Surely This Means Cake?

September 29, 2009 at 7:50 am (Uncategorized)

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.



  1. kate4samh said,

    Yay!! And WOW!! That is amazing and fantastic and definitely something to be celebrated!!

  2. litlove said,

    Happy Birthday Di! It’s us who should be thanking you! I wouldn’t be without your blog for the world now. Here’s to many more happy years blogging. 🙂

  3. Charlotte said,

    Very cool, missy. happy blogbirthday.

  4. piereth said,

    It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be along for the journey. Keep writing, lady – your sane utterances make the day brighter, here on the other side of the world! xxx

  5. Pete said,

    Happy blog-birthday,Di! Your blog is one of my favourites for all the reasons you mentioned. And I think you’re also the coolest okay-cakey-crust-working wordsmith I almost know in Sydney. Now there’s a tongue-twister. Enjoy the cake.

  6. charlotteotter said,

    It definitely calls for cake. Have one! Happy blog birthday.

    I was so glad the day you found me, or vice versa. It’s only been a year, but it’s been good. I love your posts and read every one with gladness, and of course, feel as if we are in it together, wordsmiths and aspiring novelists as we are.

  7. Lilian Nattel said,

    Happy Anniversary! Blog stats are interesting, but also idiosyncratic. I’m often surprised about what posts get the most views. I can’t predict it.

  8. Grad said,

    Seems I re-surfaced just in time to wish you Happy Anniversary! I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. Work takes me away from my blog pals, and then I catch my breath. When I do, your spot is first on my list – I know I’ll come away with something to think about (and a lot of times, laugh about).

  9. doctordi said,

    SEE???!!! See what I mean? You guys are the best. Thanks for all the lovely blog birthday wishes… now I had better get back to work!

  10. Fugitive Pieces said,

    Aaargh! Is there a party on the planet that I haven’t been late to? Is there any cake left?
    Congratulations, most especially on your persistence; I am right at the very beginning of the journey you’ve taken, but thank you so, so much for lighting the way.

  11. doctordi said,

    There’s always cake in the box for you, Fugitive, never fear! And that’s only fashionably late, I’m sure. Does this mean you’re starting a blog, or a book?? Do tell!

  12. Fugitive Pieces said,

    My entire diet appears to be leftover cake, chased with coffee. Occasionally champagne. And my fridge is full of wilting vegetables. Scurvy can’t be far off.
    I don’t think blogging is for me (much thought has been given to it, but I can’t persuade myself). I am writing, though. Sometimes several paragraphs at once. How’s the re-draft going, or are you buried in freelance work?

  13. doctordi said,

    Champagne’s still made with grapes, right? And coffee’s made from beans. And cake… well, I just *know* it’s good for you.

    That’s great that you’re writing – and I’m surprised you don’t think blogging is for you, you’re kind of a natural in the blog response department. Still, it does require a great deal of ongoing persuasion/persistence/denial/mania to keep one up and running, and at the moment you’ve got a pretty good global empire as everyone’s favourite blogless blog friend! Anyway, it’s very exciting that there’s writing afoot. At the moment I am buried in freelance work. There is no redrafting going on, but since Llew’s finally started reading it and has already told me he’s been confused a couple of times, let’s just say I’m not packing up the drawing board.

  14. davidrochester said,

    Happy Bloggiversary! I hope it is merely one in a long string of happy blogging years.

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