4 Things I Didn’t Know When I Began Blogging

Eight years ago I linked arms with other word-lovers and began blogging. {I shared a snippet of how the journey began in this post.}

Today, however, I’m sharing four unexpected things I’ve learned since I began blogging:

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

The time required. Some of you blow me away with the speed in which you create a post. I stand in awe. I can count on one hand how often I’ve whipped up a post in less than an hour…or two. I usually don’t write it all in one sitting and my perfectionistic tendencies tend to hit the draft button multiple times, unfortunately. Suffice it to say, what I thought would be a quick way to express my thoughts has evolved into a love affair with the mingling of life and words. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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There are clever and creative ways to cut prep post time. I wish I’d known this when I began blogging in 2008. Of course, I didn’t know social media whiz Edie Melson back then either. Today there’s a plethora of information waiting to be leveraged, some of which I’ll share at the end of this post. I’m trying to cut my prep time by setting a timer and rebuffing the bully within when it tells me everything must be perfect for it to be meaningful.

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We must embrace the learning curves. My insecurities can sometimes send me scurrying like a squirrel trying to dodge headlights but gradually they’re disappearing, one by one. I’m learning how to operate my new camera, how to manipulate images, and create memes, among other things. All this, while spiffing up my SEO skills, has given me creative whiplash but hugging these curves have helped me progress along this spectacular blogging journey!

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Some of my sweetest friendships are forged through blogging. I knew when I began attending my local writer’s group (Cross N’ Pens) that my circle of friends had eternally shifted upwards but I wasn’t prepared for the friendships developed through blogging. Although miles divide most of us, the distance is shortened when we support and encourage each other through comments, emails, and Facebook private messages. The eternal circle continues to widen, grow, and deepen. And for this one fact alone I will always be grateful for the blogosphere.

What’s one unexpected thing you’ve learned since beginning your blogging journey? Please share in the comment section.

Additional Resources:
Connections, by Edie Melson.
The Write Conversation
Fistbump Media (They switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress and continue as my support – amazing group!)

 

5 Bloggers Who Will Inspire You

inspireTo inspire another is a beautiful thing.

And these five bloggers consistently bring it. Obviously they’re not alone when it comes to inspiring so watch for more bloggers to be highlighted here in the future.

But today, I’m delighted to introduce you to the first five bloggers brimming with inspiration:

 

 

 

 

One-5

Beth Saadati // Bittersweet: Because Sweet Still Follows Bitter…Even in Loss. This is a blog no mother ever wants to create. It’s vulnerable. It’s heart-wrenching, and yet quietly inspiring. You see, it’s a story focused on the aftermath of Beth’s 14 year old daughter, Jenna, who committed suicide three years ago. She speaks of loss, her words as heavy as her heart. But Beth’s story, above all, radiates great Light and insight for parents and teens.

2

Merissa // Little House Living – I admit she had me at the vintage Mason jar on her blog header. Frugal living tips, garden tours, and recipes from scratch soon followed and I was hooked. I hope to begin embracing my own simple kind of rhythm as we move forward in our plans to trek across town to the foothills.

3

Helene // Helene-In-Between – When Bloglovin’ pops up in my inbox, I’m scanning the list for this site. Boundless blogging tips for writers, and non-bloggers are sure to enjoy her travel posts. Beautiful pictures, timely tips, and fun giveaways will inspire you for days to come. {You’ll definitely want to follow her on Pinterest.}

4

Kenzie // Hello Neverland – Everything about Kenzie’s site inspires — the white space, the clean lines, the content. It’s all there and more. Some of the subjects covered on this site: Faith, Writing/Journaling, Intentional Living, Clean Living, Creativity, etc. Her recent book review on More: Find Your Personal Calling and Live Life to the Fullest Measure by Todd Wilson is excellent.

5

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Joshua Becker // Becoming Minimalist – “Let’s be known for the lives we live. Not the things we buy.’ His words on this site, as well as his books, are simple, to the point, and a tad convicting. Okay, who am I kidding? For people like me, it’s more than a tad, but I need to receive it in bits so it’s not overwhelming. His latest book, The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own has arrived in my mailbox. Now to find it under all my half-packed boxes. 🙂

 

 

Have you visited any of the sites above? Do you have a favorite blogger who inspires you? I’d love to hear more! Who knows? They may end up on the next blog featuring inspiring bloggers. Please share in the comment section.

 

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3 Reasons Why I Switched My Blog From Blogger to WordPress

Change: It's A Good ThingI’m no expert when it comes to blog hosting sites or knowing all the technical details that goes along with the process. (Just ask Dan King @ Fistbump Media, the most patient man on earth.) I did, however, know that it was finally time to make the change to WordPress.

Here are just a few reasons I decided to make the switch:

  • Self-hosting WordPress offers more ownership. Google has the right to shut down your blog without notice, although I’ve never known that to happen to anyone I know. With self-hosting WordPress (.org) bloggers pay for their hosting services. This brings in accountability, and though there is a small cost involved, I know I’m paying for my own space in the blogosphere.
  • Wordpress logoBetter SEO Capabilities. I’m still learning about the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but the simple addition of Yoast has helped me to visually see where I need to improve my title, images, and content for improved optimization. A sidebar button that resembles a traffic light moves from red to green as I type, letting me know the specific ways I’m increasing my SEO. Talk about immediate gratification!
  • There is no support at Blogger. Period. Got a question? You either have to figure it out for yourself, visit a Help Site, or know a Blogger guru. Seriously. Since making the switch, Fistbump Media has offered stellar service with Dan King and Susan Stilwell promptly addressing any technical issues in a very timely manner.

With Blogger, I had major issues (of my own doing) with Feedburner that were never resolved. It’s for this reason I chose to leave Feedburner, along with the mess, and start over with a new subscriber system (MailChimp) in WordPress, which is a very scary thing to do. I basically had to start over with 0 subscribers. Thanks to those of you who have already re-subscribed. If you’ve not yet done so, please take a moment to fill out the form in the right hand column. I appreciate it so much! It’s an honor to lock arms with you, moving forward in all God has in store for us.

Maybe you’re like me. Your heart beats for community, for uniting bloggers and readers for God’s ultimate glory. To this end, if you have a blog/site, I’d love for you to share your blog/web address in the comment section. If you’re a reader, I’d love to hear from you too! Is there anyway I can pray for you today?

{If you’d like to register a domain, learn more about Fistbump, or check out their latest tweets, you can view all this and more at Fistbump Media or click the Fistbump Media button located in my right-hand sidebar.}

Reference: One of my favorite sites, Gina Alyse, shares why she switched from Blogger to WordPress.

3 Photography Blogs Guaranteed To Change Your Focus

Change: It's A Good Thingby Cathy Baker @cathysbaker

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” ―Marc Riboud

Photography isn’t something I’ve always appreciated. The lack of photos I’ve snapped (and posed for) proves my point. But something changed when I found a Sony a6000 camera under my tree in December.

Since then, I’ve spent many hours perusing sites to help in my efforts to take better family pictures, as well as blog photos. Many bloggers share how quality photography increased their readership by ridiculous numbers. We’re a visual bunch, aren’t we? It’s for this reason I’d like to share three of my favorite go-to sites when it comes to photography. {These are in no particular order.}

 

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PinkPot

PinkPot – Chaitra has yet to fail when it comes to delivering eye-popping photographs on her blog — but it gets better! She shares tips on props, lighting, and how to snap high quality photos, whether it’s on your phone or your DSLR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Take Black and White Photographs

Mary Denman

Looking at Life Through the Lens of a Camera…Capturing One Moment at a Time – Mary Denman shares weekly tips on practical ways to take quality photographs of all sorts. Her site is ideal for beginners but her expertise behind a camera can’t help but offer even the most experienced photographers a takeaway.

 

 

 

 

 

Free Photography Workshop

Emma Davies

A Year With My Camera – Emma Davies offers a free photography workshop that’s well worth your time. She also hosts a Facebook group where we share a different photo every month, based on criteria she emails to members. It’s a hands-on approach to learning that easily enriches the way you approach the art of photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning how to take quality photos, whether through our phones, point and shoot cameras, or DSLR, enables us to capture irretrievable moments. The three sites mentioned above have been my go-to resources in recent months and I hope you’ll find them just as helpful. {Let me know!}

Is there a photography blog or other resource that’s helped to guarantee success with your photographs? If so, please share in the comment section below.

When Photography and Poetry Mingle

Poetry by Mary Oliver + Photography + Snow = Love.

Okay, not the real kind, but it is a type of joy that causes me to look upwards and thank God for the little things in life.

When snow fell ever so lightly a couple weeks ago I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors to savor my favorite weather event.

{Camera + snow = loving!}

Without a doubt, Mary Oliver is my favorite contemporary poet. Her love of nature is evident in most everything she writes. The fluidity of her words smooths even the most ruffled of feathers.

 

First Snow
 
The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,

whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles, nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creek bed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.


–Mary Oliver ©

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s often the simple things in life that brings us tidbits of joy throughout our days? What’s one simple thing you’re thankful for today? 



A Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

We’re often encouraged to jot down in a journal the little things in life that we’re grateful for…and for good reason. Shifting our days into a lower gear allows us to notice the seemingly trivial details of life, giving us an opportunity to notice their value, and being grateful for them.

Taking photos is an excellent way to slow down and to focus on the details.

Recently I came across a Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt by Sarah Dawn Designs. (The only links I could find to her Web site were broken but I want to give her full credit for coming up with this creative and timely idea!)

Below is the “Something I’m Grateful For…” scavenger hunt list. Some photo ops include: Take a pic of something you’re grateful for in nature, in the city, in the workplace, etc. My favorite lands on November 30th: Take a photo of how you intend to spread the spirit of thankfulness.

This exercise in gratitude is not only fun and beneficial for us adults, but also for our children and grandchildren!

{double click to enlarge, save image to print}
Having trouble saving/printing this image? Go to this Pinterest site {Sarah Dawn Designs, 2011} to download.
If you’re a novice photographer, such as myself, you too will love Mary Denman’s site. She gives practical advice on taking the best pictures possible (even with our phones!)
So, which of these 30 ideas are you most looking forward to photographing in November?