DoctorDi turns 3 today – unbelievable but true. During the past three years I have written a total of 582 posts. There have been 1,669 comments, which is not bad considering I talked to myself for the vast majority of the first 18 months. Things have markedly improved on that front ever since you guys who talk back came along. You’re the single best case for perseverance I know. Imagine if I’d given up after a year of dead silence. I wouldn’t have “met” any of you – truly a dread thought. Oh, that’s such a horrible idea! Blogging friends have brought and continue to bring more to my writing life than I ever thought possible – between Llew, you guys, and the Darklings, I feel like the luckiest grafter in the world.
You know, statistically my busiest day at DoctorDi remains Day One, 29 September 2006. I sent an email out to everyone in my Yahoo address book, and 157 views were recorded that day for my very first post, Nail Sports. I came close a couple of weeks ago to toppling that record, but I just missed out. It bugs me that I can’t do better than that first day, but as Llew says to me every time I gripe about it, “You sent one email. That’s the extent of your promotional campaign. I don’t want to hear it. It’s a miracle anyone knows it’s there.”
Yeah, well, I guess he’s right. And you, the readers of this insignificant little blog by this insignificant little speck – among you virtual friends I cannot see and may never meet in person – you are my miracle.
So let’s take a short trip down memory lane, shall we? 2006… 2006….I received my doctorate in May of that year, but the beginnings of my manuscript were still three months away. I was coming to the end of an in-house freelance stint at Who magazine, sister publication to People; the editor at the time gave me my first break. There was a full-time job going, but I baulked, and she wisely gave it to someone else. It was the best thing all round. I discovered I don’t have the right personality for ambulance chasing, and when there was still money in the budget for it, I became one of their book reviewers instead – a much, much better fit than the red carpet reporting that was a large part of the permanent job description. I learned a lot about myself in those four months, and when one of the senior editors called me a little while later asking me to do a story that gave me that same tight-chested, anxious feeling, I took the opportunity to politely explain that I really wasn’t cut out for that kind of work, I just wasn’t the best person for the job, but thank you so much for thinking of me. The relief – the flood of blessed relief, the lightness about my shoulders – was extreme. And now I know. Three years later I have a large portfolio of published work that constantly reassures and reminds me that I have to trust my gut at all times. If the thought of doing a particular freelance job makes me feel sick and upset, nothing will make me take it. Nothing is worth the price of my peace of mind.
Three years on from my earliest forays into the editorial side of print media, I now know that I’m what I call a soft writer. I am happiest – and therefore at my best – writing travel stories, arts features, reviews, special reports… soft news. Fun stuff. Nobody dies. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody’s reputation is mud. And that suits me just fine. Some journalists have a serious hunger for the scoop, or the celebrity’s secrets, or the politician’s head on a plate, but I just don’t have it. I’m only hungry for food. Specifically, cake. DoctorDi birthday cake. I don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy or ruin anyone’s day. Nah, come on, let’s all just relax and eat cake.
Three years on, I scratch out an okay cakey type crust as a working wordsmith, a grafter. I keep working on my manuscript because that is what I do, and what I shall continue doing. It is my trade. My course is set. I know its limits, and it surely knows mine, but still we’re pretty okay with each other most of the time. Disappointments are part of life – and I wouldn’t be without mine. But the successes, oh, they’ve been so many, those lovely milestones and twists of fate along the way that mean wonderful things happen and unexpected characters arrive. What a wild ride it’s been since DoctorDi began – the adventures of Lady Alzheimer, roamin’ with Romans, the cool cats of Tokyo, Llew’s kitchen exploits, Varuna, the Darklings, fertility, politics, running, swimming with dolphins, the shortlist placing, the agent’s rejection phone call, the beginnings of MS #2, the evolution of MS #1, Volunteer Reader’s report, the failed short stories, the many books, the dead bird, the red dawn, the wine, the food, the laughs… Boy, we’ve had some laughs. Thanks a million.