Do You Love Your Blog?

 

There seems to be a theme with themes.

 

Blog Theme - sig

 

It’s like the whole blogosphere decided to redecorate this month.

Is it coincidence? Is this a thing? Was there a memo? I missed the memo.

The hard truth about my theme? It’s bland. Blah. Boring.

Also, I love it.

To me, it’s crisp, neat, and clean. That appeals to me and my OCD so much.

I hope readers like the look of my blog. But, because I do, I haven’t changed it.

I suppose it could be warmed up a bit but that’s what my words are for. And my photos (which never clash with the background because, really, there’s nothing to clash with).

There are a lot of themes to choose from on WordPress. Simple, classic, set-ups are timeless. But there’s something to be said for having splashes of turquoise and pink making your blog pop.

Everyone has different tastes. If you love your theme, that’s what matters.

You want your blog to greet you with a smile. When you sit down to write a post, it’s awesome to have a happy feeling before you even begin. Because. You love your blog. And it’s yours.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever changed your blog theme? If so, why?

 

 

Saw Donna Parker’s new theme just yesterday. She changed it because her old one (that she liked) wasn’t mobile-friendly. So there’s one answer. Still wondering about all the others though…

 

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Upon Closer Examination

 

It’s been a month since I became nobody.

 

About Me 1 sig

 

The time has come, my online friends, to talk of other things. Like words and life and what I like, of Lemon Sharks and fins! (Sorry, Lewis.)

I must get on with it. A month, you know? I thought a perfect profile would just gradually, you know, appear to me. Like in a dream or something.

It didn’t.

My bio is still blank. My “About Me” page isn’t about me.

Though it’s been a while since I had my writer’s identity crisis, I’m going through a second crisis.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

So I asked my friends and family. It was kind of pathetic. Both that I had to ask them and, also, what they answered.

“A mum.”

“A writer.”

Argh!

I need to get something online already. My own blog is mocking me. WordPress dashboard says:

“Tip: Update your about page so your readers can learn a bit about you.”

*sigh*

I know.

I should have an ‘about’ page on the Reef, change the one I have on Lemon Shark, and completely rewrite my website. Also, I need a bio for Gravatar, Twitter, and Google+.

It should be easy. But it’s not. Not when you know you have a few words to say everything about yourself. Not when you know you will be judged by those words. Not when you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Upon closer examination, I’m still nobody.

 

There’s pressure to have everything just right. People write blog posts and articles with tips on how to make your ‘about’ page, your profile, and your bios just right. It all must be just right.

If you start snooping around ‘about’ pages, you’ll see some with “I like cheese” (instant follow), and others who fill the page with their accomplishments and links to their writing. So we’re getting murky again—with the separating who you are from what you do.

I have an ‘about’ page and a ‘work’ page. Some agree with this, some don’t. Contradictions in the world wide web of writing. I feel like I’ve said that before… Anyhoo.

I guess, when it comes down to it, these are important. They’re the first things a lot of editors and agents look at. They want a quick glimpse at who you are. So there is a certain amount of pressure involved in presenting yourself to the world. You wouldn’t walk into an office for a job without showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant. (At least I hope you wouldn’t.)

Whether you want to snag an agent, get published, gain followers, or just blog and eat some cheese, your ‘about’ page must be about you. It must be you. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to write, it must be in your voice. Because that’s what we’re expecting when we click off that page and read your blog.

Bottom line, as I see it, is this: Be Yourself.

 

Do you struggle with bios, profiles, and ‘about’ pages? Do you talk about who you are and what you like? Or do you use this space to promote what you’ve written?

 

Burying Your Dream

 

I’m not exactly sure what I expected to happen when I buried my dream.

 

Apple Orchard - sig

 

I wasn’t fully aware I had used that wording until I reread the post about giving up.

You can give up a hobby but a dream? I don’t think that’s possible. Not really.

You can quit karate, yoga, or running and take up tai chi, meditation, or spinning.

You’re allowed to change your mind. Or just lose interest. There will be activities you’re forced to quit due to circumstance beyond your control. And, yes, there may even be times you notice you’re working hard and getting nowhere.

There are many reasons one might walk away from something to search for something else.

Dreams are different.

Whether you nurture them or neglect them, they stay.

They will push through soil—rich and fertilized or dry and cracked. Dreams will find a way to break through. Perhaps even producing flowers or fruit.

You can actively pursue your dream or not but it isn’t going to magically change.

I mean, honestly, when I buried an apple seed and it sprouted, did I expect a peach tree to grow?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

If you neglect a dream, can it still thrive without you nurturing it? I don’t know how healthy those apples are going to be, but they’re growing despite some seriously bad conditions…

 

 

Tweeting Into ‘The Nothing’

 

If a tweet falls on a timeline and no one clicks it does it make an impression?

 

The Nothing - sig

 

We’ve all blogged into The Nothing. Most of us, anyway. Blah, blah, publish… Crickets.

(Or grasshoppers. I always mix those up. Actually, we found a huge one of these insects a few weeks ago and it turned out to be a katydid. Cool, huh? Just agree. Indulge my inner nerd.)

What about tweeting into The Nothing?

I’m not sure what a tweet actually does if it doesn’t translate to a visit to your blog—a comment, a reading, or a simple “like”. I’m not that great at math but when I see 15 RTs and 2 visits…

“Tweet Activity” is mind-boggling: Impressions, Engagements, Retweets, Interactions, Link Clicks… They even have percentages, line charts, bar charts… It’s wild that I get to see that data & info and you don’t. I feel like the Great and Powerful OZ.

Here’s what you see: I tweeted your post and it only has 1 retweet. Here’s what you don’t see: 12 Link Clicks. Or, conversely, you see 12 retweets but don’t see there’s only 1 Link Click.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you view your Tweet Activity?

If a tweet falls on a timeline and no one clicks it does it make an impression?

 

* Tip: hover over each tweet activity—it explains the feature. It’s kind of interesting.


No, Thanks – I Don’t Need a New Car

 

I dropped a bomb on Monday.

 

external validation - sig

 

I’ve had super supportive, somewhat supportive, thought provoking, and downright disapproving comments on that post. The only thing they have in common is that they’re amazing.

I love every single one of them.

They made me think of a conversation I had with a friend of mine about validation.

Most people need it. Not many like to talk about it.

There are two types: External and Internal.

People are primarily motivated by one type of validation or the other. There are positive and negative aspects of each (which I won’t get into here).

External needs approval from the outside world.

Internal needs approval from within.

When your inside says “I look horrible”, it doesn’t matter how many people say “You look great!” Because. Internal.

Well, that’s me.

I could be at a party with 50 people all saying they love my hair and, if I don’t like it, I’d leave at the end of the night still hating my hair.

But just because I’m an Internal Val kind of gal doesn’t mean I don’t want to get compliments on my hair. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to get lovely comments from my readers.

Although my validation comes from within, I still value others’ opinions.

It’s not where I live—I don’t need it in order to feel good enough. However, I appreciate it because it causes me to reflect, to look at myself or a situation in a different light. (Also, it’s nice to hear.)

I always love the comments from my readers; they are interesting, thought-provoking, funny, and helpful. But I am truly touched by the comments from my friends on that post. A heartfelt thanks to you all for taking the time to share, support, and commiserate.

So I dropped a blog bomb and it blew up in my comment section. (In a good way.)

Also, behind the scenes, I received quite a few unexpected phone calls, emails, tweets, and DMs.

There was a lot of serendipity.

I’m in the eye of the storm, I believe. Because things have calmed a bit, giving me a chance to think more clearly. But there are dark clouds headed my way.

See you on the other side.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you think about validation? Are you an Internal or External? Do you get your validation from yourself or others?

 

 

Update: I was just today reminded of this post by Gulara Vincent: When Quitting is Healthy. Her post is more goal-oriented than giving up on a dream but it’s similar in that quitting can sometimes be a positive thing. It’s definitely worth a read.

 

Dream a Little Dream for Me

 

I stopped in the middle of my New Year’s Eve walk to take in this moment—the sun setting on December 31st, 2015.

 

new years eve sunset - sig

 

I stood on the path and thought about my recent posts. I’ve been talking a lot about true colors, my identity crisis, and letting go.

I reread these past few pieces and saw a theme: I’m unhappy with how I perceive myself and how I’ve presented myself to the world.

I had limited space to write a bio about who I am and what did I put in that profile? “Mum. Lifestyle Writer.” Really? That’s who I am? That’s not who I want to be.

And so the sun sets on my old life. It’s bittersweet.

I know I’m supposed to be optimistic in the beginning of January with everything I’m going to accomplish for the New Year. But, as I said in my Scrooge post, I don’t make resolutions.

I do, however, set goals for myself throughout the year.

Have you ever considered quitting to be a goal?

I know the definition of “quit”. I know the connotation of it, as well. (I love turning connotations on their heads.) Quitting is considered bad, something you shouldn’t do.

Ever thought about it in a positive way? Because, of course, we should quit bad habits. I’m all for quitting a job you hate. And, personally, I feel it’s an excellent decision to quit reading a book you’re not enjoying when there are so many good books out there.

What happens when you realize that a dream you’ve harbored for over thirty years isn’t working? When you finally realize that you’re not very good at it? Do you hold on for dear life to that one dream or let it go so you have a chance to discover something else you like that you might actually be good at?

You’ve always wanted to be a ballerina and have worked your whole life to get the lead in The Nutcracker but you’ve only ever been able to get a part as one of the Mouse King’s minions.

There has to be a time when quitting isn’t bad but actually the best thing you can do for yourself. And that time for me is now.

I’m quitting writing.

I don’t enjoy the type of writing I’m doing and had made a decision to switch genres from nonfiction to fiction.

And that was when I had a painful realization… I suck at writing fiction.

I have nothing waiting for me to fill the emptiness where my dream used to be. But I’ve never been one to wait until something better comes along. I will bury my dream. Or, if it sounds better, I will let go of my dream and watch it sail away on the breeze.

People have lots to say about quitting:

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.”

“You just need to try harder.”

“Quitting is not an option.”

“You’re taking the easy way out.”

Easy? Have you ever willingly given up your dream? It’s excruciating.

I’ll continue my blog. It’s a tiny thing, yes, but without being able to write my little Thought Bubbles I’d burst. Get it? Burst my bubble? That was fun. So, yes, I will continue that outlet for my creative longings and hope that is enough.

I’m jumping off the cliff of my dream that I have stood on since I was 9 years old. It’s scary. I might fall. But I might fly.

 

Have you ever given up on your dream? Why? Did something happen to prevent you doing it or did you decide? Was it a specific age (turning 30, 40, 50) or an event in your life? Did you find something you loved after you gave up your dream?

 

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you — Doris Day