And Your Name Is?

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in Dr. Tanya’s “Blogging Insights Series.” Notwithstanding my absence over the past few months, this topic seemed like it was a good one to jump back onto the bandwagon with.

The topic Dr. Tanya is tackling this time is “Your User Name” when blogging.

She’s given us a bit of look at it like this:

The name that you blog under is the calling card which introduces you to bloggers and readers across the globe. Some bloggers use their first name and some use their full name. Others prefer to keep their identity unknown, blogging under a cool made up name.

As such, we have three questions to ponder:

Do you use your own name for blogging?

If you use a pseudonym, what are your reasons for this and what led you to choose that particular name?

Is there an interesting story behind your User Name?

My go at it.

Do you use your own name for blogging?

Not specifically.

Like many starting out, I wasn’t sure what to do about anything back in the “dark ages.” I understand that many may blog and not use their real name for a variety of reasons, including anonymity, safety concerns, branding and a host of other reasons as well.

Having said that, I sure people know my full name or at least my first name from reading posts over the years. The one thing I try to do however, is keep our home location fairly general in nature as the “old homestead.”

If you use a pseudonym, what are your reasons for this and what led you to choose that particular name?

Is there an interesting story behind your User Name?

I’m going combine these two together.

Like I mentioned in the first question, I fumbled around in the beginning trying to figure out this “blogging world” stuff. What to do; what not to do; how to do things….the never ending list of questions and issues.

I had only looked at one or two outdoor related blogs when I was setting mine up. Both used pseudonyms or semi-pseudonyms if you like. Their blog names were directly related to their specific blog niche.

As such, I took the simplest route possible – that’s what I should do also. Come up with a name that related to what the blog is all about.

The name “justabitfurther” came to being, as a result of how Lynn and I often hike and explore in the wilderness.

We often are chugging along and say to each other, “let’s go just a little bit further – there might be something exciting just around that curve over there or at the top of the next hill.”

Over time, I discovered that the blog title “justabitfurther” works nicely and fits well into living and life. I’ve written several posts on how often we need to persevere and go “just a bit further” to see what the dawn of tomorrow holds for us. As people we tend to often quit before taking those few extra steps needed to go from darkness into light.

There you go.

That’s the name and how it came into being.

A big thanks as always to Dr. Tanya for hosting this series for over a year now.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

It’s A Bit Drafty Here

Blogging at least from where I sit, involves few if any deadlines at all.

A wonderful and thought provoking post gets crafted and when it reaches the point of no more revisions, magically the “publish” button gets pushed. We sigh and gush with pride as our post heads into the blogosphere to be devoured by hordes of eagerly awaiting readers.

Or something like that.

Realistically though, there are deadlines and other issues involved when it comes to producing a really top-notch blog post. Time and writing quality are two of the more important issues when it comes to producing a superior end product.

Due to the fact that time and quality weigh heavily when writing and composing blog posts, often our work(s) end up sitting in a drafts folder until, both “time and quality” can be sufficiently addressed before hitting publish.

Dr. Tanya in Blogging Insights 44, takes a somewhat personal(lol) peek into our “draft folders.”

Three questions to look at.

How many drafts do you have in your ” Drafts Folder” right now?

Do you always complete a post that you draft? If not, why?

Is it a good idea to leave your unfinished drafts hanging around or should you delete them after some time, if so, how long?

Here ya go:

How many drafts do you have in your ” Drafts Folder” right now?

Not including this post, the magic number is fourteen.

Do you always complete a post that you draft? If not, why?

The short answer is – no.

Although my answer is “no”, I would like to say or at least think that someday those fourteen “draft posts” will see the light of day in the blogosphere.

Inspiration for a post can be a fickle companion at the best of times. It often presents intentions that are both admirable and honourable, but sometimes it lacks the commitment to hang in until the end.

What seemed like a earth-shattering and life altering idea in your mind for you next post, grinds to a screeching halt after the first three lines get typed using the new WordPress editor.

Hence, into the “drafts folder” for some undeterminable time warp until your “fickle companion – Inspiration” re-appears to lead the way to the next classic and hopefully “view exploding” post.

And there they sit……and sit……and are still sitting, awaiting for their “first love – Inspiration” to reappear out of a foggy mist and make them complete.

Realistically, if posts don’t get finished and published within a day or two, more often than not, they end up sitting in the “drafts folder” until I get the nerve to say goodby to “my old friends” and hit the “trash” button.

Is it a good idea to leave your unfinished drafts hanging around or should you delete them after some time, if so, how long?

Not sure.

I think this can be a personal choice or preference. Some people may look at the drafts and know that at some point in the near or distant future they will find the right words and emotions and finish them.

On the other hand, some bloggers will keep the “drafts folder” next to empty.

For myself, I have on one or two very rare occasions(over a four year period mind you), gone back and finished a post that had been sitting in the “drafts folders” for say longer than a month or so.

So, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer for this question though.

“To draft or not to draft” – that was the question. And once again, a big thanks to Dr. Tanya for her neverending work on the “Blogging Insights” series.

Great stuff and great information.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Blogging Traffic and Growth

This may be a gigantic leap, but I assume most bloggers write and do it with such passion so that others can read what they’ve written.

insightsSure, that is just a bit obvious and somewhat of an understatement and I get that. Nevertheless, Dr. Tanya does present what is often a challenge within the blogging world and that is engaging readers to increase blog traffic and hence blog growth.

As such the next installment(Number 15!!) in Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights Series is Blogging Insights #15 – Traffic and Growth

Dr. Tanya gives us this short preamble from her perspective.

Blog traffic: visitors, readers, followers, likers(I know that’s not a word), is what makes your blog go. You may be posting pearls of wisdom and gems of literature on your blog, but if nobody’s reading them what’s the point?

On the other hand, you see blogs with hardly stellar content that seem to be doing so well that they are the bloggers’ primary source of income.

The difference between these two scenarios is their difference in reader engagement.

She gives us three questions to consider:

  • How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?
  • What methods do you use to increase reader engagement,(provided you care about this)?
  • Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

Perhaps, before getting started, there are two questions to keep in mind and which may be germane to the entire discussion.

Both are more from a holistic perspective and they are:

“Why am I blogging in the first place?” and secondly, “are blogging stats important in regards to my first answer?”

How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

My guess is, far too often.

Looking at blog stats is similar to driving by a car wreck. You know you shouldn’t look or don’t need to look, but you just simply can’t help yourself from taking at least a small peep.

blogOne of the problems with viewing and obsessing over “blog stats” is that a portion of it can and is simply outside of your control. Those external factors(like algorithm search engine changes) and others as well, we just don’t have any control over, even though we may ultimately wish we did.

How those external factors impact our blog growth, traffic and reader engagement is a topic that frankly can be better covered in a separate post.

You can be cranking out really good content like you always have; publishing material at your peak viewing times; doing all of the so-called right things and your views can “plummet like a rock thrown into a pond” when compared to the same time in the past.

For example, I feel that I’ve been doing exactly the same things as compared to 2019 at this time. but views for January 2020 has dropped by a whopping 30 percent. So, not sure why the dramatic change?

So generally speaking, I don’t get too wrapped up in my “blog stats.”

However, having just stated that, I do get somewhat wrapped up in my “blog stats”(see a couple of paragraphs above). Nevertheless, I might go through and see if I can find anything in terms of differences between January of this year as compared to last year.

Not sure I’ve answered the question!

But yes, I look at them far too often and get my “pantaloons” in a twist over them more times than I care to admit.

What methods do you use to increase reader engagement,(provided you care about this)?

I actually had to “Google” what “reader engagement” meant.

blog2Evidently, it appears there is much that one can learn regarding “reader engagement.”

I wonder if there are any bloggers who feel like I do in this situation? You feel stuck or caught between writing content based on some cathartic or simply personal reasons and on the opposite side of the coin feeling the need to write content your readers and potential new readers WANT to read.

I’ve read articles by blogging pro’s who indicate you need to write what your readers WANT to read. Which makes perfect sense to some degree.

But, what about the topics and passion I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT?

Right now in my own blogging journey, I work at producing content that has these components for the most part in them:

  • content that has specific and personal meaning to me
  • that the content will have the same or similar personal meaning and relevance to those reading it
  • try to include elements within each post to engage responses from the readers
  • use plenty of visuals and other tools in the post to make it engaging and easier to read

Ultimately, there is much more I can do in terms of actively engaging with readers. Time for some more research I guess.

Do you actively promote your blog on social media?

The keyword here is “actively.”

media1I find the entire promotion bit of blogging slightly overwhelming in terms of the time it can consume. If I could get someone to do it for me, that would take much of that overwhelming feeling it creates and thus heave it out the nearest window to land in the mud.

I have my WordPress site set up so that when I post something it immediately gets posted on FB and Twitter. I usually will edit the FB posting to have a short preamble describing or setting-up what the post is about.

On Twitter, I may re-tweet the post and add some hashtags to it. But, more often than not I usually forget that it was posted on Twitter and get on with whatever I’m doing.

When I first started blogging, I created both an Instagram and Pinterest accounts for the site. This was when I was more focused on writing trip report content on our outdoor adventures. I find both Instagram and Pinterest far too time-consuming(way more so than FB and Twitter) to get correct images and right text for both platforms.

But, having said that I do from time to time get my posts over into Pinterest. Instagram not so much. Working from your phone for Instagram is simply at times not worth the effort.

media3Again, much of what I’ve read indicates that using social media to promote your blog is exceedingly important. Kind of a numbers game I guess.

One way to look at it is without promotion, your blog can get somewhat lost in a sea of millions of other blogs out there. Promotion on social media helps it to rise to the surface to be at least seen.

The question becomes how much effort and expertise are needed and how much time are you willing to put forward. Assuming that we all still work full-time or have other commitments like a family and such, that also requires a significant amount of energy as well.

Final thought.

I keep coming back to these two questions.

“Why am I blogging in the first place?” and secondly, “are blogging stats important in regards to my first answer?”

Perhaps there is a need to answer those two questions first.

Once again, a huge thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at blogging traffic and growth.

I look forward to seeing what other bloggers feel and have to say, regarding the relationship between reader engagement, blog traffic and growth.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Blogging Is It Art Or Science?

Blogging – what is it?

Is it an art form?; is it a more science-based entity?; is it a 70/30 combination of both(or another percentage combination)?; is it neither and thus blogging falls into some weird category all of its own?

insightsThe next installment in Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights Series is Blogging Insights #14 Art or Science?

Within the context of the Blogging Insights Series, this is one of the more difficult installments to get a grip on given the nature of the question(s).

bloggingNevertheless, she asks three questions to delve into regarding the idea of blogging as art, or as science or perhaps a combination of both.

Here are the questions to consider:

  • Is blogging an art or science?
  • Can people without a “natural talent” for writing become bloggers?
  • Have you ever taken or taught a blogging course?

Is blogging an art or science?

Blogging is most definitely an art form.

Any time you put pen to paper or in blogging’s case “fingers to the keyboard” and start about writing on some topic, it is without a doubt an art form.

The topic may be the driest and mind-numbing technical or science-based blog, but it is still an art form.

One question though to consider is, “what defines art?”

Most of us would when asked this would likely respond with “art is painting” or some visual representation of something. We can actually have a very narrow definition of art or what art is, based on our backgrounds and exposure to a variety of art forms over the years.

The actual word “blog” or “blogging” can lead each of us in regards to this question down a particular path, based solely on how “we” see and interpret what blogging is or isn’t.

For example, when I think the word “blogging”, my mind immediately goes to what I do and others that I follow within the blogging community do. Each one of those bloggers, including myself creates art, but in a written form.

The only science involved in blogging, maybe a tiny bit of technical know-how needed to get your blog up and running. If I can create and get a blog going on WordPress, then anyone should be able to as well.

Can people without a “natural talent” for writing become bloggers?

The simple and short answer to the question is a resounding – yes!

The next question, however, might be are you willing to work hard, learn and put in the effort over time to become proficient and successful as a blogger?

Some people have a gift for writing, while others(including myself here) perhaps not so much.

But blogging and life are somewhat similar in nature.

Much of both is simply “showing up and putting in the effort.” A bit of an overgeneralization for sure, but the statement is true enough.

If a person has the “fire to write and burning desire” to bang away at the keyboard, then they can and will become a “blogger” however one might define “blogger.” It simply means working hard at learning the craft of blogging and putting in the effort to become a better writer, each and every day.

Have you ever taken or taught a blogging course?

When I first got going in this “crazy blogging world,” I did a couple of the “learning how to blog” introductory lessons that WordPress offers. I never actually signed up for a course about “blogging” whether it was free or had a cost associated with it.

I suppose that if you’re looking at the start to make blogging some sort of full-time career, then it might make sense to enroll in a blogging course of some description.

The only thing close to “taught a blogging course” is one or two posts I’ve done over the past couple of years along the lines of “what I’ve learned about blogging.” 

Nevertheless, having a teaching background, I could likely develop a short one-hour class or lesson on motivation for blogging and getting started in the blogging world.

One final thought..

Blogging and being a so-called “blogger” has a nebulous definition at best.

If you think I’ve lost my mind here, go and type in “blog” and “blogger” in a Google search and see what descriptions and information pop up on your search screen.

“Blogging/blogger” can mean whatever a person wants it to mean.

You may define blogging and hence blogger as someone who has hundreds or thousands of readers and followers, all of whom hang on every word that person writes.

On the other hand, the blogger next to you, who has four followers(all of whom are relatives) may define blogging/blogger as that person(themselves) who see blogging as a cathartic exercise in mental-wellness coping, by getting out on their blog, those innermost challenges they face in their own life.

“Blogging/blogger” means whatever any blogger wants, and better still, needs it to mean to them.

And realistically that’s okay, regardless of what the professionals might say!

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at blogging as art or science.

So, what is blogging?

Is it art? Is it science? Is it both or is it neither?

Looking forward to reading what YOU think about this.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – How Long Should Blog Posts Be

insightsDebate amongst those in the blogging world, and certainly among those who write extensively on blogging tips and advice is, “how long should the ideal blog post be?”

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #13 – How Long Is The Ideal Blog Post. asks that very question.

Dr. Tanya gives us this preamble of where she was coming from in regards to this post.

Short-form VS Long-form Content

Before I launched my blog a couple of years ago, I read quite a few posts and articles about blogging. All of them said that the search engines preferred content to be around 2000 words. This, I learned, was called long-form content.

I paid for a plug-in called Yoast which all the articles said I must have (more about this in a later post). This plug-in which works on a traffic light kind of system would not give me a green light unless I crossed 300 words. I dispensed with Yoast since the WordPress Business Plan that plug-ins operate on was quite expensive and not really doing anything for me.

By this time I had discovered that short-form content (1200 words or less) seemed to be doing very well for many bloggers whose work I admired.

Her questions are:

How long are your blog posts on average?

blog lengthDoing a quick bit of looking at stats from 2020 to 2017, my average post length for each year is:

2020 – 905 words

2019 – 763 words

2018 – 792 words

2017 – 656 words

Which averages out over those four years to be 780 words per post.

Given the option, would you rather post long-form or short-form content?

Obviously, it appears, I post in short-form content.

I have written many that are much more than those numbers above. One constraint I have is limited time to write, so I’ve developed the habit of writing more concise and shorter pieces.

Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, I write until the post until I believe the message it contains has been delivered. If I can do it with fewer words – wonderful. If it takes 1450 words, that’s okay too.

There are a few pieces I have written, that I have broken down into two-part or three-part series. Mostly done that way to keep the word counts lower and to separate the content into more meaningful or distinct chunks.

Time is short and the attention spans of social media users are shorter still, why do you think the search engines prefer longer content?

I have no idea about the search engine stuff and that side of things.

For myself, I prefer reading posts that are smaller in length. Unfortunately, I don’t have the attention span to read a long post. I need lots of visuals and paragraph breaks, highlights, bullet points and other devices in order to keep my attention.

I did read from a blogging expert that suggests keeping posts short and engaging with graphics, bullet points, block text and highlights, etc in order to keep the reader engaged due to the very reason of short attention spans.

In the end, though, it will depend on “what you are blogging and writing about” and “why are you doing it” that will dictate how long your posts should be.

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her adding to the depth of this exceedingly important issue that all bloggers, whether professional or novice has to grapple with.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • short-form versus long-form content
  • does it really matter?

I would love to hear what you think about this.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Our Blog In 2020

2020 is here already. In fact, when writing this we’re 9 days into the new year.

Many of us already have compiled and posted goals for our blogs for the upcoming year.

insightsDr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #12 – Your Blog in 2020 asks several questions as it relates to our own blogs for 2020.

Her questions are:

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

Are you going to make any significant changes?

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

Again, Dr. Tanya supplies us with questions that all bloggers, whether serious at it or not, newbies or veterans should all at least ponder for a moment or two.

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

I see or at least hope for much of the sustained growth that occurred last year from 2018 to 2019. There was over a 100 percent increase in both views and visitors, which I found to be humbling and exciting at the same time.

In order to keep the growth going, I’m working hard to post more; write topics that are slightly edgier in nature(which is keeping more in line with my own personality) and as well to post more trip reports of our adventures.

In addition, I’m working at keeping posts slightly smaller in terms of word counts. In and around 500 to 750 words. This I hope will get me to be more concise and to create more posts that I can then schedule.

Are you going to make any significant changes?

I don’t think I will. I like the format and layout of our blog. I suspect that there might be some, but I have no idea what they will be yet. So, stay tuned I guess.

I will try to update the picture portion of the home page on a more frequent basis.

I have toiled with some ideas of changing the blog is some way, as I now write a more “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts as compared to trip reports. Perhaps separate the two out. But, many people have commented that perhaps just leave things as they are if they appear to be working.

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

This is a tough question for sure.

We as a society as certainly moving towards getting our information from a visual graphic format, perhaps as compared to reading it. But, I think text-based blogs are like that traditional dark blue or black suit of men. Other styles will come and go or even perhaps stay, but that traditional dark blue or black suit for men will always be in style.

Text-based blogs are like that. People still like to read and as far as I know, reading is still a popular activity.

I don’t follow Vlogs or YouTube people. I created a “justabifurther” YouTube channel a couple of years ago, but find not enough time to devote to it.

I guess time will tell. I think the universe in terms of text-based blogs and Vlogs are big enough for both formats.

Again, a big thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for the opportunity to add to the depth of this discussion.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • where is your blog headed in 2020?
  • any changes upcoming – big or small?

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why “justabitfurther?”

The most pragmatic approach here would have been to embed a link just about at this point to our About Page.

Geez, there you go. It looks like I did just that.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure why I’m even writing this post. In addition, I’m a little foggy as to why I also hit publish when it was done.

I’m pretty sure, or at least sure to some extent you’ll find in the “About Page” the genesis of “justabitfurther” as the blog’s name. And as well, how it seemed to fit the concept found in many of our “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts of going “justabitfurther” in life.

But, for those not wanting to click over and discover for themselves(ya lazy bones) here’s the short version. The blog name of “justabitfurther” evolved from a phrase or thought process that Lynn and I employ often while on an adventure. It usually goes something like this, “hey, before heading back to the car, let’s go just a bit further, maybe to that hill over there to have a look and see if there is something neat to discover.”

blogAnd that is as simple as it was.

It came to me quickly and honestly, it seemed to fit. And I should point out, I don’t think I had even published one post at this point and had less than zero blogging experience.

The name also seemed to fit when I started to publish “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts. Working to give people encouragement to take more one step and go “justabitfurther” in life.

But, heading back to the original question.

Why this post?

I get the sense that this post is part of or a sub-set of the whole “2019 Year Review” exercise.

hooplaAfter the over-excess of Christmas and the slight reprieve between then and the gearing up for the New Year’s Eve hoopla, my mind started spinning some confusion about my blog as a whole.

Here are a few points or issues that have been simmering somewhere in the gray matter I call my brain.

  • should I split our blog into two really separate entities, seeing as “Thoughts From The Wilderness” make up the lion’s share of my writing?
  • is a name change to the blog an option?
  • do I/we need to take a step back and perhaps get back more to its original purpose – that being our outdoor adventures?
  • is the blog too much all over the place? In other words, is it trying to fit into too many niches? Or if it even fits into any niche(s) at all?
  • should things simply stay as they are?
  • there are likely other bits stewing around as well, but I can’t think of them now.

Here on New Years Day 2020, while many are cautiously and gingerly nursing their self-inflicted pain from the excess of the previous 12 hours or so, I haven’t yet come to any conclusions on any of the above points.

So, to coin a phrase appropriate for today, “no resolutions” yet.

Perhaps the universe is taking New Years Day off as well.

Keeping the cosmos spinning and somewhat under control on New Year’s Eve, I suspect, is a monumental task at best.

Maybe tomorrow on January 2, the universe, the cosmos or a being greater than myself will head back to work, pulling-back the curtains with some answers to my questions.

Until then, we’ll just keep plugging away like we always have. And thinking about it, it has been a pretty sweet ride so far.

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Getting Personal

In the 11th installment of the “Blogging Insights” series,  Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) examines Blogging Insights #11 – Getting Personal

Many bloggers write and post under a pseudonym, while just as many may have a title from their blog, however, they also have their name proudly displayed as well. I’m sure there is also a healthy number that blog with a title of something as simple as “My Name’s Blog.”

Here’s Dr, Tanya’s questions for this installment:

Questions

1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

3. How much of your personality show through your writing?

4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

Here are my “two cents” on “Getting Personal:”

personal2

Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?

When getting started back in 2016, I chose “justabitfurther” as a blog title and name, mostly because I didn’t know any better. Looking back, I might have been a bit afraid or self-conscious of what people would think about this whole blogging world I was falling headlong into.

Now, I couldn’t give a “flying fadoo” to what people think. Personally think most people are jealous.

The blog name of “justabitfurther” was birthed out of Lynn and I often commenting while on an outdoor adventure, “why not hike just a bit further to see what might be around the next bend?” And the concept of going “just a bit further” while on a hike, seemed to work and fit like a glove as it could also be applied in the daily lives of people as well.

Pondering it for a moment, I use our first names on a regular basis in posts, but I’m not sure if I’ve included my last name or not.

For the record, then: Glen and Lynn McKenzie.

Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?

For the most part, yes.

I don’t think I’ve deliberately posted to share those details, I think they have just popped out during the course of writing and composing particular articles.

Nevertheless, I do get why people are not willing to share certain aspects of who they are. Each one of those four elements may certainly be things that writers may or may not be willing to share for a variety of exceedingly personal reasons.

How much of your personality show through your writing?

All of my personality shows through in my writing.

The good; the bad; the angry; the sarcastic bits; the funny bits – all of it comes through at some point.

I will admit, I do at times tone it down or “won’t completely open the barn door and let all the animals out” when composing a new piece.

Having said that, as I mature as a writer and as a person, more and more of my personality sneaks out. I think as we become more comfortable and secure, we often are more willing and able to tackle and post on subjects or topics we wouldn’t have touched in the past or write them in ways or tones that we would have run away from earlier in our blogging career.

Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?

Again, for the most part, yes.

Certainly, the trip reports we have done over the years are from personal experience.

In terms of other posts, I would say the flavour or texture of them certainly has my own personal experience and life woven into them. Those posts included in “Thoughts From The Wilderness” that deal with mental wellness issues and concerns, would definitely be based on my own personal experiences, even if not explicitly stated in the post.

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her tireless work in developing the Blogging Insights series. There are always great posts submitted by such wonderful and talented bloggers.

Be sure to click on over to her site and take a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Looking Back At Your Old Blog Posts

In this next installment of the “Blogging Insights” series,  Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) examines Blogging Insights Series #10 – Looking Back At Your Blog Posts.

A bit of background is provided:

Retrospective Introspection

I read/heard somewhere that reading your own work is a form of narcissism. I would much rather call it self-evaluation or self-assessment.

When I was in kindergarten we were given spelling tests. When we were done, our teacher would make us swap our work with others. We would then correct each other’s work and award a score. Later, in higher classes (especially math), some teachers would let us mark our own work when they gave us the answers. As I began this post, I was reminded of this and I think that re-evaluating your work is a bit like that.

Dr. Tanya poses the following questions:

How old is your current blog/website? 

Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?

How long ago did you update your about page?

If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?

In life, we at times need to look back in order to effectively move forward, grow and mature as individuals. Blogging and its creative pursuits are in essence no different. It is always good practice to look back and see what and where our blog/writing has taken us in order to chart a course for the next phase in our blogging life.

How Old Is Your Current Blog/Website?

I started “justabitfurther” back in the summer of 2016, as a way of documenting the outdoor adventures that Lynn and I have taken and continue to partake in on a regular basis.

Do You Ever Look Back At Your Site i.e. –  Read Through Your Old Posts?

Often I do when I’m looking to update or re-blog an earlier post. When on the search for new ideas or themes to write about, I will re-look at previous posts. Often I’ll revise them and update that post or make a copy of that earlier post and revise it considerably like back-links and such and then re-post it as a new post.

I had read that doing such or including links to old posts in new posts was a good way to create and generate traffic to your site.

Looking back at previous posts is a wonderful way to see how your blog/site; your writing; your themes or ideas have grown and matured over time. Just like you have.

How Long Did You Update Your About Page?

Not sure.

If I can’t remember when, then it is likely time to go back and take a look at it again. My blog has certainly changed and grown since its inception and most certainly since the last time I updated the “about page.”

Our blogs can change, grow, mature throughout time, even without us really noticing. It’s like we’re caught up in it, but aren’t aware of the change that is happening. That’s not such a bad thing, but perhaps an update to our “about pages” may be necessary to accurately reflect those changes.

If You Were To Start A New Blog Today, What Would you Do Differently?

Good question!!

Honestly, I’m not sure I would change anything or do anything differently.blog post

Looking back, this was and continues to be a segment of an exciting and necessary “life journey” in many respects. It has stretched my own personal comfort zone immensely, resulting in me becoming much more fulfilled as a person than I was back in 2016.

It has pushed me to examine who I am; to visit places I thought in the back of my mind that emotionally I would never seek out again.

From a technical perspective, any changes to our blog that I would like to have made?

I don’t think so. It was what it was and is, and I feel very satisfied with its creation at this stage of the journey.

aheadHonestly, I’m more focused on my growth as a person and expanding the boundaries of my own creative adventure, as compared to wasting time and energy on “what might have been or what I should have done in the beginning.”

Nevertheless, looking back at older posts; revising older posts or re-inventing/re-publishing older material certainly has merit. If by doing so, it presents or gives new and fresh(er) elements to our readers and followers, then that can’t be a bad thing.

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her tireless work on developing the Blogging Insights series. There are always great posts submitted by such wonderful and talented bloggers.

Be sure to click on over to her site and take a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Blog Related Stress

Blog related stress and blogger burnout.

Who would think that doing something that one finds exhilarating, fun or therapeutic could lead to such a situation?

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) has asked that very question in Blogging Insights #9 – Blog Related Stress.

She’s provided us with a bit of background to get the discussion rolling.

Blogger Burnout

You must have come across this term in posts about blogging. Today’s topic is completely opposite of last week’s Blogging Insights when we discussed being grateful for blogging. This goes to show what a diverse field blogging is, its various aspects being limited only by the number of bloggers.

Questions:

  1. What, in your opinion, is “Blogger burnout”?
  2. Have you ever suffered from blog-related stress?
  3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

One item to start is this. There is a big difference between writer’s block or a dip in creativity and the phrase “blogger burnout.”

Burnout as a concept or reality has a much more negative connotation associated with it, as compared to experiencing a period of writer’s block for example. One definition of burnout is this – “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.”

My thoughts on the three questions:

What, in your opinion is “Blogger Burnout?”

Blogger burnout in my eyes is getting to the point where thinking about blogging/your blog; looking at your blog; sitting to write the next post or anything to do with blogging and your blog immediately takes you into someplace that is not healthy.

Like the definition above, you’ve got to a point where your emotional, mental and physical wellness is a stake.

Burnout, when it happens, erodes our energy(exhausted all the time), attitude(becomes rather poopy) and confidence(where did it go) when it comes to the blogging process.

Burnout doesn’t occur overnight. It usually is a slow-cooking process that takes some time to manifest itself. Burnout may start to grow and fester like some infection due to a huge number of factors, like:

  • feeling like you have no new ideas to offer up on your blog
  • looking at your stats constantly – they’re not going up or getting bigger(yikes)
  • blogging life and family life are out of wack
  • working on your blog makes you angry and frustrated
  • isolation takes place – I’m all alone in this!

These plus countless other factors can over time lead us to the point of “blogger burnout”, especially if your blog and blogging, in general, is your livelihood.

All of these factors relating to burnout are much different than “I’m in a creative slump.”

Have you ever suffered from blog-related stress?

stress
Source: Google Images

Not that I can specifically think of.

Blogging and my own blog is not how I make money, nor is it as some bigger component of our overall livelihood.

For myself and I suspect for others, blogging is a source of release; entertainment; therapy; a way to connect; and so on.

If blogging is starting to stress you out in some way(s), going back to “first principles” or “why did I start blogging” in the first place can be a good start.

For example, if you started to blog as therapy in order to release and deal with issues relating to mental wellness, perhaps at this point you’ve strayed away from that and need to get back to the basics.

For myself, I want blogging and our blog to be fun. It is a creative release specifically for me. When it stops being fun; when it stops being part of my life that I eagerly wake up for and can’t wait to sit down and bang away at the keyboard, then it is time to step back and figure out what the hell is happening.

What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

First of all, always remembering why you are blogging in the first place.

breathe
Source: Google Images

Be who you are on your blog. So, write in your own style, not someone else’s style. People want to hear or read “you.”

Remember, it is difficult enough just working at being ourselves. Why make it twice as hard, by being something or someone you’re not?

In addition, don’t get highly focused on the stats tab. Constantly worrying about if you have new followers or how many visitors showed up today can quickly drive you away from the process at hand – sitting down and banging away at the keys.

Furthermore, avoid getting your “pantaloons in a twist” if you are having a hard time creating new content or you think you have writer’s block. There are plenty of great suggestions and tips from a wide swathe of bloggers out there that can help you in overcoming a momentary dip in creativity.

Lastly, create a healthy balance between blogging, your work and family life. Family and family life should always come first. Just figure out the balance for the rest that works for you.

Once again a big thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her Blogging Insights Series. Each topic provides a wealth of discussion, information and insights from bloggers throughout the thing called the “blogosphere.”

Thanks again!

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —