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 — 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.

WordPress is FOWCing with Fandango…Again

As most of you know

  1. I blog using my iPhone
  2. I hate the block editor because it sucks on an iPhone

And, as most of you also know, I host a number of prompts, including my daily FOWC with Fandango prompt. What I do with this (and my other prompts), is

  1. log on to https://fivedotoh.com/wp-admin
  2. use the classic editor version on the wp-admin site
  3. copy the latest published or recently scheduled post for the new prompt post
  4. that opens up the post to be copied in classic editor
  5. make the necessary changes for the new prompt post in the classic editor
  6. save and schedule the updated post for the appropriate day and time in the classic editor

But as of today, when I go to the wp-admin site on my iPhone and try to copy an existing post that was published using the classic editor, it opens up the copied post in the goddam fucking block editor. At least it does on my iPhone — I haven’t tried it yet on my laptop.

And as of today, even if I’m logged on to wp-admin, when I go to add a new post, it opens up the block editor with no option to use the classic editor.

I’m going to reach out to the WordPress happiness engineers, but I’m pretty sure I know what they’ll tell me: “Too bad, so sad.”

But I’m telling you folks, this may be the proverbial straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. If this is the way it’s going to be from now on, I may stop posting my prompts. Hell, I may stop posting altogether.

Blogging Insights — I’m a Prompter

Blogging insightsThis week’s edition of Blogging Insights, a series of blogging Q&A’s that Dr. Tanya, over at Salted Caramel, started about a year ago, is all about prompts. She asks us:

What is the value of running writing prompts to your writing in general, and your blog in particular?

I pretty much answered this question a couple of months ago in an earlier Blogging Insights edition. But I suppose it bears repeating.

When I first started this blog in May 2017, I never had any intention of hosting any writing prompts. But one of the things I really liked doing on my blog was honing my flash fiction writing chops by posting short tales in response to the WordPress Daily Post one-word prompts.

But then the folks at WordPress decided to stop posting the daily prompt at the end of May 2018 and I knew I was going to miss those daily writing challenges. I thought that other bloggers might also miss them, so I decided to start my own daily Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, aka “FOWC with Fandango.”

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.

What is the value of hosting these prompts? Well, almost overnight after starting FOWC with Fandango, I doubled the traffic to my blog and got a bunch of new followers. And it’s heartening to have people respond to my prompts on their own blogs. I really enjoy the creative, imaginative, ingenious, witty, and even poetic posts bloggers have published in response to my prompts.

So for my blog and for me personally, hosting writing prompts has been a very positive, very rewarding endeavor. And I hope others have enjoyed participating in these prompts.

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.