Because You Asked: My 5 Basic Blogging Guidelines

When it comes to blogging, I know things.

I have, after all, written a personal blog [most years] since 2004 so I have experience + I have a couple of college degrees about words and ideas and communication and images and branding.

Yes, I know a thing or two about keeping a personal blog, while not losing your mind in the process.

But what I do not have is much of an ego, so over the years I’ve been disinclined to put together any “how to” blogs posts in which I tell everyone what to do.  

I fear being pedantic.

That would never do. 

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However, talking with an acquaintance got me thinking.

The acquaintance confided that she knew the practical aspects of writing and blogging platforms, but she was uncertain about how to envision, then maintain, a personal blog.  She wanted guidance.

From that conversation I got the idea to share my blogging guidelines in a pretty little informative image that sums up my experience on the topic. 

These are not blogging rules, if such a thing exists.  No, these are general guidelines that I’ve learned over the years, and adhered to as a way of centering myself and my thoughts when I sit down to do that bloggy thing that I love to do.

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Questions Of The Day

If someone were to ask you for guidance about how to keep a personal blog, what would you tell them?

How have you envisioned your blog? How have you maintained it?

If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

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Throwing It Out There In A Kick-ass Kind Of Way

  FOR A PROJECT I was working on I looked up the meaning of kick-ass*.  I found the following words used to describe kick-ass:

impressive • powerful • cool • effective • hip • vigorous • interesting • extremely good • forceful

In the process of this research I also discovered that kick-ass is sometimes considered vulgar slang.

[News to me.]

  I WAS SURPRISED BECAUSE: 1) I use the word in casual conversation– and as we all know I’m anything but vulgar;  and 2) I occasionally describe myself as kick-ass… because you know I am… in certain situations.

However, from the foregoing word research I’ve concluded that despite my good intentions and a desire to communicate clearly, in today’s world it doesn’t matter how I say something because someone will find a way to misconstrue what I have said.

Even when what I’m saying is truthful.

[Maybe especially when what I’m saying is truthful?]

  AND ON THAT OBVIOUS, yet annoying, note of writerly despair, I’ll end this post, my gentle readers, with what has become my latest favorite saying.

In fact, if you’ll forgive my vulgarity here, I’ll even suggest that this saying is a kick-ass way to add a bit of levity to your day– not that I’m suggesting that you should do this in your real life when your choice of word seems to get people all snitified.

But you could.

[But don’t.]

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* Alternative spelling of kick-ass is kickass.  There does not seem to be agreement on how to spell it. 🙄 I went with Merriam-Webster’s spelling because I majored in English in undergrad and I have a fond spot in my heart for this dictionary.

Marching Forward With A Sense Of Serendipity & A Stack Of Books

A sense of serendipity:

I think the above is proof positive that I was destined to be a blogger.

Sure, some people might only see a short story + crayon drawing created by an 8 [?] year old kid. A homework assignment. On Manila paper. Written with a pencil. Demonstrating Zaner-Bloser penmanship.

But I see a future personal blogger.  Did I not tell you what we did?  Did I not share an image that supported what I wrote?  Did I not make the whole page look pretty?

Why “yes” Ally Bean, you did do those things at age 8.  Those things that today, getting to the crux of it here, might tempt one to ask:

ARE THOSE NOT THE THREE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PERSONAL BLOGGING?

Why “yes” they are, Ally Bean.  And to think you only had to wait about gazillion decades for your natural blogging talent to manifest and be appreciated by tens of people.

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A stack of books:

I went to the bookstore. A real one. Brick and mortar.

I bought books that I’d either heard about from other people, or looked interesting to me in the moment.  In the end, after putting some books back on the shelf, I bought the ones shown above, described below.

The books are from top to bottom: a memoir, a novel, another memoir, a theological/inspirational book, a mystery, and a how-to guide.

It was only after I got home and created this stack of TBR books that I realized two of the titles referred to dirt.  This seems appropriate considering that we’re heading into Spring when gardening season begins and bulbs bloom– as explained in my homework assignment seen at the top of this post.

And on that happy note, I’m going to enjoy my day as a full-fledged blogger [whatever that means] and as a bookworm who needs to get reading.

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~ QUESTION OF THE DAY ~

Please answer one of the two following questions. Individuals who answer both questions will receive a gold star. 

When did you realize that you were destined to be a blogger?

or

What books are loitering in your To Be Read stack?

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3 True Confessions Because You, My Gentle Readers, Need To Know

One  

It’s entirely possible that I’m not going to be an Instagram star. 

Since November I’ve tried to get into my Instagram groove by posting three photos a week, usually all at once (because I forget to post them when I take them).  Also, I’m following a few people there because social media is, after all, social.

HOWEVER, easy and sweet as I think Instagram is, it isn’t calling to me.  For some reason its charms have yet to woo me.  I like it, I enjoy glancing at the photos posted there, but I’m vague about why it’s a thing– and why/how someone becomes a star.

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Two

I’m enjoying the Winter Olympics this year because they are Bob-Costas-free.

Sure, some people somewhere must have liked Bob Costas as the host of the Olympics, but I was not one of them.  To me he combined Alex Trebek’s know-it-all-ness with Tom Cruise’s smugness– and I did not like him because of it.

HOWEVER, NBC’s new Winter Olympics host, Mike Tirico, is delightful.  He reports on what is happening in a pleasant, informative way that does not make me want to yell at him.  And guess thee what?  Because of him I’m not changing the channel away from the Olympics when the host is on the screen.

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Three

I’ve increased the size of my font on my computer.

There is no surer sign of impending decrepitude than the size of the font that one uses.  Tiny font, great eyes– young.  Medium font, okay eyes– middle age.  Large font, lousy eyes– one foot in the grave.

HOWEVER, on the flip side of this depressing thought, I have to admit that seeing the words clearly on the screen has encouraged me to sit up straighter, thereby improving my posture.  And that, Alas, poor Yorick, might be enough to keep my other foot out of the grave… for a while longer.

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Gentle Readers, feel free to share your true confessions in the comment section below. How else are we going to get the party started in here?

Tell all. No matter what it is. You know I love it.

A Glimpse Into A Blogger’s Idea Generation Process, Such As It Is

I’m a writer who writes a personal blog in which I talk about a variety of topics.

Make no mistake about that.

As such, I have a drawer in my desk where I toss pieces of paper on which I’ve written thoughts + scribblings + quotes that come to me when I’m not in a place to write about these thoughts + scribblings + quotes.

I do this randomly, both the thinking and the tossing.

This drawer, you see, is my idea generation process system based on one piece of wisdom in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  He tells you to capture ideas.

Well, I’m capturing them.

In my own way.

Then a few times a year I sort through the pieces of paper with the aforementioned thoughts + scribblings + quotes on them, to see what I might write about here on these hallowed virtual pages.

 Yesterday I reacquainted myself with what I’ve carefully saved in this drawer.  

In reality, about 60% of what I saved I tossed out because I have no idea what I was thinking about when I saved the thought + scribbling + quote.

The brain, she be addled.

Another 30% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes were good blog post fodder, but I wasn’t in the mood to do what it takes [research, personal reflection, finding an image] to write a coherent blog post about the topic.

So those thoughts + scribblings + quotes went back into the drawer, safely nestled among their own kind, until I’m ready to write about them sometime in the future.

Trust me, there are advantages of being a blogger whose blog leans more toward lifestyle newspaper column than daily diary. Plus, not to put too fine of a point on it, variety fights inertia, random is what keeps this blog going.

That left me with 10% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes that I’ll turn them into exciting world-class blog posts such as this one.

All of which [finally] brings me to my actual reason for writing this post.

In my more anxious moments I wonder if there might be a better way for me to capture and generate ideas.  A way that doesn’t rely on my current idiosyncratic, neatniks-need-not-apply idea generation process, as seen in the photo below.

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So tell me, gentle readers, how do you keep track of the ideas that you use to write your blog posts?

‘Tis possible that I could use some guidance.

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#Flash4Storms | My First [And Perhaps Last] 50-Word Flash Fiction Story

… and now for something completely different.

Sarah Brentyn at the blog, Lemon Shark, is hosting a flash fiction challenge to raise funds for hurricane victims. Read more about the specifics of the challenge here: Flash Fiction Prompt for Hurricane Relief #Flash4Storms.

I’ve never written flash fiction before, however Allie P. did this challenge here on her blog, Allie Potts Writesand she’s one of the cool kids, so I’m following her lead. Thus I give you my first [and perhaps last] 50-word flash fiction story.

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The knock at the door was soft, but the weeping was loud. Mirabelle asked: “have you seen my mommy?”

Wanting to help, the neighbor called around, learning that her mommy had forgotten kindergarten dismissed early today.

Meanwhile Mirabelle waited, sitting on the sofa, shredding her tissue, forlorn, and plotting revenge.

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9 Links For People Who Like Wordplay

… because information is FUN dammit.

Dear me, am I seeing a photo of a deer? Aye, it is a deer, my dear. Is the deer near here? No, from what I hear, the deer is not near here, my dear. 😁

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Need a laugh? Enjoy a generic millennial ad here.

But I don’t want to not say this word when I apologize.

Did you know that grok, like Jabberwocky, are examples of nonce words?

Miss Phryne Fisher’s 1920s Australian slang is here to help you increase your vocabulary.

There used to be more to the alphabet.

If you write headlines, how good are they? Find out here. [link revised 9/22]

The Oxford comma has an online dating profile that you can view here.

Looking for some petty phrases to use in your work emails? Click here.

According to this, your craft beer name is your grandfather’s job + a word you don’t fully understand.  My craft beer is: Salesman’s Milieu.