Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Doldrums Hit Your Blog? Here's an Idea...

How is your blog doing this summer?  Hit a snag?  A rough patch?  Having trouble keeping on keeping on?  You may have hit the doldrums.  You've probably heard the expression, but do you know where it comes from?  Since I'm there myself, stuck in the doldrums, I thought I'd look it up and share.

The Merrium Webster dictionary defines it as:

Full Definition of DOLDRUMS

:  a spell of listlessness or despondency
often capitalized :  a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
:  a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

Wikipedia offers us (abbreviated by me)

Colloquially, the "doldrums" are a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness or stagnation

The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage, in which it refers to those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm.

The doldrums are also noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks.

I had thought that sailing was involved somewhere in there, and I was right.  Just reading about sailing cheered me up a bit.

What does this have to do with your blog?  Well I hit upon an idea that I thought I'd share.  My blog schedule is three times a week, so I decided that once a week I'd write an episode in a series.  I chose my college days as the topic.  Yes, I'm writing true, sometimes embarrassing stories of some of my college adventures.

Having the topic decided for at least once a week has helped me a LOT.  I have no end of material, considering, well, how coordinated I am, how naturally, socially savvy I was back then (was not...) and the stupid things that my roommates used to do.

I'm not saying that you have to have the kind of a blog that writes the naked truth about your life for this this to work, but is there a topic that could be a recurring theme once a week?

Of course you could choose a real-life series if that fits your style, and here are some ideas:

- my first year as a parent

- my first year as a (name of job)

- the horrors of working in a fast food establishment (haven't we all had to endure that?)

- the life lessons I learned from being a (fill in the blank)

If your blog isn't that style, maybe you could do once a week:

- how to...and pick something that fits your category of blog

- organizational ideas for your (name of room)

- my new favorite song, and include a YouTube clip

- I found this great, but unknown movie...

- My favorite beach combing finds

- The best thing I ever ate (thanks Food Network)

If you're stuck in the doldrums, having the topic decided for at least once a week might help.  Just a suggestion.  Come on over to Life is Good if you'd like to know how I experienced college...series usually runs on Mondays, but it might be Tuesday this week. After all, it's my blog, and like a good friend told me, "Will the world end if you for one week don't have a Monday post?"  (The answer is: it won't.  It just feels like that if you're a Schedule Woman like me...)

~Tina, who may or may not finish tomorrow's College Life series episode...and maybe the world WILL end, but I haven't seen any zombies I'm thinking not...

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Jo said...

All good ideas. Of course I write 5 days a week plus so have even more problems.

Mason Canyon said...

Some great tips for topics.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I am so pleased I don't struggle for ideas .. but quite understand how it can happen -

Great post though ... and sometimes a break is a necessity ... looking forward to your next College series update .. cheers Hils

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions, Tina. I will come back and use some of these. I'm not in the doldrums, I'd just rather be outside than blogging. In fact, why don't we go sailing... Carter Lake ?!? With the wind we've been having it'd "be a breeze!"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since I post about movies, music, books, and entertainment, there's no end to the ideas...

JoJo said...

Those are all great ideas for stories. I guess I just figured people wouldn't be interested in my stories about college and whatnot. I've lead a really interesting life (I think so anyway) but I figured no one would care. I have a few posts drafted that I keep putting forward by many months b/c my crafts and day trips end up taking so much time!

Tina said...

@ Jo: how you manage to get something fresh and fun up there so dependably is amazing to me. You could do a series of basic cooking techniques since you're such a good cook. Some people don't know what "saute for 10 minutes" means. You give us all those recipes, maybe lessons to go along? Just a thought.

@Mason: You kinda have a series going with your guest posters...I sure enjoy hearing others share their writing "secrets"! Of course reading about the new releases is helpful, too. Not so much to my budget, though... ;-)

@ Hilary: yeah, you'll never run out of topics! Always something new to learn at your place!

@ bemuzin: yes, let's sail! Carter Lake would be great. You bringing the boat? ;-) It's 1/2 hour from here...

@ Alex: yeah, Ninja Captain, you already have multiple series going... ;-)

@ JoJo: I love reading about people's lives! You already do have series going, just not officially. We get craft tips (and the fun pictures) and we get tours of great towns (and great pictures). We also get pictures from your childhood every once in a while ~ I for one would love to hear more about your life! Bring it on!

Tina @ Life is Good
On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

cleemckenzie said...

I like the list. In fact, I'm in love with all lists these days. They help me out when the big D's hit. Thanks, Tina.

Li said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Li said...

I hit on roughly the same idea. Since I write fiction, I thought I'd start a serial story to run all summer. I'm writing seat-of-the-pants, once a week, and forgetting about word count, editing, etc. (Except for typos and basic grammar, of course.) It's working out well, since there's no pressure and yet the self-enforced deadline of having something by Friday keeps me from chucking writing completely and just lying in the hammock drinking lemonade. ;-)

Greetings From Toadsuck
(Speaking of typos, sorry about the deleted comment above.

Li said...

I don't know what saute, braise or wilt entail. I thought they were synonyms for "burn it on the outside".

Jo said...

Sounds like Tina is right I should write about actually cooking and how it's done.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Always a good plan. :)

Pickleope said...

This is a great suggestion. I also liked the suggestions within the suggestion. Like a Russian doll of good blogging tips.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas. Yeah, I get so stuck sometimes. The series is a really neat idea. I can't wait to read about your college adventures! Lord, I don't know if I'd want to admit to half the stuff I did way back then... :) Thanks Tina!

Click said...

I found this method has worked really well from me.

I've got a schedule along the lines of:
Sunday - A 'Weekly Rundown' post usually talking about what I've been up to that week (places I've been, things I've been watching/reading, etc.)
Monday - Usually about something I've been doing, e.g. knitting, occasionally a TV series I've been watching, stuff I'm planning on my blog - Mondays are changeable.
Tuesday - Book Review
Wednesday - 'Wordless Wednesday' - a photo post, I usually take my camera out every few weeks and take a whole bunch of photos so I've got plenty of choice for this.
Thursday - Day Zero Project posts, though I've been coming to the end of these now (they've lasted me well over a year!) but I've recently picked up Keri Smith's 'Wreck This Journal' and 'Finish This Book' so I'm planning a series of posts about those next.
Friday - I've started doing a Chapter-by-Chapter Review series where I review the Series of Unfortunate Events books one chapter at a time, but the realisation that I was going to be reviewing them for the next three years led me to post these several afternoons with a double dose on Fridays.
Saturday - Film Review - inspired by the chapter-by-chapter idea I've been doing a kind of liveblog thing while I watch a film, noting down what I'm thinking as I watch; these tend to be long so one film can give me enough material for 3-5 weeks!

Last year's A to Z Challenge prompted me to post every day. Now I'm posting eleven times a week!

Tina said...

I have not forgotten you! I've tried three times to respond to you like I did the first half, but blogger HATES me even though I'm an admin. So I'm going to just respond to each one individually. I don't like that method because it inflates the comment count and throws off the stats when half the comments are from the author of the post...but I'm way too mathematically oriented...

Tina said...

I love lists, too. Letterman's Top Ten was always a hoot...
Tina @ Life is Good
On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

Tina said...

Li - great idea! I remember my Swedish grandmother eagerly awaiting her magazines for the next part of the story!
Tina @ Life is Good
On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!