Stepping into Unknown Territory ~ My Journey in Launching a New Website

Dear Blog Readers,

Just over a month ago, I launched this new website. I have been so pleased with the great support regarding this switch that I have had from so many of you. Thank you! It is always scary to step out into new territory when it comes to technology and creating an online presence.

I have compared my latest venture in blogging and launching a new website to the feelings I had as a child when I received my very first library card and realized that there were so many books and so little time in which to read them all.

I was quite young when I first walked through the doors of our local library and discovered that this was the place where books lived. It seemed incredible to me that such a place existed where there were rows and rows of shelves going from the floor to the ceiling holding book after wonderful book! I felt as if I had found my happy place. Where else could I go where there was a place dedicated to what I loved most? Reading! Yes, reading was my favorite pastime as child. And, I also discovered I could take home a book to read for free. All I had to do was return the book once I had finished reading it. The big wide world was opened up to me at the library when I was a child growing up in the 1950’s in a small city in the west.

As a child, not only did it seem impossible to ever read all those books in the library, but the library building itself also seemed so vast and unknowable. I did believe that if I showed up every few weeks and left with a stack of new books to read and explore that I just might scratch the surface of all that library had to offer.

So how do these thoughts about library cards and libraries compare to launching a new website?

To me at this stage in life, the worldwide-web seems just like that great big library seemed to me as a child: it is full of places to go to read all kinds of things on all kinds of topics. It seems huge, and scary, and unknowable, and a bit unnavigable.

When I was growing up, when I was in college, when I was raising my children, who could ever have imagined that one day I, a retired English teacher, a woman in her seventies, would sit at a personal computer, write out whatever is on my mind, hit publish, and thereby send my thoughts out into the big wide world out there?

My office while I was working on my new website design with Taryn from Typewriter Designs.

My office while I was working on my new website design with Taryn from Typewriter Designs.

Just like the library, the worldwide-web seems like it is full of all kinds of things to read and explore. All kinds of things seems like an understatement! In thinking of all that is sent out into that worldwide-web, I wonder how my few words and what I have say on this website would even be noticed. I mean, do you even realize how vast theworldwide-web is? I’m not even able to grasp the idea of its vastness.

Some may think that the web is already filled up with blogs and writers and websites and information. They may think that no one is even interested in reading one more blog or signing up to be on one more website’s mailing list. I guess if the web were a physical site, it would be moaning and groaning from all the weight that is is carrying. That is part of the mystery of the web, it is not a physical site. Is it metaphysical? I don’t know what it is. I cannot understand the web enough to explain it. I suspect I am not alone. Many have tried to explain it to me, but I don’t really understand the worldwide-web at all, but that does not prevent me from using it.

All I know for sure is that I now have a web address that says I can be found on this worldwide-web at a particular website address which I created. It is at this address that I have a place where I am able to write blog posts about whatever I want to write about and send those posts out to readers who can read what I write if they feel so inclined. That to me sounds like a wondrous thing.

My husband jokes whenever I take a lot of pictures with my cellphone by saying, “Make sure you don’t run out of film.” I wonder if those under the age of 20 even know what he is talking about. Do they know what it is like to be on vacation in a place where you most likely will never go again, hoping to take some photos of all the awesome sights you are seeing, only to realize that you are out of film and there are no stores around where you can buy more film? Do they even begin identify with the anticipation that comes from waiting for those photos you took on vacation or at some family celebration to be developed at your local drugstore? Do they know the heartbreak when you realize you really did not get even one good shot of anything you photographed?

I recount this little story just illustrate again how the world where I grew up and the one where I spent most of my adult life are worlds apart from the world in which I now live. Today’s world is a world where there are few cameras needing film, few phones used for phoning, and where writers send writing out into what seems like space where they find they can connect with readers whom wish to read what the writer has to say.

I come from a different generation than the generation that grew up with technology. My husband says those in our generation are immigrants to this strange new land of technology while our grandchildren are native-born residents to it. I think that is exactly how it is. Many in my generation feel a lot of culture shock when it comes to living in the new landscape which is now dominated by an on-line presence where doctor appointments and medical test results are now more easily accessed on-line than by calling the doctor’s office directly. Many avoid the worldwide web completely; others venture into unknown territory with adventuresome spirits. I belong to the latter group.

I blogged for over nine year on the free platform provided by Blogger. I loved that platform because it gave me a place to write, to connect with others, and it did not require me to learn too much about technology. Then, one day, I woke up to a blogging world I no longer understood, and at the same time, I also decided I wanted to take my writing life and blogging life to a new level.

I put my money where my heart wishes were and hired a wonderful consultant, Taryn over at Typewriter Designs, to do that which I knew I’d never be able to do on my own. She created my website for me, and transferred all of my old blog posts over to this new website, and then she had the task of teaching me what to do with it all!

She has been so supportive, and has been such a great teacher, so I want you to know about her and to check her out if you too need help with technology that is beyond your capabilities. I never could have designed or put this website together without her. I enjoyed the collaboration with her and the ability to think about what I wanted to accomplish with a new website. My husband also fully supported me in the venture with encouragement, and study, and learning right along with me. It has been a team effort.

A Working Lunch: My husband and I often worked side by side in all that went into developing this new website.

A Working Lunch: My husband and I often worked side by side in all that went into developing this new website.

I think I’ve finally conquered some of the technological challenges of writing blog posts on the new platform I am using, Squarespace, straightened out. I must say that I really am pleased with my decision to switch over to Squarespace for my blog and for my website. It is really quite easy to use now that I had an expert set it up for me. I love the flexibility that it gives me when I am writing and creating posts. I’m still learning the platform, but I think I will only grow to enjoy using it more and more as time progress. (I am not getting any money for endorsing Squarespace, but I just want my readers to know that I am loving using it.)

I also am using ConvertKit as a means of staying in touch with those of you whom sign-up to receive emails from me. That means that I had yet another program to learn, and that has proven to also be a challenge for me despite all the great training I received from Taryn. (Thank you, Taryn!) I’m still working on learning and using this platform.

In fact, right after I launched my website, there was a glitch with the program itself, and I didn’t realize it until after I had set up emails to go out to those of you whom signed up. I am working on getting that fixed, so I hope you all get an email from me soon.

If you have not signed up to hear from me, please do so. I want to keep in touch with all of you loyal readers whom have read my blog for years, and those of you whom are new readers.

Blogging has stretched me to learn new things, but now I am really being stretched as I navigate the new waters of having a website. It is a process, and and an opportunity to grow as I jump into this new pool of information that requires a lot of learning. I hope you will stay with me as I learn to swim with confidence in these new waters.

Until, next time, please sign up for my website. You are not signing up for Squarespace by signing up, you are just giving me a place where I will be able to connect with you, dear reader.

Talk to you soon!