Category Archives: blogging

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

There were so many great songs running through my head as I wrote this post.  Which is not surprising to me, a person who has often bastardized song titles for the sake of blogging.  Sometimes the song drives the post; other times the post drives the song.

Today it’s The Clash.  And Old Blue Eyes.  Who did it his way.  With few regrets.  Who saw it through when there was doubt.  Who at it up and spit it out.  Who faced it all.  Who loved; who laughed; who cried.  Who had his fill.

“And now, the end is here, and so I face the final curtain…”

As I ask myself, “Has my blog run it’s course?”  “Do I have anything more to say?”

For over two and a half years I have defined myself as a blogger.  Happily.

And in the past when I read other bloggers questioning if they should continue putting words to keyboard, I would share my philosophy with them – that we should blog for ourselves; that we should blog if we get something out of it.  Whatever that something is (because it might be different for each of us).  And we should blog if it makes us happy.

And every time I said that, and throughout my life as Waisting Time, I couldn’t image not blogging.  It was my happy place.  I had tons of ideas for future posts.  The community warmed my heart.  Playing with words was fun.  So I renewed my domain name; I renewed my hosting contract.  Life went on.  I was a blogger.  Happily.

But somewhere along the way things changed.  Slowly.  Maybe unnoticed at first.  Then questioned but ignored.  Then ignored but questioned.

So, today (and for the past several weeks that it has taken me to finish drafting this post) I ask myself what, if anything, I’m getting from it.  Why am I blogging?  Do I still enjoy it?  Do I want to write more, and, if so, what do I want to write about?   Does it make me happy?  Do I still have things to say or am I talked out?  Have I done enough over-thinking about writing about my over-thinking to last a lifetime?!

The big shock of recent discovery, when I thought the sky was falling, didn’t bring this on.  It only made the questions more urgent for me.  And added more questions.  What did it make me question?  Everything and nothing.  Because not only did I now wonder if I had anything to say, but I also had to ask myself what I’d say if someone I know might be reading.  Or, maybe more importantly, what would I NOT write if someone I know might be reading.

The bottom-line truth here is that I don’t know what I want to say – i.e. write.  I’m not even sure I WANT to write.  Or talk.  Out loud.  With a potential audience.

It occurred to me that I’m having the blogger’s version of a mid-life crisis.  Or identity crisis.  But as I write that I realize that a crisis would mean some urgency to my emotions.  Some angst.  Nope.  None of that.  More like complacency.  I feel, well, dispassionate, detached, disinterested.  My blogging mojo has got up and gone.  Will it return?  Do I care?

See – lots of questions!

And then, every so often, I think about the blog.  This blog.  MY blog.  I think about writing.  But thinking doesn’t translate to action.  (Aha, rather like how it so often happens with healthy living!)  So, I have just let it be.  (Okay, add the Beatles to the list.)  And waited.  And wondered.  And lived life outside of cyberspace.

Have I missed this world in the almost-three-weeks since my last post?  Not so much.  Certainly I have NOT missed Twitter and Facebook and Klout and all that stuff.  Maybe I’ve missed YOU.  And your comments that only come if I actually publish something!  And the sense of being part of a community, the connections, the friendship, the warm fuzzies.  Yep, I’m smiling just typing about it.

If I stop blogging will I regret it?  What would I leave behind?  Will I miss it?  Or would I be happily living life without Waisting Time.  Without wasting time?

How do I want to define myself?  Have I had enough?  Has my blog served its purpose and now it’s time to move on?  Is there something still out there for me in cyberspace?  This blog?  A new blog?  No blog?

Lately I’ve been thinking about evolution.  And change.  Everything evolves.  Changes over time.  Sometimes slowly and almost imperceptibly.  Sometimes drastically, obviously, quickly.  Certainly my own life has changed in the past months and year, with my return to work after 15 years and my empty nest.  But as much as some things change, some things stay the same.

I think my “need” for blogging has changed.  But has it, could it, evolve into something else that still keeps me blogging?  Or has it evolved into extinction?

I started this blog for motivation and personal accountability.  At times it has given me that.  In spades.  And so much more that I never expected.  But the motivation and accountability aspect has diminished.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Once I needed this blog, these words, your support and advice and companionship on this journey.  And while I still LOVE the community and connections and friendships and laughter, maybe I don’t have anything left to say.

And isn’t that what it really comes down to, after all?  A blog is words.  And thoughts put to paper keyboard.  It’s not that I’m NOT thinking (and over-thinking) anymore (and, yes, I know that’s a double negative), it’s just that I’m not sure I have a need or desire to make those thoughts public.  To put those thoughts into written word.  To say or write anything about them.  Here.  Or maybe anywhere.

“Should I stay or should I go now?… This indecision’s bugging me.”

Oh, hey, wow, look – I wrote something!  Okay, I wrote a lotta something.  And I kinda enjoyed it.  Hmm.

P.S.  Much thanks for your comments, emails, concern, compliments, support, friendship, and so on and so forth.  In truth, if I stay, or if I recreate myself in a new blog, it will be as much because of YOU as it is because of me.  And if the winds of change do blow me over to a new URL, I’ll be sure to let you know, here, in case you want to make the move with me.

So, fellow bloggers, if you are inclined to share, here or privately, I’d love to know why YOU blog.  And how, if at all, you’ve evolved.  In blogging or in anything:)  See any changes coming for YOU down the road?

 

 

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That’s the Sound of My Worlds Colliding

I had always intended to blog anonymously.  Heck, when I started this venture, I didn’t even use my name.  But I also didn’t have any expectations that anyone would be reading.

My, how times change.

A few people in my real life have known about my blog almost from its inception.  For different reasons.  My husband.  My mom.  One of my sisters-in-law.  Sometimes it impacted what I wrote – made me feel censored.  Mostly I forgot that they were reading and wrote for myself and for you.  Mostly.

But just over a year ago, shock waves struck.  I almost fell out of my chair when I got a Facebook message (to my personal account) from a “real” friend and neighbor, who wrote:  “… so I was crusin’ the web… and what did I find? I found Waisting Time! … What a surprise to find it!”

What a surprise indeed!  I was flabbergasted.  I was scared.  If she found me, anyone could.  And who might she tell?  Eek!  I might be walking down the street (okay, not really, but maybe walking down the aisles of the local grocery store) and the person who waved as they passed might have just read my blog.  Or even worse, might be examining (and judging) the contents of my shopping cart.  Aaack.

Eventually I calmed down; came back from my freaked out place; asked myself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?”  And continued blogging.  In my sort of anonymous fashion.  Maybe for a moment the fear of discovery impacted what I wrote.  Mostly I forgot about it.

And a year passed.

With more posts and more readers and more exposure in cyberspace.  With me ignoring all the warnings I had given my sons to be careful what you put online because you never know who is reading and because it’s there forever and because you are giving up control.  To think twice and not post things you wouldn’t want your mother to read.  Parenting caution in a dangerous new world that, for the most part, I had not myself heeded.

Those warnings came back to haunt me.

There I was, in my son’s new apartment, halfway across the country, no thoughts of blogging in my head, heading out the door to a late dinner, when my son asked, “Mom, what’s the name of your blog?”  What!?  Why is he asking?  Why does he want to know!?  “Just humor me,” he said.  So I told him.  And then he told me… something I never in a million years expected to hear.  Facebook, once again, was the vehicle for my outing.  As a “friend” posted on my son’s wall that, “I found your mom’s blog accidentally while searching for a quote from the commencement speech…”  And for just a fleeting moment, he posted a link.

And just like that, my worlds collided.  And I freaked out.  Just a bit.  Okay, maybe a lot.  According to my son (from what he told me AND from what he posted on the Facebook thread), my reaction was “hilarious.”  Funny to him, maybe!

Let me just tell you that it was the longest restaurant meal ever!  All I could think about was getting to a computer and performing damage control.

(And in case you were wondering, other “friends” did comment and “like” the post on my son’s wall.  I don’t know if they ever saw my blog though because the person who originally exposed me to the world realized that maybe my son wouldn’t be “cool with everyone having the link” to his mom’s blog.  Long Facebook conversation story short, the link is gone but the thread remains.  Hmm… maybe I should ask my son to remove THAT from his wall.)

I’ll be totally honest and tell you that my initial over-reactions thoughts were to shut down this blog immediately!  Permanently.  And I did.  Sort of.  Removed the “offending” post so that it wouldn’t be there for anyone to search and put my blog into “maintenance mode” while I thought things through.

I’m still thinking.

About the potential loss of all anonymity.  About my sons and the people in their lives and the people in my life reading what I’ve written.  About what I still might or might not have left to write.  About whether or not I care who reads my words and who connects the real me to the blog me.  About calling it quits.  About what I might regret if I keep going or if I stop.  About maybe even starting over, fresh, with or without anonymity.

Because, coincidentally enough given the timing, maybe Waisting Time is wasting time.  Maybe my blog has run its course; served it’s purpose.  Maybe I’ve run out of things to say and creative juice and the need to say anything at all.  (I actually had a blog post drafted about that already!)

Maybe I’m done in cyberspace.  For now.  Maybe I’m not.  Maybe I don’t even know the questions to ask myself to decide what to do next.

Maybe for once, over-thinking is a good thing!

So for now, I’ve shared this part of my tale with you, and had a chance to at least let that resonate in my brain while putting words to keyboard.  And I realize, with the initial shock worn off, that I should go against my action-oriented nature and give myself some time to think this through.  To see where it takes me.  To be flexible.  To be patient.  (Stop laughing, family.)

And I’ll admit to you, that there is much that I haven’t shared in this long-winded but much shortened story, because of exactly the issue at hand – I don’t know who is reading it and there are just some things that I can’t or won’t put out here because, well, for reasons that are exactly the problem – too private, too revealing, too embarrassing to share.

And that, dear readers (and cyber-snoopers) is exactly what led me to freak out in the first place!

Photo credit: [Cody James]

 

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That's the Sound of My Worlds Colliding

I had always intended to blog anonymously.  Heck, when I started this venture, I didn’t even use my name.  But I also didn’t have any expectations that anyone would be reading.

My, how times change.

A few people in my real life have known about my blog almost from its inception.  For different reasons.  My husband.  My mom.  One of my sisters-in-law.  Sometimes it impacted what I wrote – made me feel censored.  Mostly I forgot that they were reading and wrote for myself and for you.  Mostly.

But just over a year ago, shock waves struck.  I almost fell out of my chair when I got a Facebook message (to my personal account) from a “real” friend and neighbor, who wrote:  “… so I was crusin’ the web… and what did I find? I found Waisting Time! … What a surprise to find it!”

What a surprise indeed!  I was flabbergasted.  I was scared.  If she found me, anyone could.  And who might she tell?  Eek!  I might be walking down the street (okay, not really, but maybe walking down the aisles of the local grocery store) and the person who waved as they passed might have just read my blog.  Or even worse, might be examining (and judging) the contents of my shopping cart.  Aaack.

Eventually I calmed down; came back from my freaked out place; asked myself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?”  And continued blogging.  In my sort of anonymous fashion.  Maybe for a moment the fear of discovery impacted what I wrote.  Mostly I forgot about it.

And a year passed.

With more posts and more readers and more exposure in cyberspace.  With me ignoring all the warnings I had given my sons to be careful what you put online because you never know who is reading and because it’s there forever and because you are giving up control.  To think twice and not post things you wouldn’t want your mother to read.  Parenting caution in a dangerous new world that, for the most part, I had not myself heeded.

Those warnings came back to haunt me.

There I was, in my son’s new apartment, halfway across the country, no thoughts of blogging in my head, heading out the door to a late dinner, when my son asked, “Mom, what’s the name of your blog?”  What!?  Why is he asking?  Why does he want to know!?  “Just humor me,” he said.  So I told him.  And then he told me… something I never in a million years expected to hear.  Facebook, once again, was the vehicle for my outing.  As a “friend” posted on my son’s wall that, “I found your mom’s blog accidentally while searching for a quote from the commencement speech…”  And for just a fleeting moment, he posted a link.

And just like that, my worlds collided.  And I freaked out.  Just a bit.  Okay, maybe a lot.  According to my son (from what he told me AND from what he posted on the Facebook thread), my reaction was “hilarious.”  Funny to him, maybe!

Let me just tell you that it was the longest restaurant meal ever!  All I could think about was getting to a computer and performing damage control.

(And in case you were wondering, other “friends” did comment and “like” the post on my son’s wall.  I don’t know if they ever saw my blog though because the person who originally exposed me to the world realized that maybe my son wouldn’t be “cool with everyone having the link” to his mom’s blog.  Long Facebook conversation story short, the link is gone but the thread remains.  Hmm… maybe I should ask my son to remove THAT from his wall.)

I’ll be totally honest and tell you that my initial over-reactions thoughts were to shut down this blog immediately!  Permanently.  And I did.  Sort of.  Removed the “offending” post so that it wouldn’t be there for anyone to search and put my blog into “maintenance mode” while I thought things through.

I’m still thinking.

About the potential loss of all anonymity.  About my sons and the people in their lives and the people in my life reading what I’ve written.  About what I still might or might not have left to write.  About whether or not I care who reads my words and who connects the real me to the blog me.  About calling it quits.  About what I might regret if I keep going or if I stop.  About maybe even starting over, fresh, with or without anonymity.

Because, coincidentally enough given the timing, maybe Waisting Time is wasting time.  Maybe my blog has run its course; served it’s purpose.  Maybe I’ve run out of things to say and creative juice and the need to say anything at all.  (I actually had a blog post drafted about that already!)

Maybe I’m done in cyberspace.  For now.  Maybe I’m not.  Maybe I don’t even know the questions to ask myself to decide what to do next.

Maybe for once, over-thinking is a good thing!

So for now, I’ve shared this part of my tale with you, and had a chance to at least let that resonate in my brain while putting words to keyboard.  And I realize, with the initial shock worn off, that I should go against my action-oriented nature and give myself some time to think this through.  To see where it takes me.  To be flexible.  To be patient.  (Stop laughing, family.)

And I’ll admit to you, that there is much that I haven’t shared in this long-winded but much shortened story, because of exactly the issue at hand – I don’t know who is reading it and there are just some things that I can’t or won’t put out here because, well, for reasons that are exactly the problem – too private, too revealing, too embarrassing to share.

And that, dear readers (and cyber-snoopers) is exactly what led me to freak out in the first place!

Photo credit: [Cody James]

 

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I Read You; I Read You Not

A while back I shared my blogging process.  Today I’m going to give you a peek behind the scenes into my blog reading.  For me, the two are intrinsically tied.  Because I find “blogging” to be an experience that is as much about community and friendship as it is about self-expression, and that comes from reading/commenting as much as from writing.

So, speaking of reading, pull up a chair; this may take a while.

I am in “like” with Google Reader.

It’s been a gradual (and sometimes frustrating) learning process, but over the past couple of years I have evolved to the point that I don’t read blogs any other way after my first visit.  I’ve gotten pretty efficient, thanks to the knowledge shared by others.  I have my reader categorized into folders.  And some are even totally unrelated to healthy living!  My most recently added folders are one for “favorites” and one for “blogs to check out.”  The former is self-explanatory, I think.  The latter are blogs that I have recently discovered and have not yet decided if I will keep reading.  Sometimes I read posts directly from the reader page; sometimes I “click through” to the original post, which is necessary if I want to leave a comment.  I soooo much appreciate those of you who publish your full posts for readers; while traveling or using my tablet, this is often the only way I can read them at all.


Ti-i-i-ime is NOT on my side.

I used to read blogs starting first thing each day.  I’m a morning person:)  But then I realized that since I am most efficient early, it was better for me to dedicate that time to more “active” pursuits like writing my own posts or clearing out email.  So now I get to blog reading when I get to it.  Sometimes still pretty early in the morning.  (Particularly on days when I have no motivation or creativity to write!)  Sometimes not until much later.  Some days I save it for the “snacking hours” because when I’m on my computer I’m NOT eating!  I’m trying to apply my pragmatic personality to this little hobby of mine rather than letting it take over my life.

Words, words, everywhere, but not a drop of ink.

I admit it – sometimes I don’t read every word.  Right now there are 183 subscriptions in my reader and in the last month I read over 1300 items.  As you can imagine, that adds up to a lot of words which translates to a lot of time to read them all thoroughly.  So, over time I have learned to be selective in which posts I scan and which I really spend time on.  I usually start with my favorites.  Unless I don’t have a lot of time and want to instead really make a dent in my reader.  In which case I start with the blogs that I tend to scan most quickly and find myself commenting on least often.  Some days I just like to get rid of the clutter so I go quite quickly through the ones I know I can knock off fast.  (Like the onslaught of items I get from my teen’s college that I rarely read.)  So many words; so little time.

Here a comment; there a comment.

This is an area where I had to consciously let go of my inner perfectionist and tell myself it’s okay not to comment on every post.  So I don’t.  But I do my best to comment often and thoughtfully.  Sometimes it is a very short “woo hoo” in support of the blogger’s recent accomplishment.  But other times it is my attempt at a tactful and loving kick in the butt.  (And believe you me, I often struggle to find the balance between the two, wondering what each blogger would most appreciate.)  And often it is words of commiseration and understanding.  I like to comment.  I just don’t always have time or something valuable to say.  But for me, comments are conversation and conversations lead to connections and sometimes even to friendships – my favorite things about blogging:)  And I love the support that exists in the blogworld.  Comments make it happen.  But if it’s hard to comment on your blog because I have to sign in or use livefyre or can’t read the word/number verification or …, I won’t comment.

Reciprocity in all most things.

If you comment on my blog, I will always visit yours and I will (almost) always find something to comment about.  Just one more way that this is about community for me.  In turn, if I comment on your blog more than once and you NEVER visit or comment on mine, I may or may not keep reading.  It depends what you write.  Some blogs are worth my time even if the blogger has never reciprocated with a visit to my little corner of the blogosphere.  Some blogs though are only worth reading, IMO, if a conversation or relationship develops.  Again – too many blogs, too little time.

You say.. then I say… then you say…or not.

While I do appreciate replies to comments, they aren’t necessary for me to keep reading and I know that not everyone has the time or inclination to do that.  Some of you have little boxes at the end of a post that I can check if I want to get follow-up comments.  Unless I know that this means I’ll just get a reply from YOU, I don’t check this.  I very much like the emails I get from blogs that auto-generate replies when the blogger makes them.  (Someday I might dare to add that back to my own blog!)  If I know that you typically respond to comments, I will usually look for that the next time I’m on your blog.  When I remember.  And have time.  Every so often I might even reply to your reply!

I enjoy some blogs more than others.

I want to read your blog if I like what you say or how you write.  If I feel a connection.  If I’ve become “friends” with you.  If you motivate or inspire me.  If you make me think or give me “aha” moments or teach me about myself.  If I want to root you on and think you appreciate the support from the sidelines.  If you make me laugh, smile, feel good.

I enjoy some blogs less than others.

Some blogs are just physically harder on my eyes.  The font might be small or hard to read.  But more common are the blogs with a light-colored font on a dark background.  There have been a few that I have visited for the first time and never gone back because it was just too much strain to read.  And, to be totally honest here, there is some content that I just don’t care to read.  Or that I find uninteresting.  For a variety of reasons.  I’m sure you are the same.  If it’s occasional, I just skip that post or section.  If it’s consistent and part of the blog’s theme, I move on.

Looks don’t matter.

Other than having a hard time reading your post itself, it doesn’t matter to me if you have a beautifully custom-designed blog or something basic.  If you have a lot of clutter, I just ignore it.  If you play music, I turn it off.  I’m there for you and what you have to say, not there because your blog is pretty.  And, as with people, size doesn’t matter either.  I’m just as likely to read a post by new or “little” bloggers as I am to read posts by the “big” bloggers with huge followings.

Broadening my horizons.

Every so often, despite the huge number of blogs I already read, I look for new ones to follow.  Call me a glutton for punishment.  Or call me crazy.  I find new blogs in a variety of ways.  First and foremost, from the blogger visiting here and leaving a comment.  Some I’ve discovered when they’ve been listed as “award recipients” on another blog or because I happened to catch an interesting comment they left somewhere.  Or I may see the same name crop up on several blogs I already follow.  And, yes, now and then I might actually click on some links in another blogger’s blog roll.  If you have any suggestions of great blogs, I’d love to know.

I worry when you go missing.

The great thing about Google Reader is that I don’t have to pay any attention to how often or on what schedule you post.  When you publish a blog, up it pops.  The downside to this is that I might not always notice right away if you disappear for a while.  In the past, I have sometimes reached out to a blogger who has gone missing.  Typically by email.  But that feels rather “big brother” to me and I’m not sure everyone appreciates it, so mostly now I will only do that if I feel I know the blogger pretty well.  I’m not going to assume that an absence means something horrible, just that you might not feel like blogging.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t worry.

So, there you have it.  Another long-winded glimpse into this little corner of my life.  My blog-reading manifesto.

If I haven’t lost you off yet, I’d love to hear how YOU do it.  And what brings you back to a blog or drives you away.

And, if I’ve never visited your blog before, leave a comment below and I’ll pop on over.  Just include your URL in the field asking for “website” and your site will be linked.

 

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Woe Is My Blog

Some days I love blogging.  Some days my blog just makes me want to rip out my hair.  Or pound on my desk in frustration.  Or throw my keyboard across the room.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration.  But you get the idea.

Lately, my blog has been causing me all sorts of problems.  Acting like an unruly two-year old who just ingested a huge amount of sugar and doesn’t want to do what Mom says.

Mom says “save draft.”  The two-year old blog digs in its heels and says “no.”

When I try to save a draft, my blog now freezes.  And stays frozen.  And then, just to frustrate me more, causes my entire internet to freeze as well.  Stuck.  Spinning and going nowhere.

And the only way to “unfreeze” seems to be to restart my computer.  But even that stopped working for me!  So I had to manually shut things down.  Not a good thing.

What’s causing it?  That is not a rhetorical question, people!  I need help!

It started when I got back from vacation.  It is intermittent but seems to be increasing.  My hosts’ very friendly technical support representative insists it is not a server issue.  It is not related to my PC since I recreated the problem on my husband’s computer.  It is not a virus.  WordPress forums and internet searches yield illogical suggestions.  Like clearing my cache and cookies and using a different browser.  Why would one browser suddenly start acting up?

So, I welcome any and all suggestions.  Yes, even the illogical ones:)

And, I’d love to know if any other WordPress users have experienced this.

But mostly I wanted to share my tale of woe because this little glitch is debilitating enough that it might just keep me from blogging on schedule.  It has certainly kept me from editing my post drafts as often as I’d like!  Ah, perfectionism must yield to technology.

I’m going to try to save this draft now.  Cross your fingers for me!

Photo credit [rafa2010]

Postscript:  I was indeed able to successfully “save” this post draft in a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Mozilla Firefox), but now the new browser had decided to join in the tantrum and freeze!  Yikes!  If you don’t see any new posts next week, you’ll know why.  And, new development, trying to publish my post is causing the same issue.   

WordPress.org has just come out with an update which I will attempt to install this weekend or next, so my fingers and toes and eyes are all crossed that it goes successfully and maybe even resolves my issue.  Ah, technology.  So great when it works.

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Tap, Tap. Is This Mike On?


Hello -lo -lo -lo.

My name is Karen.  And I’m a blogger.  And a reforming yo-yo dieter.  And a wife and mother with a newly empty nest.  And at 48, I’m still wondering who I want to be when I grow up.  And, just for today, I get to tell it to the world.  Well, the blog world, that is.

Today is my SITS day.  If you stopped by for that very reason, then you already know what I mean.  If not, SITS is a “group of 10,000 women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments.”  Each day they feature a different blogger, and today, it’s me!  If you’ve never visited the SITStahood, check it out; they also have great tips on all sorts of subjects.

 

So, pull up a keyboard, and I’ll tell you a little something about myself and my blog.

Once upon a time:  I started blogging almost two years ago.  Blindly and naively.  I knew nothing about it, having only read a blog or two; I had no expectations.  At the time, I was embarking on what I thought would be my “last ever diet” and looking for some personal accountability and motivation.  So I wrote.  And a funny thing happened on the way to my goal weight – I discovered that I loved blogging!  So I wrote some more and then some more.  And then some more, because I’m rather long-winded in print.  So, apologies for that:)

The plot thickens:  I love words.  And semantics.  I love puns and analogies.  I love having a conversation with readers so reply to almost every comment left (although maybe that won’t be possible today).  I love when I read or write something that makes me think.  And question.  And look at something in a new way.  I love the little revelations that come with blogging and the big eye-openers.  I love when a post I’ve written resonates with readers.  But most of all, what I love about blogging is the sense of community.  And the connections and friendships I’ve made.

Happily ever after:  Mostly I ramble about my progress and struggles on what I know realize is a never-ending journey to a still undefined healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes I talk about things that are totally unrelated.  Not long ago I starting thinking about the future of my blog, as I try to define myself and my little corner of the blogosphere.  I have no idea what I’ll write about down the road, but I know I’ll still be blogging.  Rambling.  Ruminating.  Musing.  Thinking aloud.  And I hope some of you will be reading along:)

For a sampling of my posts, check out my favorites page.   Thanks for visiting:)

And if you’re a regular reader, thanks for sharing this little part of my life.  You make it all worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Behind the Blogging Curtain

I’m always intrigued when I hear how other bloggers do things.  A glimpse behind the scenes.  So I thought I’d share with you a long-winded discourse of my own blogging process.  And another day, I’ll tell you about the flip side of this experience for me, reading other people’s blogs.

Revealing all:  First, let me share a few of my, ahem, personality quirks.  Because I think they factor into my blogging process.  But, you can be the judge of that yourself:)  I am a bit of an over-planner and over-thinker.  I’m not very good with spontaneity, although I try.  And I am a wee bit of a perfectionist.  But I’m reforming in that area of my life, much as I am reforming with the yo-yo dieting.  Blogging has required me to “let go.”  If every post had to be perfect before I published, you’d never read anything on here!

Ideas – the good, the bad, and the unpublished:  I have a long, long list of blog ideas.  Really long.  Like “several pages of a word document” long.  These are ideas that have come to me over time, some recently, but some as far back as my first months blogging.  But I rarely refer to that particular list, because I also have a much shorter one of ideas that are more front and center in my thoughts, to work on “soon.”  Often an idea comes from a post title that popped into my head.  But other times I can’t for the life of me think of a creative title to match a particular post.  Yes, there’s that little perfectionist coming out, obsessing over something as silly as a post title.

The write stuff:  Sometimes I just feel like writing.  But most of the time, I tell myself I need to start working on a post and then I look at my lists for inspiration.  I love when something happens or a light bulb goes off that sparks an immediate burst of creativity and desire to write it out.  Those usually end up being my favorite posts:)  They tend to flow fastest and easiest from my mind to my fingertips.  I “feel” them… the words and the ideas… and the whole process just flows.

Thinking about writing:  For some reason my best blog ideas seem to come when I’m nowhere near my computer.  I’ve written some amazing posts in my head during long bike rides, only to be disappointed when I got home and couldn’t remember what I wanted to say.  I have a notepad in my car and have often tried to scrawl thoughts while driving or at a stoplight.  And I have notepads in my bathroom and by my bed too.  Sometimes the little notes make it into a whole post; sometimes they just get added to my “ideas” list; sometimes they make no sense later and get scrapped.  Sometimes I can’t decipher what I wrote!

And NOT writing:  If I sit down at the keyboard to draft a post and get stuck, I’ve learned to walk away.  Often I’m just not inspired to write or can’t concentrate.  Sometimes I have what I think is a great topic idea but it just won’t gel in a creative way in my mind.  For me, it is not just that I have something to say, but also how I say it.  I think my writing is often different from that of other “healthy living” or diet bloggers:  I write less about what happens in a day in my life or advice, and more about… well… I’m not sure exactly how I’d describe it.  Maybe more of an essay and less of a diary?  You tell me.

And REwriting:  Regardless of the topic, I like to draft and redraft and edit and edit again.  I rarely write a post and publish it soon after.  I have always been this way with my writing, everything from my annual holiday letter to the yearbook tributes for my sons.  Sometimes I make major changes over time to a draft; sometimes the first pass only gets minor tweaks.  It never ceases to amaze me that I can reread a post five or 10 times and only then find a typo or clear grammatical error.  And yes, my inner perfectionist does try to get the grammar correct most of the time.  Although I’m a big fan of literary license:)  And hyphens and ellipses.  Love those.

The vault:  I like to have several draft posts written at all times.  I never know when I’ll have “blogger’s block” so it helps to have something to fall back on.  Some of my posts get written and not published for weeks or months.  One even took a year to see the light of day.  Often enough time has passed that I have to make changes to the post because something in my life has changed.  Or it would no longer make sense.  Some have become obsolete and no longer hold true or describe what’s going on in my life.  So they either sit in my drafts folder indefinitely or get moved to the trash.

Scheduling – aka “planning trumps spontaneity:”  As you probably know, I blog on a schedule.  Right now that’s Mondays and Thursdays.  When I started, I posted daily, then gradually cut back over time.  I’m not a very “go with the flow” person: “over planning” is my middle name.  So I guess it helps me to know the set days of the week when I intend to put something out here.  I also figured out that it works best to schedule publishing my posts a day in advance, setting them up to publish early in the morning.  This way, the readers in earlier time zones or who like to read first thing, can find the post waiting for them:)  And I no longer wake up thinking, “I need to get that post published,” and jump out of bed.  Yes, I used to do that.

Comments – manna for bloggers:  Another change I’ve made over time is how I respond to comments.  I have found that it’s much more efficient for me to read comments in batches.  So, for most posts, I don’t read them as they come in, but wait until the next morning when I sit down and respond to the bulk of them at one time.  After that first day, they tend to trickle in slowly.  Despite no longer having my responses automatically emailed to you, I do still reply on the blog itself to probably 95% of all comments.  Love the sense of having a conversation:)

Rule breaking:  Over my almost-two-years of blogging, I’ve learned a lot about how I’m “supposed” to do things.  I know my posts are often (okay, almost always and today is a case in point) too long.  Believe me – I really do try not to ramble and often cut out bits and pieces during my many edits.  I know I should include more pictures.  I’m working on this but it’s all too easy for me to waste time surfing online for just the right picture.  And often I can’t find one I like.  And then there are the ones I’ve tried to take myself or had my husband photograph.  Also, I don’t pay any attention to things like keywords and SEO.  And only rarely look at my stats or analytics.  Bounce rate?  Monetizing?  I’ve got other things on my mind.  Like conquering the technology that continues to confound and frustrate me but comes with blogging as a necessary evil.  And while I do try to maintain a presence with social media, I have to admit that I usually forget all about my Twitter and Facebook pages.

Summing it all up:  I blog because I enjoy it. (Most of the time.)  I blog first for myself but always have my readers in mind when I’m writing.  I try to balance saying too much or too little or being repetitive, with being my authentic self.  And I appreciate each and every one of you more than words can say.  Which is making quite a statement considering how very loquacious I am:)

Your turn:  So… anything else you’d like to know?  Or care to share something about your own approach to blogging?

 

 

 

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