Blogging Insights — Best If Read By Date

Blogging insightsFor this week’s Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya has explained two terms that, in the context of blogging, are new to me: “evergreen” and “topical.” She explains that “evergreen” content is content that continues to be relevant long past its publication so that it always remains sustainable and fresh. “Topical,” or timely content, has relevance and significance for a limited period of time. So, to me, she’s asking about the shelf-life of our posts. Do they have a “best if read by” date?

Here are her questions:

Evergreen or Topical content, which do you prefer writing?

I have three broad categories for my posts: prompts that I host, flash fiction post that I write often in response to other bloggers’ prompts, and political posts. I would say that my flash fiction and all of my prompt posts except for “Who Won the Week?” are evergreen. And I like writing them all and, in all modesty aside, I consider all of my posts to stand the test of time.

On the surface, one might categorize my political posts as “topical.” But I would argue that, while they represent what might be a snapshot in time, that doesn’t mean that they have become irrelevant over time. In my Flashback Friday prompt, for example, I have gone all the way back to 2005, when I first started blogging, and revisited some of my political posts from those years. Although the people I wrote about back then are different and the events at the time I wrote those posts don’t necessarily reflect what is happening in our world today, I think they still represent a relevant look back at what was going on during those times and are reflective of my perspectives.

Which do you write most often?

I’ve been writing a lot of political posts during the Trump error (not a typo), particularly over the past year. I will likely continue to do so until Inauguration Day on January 20th because, no doubt, Trump and his minions will be pulling out all the stops to cast doubt upon the election and to tarnish the legitimacy Biden’s historic win. That’s because they care more about their own unenlightened self-interests than they care about the fate and welfare of America. I’m hoping that after January 20th, I will be writing fewer political rants.

Which of these adds more value or engagement to your blog?

I’ll have to leave that up to the readers of my blog. As they say, value and engagement are in the eyes of the beholder. Or something like that.

Blogging Insights — Comfort Zone

Blogging insightsDr. Tanya is seeking more Blogging Insights from our community of bloggers. She said that she read lots of posts and watched many videos on blogging, most of which advised that selecting a niche is essential for a blog to be a success. A niche means a particular subject or genre. People become expert at writing in a particular form and subject. Today’s question is about stretching your wings and flying beyond your comfort zone.

Do you ever ‘stretch’ (i.e.,expand your horizons) by writing outside your comfort zone? If not, why not?

I really don’t have a specific niche for my blog. My “comfort zone” is essentially whatever occurs to me. Sometimes I write about politics. Sometimes about religion. Sometimes about society and what’s going in my country and the world.

My comfort zone also includes responding to other bloggers’ prompts, be they song prompts, word prompts, or photo prompts, and I use these prompts for writing flash fiction posts. I even generate a few prompts of my own as fodder for other bloggers to use to stimulate their imaginations and creativity.

But Dr. Tanya’s question isn’t about what is inside my comfort zone, it’s about whether or not I stretch myself and wander outside of it. My answer is not often. My comfort zone is prose, yet I have, on a few unfortunate occasions, attempted to write poems — mostly very bad poems. So bad, in fact, that anyone who knows anything about poetry would be hard pressed to even label my feeble, misguided, and failed attempts to venture into writing poems to be poetry.

Does that answer the question?
If not, I have a suggestion
That is for your own protection
So please pay close attention
And organize an intervention
With the very good intention
Of bringing about a cessation
To this unwanted expression
And I will offer my confession
I disabuse myself of an impression
That I have in my possession
The ability and skill to write a poem

F is for Flash Fiction

3CB9B5CE-9A17-487D-AC95-CB46590B5F5EThe tagline for my blog is “Random Musings on Life, Society, and Politics.” But something is missing from that tagline. Since I started this blog in May 2017, I’ve published 2,670 posts. According to my categories count, 534 are about “Life,” 348 are about “Politics,” and 0 — yes, zero — are about “Society.” In fact, “Society” isn’t even a distinct category on my blog.

The category on my blog with the most posts, 1,103 of them, is “Flash Fiction.” Many, but not all, of my flash fiction posts are written in response to prompts — word prompts, photo prompts, miscellaneous writing prompts, and combinations thereof.

I really enjoy exercising my imagination and creativity when I write flash fiction. It’s actually more fun to make up fictional tales in my head than it is to deal with real world realities. And to be honest, writing flash fiction often serves as a much needed distraction from life, society, and politics, which these days can be very disturbing.

So I suppose I could update my tagline to include flash fiction. But “Random Musings on Life, Society, and Politics, Plus a Lot of Flash Fiction” sounds kind of awkward, don’t you think?


Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary

No, it’s not my thirteenth wedding anniversary. I’ve been married for way more than 13 years. But it was exactly thirteen years ago today, on October 10, 2005, when I published my very first post on my very first blog.

It was on Blogger or Blogspot, which may be the same thing (I think my URL had a “blogspot.com” domain name), but it (or they) are now part of the Google family, which they weren’t at the time I started that blog.

Anyway, I named my first blog “They Took an X-Ray of My Head and Found Nothing.” It was based on something Dizzy Dean, a professional baseball pitcher in the 1930s, said. In game four of the 1934 World Series, Dean attempted to break up a double play on a ground ball. The second baseman’s throw ended up hitting Dean in the head, knocking him unconscious. Dean’s x-ray at the hospital came back negative, and Dean was quoted as saying, “The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing.”

But I digress. The tagline of my blog was “All the news, views, and commentary that I think are important…to me, anyway, because, after all, it’s all about me!” Hmm. Not much has changed in 13 years, has it?

My first post was a whiny lament about how the second basement for the Boston Red Sox made an error that cost the Red Sox the game. And it was a playoff game, too! I used to blog about sports a lot back then because politics at the time was, you know, boring. Oh how I wish that were still the case.

My “X-Ray” blog was up and running for more than three years, until December 6, 2008. It was replaced a month later, on January 6, 2009, with my second blog, which only lasted until June 9, 2009. For my third blog, which I started a month later, on July 6, 2009, I moved it from Blogger to TypePad. Then, in July of 2013, I started blog number four on WordPress.

For personal reasons, in mid-April of 2015, I took a two-year hiatus from blogging. Until May of 2017, when I started this blog, blog number five (hence, “Fivedotoh”). I realized that I couldn’t stay quiet with Donald Trump as POTUS and with all of the chaos he was creating and the damage he was doing.

I also decided that, in order to maintain my own mental health, I would dabble in flash fiction to serve as a distraction from the insanity in Washington.

And here we are, thirteen years later. So happy thirteenth blogging anniversary to me. Thank you for sharing this auspicious anniversary with me.

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.