Blueprint for moving from writing to creating a blog.

By David Joel Miller.

What steps will take you from planning to hitting post?

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

So far, I’ve been talking about long-range planning for your blog.

What your primary topic will be, what will be your voice or personality, how are you going to go about attracting readers to what you have written?

So where do I suggest you go from here?

Spend some time reading blogs.

Read lots of them, on your topic and on others. Look at what other people are writing about and how they’re presenting the material. Make some notes about blogs you especially enjoy. What draws you to those blogs?

At this point, you are immersing yourself in the blogosphere. Some blogs are heavy on illustrations. If you’re an artist, talking about your artwork, you’ll need to feature images or examples. Do you gravitate towards blogs that include video clips? You will need to decide whether you’re going to create those videos or provide links to existing videos. This is an excellent place to pay attention to copyrights, yours and other people’s.

With your blog use images?

If you’re an artist, you want to be sure to include notices that the work is copyrighted. There are lots of tricks you can use. While you can’t copyright an idea, you can copyright the finished product. Some artists show only a portion of their work or pictures of them in their studio creating. Writers often give away snippets of the story or book. If you plan to use video or images, make sure you abide by the creator’s copyright.

There are several sites where you can obtain images available under a Creative Commons License, free for anyone to use or share. What you don’t want to do is just steal images off the Internet. The last thing a new blogger wants is a lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit for copyright infringement. When in doubt read the fine print or contact the person who posted the original and ask them for permission.

You can, of course, create your own photographs or videos. If you decide to do that you have to ask yourself why? If your original plan was writing, detouring into photography and video production can sabotage your writing plans. But then maybe you’ll discover what you really want to do is express yourself visually rather than through words.

Start producing content.

If you plan on your blog lasting more than that first few weeks, it’s a good idea to have some content in reserve. In the middle of your blogging project life happens. You don’t want your blog to go dark, with no new content for periods of time. We haven’t gotten to the mechanics yet, but I will share one thing I learned the hard way.

One year I tried to post every single day. There were many nights I was up late getting that post done, and this was at a time when I had a full-time job as a therapist and a part-time job teaching classes to beginning counseling students. The result was that a lot of posts were published with typos and spelling errors I wish I had caught. I have significantly reduced the errors by writing ahead of time, letting the posts set for a while, and then proofreading it a second time before posting. I’ve also taken the pressure off myself by scheduling posts to appear in the future. It is currently the beginning of August, and I already have at least one post per week scheduled to run on counselorssoapbox.com until the end of the year.

Think about how often and how much you will post.

Learn from my experiences. You’re probably better off to plan on posting once a week then to plan on writing every day and ending up without posts ready. As I write extra posts, I save them for later use or schedule them for future dates. Don’t turn the pleasure of blogging into avoidable pressure.

With all this planning done, your next step will be the mechanics of setting up your blog site.

We will start talking about the mechanical parts in the next post. Think about the mechanics of a blog as similar to starting your own business. If you need a vehicle for business, do you need a nice car to transport clients or a van to carry materials and equipment? Having created some content will help you plan the layout and functionality of your blog.

I hope you are finding some of this helpful and I am looking forward to talking to you again.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Sasquatch.

Wandering through a hole in time they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time but the Sasquatch wants to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Your blog needs a personality.

By David Joel Miller.

What will be your blog’s voice or personality?

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Writers spend a lot of time trying to develop their “voice.” That may or may not be the same thing as your own voice. Some lessons I learned in writing and publishing my first two books taught me that lesson. In the early stages of writing the books, I ask friends and colleagues to read the books. As an aside here, in the future, I think I will ask strangers to be the first readers and work with an editor next.

So, what did I learn about voice from the first readers of my books?

People who read my nonfiction book told me that it “sounds just like you.” My voice came through in the writing. I’ve done a lot of teaching and running groups and developed an individual style for public speaking. That’s not what happened when I had people read my first novel. Not only did they tell me that my protagonist did not sound like me, but they said the hero had a distinctive personality. One beta reader even told me that something they liked about the book was that each of the main characters sounded differently. I had succeeded, at least in a small way, in giving different characters different voices.

So, what does that have to do with creating a voice for your blog? One thing you will need to decide, plan on, is what will be the voice of your blog be like. It could sound like you, but it could also be a very distinct personality. But that I don’t mean that you should be phony, just think about the style in which the posts will be written.

If you are knowledgeable about a subject, you could write like a professor.

My blog does reflect my personality. At the college, they call me “Professor Miller.” The central theme of my life has been learning new things and teaching others. Writing with a “Professor” voice doesn’t mean lots of large words and long sentences littered with citations. I tend to believe the best teachers take a complicated subject and explain it in a simpler way.

If you decide to write in a “Professor” voice, you need to either be an authority on the subject or be willing to do a lot of research. While I’m licensed as a therapist and counselor, I still read a lot of research trying to learn new things and trying to be sure that I’m explaining things correctly. That’s what a professor does.

Your blog could have a “persuader” voice.

If there is a topic you feel strongly about you may try to convince others to agree with your point of view. That doesn’t mean you should use sleazy tactics or try to get over on anyone. Good persuaders provide people with information but also explain things in ways that overcome objections.

If you feel strongly about global warming, or pollution, or animal overpopulation, you could easily write a blog about any of those topics. The professor would be describing the science behind pollution and possible technologies to minimize its impact. The persuader would be trying to convince people to do something about that pollution, reduce usage, recycle, maybe even buy an electric, nonpolluting vehicle. You can write about any topic, but the voice you choose can result in a unique presentation.

Your blogs personality might be the “entertainer.”

Some blogs teach some persuade, while others primarily entertain. The entertainer can teach or persuade, but they do it differently. The entertainer blog, rather than presenting hard facts or emotional reasons, will get there point across by telling stories that are enjoyable to listen to. Fiction frequently contains a theme or moral, illustrated by an interesting tale. Entertainer personalities are more likely to use humor or detailed descriptions of people and places than either the professor or the persuader personality.

There are many other voices you could explore for your blog.

There is a branch of Psychology called positive psychology. One premise of this branch of psychology is that there has been too much emphasis on what’s wrong with people and not enough emphasis on the positive. It’s possible to create a blog which emphasizes one of those positive characteristics such as creativity, vitality, zest for living, kindness, gratitude, or spirituality. Deciding on your blogs voice or voices can make it much easier to write your posts.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The first step to a successful blog.

By David Joel Miller.

Don’t make the blog mistakes I did.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you want your blog to be successful, there are some things you need to do before you publish your very first post. Spend some time planning. If you read a lot of blogs, you may know more than I did when I first started. Not knowing anything I leaped directly into the deep end and spent the first-year learning about the process. I’m not suggesting you fall into planning paralysis. There are some things you will only learn from doing. But as you think of your blog a little advanced planning can save you a lot of headaches later. What do you need to plan? Two things, content, and process.

Planning your blog’s content.

I think more beginning blogs fail due to faulty content plans than anything else. The mechanics you can learn as you go, though watching some tutorials and other blog posts, can save you a lot of time over trial and error experimentation. More about that later.

The first thing you need to think about is what is your blog going to be about?

A blog is not social media.

I’ve seen some blogger started out writing about themselves and what they do. So, there’s a post about the hamburger that had for lunch and how they took a walk around the block, and they’re going to the park, with their kids on Saturday. The only person who might read this would be your mother or a jealous ex-boyfriend. Most people won’t care what you’re doing unless you are already a phenomenal celebrity.

Can’t you write a blog about food?

Sure, you can. Don’t write that you ate a hamburger or show me a picture of the ice cream you had. Write a post about the Ethiopian restaurant you went to and how their food was different from what you’re used to eating. Write about the new Pakistani restaurant or the Indonesian one. Write about foods I’ve never experienced and restaurants I didn’t know existed, and I might be interested, particularly if I’m a foodie. Show me ways to eat healthily, save money on food, and that might interest me. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about providing the reader content they would like to read.

Can’t you write about the places you go?

Writing about your walk around the block is probably going to be boring unless you live in a very unusual neighborhood. Writing about your travel experiences, your week exploring London and the week spent in Moscow, that might interest people. I’m not saying a blog about walking around the block is impossible. I’m saying the blog shouldn’t be about your routine of life. Writing about some of your observations, philosophizing about how your neighborhood reflects society today could be interesting. But it’s going to be a challenge.

It is your viewpoint that matters.

Almost everybody has children and parents or know someone who does. You need to ask yourself what makes your relationships different, what have you learned you can share with others. If your family is unusual, a blog about Raising Five Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane comes to mind, people may be interested. If you write about your struggles with raising a newborn, new parents might be interested.

If you or someone in your family is or has struggled with a challenge, you can write a blog about what you’re going through, the lessons you learned, and how you managed that issue. An excellent example of this approach is OCDtalk.

Could you write about your garden?

I think after one post, I would get tired of reading about, today I planted seeds, tomorrow I’m going to pull weeds. Tell me about ways to control insects organically, or a new variety of plant that you’re trying, and I might be interested if I was a gardener.

Planning your topic will help you avoid running out of things to write about.

The Internet is littered with dead blogs. They may have started out with massive content. I remember one blog that had huge posts filled with multiple illustrations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what the blog was about. After a few posts, the author disappeared. If they had a clearer idea what they were writing about and written smaller posts over time, they might have developed a following.

The blog planning conclusion?

If you’re going to jump into the blogging ocean, spend some time thinking about where you’re going. Read a lot of blogs. Develop a list of posts you’d like to write. Practice your writing so that when you do lunch your blog, the whole process won’t be overwhelming. I hope what I’ve written here doesn’t deter you. I’m just telling you a little planning in the early stages will make the entire journey a lot more enjoyable and productive.

In addition to a topic for you to write about you’ll need to refine your personality and voice. Let’s look at that in next week’s post.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Should you write a blog?

By David Joel Miller.

There are some reasons to write a blog and some reasons not to write one.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you look around the Internet these days, you’ll find a lot of articles telling you that you should be writing a blog. I think every new, aspiring writer will be told they need a platform. Now platform does not automatically equal blog. But most of the articles about platforms start off by telling you to just create a website, and they usually followed that up by telling you that your website should include a blog.

There are also a lot of classes and trainings you can take on how to create a blog and how to be successful at blogging. These trainings run the gamut from short and free to some tremendously elaborate and expensive trainings. I have been writing a blog since May 2011. If I had known then, what I know now, I might never have started my blog (counselorssoapbox.com.) On the other hand, you should note I have more than two “mental hands,” so I am frequently in a divided mind. By two hands I mean “on the one hand I think x, and on the other hand, I think Y, unless it is Sunday when I may not be thinking at all.”

Now that I’ve been writing the blog for seven years I’m glad I’ve had the experience. Let me tell you a little bit about how I learned about blogs, got started blogging, and some of the things I have learned as a result.

So, what’s a blog?

In 2005, I was sitting in class waiting for the instructor to start his lecture. I probably should mention that I have gone to college off and on since 1966. I’ve gone, drop out and returned several times. I’ve also changed majors so many times; I’ve lost count. Along the way, I finished an associate of science degree, a bachelor’s degree, and most recently a master’s degree. From my first day in college until I finally completed that master’s degree only took me 40 years. I say only half in jest that I have taken every class possible and the only way they would let me hang out on campus anymore is if I would teach a class.

So, in 2005 I am trying to finally finish that master’s degree that had eluded me for so long. That and I am trying to learn these new technologies and keep up with some students who are closer in age to my grandchild that to me. Several of the students in the class had mentioned blogs, so I finally asked one of them, “what precisely is a blog?”

The technical answer, so I am told, is that “blog” is a shortened expression for a “web log or weblog.” I suspect most of you youngsters out there know more about this than I do. The closest analogy I can come up with for those of the older persuasion is that a blog is a rough equivalent to what used to be called a newspaper column.

Most newspaper columns were topical. Some covered sports, some might be advice columns, and occasionally there was one that was a general-purpose column. Most blogs today are like that. Many have a specific topic, but the topic of some blogs are the life experiences of the blogger.

Counselorssoapbox.com launched in 2011.

After looking around the Internet a bit, I decided to write a blog. I had been working for a while as a drug and alcohol counselor and my last trip back to school had been for a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. In California children’s therapy is included as part of the family therapy training. After working both as a counselor in the substance abuse field and as a marriage and family therapist, I’d seen a lot of people recover from some serious mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. I developed a firm belief that people can recover from almost any life challenge. I won’t try to define recovery here.

One other consideration for my blog was how commonly I saw people who had both a mental illness and a substance use disorder. The official topic for the blog then became one counselor’s opinion about mental health, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and the broader subject of how to have a happy life.

So, do I think you should write a blog?

For some people, the answer is yes. If you have a topic you feel strongly about, something that you are enthusiastic and passionate about, then writing a blog offers you an opportunity to tell people how you feel about your subject, and to share what you know about that topic.

If you’ve read or heard somewhere that to be a successful author, you need to have a platform you probably should pause a minute before starting a blog. Writing a blog takes a lot of work. To create any significant readership, you will put in a lot of hours. If you are blogging only to build your platform, there are several other ways to build your platform that may be easier or more productive.

If you’re writing mainly to express yourself, blogging probably isn’t for you. If the main thing you talk about in your blog is yourself, people will get tired of reading it. If you’re writing from a place of problems you’re likely to either run out of what to say or become so discouraged you give up. Occasionally I see a blogger who writes about their struggles with a specific mental illness but does so in a very informative and entertaining way. They can develop a following.

If the primary thing you’re talking about is you, most people will get tired of listening. If you are going to write about yourself, you should do it for you and not be disappointed if you have little or no readership.

Every year many new blogs start, most never attract enough readers to matter. Don’t write a blog expecting lots of people to follow you. Occasionally that happens, but it’s rare. If you do start a blog, do it because you strongly care about the topic, and be prepared to go on writing those blog posts year after year until eventually, you accumulate enough readers that what you say might make a difference.

I started my blog because I wanted an opportunity to talk about some things that mattered to me. Along the way, I learned a lot of lessons which prepared me to do a much better job of writing full-length books. The challenge has become to balance the time I spend on the blog with the time I need to finish my books in progress.

In the next few posts let’s talk about the mechanics of setting up a blog and creating content for it. After we walk through the lessons I learned from blogging then we will take up the subject of writing, publishing and marketing a full-length book.

If you have questions about blogging or writing or suggestions for future posts, please contact me either by leaving a comment or by using the contact me form. I will try to get back to you as soon as I can. If it takes me a while to get back to you, it is probably because I’m currently working on actually doing the writing. Just know that as soon as an opportunity occurs, I’ll answer your question.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

You want to write but what should you write?

By David Joel Miller.

What direction should your writing go?

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There is a phenomenal amount of material on the Internet about writing. When I first started writing, I read a lot of that material. I still read about writing now, though I am more selective about what I read these days. Some useful content is available for free. Some of the most prominent writing material functions as a funnel, telling you that if you follow their methods, you will become a successful writer. Some of these classes run into thousands of dollars. I can’t tell you which classes work and which don’t. But I would suggest that before you spend a lot of money on trainings, you need to get clear on your goals for writing.

Becoming a best-selling author, making a lot of money, involves a lot of hard work and an enormous amount of luck. Like classes or camps on how to play basketball, you can learn a lot, improve your game, but no one can guarantee you will make it to the big leagues.

What are the reasons you should write?

Probably the best reason to write is to express yourself. If you have a story to tell or a point of view you would like to share, writing is an excellent way to express yourself. Writing can also be an excellent way to become clear about what you think and feel. Counselors often encourage their clients to write, commonly called journaling, as a way of clarifying their thoughts.

Personally, one of the things I enjoy most in life is learning new things and then passing on what I have learned. Both teaching and writing are excellent ways to pass on the things that matter to you. Some writers do become famous, some make a lot of money, but both of those things are rare. If you’re planning to write for fame or money, there are other paths to your goal that are more likely to take you where you want to go.

Here are some writing possibilities and why you might choose them.

Journaling.

Recording your thoughts in a journal can be very useful. Over time you can see how your life, your thinking, and your feelings change. Journals are rarely meant to be read by others, at least not in the short-term. Private diaries have turned out to be valuable source material for historians. The great thing about a journal is that since it’s not meant for others to read you can feel free to express anything. Some people keep journals in written notebooks. Increasing journals are being written on computers and saved to electronic media. Writing your journal on a computer has the added advantage of being easy to password protect. Keeping your writings private avoids criticism from others. If you are high in anxiety or only want to escape the trolls on social media, consider writing in a journal.

Leaving comments on blogs and book reviews.

Some people exercise their creativity by writing book reviews. Authors who sell their books on e-platforms such as Amazon appreciate reviews. Your review may help someone else decide whether to purchase that book.

Leaving a comment on someone else’s blog tells them people are reading what they write. Your comments are your chance to share your opinion and your personal experiences. Many people create screen names so that they can comment and still preserve the confidentiality.

Writing a blog.

Some people begin their writing journey by publishing a blog. Writing a blog is extremely different from posting on social media. Just because you write does not mean anyone will read your posts. Creating a blog will require learning some technical skills. If you grew up texting, you might have an advantage over those of us who had to learn all these new technologies. To develop a blog with regular readers can involve some hard work, but seeing people reading your posts and leaving comments can be quite rewarding. I began my writing journey by creating the counselorssoapbox.com blog. In future posts, I’ll talk more about all the lessons I learned from publishing that blog.

Writing a nonfiction book.

If you have knowledge in a specific area or are willing to do the research required, you may decide to write a nonfiction book. Getting your book published by an established publisher can be a long and challenging process. Many people today self-publish their books. Print on demand has made it possible to create your own paperback book even if you sell only a few copies. Publishing a book, either through a legacy publisher for self-publishing, does not mean the book will sell or that you will make any money.

The process of publishing and marketing your book involves a lot of steps long after you’ve finished writing. I discovered I needed to learn many skills to get my finished nonfiction book from a completed manuscript into the marketplace. E-books have significantly increased the books available. Many authors today choose to self-publish their books in electronic formats. My self-help book Bumps on the Road of Life is available in both paperback and electronic editions. Eventually, I would like to tell you the story of how that book was created and how I continue to work on it. Hopefully, my experiences will help you write the book you were meant to write.

Writing fiction, short stories, and novels.

There’s always a demand for a good story. Many writers enjoy creating a tale. Some people publish these for free, and others try to make some money from their writing. It’s quite possible to write fiction stories under a pen name. The process of creating a novel is significantly different from the process involved in creating a nonfiction book. In Nonfiction, you need a good knowledge of subject matter, and the ability to explain that information clearly. When writing fiction, you need to master the skills of creating interesting characters, a believable and intriguing plot with surprising twists, and a great many other storytelling skills. It’s not surprising to find that a successful novelist has written 10 or more practice novels before completing the story that was finally published.

Writing for pay.

Some people who have polished their skills at writing copy or editing, write for other people. You might ghostwrite a book for someone else, or you could write copy to sell a product. Some people also use their skills to help other writers by editing, professional reviewing, and proofreading.

Other forms of communication.

Communicating today has expanded far beyond written materials. Some people produce videos, and others produce screenplays to be made into movies or TV shows. While the resulting product can be visual or auditory and visual, there is often script the formed the basis for the finished product. Audio “books” are a fascinating innovation, while they are neither written nor tangible physical books they fill the same function.

I hope this has sparked your interest. If so, please leave a comment. In future posts, we will talk more about my experiences along my writing journey. I have learned a lot along the way, some of it from painful mistakes, and I continue to learn. Stay tuned for more of the story of my writing journey.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

From Wanting-to-Write to Published Author.

By David Joel Miller.

The journey from wanting to write to published author almost didn’t happen.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

While having lunch the other day with a couple of colleagues they had a lot of questions for me about how I got from where I started to where I am today. Our conversation got me to thinking about all the experiences I’ve had learning, first to blog, then to write some books, and finally to see two of those books published. It’s been a long journey and one that almost didn’t happen.

I can’t say I have all the answers at this point, but I have learned a lot along my journey. One thing I discovered is that one of the best ways to consolidate knowledge, so you don’t forget it, is to try to teach it to someone else. Starting with this post I wanted to share with whoever might be interested in some of the things that I have learned along this journey that almost never happened.

Doing something I didn’t think was possible.

For a good part of my life, I didn’t think that writing something worth reading was a possibility for me. As an elementary school child, I wrote a poem that ended up in the school newspaper, and for many years afterward I thought about writing, but given all my struggles in English class, I didn’t think it was a possibility, not for me anyway.

The consensus back then was that to be a successful writer you need to have great handwriting, be skilled at typing, and especially you need to be a fabulous speller. Writing something that others would read necessitated you to be perfect with your grammar, and able to insert punctuation with perfect precision. While I was passable at public speaking when it came to written language, I had none of those required skills.

Being left-handed I learned to write less than legibly. Several people suggested that I should have become a doctor. While I couldn’t spell standard English or any other language for that matter, I was highly creative. Within a single paragraph, I could find at least 3 to 4 different ways to spell the same word.

For the record being creative with your spelling is not something I invented. If you read some of the books written in colonial times, you will find that back then, spelling was far from fixed. King James is reported to have said: “I never trust anyone who only knows one way to spell a word.” While I can’t be sure that quote is accurate, up until about 1999 I followed the practice of writing as little as possible and then with total disregard for spelling and punctuation.

And then the world started changing.

I’ll spare you the detailed stories of walking to and from school, uphill, both ways, in the snow, though before 1960 I lived in the Midwest and I did walk to school in the snow. The world in this millennium is for me, like moving to a foreign country and having to learn a new culture. To give you some perspective, as a child I visited my grandparents. There was no running water. There was an outhouse out by the back fence, and the kitchen sink was built over the well. Each time you use the pump you had to save a glass of water to prime the pump for the next use. The whole town had one phone line and if too many people picked up when the phone rang, you couldn’t here anymore.

Then came the second millennium.

For most of America’s history, almost everyone worked in agriculture. Back then something like 5 percent of the US population lived in big cities. By the 1900’s people had started working in factories and retail stores. Only one of my four grandparents graduated from high school. Back then you didn’t need a diploma to get a job.

In the year 2000, more than half the country lived in big cities and to get even a low-paid job was likely to require more than a high school diploma. The pace of change began accelerating. By the year 2020, it’s probable that almost all jobs will require at least 2-year college degree.

The other massive change that occurred since 2000 is the rapid acceleration in technology. Like an immigrant to the new digital technology world who was learning a new language, I had to learn how to log on to the computer. Today I spend the bulk of my day online navigating programs, and I take journeys everywhere across the world-wide-web.

Some 21st-century writing and technology experiences.

About 2000 I learned to use the computer at work. Shortly after that, we got our first home computer connected to the Internet by a dial-up modem. Remember those days? In the 20 years since I’ve had to replace computers and programs multiple times as programs and operating systems became outmoded. Today I have a desktop computer which I use for most of my writing and a laptop computer which can connect via Wi-Fi when I’m away from my home office.

I was shocked when some of my coworkers began to openly talk about using a “cell phone.” My understanding used to be that the only time people use a cell phone was when they made a call from the drunk tank using the pay phone on the cell wall.

In 2005 I attended a conference (The Evolution of Psychotherapy) and encountered a shocking face-to-face encounter with the new technological universe. One of the speakers told us that if you wanted to work in some parts of the counseling field you needed to have a portable “cell phone.” I quickly purchased a flip phone.

I encounter a phone that is smarter than I am.

When my old flip phone gave up the ghost, I make the upgrade to a smartphone. Unfortunately, way too many people who know me “have my number.” They started sending me startling messages using a thing called “text messaging.” I am especially thankful to one of my interns who taught me how to open a text message and how to reply to it.

So, there you have some of the story about how I began the journey from being someone with a learning disability of written expression, unable to write a sentence containing correctly spelled words which were correctly punctuated, to someone who writes a reasonably well-read blog and has written and published two books.

It’s a glorious new age for writing and publishing.

In the past, if you wanted to be a writer you struggled for possibly decades. Most writers had day jobs and filled the evenings and weekends was struggling to learn their craft. In the early days, if you wanted something published, you had to come up with the cash to get it printed and then try to sell it yourself. There are still a few companies who will print your book for you if your sole goal is to be able to hold your book in your hand. But don’t expect much in the way of book sales.

The other approach to getting something you wrote published was to send it off to the “gatekeepers.” The used to be a lot of magazines that would pay small amounts for short stories. Then the publishing of books became concentrated in New York and a few other major cities. Authors had to work for years writing and submitting and hoping someone would like what they’ve done well enough to agree to publish their book.

Technology keeps moving forward.

The invention of the automobile resulted in the demise of the whole horse and buggy industry. Today’s technology, computers, word processing programs, spelling and grammar checkers along with e-books and on-demand printing has entirely altered the way the written word is produced and distributed.

For centuries, people who would learn to read and write have said they wanted to write a book. I know of several of my friends and relatives who always wanted to write a book. Most of them never did. A great many people had a manuscript tucked away in a drawer somewhere that was discarded when they died.

Today technology makes it possible for almost anyone to write something. Whether you can spell or punctuate you can still create an understandable sentence, paragraph, chapter, and book. Even if you can’t type, you can dictate. Personally, because of carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ve had to switch from typing to dictating. For better or worse the new technologies have made writing and publishing accessible to anyone willing to put in the effort, even if you’re not a digital native but an old dinosaur like me.

Possible, however, does not mean easy. In upcoming posts, I want to share some of the experiences I’ve had to reach this point in my writing experiences and some of the lessons I have learned along the way. Hope you’ll join me again for other blog posts on the topics of writing and publishing.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Don’t miss the Writing Wednesdays posts.

By David Joel Miller.

Writing Wednesdays.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Wanted to alert you to a new feature on counselorssoapbox.com. I was delighted to see how many people read yesterday’s post about my writing journey. Thank you, folks, for all the reads, likes, and follows.

For the next 8 to 10 weeks, there will be a post every Wednesday on some aspect of writing, blogging and other things creative. After that, who knows? If you readers find those post helpful I will see if I can keep the series going.

If this topic interests, you I encourage you to revisit the blog next Wednesday or better yet subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. Thanks again to everyone who reads the counselorssoapbox.com blog.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.