“Hello World”, Blogging With WordPress – Ten Years On

Time flies, as they say, and this applies to the blogging world as well.

Ten years ago, I weighed up the pros and cons, and decided to start a blog.

At the time, I had no Internet access at home. Every Sunday morning, I would visit an Internet Cafe and post blog articles as I devoured several cups of sweetened black coffee.

Additionally, I’d taken countless scenic photos on my phone but could not upload them, as I had no way of getting online with the phone and my computer was pre-historic (almost). I used to get despondent.

The same applies to music. I’d trained as a concert pianist but hadn’t released a recording.

And the writing, of course. I’d written a couple of novels.

I want to excel in the performing and creative arts, but didn’t know how. I started researching self-publishing and approached it with caution.

The last ten years has contained many highs and lows. A couple of my books almost got accepted for mainstream publication but didn’t make it in the end.

I despaired but continued searching the options.

Using WordPress and other online tools, I managed to create a CD of my piano playing, self-publish two novels and an autobiography, release mp3s of my piano playing, share photography, start a second blog devoted to the piano, and more recently a poetry blog.

I’ve communicated online with lots of interesting people.

Crucially, I was able to fulfil another cherished dream: learning a number of foreign language through online resources.

Not bad for ten years.

I’m deeply grateful to WordPress for their blogging services, and to all my readers and followers. And yes, I gave up the sugar eventually and avoid it completely now. But not the black coffee.


My first post from ten years ago, Hello World:

Lancashire born and bred. I moved to Devon to study piano at Dartington College of Arts, Totnes, and then to London where I have performed in the City of London lunchtime concert events. I also write and am working on two psychological thrillers set in the countryside.

I grew up with classical and rock music, but I particularly enjoy playing piano works by Chopin, Liszt, Mozart and Beethoven. I’m currently working on the 5th and 12th Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt, along with some of the early Chopin preludes, Mozart’s “Simple sonata” in C and a Beethoven Rondo (in C). I also enjoy playing the Chopin studies, especially the C minor arpeggio study from the second set, along with Beethoven sonatas (“Moonlight”, “Appassionata,” “Waldstein”).

I suffer from RSI in the shoulders, but the playing really helps (even those mad Lisztian sections)!

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The Blog, Nine Years On

Nine years ago, I started a WordPress blog. Somehow, I’ve managed to continue posting regularly, several times a month, for nearly a decade.

I don’t always know what to blog about. Some people would say, “blog about whatever is on your mind”. I think this probably works as a general principle. Whatever the case, I look forward to many more years of blogging.

I’m also working on a sister blog, a musical autobiography based on my piano training and musical journey. I eventually hope to publish some of the posts as a paperback.

Creating A New WordPress Blog, Some Thoughts

Hi, I’ve spent the last two weeks creating content (in my case, a musical bio), designing a site with a Template in mind (libretto), and copying the content into readable posts with publishing dates set in reverse order, allowing a chronological order of events.

I’ve found the process both simple and frustrating.

You can view the site here:

So what are my thoughts on the Content Management side of things?

  • Easy to publish Posts.
  • Great looking Template, simple but classy (good for classical music site).

However:

  • Difficult to create extra Pages, leaving me unable to decide where and how to post a Table Of Contents (like Chapters).
  • Publishing in reverse order to allow a chronological narrative can lead to all sorts of errors.

Worth the effort, though.

New Site, MyPianoBio

I’ve completed a basic draft of material for the new site and it should go live in the next few weeks.

MyPianoBio, a sister site to this one, contains the story of my musical journey, culminating in my experiences as a recital pianist, newly arrived in London.  

It also picks up on several other themes.

Many thanks again to WordPress for the powerful online publishing tools! 

The Blog

In a couple of months’ time, I will have been blogging for eight years. I chose WordPress and believe that it beats all other blogging platforms. Initially sceptical of blogging, I have posted regularly during that time, though not always in the last couple of years.

So what do I like about blogging, and WordPress in particular?

It seems a great opportunity for self-expression, a haven for people in the creative arts – and free, of course. WordPress offers plenty of space. Bloggers meet other bloggers online, receive and give feedback. Blogging is a form of publishing, so a blogging platform provides the writer/artist with a space to share their work. Crucially, WordPress gives the blogger the tools to create a static webpage with the option of having the blog (recommended) as the landing page. I’ve tried to make my blog a website too, with links to music files.

As the year draws to a close, I need to make some important decisions regarding my current novel and revise accordingly, but I will continue updating my WordPress blog and look forward to many more years of doing so.

The Novel: Halfway Through The Polished Redraft

Sounds incredible, but after six and a half weeks of making alterations, I’ve reached the halfway point of the story, a psychological thriller set in Lancashire.  Clearly, I’ve been at this point before – several times, in fact – and anything can happen from here.

One of the difficulties lies in getting the plot just right.  The question of tweaking.  Ruthless editing. As I’ve stated before, toning down an idea doesn’t always help. Life’s full of complexities, of people reacting under pressure and making choices that often bring about unwanted consequences.  No one’s perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes. In thrillers, characters often inadvertently invite some of the danger that follows, often subconsciously. Tweaking to reduce complexity robs the story of its true nature.

The solution, I think, rests in hinting at the unexpected story strands at earlier points in the manuscript, so that when the denouement comes, it appears as the only possible outcome to the mounting dramatic climb.

Complicated.

January will mark my seventh year of blogging at WordPress, so let’s hope 2016 is a good year all round.

_____

Meanwhile, my two novels are available from Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Check out the reviews for Secrets by Lawrence Estrey.

Newspaper article on author.

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

EggHead reviews