Blogging Insights- Year of the pandemic

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTION 

How do you think this pandemic year has been for blogging in general and your blog in particular?

Blogging is one activity that can be done when one is home bound and alone.

I was visiting my daughter in Seattle when we were informed that the city will be going in 2 weeks of lockdown. Everyone knows how these 2 weeks extended into months and then more than a year of covid restrictions.

Blogging saved me from boredom. It helped me stay connected with my online family and gave me something to do with the free time I had on my hands. In short, it turned the enforced inactivity into a great pastime.

My blog grew in followers as many new people started blogging. Though I curtailed my posts from a minimum of 4 to 3, the traffic and visitors increased.

Blogging during the pandemic also brought the community closer. We connected on a more personal level with each other and shared our concerns for each other’s safety and their family’s safety. Exchanging notes on getting the covid vaccination too.

The down side was that we saw a few very loved bloggers, leaving the blogosphere. They were either overwhelmed or had some personal reasons for not posting on their blogs but it was sad to see them no more. I miss Becky and Punam most. I hope to see them back.

Thank you Tanya for this opportunity to take a look back at the last year and assess how it was.

Thanks for reading!

#Keepitalive

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Blogging Insights – Award Freedom

Tanya is the host of Blogging insight series

TODAY’S QUESTIONS 

How long have you been blogging? Can you remember the first blogging award you received?

I joined WordPress in February or March of 2018. I joined WP to follow and comment on my dear friend Dr. Tanya’s blog as unless you are in WP you cannot comment on a blogger’s post without going through hoops.

But I wrote my first blog post on 6th September 2018.

My first blogging award was also Sunshine Blogging Award and I was nominated by Mel of Caramel, a learner at love . I was very happy when I got my first nomination and continued doing the award posts for almost a year and a half.

Do you still accept blogging award nominations or is yours an award free blog? If your blog is award free, what are your reasons for this?

I am very grateful and honored when someone thinks of my blog while nominating. It is morale boosting and a sort of validation that they think my blog worthy of an award. The last award I did was from Cranny of Cranny’s Cove. She nominated me for the Golden Bloggerz award. I haven’t made my blog award-free and do respond whenever I get the time to do so.

However, the creation of an award post is very time-consuming and often tricky where nominations are concerned. Very few bloggers accept awards these days and most just ignore the nomination. The fact that you’re supposed to nominate 10-20 bloggers is a bit too much. So if I get a nomination these days, I gratefully thank the blogger and answer the questions posed by them. I may ask a few questions of my own but I refrain from nominating people and ask anyone who is reading to please consider themselves nominated.

It’s not the ideal solution , but still better than ignoring the award or politely declining the honor.

Many thanks to Tanya for these interesting questions.

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Blogging Insights – Change

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTIONS 

How comfortable are you with change? 

As you said yourself, Tanya that change is the only constant in life so it is wise to accept change as an invariability. The fact of the matter is that I like most changes. It breaks the monotony and brings something new.

How often do you like to change your blogging style or the topics or format of your blog?

I have made a few changes to my schedule this year. I have stopped posting on the daily Prompts which was something I loved to do but it was a bit stressful for me. And besides, it would increase the number of my daily posts to four.

That’s another change I consciously made to reduce the number of daily posts. I think too many posts affect the quality of writing.

I also introduced a weekly question, Sunday Poser as my second prompt. It is a fun way to connect with my readers.

As far as the blog theme and layout are concerned, I make no changes there. Why fix something that ain’t broke. I do change my header once in a while but I think it’s been more than a year since I did that.

I think there has not been a change in my blogging style. At least not consciously. I may have changed unknowingly! The topics are ever-changing as I use a lot of prompts in my writing.

So here are my views about change.

Thank you so much, Tanya, for another thought-provoking set of questions.

Thanks for visiting and reading.

♾♾♾

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Blogging Insights – Blogging experience

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTION

What has your blogging experience taught you?

This is a very interesting question, Tanya.

Blogging has changed a lot of things for me.

On a personal level;

I have realized that I love writing short poems and stories. I also enjoy interacting with people here in the blogosphere. Meeting so many new people through my blog, I have learned a lot about people. My knowledge has broadened and so has my mind.

I have gained insight into how different people think and why. I have also learned a lot about mental health issues. Blogging has brought awareness to me about different cultures around the world.

The fact that through my blog I am connected to so many people from all over the world, is in itself very precious to me.

From my writing and blogging point of view;

My mostly untested writing skills have improved over the last two and a half years. I have learned to be succinct and express myself clearly in fewer words.

I can write short stories now and if I go by the response I get, people like them.

Poetry was one thing that I hadn’t written since my school days. I have learned to express my ideas and feelings through poems rather well if I say so myself.

For my mental health;

It will be no surprise to anyone that blogging improves the mental health of a blogger. I can write out whatever is in my heart and mind. It’s like having a therapy session for free. I get to read a lot about what others are going through and it gives me context regarding my own feelings.

Our blogging community is very supportive and they are always here for us.

On running a weekly prompt;

In October 2019, I took over the weekly prompt which was previously hosted by late Hélène, What do you see! It is a very rewarding experience. The prompt was very kindly given a lot of support and today I posted WDYS # 78 in this series. Hosting a prompt is an incredible experience. I love how everyone sees something different in the same image and their responses are interesting to read.

For the last six months, I ask a question every Sunday, the Sunday Poser. It has also gained popularity with time.

I can say that my life has been enriched by my blogging experience.

Thank you Tanya for this interesting question.

♾♾♾

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Blogging Insights – WordPress

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

We keep griping about WordPress whenever we get the chance. Today let’s try and evaluate how it has behaved in this past Year of the Pandemic. 

TODAY’S QUESTION 

How satisfied (or not) are you with WordPress during the pandemic?

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I agree with Tanya that blogging has been a sanity saver during the pandemic.

Admittedly, the new editor has created lots of problems for many people and I don’t think it is a popular tool amongst bloggers. But having said that, the community at WordPress is exceptional. It’s the community that has basically been the saving grace for WordPress.

Personally, I blog solely from my phone, and to date, I have been able to use the classic editor on the WP app. I don’t know if this changes, how I will fare, but I don’t plan to give up blogging because the people behind WordPress are trying to make life difficult for their customers.

When I started to blog, I was experiencing the classic signs of an empty nester. Blogging at first gave me something to do with my free time and later on, it introduced me to this marvelous community we have here.

It’s like finding a new family and a bunch of good friends. So even before the pandemic, it was helping me cope with my life of reduced responsibilities. And during the pandemic when I was stuck in Seattle without any means to come home, it was a Godsend.

As far as the technical glitches of WordPress go, I am not affected by them as I blog from the WP app which is working fine most of the time.

This is my view about blogging from WordPress in pandemic.

Thanks for visiting.

#Keepitalive

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Blogging Insights – Planning or Pantzing?

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTION 

Do you outline your posts (planning) or do you just go ahead by the seat of your pants (pantzing) ?

I like the word, Pantzing!

I am more of a planner than an impulse writer. I plan my posts at least one day in advance. But sometimes, I run short of time, inspiration, or prompts, and then I do Pantzing!

Before I go to sleep, I make sure that all my posts for the next day are written, proof-read, and pre-scheduled. Otherwise, I get stressed out and worry that I will have to scramble to write the posts on the same day. It’s part of my self-diagnosed OCD, where I need to plan for the next day in detail. This was one of the reasons that I stopped doing the daily prompts posts, in which I used to combine 3-5 prompts from the same day and write a post. It was generating stress and sometimes I would write below par posts.

For me, planning is the key to stress-free blogging. Another factor also plays a role in making planning important for me and that are my grandmotherly duties. I don’t know when I would be asked to look after one of my grandkids, and I have to make sure that my blog is not neglected.

I wrote this post today, so I’d call this Pantzing! Lol

(Both Grammarly and autocorrect had lot of issues with Pantzing)

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Blogging Insights – Leaving Links

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTIONS 

How important do you think it is to embed links in a blog post? 

Self-promotion is important in today’s competitive world. Having said that, I am mostly too lazy to promote my own previous posts. But if you’re writing on a topic that you’ve written before, you can share the link so that you don’t have to write it all over again.

How often do you link to your own previous posts?

Very infrequently. As I said I am too lazy to search my archives for posts to link back to. Besides, as I blog from my phone, the search option in the app is a bit limited so I have to go to the browser to find posts to link back to. There are many award posts where they ask us to provide links to our favorite posts and I usually skip that due to the reasons stated above.

Have you ever left a link on somebody else’s blog?

All the time when I write a post in response to a prompt. It is advisable to share the link in the comments section of the prompt post, because pinkbacks may not work all the time.

I also share the link to my weekly prompt, What do you see on Go Dog Go cafe’s Monday, promote yourself post. It’s a good way to reach out to new readers. As I said in the beginning, self-promotion is very important these days.

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Blogging Insights – Electronic media vs print media

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTIONS

Have you written (or do you still write) for print media? How do you find that different from blogging or writing for electronic media? Which do you enjoy more, and why?

The only thing I’ve ever written that was printed was in my school magazine. After that, I haven’t written anything that was printed, ever.

Now as I have answered the question, I should end my post here.

But I find the difference between print and electronic media, interesting. Blogging, though is mostly based on our personal thoughts and ideas, is read by a limited audience, those who follow our blogs. While printed matter can be read by anyone. That means that the language and the nuance should be carefully selected to convey the meaning in a precise manner.

I do enjoy my blogging experience a lot and I feel that writing for a wider audience will be more challenging. It would also involve a certain measure of censorship, which is an off-putting idea.

So if I am given a choice between the two media, I would choose to blog.

♾♾♾♾

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Blogging Insights – Hiatus

Tanya is the host of Blogging Insights

TODAY’S QUESTIONS 

Have you ever taken a hiatus from blogging?

I didn’t take a hiatus from blogging persé but there have been times when I was absent from the blogosphere for a few days. It used to happen when I was traveling. From my country to the USA, it would take me 24 hours. Though I would go back 12 hours in time, the journey was tiring and I would pre-schedule posts to cover the time I would not be writing fresh posts. I would sometimes post a short post to let others know that I had arrived and then after getting used to the time change and recovering from jet lag, I would be back full fledge.

Do you think that it is necessary to announce/declare the hiatus?

I do that. If one is posting prompts, I think it is courteous to inform about one’s absence from the blogosphere. Sometimes life happens and one cannot get to the blog to let people know about the unplanned absence. In such cases, people who usually read our posts get a little surprised at the absence of a regular blogger.

Did your blog “suffer” from the hiatus?

I think if someone who posts regularly, stopped doing that for some reason, the stats would suffer. A prolonged absence would mean that people would stop checking for new posts. It is but natural.

During last year, there have been many bloggers who have stopped posting altogether. I still miss them.

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Blog related Questions from Melanie

Melanie is filling a hiatus in Blogging Insights by asking;

I had this topic I wanted to explore via Dr. Tanya’s excellent series “Blogging Insights”.   Since she 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.  Enough hair-splitting. 

My “Blogging Insight” question deals with  

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

When we put out our writing for others to read and invite their comments, we also have to be ready for some criticism coming our way. Or some unfavorable comments.

I think a blogger needs to be level-headed and cool. If as a blogger I react to every bit of criticism or to unpleasant comments, I won’t be able to blog for long.

Topics which a blogger writes about, also play a role in inviting fiery discussions. So if one doesn’t want heated exchanges, one should stay away from these topics, like politics, or religion!

“Bonus question”  How important is being understood?  

The full impact of a blog is only when the writer and the one reading it are on the same page. If the writer is not able to clearly write, there could be many ways the writing is interpreted. If that is the aim of the writer, well and good. But if the writer is saying something that’s not being conveyed, then obviously the meaning is being lost.

I do try to write clearly and concisely. As most bloggers have found out, too lengthy posts are not favored by most people, I too have reduced the length of my posts. I find poetry to be a better medium to convey my thoughts. So far I haven’t had any complaints about people not getting my drift.

As far as the commenting goes, I do feel that many people are not commenting on my post as they were, say a year ago. This is an overall change in the blogging world and it may be the new norm.

As Di also mentioned, the time we spend creating a post has nothing to do with how well it is received.

Thanks, Melanie for these thought provoking questions.

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