Blogging Insights — Reading is Fundamental

Blogging insightsFor this edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know if reading is fundamental to being a blogger. She asks:

Do you think that reading is an important prerequisite for writing well? If so, what kind of reading material inspires or affects your writing?

Yes, I do. I can’t imagine being able to write well if you’re not also well read. Back in the day I used to be a voracious reader. I’d typically go through fifty to sixty books a year. I’d read books on the commuter trains I used to take to get to and from work. I’d read books on the many long airplane flights I had to take for my job. And I’d read for in bed about 30 to 60 minutes each night before going to sleep at night

But that was before the internet, before connected computers, before smartphones, before newsfeeds, before 24-hour cable news networks, before streaming services. Now I don’t read more than a half a dozen books a year, if that. Most of my reading these days is done on my iPhone. Specifically my newsfeed and the WordPress reader.

What kind of reading inspires my writing these days? Well, it’s mostly the articles that pop up on my newsfeed, those posts I come across in the WordPress reader, and things I see in my newspaper or in magazines.

So, bottom line, one way or another,DB368155-D086-431C-AE74-E8EC1FEE142A

Blogging Insights — What’s My Genre?

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Tanya wants to know our thoughts on writing genres. I’ll do the best I can to answer her questions even though I’m not sure, other than fiction and non-fiction or poetry and prose, what writing genres vis-à-vis blogging really means. So with that in mind, here goes nothing.

1. What is your passion with regards writing genres?

I Googled writing genres and saw a bunch of articles with different lists of genres, but it seems many lists break them down into these categories for fiction: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, horror, thriller, romance, realism, satire, tragedy, and drama. And, no doubt there are myriad sub-genres within each of them.

And for non-fiction, the genres most often noted are: fashion, food, travel, music, lifestyle, sports, instructional, art, photography, technology, health, etc.

Bottom line, I’m not sure I have a particular passion about any specific writing genres.

2. What is your chosen genre?

For purposes of my blog, my chosen genre is “miscellaneous,” hence the title of my blog, “This, That, and the Other.” I write non-fiction posts when I’m venting about politics, religion, society, or activities of daily living. I write short — or flash — fiction when I’m responding to prompts or am in the mood to tell a story. And I mostly write prose because, when I do endeavor to write poetry, it’s really bad.

3. What is the genre you might like to write about but lack confidence to start?

When it comes to blogging, I don’t really lack confidence. An idea for a post pops into my head and I just start writing and see where it takes me.

Blogging Insights — You Are What You Read

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights this week asks us about the WordPress reader and the types of posts we like to read. She wants to know:

How often do you visit the WordPress reader?

Multiple times a day. I have turned off email notifications, so the only way I know if a blogger I follow has posted something new is when it shows up on my reader. But I don’t “read” the post from within my reader. I tap the “visit” thingie at the bottom left on my iPhone’s reader and that takes me to the smartphone optimized version of the actual post.FBE7D96F-04F7-40ED-821B-E2374E54B727

What kind of blog posts are you more likely to read?

My post reading tastes are pretty eclectic. I try to read most of the posts that the bloggers I follow have posted. I also read all of the posts that bloggers have posted in response to my writing prompts. But, as I have said before, the kinds of posts that I like to read are the engaging, entertaining, informative, topical, provocative, witty, and well-written ones.

Blogging Insights and the Pandemic

Blogging insightsFor this week’s Blogging Insights episode, Dr. Tanya points out that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it. “It has deeply touched the lives of us all, even those who have not been infected.” She’s asking us to share with her how it has affected our blogs and blogging.

1. How frequently do you post about the pandemic? Please share links to a couple of your “pandemic posts” that you particularly like. If you have not written anything about Coronavirus/COVID-19 (seems unbelievable) what are your reasons for this?

Between those non-fiction posts specifically about the pandemic and our president’s mishandling of it, and those flash fiction posts that incorporate the coronavirus/COVID-19 into the tale, at least a few dozen. As to links, well, here’s one about the devastation that the coronavirus has personally caused me: Damn You, Coronavirus!

2. What kind of “posts about the pandemic” do you like to read? (If you don’t, then please tell us why?)

Interesting, engaging, informative, entertaining, and well written posts. I’ll skip the rest, thank you.

3. How have you and your blog adapted to “the new normal”?

I now hold my iPhone at full arm’s length when I use it for blogging in order to maintain proper social distancing.

4. Have you seen any change in your blog stats during the pandemic? Also, are you posting more or less than you used to?

Not really. My stats are about the same.4B5F4DFC-A6C7-4DB6-A597-3A7838E3A4F4I’m posting fewer posts per day so far this year than I did in 2019, but that has nothing to do with the pandemic.

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.