Blogging Insights — Meeting Expectations

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya’s latest Blogging Insights question is all about expectations. She wants to know:

Has your blog turned out more or less as you expected or totally different?

I started this blog, my fifth iteration of blogging, in May of 2017 and it pretty much was progressing according to plan (i.e., as expected). Then WordPress unexpectedly announced that it would be shutting down its Daily Post, a one-word writing prompt that I had been regularly participating in since the beginning of my blog, effective June 1, 2018.

That was when I made the decision to create my own one-word daily prompt — Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka “FOWC”). It was designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its own daily word prompt.

I had never planned to get into posting writing prompts for other bloggers to use for inspiration. But as I look back on my decision to post my own daily one-word prompt, that decision did, indeed, change the nature of my blog in an unexpected way.

FOWC with Fandango was very well received. And over time, I added other regular writing prompts:

  • Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge — a weekly prompt on Mondays where I post a photo and challenge bloggers to create their own posts based upon the photo I selected.
  • Fandango’s Provocative Question — a weekly prompt on Wednesdays where I pose what I hope is a provocative question that will get bloggers to think, to be creative, and to response.
  • Fandango’s Friday Flashback — a weekly prompt on Fridays where I reach back into my archives and repost something I posted on the same date in a previous year and encourage other bloggers to do the same in order to expose their newer readers to some of their earlier posts that those newer readers might never have seen, or to remind their longer term readers of posts that they might not remember.
  • Fandango’s Who Won the Week — a weekly prompt on Sundays where I encourage bloggers to look back at the week that just ended and to select who (or what) they think “won” that week and to write their own posts about who/what they chose and why.

So, to answer Dr. Tanya’s question, I certainly never expected to be posting one daily blogging prompt and four weekly blogging prompts when I started “This, That, and the Other” just over three years ago.

Leave Well Enough Alone

What is the deal with June 1st at WordPress? Is that the first day of the new fiscal year there? It was June 1st 2018 when WordPress called a halt to its Daily Post, prompting a number of us to start our own daily word prompts in order to fill the void WordPress left.

Now, according to a post that Li, over at Tao Talk published a few days ago, as of June 1st, WordPress will be “retiring our older WordPress.com editor and transitioning to the more recent (and more powerful) WordPress block editor.”

This is not good news for me. If you don’t already know it, I blog exclusively from my iPhone. Not from a desktop computer. Not from a laptop. Not even from a tablet like an iPad. Just from my iPhone. Have any of you tried using the block editor from a smartphone? It’s not a good user experience. There isn’t enough “real estate” on a relatively small smartphone screen to make it work. At least not for me. So I have continued to use the “classic” editor.98818DF8-5454-4C7F-82CE-C2F64AC6C394My initial reaction to this news that the “classic” editor is being “retired” was to just quit blogging, at least on WordPress. But Li was kind enough to link to this post from WordPress. The good news is that the WordPress link indicates that, “You also have the choice to switch to the Classic editor.”

I hope that is, indeed, the case and that you don’t have to jump through hoops to use the “classic” editor. Because I really don’t want to leave WordPress to go to another blog hosting site or to quit blogging altogether.

Why can’t those happiness engineers at WordPress just leave well enough alone? Jeez, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

More Sunshine and More Questions

2AB530A2-2109-492B-9A9E-12A16043D380It must be awards season. Sadje, over at Keep It Alive, was nominated for another Sunshine Blogger Award, and she was kind enough to nominate my blog, along with nine others, to receive this award. So first of all, congratulations Sadje and thank you for honoring my blog with your nomination.

For my part in this process, I’m going to answer the interesting questions Sadje posed. Here we go.

What is your favorite time of the day?

I think it’s that moment right between the time when I’m in bed at night and I close my eyes just before I fall asleep and my mind starts wandering and the seeds of a dream begins to emerge.

How strict are you with yourself, regarding health?

I wouldn’t say that I’m strict, but I do try to watch what I eat and to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.

Do you follow back a blogger who follows your blog?

Not automatically. I try to visit their blogs and I will follow some, but I’m more likely to follow the blogs of bloggers who regularly comment on my posts than of those who follow my blog but never leave a comment.

How do you deal with criticism in real life?

Depends upon who is doing the criticism. In general, I take it for what it’s worth.

How do you deal with criticism in the blogging world?

Same as in real life

Any ideas about how we can turn the current situation to our advantage?

Yes. Keep giving Mother Nature a chance to heal the planet by driving less.

Are you a dessert person?

Perhaps this shot from my freezer drawer will answer the question.E60412E4-FC64-415F-B766-F146B8C254BE

What colors do you like to wear?

I mostly wear blue jeans and casual shirts of almost any color, but often with blue in them.

What color decor you like around you, in your home?

Whatever color decor my wife likes around our home.

What is your favorite place to write from?

I blog from my iPhone, so almost anywhere. But typically during the day, it’s either while sitting on the family room couch or in our backyard if it’s nice outside. At night, it’s in my bed before going to sleep.

Do you like getting Blogging awards?

I’ve declared my blog to be an award-free blog, but I do appreciate it when someone takes the time to recognize my blog. I typically don’t follow all the rules for blog awards, including tagging other bloggers, but I do enjoy answering the questions the person who nominated me/my blog for the award asks.

Blogging Insights — Comments

Blogging insightsOn this week’s episode of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know what we think about comments. Hmm. Comments, huh? I’d like to comment on that topic.

How important is the comments section to your blog?

I’ve heard a number of bloggers, particularly novice bloggers, claim that they don’t really care how many likes their posts gets, how many followers their blog has, and whether or not their posts get comments. “I blog for myself,” they’ll say. Well, I call bullshit on that. And I know it’s bullshit because I used to say the same thing myself.

But that was before people from all around the globe started liking and commenting on my posts and following my blog. If I wrote only for myself and didn’t care about what others thought, I’d just keep a private journal. But I have a public blog on WordPress and I love my blog’s comment section. I love reading what others have to say. It’s that sense of community and the interchange of ideas that make all the hours I spend writing and reading posts worthwhile. It’s that feeling you get when you know that something you wrote and posted resonated enough with someone else that they actually took their time to write a comment in response.

Do you read the comments on other people’s blogs/posts?

Not as much as I’d like to. Between drafting, editing, proofreading, and publishing my own posts, plus reading as many of the posts from bloggers I follow as I can, there just isn’t enough time in the day left to read all of the comments people make on other bloggers’ posts. Sorry.

Spam comments and spammers: we all hate them. How do you identify spam comments?

I have to say that Akismet does a good job of trapping most spam comments before they are show up in my comments section. The few that do make it through are pretty easy to spot and remove.

Have you ever “approved” negative comments?

I don’t moderate comments, so all comments that aren’t automatically sent to my spam or trash folders are posted. But, since I do occasionally express my personal opinions and perspectives on topics such as politics, society, and religion, I do occasionally get comments from people who take exception to my personal opinions and perspectives. But I have never deleted any comment, even those that can be, at times, a little nasty. Sometimes I’ll engage, but most of the time, I just ignore them and move on. After all, I’m a big believer in what Abe Lincoln once wrote on his personal blog: “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.”

Thanks For the Tag

DC49B49B-88F1-48E4-B706-C6F93814FA68Cyranny, over at Cyranny’s Cove, has gifted me with a nomination for the Real Neat Blog Award. I am honored by her tag and I really appreciate it, even though I have declared my blog to be an award-free blog. But it’s not a Q&A-free blog, so I’m happy to answer the ten questions she posed to me and her other nominees. So let’s do this.

How do you think 10-year-old-you would feel about today-you?

He’d wonder when I got so old.

Share one thing from your bucket list. (You haven’t made a bucket list? There must be things you hope to accomplish before you die, right? Just pick one, hehehe.)

My number one bucket list item is to kick the bucket peacefully and painlessly when the time comes.

Have you ever read a fellow blogger’s book? What book was that, and can you link the author here?

I’ve actually read a few, including books by Iain Kelly, Cage Dunn, Teresa Grabs, Paula Light, C.S. Boyack, and Jackson Radcliffe.

What’s your favorite foreign country and why?

The United States. I know what you’re thinking. I live in the United States, but these days, it seems quite foreign to me.

Who’s the last person you wrote a real letter to?

A “real” letter? You mean one written with a pen on a piece of paper? OMG, that’s so twentieth century.

What are you the most proud, about your blog?

That I’m still blogging.

What do you like the most about The Cove?

The Cove? Can you be more specific? Is it a nightclub? A restaurant? A novelty shop? 😉

What’s a word you wish you’d never hear again? Why?

President Trump. Okay, that’s two words, and neither word, in and of itself, is offensive. But when said together: 🤮

What’s the biggest “from you, to you” gift you ever got yourself?

Back in the early 70s, I bought myself a used, 1959 Jaguar XK 150. It was a beautiful car.6F46E387-05C3-4D0B-B0EF-BFD7E0497DC9Unfortunately, it spent more time in the shop than on the road.

Tell me something you wish people knew about yourself, that most people don’t?

I’m an open book. Most people I know in the real world know everything there is to know about me.

Okay, does anyone else want to take a shot at Cyranny’s questions? Consider yourselves tagged.