Required Reading

Do you like reading posts written for prompts? If so, what kind?
I read a lot of posts from bloggers that write about music and most of the others are prompt related.  I like reading and learning and seeing what other people have to say, but sometimes all this reading can be overwhelming.

When you publish a piece in answer to a prompt, do you read entries by other bloggers? If so, do you read them before or after you have written your own?
When I get involved in a prompt challenge, I never read what others have written, before I publish my post, because I don’t want to be influenced by their thoughts.  I usually read all the entries in the challenges that were published before my post and in some challenges, I will also read the ones that came after my post.  On the challenges that I host, I encourage everyone to read what the others have written.

Written for Blogging Insights by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with posts that we read.

Questions About 2020 Posts

What can you say about your blogging experience in 2020?  Has it been different from that in previous years?
I stayed busy in 2020, writing 84 posts thus far this month.  I wrote 68 posts in November, 68 in October, 64 in September, 79 in August, 64 in July, 56 in June, 68 in May, 42 in April, 46 in March, 132 in February and 73 in January giving me a total of 884 posts for 2020 so far.  I did not seem all that different from my past years that I spent here on WordPress, but I lost some followers and I gained some new ones.  I stopped following a few people, most of them were not reading my posts, so I dropped them from my Reader.  I started participating in some new challenges this year, like this one Blogging Insights and Dr. Tanya’s other challenge 5 Things.  Paula’s 6 Degrees challenge and her new one Tuesday Story were both challenges that I tried this year and I always try not to miss her Thursday Inspiration, but I have missed a few as I have only participated in 74 of her 88 prompts so far.  If anything changed for me this year, I would say that I have become pickier about which writing challenges I get involved in.

I guess I had so many posts last February because I participated in Fandango’s FFE Daily Adage and Bee’s Love Is In Da Blog challenge, which gave me 58 posts.  Fandango ran a Dog Days challenge in August and I think that I caught all of them.  I started writing in Melanie’s Share Your World challenge this year, but I don’t participate every week, as sometimes the questions just don’t strike the right chord with me.  Another new challenge that I just started writing in is Christine’s Simply 6 Minutes which is always fun.  Sadje’s What Do You See challenge was a new one for me also along with Linda’s What Day is it Anyway challenge.

What have you been posting about most frequently in 2020?
Music and I like to mock Trump.

Please share links to a few of your favorite posts from this year.
I have no idea where to start with this, as once I write something, I move on to the next challenge or prompt.  I think that most of my posts are good, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered writing them, so I went to my Site Stats and I displayed my top most popular posts for 2020, which created a list of how many times they were viewed, but most of my top posts on this list were not from this year and maybe that means that my writing is deteriorating or on the decline.

My Mother Was a Prostitute got 137 Views and I wrote this for the FFE Daily Adage with the prompt, “When in Rome do as the Romans do”, but this was actually a story from my second book and I finished it off with the Animals ‘House of the Rising Sun’ video.  I think it was only popular because of the title, but I did get several Likes and some very nice Comments.

My post Sixteen Parkside Lane was very popular getting 209 Views and I wrote this for a Song Lyric Sunday challenge where the prompt was Tom/Dick/Harry.  It was written about the Harry Chapin song ‘Taxi’ and it received 21 Likes and a lot of lovely comments.

LSD and Jerry Garcia may have been my most popular post of 2020, as this got 241 Views, however this does not include my Song Lyric Sunday hosting prompt posts which always do well.  This was a long post being over 3,000 words and it was not a response to a prompt.  I talked about the Grateful Dead playing at Ken Kesey’s acid tests and the women that were in Jerry Garcia’s life.  I threw in a few videos and it got 22 Likes and some lovely Comments as well.

Written for Blogging Insights #61 Looking Back at 2020 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with our 2020 blogging experience.

Assemble Classify and Sort

How organized are you when it comes to blogging? Do you have a blog schedule or do you play it by the ear?
I write all of my posts in Microsoft Word and they are organized in folders according to prompts that they were written to satisfy, which match the Categories and Tags that I use for WordPress.  I understand that categories are general labels, while tags are more specific, but I can’t be bothered with all of those details, so my categories are exactly the same as my tags.  Supposedly this organization makes it easier for the reader, but I don’t see it and I am looking for things that make it easier for the writer.  I write for my own enjoyment and I have never used category or tag searches on any other blogger’s posts, so I really don’t see how this helps anyone.  If some users don’t find my posts in their searches because of the way my categories and tags are organized, that is no skin off of my back.

How often do you ‘tidy up’ your blog? e.g. go through your Drafts Folder, or go through old posts checking for broken links etc.?
None of my Drafts stay around for very long, as when I write something, I want to post it, except for some of the challenges that I run and although they are written, they need to be released at specific times.  I know that there are a lot of broken links in many of my old posts, usually Youtube videos that have been taken down, but I have better things to do with my time than going back to review old posts and fix broken links.

Written for Blogging Insights #60 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with blogging organization.

What You See is What You Get

Is your blogging personality the same as your real-life personality?  If not, how is blogging you different from real you, and why?

I am basically the same person as can be seen in my blog, although there are some things about my life that I have never shared before.  For instance, did you know that I was down on my luck after being out of work for a while and when my unemployment benefits expired, I was evicted from my apartment.  I could have stayed at the shelter, but when I checked it out, it looked nasty, so I slept in my car for a while.  I drove to the 24-hour Walmart and stayed in the parking lot till the police kicked me out.  I could go in and use their facilities and get food and drinks to bring back to my car, but this girl that I had dated called the cops on me, telling them that she thought that I might commit suicide.  That was the last thing on my mind, but when the cops confronted me, they discovered that my insurance had expired and they told me to move on unless I wanted a ticket.

Another time I was once fired for sexual harassment, because this company had a zero-tolerance policy and this girl complained about me.  I had a pain in my leg and I called my doctor from work to make an appointment, but the nurse said that she could just call in a prescription for me and I could go to the pharmacy to pick it up with out a doctor’s visit.  I asked the nurse what the prescription was and she said that it was for mulva.  I recognized mulva from someplace and then it came to me that this word was used on the Jerry Seinfeld show.

Jerry was dating this attractive woman whose name he cannot seem to remember, although she told him that she was relentlessly teased about her name in school, because it rhymes with a part of the female anatomy.  Typical Seinfeld, he feels that it is too awkward given the amount of time that they have spent together to simply ask her.  Jerry and George try to work out all the possible candidates that her name could be, and George suggests Mulva, as that rhymes with vulva.  I thought this was a funny story, so I went around the office telling people about that Seinfeld episode.  This girl took offence and told me not to tell that story any more, but I told a few more people anyway.  She went to personal and I was fired on the spot.  The odd thig was that this girl used to tell me stories about her sleeping over her boyfriend’s house and waking up to discover that his dog was chewing on her panties and I felt that this was much more sexual than anything that I ever said.

Written for Blogging Insights #59 by Dr. Tanya, where this week she is concerned with your blogging persona.

Family and Friends

How supportive are your family (or friends) of your blog?
I am like the Rodney Dangerfield of bloggers, as I don’t get any respect.  No that is wrong, as there are some bloggers that regularly read my posts, but that was fun to write.  I think that my writing is far superior to most bloggers and I see people write crap and they get about 50 Likes on their posts, where I struggle to get 10.  Anyway, to answer the question, since I don’t have any friends and I don’t really talk with my family, I don’t get any support, but I am not expecting any.

Do they do anything to help with your blogging efforts?
My writing is a solo effort, just like my sex life.

Do they read your work and offer a critique, if so, how do you react to it?
Nobody is interested in genius and telling myself that keeps me writing every day.

Written for Blogging Insights #58 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with the support that we get from family and friends on our blogs.

Today’s Questions

Why did you choose your particular blog title? Was there a reason behind it or was it just a random choice?
I was looking for a blog title that was unique and which would fit me so I chose to be A Unique Title For Me.

Do you think that a catchy, “click bait type” title does better or is a blog name that indicates the general purpose of the site more attractive for readers?
For some people a clickbait name will attract attention and entice users to follow them and for others this might work differently, only time will tell.

Some bloggers have the same user name and blog title? What is your opinion of this? OR Are you one of them? If so, could you share your reason for this?
My user name is NewEpicAuthor and I picked that because I wrote three very long books which were never published.

Written for Blogging Insights #57 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with Blog Titles.

Sprint or Marathon

Today Dr. Tanya is asking questions which I feel relate more to the professional bloggers than the casual ones, which I am.  I play chess, but I don’t play like a grand master, calculating all of the moves that my opponent might make and trying to stay 10 steps ahead of them.  Most of my posts are prompt related and they are not written to draw in new readers, not that it would be a bad thing having a post that garnered a lot of attention, but I am happy with the small group of people that read most of the stuff that I write.  Today on Blogging Insights, the Snoopy looking character Salted Caramel would like us to answer three questions pertaining to Evergreen versus Topical content, which I feel I should probably try to explain first.

Evergreen content is writing that doesn’t go out of date.  It revolves around a topic that’s always relevant to readers, regardless of the current news cycle or season.  Its name comes from the evergreen tree, a pine or fir that retains its green color and needles all year round.  Evergreen content remains continually fresh to readers by staying relevant, timeless, canonical, and valuable.  Topical content is also called seasonal content and it usually delivers updated, relevant, and targeted information to an audience that is already well versed and familiar with the topic that you’re writing on.  Topical content is relevant during certain times of the year only and is usually pretty hip and niche disruptive.  Topical content is timely, relevant content that relates to something current.  The obvious advantages to this type of content are that it’s of-the-moment and usually, highly searchable.

The upside for topical content is that it’s more current and could potentially be more ‘buzz-worthy’, helping you to achieve a temporary spike in traffic.  The downside is that it tends to have a shorter shelf life and this fleeting appeal will result in you seeing the levels of traffic that a topical piece generates decrease as time passes and its timeliness diminishes.  Topical content can come out of the gate hot, but ultimately, it’s like the Hare and the Tortoise race, as time has a tendency to change everything.  Topical content can potentially deliver a big payoff upfront in terms of traffic, especially if you’re quick to grab a story, but Evergreen content will probably stand up to the test of time.  On to the questions!

Evergreen or Topical content, which do you prefer writing?

Which do you write most often?

Which of these adds more value or engagement to your blog?

I am not one who thinks far ahead on my writing, so I am not concerned with how my writing is classified and the only way that I can categorize my writing is to say that it is research dependent, except for the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt that I participate in which is run by Linda G. Hill.  I find a prompt, look things up and then try to compose a coherent post.  Most of the prompts that I write could be considered to be Topical content, but I also write a lot about music and that might be thought of as Evergreen content.  I guess that my writing is split down the middle being 50/50 between Evergreen and Topical content.  Sometimes I am surprised when somebody comments or likes one of my older posts and I wonder how they stumbled upon it, so I assume that this particular post contained Evergreen content and that makes me feel good that something that I wrote a while ago is still attracting attention.  It makes me feel like my life may still be relevant, even after I am gone.

Written for Blogging Insights #54 by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with Evergreen vs Topical content.

The Latest Marketing Buzzword

If the primary goal of the Gutenberg editor aka block editor was to help users create posts and pages with more flexibility, then the WordPress Happiness Engineers failed miserably, and one has to wonder what in the hell was WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg thinking when he went all in on this getting completely behind Gutenberg.  He must have been thinking only about businesses that use the WordPress platform, and not considering the normal everyday writers at all, so marketing wins out over the everyday users.  The goal of the block editor is supposed to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable, but for so many users, this turned out to be neither simple or enjoyable.  Rich content consists of different media formats (sound, video and images) used at the same time and place to get more dynamic elements that you can use to engage with your readers, but I don’t think that the normal writer actually needs any of this flashy content, at least I don’t need it, nor do I plan on using it.  This is a marketing ploy to get people to engage with salesmen and since I am not running a business on WordPress, this new stuff is basically useless to me.  This is starting to sound like Paula’s Monday Peeve, so I will start answering Dr. Tanya’s question now, which is “Can you share some tips and tricks for using the new Gutenberg editor on WordPress?”

I am still struggling with this new block editor, but I have composed several posts with it already.  The best trick that I use is to compose all of my posts in Microsoft Word and then I copy that content and paste it into my post.  When I write a new post, I place the title in the top field and then I paste my content below and I don’t have to mess around with the add block black plus button, unless I want to insert a picture.  It should automatically understand that you are using text and it will convert Youtube addresses into videos, so it is not all that much different from the Classic editor that everyone used and loved so much.

One thing that I don’t like about the new block editor is that there are too many blocks and the one that I use most often is the Image block and it takes a bit of work to get to it.  You have to click on the Add block black plus button which brings up the following Add Block Selection.  Since I don’t want the Paragraph, YouTube, Embed, SoundCloud, Twitter, or Spotify blocks, and I don’t want to Browse all, I have to go to the inserter menu on the top where it says “Search for a block” and type in Image and then hit to magnifying glass or search button.

There is a shortcut called the Slash command which you can use to save a few steps.  Here you bypass the Add block black plus button altogether and just type /i and that will bring up this menu where the image block is at the top.  I hope that this trick can help somebody.

Written for Blogging Insights by Dr. Tanya where this week the question was contributed by Jennifer from Paperkutzs.

Blogging Insights # 51 – Blogging Etiquette

How long should the comment thread be? For example, if some blogger likes your post and says so, you thank them. Then they say that you’re welcome or it’s a pleasure, afterwards most shift to emojis or smiley faces. It can go on for quite some while. So I would really like to know what is the acceptable cutoff number.

I don’t do emojis or smiley faces, so as long as it seems like a reasonable conversation, I feel that it could go back and forth to virtually become an unlimited thread.

Reblogging etiquette; I reblog the responses to my prompt as I state in my prompt post. But if I want to reblog a post which I like or was moved by, should I ask them first? What is the accepted protocol for that?

The only posts that I have ever reblogged were my own, the ones that I write every other week for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge and I do this to get more people involved with this challenge, which at the moment is doing very poor.  I really don’t understand why more people don’t participate in this and it frustrates me.  I did get mad at one blogger who copied my post, not a reblog that would send readers back to my site, just an outright copy, like they were passing it off as their own, although they did mention my name.  I told them to take down the post and I said that if they wanted to reblog my stuff, that they should ask first.  However, some others have reblogged my posts and I never said anything to them.

What should you do when people don’t respond to your comments on their posts? Should you stop commenting on their post or give them a reminder about your comment?

I have a WordPress issue where I only get a notification when somebody likes one of my comments on their posts and I have no idea if they make comments back.  I told the Happiness engineers about this and they never did anything about it, so when I get a notification that somebody liked one of my comments, I usually wait about 10 minutes before I go back to visit their site.  This is when I will find out if they made a comment back or not and if they didn’t respond I figure that they had nothing to say.  I make a lot of comments on other blogs and I am sure that I have missed many comments that were made about my comments, but life goes on and there ain’t much that I can do about it.

Award posts; These are the trickiest regarding etiquette, as most people don’t even acknowledge that they were nominated for that particular award. What should be the proper way to deal with this situation?

All of the award posts are stupid, but I usually do participate in them up to a point.  Even though I feel that they are a waste of time, I think that the very least you should do is to acknowledge the person that nominated you.

Written for Blogging Insights by Dr. Tanya where this week she is concerned with blogging etiquette questions that were contributed by Sadje.

Rookie Errors

When I first started blogging, I was Rollin’ and Tumblin’ with no clear direction of what I wanted to write about.  I wrote very long posts that had no pictures, where I concentrated on being informative, and educational and this made them very boring.  I wrote my first nine posts before I discovered the Daily Post hosted by Michelle Weber, which was the only prompt writing challenge around back then and because I had no followers, they did not do very well.  I got my first comment and like on my third post by a blogger known as baddadcartoons101 who is no longer here, but that made me happy, so I kept with it, because I enjoyed writing.  I wrote 20 posts that got no Likes at all and of these very early posts, three of them obtained no Likes and no Comments and two of these posts (Two Basic Types of Tears, and Teach Your Children) are not all that bad, but they never got noticed by anyone.  The other one (A day without you) is not very special, but besides getting no Likes and no Comments, it only received 4 Views.

Being a newbie, I was lucky to find help from a guy named Sight, or Journey (I never got his real name even though we exchanged many emails) and he helped me to improve the appearance of my blog by telling me to organize my posts into Categories and Tags.  I took his advice and went back and edited my first 224 posts to make sure that they all had Categories and Tags.  Through Sight, I met a blogger named Fandango who I consider to be a good friend and he told me that the ideal blog post should not exceed 500 words.  Sight got sick and he disappeared and then he resurfaced several times and disappeared again, but he is a caring person and I owe him a lot.

Written for Blogging Insights – Early Mistakes where Dr. Tanya asks, “What mistakes did you make in the first few months of blogging?”