blogging, Community

Why Write a Blog? Is a Blog a Waste of Time?

What happened to storytelling, to having a narrative? One Blogger asked this question in a recent post about the direction of blogging. She’d come across a blogger recommending other bloggers attract more readers by offering their readers useful advice:

…figure out what our unique niche is and paint ourselves as an authority, offering them something every time you ask for something back.

thesnowmeltssomewhere
Photo by Sunsetoned on Pexels.com

List Format Blog Posts and Finding Your Blogging Tribe

Do you write advice posts or entertaining ones? Is the goal, for the reader, to find info that makes life a little easier for them? After all, home hints and time-saving tips are generous, giving and sought after by many. And yet, Snow suggests list style formats are not so dissimilar from TV reality show: repetitive, unoriginal and uninspiring, proposing there just might be,”too many self-proclaimed experts out there.” She’d prefer a blog that is just for entertainment, or storytelling.

Thinking about this, I wondered whether a story is more valuable than a post dispensing advice? I think that might depend on what kind of person the reader is. Perhaps we need both kinds of posts? Sometimes one and sometimes the other. Diversity is a good buzz word for that, isn’t it?

When I want information – the list format of writing a post helps me find salient information faster. However posts titled, ‘The Top Ten Places to See in Europe,’ is a style of post I’d read once, but hardly another in the same vein. It is becoming a trite and hackneyed format, short on meatier content, and meatier content is what I personally seek, as a reader.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

It seems that if we want, (or for monetizing bloggers, – need), people to read our blogs, we might write in this way early on in our blogging life, to filter and find our blog tribe; our community; those few like-minded souls who follow us and begin to comment regularly so that a fulsome discussion, or blogging friendship might develop. Without a few of those list style of posts to begin with, how can we build that community so many of us enjoy? Would we still find a tribe of like-minded blog readers another way?

Don’t we want any or all varieties of readers? Diversity dictates that we need differing opinions and readers from all walks of life.

Blogging Stats and SEO

Whilst I don’t read list posts anymore, I do try to use headings when writing a blog post, supposedly it is good SEO. I don’t understand a whole lot about SEO and SEO tips seems to change rapidly. Once upon a time we were told to use 10 tags, for good SEO, now it is not more than 5. It is hard to keep up with so fickle a technological beast.

Are we all getting sucked into looking at stats and levels of engagement? I remember a blogger who posted about getting back to the real reason why she blogged and not looking at stats, or checking for new followers. Great, I thought. To my surprise, she stopped blogging shortly after! I never found out why.

Likes and Comments

I dislike the thought that someone would write to receive likes alone. Fixating on that, to the detriment of our mental health, could render our blogging platform meaningless. You’d do better to mutter a few grudge sentences on Facebook – that will give you ‘likes,’ and save yourself some time.

What would change if I disabled the like button on my posts?

Nothing? Less signs of engagement?

This begs the question: would I still be blogging if I had not received any comments? Perhaps. I hazard a guess I would still write, but not be posting as frequently.

The Blogging Audience

Diarist bloggers who inform about the week that was, without crafting a story, are perhaps still learning to make writing interesting. That level of self-expression, in Marie Kondo style, must bring them joy and could be all they need from writing? We’re all different and we all seek out and write different sorts of posts.

One Blogger [Manja], said she seeks friends in blogging, not an audience. Another thought all bloggers are looking for an audience for without it, they reach no one. This highlights a divide between the intentions of bloggers.

Some bloggers are out to make money and need that audience to do that. That is not always art. Others – those who have an urge to write or tell stories, through photos or words, enjoy their art, interact with their audience and along the way, make friends.

Monetizing a Blog

Am I interested in making money off my blog?

No, not really. If a few dollars come my way, I’d be silly to knock it back, but I also won’t put my focus in this direction and spend time and effort chasing it. Already I am slightly embarrassed about reviewing places for some small kick-back, such as a free sample. I wonder how I can write impartially when I receive a kickback from the thing you are writing about? However, I am told of certain readers that do value and appreciate reading product reviews, so I relent a little and try to tap my inner Buddha and again seek the middle path.

Becoming a Writer

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Many bloggers have the goal to publish a book, but that’s not on my to do list either. I do have a book idea, or two, rather lofty ones, but writing my blog posts with that intention does not form part of the reason I am here.

Writing a blog post feels innate, it’s in my blood. For around four centuries that I know of, there’s been writers in my family, not famous, nor polished, but writers nonetheless. I could say it’s tradition, but my writing doesn’t come from any sense of historical obligation.

For me, writing just happens when the mood hits or I should do so. It might come out as rubbish, but it is my rubbish and not contrived just to receive ‘likes.’ I once tried to write like that and the result was bland and boring.

Writing comes from both my heart and my head. I write when I feel inclined to do so, but more often than not, as I sit at the keyboard, words erupt like the melt water in a glacial stream at Springtime. Words come tumbling and running out, splashing around obstacles in their path, anxious to appear on the computer screen lest they be washed downstream and away, (ie. before I forget what I was intending to say).

Poppy, Hellesylt, Norway

Finding More Readers for a Blog.

But aren’t we skirting around the crux of this issue? If we only write for ourselves and from our hearts and heads, why do we want more exposure and more readers? Only to find more like-minds and interesting conversation via comments? Surely there is more to it, than that?

For me, the reward of blogging is the joy that comes from robust self-expression.

Any friendship that arises, from that, is a bonus and the result of two people connecting. The internet is not constraining of geographic boundaries – connection is what blogging gives back to us.

Fundamentally, I am here to learn, and to express, with a little bit of entertainment thrown in. I might find an interesting blogger to read or follow and if I wasn’t here, I’d miss that opportunity to further my knowledge and discuss topics via the readers’ comments.

Blogging is not wasting anyone’s time, it is the best classroom in the world, and the sky is the limits. I ‘like’ that.

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With much thanks to Snow for initiating this post.

schnauzer dog in pupsnaps bed
blogging

Has the World Gone Entirely Crazy?

As if Covid isn’t enough to contend with, have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go as it should? Where it seems the forces of the Universe are set against anything going smoothly? Yes, it was one of those.

Things happened.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Chaos Rules or Life by Crisis Management

  • A friend I haven’t spoken to for over a year sends a message, out of the blue, with only the words, “How are you?” There was no other context to her message and yes it was her – I did check. A little odd or, perhaps, spontaneous. She was just wondering how I was, she said. After a year without communication!
  • My daughter rings to make an appointment at a medical specialist doctor and the Receptionist asks her to supply a full length photo for a the appointment. Weird. Full length?
  • Three out of three kids then had mini breakdowns of sorts on the same night, unrelated to each other, sending us scampering from one to the next in succession. It was a busy night.
  • That same night the neighbour sent me a message at 7pm that he wants to come sit on my garden bench for a while. Did he have a fight with his partner, I wonder? This is out of character. I only saw the message at 9pm whilst scampering to and fro, said kids.
Schnauzer dog

Finally late on the same day as ALL of the above:

We discovered the new pup had eaten the TV remote control, yes, the plastic controller part. The Moth’s favourite activity is to watch television and you can imagine what the Moth said when it became apparent he could not change the channels or adjust the volume. Not to mention the possible harm to the puppy, which resulted in my daughter having to check the poo for remnants of plastic when she walked the dog around our estate, for the next few days.

Not so strange, I suppose, but given that we live in an area where there are lots of tradie workmen building new homes, you have to imagine the strident scene of strange stares and comments when they see a pretty young teen, now adult, picking up dog poo on the footpath, then examining it closely, feeling it and squishing it around in her hands, (inside the doggy poo bag of course)!

It seems the little pup has a penchant for chewing anything. Here’s more evidence of her dental disasters.

And the final piece of news – we have “worms.”

Not in our bodies thank goodness; we’ve merely purchased a batch of garden-variety, soil-improving worms and installed them in their new home at the Home by the Sea.

At least the worms aren’t having a personal crisis or feeling chocked up with plastic remote controls.

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”

– Richard Bach
#WQWWC
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Girls happy dancing friends on traffic light control
Australia, blogging

Ending a Friendship

Recently at the Home by the Sea, I met a new friend. So that he can remain anonymous, I’ll call him, ‘Old Mate,’ (as we sometimes do in Australia).

Most people who met Old Mate, thought him brash and cocky, but I was utterly charmed by his youthful exuberance. He’d entered my world uninvited and I’d welcomed and even encouraged him to visit me whenever he liked. “My door is always open. Come over anytime,” I told him nonchalantly.

Perhaps that was my mistake? I can be naive about such things.

Being a good neighbour, or so I thought, I’d offered him food and refreshments whenever he rocked up. He really did like that. So much so, that he brought his partner over to meet us. We were chuffed.

Both Old Mate and his partner were talented singers and would regularly entertain us when they popped in. It was obvious they were planning to settle nearby and start a family. I was looking forward to sharing their world and continuing our wonderful friendship.

I had no inkling that Old Mate would take liberties with our friendship in a way no one else has done before.

It came to a head this week.

Jumping around on my Dining table was, to say the least, extremely unsettling, so I was forced to do something I’ve never done before: I told Old Mate he had to leave – ordering him out of my house.

He didn’t take my announcement well: becoming angry and flustered, making excuses to check out several rooms in the house, before finally agreeing to leave.

That was the final straw. I abruptly terminated our friendship.

I feel bad. I miss him, but it has to be this way.

My door is now closed.

inspiration buddha bridge in snow
Community

Sunday Sayings – Allies

Definition of an Ally:

to combine or unite a resource or commodity with (another) for mutual benefit.

Allies or Friends can come in many forms. They might support you at the end of the phone, in person, or just by you knowing that they have your back. They make life easier and more pleasant.

You don’t need an abundance of allies, even one or two makes life bearable. Maybe your best ally could be your own self.

Today’s Sunday Sayings focuses on Allies.

Weekly proverb

“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief” -Swedish Proverb

friend
Swedish friends

Weekly Quotes

“Friends ask you questions; enemies question you.” Criss Jami, (Healology)

“Dude. Every mom is the most annoying human in the universe, but most of them, besides the super-abusive genuinely bad ones, are in your corner.”
― Mary H.K. Choi

Who is your ally?

How do they support you?

Everyone’s opinion is important. What do you have to say?

Something to Ponder About

Several years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within those succinct few words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
Mostly anonymous, they are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures, and the experiences of many lessons learned and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived.
They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

inspiration buddha

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

How to Stop Worrying about What People Think – social anxiety and bullying

Socialising does not come easily for everyone. As hard as they try….No matter how ridiculous other's think may look, be yourself and don't care what people are thinking.

For some people, social anxiety and harassment comes hand in hand and bullying can take place at school, home and in the workplace. How they cope or don’t cope with it, can have a huge impact on their lives. My son is still working through some of these issues. Prevention of harassment and bullying or treating self-esteem issues or negative thinking/anxiety is not just about protecting the victims, or eliminating instances from occuring, through education, (although this is still important), but also should be about supporting a proactive approach rather than a re-active one. In every instance, it can be helpful to arm the victim with the right “cognitive tools” to cope with social anxiety and or harassment. Here is a few ideas about worrying about what others think of you. I found whilst browsing the web. They are not my original ideas, I have added to their insight from my experience.

Get comfortable with not knowing what other people think.

How much energy do you  waste worrying about this?  I’ve gradually learned to relax with simply not knowing what others think about me or my work. Sometimes I slip back and that part of my mind dwells on the negatives, but I now understand that the way we think determines our world, so I do everything I can to stop thinking that way.

Some problems in life, such as not knowing what others think of you, are not really meant to be resolved.  How people perceive you may have more to do with them than you anyway.  They may even like or dislike you simply because you’ve triggered an association in their minds by reminding them of someone they liked or disliked from their past, which has absolutely nothing to do with you.

So here’s a new mantra for you – say it, and then say it again: “This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons.  As long as I’m not hurting people, I need not worry what they think of me.”

Know that most people are NOT thinking about you anyway.

Ethel Barrett once said, “We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.

Forget what everyone else thinks of you; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway.  If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination.  It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion.  It’s you judging yourself that’s the problem.

My experience: A lot of people are so self-absorbed that they have more important things in their life than to be thinking about you all the time.

Accept that someone else’s opinion is NOT your problem.

How many times have you looked at a person and initially misjudged their brilliance?  Appearances are deceptive.  How you seem to someone and how you actually are, is rarely congruent.  Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle.  What someone thinks of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine.

If someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, then it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions based on a more objective and rational viewpoint.  Leave it to them to worry about – that is, if they even have an opinion at all.

People will think what they want to think.  No matter how carefully you choose your words and mannerisms, there’s always a good chance they’ll be misinterpreted and twisted upside down by someone.  Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things?  No, it doesn’t.

How others see you is not important.  How you see yourself, means the world.  When you’re making big decisions, remember, what you think of yourself and your life is more important than what people think of you.  Stay true to YOU.  Never be ashamed of doing what feels right.  Decide what you think is right and stick to it.

Be fully present and aware of how you DO want to feel.

It’s OK to know how you do not want to feel, but that’s not all you should be thinking about.  Imagine someone trying to learn to read by spending all their time focusing on how they do not want to not be able to read.  It doesn’t really make any sense, does it?

Enough is enough!  Forget what you do not want to feel for a moment.  Work out how you DO want to feel right now in the present moment.  Train yourself to live right here, right now without regretting how others once made you feel, or fearing the possibility of future judgment.

Speak and live your truth.

Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.  Be cordial and reasonable, of course, but don’t tread carefully on every word you say.  Push your concerns of what others might think aside.  Let the consequences of doing so unravel naturally.  What you’ll find is that most of the time no one will be offended or irritated at all.  And if they do get upset, it’s likely only because you’ve started behaving in a way that makes them feel they have less power over you.

Think about it.  Why be fake?

In the end, the truth usually comes out one way or the other, and when that happens, you’re standing alone if you’ve been living a lie.  So live your whole truth starting now.  If someone gives you a hard time and says, “You’ve changed,” it’s not a bad thing.  It just means you stopped living your life their way.  Don’t apologize for it.  Instead, be open and sincere, explain how you feel, and keep doing what you know in your heart is right.

You cannot make someone respect you; all you can do is be someone who can be respected.  The rest is up to them.  No matter how much you care some people just won’t care back.  It’s not the end of the world.  At some point you have to realize the truth – that they no longer care or never did, and that maybe you’re wasting your time and missing out on someone else who does. (MarcandAngel.com)

A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people who, perhaps, are incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing “the right thing,” is a sure road to a regretful existence.

Do more than just exist.  We all exist.  The question is:  Do you live?

I eventually realized existing without ever truly living was not what I wanted for myself.  So I made changes If you are in the same place I once was, seeking approval from everyone for every little thing you do, please take this post to heart and start making changes today.  Life is too short not to.

A Will Smith quote, “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions”

If you keep worrying about how the people in or out of your life don’t like you, you’ll miss those who are already in your life or who want to come into your life, the ones who, perhaps, can help you to the next level.

Once you stop caring about what others say about you, your life changes forever.

When people tease and or bait you the next time, look at them with a puzzled, sympathetic look and say, “Hmm, you must be so unhappy.” and walk away. They might be so surprised and embarrassed, they say nothing further. But if they pursue you, or try to argue with you, let them rant on while you have a bored expression on your face, and then say, “I see,” in a bored voice, and walk away. They’ll quit bothering you because you’re not reacting and staying cool and calm and – it makes them look foolish.

Some important life skills for all of us to ponder about.