February 6 – Blogging, Tagging & Drawing

by Betty Auchard

Twelve years ago as a new 68 year old widow, I started a to-do list: find out how to start the lawn mower, how to put gas in the car, and how to use the computer. I learned all that, and even won an award for writing it down in my first book, Dancing in my Nightgown.

Today after writing my second book, I’m still learning new things, such as how to act cool on a social network. Strange new terminology is sneaking into my vocabulary these days. Words like Facebook, blogging, bookmarking, and tags have replaced TV, pleasure reading, goofing off, and baking cookies. I have no time for these things because my days are filled with learning the language of cyberspace. I must say that surfing the net is the most convenient trip I’ve ever made—I don’t even have to get dressed or leave the house to reach my destination.

Although we hear that online marketing is the way to go when promoting a book these days, my heart just wasn’t in it at first. I was posting articles on my blog like a robot doing homework when it dawned on me that I had to find a way to blog cheerfully. The next thing I heard was a little voice saying “Illustrate your blog posts”. As a retired art teacher, I must say this felt invigorating to me.

The first drawing that came through was a Thanksgiving memory, and the image was so fun to render that I couldn’t wait to draw for my next post. Since then I’ve illustrated five of my blog posts. My new mission is to find the most popular tags and keywords and let them be prompts for new stories. I think I can do that. Can you?

At 75, Betty Auchard wrote the IPPY Award winning memoir, Dancing in my Nightgown: The Rhythms of Widowhood, endorsed by celebrity widows Jayne Meadows and Rosemarie Stack. Last November, she released her childhood memoir, The Home for the Friendless, endorsed by Josh Braff. Betty’s stories and essays have been published in the San Jose Mercury News, Today’s Senior, The Senior Voice, and Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul series. Blog with the author at www.bettyauchard.com and join her fans on Facebook.

15 responses to “February 6 – Blogging, Tagging & Drawing

  1. Oh Betty, I can identify with this on so many levels: as a former technophobe who now has a blog; as one whose hubby has heart issues, and who often finds herself wondering, “How would I manage if I lost him?”; and, most especially, as a reminder of the thrill discovered, the first time I illustrated a blog post! Unlike you, I could barely draw stick figures when the urge came over me to illustrate one of my many “to-do” lists and post it on my blog. Now it is the post I look forward to more than any other, each and every month! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  2. Becky, I am THRILLED to know I’m not alone in illustrating my blogs. I could do the same thing with photographs, but this is a good reason to draw again. Who knows? We may have started soemthing…ya think?

  3. Funny; having a discussion on FB about social networking and how it is both a blessing and a time-sucking curse – finding that balance is key, but I’ve never been so good at finding balance *laugh*

    very nice post . . .

  4. I became a widow 12 1/2 years ago, the day before my fiftieth birthday. My husband had been sick for 9 1/2 years, so I already knew more than I wanted to know about lawnmowers (they are hard to start), I had been putting gas in the car for many years, and I used a computer at work. What I didn’t know how to do was finish raising a grieving 16 1/2 year old. I’m not sure I did a very good job with that, but she is now 29, married, and self-supporting.

  5. You go Betty! I’m always inspired by people who venture into computer for the first time after retirement, especially those like you who push the limits into new territory. I’ve been using a computer for almost thirty years, I’m more than ten years younger than you, and social networking exhausts me, so extra kudos to you!

    Let’s make a pact to make frequent non-digial “Fun Breaks” a regular part of our self-care routines.

  6. Kathryn, your next sentence made me smile big time: “….discussion about social networking and how it is both a blessing and a time-sucking curse –”
    I wish I had said that. It’s perfect, but I’m kinda leaning toward the “time-sucking curse” part of your comment.

  7. Spurgin, reading your letter about the kinds of challenges you had compared to mine, makes me realize that being much older meant that I was alone and my four grown children and young grandchildren were helped in their grief by “helping” me through my own. AND, I had no clue that writing down my thoughts and feelings was a tool for healing. That’s what started me on the course of writing in the first place, and now (eeegads), I can’t stop.

  8. Betty, I also had three grown stepsons. One of my daughters-in-law was a lifesaver for me. I did have the advantage, that although my 16 year old was a major worry, I was not alone. A friend of mine lost her husband in December and her house is very lonely for her. I did not experience that kind of loneliness. BTW, my name is Joyce Spurgin.

  9. Hi Sharon…You and I have to stop meeting like this…online all the time. My non-digital activities this morning and afternoon were watching one of my grandkids swim in a major meet that qualified her for Jr. Olmypics. My non-digital plans for later this afternoon are pruning my roses even though they’re already leafing. It was 73 degrees today in the Bay Area of California, and I have not worked in the garden for at least 6 months. I’m so excited that I could spit. Gardening is like therapy, which offsets the job-part of social networking. I think networking separates the strong from the weak, but not sure which is which, if you get my drift.

  10. Excellent post, Betty! You are inspiring in your willingness to tackle learning new technology, social networking, blogging, Facebook etc. I enjoy looking through the Best Buy flyers that come in the Sunday newspaper. Even though I don’t know what many of the gadgets are I hope to stay current enough in the rapidly changing world to at least have an idea about what is possible even if I don’t know how to do it all. It’s a never ending process and my hat is off to you!

  11. Hello, Linda,
    August, 2010 was when I jumped into social networking from scratch, knowing nothing. I’ve learned a fair amount in the last six months, but there’s just as much that I still don’t understand without someone sitting at my side, spoonfeeding me. I’m a slow learner until I catch on to something out of my comfort zone, and then when I learn how to do it, I want to teach everyone. Since the computer has become my life activity, I don’t see many acquaintances as often, and when I showed up last week at the gym, one woman clutched her chest and said, “OMIGOSH! I thought you were dead.” I clearly have to get out more often.

  12. Pingback: Tweets that mention February 6 – Blogging, Tagging & Drawing | One Woman's Day -- Topsy.com

  13. Betty, you are the personification of cool. 🙂

  14. Fun to read this and all the comments! I am just the opposite. I have to peak at my email and Facebook in the AM, but then I have a million things to do that pulls me away from the computer. I HAVE to have my coffee and toast in the morning and play solitaire at least once, AND WIN. Then I can walk away from that computer and start my day!

  15. I’m back for a comment regarding my own article here called Blogging, Tagging, and Drawing. I sent the link to my friend and titled it (of all things) … “Link to Betty’s Bitching Post.”
    It seemed like the natural thing to do, and now I realize that my former bitching post is now my hitching post, because I spent the day making illustrations for future blogs, and now I can’t stop writing stories for my blogs so I can draw for them. But now I think I’ll draw first and think up stories later.

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