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Why and how to blog

I constantly see blogs talking about how many viewers they have or how many clicks they got on a certain post or day. I also see the number of likes and comments they get and sometimes it amazes me. Then I come to my humble blog and see my single-digit comments and likes and my double-digit views and you know what? I love it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to interact with more people through my blog, of course. But it’s so much fun when I see that someone liked or commented on what I wrote/posted that I don’t really care how many people did it. Most people will read a blog post and move on, not even leaving their mark in here. And it’s okay. Maybe they didn’t like what I said, maybe it didn’t matter to them as much, or maybe it did.

Maybe, just maybe, what they saw here, be it a post, a video, a review, did make an impression, did make them think. And that, to me, is more important than whether or not they say something to me. I guess that’s the reason why I have this blog, as a way to communicate with people I don’t yet know, and I like it. No, scratch that, I love it!

I’m now thinking of a poem I love by Emily Dickinson that I already talked about way back when I first started this blog. I guess, to me, if I can reach one person, only one, it won’t be in vain. We can’t change the whole world, but we can (and should) try. And the way to do that is by reaching one person and doing one small thing.

Here’s a video by Vi Hart that talks about reaching people and how to do it. I think it has the message I’m trying to convey. Don’t stress over the numbers of views/comments/likes. Do what you want to do because that is the message you want to send. And if you reach one person, great! That means you’re doing it right.

 

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Signed copies

i-died-once-coverDo you like books? Of course you do! If you didn’t… well… who doesn’t, right? I always believed that people who say the don’t like to read is because they spent their lives reading what [insert here name of school/ adult/ organization] told them to and never ventured out there to find something else. The fact that someone likes a book doesn’t make that book perfect for you. And sometimes we must read the book ourselves to see what we think of it. Have you ever seen how many different opinions you can find if you try to find reviews from books?

So how do you feel about copies signed by the author? Pretty cool, huh? I couldn’t care less about autographs from celebrities (sorry guys) but I love books signed by the authors.

Okay, so James Mahoney has a deal on his website for signed copies of his books. You can click on the book titles to know more about them. On his website, not here, of course.

 

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Why do we write a blog?

Why are blogs so appealing? Why is it so great to write about personal things when we know strangers will read? Why is it so important for us to share private, sometimes even embarrassing thoughts with people we’ve never met before? Do we do it so we won’t feel so alone in the world? Do we do it for the satisfaction of knowing someone else out there can relate to it and that can make us feel less abnormal?

A year ago I started writing in this blog and I honestly hoped I wouldn’t quit. It wasn’t my first blog and I was afraid it would end up forgotten just as the other ones did. So far so good, but it isn’t over yet. It never will be, right? To avoid wanting to quit I did take some precautions. I decided it wouldn’t be too personal, that I wouldn’t reveal too much, and that I would keep it separate from my real life. But what does that all mean? To be honest, that’s up for interpretation.

If you pay attention to what a person writes (or rather to what that person decides to write or not to write) you end up knowing more about that person than you can even imagine. You, all of you, have access to more about my life than people who’ve known me in person for years! You may not realize that but you do. You can imagine how I’d react in a situation or try to imagine what I would or would not say about a certain subject. The fact that you may not know my age or my last name or what I look like does not mean a thing. Or perhaps you’re one of the few ones who do know me in person, in which case, hi! It’s great to see you here!

But I think that more than anything I wanted this space to be a place where I could say (or write) what I wanted without having to worry about who is reading it or whether or not they’d judge me for what I’m writing here. We end up meeting a lot of people we have to deal with in real life and sometimes we don’t have a choice whether or not to let them be a part of it. But in here, online, we have the privilege of not having to do that. If you come here and read my blog is because you want to, not because you have to do it. I probably won’t even know you were here anyway. Well, unless you like a post or leave a comment, of course. And by the way, comments and likes are always welcomed. 😉

Anyway, I just wanted to say it’s been a great journey and I appreciate every single one of your likes and comments. You all make me feel like I belong, like I’m not the only one, and like I’m actually part of a group I truly enjoy being part of. Thank you.

Thank You

 

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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Finding licensed images

I guess we could say it’s common knowledge that we should not use someone’s work without their consent. However, what are the rules for using images found on the internet? If someone puts an image on the internet and I find it through a search engine, doesn’t it mean it’s okay to use it? Doesn’t it mean the author is already allowing you to use the image if it’s online for all to see?

No. It’s not okay to share or alter any images on the internet unless you have permission for it. You have to either use images that were approved by their creators for sharing (or altering, if that’s what you’re looking for) or pay to use the image. Nice, huh?

Anyway, I’ve been reading about it since yesterday and I’ve collected a bunch of info. Basically if you use the Creative Commons Search you’re safe. You type what you’re looking for in the search box, check the boxes for commercial purposes and/or modify them (if necessary) and choose which library or search engine you’d like to get your image from. I’ve been using Flickr and Google Images to find options for my past posts (yep, I’ve been updating them since yesterday, trying to change them all to licensed images).

If you want to understand a little more about how this all works, you should read Meghan Ward’s Where to Get Photos For Your Blog. Ward teaches blogging and social media classes at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Another good post on the subject is Susan Gunelius’s How to Find and Source Images for Your Blog. Gunelius also gives you a list of other places where you can get your images.

And remember: you should always give credit to the creator of the image. Always.

[Image credit: Marta St▲rbucks]

 

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Taking a break

Sorry I was absent for so long, but I had to take a break from my blog for a while to focus on my writing.

How is it going, you ask? Wonderful! That is if you consider not being able to write as good as working on one’s writing. But I tried. I also had to work on getting a new place and catch up on my reading.

All in all, it was a nice break. And now I’m back. Hopefully with a few good posts soon. Or let’s just say a few posts. Let’s not focus on the good, at least not for now.

 

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Drifts, by Jennifer D. Scroggins

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

Remember when I talked about that new Indie author, Jennifer D. Scroggins? I finally read the first one, Drifts, which is in fact a short story.

Drifts tells the story of two human beings, Sara and Cooper, who had been hurt so much and so deeply by others they had every reason not to trust another person again. But somehow they were able to find within themselves the force to help the other heal without expecting any kind of retribution for their actions. The story itself is so captivating I didn’t want to stop reading it; I just wanted to keep going to find out what would happen in the end.

There are a few grammatical errors that need fixing, but it’s such a nice story they didn’t even bother me, which says a lot, since errors do drive me crazy. But you know what? We all make mistakes. All of us. And when you’re writing a book, because you know the story so well in your head, it’s very hard to spot them at times. That’s why it’s so important to have someone from the outside to proofread your work for you. But the thing is: anyone can fix misspelled words or a misplaced comma, but it takes a good author to write a good story.

I recommend this book. It’s a great short story. I honestly can’t wait to read her next book.

P.S.: You should check out Jen’s new blog on WordPress as well. She even has a video of herself reading a chapter of Face In The Rear View Mirror.

 

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