Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Gratification of Connectivity

Thanks to Marie for giving us some ways to overcome the procrastination bug.


When I started this blog, it was simply because I'd sold a short story to The Wild Rose Press, and they encouraged their authors to have a blog. I was relatively clueless about what I had to talk about, but since talking is never much of a problem for me, I figured I'd give it a shot, and chat about things I found interesting, and if they related to writing, so much the better. I didn't consider it a "writing" site, and didn't try to come up with a clever name. I figured it would be more like a chat over coffee, the way we moms did it when our kids were in pre-school. So it's just "Terry's Place" even if that might not have marketing potential. I don't feel like changing it now.

I learned some of the basics, such as how to include pictures, and with help from the support forums, how to split my posts so readers could scan the beginnings of a week's worth of posts on a single page. (Admittedly that script is still a challenge from time to time, but it works reasonably well for most readers).



I discovered how to find out how many people visited my blog. I didn't mind that I didn't get many hits a day, because I didn't think I was saying anything profound, and if only a few people read my ramblings, I wasn't making a fool out of myself in front of a vast audience.

As time went on, I picked up more daily hits. Then the "followers" Gadget appeared, as did ways to feed my blog to my Amazon and Facebook pages. I made friends who commented on my blog, and whose blogs I began to follow as well. I feel gratified when people tell me they enjoy their visits to Terry's Place.

But this weekend, I think I had the most gratifying moment to date. No, it wasn't a reader telling me she finally got around to buying one of my books and enjoyed it.

As many of you might know, for about 9 months, every Friday, I shared case files and stories from a local Orange County homicide detective, Deputy Mark Hussey. Sometimes they were funny, sometimes they were poignant, sometimes they were uplifting, and sometimes they were depressing. But they were a glimpse into the life of police work, and readers seemed to enjoy them.


So, last week, when I opened an email from an unfamiliar name that had no subject line in the header, I expected to be told I'd won millions of dollars if I'd give someone in Nigeria my bank account numbers. Instead, I found a touching note from the widow of a police officer, wanting to get in touch with Detective Hussey. It was the 12th anniversary of her husband's death, and she had run across the blog post where Detective Hussey spoke of her husband as a Super Cop.

She wrote: First, we would like to say thank you! My husband's death anniversary was Thursday, February 11th, 12 years ago, and finding this article on that date was a gift from God. This article was so meaningful to all of us, and we would like to talk with Detective Hussey.

I forwarded her words to Mark Hussey, and shortly afterward, I got another email from the widow, saying, "He called. Thank you so much."

Connecting strangers whose lives had crossed unknown to them wasn't something I thought would happen when I started blogging, but I'm certainly glad I did.

I'm grateful to all who share my posts. If you enjoyed this one, I hope you'll make a connection.

29 comments:

Debora Dennis said...

What a great story!

Terry Odell said...

Debora - thanks for stopping by. On my end, the timing was perfect, since this move has me totally frazzled and overwhelmed.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Terry,

I certainly enjoy your blog and think you do a great job with it. I am definitely a procrastinator in regard to setting up a website or a blog. Yet I will spend many hours of everyday working on my writing and reading other author's blogs. Your words are encouraging,

All the best,

Jacqueline Seewald
THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star

Wynter Daniels said...

That's very touching. It's a good feeling when one of those gratifying experiences touches our lives.

darkangelauthor said...

What a wonderful story, Terry - and an incredible commentary on the interconnectedness of all our lives. Blogging no longer feels quite as anonymous as it did...thank you for sharing.

Linda

Alannah Lynne said...

Hi Terry - I'm a fellow TWRP author and I've been a lurker on your blog for a while.

What an incredible story!! Thank you for sharing!!

Alannah

P.L. Parker said...

That was so cool. Loved it.

Sarah Grimm said...

Very uplifting.

Desiree Holt said...

What a wonderful story. I need to smack myself in the head and get busy with my own woefully missing blog. Good job, lady!

Mason Canyon said...

How wonderful that you were able to put those two people together. It's amazing what can happen when we least expect it. You're blog is always interesting and informative (even for non authors like me). Thanks.

Lara Dien said...

I read somewhere that we each have something like a million relatives within the 'cousin to the 10th degree' relationship, and that no one is more than 15 degrees of relationship from us. (This is aside from the usual 'six degrees of separation' theory.) Don't you love the ability of the internet--the magic of all those little electrons or whatever flying back and forth--to connect us in unexpected ways? Hope you find many more such inspiring connections, Terry!

L-

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What an amazing story! It just goes to show what a small world it is and that the connections between us are there if we just look for them...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Marie Tuhart said...

Wonderful story, Terry. I may not post on your blog, but I visit it every week (if not every day).

Alice Audrey said...

What a wodnerful story! That's the kind of unexpected email we all hope for.

Terry Odell said...

Forgive the blanket response, all ... I do appreciate you taking the time to comment. It's another crazy day -- 10 boxes of books to the Post Office, my last hair appointment with my stylist of about 20 years, errands for garage sale prep, then home to more garage sale prep.

And, for the record, I'm still visiting blogs, but haven't been commenting a lot, so it might look like I'm not around. I am.

Maryann Miller said...

What a wonderful story, Terry. I love the fact that we connect on so many levels via the Internet and blogs, and we never know where those connections will lead.

And I do understand about visiting blogs and not commenting all the time. I do that when I am swamped, too. I admire people like Helen Ginger who responds to blogs and to everyone who comments on her blogs. Whew!!!

BTW, visit my blog when you get a chance. I have an award for you. No comment necessary. LOL

Mary Ricksen said...

I love your posts Terry. You do a wonderful blog!

Ashley Ladd said...

What an awesome thing to happen. I'm constantly amazed what a small world this is.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Terry,
Great story, just goes to show what a small world we really live in.
Cheers
Margaret

Terry said...

What a touching story. Made my day.

Terry Odell said...

More thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment. It's nice to get some uplifting news every now and again. And when it's not something you set out to do, it's all the better.

Debra St. John said...

Terry, that is an amazing story. How wonderful. I actually have tears in my eyes.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's really awesome - what a nice feeling to know you've managed to make the day of 2 people!

Carol Kilgore said...

That's pretty awesome. I have goosebumps.

jessi said...

Thanks for sharing, Terry. That's a pretty nice way to end my day after the horrible news stories that are broadcast all day.

Ashley Ladd said...

I just emailed my pics and text to you for Friday's blog post. Thanks again.

And we're sisters! My first book comes out with TWRP March 24th this year. How cool. :)

April Ash said...

Heartwarming blog. You just never know how far-reaching a blog will go.
Nice job, Terry!
Marianne/April

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow. How wonderful!

StephB said...

Terry, that's such a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing.

Smiles
Steph