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Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Here and Now ( #AtoZChallenge )



Thoughts on blogging in the present...





#AtoZChallenge 2020 badge


The team decided our theme for this month's posts here would be a take "2020 visions of blogging." This week posts focus on:
 Blogging in the Present



Here and Now

           Periodically we see the statement made that "Blogging is Dead (or dying).  I don't think so.  Since blogging is often a very personal and individualistic enterprise I think it is inevitable that some bloggers burn out, give up, or let their blogs languish on hold as a blogger waits for inspiration or ambition to rekindle. 

              What I've observed in my 10 1/2 years of blogging is that while bloggers may come and go or some seem to vanish and then reappear sometime later with their personal reason for doing so, the totality of the world of blogging remains consistent as bloggers either blog like they always have or their blogs transition and grow with the times.

              Perhaps there is an illusion of a death or diminishing of blogging on the whole because we as bloggers fall into communities where we have our circles of blogging friends that we try to visit as much as possible or who we see commenting on our blogs with a certain regularity.  The complacent blogger is limited to the world they know best and as they settle into their routine of blogging they may rarely if ever seek out new blogs.  As bloggers within a community fade away, there is a sense that the entire realm of blogging is disappearing.

            Those new blogs are out there I'm sure--I no longer dig up the new ones like I used to because I too have become a complacent lazy blogger.  If it were not for the annual A to Z Challenge, I as well as you might never encounter a blog that has been previously unknown to us.   Though I have no quantitative data to back up my claim, I think blogging remains strong in the here and now.  You might have to look outside the community in which you have become ensconced to find those new-to-you blogs.  Blogging after all involves some action on the part of you the blogger to keep finding more blogs.   As always, there are more than you will ever be able to read or explore.

         From your experience, what is the best way to find "new" bloggers?  How has your blogging community changed since you first started blogging?   Do you think blogging is dead or dying?


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Sunday, April 1, 2018

B is for Beginnings #AtoZChallenge


The Challenge has officially begun! Yesterday, we posted our first posts, kicking off a month of exciting things to share and discover. So today, it is time to Begin the other fun part of the challenge: The discovery! Go and visit others. Read their beginnings! Catch the new themes right at the start, so that you can bookmark them, follow them, collect them, and keep coming back for more each day.

For me, personally, the the second day is always the one that feels like the Beginning of the challenge. On Day 1, a flood of visitors comes to my blog to check out the very first post - so the second day is the first one when I visit back all the visitors from the day before (this is how I do it, anyway, feel free to steal the system). On the second day, with post already scheduled, I wander from blog to blog all day, and drink in all the excitement of new beginnings. Some blogs will last all month; some won't. It doesn't matter. The kickoff is full of energy, and it makes my day to be a part of it.

Here is to Beginnings! Go visit each other today!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If you like #blogging the #atozchallenge is for you! Right?

The A to Z Blogging Challenge already has nearly 700 signups, but we want more, more! This post is for those of you who haven't added your name to the list yet.

The A to Z Challenge is 26 posts on 26 days of April, on a theme of your choice, or without a theme.

The Challenge is not for you if:

1. You don't want to grow your blog audience
2. If you don't want more followers.
3. If you don't like networking.
4. If you don't like posting more than once a week or month.
5. If you don't like the alphabet (Like our very own Gary Pennick! Love you, Gary!)

With the above reasons, you're right, the A to Z Challenge is not for you. You might be fence-sitting for other reasons:

1. You're very busy in April (That's all right, really--you can schedule your posts now!)
2. You're scared by the idea of writing everyday. (It's ok, you don't have to. As above, you can pre-schedule some/ most/ all your posts)
3. You're worried you may not be able to handle all the comments that come in. (Ditto as above-- pre-write all your posts so you can comment away and respond to comments in April!)
4. You did not get many comments last time you tried. (We might have a solution for you Here)


So there you go: 8 shiny reasons for you (not) to join the challenge. For a gazillion reasons to join the challenge, check this post, and this one, and this one.

Oh, just go and sign up already!

And if you want to give us reasons (not) to join: let's have them in the comments!

--Damyanti Biswas

Monday, January 19, 2015

Turning Over A New Leaf in 2015

I'm often tempted to "Turn Over A New Leaf" when a new year arrives, aren't you?

  • Be a kinder person.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Save the world.
  • Have the best theme for AtoZ ever.
  • Floss. 

Here's how I imagine categories of folk might try to turn over a leaf or two.

Book Blogger: Begin blogging in Spanish and become as successful a blogger as Paulo Coelhos.

Novelist: Write the next Hunger Games trilogy.

Chimney Sweep: Have a good facial scrub before the singing begins.




Gardener:

Now this guy would take me literally. What better time to mulch stuff than in January. Those leaves make the earth ripe and ready for the seeds come April.

What's your new leaf? Or do you prefer to ignore the idea of fresh starts in a new year? As for me, I'm off to find a pitch fork and do some turning of the earth. I'm already itchy to plant my April crop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Making friends through Blogging


It's December, in case you hadn't noticed.  All around me people are sorting out gifts for friends and family, and making arrangements for seasonal celebrations, both in our homes and on our blogs.

One of the things that I didn't expect from the A to Z Challenge was that I'd make friends.  It seemed strange, the idea of blogging friends, but of course, once you get people you meet regularly, it's just like any other community.  You may start by passing someone in  the street.  Then you smile, or even just nod.  Then maybe something happens and you speak.  If that goes well, it may develop - you may stop and chat, and perhaps even share a coffee break if you're in the right place at the right time.

It's not until you have to do something together that it changes from an acquaintance to a friendship.  Thinking about the place I used to live, what suddenly bonded a street together was fighting an unwelcome development in the old school playing fields.  In my new home it has been building a new village hall, and setting up new activities.  On my website I made some friends through discovering shared interests during the A to Z Challenge.  Some of those are like people I've known for years and still exchange Christmas cards with - I visit during the A to Z and wonder why I don't visit more often (I could do that with the Road Trip!)  Others I follow more diligently, and love the range of their posts and the experiences they share with me - and with other readers.

BookElves AnthologyI've had two experiences that I really wanted to share - things that I feel have made a real difference to me, and I hope you will find the equivalent in your blogging lives.  The first was when a writer, Sally Harris, invited twelve of us to join her in a Valentines Day project - putting out a chapter of our books in one volume, with a puzzle hidden within it.  Readers who solved it were eligible for a draw for a major prize.  Working with these other authors has led on to other projects - this year we brought out an anthology of short stories for readers aged 8 and over, the BookElves Anthology Volume 1.  One of my 'physical' friends asked about the 'Volume 1' bit.  I just love the optimism of thinking it might be the start of something regular, worth repeating.  I hope so, anyway.  If you write, I hope you find a community you feel you can work with on projects too.

The other experience I wanted to share was the fun and friendship I gained by being one of co-host Damyanti's team for the 2014 A to Z Challenge.  I worked closely with six other blogging enthusiasts (and most of us write), and we still share our activities and support each other's blogs.  You saw last month that the Challenge 2015 co-host team has been announced.  They will all need minions, so if you feel you want to get involved, do.  I assure you it'll be worth it.  You'll make some real friends.  Even if you never meet them face to face!

Thank you all for your interest through this year, and very best wishes for 2015.

Have you made friends through blogging?  Tell all!

Jemima Pett writes fantasy for younger readers in the Princelings of the East series, and is working on an adult scifi series. Read her blog, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Blog?



When I first started my blog, I did it just to see what blogging was. I knew so little that I fumbled around just trying to figure out how to first format it, and then second, what to put in it.
Later, when I was ready to publish my first novel, I became mercenary in my intentions. I wanted to sell books.  The blog became about selling and getting my name out into the Internet universe.
Over the last three years I’ve become more serious in my intent. I’ve discovered that blogging is truly my journal. It isn’t just about selling or getting my name out there anymore, though both of those are still very important to me.
Instead, I’ve learned a few lessons, as we all do, along the way. Like, I want feedback. I want people to read my blog because they find it interesting and/or informative enough to follow “me.” I need to express my emotions and/or thoughts sometimes, to let them breathe outside of my self.  And yes, I want people to read my novels, to be curious as to where my ideas come from, or where they can find out more about a certain subject I’ve written about, perhaps the real life aspect of an issue. But most of all I’ve found I love blogging. I didn’t think I would so much, but I do.
Below is a link to an article on blogging that seemed to hit my nail right on the head.
Why are you a blogger?

Lisa Buie-Collard is an new member of the A to Z Team and is excited about all she's learning "behind the scenes." She posts on her blog which can be found through the link on lisabuiecollard.com


Image from:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blogging Under the Influence

A lot of the decisions we make for our blogs are based on the views, interests and behaviors of outside forces, whether we realize it or not. These forces are influential in almost everything bloggers do -- from the design of our blogs to the frequency of posts we make and maybe even the platforms we choose to use. Here are some factors that play a part in our habit of blogging under the influence of our immediate and distant surroundings.

The Personal Interests behind your Blogging
A person’s favorite colors, bands, hobbies, foods and the like are all personal interests that can have an impact on how he or she blogs. It is worth considering the possibility that incorporating blogging elements based on the things, people and places you love tends to give your blog more personality and make you more relatable to readers. The design of our dear late great Tina Downey’s Life is Good blog has sunflowers and flamingos on display, as they are among the greatest forms of living organisms she favored most. This is an example of how bloggers make a blog their own while also creating a way for visitors to familiarize themselves with the space and person behind it, even before reading a single word that we write.

Your Blog Visitors and Readers
The people who visit, read and comment on our blogs also influence how we manage our little corners of the online world. Chances are slim that posts will be frequent if you don’t think anyone is reading your blog. On the flipside, you might be more likely to keep a consistent blogging schedule or at least post more often if there are people visiting your posts to discuss whatever you have presented to them. Our readers also impact the topics that we blog about and how we deliver this information. When similar questions related to the A-to-Z Challenge arose among various participants – such as categories and Adult Content, some A-to-Z Challenge Co-Hosts centered our blog posts on subject matters that addressed these concerns.

The Topic(s) You Blog About
If your blog focuses on a certain topic (writing, fitness, books, music, food, art, etc.), or several thereof, this tends to influence other elements of your blogging – from the fonts and colors that you use to the overall tone of the blog. For example, the dark background and glowing text on Jeremy Hawkins’ Being Retro blog is very reminiscent of Halloween and other creepy cool stuff. This works well for his blog because he writes about zombies, comics and monsters. The same type of color and font choices would likely be off-putting for a blogger who wrote about…say…bird-watching or the history of Jamaicans in the Olympics.

Your Favorite Blogger(s)
Anyone who has been blogging for a while knows there are times when we make decisions for our blogs based on what someone else is doing with his or her blog. Have you ever noticed a layout, style, social media button, sharing banner, design or blog post topic on another blog and then adapted that very same thing for your own, because you liked it so much? Sometimes our favorite bloggers that we look up to (or we think are just doing it right) inspire us to make changes or updates to our blog that wouldn’t have even been considered if they didn't do it first.

Anyone who has participated in the A-to-Z Challenge after seeing other bloggers they know signing up is a prime example of others in the blogosphere having influence on when and how you blog. If you've ever written a blog post in response to another blogger, that right there shows that someone else had an impact on your blogging decisions. A few years ago, one of my blog friends posted photos of his movie collection and invited readers to do the same with an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” persuasion. Welcoming the invitation, I not only posted a photo of my messy batch of VHS tapes and DVDs but I also took the subject matter a bit further, responding to his original post by blogging about My Top Ten Independent Films. This is an example of how our favorite blogger(s) can influence the topics of the next blog post we make.

Statistics and Trends in the Blogosphere
Common technical and behavioral factors such as turning Word Verification on (or off), having music on auto-play, responding to comments and page-load times are things that affect our blogging decisions. Knowing that people are less likely to return visit or comment on your blog if it requires them to sign into Facebook or perform some other annoying task, will determine the features that you choose to implement for readers. Bloggers who place importance on engagement and interacting with their readers will be mindful of the trends that work against their blogging goals versus those that help them. The flipside of that would be bloggers who place their own interests above the visitors, and thus, would only receive a smaller sector of visitors who are members of whatever platform they limit the blog to.

What influences YOUR blogging decisions the most?

Are there any other influential factors that YOU think play a part in how someone blogs?


A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers discusses the misadventures in cinema at The Madlab Post. She is currently supporting the American Red Cross and chatting with funny folks on @MadlabPost on Twitter.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Can we blog from Aardvark to Zebra?

Dylan at work
Some time last month my guinea pig Dylan announced he was going to do the A to Z Challenge next year.  He wouldn't be the first guinea pig, since Victor took part in 2012, doing the A to Z of guinea pig food.  Dylan hasn't come up with a theme yet, but I think if he does, he's going to need some help.

Victor made a lot of friends with other animals on the A to Z challenge that year.  There was Dreamweaver, The Mane Point, and Rob Bear, who comes out of hibernation around then to do his blog Chrome on the Range.  I don't think he kept up with them for very long, but time flies when you're a guinea pig.

Last year I noticed that my good friend and fellow A2Z minion Guilie Castillo has a second blog called Life In Dogs.  It's about dog rescues - which she does in Mexico, but also about cat rescues and any animal rescues at all.  She set up a linky for other pet bloggers on the A2Z which I thought was a wonderful way of getting special interest sites together.  If she does it again next year then I'll tell Dylan to sign up for it, as well as the main challenge, and the Theme Reveal, and all those other extras that go with being part of the A to Z Challenge in April.

Are there any Aardvarks or Zebras blogging out there who would like to get involved in the A2Z Pet Network?

*** 

Last week was a painful reminder for me of the good reasons for backing up your blog.  Mine was out of action (although readable by viewers) for nearly a week after a conflict in upgrades gave me no back office/dashboard access.  Faced with the prospect of rebuilding it, I looked for my last back up.  I can do a simple posts export which is the easiest way of keeping content - and in a useable format should I need to change hosts.

I last saved my posts on April 17th - presumably the date I had all my A2Z posts done for the month.  So if things had gone wrong then, all my posts were ready and scheduled.  It's a good reason to schedule posts anyway - you never know when the gremlins are going to hit you!

Given that I'll be away for a week at the end of March, I think I'll have to do most of my April posts before then.  Schedule, and back-up (or save off line).  It's the only way to get peace of mind.

Dylan had better start planning his posts now - then I can back up his blog too!

What about you?  Any interest in pet blogging?  Done a back-up lately?

Jemima Pett blogs at jemimapett.com, and is on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  She has written the Princelings of the East series (whose characters are guinea pigs) and is working on a new scifi series, the first of which, The Perihelix, Viridian System #1, will be out in 2015.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Season of Blogging

Do you know what it's like to sometimes feel like there’s not enough time in the day to post new content? Those of us who have had blogs for longer than a year have likely become broken down at one time or another, for one reason or another, in the struggle to keep our blogs going. Once it starts, the wave of procrastination, doubt and lack of interest in blogging can make us believe that our world doesn’t have room for our blogs at the moment.

It’s like a blogging breakdown happens, especially when writer’s block has reared its ugly head….again. Yet, it’s rarely noticeable as dirty dishes are piled mountain high in the kitchen sink because all the time spent working for the man required overtime this week. Plus, laundry needs to be done, dinner must be served and little Jimmy has baseball tryouts this weekend. Then there’s that sudden feeling technology overload once the cell phone starts ringing, alarms go buzzing and social media notifications pop up on the little screen. Oh wait…“The Real Housewives of Orange County” is coming on tonight and, well, the mere thought of blogging just elicits one big sigh, or maybe even a sense of sheer panic. 

Updating ones blog used to be a fun activity but now it just seems sooo last season. If this sounds like you and if you ever find yourself neglecting your blog or letting it fall by the wayside because, hey, life happens after all, remember this…
There is no right season or special sauce that determines when the time is right to get back into the swing of blogging.

As bloggers, we have to constantly work at putting out fresh content, out of respect for our readers, the platforms that we’ve built and for ourselves. We must find a way to make blogging fun again. This can be done by approaching our blog in a way that is hassle free, given our schedule and interests.

Maybe time and life duties won’t allow you to write that epic blog post today but what’s stopping you from posting a photo and a simple caption? Or perhaps, a roundup style blog post containing links to other bloggers that may be of interest to your readers? Or, maybe list style posts describing all of the things/people/places keeping you from blogging like a rockstar?

Blogging is never out of season, so we must do what we can to make sure that our corner of the web is always trending.

What are YOUR blogging struggles that YOU would like to overcome?

Nicole Ayers is an A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host who operates The Madlab Post and chats on Twitter. Her short narrative drama film “ABYSS: THE GREATEST PROPOSAL EVER,” is available on DVD (Limited Sneak PreviewEdition) as she works further relief efforts for disaster survivors including U.S. Military Veterans. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Does Your blog mean to You? #blogging

A to Z Challenge is about promoting the blogging community-- we're all bloggers here-- a friendly, supportive bunch, who would like to help each other grow.

That's the purpose of this A to Z blog-- to give voice to other bloggers, to promote their work, to give advice and support, to feature guest bloggers, and foster a sense of community.

This clarity of vision is very important when blogging-- bloggers need to clearly understand what the goals of their blogs are. Their mission statements, if you like.

It could be random, it could have a niche, but every blog needs to mean something to its owner, in order to thrive. Both my blogs, six-years old each, are my playground-- Amlokiblogs is all about writing and reading, whereas Daily (w)rite has become about questions and answers-- I often have weird or useful questions, and I look to my audience to educate me, give me answers.

So what does your blog mean to you? What is is about? Fire away in the comments!


Friday, March 14, 2014

10 Reasons to Join the A – Z Challenge

Here are 10 solid reasons for any and every blogger to join the A – Z Challenge.

Fun Factor: It’s a whole lot of fun. That’s right! It’s like going to a carnival in Blog Land. All you have to do is what you already do so well…blog. Okay, so you have to blog everyday, but what would a true challenge be, if you never had to see what you were made of?

Exploration: You get to explore all the wonderful topics you might think about sharing on your blog. Then you get to see how lots of visitors respond to them. Use the data to help you determine how to maximize your page views and comments. With so many visitors dropping by, you simply don’t want to pass up this opportunity.

Discover: There’s no time like the present to get out of your comfort zone and discover new and exciting blogs. Bloggers work hard to share valuable and important information with their audience. You get to discover who they are, what they share and how their work might benefit you with your own goals and hobbies.

Promotion: Joining the A – Z Challenge is automatic promotion! With so many participants, your blog gets a whole lot of attention from all sorts of people. Take it a step further and make your blog the best it can be, because the sky is the limit with potential like this.

Marketing: Joining the A – Z Challenge is an easy marketing strategy. You can share your skills, let people know what you do besides blogging and network like crazy.

Make Friends: Blogging revolves around building positive relationships with other bloggers. Joining the A – Z Challenge is a perfect opportunity to make new blogging friends, people who will be your friends long after the Challenge is over, if you take this opportunity.

Learn: There’s so much information out there, things that truly help us. The A – Z Challenge is a one size fits all grand learning opportunity. If you’re interested in writing, photography, how to become a better blogger, cooking, gardening etc., you need only check the categories and pursue your learning desires.

Increase Page Views: Sign up and watch the traffic come your way, especially in April when all the participants start hopping and commenting. Become a valued blog hopper yourself, and they’ll increase even more.

Get Noticed: You never know who might discover your blog through the A – Z Challenge. It could be your future boss, or someone who could introduce you to your next big adventure in life. Blogging in the A – Z Challenge gets you noticed, because our team isn’t just blogging. We’re tweeting, facebooking and doing all sorts of sharing to exercise our bragging rights. Just look at some of the post about other bloggers on our own blog, or browse the <100 Followers page. We put our best foot forward, making this one of the best and largest blog hops on the web.

We’d Love to Meet You: That’s right! We want to know who you are and what you blog about. We want to visit your posts, get to know you better and include you in our vast circle of friends. C’mon now! Who could pass up an invitation like that?

Thanks for stopping by and joining the Challenge! It’s a whole lot of fun, and we’re so glad you’re as excited as we are for the festivities to begin!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Mila Ranta, Parrot Stamp, CCA-Share Alike 2.5

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Get to Know Me, An Unconventional Librarian #atozchallenge

You're probably wondering what a librarian has to do with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, right? It's simple; librarians like information and the Blogging Challenge is a giant repository of information! One thing you learn in library school is that information wants to be free, which I thoroughly agree with.  Blog hopping is full of free resources that help enrich my life. I'm a student of life and am always wanting to learn something from someone, ANYWHERE.



And speaking of learning, can I tell ya a bit about myself? A very long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I earned a BS in English writing, technical writing to be exact. Don't know what that is? Sure you do, read the how-to manual of any gadget you buy.  A technical writer wrote that.  I took that degree and quickly moved to Texas from PA to work for the US government. While in Texas


  • I learned how to shoot a gun
  • I drove a flight simulator
  • I fingerprinted people
  • I worked on a NASA project that invented voice activated technology
  • Met an astronaut 
  • Worked with a governor
  • Got stopped at the Texas/Mexico border
  • Became a mother 
  • Learned to drive

What have I learned from all of these experiences? I've learned that life is too short not to try everything at least once and that Texas really is a whole 'nother country. Once back up North with my Yankee family, I:

  • Became a certified teacher
  • Became a certified librarian
  • Learned Czech
  • Traveled to Prague
  • Taught preschool
  • Wear a tiara to work
  • Sang in French at a French monastery
  • Read over 100 books last year
Have you learned enough about me yet? My love of learning keeps me motivated every day. That's why I love blogging and the A to Z Challenge; it's like Texas, it's a whole 'nother country blog hop! 

What do you love about the A to Z Challenge?

Friday, January 31, 2014

#Blogging for #atozchallenge : To Theme or Not To Theme?

You're all signed up for the A to Z Challenge. (If you aren't, go on, run and do it, I'll wait.)

One of the questions doing the rounds:  

What do I blog about? Does it all have to be about the same thing?

Short Answer: No, but it helps to have a theme.

You can just post on your blog 26 different things for 26 days of April, and you've still won the challenge. 

Some folks do it each month of the year (-- they even do 31 posts a month, don't ask me how, I do about 8. Ok, maybe 10 if I'm feeling productive).

If you're one of those daily bloggers, and have an established audience, I would still recommend an A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme. If you're not, I'll recommend a theme.

WHY? 


  • Because a theme sticks in the minds of people, aka, your visitors. 
  • A blog challenge is about building community-- so if folks remember you from you challenge posts, they'll be blog friends for longer. 
  • You also have to do less work in some cases, because once you thoroughly research a topic, your posts come that much easier! 
  • Niche audience: It is important to attract the core audience of your blog, because they'll remain loyal due to their interest in a particular topic-- and if you blog on that topic for the #atozchallenge , you can be sure to attract a regular band of followers.

So, if you wish you can blog without a theme. I'm only saying Blogging for A to Z challenge might be so much more effective for your blog if you have a theme!  


And if you do have a theme, you may choose to reveal it on March 21st through the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal 2014, hosted by Anna Tan Csenge,  Zalka, Guilie Castillo Oriard , Samantha Geary Jones and Vidya Sury.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Internet Nation – d’Verse Open Link Night

By M. J. Joachim

Linking up with d’Verse Open Link Night.



Blog away, blog away
That’s what we do
Sharing a thought
Inspiration too


Never you mind
Of your passion or station
That’s how we roll
In this Internet Nation

Captured by blog hops
Oh, so much fun
Posts overflowing
We’re never quite done

Like laundry and dishes
They keep coming back
Addicting and challenging
As we build up our stack

Thank you for visiting and commenting on the A – Z Blog today! We look forward to seeing you again real soon!

The A – Z Blog Team

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Jeff Ogden, Internet Users by Language Pie Chart (April 2012), CCA – Share Alike 3.0

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sylvia Villalobos: Why Do We Blog?





I’m relatively new to blogging (seven months or so), and still learning about this fascinating world filled with communities and challenges and stories. Great personal stories. As I make my way through the blogosphere, I discover equally interesting places from faraway countries and old neighborhoods. I discover a lot of other things, but will focus on the first-mentioned aspects of blogging.

So, why do we blog?  To share our stories, I would say, but that’s hardly the only reason. Perhaps to promote a product, establish our writing, build a platform, express our creativity, be part of communities.

Some communities are so well organized (and crowded), I can’t bring myself to be commenter number 189. Does the large number of comments affect the blogger’s personal rapport with followers? I don’t know. I’m asking.

What I do know is that not having a blog is a thing of the past.  Since I like to write, I started blogging when I was told no writer is without a blog nowadays. So far so good, but are we blogging because everyone else is or for reasons that will last?

According to quora.com most blogs are abandoned soon after creation, with 60-80% abandoned within one month, and many surviving blogs are not regularly updated.  That may mean nothing to the serious blogger, but in the world of data those are large numbers.

On the other hand, the longest running blog, according to newswireless.net, belongs to Rupert Goodwins who started blogging in 1996. Now that’s staying power and dedication -- seventeen years of blogging. I’d like to think staying power is one of the goals. Otherwise, it seems like a lot of work and dedication gone to waste. A long-standing and active blog, it appears, stands on two pillars: great content and persistence. Since blogs are similar to personal journals, as a new blogger I find posts with personal touches most inviting.

For a time I thought blogging was something young people did, another aspect of the social media revolution. It didn’t take long to learn that’s not the case. Some of my favorite posts are written by bloggers transformed by life experiences. Not long ago, I read a post titled Good Girl Disease, by Doreen McGettigan. I think you’ll be moved by this true-life story. I was.

So, what is it that makes you blog?  And what motivates you to blog often?   

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About the author: Silvia lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Her stories have appeared at Fiction365Red Fez, and Pure Slush.  She is currently working on her mystery novel, Stranger or Friend.   

Monday, June 24, 2013

MaryAnn Millington: Fitting In

From our beginnings most of us are trying to fit in, in one way or another.  Sometimes within our family dynamics.  Often at school where clicks are around every corner.  Usually at work, trying to fit in to the office politics.  For me all of the above is true and after all these years I feel like I am still trying to fit in.

Back in November of 2012 I started my blog on a whim, really trying to get some exposure for my Etsy shop.  My intent was to feature my designs and maybe some HOW TO, instructions.  Well something really crazy happened along the way.  I found I loved to write.  So instead of featuring my items I was writing about my life and then one day in February, I  fell upon the A to Z Challenge.

I immediately asked myself:
Can I really find something to write about everyday?
Where do I fit in to the writing world?

So, my quest to fit in returned but I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.  There were suggestions on the A to Z blog to pick a theme which would make it easier but I could not really think of something that I was interested in to write about everyday.  So I just decided to wing it.  I started making an A to Z list of topics that would correspond to the letter hoping that would help my thought processing going forward.  I even wrote a few ahead of time, thinking this would give me a good head start. At first it did help but in the end, as is my way, I just blogged about what just came to mind a few days before or sometimes the day before.  It certainly was brain taxing at times.  Midway through I was ready to throw in the towel but I just kept going and was happy and proud to finish.  I even started an everyday May challenge but by day twenty I got blog block and decided that I had, had it.

I totally enjoyed visiting others like PoketheRock and Pigeonhousehandmade but as I visited other blogs the burning question for me was still where do I fit in?  I am certainly not an author or want to be one.  I am a crafter but I love to also write so I really do not fit in there.  I love home decor and like to sometime display my home improvements but I am really not part of that group.  I have grown children so I am way past how to keep your children busy during summer vacation blogs.

So the question returns Where do I fit in?

Still really not sure but I am having fun writing, meeting new people and learning lots of new things along the way.

MaryAnn, you fit in right here with us: The alphabet loving, April Challenge folks! So glad you joined us in April, and thanks for being here today.
~Tina


Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging is a VERB



And then we blog…

We write. We edit. We post.

And then we blog…

We socialize, network and engage in the community.

Blogging in a bubble is like cooking without eating the meal.

And then we blog…

We read other blogs, meet and get to know other bloggers, join and participate in blog hops.

See what I mean? We blog.

Dishes can wait. We’re blogging. Blogging is a verb – an action word that requires participation.

Making it hard for active bloggers to comment on your blog is like doing the dishes when you’re entertaining company. Sure, you can get away with it, but why would you be so rude to your guests?

On that note, here’s a brief list explaining why some people might not comment on your blog…

  • It takes too long to find your post. As serious as I am about blogging, there’s one thing I know to be true. Blogs are blogs. When I get to your page, I don’t want to click another link to read your post. I’m sure it will be very interesting and all that, but reading your post isn’t about giving you page views. It’s about reading what you wrote on your blog.


  • You wrote a friggin’ novel! Again, it’s a blog…especially when we’re all hopping around like flying trapeze artists, hoping not to miss any step (or blog) along the way during some of these gigantic blog hops. Save it for your ebook already, and post a blog post, without apologies for writing more words than I could write in a week. (And I write a lot of words every week too!)


  • Avoid misleading your audience by title or post. If your title promises to give a how-to on peeling oranges, I’m probably not going to want to read about dealing with grumpy co-workers. I’m certainly not expecting to anyway.


  • Check your ego at the post. Um, I’m sure your post will be great, but I’m not coming back to see what you wrote about something in two or three days, just because you were too busy to write your post for today’s blog hop. As much as you want me to appreciate your busy blogging schedule, it would be nice if you would appreciate mine too. Remember, blogging is a verb.


  • Skip the hoops already and make it easy for people to comment on your blog. I’ve commented on your blog time and time again. Yet I still have to fill out my name, email and website every time I visit you. At what point will you acknowledge my effort to leave you nice comments? I spent several minutes reading your post and now I can’t find where to leave a comment. Make it easy. Put the “Post a comment” at the bottom of the post (along with sharing tabs), just in case you said something my friends might want to read too. Captcha – think I said it all in this post on the subject.


It’s only a few days til we’re all in a mad rush to post and comment on well over 1,000 blogs in the A – Z Challenge blog hop. Hey, we’re all in this together and blogging is a verb!

Here’s to a successful A – Z Challenge for all!

M. J.

Photo credits:  Blog – commentskkkkk; Cortega9, CCA; blog iconoiiiiiii, Cortega9, CCA; Blog (1), Cortega9, CCA

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the Survey Says...




I was a big fan of Family Feud growing up...and I've been formulating a bit of a survey in the back of my head as I read the wonderful guest posts here and observe the interactions between bloggers and readers and writers and others who drop by. We thank you ALL for visiting. The A-Z is NOT just for writers. There just happen to be a lot of us who joined. However, it is an event for BLOGGERS.

So to all you BLOGGERS out there...here's your chance to participate in the behind the scenes survey that they revealed the results of on the show. Of course, the answers will be public, but if necessary, I will do a follow up post tallying the answer should there be (gasp!) so many comments (I hope..) that you can't possibly read them all.

Please read each question carefully. Some will sound a bit alike. Are you ready?By the way, no right or wrong answers, just hoping to start a dialogue, or perhaps if I get lucky, a knock-down, drag out DEBATE! I love those comment chains...so lay it on us, total truth please:

  1. AS A BLOGGER, how do you interact with your commenters?

  2. AS A COMMENTER, what is your preferred method of being noticed for taking the time to leave a comment?

  3. Now here's the rub: are those answers the same? Why or why not?

  4. Do you tend to read blogs that are similar to yours, say a writer learning from another how to market well, or to get tips, etc?

  5. Do you read a variety of blogs, and if so why?

  6. How do you decide who goes in your blog roll in your side-bar? Is it ALL the blogs you follow?

  7. Do you return follow just based on unspoken etiquette principle, or is there more to your decision?

  8. To you have link back signature? If not, why? If yes, why?

Also, please feel free to only answer the ones you're interested in, but for survey tallying, please number your answers for this math nerd. I do love long, rambly comments, but for the sake of my purpose here...please play along according to my admittedly, totally, control-freak bossy tendencies.

As Brenda (The Closer) would say, “Thank you, thank you so much!” Or something. I've only watched one episode and am hooked. In my netflix queue. Feel free to correct my quote...


If you don't me well enough, in your opinion, please pay me a visit. I blog here @ Life is Good.  I have a fairly decent "About Me" tab.

If you missed my April 2012 A-Z Challenge "Postcards from Sweden", it's not too late to read those either ;-)


Tina

P.S Of course I'll answer all of these myself. But at the end of the day so as to not influence the totally truthful results. Snork.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is Blogging Obsolete?

In explaining what blogging is all about to a new blogger, I realized more strongly than ever before that we bloggers are a community. We chat, we talk, we listen, we lend each other a hand, we are the performers and the audience rolled into one.

Many of my friends have shut down their blogs, and moved on to twitter-- blogging is dead, they say. Too many talkers, talk for too long-- no one listens.

But I know different. Blogging will survive, in one form or the other, because we as humans have the need to discuss, debate, sympathize, rant, explore and so many other things-- not all of which can be done all the time to our satisfaction in 140 characters.

The A to Z Challenge was proof enough for me that we bloggers as a community love to mingle and hold forth on anything and everything under the sun-- from meatloaves to metaphysics.

Has anyone told you blogging is obsolete? Do you agree?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Alphabet Remix - Juggling Jennifers in April

These A to Z Challenge blogging ideas are brought to you by Nicole from The Madlab Post...

It’s time for The Alphabet Remix - A Writing Prompt Idea Engine Treating A to Z Blogging Avoidance Disorders

Just because several other bloggers have written about the same topic, for the same letter during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge does not mean you cannot blog about this same subject too. There are many ways to avoid looking like you just jumped on the bandwagon of A to Z participants who chose a common or popular topic that is now being blogged into the ground because everyone is talking about the same thing in the same way. Instead of choosing a different subject, especially if the popular or common topic interests you, try putting a spin on it by writing posts that are related to the subject but has enough variety to stand out among the crowd.

If you are a comic book, film, Robert Downey Jr. or superhero fan and notice that many, if not most A to Z Challenge bloggers wrote a movie review for The Avengers as their Letter A post, then don’t just dismiss the idea of using The Avengers as your subject of choice. Instead, try writing a comparison of all of The Avengers, pitting them against each other in a hypothetical battle. Write about who you think would win in a fight between Iron Man and Captain America.

Still stumped for ideas? Here are some examples, based on Actresses named Jennifer, that you can use to get your blogging juices flowing for the 2013 A to Z Challenge -- and turn this common name into unexpected blog post ideas.

Jennifer Garner Jokes
Post a joke about the actress and then ask your readers if they think it’s funny or not. Don’t have time to go searching for celebrity humor? That’s fine. Here is one from Daily Comedy:

Jennifer Garner recently filed a restraining order against a man who’s been following her around.

The man...Ben Affleck!

Also, challenge readers to rewrite the joke and see who comes up with the most clever or funniest one.

You could also post a joke that was made by the actress and then share your thoughts on whether you think she was funny or not. When asked if she would post in a bikini, Garner jokingly responded to David Letterman, “Not enough double-sided tape in the world to keep everything in place.”

Judge and Jury: Controversial Remarks by Jennifers of Hollywood
Nope, this ain’t no James Patterson novel that I’m talking about today. The literary great can, however, be used as motivation for you to re-cast one of his Alex Cross movies or write a blog post that lists actors who you think would be the right fit for a film adaptation of Judge and Jury. Now getting back to this alphabet remix, consider blogging about a comment made by one of the famous Jennifers in Hollywood and share your thoughts on it. Also, open the discussion up to your readers.

When talking about juggling work, motherhood and marriage, Jennifer Lopez said “So you are going to be either a bad mom and be a really good career woman and wife; or a good mom and career woman and a bad wife; or a good mom and a good wife and your career is gonna suck. I want to get a T-shirt that says, 'Bullsh--!” -- Do YOU agree or disagree that these are the choices for women?

While discussing her squirrel-skinning scene in “Winter’s Bone,” actress and “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence told Rolling Stone Magazine “I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA. But screw PETA -- which prompted a response from the animal rights organization. -- Should we concern ourselves with fictional depictions of animal abuse or is PETA out of line?

Jazzy Juice about Jennifer Hudson
While other A to Z Challengers are listing their favorite Jennifer Hudson songs or favorite movies featuring this actress (which is fine to do, by the way), you can take a different approach to the subject matter and teach readers something about her that they didn’t know by sharing trivia facts or related news while also adding your thoughts to make it unique.

Did you know that Jennifer Hudson has her own holiday? That’s right. In 2007, the mayor of Chicago declare March 6th as “Jennifer Hudson Day.” So, write about how you would celebrate this holiday or better yet, if you could give a local celebrity his or her own holiday, who would it be and why?

Did you also know that Jennifer Hudson turned down the leading role of an abused teenager in the drama film “Precious” because she didn’t want to put on anymore weight? -- then later said the character just wasn't meant for her. In her book about weight loss, Hudson said that although she liked the script, she didn’t want another role that had something to do with her weight, after working on “Dreamgirls.” As a result, Hollywood newcomer Gabourey Sidibe was case as the “Precious” lead. That isn’t the only time this Academy Award winning actress turned down a big offer. Hudson also turned down an invitation to perform at President Obama’s inauguration, which would have been her first time in the spotlight following the murder of her mother, brother and nephew.
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Before we wrap today’s A to Z blog post up, join me for some Friday Fun Time housekeeping.
The WINNER of last week’s Alphabet Soup game is...

Tina Downey at Life is Good


Tina’s Alphabet Soup Prize Package Includes: bragging rights, the title of 'Alphabet Wizard,' the option of selecting my next Monday Movie Meme topic* AND most importantly, the authority to choose the letter for the next Alphabet Soup game.
*Must be a topic/theme that has not been previously covered.


Congratulations to Tina for unscrambling all 10 names of actors and actresses whose first name begins with the letter J! I also want to give a special shout out to Delores at The Tormented Scribe for also taking a chance and playing this game by unscrambling at least one of the names on the puzzle. Delores, you are a true sport! For those of you who played and for those of you who missed it, here are the answers to last week’s Alphabet Soup:

1. Jhcaknsooa Jus - Joshua Jackson

2. otkeacaJnsn J - Janet Jackson

3. ernnnH fidoeuJs - Jennifer Hudson

4. nferCylonJen ine - Jennifer Connely

5. tosifei nnAJrnne - Jennifer Aniston

6. errCJy mia - Jim Carrey

7. eeortJtl nuSelm - Jurnee Smollett

8. JrnOCo lelnry - Jerry O’Connell

9. NlckoncJiohas - Jack Nicholson

10. kck acaBJl - Jack Black

Need some extra blogging motivation? Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly writing and memory activity that will have you thinking about movies in a whole new light. New topics are posted every Monday!

NICOLE
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