Websites, Storytellers and Dry Stone Walls

Here are a few random thoughts that have been in my morning notes the last week or so.

  • Websites are to display a storyteller’s humanity not to provide the end product – the story.
  • I no longer refer to myself as a writer.
  • Instead, I’d put “Storyteller” on a business card. When you use words, images, audio and video, you’re well beyond just writing.

And how, dear reader, would you define yourself in a more positive way?


Dry Stone Walls

I build dry stone walls as a hobby and they’re a permanent and very real, solid weight. They’re much more satisfying in a way that a website will never replicate. If I were a few years younger, I might have pursued this more seriously rather than as a hobby. I’m not particularly good at it but I do enjoy it immensely.

One of my dry stone walls around my garden

The objective is to care, and care deeply about at least a few things in your life.

The Imperfection of the Net

Six months after my death, the majority of my work for the past 25 years will be electronic chaff.

Stoicism helps. I read “The Daily Stoic” every morning as I’m drinking my tea or coffee.

Questions, Questions, Questions

One question I’m dealing with as a creator right now – I have a massive electronic “trail” of content sitting online. Do I backdate and improve it or do I simply let it go and move forward in new ways. (Not only this site but my gardening site has hundreds of posts that need updating, repairing.)

Does the backdating and improving provide value both to my readers and to myself?

I’m leaning towards simply moving forward.

Got an opinion? Tell me below.

Reading The Books I Collect

One of the things I do is collect books. We’re talking lots of books. Thick books, skinny books, hard cover, soft cover, really, really old books and just-published best sellers. 

Books. Lots and lots of books.

I collect them.

Note, I haven’t read them all. In fact, there are hundreds of books on my shelves I haven’t read yet. For example, I have 56 Hardy Boys and 50-something Tom Swift Jr books I haven’t read but collected because I read them when I was younger – much younger.   Did I mention Churchill’s five volume,”A History of the English Speaking Peoples” or Durant’s 10 volume “The Story of Civilization”?  Hoagland’s “1000 Years of Irish Poetry.”  Or…

You get the picture I’m sure. And I haven’t even begun to mention the gardening book collection. My 100-year old, antique books were used for background research for my award-winning “Gardening Wisdom” book but then ignored. I won’t even suggest I should read the 4-volume RHS ‘Dictionary of Gardening’  that was a standard pro-level reference before the Internet. 

I Retired Earlier This Year

I happily built stone walls, gardened and did a few other projects this past summer but then fall rolled in and winter – quite naturally for Canada-  has followed.

And Covid.  Well, there’s little need be said about this except we’re continuing to self-isolate and wait for a vaccination. As seniors, we’re in a high-risk category so we’re being particularly careful. (Update: we’re both vaccinated now)

Instead of Driving South, I Went Looking For Projects

I thought I might do some stone carving and I’ve messed about with some tools and stone getting back into the hand-eye coordination necessary to use carving tools. But you can only chew up so many big stones and spend so much time out in an unheated garage. Plus after farming and running a nursery for years, early rising seem to be a feature of my current life.  To be frank, I now prefer to drink my coffee, make some notes on the computer rather than wander outside in the dark to minus-forever temperatures so I can cut up half-frozen rocks. 

But then, in reshelving a small book, I realized I’d quoted from it but hadn’t read the entire thing.

“Wait a minute,” a small voice in the back of my head whispered. “Wait a minute.”

The Short Version Of Starting Reading Seriously

I decided I’d take a day to read the book. And I did. And then my winter project appeared in one of those flashing thoughts you need to grab on its way through your head before it disappears into the ether.

I’m going to spend some serious time reading or rereading my library.

There’s no chance I’ll get through it before next spring but what a challenge and opportunity.  I have the books. I’ve ordered extra bookshelves to get the stacks off my office floor and I’m retired.

The current plan is to write a few words, carve a little stone and read as many pages as possible.

It’s an experiment but what a joy to realize the objects of my collecting obsession will now become part of my inner life as well as decorative objects on a wall.

Damn, who thought you could read the books you collect?

Interested in reading my new posts? Click here

This Change In My Author Website Made Me Money

I’ve been looking at my author website again trying to understand modern publishing as it’s currently working in the trenches. Here’s where I landed this week.

What’s Process and What’s Content

  • Process is about the author’s life and working habits. The process of creating.
  • Content is the end product – the book, the video etc

Top selling authors share all the process but monetize all of the content.

That’s why all the how-to articles on my website were unpublished and why some of the posts are being added to my gardening ebooks. Here’s the first of these improved ebook – Tomatoes

My Fiction Sites

These have also been reimagined and separated into process and content. 

My Income Depends On Readers Buying Content

And if this is the case, giving it away doesn’t make much sense.

Reimagining The Attention Economy

I’ve obviously misunderstood the Attention Economy thinking that gaining reader attention was the primary, driving force.  My understanding was that by gaining attention and building reader trust – sales would follow.

I’ve obviously done it wrong. I gained lots of attention and book sales were mediocre. 

When I mostly abandoned the websites and adopted Amazon advertising, sales went up.  

When I mostly abandoned the website building by unpublishing hundreds of how-to posts, ebooks sales went up.

Even I’m getting the message now that content is what I sell and process is what I write about. The task is to make both things interesting and valuable.

But at least I now know which is which.  

p.s. The garden website is currently being rebuilt and modified. That one has too many posts to modify easily.

error: Content is protected !!