LIFE IS TOO SHORT

No Time to Waste — Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion. (Thanks for suggesting this prompt, theempathyqueen!)


Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Or eat lima beans, or work at a job you hate.

Mr. Coffee brewing

It’s too short read dull books or watch bad movies. Far too short to spend with boring, stupid people.

Really, life is too damned short. Even if you live a long time.

I know this because for a lot of people I used to know and some of whom I loved, it has already ended. None of them has come back to romantically haunt me (Hollywood notwithstanding), so I’m guessing the end is final. No reruns.

Tombstones

Make the best of today. It’s what you’ve got.

(Haven’t I said this before? I’m pretty sure I did.)

MORNING LIGHT

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This year has flown past. It’s hard to believe it’s already November. Elections are over.  The oak trees are slow to shed their leaves, so our woods are still leafy. The final dropping of the oak leaves won’t happen until December, sometimes as late as January.

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Morning is my favorite time of day and when I am most inspired to take pictures. I’m lucky that the view from my deck — just outside my kitchen — is inspiring.

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I think it’s the color and angle of the light that makes it so appealing. Pale yellow in spring, warmer yellow in summer. In autumn, it’s soft amber. In winter, the light is tinged with blue.

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I love the way sunlight filters through leaves, but even when the leaves are gone, I love the light, the mist. The reflection of sunlight on snow, the shadows on the tree bark.

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Most were taken a few days ago, early in the morning, the first in Jackman, Maine early in October.

While the coffee was brewing, I grabbed a camera and shot a few frames. These  didn’t need processing, just a bit of cropping and resizing.

MYSTERIES OF BLOGGING

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Statistics are the eternal mystery of blogging. I’ve been blogging 2 years, 9 months and I’m pretty happy with where I am these days. I’m popular enough to feel my voice is heard, but not so busy I don’t have time to answer comments and interact with the people I enjoy on the big wide web.

I keep hearing about the “cool kids,” popular bloggers with large followings. Compared to the really big blogs, I’m not even a drop in the bucket, but for my own purposes, I’m in a good place. Last week, my “followers” — whatever and whoever they are — exceeded 7,000. So — does that make me one of the cool kids?

Marilyn and Bette

Me and Bette Stevens. Two veteran bloggers enjoying lunch in Skowhegan

That would be funny because never in my life have I been a cool kid. At this point, I’m no kind of kid. Senior citizen. Retired writer. Amateur photographer. I use my time to do something fun and productive. I blog. But I wouldn’t mind being cool or a kid.

Yesterday I got the most hits of any day for the last year. My view stats have been climbing all year. October’s numbers were the highest of any month since I began blogging. The beginning of November looks even better.

The first time my numbers approached this level was November 2012. I had some help from a contentious presidential election and super storm Sandy. That rising tide lifted a lot of ships, mine included. This time, though, I suppose I can take the credit. Whatever that means.

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I keep wondering why me? My husband, biggest fan, loyal supporter, says it’s because I write interesting articles and take good pictures. I will concede October was a fantastic month for photography. It was a glorious Autumn and I was well-positioned to capture it.

Can the formula be that simple? Maybe it is. But there is a bit more to it. Popularity has a momentum of its own. At some point, you become like a rock rolling down a steep hill. It’s hard to get moving, but once you’re in motion, gravity keeps you going.  Success — to some degree — leads to success.

As far as I can tell, the deepest mysteries of blogging are ridiculously simple:

  1. Write interesting posts
  2. Display good pictures
  3. Maintain high quality.
  4. Post often so when people visit your site, there’s something new to read, something interesting to look at
  5. Don’t quit.

Reuse material if you think it deserves it. Many posts get minimum response the first time around, but do much better on subsequent publication. I don’t know why people have problems with this. You wrote it, you own it. You are free to use and reuse it however you like. Networks don’t apologize for rerunning series, and you shouldn’t either.

When I started blogging, I figured there was a magic bullet, a formula that would assure success. Just do “this” and you’ll get a big payoff. It has turned out to be both simpler and more work than I imagined.

Keeping at it when you are getting very few hits and hardly anyone comes to visit is hard. You have to believe you have something to say and people will want to hear it. Persevering in the face of apparent disinterest can be disheartening.

Regardless, resist the temptation to post  junk (unless it’s especially funny junk) and reblog carefully and selectively. If you are ever going to have a following, you want them to follow you, not the stuff you found on Facebook or other bloggers.

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NOBLOPOMO OR, AS I LIKE TO CALL IT, NOBLOWME

You may have noticed (maybe you didn’t) that I’m not participating in NoBlowMe this year.

Whether or not these kind of “challenges” do anything for you is open for debate. Participate because you want to, but keep your expectations reined in. I joined last year because someone I liked very much asked me to join her team. I was already posting daily, so I didn’t need to be spurred to post more. If anything, I need a whack on the head to make me post less.

It was disappointing. To me, the voting seemed nothing but a popularity contest based on how well you could organize your “troops” to vote for you. Because I refused to ask anyone to vote for me, pretty much no one did. I had thought it was about quality, but it wasn’t.

If you are looking for something to help you post more often — daily — maybe it’s worth it. Or maybe you want to do it just to give it a try. But none of these are any kind of “fix”. Do it for fun or comradeship, but don’t expect miracles.

Did participating improve my numbers? Look at the numbers for November 2013 and decide for yourself.

YOU LIKE ME, YOU REALLY LIKE ME!

I don’t officially encourage adoration nor do I try to organize anyone to do anything — except vote in elections. Even though I’m totally adorable, in an elderly sort of way.