Where do I go from here (with the blog)?

That is the question.

In September and October, I was busy and had fun with Blogging101. I learned a lot, things I had hoped to learn about (like blogger netiquette), and things I didn’t expect (like visiting unknown blogs and leaving comments for people I don’t know yet). There were many exercises to promote interaction with other bloggers, which I thought was very good, because it helped me get over the shyness of leaving comments. I basically learned that most people who are relatively new to blogging and not (yet) set up professionally have similar problems and shyness/fear to intrude as I do.

Blogging101 also promoted actions to make your blog and blogging activities look more professional. Many of these things I knew already from the coursera course Creativity, Innovation and Change. Many of these things make sense, and for people who don’t know their way around software like WordPress, this certainly would be very useful.

Finally, branding was promoted. Branding seems to be something everyone must do. Getting a ‘corporate identity’ look, making oneself recognizable: this is all very useful if you want to promote yourself, your work, art, crafts, business. But I’m not an entrepreneur…

The question arises: do I really need all this? I did the branding exercise (not very professionally) in the coursera course. I restricted myself to the blog, facebook and g+, places I frequent anyway. I refuse to get active on twitter, linkedin and what else there is around. I think I’ll deactivate the bloglovin feature as well. I don’t need all this.

A while ago, Debra Levy from C-Dog & Company posted about “Social Media Coming Between You and Your Pets?” She describes her feeling of not spending enough time with those she loves because of the many distractions social media offer. I can wholeheartedly second that sentiment, and it made me pause and think. But there was blogging101 to complete, and there were courses to take, and posts to write, and…

When I was reminded of the really important things in life through my dog Jack’s accident and death, letting go of all social media activities in the blink of an eye wasn’t even a decision, it was a given. The only thing I followed up on was the CTA job on coursera, because I had committed to that and find it important. It helps people. That’s more than I can say about my ‘normal’ blog posts.

Later, I read a post–can’t remember where it was–where someone wrote that bloggers should follow up on all the branding and self-promoting because otherwise: why blog? You might just as well write a private journal, they say. I found this a bit depressing. And on second thought, I don’t agree at all.

Why do I blog, why did I start this? I wanted to connect. I’m writing fantasy and science fiction stories. That gives me joy and satisfaction. I haven’t published anything, and don’t know if I ever will. But I want to write, and I want to talk about it, and talk to people who have similar interests. And I have found already many people around here to talk with, to learn from, to have fun with… even though many have a different focus, and most have a much more professional approach to their blog. Blogging is writing, it is something you want to do regularly, and it is something that gives you practice. It also lets me express myself about themes that interest or move me without being told to be off-topic. My blog is my castle…

But I don’t need the branding and all the self promoting. If I ever finish a novel and want to get published, I still can do that. For the time being, I’d rather spend my time writing instead of thinking about a set schedule for blogging, about not missing a post, and making the whole experience more stressful than necessary. Blogging101 was fun, but I also found it a bit exhausting. I don’t think I can and want to write a post every day.

And so I decided to get back to my blogging roots, not caring about what I should do but doing what I enjoy. So there’ll be posts about pets, about what moves me at the moment, about writing with the occasional writing exercise thrown in, sometimes just pictures, and sometimes posts about the online courses I take. I also decided to cut down on them, I have to focus on my new dog and her training.

If you are ok with this mix, dear readers, I’m looking forward to meeting you here. I welcome and treasure every comment you make (and I will put that into my about page, too.). Please don’t be shy. For me, the best part about blogging is the interaction. I will try to be brave and on occasion jump around in your blogs and leave more or less insightful comments. IMG_0611

With that I end today’s wordiness and give you a picture from some flowers I picked in garden and field last Friday (November 28). The weather around here is crazy, November was balmy, now it’s foggy and a bit colder, but also humid. I haven’t seen proper snow in years. The slugs and  insects have a good time around here. So, instead of a Christmas tree, you get sunflowers and roses.

Coming soon: A guest post about writing.

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9 thoughts on “Where do I go from here (with the blog)?

  1. Us bloggers go through these epiphanies now and again. I’m a kindred blogger – and I whole-heartedly agree with your wisdom set forth here. I just can’t get into the whole blog promo thing. I write and do my art and hope people enjoy (but once in awhile I ask that dangerous question – “What the heck is it all for?”). I went as far as making a separate Facebook page ’cause I’ve had an account forever, but I’ve never tweeted… For some bloggers, advertising is paramount for achieving their goals. It works for them. I often think of blogging like this(and now I’m dating myself): Blogging is a DIsco and almost all the partiy-goers are sporting spandex and glitter, but I’m wearing worn bluejeans and a cherished flannel. 🙂
    Wonderful post –
    AnnMarie 🙂
    Deb of C-Dog is an awesome lady with a heart of gold who dispenses sage wisdom daily

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, AnnMarie! I think you’re doing it just right. There is so much advice out there about how to blog and promote oneself. And much of it certainly is useful. However, I’ve also read that the most successful blogs are the one where people stay true to themselves, post in a personal way (which doesn’t necessarily mean getting too personal), but just being themselves, warts and all. When you enjoy what you do that reflects on your blog. I find that the best advice. Everything else comes from there. You have such great and interesting art, and maybe some day you want to write a book which contains parts of your blog. If you have followers who love your blog for what it is they’ll be your best help to promote that book (or anything else you want to sell) I think.

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      1. The blogging can be trying much like life. It can be trying at times because it reflects our lives. And we need to be true to ourselves in life to be content. Ah, it sounds so very simple doesn’t it 🙂
        I went through a couple of frustrating bloggish moments…but in the end, I always come back to just doing what I do best – blog like I live (hey, I think that’s another post)!
        You have a wondrous blog – enjoy its wings 🙂
        And have a fabulous day!
        AnnMarie 🙂
        And someday I’d be thrilled to get published – I’d like to marry art and word – we’ll see if it’s in my stars…one day at a time, one post at a time and life in between (hey, another post title!) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you about spending time with loved ones, and that social media is a huge invisible wall that disconnects us from real life and the present moment. After a full day, the first thing I want to do when I come home is embrace my family and enjoy them, not sit down to write comments on blogs that are far and away.
    This blog should be a good experience for you, and you can do or not do as much as you need to, or want to. Do what feeds your spirit sweets!

    ps. I sorry to hear about Jack’s accident. Loosing a beloved dog is so very hard. I know.

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    1. I sometimes feel this insecurity when I see all the great posts other people are writing every day and wonder: do I belong into this blogosphere, is this my thing? I need to learn to not think like that and just do *my thing*. Thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement. 🙂

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  3. I’m so sorry I’m late to see your post, but I’d just like to thank you for mentioning my blog, and I wanted to tell you that I think you’re spot on about blogging, branding, writing, social media. As you so wisely say, all it takes is a loss, like Jack’s accident and death (I’m so very sorry, BTW), to reset, or reboot, a person back to what’s really important.

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  4. Thank you! Don’t worry about being late, your post about social media and Charlie was so spot on, it’s one of these posts you don’t forget so quickly. I wonder, though, did you get a ping-back or just look around? I cleaned up my tags and categories, and reshuffled things a bit, and suddenly got pingbacks for my own posts. You see, I still don’t know all the strange things WP does. 🙂

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