BLOGGING – IT’S A NEW YET SOMEHOW OLD WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

I’M NEW. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

It’s interesting, looking at an earlier post and realizing how many “givens” have changed since you wrote it. It was just a few years ago. But oh my, how times have changed.

Maybe I’m just getting a bit beat up from having hung around the blog world too long … or maybe it’s the endless pressure of political reality that is making me crazy and mentally exhausted. Maybe it’s everything.

I think it’s harder to blog now than it was. We used to be able to have fun –without feeling the responsibilities of the world. Funny, light, and airy have become harder to find. Some elements of humor have gone out the window. It’s not that I wanted them to go away, but it has been hard to let go of the awful developments going on around us.

That being said, I can’t talk about the “issues” all the time. I can’t even think about them all the time. In that direction lies madness.

Everyone knows that there are dangerous developments in the world, but we can’t think about them every minute of every day. The world is undergoing a bad turn. We are atop that evil pile. I often wonder if I’m still living in the same country. Is this America?

And it’s international too. Is this my world or have slipped into a parallel reality?

Nonetheless, the basic rules still apply — with a few caveats. WordPress is no longer providing any kind of support to bloggers. No prompts, no awards, no nothing. They ply you with endless advertisements to join up with their “business plan” even if you don’t have a business. They pay no attention to what we ask for. Instead, they give us what they feel like giving us … IF they feel like giving us anything. And they do not believe in beta testing their software.

Don’t count on WordPress to give you a hand. They won’t. Do count on fellow bloggers to give you a hand because we will if we can.

So:

    • Do what you love. If it’s writing, write. Photography? Take pictures. Excuses are boring. A lot of people spend more time explaining why they can’t write or take a sharp picture than actually writing or focusing the camera.
    • Don’t whine. We all have problems. (Remind me I said this.) If you are going to whine, try to be funny too.
    • We are all entitled to a good online rant. Just not every day.
    • Funny is good.
    • Keep posts short or at least as concise as you can — given the subject. Some things need more words than others, but when you’re running over a thousand words, put the post away and read it again later or better yet, the next day. I bet you’ll find at least 500 (or more )words you can cut.
    • Don’t post blurry, bad pictures. Learn to look at your work and appraise it as if it were someone else’s.
    • Work on improving your craft(s). Write better. Take better pictures.
    • Proofread! If, like me, you’re a terrible proofreader, use whatever free proofing device you can find. I’m using the free version of Grammarly. I hate to admit it, but it has helped.
    • Follow your gut. If your gut isn’t telling you anything, try your brain and imagination. If that’s not working, read a book.
    • STICK WITH IT. You don’t build a following in a week or two.
    • PERSEVERE! You need to post regularly and often. If you don’t post regularly and often, your readers will wander away.
    • Many followers will wander no matter what you do. They have their own lives and their own reasons. It isn’t about you. Every two or three years, with some important exceptions, you’ll find you have a new group of followers.
    • You never know who is reading you. Many folks read, but many fewer comment. Most won’t even drop a “like.” I’ve been shocked at who reads my blog.
    • Don’t let other people’s stats make you envious. If you stick with it, you’ll get there too. 
    • Check your facts if you are writing anything that contains facts. It’s called credibility. You need it no matter what your government is doing.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

37 thoughts on “BLOGGING – IT’S A NEW YET SOMEHOW OLD WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. WordPress lost the personal touch long ago. After searching for a new home I decided WordPress could be it. I even got to know names of their contacts, and contacts existed, even with a photo. All now gone and we are left with ribots, so-called happiness engineers whatever that is. But I am not alone I have my little group of other bloggers. The world is changing, money is more important.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I try not to let WordPress’s unwillingness to do even the basics get to me, but sometimes, it really does. Discovering that the entire organization is now aimed at “making more money” is depressing. It wasn’t like this when we all started.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Pat and I — among a handful of others — have been friends for a LONG time. We drift in and out of each others’ blogs depending on what is under discussion, but I always check to see anyway and I worry if someone seems to be missing.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. In a way — a BIG way — blogging saves us despite health issues. it enables us to participate in the big wide world, something we could not do were it not for computers. For those of us with disabilities, computers are a godsend.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Spot on Marilyn. A lot has changed since we all started to blog and I think it is harder now but your advice is as true as when you wrote it the first time. I think that for any new blogger finding a group of fellow bloggers you feel some connection with makes all the difference. Not only do you learn but you also feel that you are not out there talking to yourself. At least WordPress can’t take that away (I hope).

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  3. You’re offering some solid advice. Especially the bit about proofreading. I try to proofread every post at least 2-3 times before hitting “Publish.” And yet, I still find typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors when I go back and re-read something I’ve already posted in about 10-20% of my posts. Ugh.

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  4. excellent advice (says one w/o a blog). There is one one question I can’t figure out:
    You never know who is reading you. Many folks read, but many fewer comment. Most won’t even drop a “like.” I’ve been shocked at who reads my blog. HOW do you know who reads you? You see, I wouldn’t know…. I only know who never reacts to any of my little messages I send out in my mails. And who does!
    PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP – please, please, please!

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    1. One day, I get a comment about a post and realize that whoever it is — Boston’s mayor, our top basketball star, the CEO of a major entertainment organization, authors I read regularly — have been following along for a long time. I just didn’t know it because this is the first time they have commented. It’s always gratifying and a bit of a pleasant shock. Also, Garry tells me because he gets comments on Facebook — which I don’t use very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You inspired me to take better photographs, to get a “real” camera, Marilyn. I have a core group of people I read, people who read what I publish, I no longer care about how many. I look forward each day to seeing what’s new on their lives, what they are up to. I prefer non political posts, world news, it’s all too depressing- I come here to escape all that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You introduced me to Marilyn, Lisa. On one of your posts you wrote that you could feel Marilyn looking over your shoulder while you photographed a bird. I wondered ‘who is this Marilyn of which you speak.’ And I found Marilyn! So happy I did, too!

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      1. I try to encourage people who obviously have talent to get at least decent quality equipment. I know not everyone can afford top quality stuff — and these days, you don’t need the best equipment to get good pictures. There are plenty of good quality “all purpose” long lens cameras on the market for reasonable prices and you can sometimes upgrade to something even better buying second hand. Which is how I started in the camera world. Good used equipment is often pretty much like new, especially lenses.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Lisa: I was very proud of that. I could see you had “the eye.” All you needed was some decent equipment. And in the end, you inspired me back though right now, with the feeders down, I feel “bird bereft.”

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      1. Thank you for the help and encouragement Marilyn, in a way life changing as photography has become such an important part of my life now. It also renewed my love for birds. I know what you mean about feeling bird bereft!

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  6. This is excellent blogging advice! I’m not much of a blogger myself these days, more of a reader. I agree so much that WordPress doesn’t help much and they tend to make things confusing. That’s why I’ve mostly focused on writing on another website instead. I think the entire reason I found this blog was because it was featured on WordPress Discover haha. But I’ve read a few posts and found your writing to be quite entertaining, so I’m glad I found your site and looking forward to reading more of it.

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