Thursday Thirteen – Blogging Lessons

As is always the case when one approaches a birthday, I have begun to look back over the year that has passed. Going over lessons learned, goals achieved and opportunities created, I have slowly come to realise that so many of the positive changes which have come about in my life over the last 12 months have been down to my determination to blog regularly. If you were to look at my profile on Blogger, which is where I have my professional blog, Textual Tangents, you would see that technically I’ve been blogging since 2004. This dates back to when I first signed up with Blogger and began a blog called Cup of Stars, which was going to be about life as a home educating mother of 3 who was embarking on a phd. I deleted that blog earlier this year, and do you know, it did not have one single post on it! I had thought in the past that this summed up my life at the time better than any words I could have posted there. I considered myself too busy to blog. So what’s changed? What has made me a consistent blogger despite the hectic schedule which is my life? My Thursday Thirteen this week is all about answering those questions, by sharing what I’ve learned about blogging, and how it’s made a difference to my life.

  1. Connecting – One of the best things about blogging is the wonderful connections that are made with others out there in the blogosphere. There’s such a special sense of camaraderie which I had thought no longer existed in our insular, fast-paced world. Knowing that my blog not only connects me to a community, but that it is in itself generating a community, is one of my primary reasons for continuing to blog.
  2. Sharing – I love to share. I love to show others things that I’ve come across,whether that’s a new You Tube clip, a new blog, a new book etc. Quite often these things won’t be new to others, but they are to me, and I get a kick out of knowing that I may have helped others to discover something that might be new to them too.
  3. Engaging – I saw a t-shirt recently which had the slogan “I am going to blog this!” emblazoned across the front. Despite not being a fan of the slogan t-shirt, I actually felt tempted by this one as it rung true to me. Often when I’m out and about, I find myself thinking, “This would be good for the blog!”. I really feel that writing the blog has tuned me into the world around me in a way that I wasn’t beforehand.
  4. Photography – I don’t think I have ever taken as many photos in my life as I am currently. I can now honestly say that it’s a rare day indeed if it passes without at least one new photograph. My photos often appear on my blog, as I find they not only brighten it up, but they often spark off ideas for posts, or they make me examine issues more in depth. My love for photography has been one of the more surprising discoveries!
  5. Research Profile – Blogging has really raised my research profile. Now while this might seem like an outcome rather specific to a blogging academic, I would like to suggest that it could be transferred to any blogger. By blogging about my interests, others in my field have come to know about my work and my areas of research. This has led to opportunities that I may not have been offered otherwise. Surely this must apply to all lines of work!
  6. Technology -Despite playing around with Blogger back in 2004, I didn’t really understand much about the technology. There was lots that I couldn’t do with my blog. And, you know, there’s still lots I can’t do with my blog! However, I am on quite a steep learning curve, and I feel proud that I have managed to teach myself the basics.
  7. Commenting – I have learned the value of commenting, both on my own blog and on others. It really helps to facilitate that sense of community, doesn’t it? However, I have also learned that even when there are no comments, people are still reading and engaging with your writing. This has been an important revelation, as it applies outwith the blog. Even when you’re not receiving feedback, press on. You are affecting others than you may think!
  8. Social Networking – Through the blog, I have discovered social networking. I am now on Bebo, Facebook, Stumbleupon and Delicious. I don’t get as much out of these networks as I do from blogging, but I do enjoy participating in them, and will continue to do so. Oh, and incidentally, if anyone wants to link up with me through any of these sites, drop me a line.
  9. Selfish Blogging – When I began blogging for the second time earlier this year, I blogged for readers. I blogged for other people and not for myself. I boxed myself in and I felt I had created a restrictive space where I couldn’t blog about what I wanted to. My solution was to start Lives Les Ordinary, and I haven’t looked back since. My other blog is now used as the space where I post about my career, and this blog is where I post about whatever I choose.
  10. Altruistic Blogging – Despite blogging about whatever interests me, I have discovered that others are interested in those kinds of things too. Although this may be stretching the definition of ‘altruistic’ slightly, I do think that by blogging for myself has rendered my writing more interesting and, I hope, more enjoyable for my readers.
  11. Release -By blogging at Lives Less Ordinary, I have found a release for all those thoughts and opinions that used to just circulate round my brain. Now I can blog about them, and this process seems to free up my mind to concentrate on my research and on the home education of my children.
  12. Creativity – I think that my creativity levels have increased tenfold since beginning this blog. I’m having fun making unusual connections and I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for posts. I’m also finding that, by being a part of the blogging community, I am continually finding inspiration on other people’s blogs, which is also making me not only a more creative blogger, but also a more creative person in general.
  13. Time Management – People often ask how I have time to do the blogging that I do. I have such a full life already, why add to it in this way. What I have found though, is that blogging has enhanced my time management skills. If I want to do all the things on my to-do lists then I have to be organised. I set aside time for the upkeep of the blogs. I set aside time for my reading. I set aside time for my writing. I answer emails as and when they come in and I am always available to my children.

Well, as I turn 29 next week, I can celebrate safe in the knowledge that I’ve spent the last year learning some wonderful lessons through the world of blogging. What have you learned through blogging?
My other TT posts: What I Found in Madrid, Rules To Live By, My Life in Scent, My Family, New Habits and Memorable Moments

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October 31, 2007. Inspiration, meme.

43 Comments

  1. Nicholas replied:

    That’s a great list, Amy. Except for the bit about Bebo and Facebook, which I haven’t even looked at, I agree with you on all those reasons for blogging. Especially selfish blogging. Make your own rules and blog what you like, whether it’s something personal and fluffy or some important social issue you want to bring to our notice. Your regulars will always enjoy coming back here. Happy Halloween!

  2. Damien replied:

    I am just getting into the photography aspect. Have you looked at the new tumblelog approach?

  3. Sugar Mouse In The Rain replied:

    First of all, Happy Birthday! I’m going to be 29 too, next January. I thought you were older, maybe because you sound wise on the blog πŸ™‚

    I am happy to know the reasons why you are blogging. And I’m happier because those reasons does not include money!

    Let’s connect on Facebook, Stumbleupon and Delicious.

  4. Yuriko replied:

    Great list! You are right about people reading without commenting… I wonder about these people sometimes, though. πŸ™‚

  5. No Nonsense girl replied:

    Happy birthday!!! I’m with you on most of this if not all. I’ve learned a lot!!!

    Have a great day!!! πŸ™‚

  6. Susan Helene Gottfried replied:

    Blogging has taught me volumes — and is the reason why I’m reassessing my career goals, too. Sometimes, smaller is better, ya know?

    Happy TT! And happy upcoming birthday!

  7. Lori replied:

    Great list and I agree. Thanks for sharing:) Happy TT.

  8. Raggedy replied:

    Happy Birthday!!!!
    Terrific Thursday Thirteen!
    My TT is posted.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Happy TT’ing!
    *^_^
    (=’:’=)
    (“)_ (“)Ε 
    Raggedy

  9. dearsantaclaus replied:

    Great List. Well thought out. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. WorksForMom replied:

    This was a very good list and I agree. Happy Birthday to you as well!

  11. Cordia Amant replied:

    All of those are very true. I can’t list the number of times I’ve thought about how I was going to blog about something later–while I was still doing it. Great list.

  12. SJ Reidhead replied:

    If I were to do this list today, it wouldn’t be very nice, that’s for sure. I’m not a happy blogger today!

  13. pussreboots replied:

    Happy upcoming birthday. Interesting list of things learned from blogging. I am all for selfish blogging. Happy TT.

  14. damozel replied:

    What a wonderful list—and so inspiring. i was just saying to someone today that I don’t know how I keep going, but you just have to believe that all the energy you’re putting out there is doing some good. Thanks for the inspiriting post (and I don’t say that lightly).

    Also: love the Edinburgh photos below.

  15. beth replied:

    That’s a lot of very good advice! Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday!

  16. Amy replied:

    Great TT! I also feel like blogging (especially the TT) has brought me to a community I didn’t know existed.

    I love my blog… I love being able to look back on things I was thinking… posts I made. =)

  17. Yen replied:

    Well, Amy you’re only a month older than me because I’ll be 29 in December:) I love reading your blog and I love how you write! You are so inspiring..I always look forward to your TT post:) And ditto on the commenting thing and just what everything you said!:)

    Happy Halloween!

  18. Wolfie replied:

    Hey..welcome back..I was quite busy the past week..didn’t read much blog..
    U’ve a great list..
    Have a great weekend..

  19. amypalko replied:

    Only get involved with Bebo and Facebook if you are looking to become a master procrastinator, Nicholas! I purposefully don’t use it as often as I could, because it’s so easy to become sucked in. Also, I was giving a bit more thought to the selfish blogging, and I think it has something to do with being authentic. By blogging about your interests and passions, you naturally blog more honestly than if you blog about what you think others will like to read. Thanks as always, Nicholas, for commenting.

    I haven’t been on Tumblog since it was first launched, Damien. I wasn’t sure if it would do what I wanted it to, which has turned out to be what I do with this blog. Maybe it’s worth checking out again… I really like what you are doing with yours!

    Do you know, Sugar Mouse, I’ve packed a lot into those 29 years, so sometimes I feel a lot older than I am! I’ll look for you on the networking sites πŸ™‚

    Ah, yes, Yuriko, the lurkers. It is nice when you feel that you have produced a post which has inspired someone to comment. But, I think it’s also worthwhile to carry on writing regardless!

    Thanks, No Nonsense Girl. My birthday is next Wednesday, so I thought I might do my TT post next week on what I want to achieve before I’m 30. Haven’t quite decided yet…

    Susan Helene Gottfried, I couldn’t agree more! Good luck with making your decisions regarding your career πŸ™‚

    Glad you agree, Lori! Thanks for dropping by.

    I love your cat signature, Raggedy! I always visit my commenter’s TT posts, so I’ll be coming over your way shortly.

    DearSantaClaus, I always like to put a lot of thought into my TTs. It’s another case of selfish blogging – I get a huge amount out of putting these longer posts together, and I like to think that others benefit from them too.

    Glad you agree, WorksForMom, and thank you for your birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    It’s such a true slogan, isn’t it, Cordia. I’m thinking those t-shirts must be popular. Maybe I should put one on my birthday wish-list…

    Oh dear, SJ Reidhead. Maybe you should do a list like this one, as it might help you to remember what you enjoyed about blogging in the first place. Sending you happy thoughts!

    Selfish blogging seems to be a popular one, Pussreboots! Thanks for the birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for your lovely encouraging comment, Damozel. I’m pleased, too, that you like the Edinburgh photos. I thought they turned out quite nicely.

    You are most welcome, Beth. And thank you for the birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    It is great when you look back and discover you’ve created a personal record of thoughts, enthusiasms and images, isn’t it Amy? And you are so right about the TT community. It is such a great meme, and I have discovered some wonderful blogs through participating.

    Hey, Happy Birthday for next month, Yen! Are you like me, in that, in many ways it is hard to believe that 30 is just around the corner? One last year to enjoy my 20s before I can begin to make the most of my 30s πŸ˜‰ Also, thank you so much for your encouragement. It really is so appreciated!

    Thanks for the welcome, Wolfie πŸ™‚ Madrid, in some ways, already feels like months ago, and in others, it feels like yesterday. Time can be such a slippery character, can’t it! Glad you liked this weeks TT πŸ™‚

  20. Janet replied:

    What a fantastic list! You put into words many things I feel about blogging πŸ™‚

    Happy Birthday!

  21. DrillerAA replied:

    I may start adding more photos.
    Thanks for sharing some great thoughts.

  22. amypalko replied:

    I’m glad we’re on the same wavelength, Janet! Thanks for the birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    I think the pleasure that I get from taking photographs for my blog is the best unexpected benefit of starting this blog, DrillerAA. Glad you enjoyed the TT!

  23. jennnifer replied:

    Great list of 13!! I love it.

  24. marnini replied:

    I just started blogging in this past year and can relate to so many things you wrote about. I always find myself in a situation where I think Hey I can make a blog out of this. I have found that I get the most feedback from the ones I think I will get no feedback from. And the ones I think I will get a lot of feedback from I usually don’t. Irony is a part of this world too.
    Maribeth:)

  25. amypalko replied:

    I glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer!

    I know exactly what you mean, Maribeth. It is so difficult to predict what will get a response and what won’t.

  26. Megan replied:

    Great list! I just started blogging in October, so it was really great to see what you love about blogging and hope I find it as rewarding as you have.

    Oh, and happy early birthday! =D

  27. Penelope Anne replied:

    Happy birthday, and you know everything you said rang so true for me, and is why I am blogging and sharing..I think I may have to bookmark your site…I am a homeschooling mom of 3 myself.

  28. Susan Helene Gottfried replied:

    Hey! I had to come back to say that I’d love to trade Smarties for toffee popcorn, but… Eric won’t cough up the Smarties. I tried. I told him I’d write him into more and better scenes. I tried to tell him that Trevor would be nicer to him. I tried to offer him higher quality weed.

    No going. The Smarties won out each time.

    Drat. I like toffee popcorn!

  29. amy replied:

    fabulous list

  30. Samantha_K replied:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    I love this list. Blogging is more than typing nonsense onto a page, isn’t it? More people should know that.
    Enjoy your day!!

  31. Julia replied:

    Great list! Very inspiring for a Blog-newbie like me πŸ˜‰

    Happy TT!

    Greets Julia

  32. geekbetty replied:

    Happy Birthday πŸ™‚

    I’ve had a blog for over five years now and I have to agree with you about all of the things you can learn from it.

  33. Secret Agent Mama replied:

    I loved this post!! HAPPY TT and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  34. thephantomsgirlfriend replied:

    Happy Birthday!

    I’ve gotten so into blogging lately that I find myself dreaming about it… (some of my best posts have been in my dreams – too bad I couldn’t upload them…)

    Smiles,

    Holly

  35. Deb replied:

    Great Thursday post! I just posted my Thursday! Three in one!

    WOO HOO!

    DEB

  36. Nancy Bond replied:

    I couldn’t agree with you more…I’ve “met” some wonderful people by blogging. πŸ™‚

  37. tobeme replied:

    Happy birthday!
    It is good to see how much you get out of blogging! It is a very wonderful community. I learn every day from my fellow bloggers.

    Enjoy your cake!

  38. Rhonda replied:

    Wow, very impressive and cerebral list πŸ™‚ I like the way you think! Mine’s up, so plz come by when you have a chance! Happy TT πŸ™‚

  39. vigilant20 replied:

    Wow, very well thought out.

  40. amypalko replied:

    Apologies to all that left comments yesterday, and that I didn’t get round to responding to! I was a little overwhelmed with the response. As a firm believer in the old adage “better late than never”, I am now taking this moment of peace to get back to you all.

    Welcome, Megan, to the wonderful world of blogging. I too hope that you gain as much as I have through regular blog writing.

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll, Penelope Anne, and thanks too for the birthday wishes! Also, I’m glad that you share my positive experience of blogging.

    To be honest, Susan, as sacrilegious as this sounds, I’m getting just a little bit sick of toffee popcorn, and I still have about another 12 bags of the stuff!

    Glad you like the list, Amy!

    Yes, Samantha, I whole-heartedly agree; blogging is so much more than typing on a page! Thanks for the birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    I’m so pleased you found it inspirational, Julia. I hope you experience all these benefits as you continue to blog.

    I’m impressed, Geek Betty! 5 years! Well, I’m glad that my experience rings true with a blogging veteran such as yourself πŸ™‚ Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    Thank you, Secret Agent Mama! I’m pleased to written something that you enjoyed reading πŸ™‚

    Hmmm, blogging dreams, Holly. I wonder if you found ‘blogging’ in a dream dictionary, what it would symbolise… Thanks for the birthday wishes πŸ™‚

    Thanks Deb. I will check out your TT as soon as I can!

    The blogging community is such a special thing to be a part of, isn’t it Nancy!

    I do get a huge amount out of blogging, Mark, and if I didn’t, I would post as nearly as often as I do! And, yes, I will enjoy my cake. That’s one of the best parts of a birthday, is it not πŸ˜‰

    Glad you liked the post, Rhonda. I will check out your TT as soon as I get a chance πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Vigilant 2.0. I always put a lot of thought into my TT posts, as you can see by following the links to my other TT editions at the end of this post. But, like I’ve said before, I do it because I get a lot out of it. It still means a lot that other people enjoy them too, though!

  41. Celticangel replied:

    Um…what you said.

    Seriously, though. Blogging gives me an outlet for all of those weird insights and random ideas I have.

    Also…Happy late Birthday!

    (And I’ve been blogging in different places for about 6? years now. Egad! I had no idea.)

  42. amypalko replied:

    Wow, 6 years, Celtic Angel! I’m impressed. I only began blogging regularly back in January, but consider me a convert! Oh, and it’s not late, as my birthday isn’t till tomorrow. I wanted to use last week’s TT to look back at the year past, with the thought that I’ll maybe look forward to the year ahead in my next TT. Though I haven’t quite decided yet…

  43. Thursday Thirteen - Birthday Nostalgia « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] other TT posts: Blogging Lessons, What I Found in Madrid, Rules To Live By, My Life in Scent, My Family, New Habits and […]

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