Category Archives: blogging

12 Days of it does not need to be perfect – Is the pursuit of perfection blocking your creative blogging outlet?

On the 12th day of Christmas …, oh wait Christmas is over! So is 2016. Wait I think I missed the gap to put up my New Year’s resolutions. But before January completely ticks by and I like totally miss that too …

Writing consistently, keeping a blog supplied with regular content is not as easy as it seems. Life is demanding of a mother, wife, woman, employee, … . What with so many things demanding to be done right now, is it really such a surprise? Yesterday I did not even get time to make proper lunch or dinner.

That is not the only problem. Don’t worry this is not going into a long rant about my problems as to why this blog does no receive more regular content. The only reason I mention it, is, that I know I’m not alone. I know t as a blogger and writer to grow an audience; you need to connect with your reader on a personal level. The only way to do that is to be human. i.e. be relatable. That sounded really technical, boring, and somewhat manipulating.

what-writers-want

You see, I know quite a few things about building an audience, writing better blog posts, etc., etc. . I subscribe to several blogs which blog exclusively on this subject. And these would be major blogs with hundreds of thousands and even millions of readers. I go to the Pro’s when I look for blog advice. Not that I’m judging any regular ol’ blogger for posting blog advice, as many do. I too used to write much on the subject. We each have our own blogging goals, methods to our own personal blogging madness etc.  but I’m not going to go into blogging tips and tricks, or even writing tips here, because let me face it; after three years of blogging I have very little to show for it. My only accomplishment so far has been that I’ve not yet quit this hobby.

I’m getting side tracked. It is not often that I allow my thoughts free rein. Don’t you just hate being interrupted every time you try to string together two thoughts? If it’s not my own thoughts getting in my way, my children interrupt me at every second sentence. All of which is not the point of this post.

Learning as much as possible about writing, blogging and all other things that go along with that, such as Social Networking, SEO, correct grammar, etc. etc. (I’m using that abbreviation way too much in this post) as I can muster in my limited time over the last few years; has pulled a plug on my creative spirit and basically drained this blog of content.

That entire paragraph has been way too wordy. Did you even get the jest of it?

Suddenly it has not merely become about writing a blog post, but about writing a super excellent blog post. A blog post so divine it’s better than death by chocolate cake.

take-over-the-internet

It is the kind of perfection, which takes hours to compile. After all, one does not simply take over the internet by compiling dull blog posts.

No, that one is too short. That’s too unoriginal. That’s too long. That’s too boring. That’s too mundane. Who’d even be interested in reading five words of that? Wait I’ve got to go do this, that, that, and that other thing. Tick, tock – no writing published for this week the next week and the entire moth.

You get the core of the problem?

To overcome this little hurdle, I’ve come up with my one and only blogging New Years resolution.

I’m calling it:

12 Days of it does not need to be perfect.

While in school, I took five years of art class. My teacher (who was also art shop owner) once told me that I have a really unique talent. She hoped that I would not quit art after school, but that I would continue.

To me, my abstract works looked like rubbish. Pale in comparison to the fine art my mother is capable of. There is no market for art in these parts. I’ve never been able to put it too much use. Don’t get me wrong you learn a lot when you study art, and not just which colors go well with each other. You learn, problem solving, to think outside the box. The creative part of your brain gets a workout. However, my artwork will never be perfect. My still-life’s will never look like the real thing. My self-portraits don’t even look like me.

My writing will never be perfect either. Writing like art is a creative outlet. And part of blogging is not to compile works of perfection, but to develop your own unique writers voice, to see what connects with people, to have fun.

Hence, I will schedule 12 posts this year, one for every moth. In other words, one for January, one for February, one for March – you get the idea. I should be able to schedule 12 posts this year – I hope. In an ideal world, I’d have typed them all up already and have scheduled them. Nevertheless, this is called 12 Days of it does not need to be perfect, for a reason. I can’t manage the blogging ideal.

These won’t be part of any blogging prompt or any other link up.

These random posts, while seeming perfectly sound, normal and acceptable will fit into my category of:

It does not need to be perfect. At the end of each post, I’ll ping back to this one.

I’m just blogging here. It could be poetry, prose, You Tube videos, memorable quotes – you get the picture.

Once I’ve scheduled my December post – and I find that I still have more time and ideas etc. I’ll just post it.

If this idea resonates with you, feel free to join me in my pursuit of non-perfection. You can ping back (or drop a link in the comments) here or to any of the other posts throughout the year. Although I’m not expecting too much of a response. Most bloggers don’t have a problem scheduling these random what not’s. If you do however join me, I’ll at least try to tweet your post.

I don’t really like writing posts merely for the purpose of having created content. I will still pursue the goal of it being somewhat of benefit to anyone who stumbles across the post. Most likely, all these posts will fall into the very broad niche of blogging I am writing here. (You can read all about that on my About Page)

The first day of “it does not need to be perfect” will hopefully be scheduled some time during mid-January. I’ve already drafted something, actually a poem which inspired this entire idea.

If you have stuck with me through these thousand plus words, I thank you. May it be of benefit!

P.S. Happy New Year!

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Attention all #WordPress and Jetpack enabled #bloggers: Did you miss this vital blogging info?

November went by in kind of a  daze for me. Then suddenly in December, I discovered this piece of blogging information that had somehow slipped my radar. The nice people at Automattic should have made this much bigger news. They should have given it a big fat headline. That is after all what a company does when they re-brand one of their products or replaces it with a new one.

The Headline should have read something like this:

Freshly-pressed-replaced

Breaking News: Discover is the new Freshly Pressed

(Yea I know they made an announcement, but it did not have this headline. Many of us missed it.)

No, your eyes are not fooling you. Freshly Pressed has been retired and replaced by a new better product.

For those that don’t know – Freshly Pressed used to be “the front page” of WordPress.com.

I must say I do like the new front page “Discover”. My verdict – I like it. It truly is better than Freshly Pressed. For once the people at Automattic have gotten it right with their updates.

The comparison: What’s new – what remains the same?

What little things are new?

You can follow “Discover” in your WordPress reader – like any other blog. The label “Discover” has replaced the one in the dashboard, which used to be labeled “Freshly Pressed” – so you don’t need to follow “Discover” to discover new content on WordPress.

While is used to be a bunch of rectangle blocks with the title of the blog post and its feature picture, the look and feel of this new Freshly Pressed is more blog-y. It even has an “about page” Now, editors give their little introductory comment and the layout is much more visually appealing.

The twitter handle has changed to @WPDiscover. The twitter account itself still functions pretty much the same. New posts featured on Discover get tweeted by them as well if you’ve read an awesome blog post you can still tweet it at them and they will go check it out.

 

There are however, two new changes, which have a bigger impact on bloggers.

The big changes:

  1. You can submit your post for a recommendation

It used to be like winning the lottery. A Freshly Pressed editor somehow stumbled across your post and it was featured. Now they have provided a submission form on their “about page” where you can pitch to them why your post should be featured. This does not mean that they will actually put you on Discover… but it does at least direct them to your blog.

There is however one aspect of the new discover – which needs to be pointed out, which I think could make a huge impact for bloggers on wordrpess.org (self-hosted WordPress) and Jetpack-enabled blogs.

 

  1. This new Discover is not only for WordPress.com users!

That is huge. I have read posts in the past where a wordrpess.org user complains that they cannot have a post featured on Freshly Pressed. It used to be a WordPress.com deal only. That is no more.

Let them tell you yourself, I know this is somewhat unbelievable – but this is what it says on their about page:

“We want to promote your stories and projects: the best original content published with WordPress. We highlight different types of content — from writing to photography and art to poetry, from personal blogs to publications. All genres and styles. All word counts. All flavors of WordPress, from WordPress.com to Jetpack-enabled and self-hosted WordPress sites.

 

I know! This is totally a game changer for all the wordpress.org users. Check out their guidelines for getting featured on “Discover” here.

Head on over to the new “Discover”. What do you think about the new look and feel?

 

My 4-blogging lessons of 2015 – you had better study for 2016

Gosh, here we are again. Another year has gone by. I am so thankful for all the beautiful lessons it has brought me. I am so grateful for the personal growth. I am so thankful for blogging – which has become my personal growth tool.

I truly do love blogging, but like all things in life, it too has a dark side.

Trial, error & shut down

Like with most things, I learn via trial and error.  I used to have a different space. One I put so much effort into; yet in the end it left me feeling drained and depressed. That feeling is the sure sign you are doing something wrong – where change is the only remedy. I went to the extreme. I wiped it all out. The internet is notoriously hard to clean though – many traces of my former self still linger.

Lesson 1 – Write that which you want to share

Ultimately, this would be the best lesson I could leave bloggers. If it were not something, you would share on your private Facebook account – where your mother and your (maybe) Baptist minister father will find it; then rather put it in your private journal. Cause trust me, if it is one thing, I have seen happen repeatedly – ultimately the truth will come into the light. Just ask Mandi, who very recently came out.

Lesson 2 – Share and share generously

Share your “how-to” tips. Share your blog posts over all possible Social Media outlets. Share your grandma’s secret recipe for chocolate cake – okay maybe not that one. Most importantly share the content you enjoyed – from other bloggers.

blogging-101-cup-blogger

Lesson 3 – Don’t look at your stats

Statistics, the aspect of blogging I most dislike. There is no win for me here. I’m incredibly grateful for each person who does take the time to read my Shining Seeds. I love the interaction that comes along with it – even if I only say “thank you”. I look at a post and see it only got 10 likes and my heart sinks to the bottom of my stomach. So much effort and time spent on creating content and no one is interested.

However, after almost two years of blogging it still frightens me that people read my stuff even if it is only 10 people. That are 10 people who actually paid me some attention, who thought I was worthy of their time. I could go on here; I will spare you the gory details. The thought of being the center of attention – it is simply freighting to me – although I clearly crave it.

The solution – spend very little time looking at and or thinking about any type of numbers to do with your blog. I give people the option of liking, because that is a way for them to interact with the blog post, but I do not dwindle too much on it. Stats can be misleading. Not everyone presses the like button. If I get you in my inbox – I may sometimes forget to stop by – especially when my shoddy internet connection has me reading on my phone. People get busy – it does not mean they don’t care.

Lesson 4 – Keep it real

Pretty please, with a cherry on top – do not write for the numbers. Find another reason to blog. If the numbers are supplying you with a paycheck – this is even more important. So many business shift their focus to the bottom line and end up losing that bottom line.

I recently read that Oprah was pregnant at the age of 61. It turns out these where lies created purely for a thing called page views. Do not be that blogger – because you will never see me return, nor anyone else. The only way to build a loyal readership is by keeping it real. However, remember Lesson 1.

 

Let’s take this to 2016

That is it for 2015. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a good slide into 2016.

There will be some new things happening here in 2016, which practically make me as happy as a chappy who got bubble gum. Some of those are already scheduled.

You will need to keep an eye on my Facebook page  or  Twitter timeline to catch a glimpse of Little Shining Seedlings.

See you next year! (I’m sorry, just had to)

Happy 2016!