As any procrastinator will tell you we don’t know why we do the self-defeating things we do. Why we put off until tomorrow, or the next day, or day or week after that what we could easily choose to do today. Such is the case with this post; its title implies that it should have been posted Friday and that was Friday, the 23rd not Friday the 30th.
Blogging 101: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors
Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs. A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours.
Blogging is a communal experience; if you didn’t want anyone to read your posts, you’d keep a private diary. Today, begin engaging with the blogging community, the first step in building an audience.
When I saw the assignment for today, the lyrics to Mr. Rogers’ Won’t You Be My Neighbor popped into my head. Crazy I know, but periodically throughout the day I have heard echoing in my head as I thought about this assignment:
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?…
Managing to put Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood out of my mind, I thought it would take me 30 minutes, maximum. I already make it a habit of reading, commenting and following other blogs. In reality it took me hours. I got lost in reading the posts of my fellow bloggers.
I learned how to use the reader properly. As much as a geek I am, I still surprise myself when I am technologically challenged from time to time. When I first opened my WordPress account I selected two tags in my reader – Family and Red Sox, and never gave it much thought when I scrolled my reader. As I was adding tags, I learned that the reader filters by tags and does not display all the posts together. I have to click on the drop down box and my feed on my reader changes by topic/tag. Who knew? Apparently not me. It sounds very silly; hopefully I am not the only who ever made that mistake. I am usually pretty tech savvy; I am chalking this up to a brain freeze or a blonde moment.
I reviewed my tag cloud on from the sticks to the bricks and back again and added the followings topics to my reader: Racism in America, Writing 101, Loss, Procrastination, and Blogging 101. I also added Baseball (there were no posts tagged baseball which seemed wrong to me) and Softball (there were only two posts).
I decided to add my own twist in that I would follow one blog from each of the five topics I followed today. I connected with each of these bloggers on some level, sense of humor, similar interests or the like. The blogs I followed today are:
Blogging 101 – I enjoyed the sense of humor in Running Away to Booktopia, that we both like The Walking Dead and she had my interest when she stated in her first assignment: “My middle daughter was 3 years old before I finally finished the blanket I had started when I was 4 months pregnant with her.” Tugs at the strings of my procrastinating heart.
Racism in America – I found 20/20 Hines Sight to be totally candid and honest. She calls for a much needed discussion of racism in America and starts one on her blog. I am thrilled I found her blog and look forward to reading more.
Writing 101 – I found Grasshopper Girls to be delightful and whimsical. I loved in her Writing 101 post on three songs she included Disney’s Frozen on her list and not just because she’s the mother of two little girls. I was impressed by her use of social media – no matter which platform you are on her brand is recognizable. And in the true spirit of this exercise, she has already followed me back.
If you get a chance, check out my new neighbors on WordPress, their blogs are definitely worth a visit.
Today’s Task: Introduce Yourself
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click “New Post,” and tell us why you’re here.
Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
To help you get started, here are a few questions:
- Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
- What topics do you think you’ll write about?
- Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
- If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
“Who I am and why I’m here”
I write because I am a writer. I love words, playing with them, putting them together randomly or not so randomly to express my thoughts. Writing is like breathing to me – essential to my being.
I am generally more comfortable with the written word than the spoken word. Although, I have at times been known to rise to the occasion. It was me who at a government affairs conference at Copley Place in Boston took to the microphone during a panel’s Q & A session to tell a rather high ranking member of Bush 41’s campaign staff that he needed to remember that when he got off the plane that night he was in Boston not Austin – if he would credit our senior liberal Senator with at least half of the good things he had accomplished in Congress, we would acknowledge his mistakes. For a second the room went quiet, before thunderous applause. Yeah me! Still, I am much more comfortable being the speech writer than the orator.
Also, in spite of being a wordsmith, I spun records as a deejay on my college radio station 3 hours a week for an entire year. I ended each show with “London Calling” by the Clash.
My blog, like me is a work-in-progress. And, thanks to my American Lit and Women’s Lit professor Eleanor Hope-McCarthy, I am perfectly comfortable with that. Ellie was chic, exuberant, exuded confidence, an awesomely pulled together woman, professor, activist, wife, mother, mentor, and role-model. One day in class totally off topic, my friend Nancy asked our professor how she came to be so perfectly put together, Ellie’s response was perfect that 25 years later, I remember (and have long adopted) her response: “I am a work-in-progress, we are all works-in-progress.”
Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
Blogging publicly holds me accountable to an audience of readers instead of just to myself to write. If I state I am going to post according to a schedule, then I am accountable to my audience for that schedule. I can alter the schedule as needed; it is mine to adapt and change.
My hope is that by blogging publicly I will simply write more.
What topics do you think you’ll write about?
On my About page, I state: “My life is a case study in procrastination. I’m the favorite aunt, a Citizen Teacher, a kick-ass baker, and a political junkie who earns a living in commercial real estate. My musings run the gamut from social commentary, the Red Sox, Boston, New England, #CRE, the state of education in our country and anything else that flies across my radar.”
So don’t be surprised if one day I post about procrastination, the next day family and yet another day my commentary on current affairs. If I ever decide to blog about commercial real estate (#CRE), it will likely be in a different blog.
I view WordPress as Twitter for those of us who can’t always say it in 140 characters or less.
Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
I immediately think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou … so many people who first come to mind are no longer alive.
So who would I love to connect with via my blog?
- Other writers.
- Other procrastinators.
- Other sports fans.
- Other favorite aunts.
- Others passionate about public education.
- Eric Schwarz.
- David Johns.
- Other social commentators.
- Javon Johnson.
- Oprah Winfrey.
- Any of the Clintons – Hillary, Bill or Chelsea.
- Other political junkies.
- Other foodies.
- Ree Drummond.
- Buddy Valastro.
- Gordon Ramsey.
- Innovators and visionaries.
- Warren Buffet.
- The next Steve Jobs.
If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
I will have written 5 out of every 7 days, whether or not I hit the publish button. I will have published 75 – 150 posts and reached 200 followers on my blog.
Mother’s Day came and went. And, I did step out of my comfort zone. In the process, I think I may have stumbled across a tradition that I could embrace going forward.
My day started out with a call from my godson Michael and his sweet six-year old daughter, Kendra wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. I eased into my day and called my sisters wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day.
Several hours passed and still I had not decided what I would do with my day. I finally called my aunt and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day. Casually, I mentioned that I was thinking of going shopping at our local outdoor mall and asked her if she wanted to go with me. We agreed to leave in an hour and I nonchalantly told her not to eat suggesting we could grab lunch while we were out. I did not want to make a big deal out of this outing. Normally, my aunt would be at my youngest sister’s house but she was on softball mom duty – one of my nieces was playing in a tournament all weekend.
My relationship with my aunt is complicated – she is my godmother and my mother’s baby sister but we are not what I would call close. I’ve never shared with her any of my emotions about Mother’s Day and the anniversary of my mom’s death. On the one hand, I’m sure she can relate as my grandmother died 11 years ago and made her a motherless daughter. But on the other hand, my conversations with my aunt just aren’t of an emotional nature. I would describe our relationship as one obligated by birth. The reality of my asking her to spend a few hours on Mother’s Day afternoon with me had less to do with her and more to do with my mom. Given the circumstances of my aunt’s failing health and the unavailability of her favorite niece, my mom would want me to step up and do something nice for her sister.
So off we went shopping, it wasn’t so bad. There were no altercations with grown daughters being excessively rude to their mothers even in the department stores. I bought my first Christmas present for one of my nieces and actually wrapped it. It was a great deal that I won’t get in season closer to Christmas. This purchase is very ironic because as I have mentioned I am a procrastinator and buying a Christmas gift this early is crazy early for even the most organized person. I was always the daughter who came rushing into the house, bags of presents in tow, an hour maybe two before our family gathered for Christmas Eve looking for wrapping paper, tape and scissors. My mom would get a good laugh out of this early purchase and that it is already wrapped.
We went to lunch not at one of the nicer restaurants but at my aunt’s choice of Friendly’s because the wait at the other restaurants was 25 – 30 minutes. Although my palate wanted something more than a fast food restaurant, I must concede that Friendly’s was a great choice. It was a perfectly safe restaurant for me to be at on Mother’s Day; there were no adult women with their mothers, the clientele was either families with young children or the very elderly.
After lunch, I went to Home Depot while my aunt did her grocery shopping. I bought some potting soil and geraniums to plant in pots and planters. Also, earlier than I normally manage to complete, usually my best is the end of May/mid -June. I love geraniums because my mother loved geraniums. When I walk up my walkway and onto my front porch and see the geraniums lining the stairs and the windows, even after the most difficult day, they make me smile. Geraniums remind me of my mom and make me think of happy memories and I can’t help but smile.
My trip to Home Depot revealed to me how I could spend Mother’s Days from now on: planting geraniums and smiling. And I know as that Sunday begins to fade, I will still feel relief in knowing that another Mother’s Day is passing and Monday is about to come once again.