On the Blogging Blues

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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 an Autobiography: Blog Style

BabyPic1) I was born here

2) … but grew up 4,614 miles (7,26 km/4,010 nautical miles) to the west of my birthplace

3) … and A, I, and O are were important letters

4) I wasn’t consider a troublemaker, but this strange night happened during my senior year.

5) Upon graduating high school, I traveled to the opposite corner of the state for college 

6) … where one of my favorite things was this, which delivered a surprise moment 

7) Since college graduation, my home has been this metropolitan area

8) I married my college sweetheart on this date

9) … spent most of my professional years doing this

10) One of my proudest moments was delivering a strong message at my mother’s funeral 

11) We now live in this town

12) … and we enjoy travelling like this way

13) This is our favorite local pastime

14) … but I also did this for about 12 years before stepping away this year

15) All in all, a good life, a happy life, with its share of ups and downs … yet my heart is still with my heritage (one and two in the same region)

16) Blogging here for the past 6+ years (since August 2008), and I’ve grown to appreciate goodness of so  many good people across the globe.

On a Word Choice

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I imagine many sports fans are like me – that is having one team – that is having one team they detest under any and all circumstances. Instead of many, it may even be most sports fans … but I’m confident this isn’t true for all.

For me, it’s the University of Kentucky (UK) – especially in basketball. After all, I’m unhappy even when they lose. I can honestly say that their fans drove me to that point because I find UK fans to be arrogant, condescending, blind, self-centered, and more uncomplimentary adjectives.

I know that UK fans haven’t cornered the market on that behavior. After all, a large school in the center of my state exhibits similar behavior regarding a ball of another shape that bounces funny.

I’m confident that my statement isn’t true for all UK fans – and I’m unsure if most qualifies because I don’t have the numbers to support the statement. Yet, I find many is a good descriptor because being a relative term and a bit vague. After all, on first thought a million is many, but is it when compared to a billion?

However, this post isn’t about sports or the University of Kentucky because the above sets the stage for my experience and point.

Sometime in January 2014 I was reading a humorous post about the start of a new year. It was quite amusing and very well done … well … until reading one important sentence. In the blogging world, I tend to take the high road to avoid confrontation, so I didn’t comment – but the statement kept festering in my mind – so I returned to add my thoughts to the comments section.

My comment wasn’t disrespectful to the host – not even snarky – but I made my point in a respectful manner, and the host reciprocated the same way. We exchanged several comments, and in the end, while agreeing to disagree, I moved on … and yes, I have returned since the encounter.

To me, at issue was the word all – a word that is quite inclusive. Because many or most wasn’t used, I don’t positively know that my reaction would have different, but because I focused on all, I’m confident that my reaction would have been different.

Is there a difference in using many, most, and all? Is blog writing so informal that we should overlook the use of these descriptors?

 

On Where

MomBridgeThat’s my mom in 1964 from her hometown in Tuscany, in between Pisa and Florence. She’s standing on a small bridge that is special to me for a variety of reason. The small village way up the hill is where my grandmother was born and grew up. The bridge crosses a small river where I occasionally played.

The bridge didn’t get much traffic, thus the road was gravel. Greenhouses and a few carnation fields lined each side of the road. A the far of the road was the stone apartment building where my mother and her siblings were raised, and where my grandparents still lived when I last visited.

I remember the stone entrance and stops as I walked to the third-floor apartment, which was small with a stone floor. No – this wasn’t the Tuscan villa of our dreams.

My grandfather was tall, quiet, and stern man who provided for his family by working in a factory. I also recall waiting for him at the end of the street for his return home. My grandmother was the stereotypical short, smiling, pleasant Italian grandmother who was a domestic goddess with her cooking and sewing.

Mom was the fourth of six siblings. The oldest, my uncle, was in a wheelchair, thus live at home his entire life. The next was an uncle that I never met because he died in an accident in his 20s. Four girls followed – two older aunts, my mom, and my youngest aunt.

1964 is a long time ago. Since then, most have died – my grandfather (1964), my uncle (1965), my grandmother (1973), Mom (1987), the oldest sister (2010), and the second oldest sister (2012) – let alone the spouses and my dad (2010), my paternal grandparents, Dad’s two sisters, and their spouses.

So that leaves Mom’s youngest sister, two first cousins that I last saw in 1964, and two first cousins that I have not met.

Well – that’s where I’ve been as I just returned from my first visit to see my relatives since 1964 – visit to focus on my last tie to my Mom – here youngest sister – and yes, my four first cousins and their families.

Obviously, the first encounter involved hugs and tears … and then we ate, drank, and laughed … and that was only day 1.

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On a Blog Reflection: 2012

In lieu of Friday’s typical Opinions in the Shorts, here’s a look back at 2012. Besides, I still feel a bit overwhelmed from the hectic nature of the past few days.

From the blogging perspective, 2012 was a successful year.

  • Except when on vacation, I maintained my 5-6 posts per week
  • December was already on pace to be the best month ever, but with Freshly Pressed, this month may stand a while
  • Visits for the year improved over 40% from 2011
  • Reached the 100,000 mark for visits
  • 20,000th comment will be soon – and who will get the fireworks display
  • Freshly Pressed on December 24
  • Being added to Le Clown’s blogroll
  • My 1000th post party was very special
  • I continue to enjoy posting and interacting with my visitors

By reviewing my 2012 posts, I selected one post from each month to feature the variety of topics that I embrace. From politics to religion to science to travel to ballroom dance and more, here is my look back at 2012. This collection also gives new readers a chance to learn about me and this blog – which could either encourage them to return or drive them away!

For your comments, which did you read? To my long-time visitors, do you have any memorable posts that I didn’t include?

January: My story of living with a night of blame for 40+ years

February: A tribute to Pi – yep, 3.141592653, including a link of Pi to a million digits

March: On a spectacular place – the universe

April: Looking at the difficult topic of free will

May: Political gridlock remains valid today … and probably tomorrow

June: Faith and science are compatible

July: A mistaken view about global warming

August: I enjoy college football, so look at some of my favorite college football traditions

September: Time for a cruise – Start in Amsterdam, and then follow the link at the bottom of the post to the next port

October: Learn about and enjoy tango

November: I enjoy classic cartoons, so it’s all about Taz

December: How many people can play one instrument at the same time

To send you into the weekend, enjoy Disco Santa, which makes me laugh … and yep, sure sounds like the Village People. Have a safe weekend, and hopefully I can get a play-toy post together for your Saturday.