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 —

Sharing Pearls Of Wisdom

One of the wonderful things found throughout the blogging world(at least from my experience), is the willingness of many bloggers to share “pearls of wisdom” or tips regarding “anything blog related” with just about anyone who asks.

Dr. Tanya in Blogging Insights #41 asks us to share some tips for new bloggers. I guess the tips could be used for bloggers at any stage.

Nevertheless, she does hope we will “share three blogging tips” for those just getting started on their blogging journey.

Many times during my blogging journey I have discovered some useful tip or technique and said to myself, ” If only I had known this when starting out!”

Let me first say, that when I started out back in the summer of 2016, I didn’t do any or next to nothing in terms of seeking advice or tips from established bloggers.

We slugged through it all on our own.

My Three Blogging Tips

Tip 1

This will be a popular one for sure, but have fun working and doing your blog.

I assume that at this stage at least, blogging will be a hobby for most of you. You may have wonderful aspirations of blogging being a new career and that’s great, but regardless of whether that is the goal or not, it should in my opinion always be something fun.

Cause if it isn’t – it becomes simply another chore to tick off each day on some neverending list of things that need to get checked off.

Have and make it fun.

Tip 2

Focus on your content

This one gets mentioned a fair bit. In fact, it gets mentioned all the thing.

Content is king.

People come to blogs(ie your blog) for information. How you define information is perhaps better discussed in another post. But, people won’t come back a second time, if the content is…..well simply not very good.

Books can be and have been written on why content is king.

If you do nothing else in terms of content – check grammar, punctuation and the somewhat “boring writing type things” in your posts.

Tip 3

Be yourself.

Don’t try to be or emulate the style or tone of another blogger. They’ve already done that.

In my opinion, your writing and overall blog will be exponentially superior, if you simply be yourself.

Let your writing reflect who you are. It can be a tough thing to do, given the fact we often don’t want others to see the real us. But, the real us is often what the world needs to see and read about.

You’ll be a better blogger, if you simply are who you are. Be yourself.

Once again a big shout out to Dr. Tanya for keeping the weeks going on the blogging insights series. so much great information.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Scheduling Posts

Depending on your blogging frequency, using the WordPress scheduling device can be a blessing in getting posts “live” when you’re not able to actually push the “publish” button.

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next Blogging Insights #40 delves into using the scheduling feature that is built into the WordPress platform.

She poses two simple questions for us to examine.

How often do you use the “schedule” feature on WordPress and how useful do you find it?
How far ahead do you schedule your posts?

So, here ya go….

How often do you use the “schedule” feature on WordPress and how useful do you find it?

I use the schedule feature for all the “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” that I’ve been hosting for the past few months.

I try to schedule posts for this at least a four weeks in advance. They go “live” Tuesday’s at 7:00am. Often I’m at work then, so the scheduling application really is a great benefit. In this case, the scheduler allows me to be consistent in the posting times, so readers know the prompt can be found at that time every Tuesday morning(or afternoon; or evening – depending on where you inhabit on our little planet).

When I fall into a “blog creation frenzy” and crank out three or four posts in a short time period of a few hours, I use the scheduler to space the publishing times out during that day or to space them out over a the next few days.

How useful is the scheduling feature? I think for most, the scheduling feature allows us to be consistent when posting something that needs to go live on a regular basis at specific times. Like daily or weekly prompts for example.

It can also allow you to post at your most popular time. WordPress says my most popular time is Friday’s at 9:00am. It would suggest(at least I think it does) that this would be the best time to post stuff in terms of views and visitors.

I should actually try this to see if it makes a difference to a posts activity.

How far ahead do you schedule your posts?

See above.

Depends on what I’m posting. Up to three or four weeks or as soon as an hour from now.

A continued big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at using the WordPress scheduling feature.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Help From WordPress

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) is back with the next installment in all things blogging with Blogging Insights #39

In this installment, she asks our experience(s) using WordPress tutorials or help from WordPress whe getting started back in the beginning.

Once you make a WordPress account and launch your blog, you become entitled to some WordPress features. Some of these work on the free plan while others can only be accessed on the paid WordPress plans. Today we discuss their usefulness or otherwise.

TODAY’S QUESTIONS

How helpful did you find the WordPress tutorials on blogging?

Did you contact the WordPress support staff (Happiness Engineers), if that was included in your plan, and what was your experience with them?

Here’s what I remember..

How helpful did you find the WordPress tutorials on blogging?

When I signed up back in the summer of 2016, I got started using the free plam.

I remember signing up for some weekly email things in kind of a online class format. But, since that was over fours years ago, remembering what they were on has sadly slipped away from the recesses of my past memories.

Overall, I do think they were helpful at that time.

Like many, I came into the WordPress world with no knowledge at all on how to set a blog or the finer details of working with the various blog attributes contained in the WordPress platform.

So, they did help to some degree.

Did you contact the WordPress support staff (Happiness Engineers), if that was included in your plan, and what was your experience with them?

Nope. Don’t think so.

Never heard of the phrase “Happiness Engineers” until now.

As I mentioned in Blogging Insights #38(To Tech or Not To Tech), I found the overall process of setting up my blog reasonably straightforward and now four years later running and maintaining it on a daily basis, pretty much the same – straightforward.

I don’t make many changes to the format or look of it, other than changing and mixing up the gallery of pictures on the sidebar from time to time. As well, I may change up the header photo, if and when I remember. Which happens perhaps two or three times a year.

A continued big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at “WordPress tutorials and WordPress support.”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

To Tech Or Not To Tech?

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) is back with the next installment in all things blogging with Blogging Insights #38“Techie or Non Techie.”

The issue at hand is pretty simple, “how technical savvy are you?”

TODAY’S QUESTIONS:

How technically savvy are you?

Did you launch and set up your blog on your own or did you need help with it?

Do you feel that it is more important to have a flair for writing  or have good computer skills to be a successful blogger?

Let’s see…

How technically savvy are you?

Not terribly unfortunately.

I guess “my savviness” is directly related to what needs to be done or what is the issue that needs to be resolved.

Our MacBook Air is pretty simple – generally speaking.

But, with issues that dod pop up from time to time, we’ve turned to a friend of Lynn’s who can generally help us over the phone or via text.

I fully understand those who find the computer/techie stuff overwhelming and often intimidating. I feel like all this “computer stuff” is at times, nothing more than a foreign language that you’re trying to learn on the fly in order to solve some computer or programming issue that needed to be dealt with yesterday.

Did you launch and set up your blog on your own or did you need help with it?

I set it up and launched it by myself.

I found the entire process setting up my blog using the WordPress platform to be not that bad.

I tend to operate in the “WordPress world” using a “hit and miss” approach. In other words, I see something I might like to try or do; give it a go; if it doesn’t work as planned I might try the “help” function; and then give it another go.

Most times that approach works for me. I don’t worry too much if something doesn’t work as it should or at least as I think it should. If a WordPress issue was troubling me that much, I’m sure I could find someone out there to help figure it out.

Do you feel that it is more important to have a flair for writing  or have good computer skills to be a successful blogger?

I can’t speak to other blogs or blog formats, but I think it needs to be about one hundred percent “flair for writing” and an additional one percent “good computer skills.”

It won’t matter a “hoot” if you’re the “worlds best WordPress blog techie person”, but can’t create content that people want to read.

Most bloggers I interact with are in the “business” of creating great content, not necessarily in the business of “good/great computer skills.”

Yes, there needs to be some balance between the two, given one needs to physically create and publish a post. But, great content will always win over the computer stuff or at least it should.

As time moves along and at least for myself, I’ve learned some new things on the WordPress platform that has helped to enhance the look of my blog and such. But, to be honest I rarely even consider the “technical stuff.”

I would a fair statement to say that many of us started blogging because we had or needed to say something important. We wanted to tell and share with the world what was deep within our soul and burning to get out.

Why would or should that change?

A continued big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at “how technical savvy are you when examining your blog?”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Hosting A Blogging Prompt

Many bloggers out there in the “blogging universe” take part in weekly and/or daily blogging prompts hosted and organized by other bloggers in the “blogging cosmos.”

What many don’t do(and I assume this to be true), is host their own prompt(s).

I would think there a bucket full of reasons why most don’t host or run their own prompts. The time involved in organizing it each week(or daily); deciding on a format; or even coming up with a prompt concept in the beginning are all valid reasons.

In addition, many bloggers may also feel and rightly so, that their own blog/niche isn’t suitable for blogging prompts.

Dr. Tanya, in the next installment of blogging insights takes a look a what value or rewards are there in hosting and running your own blogging prompts. in Blogging Insights #37 – Hosting A Blogging Prompt

She gives us a bit of a preamble:

We discussed writing prompts earlier in the Blogging Insights series too, you can click here to read that post. In response to that post, lots of bloggers shared how and why they respond to writing prompts. Today we look at the question from the other side of the table.  Many bloggers organise prompts on their blogs and today we invite them to share their experience.

Question

What is the value of running writing prompts to your writing in general, and your blog in particular?

Three months ago, if anyone said to me, “you’ll be hosting a weekly blogging prompt on your own site” I would have thought them to be “just a bit off their rocker.”

But then, the universe does have a unique sense of humour.

The thoughts of actually hosting a blogging prompt had never entered my mind, until another blogger suggested that I should post pictures that Lynn has taken as a blogging prompt along the lines of “what do the pictures mean to you” sort of thing.

And thus “Lynns Tuesday Picture Prompt” was born. Here’s a link to the Week 6 prompt. I’ll give you extra marks if you can also name who the famous Canadian painter is.

Developing the prompt and hosting /running it wasn’t part of an elaborate plan to increase traffic, views and visitors to my own blog. Although, I understand if that is the motivation behind why others may host prompts.

My motivation was from the perspective of that art should “evoke emotion(s).” I was interested in what are raw and gut emotions or what does the picture speak and say to readers when they look at it.

As well, I felt it might a nice way or another avenue to introduce people to Lynn’s talent as a photographer.

To date, the responses to each weekly prompt has been fantastic. Every person who has participated has submitted poetry, but the wide expanse of feelings and emotions, along with what the particular photo is saying to them has been more than worth the effort.

More importantly, hosting the prompt has provided me the opportunity to meet some new writers and their work, which has been the best value and investment in the whole process.

For some weird reason, I haven’t to date taken part in any of “Lynns Tuesday Picture Prompts.” I’m not sure if it is even “proper etiquette” to submit a post to a prompt you’re hosting. This assumes that is even is a “proper etiquette” to follow in terms of hosting a prompt.

Looking back in retrospect to my own blogging life, it is without a doubt been a “blogging journey.”

Perhaps one could think of blogging, as a life unto its own. As we grow, change and mature, thus our blogs can and I think should also grow, change and mature.

At least that’s how I view my own journey.

What this blog started out as four years ago, is now but one facet of a number of things within the whole “justabitfurther” life cycle. Adding a weekly prompt is just another chapter being written as part of the whole story.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but a continued big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at “Hosting Blogging Prompts.”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Blogging Insights – Devices

The latest installment in Dr. Tanya “Blogging Insights Series” examines the ways or device(s) we use to go from initial concept to that often breath-holding finished post. Blogging Insights #36 – Devices takes a gander at the technology and gadgets we employ to bring a post into reality.

There are(at least I think there are) a wide variety of devices the a person could use to go from the initial thought of “what shall I write about today” to the final act of “hitting publish.”

It could be a “old school – desktop” PC; there are mini-computers; maybe a laptop or tablet; what about a netbook or notebook; and finally a smartphone.

Given my limited technology related wisdom, my guess is there are some devices I haven’t even mentioned. Sorry if you’re one of them.

Dr. Tanya poses one question for us to take a look at:

TODAY’S QUESTION

What device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphonedo you find most useful for blogging and why?

This will be maybe the simplest “Blogging Insights” post to answer.

We use a laptop – a MacBook Air. It has a 13 inch screen and all of does the job of blogging and picture editing(Lynn’s expertise).

I like the MacBook from two perspectives:

Firstly, the keyboard. It’s well – a keyboard. Yes, it is slightly smaller in size than the dinosaur PC that is collecting dust in our loft.

We went to a Mac based on the advice of our daughter.

Secondly, the screen size. A 13 inch screen can seem small as compared to a monitor one might use with a PC, but I guarantee it is bigger than the screen on your smartphone. That is unless you have a gigantic smartphone. Which might very well be possible.

I tend to write early in the morning while at home. So, although the Mac is portable, we don’t take it with us anywhere unless we might be going on holidays. I often carry carry a notebook(one with paper) to jot down an idea for a post should it pop into my head. I have also started using a “Notes” app on my phone to save ideas or concepts for post as well.

I’ve never used my Smartphone to write a post from start to finish. I find typing on my phone far to too cumbersome a process.

Nevertheless, I do have the WordPress app on my phone. I have on occasion responded to comments while using my phone or perhaps a small edit on a post that I might be currently working on.

Ultimately at the end of it all, it doesn’t really matter what device you use to create your content. Whether it be a PC, laptop, notebook, smartphone or the exceedingly old school “stone and chisel approach”, what matters is getting your content out into the blogosphere for others to digest.

I’m sure some ways are better or more convenient than others and obviously most bloggers will have their preferred choice of device they use to go from “concept” to “hitting publish.”

As always, a big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at the electronic devices we use to do the “whole blogging” thing.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

The Gutenberg Editor – My Current Love/Hate Relationship

The Gutenberg Editor.

I didn’t know it was called that, until the most recent installment of Blogging Insights from, Dr. Tanya. Blogging Insights #35, examines the introduction of the new WordPress editing program “The Gutenberg Editor” and how we as bloggers have either gotten used to it or are we at the stage of tearing our hair out each time we fire up a new post.

Dr. Tanya provided us with these three questions to ponder:

What is your experience with the Gutenberg editor?

Do you prefer it over the previous editor?

If you are not satisfied with Gutenberg, what suggestions can you make to WordPress to enhance your blogging experience?

Here’s how I see it from “the old homestead.

What is your experience with the Gutenberg editor?

I suspect many bloggers out there using the WordPress platform, find themselves entangled in a love/hate relationship with the new “Gutenberg Editor.”

When it was first introduced as a “go ahead and give it a try – you’ll love it” trial – I didn’t love it one iota. In fact, I hated it. Couldn’t figure out how to make the damn thing do what I was used to doing the day before.

So, like many WordPressers’ back a year or so ago when it was floated out there, I hurriedly scampered back to my trusted friend the “old or classic editor.” Why? Because it was comfortable and I could use it to the extent I needed to use it.

Since “the new and improved” now seems to be the default composing and editing device on WordPress, “Gutenberg” and I are working through the rough and jagged parts of our ongoing relationship.

And to this point along our journey “Gutenberg” and I seem to be able to coexist on the same post without killing or at least causing serious injury to one another.

Do you prefer it over the previous editor?

Yes and no.

I think the problem here is the age old problem that has plagued mankind since the dawn of history of “no one likes change.”

And I get that.

Technology doesn’t simply march along anymore. It improves and changes at lightspeed. And such, it leaves most of us scratching our heads on what to do next. Sometimes changes are necessary and thus good, while at other times what was thought of as a necessary and good improvement, didn’t turn out so well.

Part of the solution or perhaps lessening of the pain changes can cause, is being able to adapt to these changes as they occur. And believe me, I’m the least tech savvy blogger out there. Learning something new when it would have been just as easy to leave the “old tried and true” alone can be a tough slug at best for many.

I also get that many people have blogs that in terms of their physical and visual layout, that the “Gutenberg Editor” may be causing such a challenge that it is leading them down the road to tossing their laptop out the nearest open or closed window. I get that, but I don’t have an answer for it.

My blog is pretty simple in terms of layout and design. So, I simply plug away; try something and if it doesn’t work, off we head to Plan B. Plan B usually involves getting another coffee and the start of Plan C.

So, at this stage I do like the “Gutenberg Editor” over the “classic editor.” I’m finding new and exciting ways to enhance my posts each day it seems.

But like all new things, it does take time to get a handle on what this particular block does or more often doesn’t do. But, that’s okay because although change can be perceived as bad – change can also be alright.

If you are not satisfied with Gutenberg, what suggestions can you make to WordPress to enhance your blogging experience?

I think I’m reasonably satisfied(at least for the moment), so there’s not much I can add to the mix here.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but a continued big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at the WordPress “Gutenberg Editor”.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Reading – Is It Important For Writing(Blogging)?

In installment #34 of of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya, examines the importance of reading in terms of its necessity or lack of as it comes to writing and blogging in Is Reading Important?

She asks the following question:

Do you think that reading is an important prerequisite for writing well? If so, what kind of reading material inspires or affects your writing?

As a blogger, who spends time writing in a number of genres and spectors, reading becomes the necessary catalyst for inspiration to occur.

There would be many who see blogging and the writing it entails, as simply sitting at the computer or laptop; pounding away at the keys for a spell and after some time, a post appears.

A bit of an overgeneralization, but in essense that’s what happens.

However, in order for that to happen for myself and I suspect others as well, there needs to be some sort of spark or inspiration that creates the message of the post.

Reading in my mind is the element that fertilizes, nurtures and ultimately prepares our souls to create.

Reading joyfully provides to us tiny or not so tiny morsels of creative sustenance. “Small plates” of gifted fare all exquisitely laid before on a long a buffet table of opportunity for us to sample each one separately or combine them into something far more exciting to the palate.

Reading opens not just our eyes, but our minds to the world around us. And open minds are the fertile grounds in which words and ideas to grow.

Personally, I don’t read as much as I used to or as I likely should. When I do sit down and read, almost always it will be an “old school” book. I like the tactile feeling of having an actual book in my hands.

Using an e-reader(which I have) or reading a book especially on the computer just not the same. Reading on the laptop is simply provides the opportunity to become distracted.

Although, much of the news and information I get comes from the sitting at the computer.

So, go figure that conundrum out.

It goes without saying, that my blogging and writing expertise(whatever that might be), is tied directly to reading. Reading stimulates my creativity; it gives at times new meaning to old ideas and births completely new ideas from within my soul that at some point need to get out into the world.

As always, a big shoutout and thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and specifically looking at the importance of reading in terms of becoming better writers.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —