Always a reader
I have always been a reader. My earliest memories are of always having a book or two to read. The example was first encouraged by my parents. My father regularly read the local paper called the Murray Pioneer which was published weekly in the nearby town of Renmark, South Australia. As far as I know, this paper is still publishing over 60 years later.
My earliest writing
I can also remember Dad reading the weekly paper simply called The Chronicle. This was primarily aimed at farmers like my father and was full of useful articles for those living on the land. As far as I can determine, this publication ceased in 1954. I think that I read parts of this paper, mainly for the cartoons. Dad also read parts of the weekly paper called The Sunday Mail. I still enjoy reading this paper which is based mainly on South Australian news. Some of my earliest writing was published in the children’s pages of The Sunday Mail.
My mother’s example
My mother also set an example to me regarding reading. Her main interests were in reading various women’s magazines such as the Australian Women’s Weekly. This is still being published, though now it is issued once a month. She also read New Idea, a similar publication aimed at women. As a young writer, I remember the thrill of having some letters published in these periodicals. I was even paid for my letters, a whopping five shillings (50 cents) which was a lot in the 1950s.
In my blood
I guess that writing was in my blood at an early age. Somehow, I was sidetracked into teaching for 35 years, though that brought a great deal of satisfaction.
As a child, I always remember having books in my home. I would always ask for books for Christmas and my birthday. There was always a book prize from the local Sunday School Christmas breakup and I eagerly looked forward to receiving one for good attendance. Any new book was devoured in a matter of hours. I remember reading many Enid Blyton books – Famous Five and Secret Seven among many others. I probably read many of the W.E. Johns’ Biggles series which were popular at the time.
The primary (elementary) school I attended was about a ten-minute walk from where I lived on the family farm. Taplan Primary School never had more than about 30 students and I have very pleasant memories of my school days there. A good proportion of the students were also my cousins. This one-teacher school had a library corner with only several hundred books. This was naturally a magnet for me and I read many of the titles in this small library – though I can’t recall being able to borrow the books to take home. I do remember having a small, compact Collins Gem Dictionary which I took to school every day and home again in the afternoon. I would frequently consult this little book, constantly learning new words.
High School Library
I think that it was 1961 when I started at Loxton High School for my secondary education. Here is where I really began to read voraciously. The school had a large room full of books and I was able to borrow them to take home. Many of these books were devoured on my 40-minute bus trip to and from school. It was here that I discovered the delights of fantasy, especially science fiction.
Readers; please leave some comments about your earliest childhood reading influences and habits.
Good reading and writing,
It has been far too long since my last entry here.
Sorry about that.
Sometimes life gets in the way. Writing articles here became a very low priority. I hope that you haven’t missed me too much.
In the latter half of 2017, I became the full-time carer for my wife, Corinne. She had experienced many bouts of illness in her life from when we were first married – some 47 years ago. Her health deteriorated rapidly in the last few months of last year and we had many trips to the local medical centre as well as many drives to Adelaide for treatment – some 80 kilometres away (about 1 hour).
We were pleased to be able to celebrate Christmas as a family; our daughter who is currently teaching in Ethiopia flew home, and our son and family drove over from Sydney (about 15 hours’ drive). It was delightful to have the grandchildren here for this special occasion.
In the middle of January and after the second round of radiotherapy, my wife went downhill very rapidly. After a short stay in the local hospital, my wife passed peacefully and pain-free from this life on the 21st January 2018. She was surrounded by immediate family. Her funeral a week later was well attended by a wide range of people from many different aspects of Corinne’s life. It was a celebration of a life well lived with an impact on the lives of so many people.
I have written an obituary on her website, Mallee Native Plants Nursery here. She was a keen admirer and grower of Australian native plants. Her website contains a wealth of information on our plants and how to propagate them. I will maintain this site, for the time being, adding some new articles from time to time. Her nursery has now closed down and there are no plants for sale.
Her interest in our plants rubbed off on me and it complemented my interest in birds. Both of us loved sharing our flower photos and she grew to appreciate our beautiful bird life too. One of her favourite birds appears at the top of this post. She loved seeing all the birds in our garden, including the Eastern Rosella shown above whenever one of them came to our bird bath.
The photo below was taken at Christmas time in 2017. She was helping her two grandchildren to put the icing on the honey biscuits made especially for the occasion.
I plan to get back into sharing my writing, book reviews and hints about the writer’s life here on this site over the coming weeks and months and – I hope – years. Last year I bought myself a new camera and this is proving to be more than I had hoped for – so expect many more photos to be shared as well. I am not yet ready to get back into travelling, but I definitely have plans to do so.
In the meantime – good reading and writing.
Blogging and writing
I am always on the lookout for interesting articles about improving my writing and blogging. I am sure that I am not alone in this; we all want to improve our writing and develop more readers.
In the last few weeks, I have managed to get back to more regular writing, including blogging here on this site and also several other sites which I manage or write for. I plan to write more posts more often in the coming months. I hope.
Over the last few months, however, I have been a sporadic publisher of new articles here on this blog. I have also been unable to add much to my other sites as well (Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels). Sometimes life just gets in the way. I could give you a long list of reasons why this has happened, including illness, family responsibilities, involvement in various speaking engagements and so on. I won’t bore you with the details. Life happens. And sometimes, writing doesn’t.
Increase in Readership
One of the best ways to increase the readership of your blog is to persist at your writing. If you are regularly adding new material to your blog, no matter what the topic or niche in which you write, your writing will attract more readers, Don’t be like me and only post every now and then! Like once every couple of months. By posting on a regular basis, you are more likely to develop not only new readers, but also loyal visitors to your site.
Regular posting of new material
Some bloggers are able to post a new piece of writing every day, and some are even able to post several times a day. I find that far too demanding, and most writers I know would be the same. Most of us simply do not have the time, nor do we have the material to write about. It is far better to set a realistic goal and persist at posting every three days, or once a week if that is all you can achieve.
I mentioned above the importance of persistence. Success in blogging, it seems, is usually only achieved through long-term, consistent and persistent attention to the basics. One article I read recently was the transcript of a talk given by Darren Rowse of Problogger. You can read the transcript or listen to the 40-minute podcast here: 6 ordinary things can lead to extraordinary results with your blog. At the risk of stating spoilers here, his final point is persistence. Keep at it and you will be more successful than the vast majority of bloggers.
Over my nearly 12 years of writing blog posts here and on my other sites, I have written a number of articles about blogging. Here is a very small selection – or you can use the search facility at the top of each page:
- Some benefits of blogging
- Blogging can make you a better writer
- How to keep a balance in your blogging and writing life
- The potential of blogging – this article is now over 10 years old and has not been updated. The figures in this article are all very outdated, but the principles behind it are still relevant. Besides, my predictions in this article have actually been realised over the last decade.
Good writing. Good blogging.