Monday, September 20, 2010

Ten Things I Have Learned From Blogging: Anniversary Edition

Photo Credit:  nImA Destiny
In celebration of  Roses to Rainbows' first year in the blogosphere, I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned and people I've met.

1.  Getting comments.  After six months of the occasional visitor and no comments, I decided to look for help.  An internet search landed me on Barbara Swafford's Blogging Without a Blog.  She taught me the importance of reading and commenting on fellow bloggers' posts.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned, and led me to eventually write on the value of comments.

2.  A new type of pen pal.  In years past, a pen pal was someone with whom you exchanged written letters, but probably had never met.  Nowadays, with the popularity of the internet, the pen pal has changed.  The computer screen has replaced stationery, and the keyboard has replaced the pen.  We frequently exchange thoughts with people we haven't met; does this make us pen pals?

3.  People will give you things.  I got a lovely purple pen from my friend Margaret at Nanny Goats in Panties, that I use to rough out some of my posts.  She mentioned it in one of her posts, and I asked if she was selling them.  "No, but I'll send you one."  Thanks Margaret.

4.  Writing can be fun.  I discovered Magpie Tales, a blog dedicated to creative writing.  Willow, from Life at Willow Manor, posts a picture prompt every week, and writers from all around the world participate with original short stories and poetry.

5.  Writing can be frustrating.  There are also hours...days even...that you sit and stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper waiting for the right words to come along and bail your bloggy butt out of writing purgatory.  Here are my tips for beating writer's block.

6.  Bloggers form support groups.
  Tribal Blogs is a network for serious bloggers, started by Jen of Redhead Ranting.  It is filled with friendly, supportive people willing to share information, and give advice (when asked, of course).

7.  Blogs can take on a life of their own.
  I had different ideas about what my blog would become.  I wanted to create a source of local information to help people find good bargains and special events around town.  Problem - no local readers.  After finding #4, I began to realize that writing was more interesting to me and more appealing to others, thus changing the focus of my blog.

8.  "Build it and they will come" does not apply to blogging.
  When I first started out, I thought I could just create a blog, publish posts and wait for people to show up.  Well, I guess that is true in part...the waiting part.  See Item #1.

9.  What widgets and gadgets really are.  I thought widgets and gadets were things usually found in one's junk drawer.  They are actually those little blocks found on your sidebar, containing code that put text and/or graphics on your blog.  Speaking of the Junk Drawer, "Hi Kathy".

10.  I have a lot more to learn.  I guess this is the most important thing I have learned thus far.  I am learning every day, by reading, experimenting; what works, and what doesn't.  It is all part of the process of blogging, and I am happily looking forward my next year in the blogosphere.

I have met so many helpful and encouraging people that I couldn't begin list them all here, but you know who you are.  I do want to send out a special thank you to my friend Sara from A Sharing Connection.  She has been right there encouraging me ever since the first comment I left on her one of her photo story posts. This was my initial venture into creative writing.

The Quote of the Week will return next week.

28 comments:

Hilary said...

Oh congrats on your first blogging anniversary. I wish you many more years to come. You're so right when you say that it takes on a life of its own and even more so about the need to get out and visit others. That's when it all comes to life. It's a cool community out here. I'm glad your blog is a part of it.

TALON said...

Wow! A whole year already? Time just flies! Congratulations, Linda!

Marie said...

Congratulations!! Great list! I have fallen in love with blogging and have made some very dear friends in the process. We're so lucky to have this outlet!

Tarheel Rambler said...

I hadn't thought about it, but you are right. Blogging is kind of like a modern version of pen pals. I do believe that the friendships are as real and valid as any I have that are face to face.

"Build it and they will come" is truly a false notion in blogging. If you stop and think about the millions upon millions of web pages out there on the Internet, it's a small miracle that anyone just happens to discover our little contributions. But if you start participating as an active member of the blogging community, you improve your chances greatly.

Great post!

Sara said...

Linda,

Happy First Blog Anniversary!!! You've made yourself a wonderful blog.

I love the "lessons" you offer in this post. I also learned a lot from Barbara, as well as other blogging friends. You're right blogging isn't static; it's active communication via the comment box.

Thank you for the "thanks." Your words really touched me, but you know what...this is you and your God-given talent...

I must admit, however, that I am glad you left behind the coupon mentions because if you hadn't, we wouldn't get to share your beautiful writings:~)

Have a happy one today:~)

Stuart Mathieson said...

nice post, happy blogday

Unfinished Rambler said...

Linda, since this is my first time here, I just want to say:

I have read and enjoyed your work, and found it to be entertaining, informative, or helpful.

I haven't decided among the last three, but when I do, I'll let you know. ;)

But really, I enjoyed your blog, even checking out the last post you had about enTRANCE and ENtrance. I'd like to say I've never done or said anything like that, but it wouldn't be true.

Jannie Funster said...

Love this post!

Barbara was one lady I found early on too, and I'm ever grateful for her support and advice. I think I met you over at her blog, did I not?? Yes, we do have to stick our necks out and promote ourselves, boy howdy.

This DOES feel like pen-palling, doesn't it?!!! Meeting up with peeps we never ever would have.

And always an evolution. So much more to continually learn. And FUN as all get out!!

Here's to many many more happy blogging years and guitar practice in our bikinis! :)
Xoxo

Blue Bunny said...

Deerist my Linda, I so happee for yor bloging, yor roses and yor raneboes!!

kongratulashins!!

Wit love.

Blue Bunny

literati_rain66 said...

Blogging = Pen Pals... so true! I'd never thought of it that way, but it's true!

Love the list!

By the way, I found you through a retweet on Twitter made by @unfnshdprsn.

-Shannon
http://literatisliterarylibrary.blogspot.com/

Linda said...

Hilary- Thank you. It really has been a lot of fun.

Talon- Thank you. Indeed time does fly...way too fast.

Marie- Thanks. There are a lot of great people out there.

Tarheel Rambler- Thanks. I know I've met a lot of wonderful folks. Tribal is a great place to hang out. I'll hopefully be getting out and around a little more now.

Sara- Thank you so much. Barbara's great isn't she? Have you read about her latest venture? Sounds fantastic! Loved your challenge today.
You're most welcome...I absolutely meant it! Your right, the coupon thing wasn't going anywhere, and the writing was. Who knew?

Stuart Mathieson- Thank you!

Unfinished Rambler- Thank you so much for stopping by. I am glad you enjoyed yourself. Come back anytime.

Jannie- Thank you my dear. We are always putting ourselves out there when we post, but it's fun! I've enjoyed meeting all my new pen pals.

Blue Bunny- Thanks bunny, you little cutie, you! Go Hawaiian, grab that hammock and drink one for me!

literati_rain66- Hi there, and thanks for stopping by and helping me celebrate. Oh, the power of twitter.

cardiogirl said...

Congratulations on a full year of blogging! I don't know the statistics off the top of my head but a huge percentage of bloggers only last six months or less so that's a huge accomplishment.

I loved number two. Before I started blogging I had actually sought out a few email pen pals (that makes no sense,eh?) Regardless, I've always loved hearing other people's stories and bouncing things off another person -- is this normal; is this weird, etc. -- and blogging definitely fills that criteria.

Excellent observation!

Prayer Girl said...

This was a fascinating post. I have learned many of the same lessons you have and some new things were suggested here. Thanks.

PG

Prayer Girl said...

This was a fascinating post. I have learned many of the same lessons you have and some new things were suggested here. Thanks.

PG

KZ said...

You've made a great choice for an anniversary post. I really enjoyed your insights on blogging. This is a good read. Congratulations on one year, and here's to many more.

Linda said...

Cardiogirl- Thank you. I consider it quite an accomplishment, too. I never had a pen pal, but now if feels like I have a bunch.

Prayer Girl- Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed. Thanks for the visit.

KZ- Thank you so much. It took a bit of time to write and get it right. I'm definitely looking forward to the next year.

fruey said...

So very true that expecting people to comment on your blog when you never comment elsewhere is unrealistic, unless you've got very compelling content indeed.

Slightly ironically, it was quite difficult to locate the link to comment on your post. "Viewpoints" isn't obvious and would be less obvious for non native speakers; especially since "Labels" follows on the same line.

fruey said...

One other thing I just thought of. A corollary of commenting is to respond to comments. It's nice to see that as a commenter your thoughts are being taken on board and responded to, too!

Davina Haisell said...

Congratulations, Linda! Woohoo!

Great analogy about pen pals. That is very much what this feels like. And SO true that blogs can take on a life of their own. I'm in that situation right now. Things are evolving and I'm learning to go with it.

What a great way to celebrate your anniversary by sharing links to other bloggers. Congrats, again.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda said...

Fruey- Comments, both giving and receiving are an integral part of the blogging process. Re the Viewpoints, I hadn't considered it being less than apparent that it was the comment section. I just wanted something different. I'll take another look at it.

Davina- Thank you. I truly have learned a lot over the last year with more to learn each day.

Spam comment deleted.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Linda .. how right you are about getting started and the realisation of how things work .. but if we don't find the Barbaras of this world .. we're somewhat lost.

Congratulations on 1 year .. that's great .. and you've sourced so much information .. I'll have to have a look at a couple - Magpie Tales for one!

Thanks for coming over to my blog and the penpal element is true - except each commenter can lead to so many more - & great friendships being made.

Great to meet you .. and other friends here .. Jannie, Davina et al .. have a great weekend .. Hilary

Linda said...

Hi Hilary,

Thank you. I am pleased and proud that I stayed with this through the first year. It is tough in the beginning when you are writing for pretty much no one. Things are changing, the blog is changing, and it's all good.

You are right about commenters leading to more. I am meeting new people all the time.

Barbara Swafford said...

Congratulations Linda on your one year anniversary. One year is truly a milestone worth celebrating in blogging. And I have to say, you've done an excellent job.

Thank you Linda for the kind words, link love and continued support. I truly appreciate it.

Here's to many more years of blogging, writing, and following the path to your dreams. I've no doubt you will go far.

((hugs)) and best wishes.

xo

bettyl said...

Blogging truly does exist in a world of its own! Congrats on your milestone!

Here another link that you might enjoy--they use my photos occasionally.. http://www.writewithpictures.blogspot.com/

Mrs. Tuna said...

I'm not quite at that one year mark but love to have someone besides my drunken friends tell me I'm funny.

Linda said...

bettyl- Thank you, and thanks for stopping by. I did check out the link. Interesting, and some pretty pics.

Mrs. Tuna- It is nice to have validation on our work! Thanks for stopping by.

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

Ohhh.. I like your posting. Great idea for a post and I loved reading about the things you learned about/from blogging.

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