WordPress Anniversary

Blogging life for me began in June 2012 (almost five years ago). WordPress informed me on Friday that I registered with them four years ago. I was two-thirds of the way through my first college degree. I’d had some success with college level writing, and I was nearly finished with a web design degree. At the time I not only felt like I had something to say (after more than fifty years of living), but I also felt creative and clever. I was struggling to adjust to life with my husband out on the road for five to six days of each week. My hubby and a dear friend both suggested I blog.

My hubby had been using Blogger for his blog so I started out on that platform.  Blogger felt way too isolated for me. Blogger may have changed since then, but at the time there was no sense of community. There was no “Reader” like there is in WordPress where you could see other people’s posts. Maybe I was just too new at blogging in general, but I posted and never got any feedback from others. There were no blogs that I followed or people that followed me. I didn’t get any emails to alert me that others had posted. I was posting into a total void or vacuum. It was a miracle that I stuck with it, but I found freedom in being able to express my thoughts and ideas and put them out there for others to see. Of course I know now that had I linked my blog to Twitter or Facebook, I probably would’ve had more feedback. I was so new at it, I was clueless.

Since I felt like I was wasting my time on Blogger as I neared the end of my first year blogging I began to look for other platforms. I don’t remember now exactly how I found WordPress, but I did, and I’m glad. The switch to WordPress was the right thing to do. Had I stuck with Blogger, I would’ve quit. With WordPress, even on the days when I don’t feel like posting or have nothing new to say, there are friends I follow who always have something to say, and I can comment on their posts instead.

Thank you, WordPress. Thank you for forcing this shy woman to come out of her shell just a bit further. Thank you for the laughs, and the experiences. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m always amused and touched by the words of others. I’ve found friendships that have enriched my life. I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. I don’t blog to be wildly successful or to make money. I blog because this is me and this is my voice, and the kindness of others takes away a bit of the loneliness while my trucker hubby is out on the road.

Thank you.

Popularity, Friends and Readers

I’ve never been the type to worry overly much about blog traffic. I’ve always maintained that I write what I write, and I do it for me. If others enjoy it, that’s great. For the most part, I post and try not to worry overly much about it afterwards. I do wonder at times if it’s worth it or if I shouldn’t be doing more to increase readership.

I know I am not alone in terms of lack of readership. There are blogs that I follow written by truly lovely people, and it breaks my heart every time I like something or comment on a witty, beautiful or interesting post and find that I am either the only one to do so or only one of two. I’ve noticed a few blogs written by published authors that also have no likes or comments. Why does that happen?

audiencePerhaps it’s because there are just so many blogs out there to read, or it could be that the blogger isn’t assertive or aggressive in promoting what they do, or it could be that the blogger’s content is too broad or even too specialized, or maybe they just don’t have a huge circle of friends (personal or virtual). Maybe blogging has just been done to death.

I hate the popularity thing. I had more than my share of that crap back in high school, and one of the things that I like about being online is that you are as anonymous as you choose to be. You can share a little or you can share a lot, you can write from the heart or you can make things up. No one, other than folks who know you in real life, know the truth. There are many bloggers who blog under a pseudonym. No one knows the real person behind the blog.

I try to be honest in what I write, but there are times I have to pull punches. I had a discussion online the other day with a friend about cuss words. I use them a lot in real life. Sorry, that’s just me, but I don’t use them very much online. Why? Because I still have elderly relatives who sometimes read what I write. They don’t need to read me dropping the f-bomb repeatedly. I don’t swear in posts for the same reason that I waited until after my mother had passed on to get my first tattoo. I try to save tender feelings where I can.

That doesn’t mean that my feelings aren’t sometimes hurt after I post. I agonize over things I write. I write and revise and write and revise. I don’t think I’ve ever posted off the cuff. I think hard about what I’ve written, and yes, even though I’ve said repeatedly that it does not matter, I look to see whether anyone liked it or not. When they don’t, I feel bad.

I feel bad enough sometimes to wonder why I bother. I get fed up or burned out every so often and walk away from blogging. My posts come in fits and starts sometimes. Maybe that’s why readership isn’t huge. But then again even when I post every day, the results are pretty much the same. I have a core group of friends who have stuck with me, and I love each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

I know my blog is sometimes all over the place (too broad). It’s a blog of squirrel photos, book reviews, creative writing, random musings and nonsense, but it’s mine. I’m proud of it. My blog was begun on August 12, 2012 on Blogger as “Reflections from a Middle-Aged Lady”. The first post was a musing on whether or not I should let my hair go completely gray. It wasn’t earth-shaking stuff, but it was a start. I’d been encouraged to write by a friend of mine.

I got my writing start in high school when I’d write silly romantic stories about hockey players starring me and my friends. My friends and I all wrote them. We’d gather at lunchtime and read each other’s offerings. It was a hoot. I was a shy kid, and I was pretty embarrassed when the official class prophecy for Charlotte High School’s graduating class of 1977 stated that I was destined to one day marry one of the Boston Bruins hockey players. We all know that didn’t happen, but my scribblings then were the precursor to my writing today.

I write because I have to. It’s part of who I am. Some days I’m more popular than others. That’s okay, too.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Daily Prompt: Secret of Success

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/daily-prompt-effort/

What would it take for you to consider yourself a “successful blogger”? Is that something you strive for?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EFFORT.

screenshotBlogging has become a necessary part of my day.  I have found something that I really enjoy doing.  I love writing, and I love sharing the things that I’ve seen or things that I’ve done.  I’m not the most poetic or the most prolific of writers.  I enjoy taking pictures, and since I don’t have the most high tech camera, I do get a lot of use out of the Photoshop App on my phone.  None of that matters when I sit down in front of the keyboard and the ideas just flow from brain to fingertips to page.

To be a “successful blogger”, I think it would be nice to have a big following.  How many is “big”?  I don’t know.  As of today, I have 174 followers.  That’s 174 more than I thought I would ever have so I’m pretty excited about that.  I don’t have a huge family, and I don’t have dozens and dozens of friends so more than 100 followers is quite an accomplishment for me, and it thrills me that people like what I post.

I know a lot of bloggers think the awards on WordPress are silly.  Yes, they are similar to chain letters or those funny emails you get occasionally from friends and family where you are asked a whole series of questions and you put in your answers and forward the email on to another batch of people.  I personally think the awards are wonderful.  I will continue to respond to them and forward them on to others. I feel a little sad sometimes when I see those badges on blogs that say “Award Free Blog” and some sort of notice that “your comments are award enough”.  I think being recognized by fellow bloggers as worthwhile or interesting is one of the first steps to success in the blogging world. It means someone remembered you and thought about you when they received their award.

successSo while I don’t strive for success, I know that finding it even in small measures is a real boost to my self esteem and touches my heart deeply.  I thank God for everyone out there who reads what I write or likes the pictures I post. You mean the world to me.

SOURCE:

http://seanheritage.com/blog/defining-success/

Daily Prompt: Origin Story

Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEGINNINGS.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/daily-prompt-beginnings/

578696_3451776067379_1741564914_nI began blogging one year ago this month.  My husband is an over-the-road truck driver, and he only comes home on the weekends.  His down time is usually a 34-hour “re-set” period.  It’s rough after 20-some years together to suddenly be apart so much of the time.  I work full-time myself, I am getting my degree online on a part-time basis, and I have two grown sons (18 and 22) at home. I am not alone, and I am not bored, but I was very lonely without my husband.

A close friend of mine convinced me that I needed something just for me.  She thought blogging might appeal to me because I am not an assertive or outgoing person.  I am reserved and shy.  In social situations, I do more listening than I do talking. It takes a long time before I am comfortable with people.  I have a few close friends that I see from time to time, but I don’t go out much – preferring my own home and the comforts within. She thought that connecting with people online might be something that would appeal to me, and she thought I was good enough as a writer to be able to blog regularly.

ReflectionsBlogMy first blog was on Blogger.  That blog was more of a reflecting or reminiscing-type blog. It was cathartic to get some of my thoughts and feelings out on paper, and friends told me they liked reading me, but there wasn’t that feeling of community or friendship on the Blogger platform.  I switched over to WordPress in May 2013.  What a difference.

I am so impressed with the entire WordPress experience and the feelings of friendship, camaraderie and community here.  I have friends that I talk to on a regular basis.  There are blogs that I follow and look forward to reading on a daily basis.  I treasure the poems, the photos and the articles.  I read what others write or view the stunning art and photos that they create and post and wish that I could do that well.  Reading others’ posts inspires me to be a better writer/blogger.

As for my blog, I think it has grown a little beyond reminiscing and reflecting.  It’s not always about the past. I try to write about daily happenings and feelings.  I share photographs.  I chronicle the happenings in my yard at the bird (squirrel) feeder.  I also share photos from Rochester, and in doing so, I have learned some of the history of my own hometown.  My blog has gone in a slightly different direction than the original version, but I think it has been a positive one.

Blogging has given me a creative outlet, and it has kept some of the “lonely” at bay.