Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Last Post

Well it’s finally here. The last posting for the Virtual Blog Tour, organised by Tasha Turner and her helpers, is finally here. It has been a long and gruelling 16 weeks but we arrived here all the better for it. Well, perhaps that would be true if I managed the last two posts, but I had to back out for those two weeks. However this post isn’t about that. This post is about the experience gained over the tour. It’s about the fun and new found friendships. Yes there were hard times and tough moments but the less said on those the better for everyone I think.

For many, this was the first tour they had ever participated in. Very few knew what to expect from it and many were left asking – What did I just get myself into?

Yes there were doubts throughout the tour, but through those doubts many realisations were made. From the start you could see the friendships forming, you could see a small community growing and each were willing to support each other through it.  From the very first task we were taught how to see things from the perspective of the reader, from the perspective of our target audience’s. Not easy I can assure you, but certainly helpful.

16 weeks, 16 posts – that’s quite a feat isn’t it? Can you imagine the amount of planning it took to build this tour? No, neither can I. But from a participant’s side it has shown me that if you work together and help each other, you make better progress through the harder parts. 17 assignments were presented to us over the weeks, 16 of them were posts for the tour and one was the short bio of ourselves that we added to each post as it was sent to our hosts for that given week.

But what was learnt from the tour? I don’t know about the other participants, what they learned could be so different from me that you may never have guessed we were all in the same tour. My own experience can be referred to as being on a rollercoaster where the highs outweighed all the lows.

When I signed up for the tour experience, I was nervous and scared. I was excited by the prospect of what could come from it. I looked forward to the experience of doing something that I had never done before. To checking off one more item on a long list of things to undertake. But let’s face it – Blog Tours didn’t stand a chance of my list before this one. That’s a good sign. It means I’m up for others in the future, depending on the context of the tour of course.

I struggled, I wavered and I threw in the towel when life became too much to cope with. Yes, I gave up but I didn’t lose anything from giving up, quite the opposite in fact. So what, I didn’t complete all 16 weeks of the tour. It doesn’t make me a failure. I’ll never see it that way. 13 half decent posts, not including this one, with hours spent on each post is what I have to show for my time on this tour. What they don’t tell you is how important those 13 posts have come to be. They don’t show you the time spent behind the scene’s trying to word it just right and still not managing to do so. They don’t show you what writers in general go through on a daily basis. Nor do they show you the dedicated level of restraint and control that professional bloggers develop as they maintain a high standard of postings for those that follow what they do.

I’m not one them, a professional blogger is not what I want to be. But blogging is necessary. So is interaction and FEEDBACK. Feedback is important. Not only does it help the blogger make better what they have, but it helps those that are reading over it to see how they too can improve upon themselves. But that’s for another time.

This tour has shown me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it – so long as you don’t become too absorbed in stress and conflict. Easier said than done and seemingly contradictive of my own predicament that saw me miss the last two posts, I’ll grant you that. However, at the same time it has made me realise that I am not alone and every fall is followed with a steady climb back up.

I didn’t survive the entire 16 weeks, but for the 13 weeks I posted faithfully and on time where possible. I posted with love and admiration for my guests and wished everyone the best. I posted because I cared and I was learning all the way through. This post marks my 14th of the tour and I’m proud to be able to join everyone for this very last post of what has been an amazing tour experience. If I were to list everything I learned over the tour then I’d need a second posting, perhaps even a third just to make sure everything was there.

I’ve learned just how important it is to tailor to your market audience and grab their attention the best you can. I’ve learned how important your pitches are, whether on Facebook, twitter or somewhere else. If it stands out – then you’ll get the hits you’ve been looking for. Short and snappy tends to work. Invite your audience in with questions; invite them to discuss your post. Invite them to ask you question. Interact with your audience and you will grow from strength to strength. I’ve learned just how supportive others can be, and I’ve learned that no matter what you do, you are never alone in your experience. You are never alone in your growth. Someone, somewhere is standing facing the same or similar to you. Never be blind to your own struggles, reach out to those around you and you will get the help you need. Always ask questions and listen to what’s being said. It is from this – asking and listening, that you will find your answers and your way forwards.

This… is what I’ve learned from this tour. 16 weeks of asking questions, 14 weeks of finding my answers. 16 weeks of understanding the support that was always there and 14 weeks of standing strong. 16 long weeks with 16 guest posts and 16 host blogs, of which only 14 weeks did I find my feet. I may not have lasted the entire tour like others have. I may have backed down due to stress for the previous two weeks. But, I did not fail. I am not a causality of the mighty pen. I am writer. I am a survivor in my own rights. I… will always be here.

Would I take part in another tour knowing what know now?

Of course I would. We learn from experience. To learn we must step into the shadows of the unknown and brave the adventure that we have never travelled before. We must boldly go, where we have gone before. Yes, we’ll hit walls. Yes, we’ll panic and cringe. But we will survive. We will live fight another day. Giving in, throwing the towel in does not make you a failure. It makes you stronger.

To Tasha Turner, her staff and fellow participants, I must thank each of you. It has been a long journey of ups and down, a journey of tears and journey of wit. But we have grown together, we have laughed together and we have struggled together. But we have had each other. So raise your glasses and let’s toast to our hosts, to our guests and our organizers. Without each other, this tour would never have been as successful as it has come to be. Some said it would never work; it would never last because it wasn’t done as other tours had been done. But each of you proved that wrong and each of you, whether you lasted the 16 weeks or not, should be proud. Take what you have learned and let it build. You are not the same person you were 16 weeks ago. Together we have grown and together have shared in an amazing experience that was worth participating in.

Without many of you, I would never have lasted as long as I did. I only wish that could I have managed those two missing assignments but real life proved to be too difficult to balance for those two weeks. I know you all understand this and I look forward to working with you all in the future. Many, many thanks to each of you!

Can you relate to what I’ve mentioned about the tour?
Have I missed an aspect that deserves some attention?
If I have, please leave a comment and let us know. Others will gain from what you have to say.
Until the next post, or tour, live life for the experience. Live for the fun of learning something new and never be too afraid to step into the unknown. 

About Jennifer Don

Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.
While she aims to work through the edits needed, updates on her progress can be found on here -
To find out more with regards to her other projects, then check out her blog here -
And should you wish to follow her on Twitter, or ask her any questions please see here -!/Voice_Of_Spirit
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