Category Archives: First Friday

Why I’m Learning to Blog

This is the second lesson in the series “Why I’m learning to blog”. The task was to change my title and tags. I have done so.

Formally ollydownie, now  The Light At The End Of The Tunnel, Is Probably A Train.

A lengthy title I know. I was warned against this but I did it anyway. Clearly I’m a rebel without bounds. Ive also used caps for every word and I put a comma in. I’m not against using commas but I was warned recently about using dot dot dot (…) at the end of a sentence. I always loved using …,  because I was under the impression it caused a level of suspense or mystery. Maybe, maybe not…

Feedback most welcome.

Why I’m Learning to Blog.

This is the first lesson in a series of tasks that I’ve been set, to learn the processes on the WordPress blog site.

The reasons I write are varied. I’d like to write more, I’d like to be read and have my articles commented upon. I guess to be recognised as a valuable contributor to whatever topic I’m contributing to, is some kind of validation of my experience and skills.

I recently wrote a long running column in a motorcycle magazine called Heavy Duty. This is a Harley Davidson enthusiast magazine and although I had owned several Harleys over the years, I had just bought a Victory motorcycle. This brand of motorcycle were brand new in Australia, having opened the doors on the fabulous Melbourne dealership in 2011 and as I knew the owner of Heavy Duty magazine, I simply asked him if I could write a Victory column.

He agreed, and as the Victory parent company Polaris, advertised in the magazine, we thought it would be a great adjunct.

I went on to write the column “Victory Speech” for about 4 years. I also managed to write several test ride articles for the magazine over this period. All my contributions to the magazine were gratis, except the very last article, for which I was paid $100.

Prior to this, in 1992, I was invited to write a column in the Sunday Age. This column was called “Tool Time With Olly Downie”. This was where my skills as a residential building contractor were called into action. I had at the time, recently renovated a home for a woman who was a sub-editor of the Melbourne based “The Age” newspaper. She asked if I could write. I quickly decided that I could, having just successfully written to the tax department, asking for a fine to be disallowed. As my request was successful, I naturally based the decision on my literary skills, less so on the argument that the reason for the fine was unfair…

However, she asked me to write a thousand words on the subject of what would I suggest to a new home owner, to assemble as a home tool kit, the contents of “the bottom drawer”.

After spending an afternoon with a staff photographer, that first article was published with almost no corrections, into a weekly publication with hundreds of thousands of readers……Many more articles like this followed.

This is the nub of my writing career, if it can be described as a career. I haven’t really made any money apart from my small stint with the Sunday Age. I enjoy writing, I love the challenge of belting out 1000 words with a 2 hour deadline. I thoroughly enjoy the satisfaction that comes with a well written piece. There are many more small stories to pen and I assume that many more will come with this fundamentals blogging course.