One of my recent blogs looked at 5, although in fact 6, tips for bloggers. I thought after about 350 blogs I must know something, turns out not much but hey, why worry. I’m going to link this blog with that one although what I’m starting with isn’t the main topic of this blog. Confused? Good, so am I and there’s no reason why I should be alone in my confusion. The topic of this blog in its broadest sense is my failure to live my retirement life in line with one of my key values – continued learning. I’ve been struggling to learn much at all recently. I suppose it started to go a bit wrong when I gave up my Monday night jazz class. It was the right decision at the time and still is but my giving up still rankles a little and, just to remind me of my lack of staying power, every couple of weeks I get a Dropbox email (I’m still on the group’s mailing list) showing what I am missing. I could ask for my name to be taken off the list but tellingly I don’t.
Since that workshop, it’s not that I haven’t tried to keep up with my retirement learning value. There was the DADGAD course a few weeks ago ( a blog about which seems to be one of the lost ones). That was fun but I have no way of developing these skills unless I find a Celtic band to play with. Unlikely. I looked at an on-line course about playing Irish guitar music, so far haven’t got any further with it. At £18 a month it seemed expensive. I tried to sign up for jazz summer school at the prestigious, or so I keep being told, Leeds College of Music. I wasn’t sure it was right for me (they might be a bit too good) and when they didn’t call back after I made a tentative enquiry as to the nature of the course, I took this as a sign. There’s one more possibility for summer school but whether I try this depends on who else is likely to show up. For background on this cryptic remark you will have to read an earlier blog about my Monday night jazz class. I know retirement is supposed to give a person oceans of time to learn new skills but for better or for worse that’s not how my retirement is working out. So all in all, so far, this a bit disappointing on the music front.
In the absence of any action music-wise I turned to another source of potential learning I’ve mentioned a few times in these blogs – Guardian courses on blogging and this is where the link to the last blog comes in, in case you were wondering. I’ve tried to attend one course a year, and for the last four years I’ve managed this. But I haven’t been on a course so far this year, but then I saw one advertised in the paper tantalisingly called How to turn you blog into a brand. Sounded good, at least until you stop to consider what this might actually mean. In the end, for one reason and another, travelling down to London for this Wednesday night 3 hour course turned out to be both expensive and impractical, so reluctantly I gave up on the idea. But I decided that I was so intrigued by the title, that I would pursue the idea of ‘branding’ my blog on-line. The results of my search, when it came right down to the nitty gritty, were disappointing. But what I did find were the learning objectives (call them what you will) of the Guardian course. I was surprised they were there but it enabled me to see what I was missing by not attending the course. Looking at these made me feel better because I thought there’s nothing here I don’t already know and / or care about. The objectives and my responses to them are as follows:
- How to expand the audience for your blog and social media platforms
I really don’t care much for social media. So not a good start.
- The basics of SEO – searching for keywords, assessing popularity and deciding when to use them
I flirt with this putting the word ‘retirement’ near the beginning and end wherever possible but that’s about it for me with Search Engine Optimisation.
- Making money from your blog – including the pros and cons of advertising and sponsored content
I am suspicious of any company that would wish to be associated with my brand of philistinism so have rejected several doubtful offers from companies wishing to advertise on my blog. I don’t think this is a way forward for my blog.
- Setting up linked businesses and partnerships
As a somewhat anti-social kind of guy I generally avoid any form of link-up or partnership
- Exploring other opportunities, such as public speaking and writing commissions
I fear my public speaking days are behind me. I used to be quite good at it but the dribbling, stuttering and memory loss would tend to get in the way. Writing commissions I like the sound of but I don’t think I’d want to pay £100 to find out that this is a mirage like the offers I now keep getting to be paid for writing (I mentioned this in a previous blog).
- Tips on networking and self-publicity
I am hopeless at networking or what my Kiwi boss called ‘nitworking’. I always thought it was her accent but now I see a deeper meaning.
- Practical exercises – including sessions where you’ll research the most successful blogs and social media in your area
Could be interesting but I will never know.
- Q&A and group discussion
What where I’ll give away all my secrets? And it’s a long way to go for a few questions and answers.
So yes, nothing there I can’t live without. But this satisfaction is short lived when I realise that my learning value has gone out the window again. So where next? Of course there are other ways of learning other than going on courses. For example, reading books. Again retirement is supposed to be a period in a person’s life when they have time to read. I do read a lot and if my learning objective was how to murder somebody and get away with it then I’m reading the right stuff. This because 90% of my reading is crime novels. However, with one or two notable exceptions, I have no desire to murder anybody so you couldn’t really call this a learning experience.
And so there it rests at the moment my learning value in retirement unfulfilled. I shall of course keep searching and as I’ve suggested a retired person has so much time on his / her hands, the search must surely pay dividends soon.
One final thought in this referendum week, I’m sure all my readers have been wondering which way I shall be voting, so I will tell you. I shall vote firmly for remain. And the reason? well the economic whys and wherefores are idiocy, supposed experts with totally different ‘facts’, so forget that, which leaves immigration and I’m for it. I like diversity, who wants everybody the same, imagine everybody like me. No, and you see, not too far back, Mrs Summerhouse and myself are immigrants. My neighbour is Muslim, he lends me his tyre inflator and Mrs Summerhouse occasionally tutors their youngest son, his wife gives us food. For the life of me I can’t see the flaw in this. It’s not everybody who would lend you their tyre inflator or give you food, you know. Naive? Maybe, but it’s mine and I prefer it to the alternative isolationist position. Thought you’d like to know and even if you don’t…