today i was unloading my car, trying to rush to the bedroom to deposit story to keep him napping, doing a bad job balancing too much and irritable on top of it all... when a hand-written card caught my eye atop all the bills and junk mail...i was going to take a photo of the envelope but don't really want either of our addresses out there in the cyber world...though there was a LOT of junk mail underneath so it would have been a nice contrast! anyway, i unloaded this all and rushed back to see who could possibly be taking the time to send me a personal card! this lovely handmade card (she took the photo, too!) was sent to me from kristin, a fellow blogger and friend. you should check out her blog, the goat. she is great at having a POTD (random, colorful, catchy "photo of the day") and writes on all sorts of wonderful topics. she is obviously very thoughtful, too. i had commented on one of her posts with this photo in it how i try to live "simply" and she mailed me this card! so now i need to create more simple spaces in my environment so this card will not only be a visual reminder but a reflection of its surroundings! i put it on the mantle next to a candle made out of sea shells for now but will write another post on this topic once i have more simplicity or a permanent home for it!
this next word, "live", is one i picked up on a journey somewhere...just after i was married and before kids...it currently lives right over our front door to remind me and people passing through to focus on LIFE and making the most of it...
thank you kristin for making my day bright and helping me focus on the important things in life like reaching out to people i care about.
...way too long ago (may 15!) i blogged a question to readers or anyone who might come across my blog (mainly i was asking myself this question but hoping for some feedback) why they blogged and details of commenting, etiquette, etc. you can read the original post here if you want to see my questions and the feedback i received. kristin sent me a really long e-mail with detailed answers and i never got around to answering my own question OR posting hers as i had promised...so i'll start with her answers below and maybe be up for answering them myself tomorrow! :) if not, enjoy her detailed replies...i have to hold myself back from commenting on each one but did add one reply IN ALL CAPS...
kristin's replies to my blogging questions:
"1. why do you blog?
I blog because it's something I do to document my life and also because I love the social aspects of it. Turns out that I have learned how to be a photographer along the way, so that was a truly unexpected bonus to the whole blogging thing.
2. why did you originally start blogging? have your reasons changed?
I started off blogging because I decided that I wanted to be a part of "100 Things to do in 1001 Days." The 1001 days is up October 18th of this year and I still need to cross a few of those To Do items off the list - I'd better start blogging about that!
3. how often do you blog? does this vary?
I blog daily. It used to be just one post daily, but I've added in a Photo of the Day, so now I have two posts that run daily.
I blogged every single day for about 18 months. When I went to Rome, Italy in February of this year I decided not to hold myself to that hard and fast daily blogging rule. I missed a few days while I was in Rome, but I've also taken off a few days from my other posts as well, but maybe it's only 3 or 4 days total. I enjoy getting my thoughts down each day and sharing my photos.
I also needed some kind of discipline. I needed to set a goal and achieve it each day. I haven't been able to do that in my life about other things, so it really was a true thrill to go an entire year, blogging every day. I now know I can do anything because no matter what, I was able to sit down and write a blog post a day. It seems simple, but it was monumental for me.
4. do you have a routine of any sorts when you make time to blog or just when you have time/are moved to do so?
I usually blog in the evenings and sometimes it's after 10pm.
5. how often do you read other blogs?
I was completely out of whack when it came to blog reading. I was reading hundreds of blogs a day and commenting on all of them. Since January of this year I have cut my blog reading down to bare minimum - maybe 10 a day, if that. I became really really picky because things in my life changed and I needed more time to do other things and to concentrate on another income. I had to cut out something and it was my time spent reading other peoples blogs. (I still miss it very much)
6. how do you choose which blogs to read?
I chose the blogs that I loved to read the most, whether or not they read mine. It was a really hard decision, but I needed to get on with my own life and quit reading every fun project or event that everyone else did because I wasn't my stuff done.
7. do you follow any? do you define follow as adding yourself to their list and checking your reader when you are reading blogs in general or do you literally read every post they write?
I have about 600 blogs in my reader and I have about 50 in my favorites folder. I have the ten that I read and comment on, then the 20 or so that I hope to skim through once each week and never leave a comment (they are giant huge blogs, so my comment isn't being missed) and then the remaining blogs I hope to browse through once a month and comment on a few posts just to let them know that I do still drop by and of course still enjoy their posts! because I do :)
8. how often do you comment on blogs?
9. how do you "thank" people for commenting on your blog? here are some choices: immediate reply on your blog after their comment; personal e-mail; writing a thank-you on their blog as a comment; commenting on their blog to "indirectly" thank them; none of the above; no thanks
I usually don't thank them. I have regulars that stop by my place, I stop by theirs. They leave me comments, I leave them comments. We don't need to thank each other each time. If there is something that needs to be discussed, I decide if it's personal and I send them an email reply or if it's not personal, I put the answer either as an edit in my blog post or comment in the replies. It all depends. It's difficult to reply to something personal though when the email address is hidden or is a no reply. That's always a bummer.
10. do you stay on top of comments? i.e. always thank/comment for a comment for every commenter? does this ever feel insincere and if so how have you solved that?
11. how do you encourage meaningful comments? i.e. i'd like to have friends or at least people who care about me giving me advice or answering questions i have instead of just "cute photo" which is often what i feel like i need to resort to as alluded to in #10
I don't encourage any type of comments - I show my photos and hope to get "Two Thumbs Up" in the comment section, anything more than that is a bonus! In my other blog posts I just hope that the people reading enjoyed it. If I have asked a question like -- My chicken salad sandwiches are so boring - what do you use in your chicken salad? Well, then I hope to get responses on how to improve my chicken salad. I'm not looking for advice normally, I'm just hoping to share my life with others - When I do ask for advice, there is always someone to give it to me. :)
12. do you blog more for yourself (to keep a record of your life, to figure things out) or do you account for what your readers might want to hear about when choosing what to blog about?
I blog mostly for myself, but in my photos of the day, I am hoping to post a photo that makes people happy or has them say "That's Cool!" I want people to come back each day to see the photo of the day.
13. do you have ongoing themes (mommy, art, photos) or is your blog more random?
I have POTD (Photo of the Day) and the rest is totally random. This week I'm with my sisters and my 7 month old niece so the posts are all about them and the baby. Next week I may be talking about Rome again or about my new tenants. I just never know.
14. when you get in a funk and don't feel like blogging (for a LONG time) how do you keep your readers? get back in the mix? catch up with blogs you used to follow?
When I cut out all of my blog reading, the comments I received went down the drain. I didn't stop my blogging, but I stopped my commenting and it affected my readership. I'm just going to have to live with that I guess because I can't go back to that crazy pace. I stopped Photo of the Day for about six weeks and it was hard to just start up again. It takes a lot of extra effort, but someone asked me to start up again, so I did and I'm glad I did. The six weeks was too long of a break.
15. have you ever made a fellow blogger upset and how has that affected you or what happened? i believe i did this one time and i still haven't "researched" it to figure out how/why...i think i inadvertently "un-followed" her when i changed one blog i was following to "private" (i didn't like the content of several of her posts and wasn't sure if i was going to continue following this blog or not)...another theory i have is that she is someone who blogs every day and for while she was my best commenter...literally commenting every post i wrote...though i loved this, i got nervous because i wasn't sure if i was supposed to do the same with her and i didn't want to leave insincere comments just to comment
Oh dear, now I wonder if this is me! I did used to comment on a lot of your posts and I blog every day, but I hope I didn't have anything that you found objectionable - well anyway, if it was me - I was never offended. Not even a little. I realized I hadn't heard from you in quite awhile, but I stopped coming over here too, because I had to stop reading blogs and tend to real life matters. Not everyone has time to be everywhere all the time and I know that the people who read/comment on my blog are incredibly busy people and when the seasons change, so does their time! I don't expect anyone to comment on my blog because I comment on theirs. I want people commenting because they feel a strong desire to do so, not because they feel obligated. This is of course my opinion :)
If this was me, I'm sorry that you worried that you might have upset me and I'm terribly sorry that something in my content didn't agree with you. I try so hard to be G rated and positive and upbeat, but my blog is about my life and sometimes I write things I probably shouldn't. If it wasn't me, I'm still sorry I've been away for so long. I thought answering this questionnaire might be a good way for me to say hello again.
JUST WANTED TO REASSURE YOU I WASN'T REFERRING TO YOU HERE! I'M GLAD WE RE-CONNECTED, THOUGH!
16. do you list blogs you follow on your blog? i've really wanted to spread the love this way but worry what if i only kinda like some of these or these bloggers stop blogging regularly and what about all the other blogs i kinda follow and won't those people feel left out? i feel like my favorite blogs are often "big" already and don't need any extra love spreading and though these blogs say something about me and i don't mind directing readers there, i'd rather list friends or smaller blogs but these people can sometimes go months between posts? how do you balance all these things?
I list a few blogs that I read on the sidebar of my blog but I don't actually follow anyone in Blogger - I only follow in Google Reader.
17. i'm already over this topic so i suppose i can't expect you to read and respond to more than 17 questions...maybe when you comment below you could just summarize your blogging journey, include some experiences with my questions and then share where you are at now? or just answer one or two of my questions...any other advice/opinions you have?
I think that blogging should be just for yourself unless you are trying to make money with your blog. If you have advertisements and get ad revenue, then getting people to come to your blog and comment is really important. If you are mostly doing this for yourself, then just do it and don't worry about the rest of the blogging world. Pick a few blogs where you really enjoy the content and the personality behind the blog and be a part of those blogs. Do as much or as little on your blog as you feel comfortable and just enjoy it. This is supposed to be fun.
Hope you are having a great weekend!
Kristin - The Goat"
THANK YOU KRISTIN for the thoughtful card which will live on with me on my quest for simplicity and i do plan to spread the random act of kindness love on...