Blogging Insights — Looking Back

Blogging insights Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging. In this case, she asked four questions about what she calls “retrospective introspection.”

Here are her four questions:

How old is your current blog/website?

I started this blog in May of 2017. This is actually my fifth blog, thus “fivedotoh.com” (as in 5.0). My first two blogs were on Blogger, then my third blog was on a platform called TypePad. And before this, I had a different blog on WordPress.

Do you ever look back at your site (i.e., read through your old posts)?

Every Friday I publish Fandango’s Friday Flashback, where I go back and repost a post I posted on the same date in a previous year. I sometimes go back to old posts from before my current blog, so, since I started my first blog in 2005, I’ve got almost 14 years of posts to choose from. It’s amazing to me that, more often than not, I don’t even remember writing those old posts. It’s as if I am reading them for the first time.

How long ago did you update your About Page?

I haven’t updated it since I first composed it in May 2017. I haven’t changed much in two-and-a-half years, so why bother updating my about page?

If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?

Not a damn thing! I like my blog just the way it is. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Blogging Insights — Burnout

Blogging insights

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about blogger burnout.

Here are her three questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is “blogger burnout”?

0D7E35C2-D78B-4F90-9322-1C824617CB1DI think blogger burnout occurs when you lose your motivation to blog, when the joy of blogging disappears, and it becomes a chore. It’s different, I think, from writer’s block, where you still have the desire to write, but are drawing a blank. In burnout, that desire to write has left you, temporarily, at least.

I suffered blogger burnout in 2015 on my previous blog, which , I abruptly shut down. I had become obsessed with my blog. I was always thinking about it, talking about it, and even dreaming about it. I was still working at the time and my work was starting to suffer because I was more focused on my blog than I was on my job. I was even more focused on my blog than on my family, and it was putting my marriage in jeopardy. I finally decided that I needed to regain control — and balance — in my life, so I just stopped blogging. I don’t know whether or not that technically was a case of blogger burnout. But I do know that I was having a life flameout and I needed to stop blogging in order to get my real world life back on track.

2. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress?

I suppose what I just confessed about why I shut down my previous blog was an example of blog related stress. I think another stress inducing factor in a blogger’s life is stats. I look at my stats on a daily basis and, even though I realize that they vary significantly from one day to the next, if my stats are down for a stretch of two or three days in a row, it does cause me stress.

For example, I was looking at my monthly stats today and, much to my chagrin, November was the third month in a row where my views dropped. In fact, I had fewer views in November than I had for any other month this year except for February, which had only 28 days. And my blog had more than 1,500 fewer views this November than it had in November 2018! So yes, when I saw this chart of monthly views, I felt stress.e2ab2a6a-6e75-4197-87b1-15f5d9ca3c69.jpeg

3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

For me, the answer is simple. Stop looking at, being concerned with, or worrying about stats. I love to write. I rarely run out of opinions to express, perspective to share, or stories to tell. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me to hone my imagination and creativity and to keep my mind active and sharp. So I need to do my thing and not worry about how many views, likes, or comments my posts get.

Blogging is not a contest or a competition. It’s an outlet for creative self-expression and to be happy with what I create. It’s the act of writing and publishing what I’ve written on my blog that provides me with a sense of accomplishment. If people read what I write, like it, and comment on it, great. But if not, I shouldn’t let that stress me out. At least not so much that it will result in blogger burnout!

Blogging Insights and More

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about feeling grateful about our blogs.

And yesterday, Cyranny, the Cyranny who resides at Cyranny’s Cove, announced that she and her blog had been awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award. Congratulations Cyranny!

As part of her response, she asked eleven questions, all about blogging, and then she wrote, “If you are reading this, I pass the award to you! If you should accept it, please make sure to link me into your post, so I’ll notice your reply!!”

Since Tanya’s three questions and Cyranny’s eleven questions are all about blogging, I’m going to double up and respond to each of their questions in this post.

Let me start with Dr. Tanya’s three questions:

1. Are you grateful for your blog?

I am grateful that the technology exists that enables me to share what I write with a large community of bloggers from around the globe.

2. How do you express your gratitude?

By reading, liking, and commenting on the posts of the bloggers I follow and by thanking and interacting with those who comment on my posts.

3. Has blogging added value to your life?

Without a doubt. I’m retired and blogging has allowed me to exercise my mind, to flex my creativity, and to interact with a host of other bloggers. Plus, it keeps me busy and out of my wife’s hair, which has probably saved my marriage.

And now for Cyranny’s questions:

1. How long have you been blogging?

I started my first blog in July 2005. I started this, my current blog, in May 2017.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name or theme?

My blog’s name is This, That, and The Other. My blog has no particular theme or genre. It’s basically about whatever occurs to me. In other words, it’s about this, that, and the other.

3. Do your friends and family know about your blog?

My family does, as do a few of my very close friends. And, of course, the friends from around the world that I’ve met on WordPress know about my blog.

4. What do non-blogging people around you think about you being a blogger?

I have no idea and I haven’t asked, but I’d guess that most of them think it’s a waste of time.

5. Have you ever met fellow bloggers, face to face? If so, how did that go?

No. And I probably never will.

6. What would you miss the most, if you couldn’t blog anymore?

The community of bloggers with whom I interact on a daily basis. It’s an incredible group of creative, imaginative, and articulate people.

7. How much time do you spend on your blog, weekly?

I spend three to five or more hours a day, seven days a week, so I estimate between 20 and 40 hours a week.

8. Are there things you thought about trying on your blog, but you still hesitate? (different writing style, adding audio, or video content)

No, not really. I’m happy with my blog the way it is.

9. Who’s a blogger you feel everybody should know?

There is a fantastic blogger that everyone should read and follow. The blogger’s name is Fandango. You should check out his blog here.

10. What’s a post you are especially proud of, and that any new reader should visit?

Why don’t you just ask me which of my children I’m most proud of? I’ve written more than 3800 posts on this blog and I’m proud of each and every one. So if you start now and read each of my posts, you should finish by around the end of the year.

11. What brought you to The Cove today?

I follow your blog, Cyranny, so your posts show up in my reader and I pretty much read them all. You’re welcome!

Blogging Insights — Fresh Content

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya at Salted Caramel, is continuing her series on Blogging Insights, and in this one, she notes that fresh content and new ideas are things that bloggers are constantly trying to find. She wants to know where we find original ideas? She asks:

How do you write fresh content when everything that is worth saying has already been said?

I think there are two questions being asked here. First, Tanya suggests that “everything that is worth saying has already been said.” What I think she’s referring to is the notion of “original thought,” and I wrote a post about that subject in April 2018. I’m not going to repeat what I wrote in that post here, but if you’re interest in my thoughts on original thought, here is a link to that post.

The other part of her question is about finding fresh content for your blog. I’m not sure how different this question about “fresh content” is from the question about where we get our inspiration for our posts. But that said….

First, I respond to a lot of prompts, some word prompts, some photo/image prompts, and some different ones, like sentence starter prompts, for example. The idea behind these blogging prompts is to stimulate the mind using the words and/or photos/images presented. Based upon my reading the myriad responses to these prompts, there are a lot of fascinating, imaginative, intriguing, and creative tales that bloggers tell. Are they original thoughts that have never been thought before or new ideas that have never been dreamed up before? Probably not, but these responses are, indeed, fresh and original takes.

Second, all we have to do is open our eyes. Read, watch, or listen to the news. There is a wealth of blog fodder swirling all around us all the time. Express opinions on what is going on around you, whether it involves you personally, your friends and family, or what is happening around the globe. Share your perspectives, your insights. They may not be totally original, but they are your opinions, your perspectives, and your insights. They are your fresh way of looking at things.

And finally, if you’re looking for truly fresh and original content, write a post about something funny, interesting, or out of the ordinary that happened to you. For example, I wrote a post a while back about a very embarrassing experience I had at a tailor shop when I was getting fitted for a tuxedo. You can read about it here if you want to. Was this a unique experience that no one in the history of the world had ever had? No, probably not. But it was unique to me and my telling of that story was an original telling.

So, to answer Tanya’s question, I find fresh things to write about when I go forth and look at things and at life with a fresh eye. Then I simply write about what I see and experience.

Blogging Insights — Images

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya at Salted Caramel, is continuing her series on Blogging Insights, and in this one, she wants to know how we feel about images. She asks:

1. How important are images to a blog post?

In my opinion, they are very important. When I write a post I will generally search Google, Pixabay, Unsplash, Pexels, DeviantArt, and/or my own photo library for an image that perfectly illustrates or complements my written words. Sometimes it takes me longer to find just the right image than it does to compose the post. And, it’s important to credit the artist or photographers whose images you use in your posts.

And then there are picture/image prompts that are used to stimulate a blogger’s imagination and creativity by prompting stories or poems crafted about the presented image.

So, bottom line, whether an image is used to complement the words in a post or is used to stimulate a story around the image, I think they add value to a post, which is why I never publish a post that doesn’t have some visual image as part of it.

2. What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?

I don’t have any scientific data about the role of images in either blog traffic or reader engagement, but I would venture a guess that it has a positive impact on both.

3. How many images on average do you use in a blog post?

For most of my posts I use just one and it’s usually at the top of the post. For some Q&A-type posts, I might illustrate more than one of my answers with images.