Getting back into blogging

Getting back into bloggingI decided that since we are in a period of history that will be studied, I am getting back into blogging.

It used to be that writing was a way for me to get all my stress out. Then my stress just got to be too much. Moving to a new climate zone, getting married, trying to get pregnant, trying to figure out my career options, all of these things piled on my psyche over the last four years.

Then the election happened and I knew I needed to take a blogging break. It has almost taken a year for me to get back to the point where I want to write.

Let’s talk about the election and how it affected me first.

If you’ve read any of my blog, you probably know I’m very liberal. Back when George W. Bush became President, I used to rant and rave about his idiocy on my blog from time to time. I wasn’t politically active though. Mostly, I was aware, but didn’t do much outside of voting. I barely ever wrote to my representatives in Congress and never went to a town hall meeting.

Back in 2016, I had a bad feeling about that presidential election.  I used to check out Five Thirty Eight daily just to keep my anxiety at a minimum. I didn’t understand it at the time. Why was I freaking out over an election? I’ve been through several, but for some reason this one felt different. People were acting different. They were hella pissed off and they didn’t seem to know why. They were just fed up with something. What and why was a mystery to me. As far as I could tell, the economy was doing pretty well, but maybe that is just in our neck of the woods.

Of course, now we know why. There was foreign interference in our election.

When the election was over, I was in shock for a long time. It wasn’t that the party I supported lost. I’ve been through that before and didn’t stress too much about it. This time it was as though a tragedy happened. I felt almost like I did on September 11th. It wasn’t the same, but there was a similar numbness and fear.

The holidays helped bring me back to life with their distracting food and events.

Then January happened.

This time though, I decided to take action. Since January 20th, I’ve written to my representatives in Congress every week. While I’m not sure that it’s making any actual difference, it helps me feel less helpless.

At least I know I’m not alone. I went to a town hall back in January/February and was blown away by how many people not only were in attendance, but were just as scared as I was.

All the other stuff that was going on in my life and causing stress has figured itself out. My job is great. We moved closer to it, so now I don’t have to freak out as much about the weather. I still hate how freaking cold it gets here in the winter, but driving in it is much better for getting to and from work.

The election thing still hangs over my heart. Time is healing my shock, but I’m trying not to get back into a mood of complacency. I will keep writing to Congress to keep the pressure on them to check the balance of power.

This guy is straight up awful. It embarrasses and frightens me that he represents the US on a global scale. By the way, I won’t use his name on my blog or even in social media posts because I don’t want him to have any of my SEO or any undue attention.

The pregnancy thing, I’ve pretty much stopped thinking about it and I’m happier for it. Around my time of the month, I tend to wonder if it will come or if I’ll be late, but it always shows up on time. At least I don’t have to worry about birth control, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

A look back: 10 years of blogging

10YearsOfBloggingHow long have you been blogging? Whenever I answer this question about 70% of the people are a little shocked when I say I started in 2004. Most bloggers seem to be closer to the one to two year range.

Way back in 2004 the internet was a different place. At home, I still had a dial up internet connection and an AOL account. I miss the sound of a modem connecting…so comforting! I didn’t text. I just talked to people on the phone. Yes, that’s how weird life was back then.

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Five tips for attending a blogging conference: #BlogHer14

Blog conference tips: #BlogHer14It’s summer blog conference time! One of the bigger conferences bloggers attend is BlogHer.  This year it’s in San Jose, California. Ah, the Silicon Valley, such an amazing place. If you are going to BlogHer for the first time, I’ve got some tips to help you ease through your nervousness.  While most of my blog conference tips are centered around my experiences at BlogHer, they can be applied to just about any blogging conference.

Blog conference tips #1: Be friendly.

Honestly, most of the gals there are welcoming and friendly. Just say hi and start chatting. You have an opening line. You all have a blog. Ask them what they write about…that always breaks the ice because bloggers love talking about their blogs. Other things to talk about: Where they are from? Have they been to BlogHer before? Have they been to California before? How long have they been blogging? What sessions/parties are they going to attend?

See? I’ve given you tons of things to talk about with people you haven’t even met yet! Where can you use this blog conference tip? The meals are a great place to break the ice. Seating is usually at tables with 10 chairs, so sit down next to someone and say hello. Continue reading

My 5 favorite free blogging tools

SEO, writing, imagesThe other day I realized I’ve been doing this blogging thing for almost 10 years. Sadly, it’s only over the past few years that I’ve found some tools that have helped take my blog to the next level.

Ok, some (most) of these tools weren’t around 10 years ago and I was in it more for the writing.  I had no idea what SEO was and adding a photo to a post was something I rarely did.

  1. Picmonkey – Speaking of photos, I love this site. Seriously, you almost always need to have an image in a post these days and I sort of suck at remembering to take photos. Picmonkey lets me make up graphics even though I don’t have any fancy tools. There is a free version and a paid version. I highly suggest using the paid version. It’s not that expensive and if you’re like me, you’ll get addicted to it anyway. The paid version has a collage with dimensions perfect for Pinterest. See the above image…made with Picmonkey!
  2. Statcounter – I’ll admit, Google Analytics confuses me sometimes (mostly).  This was one of the first free tools I found. It’s fairly easy to install on your blog.  I did it on my old Blogger.com blog. It shows you pretty graphs and tells you how people found your site.
  3. Triberr – If you want more people to see your blog, this is a great way to increase your reach.  You join a tribe and promote other people’s posts.  They return the favor for you. They also have a paid version (which I’ve not used yet).  I think it lets you auto post other people’s posts.  Also, they have campaigns available for you to get paid. I’ve not used that service yet…or been selected more likely.
  4. Shareaholic – This is a free plugin for your site.  It can add those fun little social sharing buttons as well as include other posts your readers might like. I have no idea how it decides which posts to show them, but they all seem fairly random.
  5. EverNote – I’ve heard people rave about this iPhone app for years and now I understand why. It’s a great way to organize thoughts, to do lists, and notes about post ideas. I like how it can use your calendar to help you take notes.  There’s a web version and desktop version and an Android version.  If you create an account, they all sync up.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

NewYearsResolutionsWhat I really need are goals for 2014, but I’m going to phrase them as resolutions because that’s more marketing friendly, right?

Whatever.

2014 is the year I turn 40.  Yep. I cannot believe it.  I still feel about 30.  I loved my 30s, but my 40s will begin with the love of my life at my side, so I’m ready to set some goals to enrich and possibly en-wealth (I know that’s not a word), myself.

1) Create a business plan for my blog. It’s time to stop pussy footing around and approach my writing in a more business-like manner.  I’m determined to increase all kinds of stats and actually get some income from my efforts.  The day I spent at Bloggy Boot Camp inspired me to change my mind and get things done in the blog world. Creating a plan will be the first step.

2) Stop going out to lunch.  This goal will help me in two ways.  First, I’ll lose some weight because I won’t be overindulging in burgers and french fries on a regular basis and second, more importantly, I will save a ton of money. If I can get my daily lunch cost under $5 per meal and still feel satisfied, I totally win.

3) Watch one new movie each month.  I love watching movies and seem to keep watching the same crap all the time.  OK, it’s not crap because I like the movies, but I want to expand my horizons.  I want to see some classics I have yet to enjoy.  I want to see new releases BEFORE they hit the DVD rack.

4) Read one new book every two months.  It’s really tough for me to find new books to read.  I love fiction.  I want to read more non-fiction, but it’s kind of boring.  Books on my Nook can be really cheap, so there’s no excuse for me to avoid this from a monetary standpoint.  I welcome any and all suggestions.

5) Make one new dish each month.  I’ll try to make it fairly healthy, but Paul is kind of particular about what he eats.  He is however, willing to try just about anything.  My real cooking fear is not the process, but the time management.  When should I start what? How long will it take me to prepare the meal in toto?

I’m trying to make these goals or resolutions as specific as possible.  When they get general (I want to lose weight! I want to be rich!) they feel impossible to reach.

Still frustrated after all these years…a new name, same old blog.

 

It took a month, but I finally moved my blog to a new domain.  Yes, tears of frustration were shed. I almost lost all my posts…twice. Paul was wonderful and helped me out immensely.  In the end, my old blog is now free of posts. Not because I planned it that way, but because I give up trying Yes, I’m aware that all of the SEO I built up over the past 10 years is gone, but honestly, I doubt it was that good anyway.

Why did I move?  It was time for a rebrand. I’ve outgrown the frustration.  OK, not completely, but I think my writing has grown beyond just ranting and raving at the stupidity in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of stupidity in the world and I will still be confused and frustrated by it.  But, I like the freedom to write about whatever the hell I feel like…

Plus, I’d really like to focus on having my writing make money for me, so I’m going to get serious about the advice I learned from attending the Bloggy Boot Camp in October.

Regardless, thank you to the five people who have read my blog over the past few years and the past few days.  I honestly forget about you when I write, but I do appreciate it when you read.  I’ll keep writing in the same manner to which you’ve grown accustomed…for now.