Share Your World/Blogging Insights — Double Duty

Share Your WorldHappy March 1st. It’s time for us to answer Melanie’s Share Your World questions. Let’s do this.

Is every piece of truth worth telling? (Credit to the magnificent Cyranny for this one.)

I’ll answer the same way I answered this when Cyranny asked it: “Nope.” And I’ll add that there are times when truth telling, especially when it can be hurtful, isn’t worth the price. Sometimes it’s just better to not say anything.

Whom do you miss more Freddy Mercury or Prince? (If you don’t know who those people are, just skip this question. It’s cool).

As a fan of classic rock and of Queen, I have to go with Freddy Mercury. And I’ll admit that the only Prince song I’m familiar with is “1999.” Don’t be too harsh on me, Prince fans.

(By the way, at the risk of sounding like a grammar Nazi, shouldn’t the question be “Who do you miss more…?” rather than “Whom do you miss more…?”)

If you could only email or text people for the rest of your life (no other form of communication), which would you chose?

Text. It’s more instantaneous, and you can see when someone is responding to it by the three dots (or something like that) that shows up in your texting app.

Would you prefer to work the midnight shift at a really creepy, out of the way motel OR work alone for eternity?

In the decade before I retired at the end of 2016 I worked from home. I went into my home office, shut the door, and emerged only to eat or to go to the bathroom. So I was very used to working alone and, had I not retired, I could have continued to do so for…well, an eternity (or until death do I part).

Bonus question because yes, these are a weird bunch this week: What’s one secret you’re still keeping from your immediate family? (No details required. You could say something like “The lost weekend in 1982.” You can also answer “Why I NEVER keep secrets from my nearest and dearest!”)

When I first started blogging, I didn’t tell anyone in my family, including my wife. But now she (and my kids) know about my blog. But no others of my real life acquaintances — extended family or friends — know that I am Fandango.

Please feel free to share something uplifting that you’ve experienced so far in 2021.

Hmm. Sadly, in the grand scheme of things, there hasn’t been all that much uplifting about 2021. I’m happy that Trump lost the election, even though he still hasn’t admitted that he lost. I’m happy that Biden won and that Kamala Harris is the first black and Asian-American vice president. And I’m happy that I got my first COVID-19 vaccination in early February and I’m getting my second one this coming Thursday.

Blogging insightsOkay, now for Blogging Insights. Melanie pointed out that Dr. Tanya, who is the usual host of Blogging Insights, is on hiatus as she is moving her household. Melanie adds, “Since [Dr. Tanya] hasn’t come back (yet), I thought I’d just dive in and ask the question anyway. This post isn’t to be considered ‘legal’ because I didn’t ask Dr. Tanya if it’d be all right to do it.”

Anyway, here are Melanie’s “illegal” Blogging Insights questions.

How thick a skin do you need to be a blogger?

I’ve never thought it takes having a thick skin to be a blogger. I express my deeply held opinions on my blog. I have shared that I’m an atheist. I’m a liberal. I hated (and still do hate) Donald Trump and all of the so-called religious conservatives and Republicans who are kissing is big, fat butt.

But hey, I know that there are lot of folks who don’t share my opinions, views, perspectives, etc. and they are free to disagree with me in the comments section of my blog. I can take opposing views and I don’t mind or block the expression of those views, as long as they’re not abusive. But I will also push back on the commenters who disagree with me until it reaches the point that it becomes fruitless to continue such a dialogue. So bring it on folks.

“Bonus question”

How important is being understood? There are one or two bloggers here who put a great deal of time and effort into crafting their blog posts and I’ve heard them express dismay (disappointment) when people don’t necessarily “get” what they mean. Also, if people don’t ‘say’ (comment) a lot about a particular post they’ve worked hard on.

I try to write in such a manner that my posts, whether they are expressions of my opinions and perspectives or are flash fiction tales, are easy to understand. That said, I’m sure there are times when what I write may be misunderstood or misconstrued. But that’s the way things are in the real world, too. If people don’t “get” what I post about, and tell me so in a comment, I’ll try to explain what I meant and I’ll try to use their critical comments as a way to learn how to write more clearly about my meaning or in my message. But I don’t get upset, frustrated, or disappointed. As to people not commenting on a post I worked hard on, well, I don’t necessary expect people to comment on my posts, so I’m not disappointed if they don’t. If they do, though, that’s great and I appreciate such comments.

Blogging Insights — What’s a Blog?

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know…

How would you describe blogging to someone who has never heard of it before?

Back in the early 2000s, while I had heard the words “weblog” and “blog,” I really didn’t understand what blogging was all about or why someone would want to blog. I knew that I enjoyed writing and I felt that I was a better communicator using the written word than I was verbally. But I hadn’t really given any thought to blogging.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker in maybe 2003 or 2004. He knew I enjoyed writing and suggested that I might want to consider starting a blog. He told me that he was a blogger and he loved blogging. I asked him why and he said it was a way to exercise and improve his writing skills. I asked him why he needed a blog to do what sounded like writing in a diary or a personal journal and he gave me a few insightful answers.

He said:

  • He could express his points of view on the world around him and publish them on the internet, where they would be out there for anyone to stumble upon, virtually speaking.
  • People had, in fact, stumbled upon his blog posts and they seemed to enjoy what he wrote and actually responded to his posts.
  • It was not just his family and friends, whom he had told about his blog, but total strangers from around the world, who had read, liked, and commented on his posts.
  • There was a large and growing community of bloggers and he had formed connections with many of them.
  • It felt great to see his thoughts, perspectives, ideas, notions, and opinions “in print” for all the world to see.
  • He had, in fact, become a better writer as a result of putting himself out there in cyberspace.

I said to him that it sounded like blogging was a narcissistic, ego-boosting, self-serving waste of time.

I started my first blog in 2005 and immediately got hooked. Turns out that he was right on all the good things he said about blogging. It also turns out that I was right as well. Blogging is a bit of a narcissistic, ego-boosting, self-serving endeavor.

But it’s not a waste of time.

Blogging Insights — More About Prompts

Blogging insights

In this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya continues to want to know our thoughts on prompts. She asks…

Before you have written a prompt post, if you read someone else’s response that has the same idea as yours, do you abandon the project, modify it, or continue as before?

As I mentioned last week, most of the time, I don’t read other bloggers’ posted answers to prompts before I post my own, as I don’t want how others responded to the prompts to influence how I will respond. However, if I do happen to read another blogger’s response and it is similar to what I was thinking about writing for the prompt, I will go back to the proverbial drawing board and try to come up with a different angle for my response.

We are all fans of Q&A prompts. How do they spark creativity in you?

I try to come up with witty responses to the questions. But except for Fibbing Friday, where our answers are not supposed to be actual correct answers, I do answer the questions honestly, but still in a what I hope is a humorous manner.

Blogging Insights — Reading Prompt Posts

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know about our reading habits vis-a-vis prompt posts. She asks:

Do you like reading posts written for prompts? If so, what kind?

Yes, I do. I host a number of prompt posts and I read every post from those who respond to my prompts when they link back to my prompt post. I am fascinated by the variety and range of responses.

When you publish a piece in answer to a prompt, do you read entries by other bloggers? If so, do you read them before or after you have written your own?

Most of the time, I don’t read other bloggers’ posted answers to prompts before I post my own, as I don’t want how others responded to the prompts to influence how I will respond. But it also depends upon timing. For example, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes her Friday Fictioneers prompt on Wednesdays. I never post my response to it until Friday because, well, it’s called Friday Fictioneers. But a number of bloggers I follow also respond to Rochelle’s prompt, often starting on Wednesday. Since their posts show up in my Reader on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I can’t help but read what they’ve posted in response to Rochelle’s prompt before I begin to compose my own response on Thursday night or Friday morning. The good news is that my memory is so bad that by the time I start to write my own Friday Fictioneers response post, I usually can’t remember what others have posted in their responses.

Also, I schedule my daily one-word prompt for midnight my time and most of my other prompts for 3 a.m. my time. By the time I wake up in the morning, some bloggers have already posted their responses to my prompts and they’re in my Reader. But other than including my own one-word prompt, along with those of other daily, one-word prompters, in my some of my posts, I don’t often respond to my own prompts, anyway.

Bottom line, for the most part, I try not to read responses to prompts I’m participating in before I’ve written my own response. And, time permitting, I do try to read the responses to those prompts from other bloggers.

Blogging Insights — 2021

Blogging insightsIn this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know what we are planning for our blog in 2021. She asks…

How do you see your blog in 2021? What are your hopes and aspirations for your blog this year?

How do I see my blog in 2021? The same way I’ve always seen it — with my eyes.Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. I’m a very literal guy, you know.

Anyway, let’s get to my hopes and aspirations. From a content standpoint, I don’t see much changing, although I do hope that, after January 20th, I won’t be complaining about Donald Trump as much. And perhaps not at all.

I hope that WordPress won’t totally decommission the classic editor in 2021 and that I’ll be able to continue using the it throughout the year, either on my iPhone’s iOS app or on the wp-admin site on my laptop. I also hope that WordPress will finally get around to fixing the bug in its iOS app that causes me to be unable to like and comment on some other bloggers’ posts when I visit their sites.

I plan to continue my prompts and I hope to continue to interact daily with the WordPress community. Were it not for you folks, I might have quit my WordPress blog after they forced the block editor down our throats.

And I hope, both in the context of blogging as well as in your lives, you all have a fulfilling, rewarding, and happy 2021.