becoming a blog contributor: shameless cheating

Tell me, dear readers, what’s better than a blog by a great blogger? A blog by great bloggers!

If you’re like me, you know there are too many great ideas to make a blog about and only so little time. I can’t make all the blogs. You can’t make all the blogs. But bloggers the world over are still making blogs, and we can’t let them have all the fun without us.

Becoming a contributor for a not-your-own blog is a great way to get to write about those things you’re still passionate about but that don’t mesh with the atmosphere of your blog. Shameless cheating for (former?) compulsive blog creators like me? I think so.

So show some love to my friend Anthony’s new contributor-oriented blog: fiction/nonfiction

Image

P.S. I will be contributing there. Plug yourself in somewhere, too!

first five minutes, or the morning hypothesis

My Theory, or Hypothesis

I have a theory. No, wait. I have a hypothesis. Okay, I have either a theory or a hypothesis. It’s the very idea behind the old adage about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. If someone were to say, for example, “Peter woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” then we would all know that Peter is in some sort of bad mood and we should avoid him at all costs. Right now, he’s probably treating some nice old ladies with eye-squinting evil acts of incharity or running over squirrels with a tractor. (I get carried away sometimes.) Whatever this grumpy Peter is up to, it isn’t pretty. It’s a bad day for Peter.

(Maybe you never understood the expression “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” I think this t-shirt graphic explains it all. From TshirtGroove.)

Now I get it.

So the hypothesis – and I do believe it has to be a hypothesis, since there may possibly have been just as many people to have good days after having good mornings as people to have good days after having bad mornings – is that our waking moments determine much about the day to come.

Challenge

It would be excellent to see a blogger chart the uncharted waters of their first five minutes each day, talking about how they woke up, the first sounds and smells they encountered, their initial thoughts of the day, and then piecing this together with how the rest of the day went consequently.

Possible Blog Names

  • Myfirstfiveminutes
  • Themorninghypothesis
  • Themorningdaysynergy
  • Rightsideofthebed
  • Wakeupandsmell

Personal Note, a P.S. of Sorts to This Blog Entry, Though in the Form of a Letter

Dear readers,

Perhaps you have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with a few things on the blog over the last little while. For example, I’ve strayed a bit from the traditional opening line of, “Someone should start a blog about (insert preposterous idea of my mind’s recent adventures).” I may keep experimenting a bit until the blog reaches the feel I’m going for. Feel free to comment. One feature I’m QUITE excited to introduce is the “Possible Blog Names” section. This should be fun!

I never officially celebrated my three-month anniversary of blogging earlier this month, but it’s true. I’ve been at this for three months! Cheers! So thank you for reading and sticking around. Blog on.

Sincerely,

Me

volunteering :: from us, for us

Have you ever stopped to think how many of the places and organizations you frequent or enjoy the benefits of or simply believe in not only accept volunteers, but even depend on them? As in, they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for people willing to help out, expecting nothing in their pockets afterwards. When you think of the idea of volunteering, maybe you think it’s lame. Maybe you think volunteers walk away empty-handed. But I suppose it all depends on perspective. I think they walk away anything but empty-handed.

 

Volunteering is giving to someone else while also giving to yourself.

 

Although it’s over a week in, the new year is still fresh on my mind. As I’ve thought of my post 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I’ve wondered what I’d do one on if I did one. I like writing. I like blogging. I like making waterballoons and eating spoonfuls of peanut butter. I like taking photographs of my goofy but loveable friends and attempting to draw obscure flowers like mountain laurel.

But what is one-year-of-my-life worthy? What is one-year-of-my-life blogworthy? It’s strange how thinking on what you blog about inevitably leads you to think on what your life is about. (And for any first-time readers, this is probably the most philosophical I’ve ever waxed in a post. I’ll try to throw in a few jokes or puns before it’s all over.)

Well, here’s what I decided: whatever you blog about, you are promoting in some way. I always blog about blogging, because I, of course, promote readers to begin blogs about the random things I write on. But this year, I want to promote something else, too. I want to promote volunteering, giving back, helping people, putting into those people and places that provide so much for you and your community.

So, here’s the goal: volunteer at one place in my community per week this whole year. I already have a list of possibilities. Along the way, I hope anyone in the area will join me in my ventures. In fact, I hope never to go alone. I’m not sure yet if I’ll blog about this 52 project, but someone should start a blog about it.

Example blog: http://volunteer52.wordpress.com/ (Perfect example, might I add! And I thought of the idea before even seeing this blog, but it goes to show I’m not the only one around here with some good ideas.)

The promised joke: A peanut walks into a bar, and then . . . Snickers.

not everyone gardens and wears dresses (part 1)

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed it is a bit formulaic, in the sense that usually, my posts begin with the statement, “Someone should start a blog about __________ . . .” (Fill in the blank with whatever random idea I’ve dreamed up of recent, or more often than not, been inspired to write about by friends or fellow bloggers.). Well, this post, as you may have already gathered, deviates from that norm (and is lengthier, too).

As promised, I am embarking on the task to write a post about how to know when you’re ready to start a blog/how to know what you ought to blog about/how to name your blog/etc. So, here goes! (Begin needless disclaimer. Please remember, the views in this post are solely the views of one blogger, namely myself, and do not necessarily reflect the views of WordPress or the entire blogosphere. End needless disclaimer.)

1. Read blogs. Maybe it seems obvious, and you’re probably already reading blogs, or else you wouldn’t be reading this sentence! (At this moment, I feel kinda like an author who names the first chapter of her book “Read Books.”) But there’s a little bit more to be intentional about in reading blogs if you yourself are planning to start a blog. Take note of what kind of blogs you gravitate towards. Bookmark your favorites. There’s a good chance that if you always find yourself reading blogs that focus on travel photography, that you may want to start a blog about travel photography. That’s not always true, of course. I may enjoy reading all those blogs by moms with gardens who live out in the middle of nowhere and wear dresses every day (I really do believe that’s a genre in the blogging world.), but (a) I’m not a mom, (b) I don’t have a garden, (c) Well, okay, I do kinda live in the middle of nowhere, but (d) I only own one or two dresses, none of which look good with tennis shoes (My philosophy about shoes is that you should always be prepared to run.). But still, finding out what kind of blogs you like to read will help in the long run (See. It’s all about running.). Even if you don’t think you could write a blog on the subjects you tend to read about, bookmarking the ones you really enjoy will help you in the next steps.

Break the blogging mold! You don't have to be a gardener (although it's cool).

(It was very hard for me to decide if this next step should be step #1, #2, or #3, but there’s a reason it’s sandwiched between #1 and #3. I hope it will make sense soon.)

2. Write test blog posts. This is possibly the MOST important pre-blog step, and notice it is pre-blog. I strongly suggest that before you ever choose a domain name for a blog or post your first post that you write a few test blog posts. Type them up in a Word document so that they are as ready as if you were about to publish them on to a blog. What should they be about? Anything! Don’t limit yourself. You could possibly look back at some blogs you liked for inspiration, or some topic in the news, or something you recently read or heard that you really liked. Just write about something that you believe you would really blog about. The number of test blog posts isn’t set in stone. I believe five might be a good number, but how many ever you choose to write, you’ll want to have enough material to help you out for step #3.

3. Analyze that. Finding out what kind of blogs you like, bookmarking them, and then writing some of your own test posts allow you to have a body of resources to refer back to when you start considering what kind of subject, format, and style you’d like to have for your blog.

After bookmarking blogs for a week or so and then writing your determined number of test posts, look back at the blogs. What kind of similarities do they have? You might ask some of these questions: 

What are these posts about (subject matter)?

Do they have a similar genre?

Are posts one short paragraph, or the size of a novella?

Is the format fairly simple, or more complex?

Are there lots of pictures, or is there more of a focus on the text?

Do the posts tend to be more light-hearted, or more philosophical?

Is it fiction, or non-fiction?

What’s the purpose? To entertain, teach, criticize, tell jokes?

Once you see similarities of this nature in the posts you enjoy reading and writing, you may be able to tell what kind of blog you’d like to write. This is a question of subject matter, style, and genre.

These steps can help you in the long run.

These are only steps one through three, and wow, I didn’t know it would take this much space to say all that! I hope you’ll come back for part 2 where I’ll wrap up the practical aspects of starting a blog. Thanks for reading.