Tag Archives: blogging

The Price of Success

You know what I think my biggest conundrum would be if I was a successful blogger?

What I would really do with 169 comments to a post that I wrote.

Lately, the folks at the Daily Post, which is the supportive arm of WordPress, (the site that hosts this blog, for you non-bloggers who read me), have been offering several helpful and informative tips.

Most of them are designed to help you become a better blogger, so they tell you about ways to make your blog attractive to readers and ways to get more readers – because face it, the bloggers who just blog for fun and only because they like to write, are few and far between.

I’m not saying that they don’t exist. I’m saying that there are probably at most two of them out there. Maybe just one now, because I used to say that it was fine if my voice just bounced off the wall and came right back to me. But I had to change that line in my “about” page because really… who was I fooling?

There are infinite posts about people not caring about the stats that WordPress provides, but since they allow you to track your progress (as if this is Jenny Craig or Jillian Michaels), they probably should feel obliged to tell you how best to improve them. Because nothing can beat that feeling of realizing that you’re up by4 from the 2 readers you had last week.

They tell you to not forget things like Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ and all the other social media outfits, because you can’t just sit there and write and hope that somebody finds you. Girl, you better werk. Your tail off.

You’re told to make sure you connect one to the other and make sure your tweets lead back to your Instagram which takes you over to LinkedIn and onto Tumblr . And if you write somewhere else, make sure you link that too, ‘cause girl you need to be FOUND, and you need to be READ.

If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Because in addition to all of this, you have to read the posts of all the people you follow – and those you don’t – so that you can then follow a new set of people. And try not to just toss out a kiss-me-arse “like”, but leave a genuine and thoughtful comment that shows you actually read what they wrote which may allow you to engage another commenter as well.

By the time you’re finished reading the fifty-hundred posts (mind you, only one per blogger because there are tons of them out there), commenting on most and breaking down and liking a few, (because if you were to write something meaningful for every living post you’d be there all living day), you realize that you haven’t checked any news sites yet, or even done any of the work that someone’s actually paying you to do.

So probably the best thing to do is to look for tags that interest you, because frankly that’s the best way to cut your way through the clutter – ‘cause some of the stuff that you encounter can be “interesting” (you’ve got to sing that last word) – and may not be your speed at all. Sure I want to expand my horizons, but maybe not that much.

And then there’s Freshly Pressed. Don’t get me started. For the uninitiated, FP, as most bloggers refer to it, is where your post is pushed to the top of the pile because a group of people read it and thought it so good that everybody else should read it too. It’s like being singled out for an Academy Award.

But just like the blogger Blurt posited in one of his posts, when he spoke about figure skating at the Olympics, some events shouldn’t be judged, because doing so is entirely subjective. A gander at some of the “chosen ones” will show you what I mean.

One blogger wrote about being Freshly Pressed, having her traffic increase exponentially for a time and then like a drunk falling off a stool, landing back into the abyss where most of us reside on a daily basis. My words, not hers.

Of course, it’s the quickest way to be discovered, but for the rest of us it leaves us wailing as Effie did in Dreamgirls, “What about me, whaaat about meee?”

So you decide to write a post about the five, seven, fifteen or twenty-one things that you should do, or be, or know, or have. Because lists are HUGE. If that doesn’t get you in, then you write a “rant” about whatever irks you about what somebody did, said or wrote – respectfully of course, because we all have to play nice.

Don’t forget the open letter to absolutely anybody, because you want everyone to actually read it, or do as one blogger did  and write an open letter about why you don’t like open letters. Some people find that they can actually draw readers like flies with controversial topics or better yet, controversial-sounding titles that may or may not have anything to do with the subject at hand.

Or you can simply ask a fellow blogger to write a guest post on your blog – but there are all kinds of caveats and make-sure-you-do-this’s involved. Driving traffic to your blog is like taking on a second job, which the blogger Opinionated Man was willing to do, for a price of course. Or you can be a guest blogger for someone else. But I take it that’s something you wait to be asked to do. Because nobody likes to be called pushy.

I tell you people, I am learning a thing or three on here. I have to give thanks to blogger JustDeb who sort of inspired this post. It had been in the recesses of my mind but I just had to stop what I was doing when the beginnings of this post began taking shape in my head. There is something to be said for being in a community of bloggers after all.

So the answer to my original problem seems to lie in asking those bloggers how they handle it so that I know what to do when it happens to me.

Dang. This post was fun to write. I think I’ll do this again tomorrow.

 

My First Time

I remember when I had my first article published in my local newspaper. When I first contemplated doing it, I knew personally of two other people who wrote for the same paper. One was a published author who was a sought-after speaker and panelist. The other (at the time), was actually the editor of the paper, but the column included neither her name nor picture, so it was a while before I knew that it was her.

Anyway, I was expecting to use a pseudonym, so when I was asked to provide a picture and a short bio, I realized that I would not be able to hide behind the words. It gave me pause for a minute and then I decided to call some friends and family members the day before the article came out. It was a hit. With them at least – and I hoped so, because I had spent hours agonizing over those 554 words.

What really caused me to try my hand at writing had nothing to do with school. I remember being able to write a decent essay and once I was commended for a poem that I wrote that included that famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, about wanting his children to be judged by their characters and not by the colour of their skins.

In almost every group that I’ve been a part of, I’ve had secretarial duties, so I’ve had to pen several letters in my time. I also find that I can better express myself after I’ve had time to ruminate and move the words around on the page.

I’ve felt more comfortable using a letter to tell my sister how things that she has done have made me feel.  I’ve written a friend, telling her that certain actions surprised me (and despite being diplomatic, she didn’t take it very well). I’ve also composed my words to nicely inform the head of a group to which I belonged that his actions were inappropriate.

But what really spurred me to write, was a letter that I sent via email to the owner of a children’s party planning outfit. Ever mindful that criticism is not always well received, I began by stating what I was happy about, before detailing the reasons for my discontent. I never got a response, but it’s surprising how that persons’ silence caused me to find my voice.

As the weeks turned into months of writing that column, I saw that many shared my points of view. Some people provided suggestions for topics. And some said that sometimes, the articles caused them to view things in a different light. That’s not what I set out to do, but it’s one of the things that has given me the greatest satisfaction.

And now, I blog.

My Top Six – Pet Peeves

What are some of the things that annoy you? I’m so annoyed that unlike most people who have a top five, I could only narrow mine down to six.

Email forward requests: I generally like to receive emails, but I really dislike having to forward them at the peril of my soul.  I’m particularly annoyed by the ones that try to guilt me into responding by throwing religion into the mix, or assuming that if I don’t forward it, I don’t sufficiently care about the issue at hand. Since I did not receive that windfall of money after I once forwarded an item to ten people (not including the sender), and then five more people within five minutes of receiving said email, I have begun to delete without reading.

People who jump the queue without joining the line: So you’re standing in line to pay a bill or cash a cheque – in other words, waiting your turn, and you see someone sidle up to the person at the head of the line and give that person his bills and cash. So now there are six people in front of you instead of five. If I had known that I could just go to the head of the line, would I be standing here with this (dunce) cap on my head?

Cell phone users who don’t keep their conversations private: The convenience of a cell phone is well known, so much so that a lot of people don’t even have land lines anymore. But there’s no need for me to feel as if I’m part of your conversation too. I’d also appreciate if you didn’t cut me off mid-sentence to answer your phone, and please do what the nice people ask you to do – and turn off your phone when you come to the movies.

Bloggers who only see you as a business opportunity: We all know that most people that blog get a kick out of having somebody read what they write, but I so dislike the trawlers who see new bloggers as fresh meat for a sales pitch. So what if you’re living the life we all want? So what if you’re only working a few hours a day? I don’t want to have to sell anybody on my lifestyle in order to keep living it. I’ll just blog for the fun of it – thank you very much.

Selfies: I understand that we’re a worldwide community of ‘sharers’, but there’s something a little show off-ish about tweeting a picture of yourself, or sending by Instagram or Facebook, a picture that you took of yourself showing your latest outfit, your post baby body or your rock hard abs to people you don’t really know. When did we become so self-obsessed?

People who see your failures but never your triumphs: I’m always amazed at how some acquaintances feel comfortable making negative comments about your weight, which is never even followed by a thoughtful tip. When I was a few pounds heavier, someone was quick to point out that I was “getting fat”. However, as I’ve been successful so far at keeping a few extra pounds off, it doesn’t seem to merit a comment – but thanks for the encouragement.