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 Good and Goodness – 2014

Good – an adjective, noun, or adverb – and this is the season of goodness.

Good is a word that transcends the globe in many languages and customs. Through a smile, music, a dance, and many other ways, good touches all and has a way to communicate across language barriers. Do you remember Matt?

Good – a desire or approval … as in living in peace with each other

Good – as in pleasing and welcoming

Good – kind, kindhearted, good-hearted, thoughtful, generous, charitable, magnanimous, gracious

Good – as in showing kindness and respect

Good – something produced for use by others

Good – as in appropriate, fitting, and adherence

Good – meaning valid, valued, treasured

Good – a quality emphasizing the best, finest, and nicest – or considerable, sizable, substantial, appreciable, and significant

Good – displaying or possessing a virtuous moral value – thus virtuous, righteous, upright, upstanding, moral, ethical, high-minded, and principled

Good – respectful, well-behaved, obedient, dutiful, polite, courteous, moral, righteous, and with integrity, virtue, and goodness

Good – referring to the positive qualities of a group of people

We need to reach that happy stage of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration. (Josefa Iloilo)

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. (Dalai Lama)

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. (Henry David Thoreau)

Dream that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. (Desmond Tutu)

I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others. (Muhammad Ali)

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it. (Pablo Casals)

I keep up enough with news to know that the world is not lacking bad news. Whether wars, human strife, harm, or killings, many of events are based on culture, religion, politics, race,and quest of power for imposing one set of values while stifling others. Nonetheless, my belief in humanity remains steady.

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Even with all the bad news, I remain convinced that the majority of the world is good. After all, these are people who go about their daily life, and communicate across languages with smiles, dance, music, kindness, and acceptance … and yes, the bloggers at WordPress that I encounter also serve as ambassadors of humanity’s goodness – thus supporting my belief.

Yes, it’s the Christmas season, which is an important occasion for we Christians .. and festive time emphasizing good. However, goodness is a quality continually exhibited many Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, and many other religions throughout the world … so to me, Santa Claus is a figure of good that transcends all cultures – thus not bound to Christianity.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly deliver to me. Yes, you are good. Happy Holidays to everyone … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you!

But, one question … Which of the musical and visual gifts in this post did you enjoy?

On the 2014 Gift Basket Party

Welcome to my 2014 Holiday/Christmas Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by!

In the spirit of the holiday season, this gathering is for everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, and others. I say everyone because I’m a firm believer that the majority of the world is good – and that is in spite of all the crap we get from the news each and every day … so peace and goodwill to the global community of goodness!

My wish is for guests to get a gift and mingle with others – which also means gifts can be traded! Then again, it may be the perfect gift for someone you know.

Plus, there’s more …. Santa will arrive around 3:00 PM Sunday (Eastern US) to allow everyone to state their wishes. He’ll be in the Comments, so reply to him there.

The Comments area will also serve as the Entertainment Stage, so stay tuned.

This is going to be a bit crazy for both readers and hosts, so I request your patience!

Overview

  • Behind each number is a surprise gift.
  • Only one gift per person.
  • Once the number (gift) is taken, it’s no longer available (next note is important)
  • While I hope to strike-through taken numbers, I must sleep and run errands – so I request readers check the comments before taking a number. (See the Update note above the numbers for my strike-through progress.)

Directions

  1. Pick (click) an available number for your surprise gift.
  2. In your comment, type your number (hopefully on its own line so all can see it).
  3. Tell everyone about your gift.
  4. If necessary, bargain a trade with someone else.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season! Have fun!!!!

HolidayGiftBag

UPDATED through David Funk

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DogElf

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.