing so kudos to you for keeping involved and hopefully something will inspire you soon. I hope your pain recedes soon and you will be back with us.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. writersideup

    24/04/2015 at 15:50

    Ste J, there are certain blogs and bloggers I would miss, and yours is one of them. For me, what draws me to want to follow someone regularly are two things: the person and the content. Each blogger has a voice that is true to themselves (we hope)–the type of person they are, the subject matter deemed worthy and how that matter is put out there for the world. Some people have a way with words while others don’t.

    Personally, I love variety and the posts I enjoy most (other than valuable ones on writing craft or the goings-on in the kidlit world), are the ones that share life. Whether it’s moments in time which do or don’t provoke thought, or wonderfully intellectual and/or philosophical subjects. Of course, those are the ones that also give the internet its addictive nature. At least that’s what it is for me—the never-ending stream of information. As you know, I’m struggling with where to pare down so I can have a life here AND actually write my work other than my occasional blogs and commenting on others’.

    I love the variety you put out and how you put it out there, but especially the ones that aren’t book reviews. But that may be just me, I think 🙂

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    • Ste J

      25/04/2015 at 07:46

      I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way – which now seems obvious – how a subject is presented is key, everything can be interesting if explained in a certain way that catches an audience’s attention. I would miss blogging were I to give it up, which I’m not thinking of doing by the way.

      I am glad I could give you some variety after three book reviews and I am glad that my jaunts into other things keep you coming back, as you say variety is fun and to get people thinking and in turn to think is a wonderful gift. I will try and step up my non-bookish thoughts and perhaps it is time I reviewed a few more kidlit books as well. In fact there is one that I think may be fairly obscure these days by a famous author which I am hoping to bump up the list…

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      • writersideup

        25/04/2015 at 19:14

        Ah, Ste J, don’t bump up kidlit unless you think people are interested. I may be the only kidlit person who follows you! As I said, for me your blog is not about the kidlit ’cause I get that in most blogs I follow since kidlit is centric for me. Heck, I follow Paul at alfredsalmanac religiously, and his has nothing to do with kidlit. I love his blog and never want to miss a post!

        I tend to not read much about adult literature ’cause I don’t have the time, though there are books you put up that interest me. Again—I’m not your typical “demographic” I think! And in all this talk on my blog and yours (between you and I) about the success of blogging, you made me stop to look at my stats (which I barely understand) and saw the few blogs for which I got a good amount of activity and comments. I think that’s what can help us determine content—to a degree. I know I’m still wanting to post about what I want to post about to fill my blog pages with the content I intended to instead of events and things of that nature and will hopefully get there. THEN I hope people will find them interesting.

        To me, still—so much of it is about the person blogging, their voice and their general personality and attitudes that keeps me coming back, then it’s about the content of the post that will either hold my interest and make me comment. Try not to get too caught up in the stats and blog about what you enjoy. Of course, as a book reviewer (which I am most certainly not), the books you’re expected to review dictate a lot of your reading and blog content. If it becomes a burden, it’s not good 🙂 It all comes down to WHY you blog.

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        • Ste J

          26/04/2015 at 08:28

          I do think there are genres that seem to get less love from me these days and it is always nice to be reminded of that, especially if they are stories adults enjoy as well as kids, plus I like to think I am in the business of keeping bookshops alive by recommending gift ideas as well, so it all works out.

          I have never really stopped to consider what people want, I just talk about about whatever comes into my head and hands (where a book is involved) and I find people come back. Like you I have the same people come back but I like that it means I’m doing something right for them and at the end of the day, love what you write about and people will appreciate it for your passion even if they are not particularly into what you write about. I think a lot of readers here come to read my thoughts but don’t necessarily wish to pick up the book. Starting writing what you want now, no time like the present, it also takes time to build up a following, I was lucky I started around the same time as six or seven of my regulars and we all sort of got into it together but it will happen.

          It can be annoying sometimes to feel restricted into a certain type of post but then I realise that the only person restricting is me, yes I have to write about books as that is in the name of my blog and just what I do but mixing it up is well worth it, my voice again has become better over time but that is because of the blogging community and their influence, maybe a couple of years ago you would have bypassed me altogether! Blog stats are addictive at times but we all want to feel loved, I remember the day I finally got 20 views in a day, I was so happy, I suppose there is no why to me about blogging anymore, it is habit and a huge part of my social life…it makes me happy that is the why!

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  10. Jeff

    24/04/2015 at 16:10

    Another thing that happens with blogs is that they can gradually drift in what they’re about. Nothing wrong about that. All part of discovering what gets you going. My trouble is with reviewing the books I’ve read. Maybe it’s perfectly OK to write more generally about book subjects and bring in the things you’ve read instead? You’re good with general subjects – are you tempted to do this?

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    • Ste J

      25/04/2015 at 07:35

      I think it’s a logical step, for me only talking of the book you just read only goes so far especially when there are many people who follow me who aren’t avid readers. Mixing it up with a bit of poetry, talking around books and then just general musings was partly to facilitate my growing enjoyment of writers and partly to mix up my posts and give some variety out there.

      Some people only choose to blog about one thing and I like those specialist blogs because I know what I’m getting, the reverse is also fun, to watch people experiment with different ideas that give me different ideas.

      Like

       
  11. The Book Haven

    25/04/2015 at 02:05

    2011 was the year I started my blog and since then I have thought of giving up blogging countless times. It takes too much time, doesn’t fit in my schedule, feeling too lazy bla bla bla. Sometimes I can’t manage to post regularly, but there is sometime about blogging, my blogger friends, and wordpress that doesn’t let me give up.

    Great post Ste J

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    • Ste J

      25/04/2015 at 07:27

      Coming back after a long period of time is testing, to write a post and catch up with everybody feels like such a challenge but I am always grateful I did, the people here gave me opportunities to do and think things I hadn’t before so how can we give that up. I think I spend more time with my friends here than I do in offline life.

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  12. Jilanne Hoffmann

    25/04/2015 at 07:05

    Many start with enthusiasm and then run out of gas. Writing regularly isn’t easy unless you’re addicted to it. And even then, it can be trying when life gets in the way. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just keep writing. Cheers!

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    • Ste J

      25/04/2015 at 07:24

      Being a picky fellow I don’t feel I can post unless I find what I am writing to be of a certain standard which is why I do disappear for a week or so sometimes. I would hate to think I wasn’t giving you guys quality but I do tend to write outside of blogging in those cases and normally it is the seed of something so it is still a good thing to do, to practise is to get better after all.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  13. LuAnn

    25/04/2015 at 16:13

    You have given me much to reflect upon. I feel I have been stagnating for some time, and it hasn’t helped that some health issues also got in the way. We are taking to the roads again late next week and I am planning to get back in form, and hopefully stay there. 😉

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    • Ste J

      26/04/2015 at 08:34

      Stagnating my friend, how so? Getting back on the road will blow the cobwebs away and inspire you to more magical musings. Creatively we need those troughs to get up to the peaks again so I like to think any time I’m not doing anything on the blog it’s because I am due something good.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  14. Aquileana

    26/04/2015 at 12:17

    Beautiful retrospective dear Ste… The way you tell readers how you evolved as a blogger in order to even become a confident writer is inspiring… Maybe I might become one as well!.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Blogger Writer friend! Aquileana ⭐

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      26/04/2015 at 18:43

      You should be a confident writer my friend, you write really well and always bring up fascinating points, which is why you are so immensely popular, how you get around everybody’s blog I’ll never know.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  15. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

    26/04/2015 at 16:55

    well said Ste J…certainly there are books I would have never read if I hadn’t become your blog friend..you challenge me all the time…look at me I’m trying to read Flatland and I’m taking a second, more in depth, look at Dickens, the man. wunderbar 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      26/04/2015 at 18:41

      Challenging oneself is great. I like to do it all the time, we can read anything if we put our minds to it (and it isn’t a specialist book when we first tackle whatever the subject it is). I am excited to introduce you to more books in the near future.

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  16. Sherri

    29/04/2015 at 17:13

    And here I am my friend, rushing through the door, late for the party as per…but you’ve still got those two bottles of wine chilling I hope? Oh I am right with you, what a wonderfully encouraging post. It’s sad when bloggers disappear or get fed up. I was worried as I started reading this that you were going to announce your retirement and phew, I am mighty glad that is not the case. I was thinking just the other day that there are certain bloggers I would miss so much if they went away, and you are one of those. I struggle so much with the balance of getting my book written and keeping up with blogging, and then something comes along like recently (my brother was taken ill but recovering thank goodness, and thank you again for your lovely message) that throws me right off track. And I think, oh do I really need to keep up with blogging. But then I read a post like this and I realise how important it is. I am so glad that blogging has helped you feel more confident as a writer – and you are an excellent writer, might I add – and I can certainly relate to that. You keep doing what you are doing, you have your style and your voice and we know what we are going to get when we visit you – honest, authentic and no nonsense. And that is so very refreshing. Right, I’ll shut up now. Time for that drink, what say you?

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    • Ste J

      02/05/2015 at 19:59

      You are not late, we have been waiting in a non accusing way for you to join us before we really start partying, I always keep wine handy and never drink it, as it is like drinking vinegar methinks! Have no fear I won’t be going anywhere, minus the odd short disappearance when dull things get in the way, it does make you think how tenuous blogging can be as we know each other but can’t hop on a plane to see if somebody is alright at the drop of a hat but it is great to be part of a warm group of awesome people. It is a challenge to balance life around blogging but it is well worth it, even if sometimes it feels a bit tough to have the right enthusiasm. I must say though that normally changes when I get logged on. We all make each other better writers so my writing is real a mirror of everybody else’s and that pleases me and also makes me think to not blog would be for me to stagnate as a writer and then I’d never get around to cracking on with these mythical books I have in mind.

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      • writersideup

        02/05/2015 at 20:23

        I have to tell you guys…for about a week now I’ve been completely unable to check out the many blogs I follow : / Between doctors, tests and an upcoming conference to prep for (and a bunch of other stuff thrown in), it’s all been forced to the back burner. Though there’s this nagging “it’s all building into a mountain!” thing going on, it’s been very freeing, too. It’s helping me gradually work my way into a mind set that will hopefully enable me to keep paring down who and how I follow. So that’s a good thing 🙂

        Just letting you know this, too, in case you notice I’m not around. Once I begin creating my new dummy book for the conference, it’s a very big project that needs lots of focus, so God only knows where blogs will fit in! Meanwhile, stay well 🙂

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        • Ste J

          02/05/2015 at 20:27

          Taking time off either voluntary or just because you can’t find any time is sometimes a good thing, it puts things into perspective. It’ll all fall into place for you soon I am sure. However much time you need, know that you will still have your support base here and good luck with your epic project.

          Like

           
          • writersideup

            02/05/2015 at 20:28

            Thank you, Ste J 🙂 Since I have to design a bunch of characters (also still trying to develop a “distinctive” style), it’s a good amount of work. Hopefully someone will like it 😀

            Like

             
  17. RoSy

    04/05/2015 at 17:33

    Chuggin’ along as I can & just being me. That’s all I know to do & be. 😉
    Nice running into you here on the WP & happy that I have.
    You definitely keep me on my toes.
    And – of course – I love when you get a chance to visit my humble WP home.
    Cheers to blogging & keepin’ on!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      04/05/2015 at 19:44

      I always attempt to get around everybody’s blog twice a week although sometimes that becomes a distant dream but never mind I will keep pootling along and visiting and enjoying my daily jaunts in far off lands and close to home and try to keep up the standard of writing that I see. I am always happy we have met on here and one day perhaps we shall have big blog meet up with cake!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • writersideup

        04/05/2015 at 19:46

        I just love Brit words/sayings. Thanks for “pootling along” 😀

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        • Ste J

          04/05/2015 at 19:52

          I continue to have wonderment in my own language when considering phrases I have always said and taken for granted. I like teaching you new words and phrases. If there are rain clouds on the horizon it is customary to say ‘it’s black over Bill’s mothers’, I often wonder who Bill is and why his mum seems to move house so much!

          Like

           
      • RoSy

        05/05/2015 at 04:34

        Mmmmm… Cake!

        Like

         
  18. Geethu_lollita

    05/05/2015 at 07:01

    Even I have got a serious writer’s block.. And yeah Well said about the *good-looking part* (:

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      06/05/2015 at 19:36

      I am not above flattery to keep my readers coming back haha. Writer’s block is a terrible thing, thank goodness for easy photo posts to get us through haha.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  19. angela

    11/05/2015 at 03:02

    So true and timely as I thought about not writing anymore. The motivation is just not as it used to be – I’ve been blogging for over a decade in various venues. Followings were a bonus, for me it was more creative expression. Very glad you have found your voice – write on, my friend!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      11/05/2015 at 08:19

      A decade is very impressive, perhaps instead of writing more, the time is now to collect some pieces for a book and pursue that angle until the love comes back.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • angela

        01/06/2015 at 05:01

        Very sorry for just seeing this… I shall stop by this week to see what words you have been stirring….

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        • Ste J

          01/06/2015 at 18:23

          You are always welcome, take your time though as life has a habit of getting in the way and I will be here for the long run.

          Like

           
          • writersideup

            01/06/2015 at 18:43

            This is a comforting thought, Ste, especially since my absence is so prolonged! The conference is in less than 2 weeks and I’ve been on a virtually constant ride with many doctors and tests. I now know I’m facing surgery which can’t happen prior to the conference, but hopefully just after. I hope you’re well, my dear 😀

            Like

             
            • Ste J

              01/06/2015 at 18:56

              Well you take it steady and focus on the conference first and I hope all goes well for you. I am alright, which is excellent for a Monday hehe.

              Like

               
  20. anna amundsen

    18/06/2015 at 07:25

    I struggle with perseverance on a daily basis..
    I think in notes, so to say. They are my way of expressing anything, and it’s always time-consuming to pack them into the text. That’s what’s putting me off of keeping the blog alive.. Six posts in five months – pretty poor.
    But, hey, at least I’m persevering in trying to persevere!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/06/2015 at 20:34

      It took me two hours to write my latest post, which is saying something as I had plenty of notes but that seems the way of it with books. Maybe you could experiment with some bullet point posts, sometimes less is more. You may be low on the post numbers but you always post thought provoking and excellently written post and that is the main thing, I’m patient as well and keep checking back to see if you’ve written anything.

      Like

       
      • anna amundsen

        25/06/2015 at 19:21

        Bullet points were in my thoughts as well. I will have to rely on them, at least occasionally, if I want to keep this thing running..
        Thank you for your kind words and support, but unfortunately, I feel differently. I see them, the posts, being pretty poor.. It’s not a lament just a simple statement. I cannot change anything any time soon and that’s the way it is, for now (here, ‘now’ stands for couple of years!)
        You’re always welcome, of course. I like patient people!

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          25/06/2015 at 20:13

          I know what it is to look at posts and be displeased with them and just going ahead and posting anyway but at the same time your readers will always find something good in them. You keep writing when you can and I will be around to read them and i know that I will enjoy them, FACT!

          Like

           

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