To Prompt or Not To Prompt

89D7CF32-2469-41AB-A53A-BE1D5F14D087I saw this comment below on another blogger’s post yesterday:

“I have no real interest in posts that are a result of prompts by others. The pleasure (to me) of this community is to read about the bloggers — their lives, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into their typical day.”

Do you agree with that commenter? Do those of you who are reading this have little interest in posts that are written for prompts from other bloggers? Would you prefer posts that are more about life, challenges, dreams, wants, and daily activities?

I haven’t made any definitive counts, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of my posts over the past year have been written in response to prompts. Photo prompts, word prompt, and other writing challenges. And aside from my political rants about Donald Trump and the Republicans, not very many of my posts have been about my personal “life, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into my typical day.”

I enjoy writing flash fiction, particularly in response to photos/images. It gives me a chance to let my creative juices flow as I interpret the images that serve as the prompts and craft short stories around them.

Likewise, word prompts, and other writing challenges also allow my imagination to run wild and to write tales leveraging the words that are offered up for inspiration.

It was nice when WordPress had its daily word prompt and its weekly photo challenge. One word prompt a day and one photo challenge a week, plus a few other bloggers’ prompts, was perfect. But since WordPress stopped its prompts at the end of May, a whole bunch of bloggers — myself included — have stepped up with their own word prompts and photo challenges. And I have been doing my best to post in response to many of them.

Which then begs the question: have I gone overboard with respect to prompts? Should I instead be writing more personal posts dealing with my real world life and daily activities?

Well, I’ve made a decision and I want to thank you all for listening and for helping me think through this conundrum. After giving this a fair amount of consideration, I have decided to continue writing flash fiction in response to prompts. And I’m going to continue ranting about Donald Trump and all the shit he’s doing and saying. In other words, I’m not going to change the way I blog.

If you have anything you’d like to say on the matter, please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

How I Spend My Time

Some of you are aware that I use my iPhone for blogging. I have the iOS WordPress app, which I use for reading and responding to comments on my posts and for reading what other bloggers I follow have posted and for commenting on their posts .

But for writing my posts I use my iPhone’s Safari browser to log onto WordPress because it’s easier to use for composing posts than the WordPress app for iOS editor. And it gives me a real-time word counter, which comes in handy for prompts with word limits.

Why my iPhone and not my laptop? I do it because I can read, comment, and post from anywhere. My bed, my living room, the dining room, my backyard, on a bus, at the park. And, if I do say so myself, I have become quite adept at using my iPhone’s virtual keypad.

Anyway, a few days ago I downloaded iOS 12, the latest iPhone operating system, to my iPhone. I have found a few quirky things (i.e., bugs), which I’m sure (hope) will be addressed in iOS 12.1. But one of the new features on iOS 12 is something called “Screen Time.” It keeps track of how much time you spend on your iPhone and how you’re spending that time.

Out of curiosity, last night before I went to bed, I checked Screen Time. And I’ll be honest with you, what I saw shocked me.D06C4129-5193-4F1D-8ED1-01A160F5EFBE.jpegOf the 17 hours I was awake yesterday (from 6 am to 11 pm), I spent 10½ using my iPhone. And of those 10½ hours, I spent 6¾ hours blogging — either reading, commenting, responding to comments, or posting.

In other words, I spent 61% of my waking hours on my iPhone, which is just nuts. But of those 10½ hours, I spent on my iPhone, nearly two-thirds of it was spent related to blogging.

I’ve been awake so far today for 2½ hours. That time includes taking a shower, getting dressed, fixing and eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. And yet, of that 2½ hours, I spent 1½ hours on my iPhone, one hour and 20 minutes of which were spent on WordPress.

I think I need to rethink how I’m spending my time.

“One Word” of Appreciation

B6287C60-BD79-408A-B77E-8F3C19A0B419When WordPress announced at the end of May that it was dropping its one-word daily prompt, I was disappointed. So I decided to start my own one-word daily prompt, FOWC With Fandango, on June 1st.

Of course, I wasn’t the only blogger to come up with that brilliant idea. There are at least five other bloggers (or teams of bloggers) who have jumped in and started posting daily one-word prompts. These include the team from the Word of the Day Challenge, the Ragtag Daily Prompt team, Sheryl’s Your Daily Word Prompt, Scott Bailey’s Scotts Daily Prompt, and Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions.

I decided a little while ago to support all of these other bloggers by incorporating their one-word prompts into my posts. And I’ve been having a blast turning the five daily one-word prompts from these other bloggers, along with my own one-word prompt, into single posts that use all six word prompts.

It’s a challenge because I never know until the day arrives, what the words are going to be. Yes, even on my own one-word prompt. I create and schedule them up to two weeks in advance and, because my memory sucks, by the time my daily FOWC With Fandango prompts post, I’m as surprised as just about everyone else.

But I’m having so much fun working with these prompts and I want to sincerely and genuinely thank those other brave bloggers who are offering up these challenges to the blogosphere. Believe me, I know how much work it takes to make it happen day in, day out seven days a week.

I hope I’ve been able to craft together cohesive posts using these six prompts and I hope all of you who also participate in my prompt, as well as the others I’ve mentioned, are having as much fun as I am.

SoCS — All About My Posts

80396071-78A6-45ED-AC89-D5F7918B17A9Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt today calls for us to use “post” as a word, or find a word that uses it as a prefix. As a blogger, when I hear the word “post,” I think about something I’ve been doing three to five times a day lately: writing posts.

My very first post on this blog was published sixteen months and one day ago, on May 14, 2017. It was one of seven posts I published in that first month. D0608CD7-2DF2-41AB-8C63-5F737C94C02FThe post was intended to introduce me and my new blog.

In that post I wrote, “I describe myself as a logical, rational, and reasonable person. I am not ruled by emotions but by facts, observations, and evidence.”

That first post received one “like” and no comments. Since that first post, I have published 1,638 additional posts, including this one. That averages out to just over 100 posts per month since I started this blog and 160 a month since I began posting my daily one-word prompt, FOWC With Fandango, in June.

What is even more amazing, to me, anyway, is that my 1,639 posts contain more than 393,000 words! That’s like having written six 65,000 word novels in 16 months!

By way of contrast, in my previous blog, which was live from July 6, 2009 until April 10, 2015, I wrote only 907 posts, more than 60% of which we’re written in 2014 and the first 3 1/2 months of 2015. Between 2009 and 2013, I averaged around 70 posts per year, or fewer than six posts per month.

The other interesting thing is that my word count per post in that previous blog averaged around 675. In my current blog, my average word count is only about 240.

Anyway, unless you’re me, and I know for a fact that you are not, you no doubt find this stream of consciousness post to be of little interest. Therefore, I’m going to end this post now so that you can get on with the rest of your day.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Record Breaking

Pardon me while I toot my own horn. Oh wait. That sounds kind of kinky. Let me start again.

Pardon me while I take a few minutes to brag a little.
92B413DD-0AB3-4DB7-8866-C0BBEBFC609EYou see, my blog broke all kinds of personal records in August. It accrued 14,306 views from 2,820 visitors, 4,699 likes, and 2,281 comments. Woo hoo!

That compares with 11,397 views in July and 9,997 in June. Prior to June, my max views in any month was only 4,741 in March 2018.

From May 2017, when I started this blog, through May 2018, my blog received a total of 39,805 views. But in just the past three months, it got 35,700 views. So almost as many views in the past three months as my blog got in its first twelve months!

To what do I attribute this exponential growth?  No question that it was my decision to start my own daily one-word prompt, “FOWC with Fandango,” after the folks at WordPress announced the demise of the daily, one-word prompt.
Before and After FOWCOf my top 10 posts in August, eight were FOWC with Fandango prompts. My post, “Better Than Sex,” was the second most popular post of the month, while “SoCS Badge Contest” came in eighth.

A number of my fellow bloggers jumped in to fill the gap left by WordPress and I would venture to say that each and every one has seen a significant spike in views as a result. It turns out that many bloggers, myself included, are combining multiple one-word prompts into their posts, which can be challenging given the diversity of the daily word prompts.

Anyway, I know I’ve said this before, but I want to thank everyone who has participated in Fandango’s One-Word Challenge each day. I love reading the incredibly wide variety of creative and imaginative responses.

So, the next question is how long will I be able to keep this daily one-word prompt going? Well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the English language contains 171,476 words in current use. But it also notes that a vocabulary of just 3,000 words provides coverage for around 95% of common texts. So even if I limit my daily posts to the 3,000 most common words, I can potentially keep this going for another eight years…if I live that long!

But the key is for me and for all of you to have fun, so as long as that’s the case, I’m good.