How to Succeed as a Blogger – Lighting Dynamite, Part 2

Socializing
I just finished saying in Part One that before you connect with others, you have to know and be yourself. Moving on, we see that a purpose-driven blog won’t stand alone. Because it’s a blog, not a book. If you are putting in the time to draft posts that are four, six, eight paragraphs long and are counting on one or two hands the number of likes and comments coming in or haven’t seen a rise in readership, it’s probably a good idea to step out and socialize more with other bloggers. You can write, sing, preach, journal, cry, paint your heart out but if you’re not investing in other blogs, you’re not as likely to draw investors for yours. In the world of business, you need to offer a product that is unique and consumable, something people need and want to come back for. But even generic goods will earn sales if you put in the time. It’s a simple correlation between exposure and growth potential.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Connecting
More than the quantitative aspect of blogging, though, I would like to look at the qualitative. Your zeal will ring out, only to fall flat, if it doesn’t offer relevance or resonance. I repeat something I was impatient to throw out in Part 1. Ask yourself why anyone should read, let alone follow, you. I shouldn’t have to declare I’m a writer on this blog. You should be able to see and feel it. But let’s go a step further. So what if you do? Do I seriously imagine that thousands of people week in, week out will be as involved in my struggles, questions, poetry as I am? You ought to see something of your own story here – your past, your hopes, your convictions which grow sharper in your assent and dissent. Isn’t the finest literature or visual art a mirror of human experience? Why is this so? I borrow from the wisdom of a professor who said years back: we listen autobiographically. This gem of a truth is a whole other post but keeping to this discussion, it’s good to bear in mind that people are reading and processing what you offer from the reference point of their own story. Rather, this is what they want to do. Here’s a powerful example. I assumed it was the thought of divine sacrifice that brought Casey to tears over the sculpture of Mary holding her dead Son after the crucifixion in this post. Casey clarified that she was, in fact, “very moved by the poignant imagery of being held by a loving mother” because her own childhood experiences had left her beggared in this regard. We approach a relationship, whether with a friend or work of art, through the screen of our own story. This describes the wife, reader, consumer in me. But as an artist I blog by seeking to tap a part of life that we all participate in so you can relate to me in the most fundamental sense of the word relationship. In your own blogging, you can target a topic relevant in your niche. Or more broadly, keep up the writing, dance, artwork that touches the universal longing for knowledge or intrigue in what is fantastic, beautiful, and possible. You will find more on resonance in this post Why We Read. It is not a strict dictum of blogging to give viewers something they want or can identify with but it’s understandably the ideal. Something neat can also happen along the way. Once you establish a loyal readership that comes to trust you will deliver the goods (or at least die trying), it almost won’t matter what you offer. This, from my observation of dynamic bloggers who have charmed their crowd. It is the faith of relationships, the magic when your readers want you.

Discovery
When we’re moved to action or wonder we don’t stay self-absorbed. Or silent. We express how we were affected, tell how we found a forgotten part of our heart or the door of a mental paradigm opening. It’s the relating back, our need to deepen connections. I went ahead with this miniseries largely to acknowledge the remarkable support that has made this holistic journey as transformative as it has been for me. It gets electric here sometimes. I told Casey, a new reader, that it felt like we were lighting dynamite in the conversation. We agreed it was kaboom! My generous supporters wow me with their profound, eloquent insights. Fourteen hundred followers with and without the verbal response will be two different blogs. I’d be willing to lose a piece of my stats if that were the only way to keep the extraordinary comments – no way on earth am I parting with them. My grandchildren will know me more richly and deeply for them. In sharing how my writing affected their spirit, beliefs, decisions, my readers have in turn pulled parts of me out of the shadows. I’ve discovered more of myself in the connecting. It was a blogger who folded the poetry back into my hands and told me not to give it up. And though it’s comprised only 15% of my posts, poetry has made up the majority of my Top 10. Which means that if I want to grow faster, I should put out more poems (or shorter posts). It is unthinkable that I almost closed shop in the early days. I was torn between the helpless writing and the uncertainty of blogging. “Who the hec wants to hear another mom blogger?” I grumbled at my husband. Little did I know that my readers would show me I am more than Mother, especially through the feedback on the poems I had yet to write. That yes, I can stake a place among 74 million WordPressers.

Conscious Blogging
Listen to your supporters. Just as you have to move in tune with your dance partner, cue in on their response. Observe your most popular posts. They might shape your blogging. Seeing the Black Santa garner the greatest number of comments among all my posts (until the posts on blogging came out) confirmed I was on track with a big project that’s in the works. I also discovered that I thoroughly enjoy playing Barbara Walters – to gain access to motivations and history, encourage people to spill their guts. Turns out, my readers got a kick out of the role play and the results as much as I did. So it seems my alter ego should be let out again someday.

Community
As each blogger is unique, so will each community be. This reader left a wonderful reply on Part 1. Like energies will find like energies. And this is why I feel compelled to read and comment here. Itโ€™s the reason others are compelled to read and write where they read and write. There is an energy that is often more than the sum of the parts. But it all starts with the craft, the need to expel and breathe out something that nudges us to move from us. Just the other day I visited a blog with an energy very different from the one here. The personality, the language of the blogger drew company I probably won’t. It was an active site and the group was having fun. I think two bloggers can also put out a similar post and get a different type and level of response. Your community will be its own.

There’s nothing complicated about blogging at core. To succeed, you need both the interaction and the content others want to interact with. Many of you have made me feel like the richest woman this side of heaven. But the point of this post is to serve my fellow bloggers, to help pave your road of gold.

Let me know what was most helpful. I appreciate the interest in this miniseries.

140 thoughts on “How to Succeed as a Blogger – Lighting Dynamite, Part 2

  1. Excellent post! I find investing in other blogs is one of the most worthwhile aspects of blogging. I followed blogs before I started blogging, but so much more so since I started my own. It does attract people to your blog, but the real gain is the networks and relationships that emerge and how much you learn from and are enriched by other bloggers perspectives and experiences. Its where the surprise discoveries of the blogging experience lay!

  2. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I still count myself a novice blogger still stumbling along trying to find my true voice, what do I have to say that will be of value to someone else? I am being a lot more social lately and I find it such an enriching learning experience. So thank you for the reminder of having to write something that means something to someone else and I will keep up my socializing. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. I’m moved by your description of my post and my experiences in that moment of observing the sculpture. Thank you so much for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    While I am not sure, I think that sculpture is supposed to be like Michaelangelo’s Pieta. When it warms up some more, I’m going to go back there, by myself, because I have some unfinished business, and with my family. The first time I had gone through it quickly because it was an impulsive stop before I had to pick up my kids from school. I had no idea what it was like though I’d known it existed for a while. I hadn’t planned enough time, which is also why I was rather stunned by my own reaction too. But I’m glad for it. It was a beautiful moment for me, one that bears a deeper examination.

    And…interestingly enough, I was moved too, by a story I just read today from blogger Michael over at Embracing Forever. I wanted to share his post, because I referred back to that very link today. To me, it feels important to share it with you:

    http://embracingforever.com/2013/12/25/a-present-for-jesus/

    For me, I wasn’t planning on building a readership, though if people do like what I have to say and stay reading, that’s nice. I just like to talk about things that I find important to me, and that seems to draw people in because of the common threads in our humanity. I keep writing because of the people I keep meeting, who help influence my growth in subtle, but important ways.

    I find my heart opening more and more as I’m becoming connected to other deeply spiritual people. It’s been a very wonderful experience and unlike anything I’d encountered in my real life with people. I wonder if it’s because those I do connect with through blogging are more contemplative to begin with. It seems to me that the things revealed through writing start touching that 90 percent of the iceberg we don’t get to witness in our everyday interactions with another.

    “Many of you have made me feel like the richest woman this side of heaven.” And so it’s been like, for me, as well.

    Blessings to you,

    Casey

    • “I wonder if itโ€™s because those I do connect with through blogging are more contemplative to begin with. It seems to me that the things revealed through writing start touching that 90 percent of the iceberg we donโ€™t get to witness in our everyday interactions with another.”

      Put so very well. Malcolm G’s response to the 20 Things We Learned group post:

      “Great post. I am fascinated by the nature of the virtual relationship, the fact that you can ‘know’ somebody well because you have read their thoughts every week for the last year, something maybe even your partner or best friend has not done. But what happens when you meet a fellow blogger? Do they live up to your expectations or fail to come anywhere close? I have now met three bloggers and have been genuinely impressed with them as ‘quality’ people although sometimes very different from how I imagined them. As you point out, bloggers generally write from the heart but that does not mean that our reader’s image of us is accurate. If Nietzsche was alive and blogging today we would imagine him as some type of macho/jock stereotype but in fact he was weak and sickly most of his life.”

      • First of all, Malcolm G actually commented on your post? How amazing is that??? Hi-5, girlfriend! I always get a little giddy (okay a LOT giddy) when someone whose intelligence I admire pays me a visit and says hello (I’ve had three such visitors – Dr. Emma J, King, Bill Tillier (Dabrowski’s intellectual heir, who I was blessed to have a correspondence with for a while) and Douglas Eby (an high ability/creativity expert – who actually linked to one of my posts on another blog about intensity).

        I agree with his comment about how fascinating it is to get to know people on a very intimate level, yet, at the same time, I do understand the difference between the public self and the private self and the intermediate category, the virtual self, which I think combines elements of both.

        But, for me, it’s like this: I can read a great work of literature and get one idea about the author. If I read his/her letters, I get a different perspective. Yet again, if I read their journals, there’s yet another facet of the person. So which represents the real person: all of them and none of them. You can’t ever take a snapshot of a person and expect them to be that image of that moment in time. Heraclitus said Man can’t step into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river nor is he the same man. Well, something like that I don’t remember the exact words.

        We are complex individuals, constantly in flux. But if we trend towards duality, which most of us are inclined to – we think, “if you are this, you cannot be that” and we can get hung up on the images, the expectations we have of one another. It leads to disappointment.

        When I look back at my blogging (I’ve been blogging since 2008 on different blogs) I have different facets of my Self and my ideas. And as I’ve learned, as I’ve been shaped, I realize I no longer agree with some of my earlier thoughts. How much I have changed, yet, in other ways, I’m essentially the same, just a little more at peace about my complexity and intensity).

        This is why I try to blog authentically, whereever I’m at internally. I’m not interested in maintaining an image I have to uphold. Too limiting and too exhausting. But I blog like I live. Or I live like I blog. Or something like that. But I’m this big dork too, so I often am a stammering fool when I try to meet people:

        http://thesprightlywriter.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/the-artist-and-the-bookstore/

        I’m totally embarrassed I even published that…but it’s true. My own inner intensity gets ignited around certain people and I’m a stammering mess. So yeah, I bet Malcolm G would get the impression I’m dumb as toast. But that’s okay. Sometimes I do feel as dumb as toast.

        I know it took me THREE conversations with James T. Webb before the “Gosh I’m a big fan of yours” feeling dissipated enough to not sound like a school girl with a crush on her teacher” when I met him last year.

      • Okay…I realized I made a huge assumption here…I suppose I best not assume Malcolm G is THE Malcolm G I’m thinking here. Off to go see your post…

      • Aw, I spoke too soon…it’s not Malcolm Gladwell. But this Malcolm G’s comment was beautiful nonetheless.

        See, I just proved my point.

        That’s what happens when we make assumptions based on what we THINK we can predict about a person. Ah well…Maybe if you talk about Malcolm Gladwell, he will find you and say hello. =)

        I did that in a post about Paolo Coelho, and he said hello twittered a post of mine. I got like 8,000 page views in a day….it was quite delightful.

    • “the public self and the private self and the intermediate category, the virtual self, which I think combines elements of both.”

      Niiiice. And yes, I’m familiar with the Heraclitus quote.
      That is cool that you’ve come to greater peace over your complexity and intensity. They make you wonderfully you. Age also tempers people, I think.

      Rich thought on how we like to peg people, not let them be “B” because they are “A”. I’ve learned – mostly in my 30s – to free people to be who they are. A huge burden off me. I’m not anyone’s Holy Spirit, Mom, police, God will work in them as He sees fit.

      • Hmmm…peace comes and goes about my complexity and intensity…lol.

        I’ve done some boneheaded things with it at times.

        Sometimes it’s a great gift, sometimes it makes life that much more challenging. I need to keep reminding myself of the gift.

        Oh, and I have always tried to let people be as they are…in terms of what they wanted to do with their lives (career-wise and all). The harder part was letting them learn their own lessons and stop rescuing them from the damaging consequences of their own mistakes.

        I can only prevent me from making more of my own.

        Casey

  4. Wow! That’s really cool to the point of being almost eerie how our conversation coincidentally dovetailed into your post. This hit on things that I believed but wasn’t brave enough to implement. Thanks so much for the affirmation and confidence it gives me!

      • Yes. It’s Marcus. Honestly, the whole thing resonated beautifully as a whole. The points that stuck with me the clearest were the socializing aspects of blogging which then tied into your point about creating a community around the blog. The blog, as you mentioned, should be your voice and personality, and that’s should be the primary reason people read and follow- YOU.

  5. Wow, I love your style of writing. (I know this has no relevance to this post – But I REALLY do love and enjoy reading your blog). I can’t offer a profound feedback as other bloggers have done, but I can agree that this was very helpful in widening our perspectives. I can quote every sentence in this post and make a comment, but what stood out to me was the Community part. It never crossed my mind that we, as bloggers, not only have our own unique voice, but also have our own unique community.

    Seriously, thank you so much for the insight, and I look forward to reading your next post!

    • *Chuckle* You must realize your heartfelt, exuberant praise of my writing and blog is exactly the kind of awesome feedback that has encouraged me to keep on. You are just wonderfully you, P, even in this unassuming comment. Since you’re eager to build on your writing craft, you can always chk out the two series on writing under My Topics. =)

      Thanks for letting me know how you feel here and what exactly struck you about this post. Diana

  6. I had to come back to say something else.

    I re-read your post and thought about this:

    “It is unthinkable that I almost closed shop in the early days. I was torn between the helpless writing and the uncertainty of blogging. โ€œWho the hec wants to hear another mom blogger?โ€ I grumbled on my husband. Little did I know that my readers would show me I am more than Mother, especially through the feedback on the poems I had yet to write. ”

    I’m so very glad you weren’t discouraged by your early attempts at blogging. I really am glad you aren’t just another mom blogger. There’s plenty out there, most of which I find lacking substance. But what you offer here is so much more dynamic and meaningful.

    Your poetry is beautiful and while I know it’s sometimes more difficult to write, it’s a worthwhile addition to your blog. I’ve been exploring different poetry bloggers lately and I have to say, though I haven’t seen a lot, yours does stand out to me. So if you feel moved to, please keep writing more, because I’ll keep reading it.

    Casey

  7. 1. Ask yourself why anyone should read, let alone follow

    I can’t believe how many “isn’t my cat beautiful” blogs and “join me in worshiping my newborn” blogs are out there. Why would one think I would care to read about one’s nail polish, how to make macaroni and cheese(Geez I’d download that complicated recipe in a flash right?) or any of the other trivialities of one’s mundane life?

    2. Like energies will find like energies.

    Yes this is true. In the beginning I scanned the people who posted likes on a blog to see if their blog was of like interest. I was not stealing subscribers or following like trolling for fish but was selective re topics. Now my blog has poets, artists, photographers, authors, cartoonists, humorists and others that are just delightful and fascinating to read.

    I cannot keep up with making all the obligatory return visits but out of courtesy do visit now and then. I am sure to visit every post by loyal regulars and most important-reply to every comment promptly.

    • 1. THANK you, Carl!!! 2. Wonderful. It is no surprise your community bears such a lovely profile.

      “I cannot keep up with making all the obligatory return visits but out of courtesy do visit now and then. I am sure to visit every post by loyal regulars and most important-reply to every comment promptly.”

      You spoke for me. =) And when I don’t get back to a comment within the day, shows I’m really under it.

  8. I believe, Diana, that the first question we have to ask ourselves as bloggers is what our purpose in blogging is. I suspect we all write to be heard, whatever our message happens to be. I started because I was working on a book and wanted to build an audience for the book. I wrote about wandering because I do a lot, and because I believe that travel broadens our perspective. I threw in lots of photos because Peggy and I enjoy photography and it is fun to share. It also dresses up a blog.

    I quickly discovered that blogging is hard work, especially if you want to write things that people want to read. Face it, except for the gifted few, good writing takes effort. Good photos also take work. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mine are normally selected from hundreds and each one receives individual attention.

    I started slowly and I have never really focused on building readership. I’ve let it grow organically. I recognized early on that this approach was counter to my purpose but I tend to do those things I like to do and leave undone… you know the story. But I learned there are other values:

    The community a blog builds came as a surprise. I wouldn’t have believed that such good friendships could be built without meeting someone in person. This alone has made my blogging efforts worthwhile. And I’ve met people from all over the world.

    The blogs I have chosen to follow contain good information, insights and stories. Your’s certainly fits this category. I’ve learned new things, had some laughs, and even had an ‘aha’ moment or two. Since I consider continuing to learn one of the most important things I do, I have been quite pleased that blogs play a part in my education.

    And finally, anyone who aspires to write knows that one of the secrets of learning how is to write, write, write. Blogging certainly fulfills this need. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your thoughtful blog.

    Curt

    • Curt, I’m so glad for the wider glimpse into your early blogging days. I thought I said in a comment somewhere you and Peggy make a mean team. I appreciate those photos even more knowing they’re hand-picked as they are. And they ARE good, capture what is interesting, beautiful, significant.

      “I consider continuing to learn one of the most important things I do, I have been quite pleased that blogs play a part in my education.” Yes, never stop learning, right?

      Thanks for adding so meaningfully to the discussion.

  9. Diana,

    Again your post provokes a sense of admiration in me, on different levels. If I was to respond in my own words which aspect of this post most resonated with me and my experience, it is that blogging falls within the domain of social media. It is inherently social.

    SOCIALIZING. CONNECTING. COMMUNITY.

    Your decomposition is an excellent approach to understanding the elements of the whole. It is in understanding these constituent elements that we can then reconstruct the whole and see the synergy with an entirely new level of understanding.

    It isn’t difficult to see why you’ve garnered such a following with posts such as this.

    • I saw you took some time to collect your thoughts before writing. =) Honestly, Navigator, I am not sure why I would provoke admiration (a strong word, and thank you) from anyone for this post or the others. I flip my brain on and just go, and share what I see. But I’m entirely grateful for the response and am glad for the wonderful summarizing you did to show me how you processed this one. The reflecting back certainly helps me understand just what hit home. Very interesting: you would distill blogging down to social media. Hmmm….Yes, what we do is a form of it. But I believe it’s a lot more, offers possibility of depth you can’t achieve on other platforms. Which I seize for all it’s worth and is why I also don’t post things typical on Fbk. In other words, the potential for learning, inspiration, influence in the blogging world is far-reaching not only in breadth but depth. I suppose we could say blogging is potentially the richest form of social media.

      A tangent, but speaking of relationships….I was so pleased to learn we have appreciation for Tai Chi in common. =) My brief exposure to it was powerful and I miss it. No instructors around. here.

      • I do so enjoy your writing. Blogging is more than mere socializing, true. Yet what meaning have even the most eloquent of words when there is no one else to read them?

        We have some good Yang teachers here in Ottawa. I don’t have a way at present to get to the class, though. That may change in 2014. Tai chi is serenely beautiful.

  10. Beautiful excavation, Diana. I’m sensing at the core of the success you talk about is service- service to your readers, to your community, and the stories that want to be told through you. Also, engagement, communion, and dialogue… no writing in a vacuum, or if there is, then it is a completely different experience for sure.

  11. Pingback: Expanding perspectives through blogging | The Sprightly Writer

  12. Thanks for this. I especially liked the comments around community. I find visiting other sites to be both inspiring and instructive. My only lament is the lack of time to visit as much as i would like. I also generally follow up on recent likes, but discover that a good many of them are marketing tools. I guess we take the good with the bad.

  13. Wonderful article, Diana. And thanks for sharing the comment made by yours truly.

    I am at a unique point where I am a both a newcomer and not a newcomer at the same time. I have in my one blog an established readership, whom I love dearly, and have learned many of the in’s and out’s of WordPress (still learning, though – that never ends) and have cut my teeth through trial and error and watching / reading those who have lit the lamps before me. My blog, like many I suppose, was a personal diary of sorts, and yet public. It wasn’t until I ventured out of the cave (socializing) and realized the true depth of this community. What a gas. And that is how I learned that I didn’t know a whole lot. And I learned how to comment back from reading others gracious, polite and diginified responses (like yours are). We aren’t Stepford Wives either – we have our personality that shines out from our words and that is where the true connection sparks and grows out of.

    And with a new project that is in it’s infancy, I am learning to stretch a whole new set of muscles. I am not tapping into the same vein, both in content or community sector (wow, that sounded so corporate…ha ha). So while the writing is the writing, the real work is now in reaching out and taking the time and effort (yes, there is time and effort in building our corners of the universes into a hub of energy and ideas) and seeing what others are doing. Commenting and getting involved. Not just spray out “follows” like machine gun bullets. If I follow, it’s because it adds to my blogging life, to my spirit, to where I see my own path unfold. And I follow that rule of thirds – one third time writing, one third time reading, one third time commenting. And boy, does the comments section become the most important, as you said. I completely agree with your fantastic take on them – that is where others truly see us in a way we don’t see ourselves. I know of one fantastic writer who has a comment section worthy of publication itself. THAT is the real deal. THAT is where I find myself stretching and growing. Like here, right now, I have learned something and I have seen that I am not alone and that I too can give, support and also take in.

    Energy. Light. Experience. We all have it, and it all comes in different shapes and forms.

    Thank you for sharing yours, Diana. And thanks to all of those who have commented too. Expect a visit from my alter ego soon ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • “So while the writing is the writing, the real work is now in reaching out and taking the time and effort (yes, there is time and effort in building our corners of the universes into a hub of energy and ideas) If I follow, it’s because it adds to my blogging life, to my spirit, to where I see my own path unfold. Like here, right now, I have learned something and I have seen that I am not alone and that I too can give, support and also take in.

      Energy. Light. Experience. We all have it, and it all comes in different shapes and forms.”

      Paul, what an articulate, meaningful piece of your experience you bring. For me, the writing is very, very much the real work – as much as the dynamite follow-up that happens both ways. OM’s rule of thirds is wonderfully practical. I love the reasons you share for following others (and am honored for your active participation in whatever I have to offer).

      ” I know of one fantastic writer who has a comment section worthy of publication itself. THAT is the real deal.” SERIOUSLY!

      You sure contribute your share richly.

      Blessings, Diana

  14. You’re right, it is about building a community and interacting with other bloggers rather than just focusing on your own writing. Even then, there is no guarantee that the people you ‘like’ will return the sentiment but eventually the people who enjoy your words will find you. Brilliant post.

    • Hi Sean. Glad to hear from you. I almost added a piece on the dynamic of generosity in blogosphere. I might talk about it someday. I don’t think we should be mercenary in anything we do out here, and while we we shouldn’t be surprised at any reward for what we give, shouldn’t expect either.

  15. Ah. Thank you! I am here because you practice what you preached and popped in on my blog. The advice to reach out to others is so simplistic yet crucial. I am laughing quite literally as I type because “unchartered waters” doesn’t even begin to define where I am with blogging. Each snippet of the how to gets my mind rolling around.
    Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing and being a leader in this cyberworld.
    Linda

    • *SMiLe* Your laugh is contagious, Lynda. Talking with you on your board was fun, too. I’d love to know more specifically which of the “HOW TOs” zapped you – though I never imagined myself a leader or one who’d end up dispensing advice! Thx for the follow. So nice to have you. Feel free to pipe in on our busy discussions.

      Diana

      • Well what really hit me was the idea of the cyber world and its impact on our society. I teach high school and am constantly questioning how our kids will be in a person-to-person world if they are so often connecting to the world online. After reading your blog and thinking about my own as well as the feelings I have pre, during and post writing, I have to say I have been going about teaching in an archaic way. The skills our youth are gaining are valuable; some of them are able to say more and/or feel deeper because they feel safe in this world. But, like person-to-person, some are not able to cope online. I think an important dynamic in education today is to recognize and to honor our teens’ connection to the cyber world and to integrate this into our classrooms. This post is merely the tip of the iceberg as human emotions and interpersonal communications are such vast subject matters. But your blog got me thinking about this connectivity and what it holds for our futures. You mentioned that your grandchildren will know you better, deeper and that is what propelled this thought process.
        Whew. Thanks for getting my juices going…much healthier than the caffeine in my coffee.
        Linda

      • Talk about lighting some fire, Linda. I am blown away. This is amazing to see how you’ve applied the post to the world of teaching (which extends to parenting), the world of teens (which has become very much cyber), and….aye! You almost leave me speechless.

        I love how you reflected on the feelings you have pre-, during, and postwriting. I hadn’t thought about how I’ve added to the debate on the other side of the camp:

        https://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/04/21/technology-the-dark-side-of-efficiency-part-2/ https://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/04/23/technology-the-dark-side-of-efficiency-part-3/ https://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/05/02/technology-the-dark-side-of-efficiency-part-4/

        I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together, my first series as a relatively new blogger. The series as a whole has been out as a magazine article the last few months. If you are inclined, you can pull up the intro and finale with a keyword search (dark side or efficiency) after tapping the title of any post to open up the sidebar.

        Let me know what thoughts the posts stir. I’ll have my fireman’s suit on.

  16. Love your advice from both posts. I agree with Sean. You have to get out there and read, like and comment. Also I am pretty amazed at the people who do drop by. They are from all walks of life. And also, I try to keep the posts no longer than a visit to the toilet!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • He he. You leave a bit of your fun(ky) personality on other sites in your comments. =) Yep, I have been mindful of post length since the beginning. When I don’t cut it, it’s because I feel the piece asks that it not be.

  17. You know, I really think you hit the nail on the head when you spoke about ‘relationship’. We, as humans, are essentially social creatures. We want to be heard and indulge in relevant and rich conversation. We want to share our art and get feedback on it and experience the art and creativeness of others. Thanks for yet another great post Diana.
    Blessings=)
    Staci

  18. Following and interacting with other bloggers is, in a word, humbling. So much out there, funny, insightful, terrifying, challenging, sad. Humanity heaped up, ready to be mined. Nice post.

  19. I don’t think it’s coincidence that of my top 10 posts this past year, four of them have been are associated with other bloggers, either through guest posts, interviews or simply bouncing ideas from them. Definitely more interesting to read other blogs and connect.

  20. Diana, this is a brilliantly written post in your blogging miniseries, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to reply but you will know that I have been getting my ‘brain fog’ sorted out.

    I think that the overriding message that speaks to me from this post is that you didn’t want to be just another ‘mommy’ blog and that you were able to find the ‘you’ that you wanted to share here, as a separate identity. I can really relate to this.

    I have been ‘Mum’ since I was 23. And I love it. But… I struggled when I thought about starting a blog – as in, who would read anything from a middle-aged mum of three grown children and who had moved around a bit and been married 3 times?

    Like you, I soon discovered that by sharing that part of the essence of ‘you’, slowly but surely others began to read, relate, connect with. This then is how a community is built. You are so right about one blog being very different to another, having a different flavour and a different approach. This is what is so wonderful about blogging, the way we can all share one another’s experiences and bring them to the table and yes, become friends. Genuine friends.

    There is so much I could say here but I will write a book – ha! Now wouldn’t that be something, good Lord, I’ve bleated on long enough about this book!!!!!!

    Dear Diana, I am blessed indeed to have met you and to have the privilige to be a part of your community here. Thank you for that and for your inspired corner of the blogosphere.

    With much love – Sherri xxx

    • Your affection and joy in our friendship overflow here, Sherri.

      “that you were able to find the ‘you’ that you wanted to share here,”

      Actually, I didn’t even know there was a self I wanted to find here. So it was a true discovery, and hence such a remarkable journey. Breathtaking – that my readers helped unearth “me.”

      Yep – blogging is just like life with the air and sun outside, in that our blogs MUST be distinct just as we each are. No need to look over anyone’s shoulder. Just revel in one’s own journey and keep loving others.

      LOL other readers have gone on to simply write up a post and link to me bc they didn’t want to take up pages here but had so much to say in response. =) I appreciate every word you leave me.

      Xxx Diana

  21. What brings me back to you to read your blog is the love of sharing which I feel from you in your dancing/smiling words…that is, you really love doing it and then your words always touch a part of me making me to ponder. But in the end it’s you what you share from deep within, love touches, embraces and fills another with a lasting joy, and when I come back I know it will always be there…but you have touched it the most important treasure in this world, you love your sisters and brothers “unconditionally”, and those seeds from within that you plant into another will always multiply and blossom. The strong sister that you are is made even more priceless by the genuine love you have for your fellow humans…and you are just being you, and having a “blast”, doing it! You hit all the right nails in the right places right on the head, and the message is awesome. Thanks for always doing what you do so very well, and so very naturally! God bless you and your family, and thanks for the blessing!

    • “and those seeds…that you plant into another will always multiply and blossom.” I know of no greater reward, WB.

      “having a “blast”, doing it!” I most certainly am. Humbled, grateful you SEE me. You can feel it.

      “You hit all the right nails in the right places right on the head” THANK you.

      “and the message is awesome” I hear Wendell talking to me like a friend. At ease, earnest, receiving my work with a gracious joy.

      Thanks always, WB.

  22. “Listen to your supporters. Just as you have to move in tune with your dance partner, cue in on their response. Observe your most popular posts. They might shape your blogging.”

    Diana, you don’t need me to tell you how good you are at what you do. But here is another perspective on blogging, albeit a minority one. Your advice above is excellent if you want to reach out to a larger and larger audience, and most bloggers certainly want this. However, once that decision is made, one inevitable consequence is that the message is likely to be, as you say, “shaped” or distorted in some way. There is nothing wrong with this unless you don’t want to be “shaped” because, as Thoreau said, you hear a different drummer. Now, I realize that to keep preaching out in the cold without an audience you have to have the personality of a prophet. But, if you are that kind of blogger, appealing to a beleaguered remnant of like-minded thinkers without knowing where they are, this quotation from Albert Jay Nock is relevant:

    “You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you.”

    • I covered both grounds 1) in offering suggestions for growing one’s audience because that is really part and parcel of blogging, a potential built right into the engine (mutual introductions WPress set up on default with likes, etc) and because most people wouldn’t even set out to blog if they didn’t hope for a growing readership and 2) in encouraging bloggers to continue providing what is relevant to their niche audience.

      I fit somewhere between these two worlds. I (perhaps obviously?) wouldn’t sacrifice or pursue numbers over content. The content is of utmost priority for me and I will take the slower lane if I must, for it. Responding to the cue of my readers has been a movement of art in itself, part of what’s made this journey holistic and breathtaking. And I will continue to write what makes my own heart sing (or cry); I must remain true to the drum I hear. I am too stubborn (there’s the “tough”?) to let the shaping turn into a distortion of my work. I just try to keep my amazing readers in mind, try to invite their own journey into the words they enter.

      But yes, Malcolm, you would be one to remind us of the wild card and what it can mean. Huh. Those who may not know the faces of those who hear them. I love it. Your red herring insights.

      And you do honor me with the commendation. I am still not even a year old out here. Lots to learn in the days ahead.

  23. I do enjoy your posts and suggestions. I am off to read one cool site now. Thanks again for introducing me to what blogging really is, I am still thinking of it as an online diary… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Good to hear from you, P. Do you mean you want to stop thinking of it as an online diary? Another way to look at it is to ask yourself if YOU would rather read an online diary than something a bit different. Not trying to slant it any way. It’s whatever YOU want. I appreciate the hearty support. Diana
      Let her know I sent you over. =)

      • Thank you for asking the questions. In answer, I am still learning what I want from the blog. I haven’t figured out more than the simple fact that I feel compelled to write it and document our journey. I would love to help people along the way especially if they have dreams of trying this lifestyle for themselves. I also crave community. Your blog has been very helpful to me. You have inspired me to write more and to learn through the writing. So, today I have written a post that mentions (and links back) to you. Thank you for helping and inspiring me along my way.

      • Paige — right? It’s funny…seems you and some other bloggers just setting out crossed my path in timely fashion. I’m so glad I can be of help. Really, that’s so much of what it’s about. I – as you’ve read – hope readers can think about their own journey in all the unique ways they will – in my writing.

        I wonder why I didn’t receive a pingback.

        Xxxx Diana

    • Appreciate the summative feedback, J. though it’s not the gruel of a marathon, I think blogging can be as challenging as we invite it to be. There still are plenty of online journals out there. You can post AnYthing. But I’d rather not. Every post of mine takes a lot out of me bc I pour everything into it.

      Xxx Diana

  24. Paige is my name, Paisey is my nickname, I answer to both. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Not sure what a ping back is, but if it is no notifications, I didn’t get one for this request either. I am sorry for the delayed response and so glad you took the time to comment on Paisey Life again. I apologize for using your name. Thank you for understanding my newness and I welcome any suggestions in my writing. I have never considered myself a writer, but I do love to write. Please feel free to give me honest feedback anytime.

    • A pingback, I learned months and months into the blogging, you get by email letting you know someone linked to you. Paisey, you’re a natural with the written word. I don’t say this to everyone…because I can’t, in honesty. Can’t accept your apology bc none is called for. =) Your readership is growing faster than mine did the first month. I am so happy for you.

      Xxx Diana

      • Sorry I’m not understanding your question. I still have LOTS to learn on the tech end! It was a friend in I.T. who put me in this WordPress airship and taught me to pilot when I had a number of posts I didn’t know what to do with. I still call him sometimes.

        And we all could use encouragement. But I don’t waste or mince words, and I’m happy to support you, P.

      • It’s okay. I’m sure I will learn eventually too. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all I want and read all I find of interest.

        And the fact that you are a woman of integrity is what made the compliment so special.

  25. I really enjoyed reading this. I even re-read a lot of it! There’s something in the way you write where you can find small, powerful statements in nearly every line that will have different meaning the next time you read it.

    While I think different parts of this post will apply to me more than others depending when I read it next, the part that stood out to me the most this time through was near the beginning.

    “Moving on, we see that a purpose-driven blog wonโ€™t stand alone. Because itโ€™s a blog, not a book. ”

    This really hit home for me. In social interactions, especially when there’s a task to accomplish, I often just get to the point, say and do what’s needed and move on to the next issue. I’ve finished a lot of work in my writing career and the next big step for me is getting published. I’ve poured dozens of hours into researching how to go about working with agents and publishers and so on; a lot of what I’ve read stresses making a presence on social media – hence why I started my blog.

    You clearly pointed out and explained that bloggers need to do more than just create and post material, with a few exceptions this is mostly what I’ve been doing. I really appreciate you not only stressing getting involved on other blogs and meeting more bloggers, but how to do that and why it’s so important. This has been a big help. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • *Smiiiile* I thoroughly appreciate the benevolent, detailed feedback and am pleased to know in what way the post was most helpful at this moment. Every blog has its unique purpose and hope. I wanted to make clear others will not and need not be like mine or some superblogger’s. But obviously blogging is a social medium and we all want exposure – esp those who would like to promote a piece of work outside the blog. Thx for the follow, and would love to have you add to the insights and feedback on this board in the future. Hope to see you back on your blog (when I can catch my breath). Diana

  26. Hi there, many thanks for the invitation to view your posts, some good stuff here, keep it up! As far as my own work goes, I never really wanted to have a blog, just a website. I wasn’t into the world of blogging before I joined wordpress, and I’m still not sure if I am. I post my short stories, but I don’t maintain regular, stream of consciousness type posts. Now that I’m close to posting my fourth short story, relating to my sci-fi novel, where do I go? I have more short stories, and will write more, but I’m unsure whether I want to add regular posts about varying topics. Then again, if it just remains as it is, with the odd new story posted, there’s no growth, nothing to keep people interested. Any thoughts? Thanks again for stopping by, I’ll keep an eye on what you’re doing, nice poem too!

    • Hi Dom, no one hAs to capitalize on all the benefits of blogging. You can do whatever your heart desires here. The question is why you’re even posting your stories on a blogging platform in the first place.

      • WordPress is a general platform, for example, Discogs, the C.D. and vinyl sales site, runs on WordPress. Also, there are many people posting short stories, science fiction, etc. (http://citystatewritings.wordpress.com/) for example. But I think, once I’ve posted my fourth Delta Function story, I will post some varied stuff, in between finishing the book. I also have some other stories to post, unrelated to the Delta Function world. With the blog posts, it’s a time thing really, I have a lot to do, and any spare time I have I put toward the book. But yes, I think I’ll begin blogging in the near future, cheers Diana.

      • “But I think, once I’ve posted my fourth Delta Function story, I will post some varied stuff, in between finishing the book.. yes, I think I’ll begin blogging in the near future.”

        Do you mean that my posts on blogging helped you decide to vary your posts and put more time into blogging?

  27. Absolutely, yes, I can see how the interaction generates more interest, your posts were very thoughtful and spurred me on to begin interacting more. Now that I am around 25,000 words away from finishing the novel, I think it is the right time to dedicate more effort to the blog. I initially thought that the switch from posting short stories, to the very different style of day-to-day blogging, would diminish the short stories somewhat, but I have to remain current, otherwise it will be a part-filled page gathering dust. So onwards and upwards!!

    • Dom, I am happy for you that you are rounding the bend on your novel. And “onward and upward” (slightly diff from how you said it) is among my favorite thoughts, from the close of the Narnia chronicles. Thanks for letting me know what you got out of your time here. Rewarding.

      Diana

      • I looked up onwards/onward, apparently it’s more common in Britain to say onwards and upwards, and Americans remove the s. Much like yahoo (us) telling me I’m wrong to use colour and armour, ha.

      • CS Lewis was British, and retained some of the British sp in his writing (colour). But he says onward and upward in that chapter. Interesting. LOL I appreciate your looking that up, buddy! Former linguistics major here.

  28. Wow, super insightful towards not only through blogging but it can apply to other aspects of life. I enjoyed the idea of having that audience that look for something from you, just as you should look to other for something as well, almost as a Blogging Economy. I enjoy writing for others almost more than I write for myself, because it is those reactions the “kaboom!” that sparks interest and conversations and debates about anything and everything. That is the power of social spheres, to promote these kinds of ideas. I look forward to what you have to say and write about, and I will be spending a lot of time browsing through your blog for insight and inspiration!

    • You can only imagine how I love this feedback. =) You have numbered yourself right among my amazing readers and lit something bright and unique yourself. Very articulate response. I love how you distinguish between writing for oneself and others. For me, it’s both happening at once. Welcome to our special community. Talk more….

      Diana

    • How dear of you! I myself have been behind getting back to faithful readers. Difficult keeping up as the readership grows. Thank you! And keep up the fascinating glimpse you afford us into windows of human history.

  29. Pingback: My 100th Post (with 100 blogger quotes) | PRIORHOUSE blog

  30. I must report that I am so elated at having found your blog. Rich is the word I would ascribe to it! Informative, moving, educational, inspiring are more adjectives that barely begin to scratch the surface. Feels kind of like falling down a rabbit hole I never want to get out of–at least not until I’ve read every line, jot and tittle of your insight and wisdom! Thank you for staying with it, for being here!

  31. Pingback: Why Should We Follow You? | HarsH ReaLiTy

  32. Reblogged this on Ann'sRazzJazz and commented:
    Thanks! I do feel the same way too want to write but don’t know where to start! A little scared too but my son feels I can do it!! he helps and motivates me too at times.@Holistic Wayfarer

  33. Pingback: Sparkling Sundays: Spellbindingly Surreal | Bold Blind Beauty

  34. Hello Diana! I’ve landed here because of Stephanae’s post http://boldblindbeauty.com/2014/03/16/sparkling-sundays-spellbindingly-surreal/ – it’s my second stop, and that just shows you that I’m no good with directionsโ€ฆ not in the carโ€ฆ not on wordpress! (It should have been the first stop).
    I found this really informative, reading the value of community like the way you have put it, helps me to understand and articulate why I’m here. Thank you for sharing. There are some many amazing blogs out there, this one being one of themโ€ฆ and I’m coming to realise that it’s through community that I find them. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and the chance to follow another engaging blog.

    • Thanks so much for the warm introduction, Dina. I appreciate your time here and the follow. The seat draped with the electric blue blanket to the right is yours. Made sure you don’t miss it. I am terrible with directions myself LOL. Make yourself right at home. It’s a special community here. Very bright, deep, responsive.

      Obliged,
      Diana

  35. Such a deep seated love for people… What else can I say?

    I would love to do for you what I do for my kids when they write me. I do an interlinear (changing font size and color between their statements) to answer each and every thing they have told me. The messages look funny, but we actually talk to each other that way. One day …. Oh, I can dream, can’t I?

  36. Pingback: How to Succeed as a Blogger – But This May Not Work For You, Part 1 | A Holistic Journey

  37. I love the wordpress family of blogs. They entertain, educate, comfort and soothe me. My own blog, unfortunately, doesn’t add much to that mix. It’s pretty much a mishmash of nothingness or at least nothing of great importance. Your blog is always both entertaining and thought provoking, which is one reason why it’s so popular. The other reason is that your personality always clearly shines through. I only wish that when I visit I had more time to catch up on everything you’ve written. Your two posts on being a man were very bold. I, myself, am a girly girl, but I’m also a very down to earth and common sense kind of person and I hope/pray I am not the type of woman you were describing in those posts, but I’m afraid I do have some of those traits, especially the over analyzing everything. LOL. HUGS, Elizabeth

    • LoL Now – hmmm – how was I able to analyze how women overanalyze?
      Looks up at ceiling*
      Mea culpa! I’m a woMan! Auugh.

      Such giving reflections, Elizabeth. I am honored and warmed. I can feel the humble kindness and thank you for your time. You do yourself an injustice, as you do your part in lighting up your corner of the world. I enjoy your photography in particular. I’m glad you shared something of yourself here that I can know you better. Hey, as long as you stay overe TheRe your and my time of the month, we’re good.

      LOL!!!

      XXxxx
      Diana

  38. A truly great post. I’ll need to read this one again…and probably again, at least a few times. It’s the way I learn things, and besides, your writing is a pleasure to read. I don’t really expect to ever have much of a blog following, that was never the idea. The idea is more to try and reach out to people who might have ideas for dealing with some of the things going on in my life. Things I haven’t tried yet, because when you grow up with the fears that I had driven into me, you hold tight to routine and the biggest fear is anything new. What I can learn from your post is how to reach out to at least some people who might have a few new ideas, at least new to me. So now to let you go, and start reading again. Thanks for the info. and all the work you put into it. It is appreciated.

    • That’s great to know about you, David. Not so much how strapped you’ve been by your fear (twisted frown) but a move towards the antidote and the direction your reaching out would take. Thanks so much for the read (and rereads) and for letting me know what you got out of this.

      Diana

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