On a Good Reason

I’ve often stated, “Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.”

This is one of those times. Besides working around personal plans, we have a high-priority family situation requiring time and effort: helping an elderly aunt with some important facets of her life. The tough part is being separated by 3+ hours of driving. Timing is not good from our end – but hey – one must do what one has to do.

Time away from here should be 4-8 weeks. I want the bloggers here to know about my absence from posting, so this is my way of saying thanks for caring and all is well with us.

To send you into an unexpected break, here’s a new one from The Piano Guys … and its title is fitting for this post. See you upon my return. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On a Blog-Break Reflection

Image from 123vectors.com

The previous post announced the start of a blog break. That was April 5, and I was thinking 2-3 weeks … not 2-3 months. Although I did some visiting and wrote very little, my little corner of the world occupied my mind. After all, it’s been part of me since late August 2008.

I built my little corner of the world the old fashioned way – hard work. I responded to comments, and visited and commented on the blogs of those who visited me. Who knows how many blogs I visited without establishing a relationship. After all, this place was about honesty, respect, and kindness – not trash-talking brashness and without a even a small dose of shock and awe. I was simply being myself. Here is a snippet from my first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.

I not only achieved that, I stayed true to the initial course!

During the break I thought about the many WordPress regulars that no longer post – people like Virginia, Guapo, Mags, Starla, and many others. Some have died, such as Third Stone, Larry, and Cynthia. Many others have cut-back – and I understand that perspective now more than ever. Some of us as Elyse, Debra, and Marina have a long history together. Were we all together during the Golden Era of Blogging? Maybe … but maybe not. After all, maybe our time has passed and a new generation is carrying the torch forward.

Some of us have been together a short time. Nonetheless, the power of the relationships built from blogging is one of the biggest surprises that I didn’t anticipate when I started … and that is what I cherish the most.

Conversations in 2008 with a good friend (Tim, who comments here) planted the seeds for this place. Did you know AFA started as a sports and politics blog? After several months, I knew I needed more. The “Categories” in the sidebar now displays a long list of topics. As I like to think – there is something here for everyone!

My topics grew as a response to my audience and my interests. Eventually I saw myself as a weekly magazine with Monday Morning Entertainment, Tuesday’s a specialized topic, Wednesday Satire Bits, on open topic on Thursday, Friday’s Opinion in the Shorts, and the Saturday Morning Cartoons series was absolutely one of my personal treasure …. and to think 6 blog musicals covering 62 acts found a way into that schedule. Whew … that was a lot of work … but I loved it … and I was also visiting many blogs during at the same time

Over time, the weekly magazine slowly changed as I stopped various sections for a variety of reasons. After all, I couldn’t keep up the pace I had established for myself.

OK – that was the past, but what about today? What does all this mean? Is A Frank Angle over?

Nope – it’s just a reflective post looking back at eight-plus years and over 1,900 posts with almost 73,000 comments from over 281,000 visits. I still have more to say and more to share – and as they always have, the friendships built here still touch me. On the other hand, I know I can’t rebuild this community as I did in the past because I realize that level of energy is missing.

I have my eye on one statistical goal because I like milestones: 2,000 posts, but my aim is without a timetable – without a regular posting schedule. It will simply happen when it happens.

As the opening image indicates, I’ve engaged the Play button. Yes, I’m slowing down – but I’m not done yet. There are more beach walks to take, more Opinions in the Shorts to share thoughts (but maybe not every Friday – maybe even a different day). Maybe a challenge or two are in the works, and who knows, possibly even another blog musical. Time will tell.

I close this reflective drivel with a musical video that I find to be amazing, amusing, and entertaining. Have a good week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Parallels of Life and Blogging

Embed from Getty Images

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Just like in life …

Bloggers come, bloggers go

Blogging interactions can be brief, without words, yet others are deep, interactive, and lasting

Boggers link around a commonality

Worry and wonder stoke the blogger’s mind when one hasn’t encountered someone in a while

 

Just like in life …

Bloggers encounter a wide range of emotions

Bloggers are saddened by the news of personal trauma, tragedy, and death – and happy for triumphs and celebrations

Bloggers seek trust, honesty, reliability, genuineness, and respect matter

An important decision for bloggers is the choice of acquaintances

 

Just like in life …

A blogger’s words can encourage and hurt

Bloggers can be real and honest while others are fake or hide their identity

Some blogging personalities seem to sync, yet what is preferred by one is looked upon as a negative by someone else

Some bloggers are givers, others are selfish

Blogging is a house that is open, thus requiring the host to be welcoming – but not every blogger has the same welcoming skills as others

 

Just like in life …

Blogging involves an etiquette, but one size doesn’t fit all

Bloggers have a variety of sensitivity levels

Bloggers vary in interests and communication skills

Blogging involves priorities – but sometime life and blogging conflict

 

The Final Touch

Bloggers blog for different reasons – to market … to think … to share … to make money … to interact … to promote thinking …. to learn … to reflect … to network …. to write … to challenge … to create new opportunities …to meet … to document … for personal growth … to inspire …. for enjoyment … to reduce stress … to build rapport … to create opportunities … and more

Every blogger want something different – some want laughs … other a friend … some want their voice to be heard … others simply want respect … some want community … others want followers … some write for themselves … others want interactions

Blogging is like a picnic – some brings the humor … others provide the photographs, art, and philosophy … others bring the recipes for food, drinks, guidance, and success … others are the informative thinkers … others tell stories

Embed from Getty Images

On Easing a Return

Although I’m recovering from various aspects of life, I’m trying to ease myself back into the Land of WordPress. It’s not easy. Besides getting back into the swing of my life as a volunteer, ballroom dancer, blogger, and whatever else life brings my why, I’m suffering from jet lag and a withdraw from a travel med that is a story in itself. After all, this is where I’ve been.

SpainCruiseShip SpainPortugalCruiseMap

When cruising, I use the TransDerm patch (Scapalomine) for my motion sickness. It works well, but there is one possible side effect that I’m the lucky recipient … I get motion sickness 36-48 hours after coming off the drug – Woo Hoo! … and it’s very, very bad!!!!

I’ve learned to use over-the-counter meds to step-down the body, but also during this time, I must limit my computer time because the flashing screen quickly aggravates motion sickness … as does watching television, driving a car, and (or course) moving in a circle. In other words, no fun.

But hey – life will be normal soon – which means time to use this button.

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

 

On Writing for Blogs

When I wrote On the Blogging Blues (April 27, 2015), I had no idea the level of comments readers would provide. After all, the post was about the importance of and the different levels of blogging breaks.

Comments by readers were so outstanding, I studied them while wondering what to do with the information. I eventually identified the better comments, organized them into topics, paraphrased the words, and then published the information … and this is the last of the 5 posts in this series.

Thanks again to those who commented on the original post … so, thanks for sharing your knowledge and perspective.

Topic: Writing
Having a schedule that works for you is important.

Don’t write half-ass posts or comments … strive for whole-ass … keep in mind that writing takes time.

Reading other blogs helps formulate ideas for your own posts.

Posting weekly or every other week helps prevent burn out.

Beware of the too-muchness factor: too many posts, too many words, too many images.

I think people have to find their own flow and rhythm about posting – and reading/commenting. Some days you just want to do one or the other. It all should be fun and without stress ( but we all feel pressure as we all seem to have high expectations for ourselves?)

Sometimes the best writing is unplanned because it just happens.

Beware of the length because too much causes many readers to skim.

Not only is it okay to miss a post, it’s preferable. Quality vs. quantity. I’m down to +/- one every six days and my writing has never been better. I’ve gotten a bigger audience because of it, as well.

Posting daily, weekly, random are all OK,

If the post is long, can it be divided into multiple posts?

Write within yourself. Write about what makes you (as the host) comfortable – but remember your readers because they are your audience.

So don’t force yourself to write or post.

Writer’s block is real …. so having a variety of things to write about is helpful.

Many hosts of single-focused blogs don’t realize how much they have to know to maintain good information.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging
Breaks and the Blues
Community
Posting and Frequency

On Blogs: Posting and Frequency

When I first started blogging almost 7 years ago, I posted every 2-4 days. Somewhere along the line, I felt that more posts meant more hits, more regulars, more comments, and whatever else can be tied to more. I eventually settled into a schedule that balanced preparation and commitment. Not too long ago, I ended two long-running series in order to reduce posting. So far, I’m content with that decision.

“Posting and Frequency” was one of the themes readers offered in the comments in my post, On the Blogging Blues (April 27, 2015). All I’ve done is collect the comments, organized them into topics, then paraphrased the words. Thanks again to the readers for making this post and the entire series possible.

Topic: Posting and Frequency
Because there are so many blogging styles and routines, one size doesn’t fit all

Visiting and commenting elsewhere daily is more important than posting daily.

Don’t fear the space between posts because you aren’t going to lose anyone.

Find a schedule/routine that works for you.

Too much can overwhelm readers.

A posting rhythm is important – but the preferred rhythm is different for everyone.

The “too-muchness” factor can lead to the Blogging Blues.

Regarding one’s posts, learn the difference between quality and quantity.

Blogs are different from Facebook, so don’t treat blog posts in the same light as Facebook posts.

Find a rhythm in having an event for each day. This keeps the blog fresh for the host and the reader … thus, the amount of angst down to a dull roar. I never have to sit and wonder what I’m going to write because the schedule dictates.

Use your notification tools wisely in order to manage the flow of emails.

Past Topics in This Series
Blogging
Breaks and the Blues
Community

Next Topic: Writing

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.