20 Blogging Tips

Since I’ve been doing this blogging thing for over ten years now, I must have learned some things about it right? Not really. Just kidding. I’d say I have, though I wish I knew more. Blogging is an ever evolving practice and therefore can be a really confusing undertaking.

There are some simple things I’ve learned that make blogging more meaningful to me. They don’t necessarily improve traffic or income. I’ll leave those tips for the pros to give.

Here’s a short list of 20 things I came up with that are helpful to me, use ’em or toss ’em:

25 Blogging Tips

  1. Define what you want out of blogging.
  2. Set goals.
  3. Measure progress toward goals.
  4. Create a cool “About” page.
  5. Create attractive titles using related search terms.
  6. Pick a simple theme (I recommend one created by WordPress.org ie; Twenty Fifteen) and test, test, test.
  7. Use paragraph breaks about every 10 sentences or so. Do not write a whole page with no breaks.
  8. Embrace the mentality that posts have a 12-24 hour shelf life. Don’t expect it to be read after that.
  9. Write posts expecting them to be read years from now.
  10. Read other blogs.
  11. Subscribe to blogs that subscribe to yours.
  12. Comment on other blogs.
  13. Pay attention to what your “niche” is and become the resident expert.
  14. Use pictures when possible. Get yourself a good camera or get good at iPhoneography.
  15. Value real readers over “click through” traffic by replying to comments and commenting back.
  16. Provide entertainment.
  17. Every year or so, get a good quality profile picture on your blog.
  18. Be relaxed when you blog (it shows).
  19. Use Google Analytics or other service to find out which topics get the most reads.
  20. Enjoy yourself, try to not make blogging a chore.
  21. (bonus) Try blogging from Starbucks.

If you have any tips, please share with me in the comments!

The Road Less Traveled

pano school

I don’t usually read books twice but M. Scott Peck’s book gave me a lot to think about and I read it several times. The title is derived from Robert Frost’s classic poem, “The Road Not Taken.” Through years of studying and living the precepts in Frost’s poem, I’ve come to see it means something very different from “The Road Less Traveled.” In fact I have gained more wisdon from the poem than I did from the book.

In both cases it is speaking of being a grownup in life.

Making good choices based on what you know to be true, checking out your sources and above else, remaining open minded.

I don’t mean to judge anyone but along my journey, the times when I read the Bible and tried to follow a sort of Christianity were the times I was the most close-minded and most judgemental. Everyone must decide how open she/he wants her/his mind to be. My mind is all the way open and I intend to keep it that way. Oh, and there’s room for more!

If you are interested in these themes, M. Scott Peck’s bestseller from way back, “The Road Less Traveled” might be right up your alley.

Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

Source: Second Time Around | The Daily Post

Empathy and Friendliness

I think when I was about 25 or 26 I started thinking about my own mortality and that led to thinking about my relationships at work and with family and friends. I knew that one day I would eventually die and whatever I had done on this Earth would stick with me in heaven and whatever my memory on Earth would remain until it disappeared.

I have always seen relationships with friends, work, and family and the most important currency of my life.

By “currency” I mean we all get a paycheck of sorts at the end of our lives. I’ve always hoped to be remembered as friendly, but nobody’s perfect.

I think the key to friendliness is having empathy for others, putting yourself in their shoes, even when you don’t like them or agree with them. Some people are much friendlier than others. I try to be, empathetic and friendly but it’s a constant discipline. Based on what I deal with in my job as a teacher, I know that people do not always “perceive” teachers the same way the teachers see themselves.
One might discipline a student for yelling out in class because it is affecting quieter children who can’t learn because of it. Later, one may get a call or a note about a parent who complained because one “yelled” at their child. It’s all perception. On one hand, a teacher can be perceived as heroic by the quieter student’s parent. Still, the other parent is incorrectly concerned that her child has been made a “victim” of sorts. So, in my microcosm what can I do to deal with perception?

Well, there is just no way to please all people all the time.

However, with relationships with students and all people, I can intentionally try to understand where they are coming from. I’ve grown through a lot of years since 25. The less I care, the less friendly I become. There are many ways to empathize … mostly through active listening. There is also value in “mirroring” as an activity and allowing wait time before you respond. None of this stuff is easy, but it builds empathy which is relationship currency. When you have the intention of empathy, you stand a good chance of being seen as “friendly.”

Mama’s Losin’ It

Accept Everything

I think most people get nervous speaking publicly. One way I work my way through it is to simply accept everything. I had a professor of a writing class in college who told us she knew a famous actress. I would tell you who if I could recall but at the time I didn’t know her since she was a very old actress and the name didn’t imprint in my memory as a result. At any rate, this professor of mine, who was getting to the retiring age herself, mentioned to us that the woman had such grace and elegance in the way she ran her affairs.

It was evident in this woman’s gracefulness in life, she had a contentment few possess.

My teacher took care of her library for her and cleaned the house a bit while in college which was nearby. Because I really respected this teacher as a confident writer, I was all ears when she told this story.

One day she asked the woman how she lived with such grace, happiness, and success and was now aging the same way and the woman said this simple mantra:

Accept everything.

Let’s look at that wisdom three ways. It could mean:

  1. Don’t shut any person or idea out. Let it run completely through your mind and stand or fall on it’s own merits. This is a tough one to universalize. It is more like an inner mantra that can’t be directly applied to some concrete issues. Still, I like the idea of accepting everything in this respect.
  2. Don’t be too good for any offer that comes your way. When you get work accept it. If you get a job for $8 do it like it was a job for 80K. I really like this idea.
  3. And finally, be gracious. This is by far the best way I can think of to interpret it.

We had to write something on those 2 words when she shared them and I don’t have the paper I wrote at the time. I do carry the two words with me in my mind and I say them often.

A Buffalo Statue and Life as Art

There is a buffalo on my desk. He sits there strong and silent. I really like buffaloes. I got to see a lot of them once when I took a tour on Catalina Island about the year 2000. When things get stressed and crazy at work, I draw strength from this small statue. It’s symbolic of what I want to be: calm, cool, and collected all the time. I don’t claim to have achieved this desire yet, it’s a process. Everyone should have a statue methinks.

I wonder how many days I have left alive, would I even want to know? I see each day as a blank canvas to make art. Not art funded by a corporation but rather government funded, street funded.

Having a blog helps me see my life as art.

I may have the best day and feel invigorated because the choices I made worked. Or I may feel down because I took a punch to the stomach, metaphorically speaking, but I hope to get up again. Every day is a challenge to put in place what I have learned to make the day work well, as art. If I make it through the day, it’s happy art. If don’t make it, and stumble through the hours defeated, it’s dark but still art.

Fatal Hesitation Made Me Miss the Show

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought a lot about missed opportunity. The most intense thoughts are about those where I had a specific choice to make and I made an adult choice, as opposed to child choice where someone makes it for one.

The Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” is talking about what this means, exactly.

So the title is from a song by Chris Deburgh, “Fatal Hesitation.” He has a haunting voice, there’s a jangly guitar part in the chorus and a fat, fat sax solo running throughout, culminating the the end fade. This song has always evoked emotions in me. I never really “let go” of a woman and then regretted it. When I found my lovely Sarah, I was 33 she was 25, I had seen a lot of life and known a little of love. I hung on tight because I knew what I had. But I think of so many missed opportunities I’ve had to do various things and this song sort of reaches my soul that way.

There’s a candle that burns for lost things passed and this song lets the demons out.

He sings, “Oh, Romeo is standing in the rain and I know that I have let her, slip away, oooo.” Like I said, he has a haunting voice. If you’ve never heard it, you should treat yourslef to a listen. It was in my heavy rotation list through my 20’s. Even now when this song comes on, after thousands of listens, I feel something warm in my chest, like a connection to the past, something calling me back that I have forgotten about, beckoning me. A line that fully rounds out the philosophical, academic, intellectual tragedy of the song is when he sings:

“I’m gonna read a little Shakespeare to get her out of my head. It doesn’t matter anymore.

Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.

Source: This Is Your Song | The Daily Post

Elsewhere, California

It was the windiest day I can remember us having.


Where are those answers Bob Dylan sang about? As it blew my door nearly off the hinges, the only answer I heard was, “Better lock it to keep it shut when it picks up again.”
We haven’t had a lick of rain this year and the drought marches on. Are they going to have to start trucking water in? This is crazy, California is in trouble. We have wind …

I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Sometimes I think we all choose to live elsewhere in our minds, ignoring things.

Back to the Sky

I saw a bird in the road today. It was flapping its wing so I pulled to the side of it and took a good look. It appeared disoriented and I watched it flap a couple more times, then take off rapidly rising into the sky and away. It looked so strong flying. I thought about how we are like that bird sometimes. When we are knocked down, maybe even with a broken wing, we feel powerless and confused. We might even be at risk of losing our life flat on a dangerous road of our own.

It’s in those times we hope that someone will not hit us but pull over to give us time to recover our senses. Then, after we’ve gathered all the strength we can muster, we can remember the things that matter, like getting back in the air and exploring the day. If we take deep breaths, we can ascend and find the day waiting for us as it has been all along. We can separate the small stuff from that which matters and get to the business of flying until our dying breath. I know after that we’ll fly away to heaven, or something like it.

20 Things to do to Make My Year Great

Travel

Spend

Eat well

Stay warm and cool

Play guitar

Sleep well

Watch TV as much as possible

Read books

Go out fancy places with my wife

When it’s seasonal, sit in the jacuzzi a lot

Go for my massage at Massage Envy each month

Take a lot of photos

Blog a lot

Go to the movies a lot

When seasonal, go camping

Spend time outdoors, in nature

Drink coffee

Nurture relationships with special people

Take it easy

Spend quality time with my kids

Mama’s Losin’ It