On Them Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ll admit it – when I started blogging, I wasn’t sure what I was doing and certainly didn’t know the most efficient way to get readers. I wasn’t marketing anything or trying to make money – and I certainly wasn’t trying to become a blogging giant.

Somewhere along the way I must have believed that more was better – more posts, more readers, more comments, more stats, more likes, more followers – after all, more means more and I probably feared losing readers.

After almost seven years of blogging, I’ve learned many things, such as blogging is about

  • Relationships between the host and the readers
  • Quality, not quantity
  • Celebrating stats as milestones
  • The writing process

Replying to comments and reciprocating have always been important to me during my entire journey. Between writing, replying, and life, not being able to visit your blogs as much as possible bothers me … it bothers me a lot.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and the solution is finally obvious – don’t post as often! (Gotcha … and some of you thought I was quitting.) Sometime in the near future I will transition to a new posting schedule with hopes that it gives me more time to visit others.

The following posts and topics have been fun and easy to do, but because they are also frivolous, their time to retire has arrived.

  • Monday Morning Entertainment
  • On Satire Bits (mid-week satire with the Combo Challenge)
  • Daily and weekly list of celebrations (a time-consuming task)

Friday’s Opinion in the Shorts, my longest running series, stays. Outside of the celebrations, the format remains the same while also serving as a place for announcements as upcoming musical acts.

For now, Saturday’s Explore series and the occasional cartoon post remain because I believe readers enjoy a short look on the weekend about a person, place, or thing or a trip to a cartoon past.

Tuesdays and Thursdays have been my main futures for the week. Along with the musicals, these posts have been the feature articles of my magazine format … the ones with depth, information, and fodder … the ones involving the research and thought process that I enjoy … the ones where I share a personal experience … the ones that have always been the core of this blog.

Maybe these changes are just my way of saying that I’m finally content with my little corner of the world. There’s no need to post as often and no longer wonder about if frequent posts have been burdening readers.

No … I wouldn’t say I have a case of the Blogging Blues … but getting hit by the reality stick can be reflective. There will be a transition, after all, the two terminated series need a send off. With hopes of a  greater presence outside of my little corner of the world, thanks everyone for faithfulness and understanding.

On the Blogging Blues

Not long ago I read Vanessa Chapman’s post about bloggers losing their mojo. Our short interaction got me thinking because the Blogging Blues are real!

Regulars here know that I’ve been blogging about 6 ½ years (an anomaly) – and the archival record shows I’ve been fairly regular. There are times when personal, family, medical, or work issues take a blogger away from their normal routine, but as a whole, I’ve been a faithful steward of my little corner of the world.

Nonetheless, the Blogging Blues are real … and I know I’m not immune to them!

One can trace some symptoms of the Blogging Blues back to this question: Why do you blog? The collective reasons are many, but only the host blogger can answer this important question, and they must answer for themselves. Maybe – just maybe, the cure for the Blogging Blues lies in the answer to that question.

Image and Logo Property of Word Press

Image and Logo Property of Word Press

I enjoy sharing and interacting with others. Given the type of posts I do, I obviously also enjoy researching. My eclectic nature helps me to avoid ruts. I see this blog as a weekly magazine that releases one article per day, then the patterns repeats the next week. However, the Blogging Blues are real … and I am not immune from them! Can you say that to yourself? Come on … try it.

Publishing frequency can factor into the Blogging Blues. Each blogger faces the frequency question differently – and that’s OK. Schedules are a double-edged sword because while providing a rhythm, it can also be a burden on the blogger – a heavy burden of obligation leading to a self-imposed pressure – thus easily leading to a case of the Blogging Blues.

The solution is easy to say, but for some bloggers, hard to do. It took me several years to overcome this pressure, but I’ve learned not to force a post. It’s OK to miss a post. Repeat after me – It’s OK to miss a post.

Because of my posting frequency, I had to streamline my approach in order to relieve blogging pressure. That is, if I wanted to continue a certain pattern, I had to streamline my approach into something manageable at the blog end while balancing my blogging life and my life outside of blogs. Monday Morning Entertainment, Satire Bits, and Opinions in the Shorts are examples of posts requiring less effort than a deeper topic. Even with this approach, I maintain that it’s OK to miss a post.

I’ve also learned to reduce on my posting schedule when necessary. Although my posting goal is 6 per week, if I have to reduce to 2 or 3 per week, I’ve learned that it is OK – so I tell the regular readers because they appreciate knowing.

Although I like to say, Life gets in the way of blogging, in reality, periods exist when life outside of blogging demands more time. For that, I offer these suggestions:

  • Tell your community that you won’t be posting because of whatever
  • Give yourself a blogging break

Say this loud – Blogging breaks are good. Say it again, but this time with some gusto – Blogging breaks are good!

Blogging breaks are times away from your blog. They can be planned or unplanned, and for many possible reasons, including giving yourself time for whatever.

To me, there are four levels of blogging breaks.

  • Level 1: Complete removal of yourself from blogging for a designated time period. No posting, no writing, no visiting … nada, zilch, absolutely nothing. Stay away and don’t worry about it. But as BloggingBreakspreviously stated, tell your community about your upcoming absence.
  • Level 2: Similar to Level 1 because you have no online presence. However, you spend your time preparing posts.
  • Level 3: No posting, but you spend time visiting and commenting on other blogs. This keeps you connected, provides time to reconnect with old friends, and make new connections – and this may be a re-energizing experience and even spark an idea or two for your future posts.
  • Level 4: Similar to Level 3 because of your online absence, but you are drafting future posts. After all, writing is a process and some of us like to have drafts in the queue. Meanwhile, you are still in contact with your community and potentially expanding it.

Regardless of the level, blogging breaks are good, and bloggers should use them as a way of preventing the Blogging Blues. As a matter of fact, a calendar year should include multiple breaks at different levels.

Here are some of my secrets to blogging longevity.

  • Focus on your community over stats
  • Support your community, including reciprocating
  • Interact with those who comment on your blog, and comment elsewhere
  • Be true to yourself and to your community
  • Communicate with your community
  • Don’t force yourself into posting
  • Discover a blogging balance
  • Take the appropriate blogging break multiple times a year

None of us are immune to the Blogging Blues because they are real. Do you have any suggestions for the Blogging Blues?

Let’s close with something for music lovers … that is, a touch of the blues that may make you smile … but I’m not the breeze. Enjoy.

On Somethings New

Click for instrumental music to provide a background for this post.

Those who have watched The Price is Right are familiar with the phrase, “It’s a new car!” For me, It’s a new header! Images from deep space are very meaningful to me – thus a reason why I continue to use them. This one is of the Orion Nebula from the European Southern Observatory. See the Past Headers page for a history of the headers here. On the other hand, the second new item is worthy of an explanation.

Blogging resembles real life in multiple ways. I’ve always said that the most important decision one makes in life is their choice of people to be around. Blogging is the same way as each of us attract certain types of people – plus we visit certain types of people.

Blogging is also like real life because encounters vary in time. People can suddenly appear, but also vanish as quickly. Others remain loyal for extended time. Why one hosts or visits a blog vary – sometimes known, other times unknown. I think life’s encounters as converging lines whereas some remain close for a long period of time while others are brief encounters that are brought together, then quickly separate.

My links to bloggers were in three different places, thus became inefficient – so I took some time to think about those links and a way to organize them. As everyone knows, there is no one way, but it is important to have a way.

Many of the bloggers who have vanished came to mind. Paulette is from my first year as we interacted in the time leading up to the 2008 presidential election. Starla comes to mind as we frequently chatted to start our mornings. Les (@Best Bathroom Books) was a hoot, and I miss his wit. Even after he stopped blogging, his occasional comments made me smile. Tim Valentine was one who cut to the core in his thoughts.

I recall getting the word that Third Stone from the Sun suddenly died (in his 40s), but at least I knew what happened. Same with Larry (Nutball Gazette).

Others have stopped blogging for whatever reason. While Noeleen, White Lady from the Hood, and others no longer display their blogs – but the blogs from Terry, Rose, Mags, and more are accessible, but remain dormant.

Others have passed through these pages, hung around a while, then move on. Some bloggers are regular commenters, while others frequently visit without commenting. One doesn’t know when other will drop by, but when they do, I smile. There are also those who frequently visit without commenting.

With the above said, I encourage everyone to visit my new BlogRoll page, which accompanies changes on the sidebar. Odds are good that I’ve forgotten someone or provide some incorrect or incomplete information – so feel free to let me know.

On Celebrating 1500

1500Celebration

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you are. From the New World to the Old World, from all the continents, welcome to my 1500th post … and this post is about celebrating the occasion!

For the entire weekend, please take the time to comment, state where you are from, say something about your blog, interact with my guests here and on my sidebar, listen to music, and enjoy the food and beverages. Entertainment will appear throughout the celebration, so comeback often … and bring a friend!

By the way, the theme for the next act of Life: The Musical will be Play – so I will give more information on the next Monday Morning Entertainment. After all, Play is good to follow Act 9’s Work.

Some Factoids about 1500
Only 14 players have ever played 1,500 games in the National Hockey League (NHL)

We could discuss the year 1500 AD, but other than the year starting on a Wednesday, I don’t think many of my readers would be interested in the Second Battle of Lepanto

On the other hand, the Polynesians settled Fiji in 1500 BC … and many of my readers would love to take an all-expense paid trip to Fiji

Many radio stations occupy 1500 on the AM dial

1500 meters is a common event in Olympic swimming, speed skating, running, and walking

1500 Ocean is a restaurant at the wonderful Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA

Some say fifteen hundred, but other say one thousand five hundred

1500 equivalent to 15 centuries, but all but one of the 1500s was in the 16th century

1500 is a grand and a half but 1500 dollars, 1500 Euros, 1500 Pesos, 1500 Pounds, 1500 Krona, 1500 Rubles, 1500 Yen, and 1500 Turkish Lira are not equal … but they are exchangeable into another currencies.

1500 Broadway is at Times Square in New York City

Besides being an Australian film, 1500 Steps refers to the number of ice steps on the Chilkoot Pass (Alaska) and the number of steps on a portion of the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu

On a 24-hour time system, 1500 is 3:00 PM

Songs to start the party

On Resuming the Play Button

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

Blogging breaks are good! … and now for the rest of an assortment of thoughts as I resume the Play button.

There’s no doubt in my mind that readers are much more forgiving and patient than writers … and it’s not even close.

There’s nothing wrong with using blogging breaks to concentrate on visiting others … as a matter of fact, I recommend it!

I visited many at the beginning of my break, and I found this surprise … the number of bloggers who visit(ed) here have either not post in some time or have actually taken down their blogs.

Given the previous note, no wonder my stats are down …. so if stats are important, one must continue to build a network.

Don’t forget … blogging breaks are good.

Some Personal Notes

Handbell season has started, but after a double-digit number of years, I didn’t return to the choir. The leaders were a bit shocked, but I need more time to determine if I want to continue ringing. My line is that I will return sometime between this coming January and never … so time will tell. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing and hearing the group from the audience (starting this Sunday)…. and yes, I continue to support them – after all, my wife remains in the group.

Image from gerber.com

Image from gerber.com

My wife brought me a piece of cake from work one day. Some of the icing was a very rich blue color. Not only did it make my tongue look like a Smurf, the next day my stools was as green as baby-food peas.

Best joke punchline. A surgeon’s explanation why politicians are the easiest patients: There are no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains, and no spine, and there are only two moving parts – the mouth and the asshole – and they are interchangeable. Thank you, Viveka!

This travel segment from Crumudgeon-at-Large is a worthy read for a chuckle. Enjoy … and tell Mudge that I sent you.

This is probably the most intriguing headline I saw during my blog break: Do farts carry germs? Well, it depends on whether you are wearing pants. For those who doubt the headline or want to know more, here’s the link, which also contains an interesting video.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been around the past week plus. The reason is simple, we took our first road-trip vacation in some time … so after 9 days and 800-900 miles (1280-1450 km), I’m working my way back into my blogging routine. I hope to return to with the next Monday Morning Entertainment, on which I will announce the next act of Life: The Musical.

Below is an assortment of pics of our trip. Although multiple pics exist of some of the spots, this collection represents locations we visited. (Some have 2 pics). Rollover each for hints. Any ideas where we went? (I know my non-US audience may not know) … and Oh … and before I forget … blogging breaks are good!

On a Break Time

A partial list of a blogger’s struggles:

  • Lack of writing time
  • Inability to keep up with reading others
  • Slow responding to comments
  • Throwing together a post

Yep … that’s me at the moment. I don’t need recharging time, I simply need to get take care of matters at hand. Therefore, I’m taking a break from regular posting … but hopefully not from visiting and keeping in touch. I don’t know how long, but I do know this is the right thing to do. Then again, I just may sneak something in.

I can’t leave you without some of the week’s best from The Onion.

  • Study finds “Blame” now fastest human reflex
  • Seventh grader only has two weeks left to acquire cool identity by first day of school
  • Sex toy discreetly shipped in plain dildo-shaped box
  • Date’s flaws coming at woman faster than she can rationalize them
  • Report:Average American spends 27% of lifetime in the way
  • Exxon-Mobil and Chevron locked in bidding war to acquire senator

I also know you want some reasons to celebrate this weekend.

  • (Weekend) Kool Aid Days, Hobo Days
  • (Fri) The Date to Create Day, Happiness Happens Day, Cat Day, Oldie Day, Sneak some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night, Art Day, Frozen Custard Day
  • (Sat) Bowling Day, Garage Sale Day, Veep Day, Indigenous People Day, Send an Email Day, Rice Pudding Day, Hold Hands Day
  • (Sun) Duran Duran Day, Skyscraper Appreciation Day, Smithsonian Day, S’Mores Day, Paul Bunyan Day, Lazy Day, Family Day, Spoil Your Dog Day, Lion Day

But let’s break with a sing-a-long song … and one that wasn’t part of the last Life: The Musical, but it is a classic. So, until next time, belly up to the bar and clean your pipes to sing along … plus, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.