On Touching the Core

Who are you? Who am I? Not only how do we identify ourselves, but also, what identifies each of us?

I’ve embedded many videos on this pages during my blogging time, but some stick with me. They touch my core. They define who I am.

The European immigrants of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century impacted the world. My paternal grandparents were in that group while my maternal family remained in Europe.

I believe the majority of the world is good. In a global environment when language can be a barrier, other things can link people – such as smiles, kindness, and respect. Blogging is has reinforced that to me, and so has Matt.

The ending of some movies cause a tear – yep, It’s a Wonderful Life does it, and so does this one.

Human behaviors are complex and quite wide-ranging. That given, there is a lot of bad in the world, but one cannot deny the power of I’m Sorry.

I believe universal creation is spectacular, and creation is ongoing. From our tiny perspective, the wonders of the universe are just for us. Whether Earth is home to the only life in the universe doesn’t matter to me, but nobody can deny this perspective.

Any favorites here? Are their videos that define you?

On the Blogging Community

“I came for writing, but stayed for friendships.” (A friend of Pauline’s: The Contented Crafter)

Although simple and real, many of us can relate to that quote. Seasoned blogger know the importance of community and the effect it has had on them. Yes – selfish bloggers exist – but for many, the interaction with a global audience is one factor that keeps them going.

The original post (On the Blogging Blues – April 27, 2015) focused on breaks, but the suggestions in the comments covered a wide range of blogging topics. This is Part 3 of the series that uses reader comments around a topic – this time it’s Community.

Thanks to everyone who contributed comments that led to this collection.

Topic: Community
Post for readers, not yourself.

Interacting with others beats counting stats.

I still struggle with the many posts that hit my reader every day – let alone replying to comments. Blogging simply takes an incredible amount of time and energy.

If quality and community are important, bloggers needs to reciprocate..

Blogging is posting, commenting, and visiting others.

The best thing about blogging is the friends you make.

The way one interacts elsewhere is an important trademark, thus causing others to want to visit.

Then again, blogging is like a collective that feeds upon one another … and I am fortunate to be in the midst of a wonderful community.

A person starts blogging because of the writing, and then they learn the power of the community.

The best blogging relationships as similar to the best in-person relationships – that is, they work both ways.

Not only reply to all comments, interact with your guests, and definitely write more than “Thanks for commenting” or “Thanks for visiting” – and then visit them. After all, don’t you want them return?

Humans are social creatures who enjoy meaningful social contact with others.

Everyone wants higher numbers, but community is more important than stats.

A blogging community is like a collective that feeds on each other – and resistance is futile.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging
Breaks and the Blues

Next Topic: Posting and Frequency

I’ve said it many times and also written it here – I truly believe in the good of the majority of humanity … and to me, bloggers have reinforced that believe. Here’s a jazz great to end this post in a fitting way.

On Breaks and Blues for Bloggers

The Blogging Blues are real and no blogger is immune.

That was one of the themes in my past post On the Blogging Blues (April 27, 2015). Although the primary focus of that post was blogging breaks, readers offered many outstanding suggestion.

I gathered the comments, organized them into topics, then paraphrased the words. Here we are – Part 2 in the series – this time focusing on the Blogging Blues and blogging breaks.

Thanks for those providing the suggestions – after all, this post would not be here without your help.

Topic: Blogging Breaks and the Blogging Blues
Life gets in the way of blogging, but sometimes one must renegotiate life to put things like blogging on the back burner.

The Blogging Blues come and go – just like other aspects of life.

Taking breaks can be a necessary part of life – real or virtual!

The host puts the pressure on themselves, thus the readers are the most understanding – just as they are when reading and supporting others.

The “too-much” factor can cause the Blogging Blues.

A blogging break seems to energize a person.

Blogging breaks are good … but bad for others because they fear not returning.

When returning from a break, somehow all the same faces are still there – and even new ones suddenly appear to say how they missed you.

If one feels blogging is becoming a drudgery, take a break.

When realizing that the blog was becoming a drudgery, a month-long break recharged my creative batteries – and I returned with renewed enthusiasm.

Visit other blogs when taking a posting breaks.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging

Next Topic: Community

Let’s end with a song from Tracy Chapman

On a Blogging Series

My post On the Blogging Blues (April 27, 2015) was not only well received, readers provided many worthwhile comments about related topics. While the post focused on the importance and types of blogging breaks as a way to prevent the blogging blues, I collects the comments, organized them into topics, then paraphrased the wording.

This is the first post featuring those comments – all about blogging. Future topics include Breaks & the Blues, Community, Posting & Frequency, and Writing, Thanks to everyone for your valuable contribution.

Topic: Blogging
Trying to visit and comment almost every day is important – but on really busy days, I give myself permission to delete the notification emails.

Finding the right ratio of posting to spending time on other blogs is difficult. Cutting back posts is a way to have the time to read others and stay connected.

Reducing posting frequency is a way to enjoy blogging and keep longevity – plus it gives time for other things in life.

Blogging is posting, replying to comments, and reading/commenting elsewhere.

Humans are creatures designed for learning. Whether researching to write or reading others work on blogs is a way to learn.

Finding the balance between managing your own blog and visiting others is difficult – but it’s also different for everyone.

Nothing about blogging should be forceful.

Blogging a hobby, not a career.

Etiquette is important in all human encounters – blogging included.

I blog because I love to write and interact with people all over the world.

Reading mindful posts fuels the mind.

One size doesn’t fit all.

Blogging should be fun and without stress.

Use your notification tools wisely.

Blogging etiquette is important, but most people don’t know what it is.

Keeping up with all the posts of the bloggers I follow is difficult.

Posting, replying to comments, and reading/commenting elsewhere is a high-energy commitment.

Somewhere we get the idea that blogging every day and having hundreds–nay thousands- of followers is virtuous.

You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.

Blogs fuel the need for meaningful contact. Visiting thoughtfully tended blogs energizes the mind.

I came for writing but stayed for friendships.

The positive experiences of blogging cause some to think twice before stopping.

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.