I’m one!

Not me, obviously, but my blog is. Yep I started blogging 1 year ago today. So I feel like I should note this blogversary (is that a thing?). I also feel like I shouldn’t note this in an attempt to avoid being passé. Oh what the hell; it is kind of exciting.

Should I buy a cake?

Of course I bloody well should. I haven’t…yet. I have settled for Prosecco. Being a complete Malbec fanatic I only seem to have Prosecco as a tipple at events nowadays. But that would be a right blooming waste of my homemade cherry liqueur; or the sugar cubes, brandy and bitters I have in stock for my favourite cocktail – the classic.

So I bought a bottle (ahem a couple) of Prosecco. Obviously as I was wine shopping I also stocked up on Malbec and even some biers. I’ll save them for another day.

Party of one for one

I don’t advertise my blog to people I know. So this might be a lonely affair. But it is freezing tonight and I am not going out.

Prosecco is popped and some good tunes are on. I might be dancing around my living room later…kind of loving life. I might flop into bed knackered after a long week and a few drinks.

Have I learnt anything?

No. Not really. Probably a little. A few things. I have a list:

  • I like writing my blog;
  • I think my niche might be amusement;
  • I like reading other blogs (especially amusing ones but also reflective ones and poetic ones); and
  • It takes a lot of time to do this…its lucky I like it.
  • I should stick with the name I chose. Very uncreative but it is what it is. Until I reach 50. That is eon’s away (by the way!).

I am still surprised with how I can continue to generate and write posts and I am even more surprised how consistent I have been with this over the year. It definitely has held my interest which is bloody surprising given I had never given blogging a thought / read / attention before I started.

When I did start I thought I would write lifestyle. Ha! Yes I have a lifestyle and it is clearly fanfuckingtasticly brilliant living in Edinburgh…but I have figured out that I can’t be arsed taking photos of all the things I do. If I did they probably wouldn’t look professional – because the things I do often involve wine and when they don’t…well I can’t be bothered taking photos.

So my niche, even though I still do like writing about yoga and other stuff, seems to be amusing observations, thoughts, musings. It reflects me. I have a serious job and I will never be seen to write about it on my blog. There are loads of well-being, mental well-being and serious blogs out there (side note they are often way more popular than mine) but I don’t feel like jumping into that arena. They do it far better than I could.

I do humour. Maybe I am the only one who finds my sense of humour funny, but it does reflect me well. It reflects that every day…even on the shittiest of days in the shittiest of situations…I laugh.

That said I really like reading a whole array of other bloggers’ blogs. I honestly don’t understand how I didn’t know this world existed before. A definite shout out to those who are also very amusing, to the people who have given me a different perspective to look at, a new found love of poetry and some amazing tunes to move to.

I also think it is amazing that people comment, interact, email and connect. I am lucky, I do like it and I always find a way to laugh.

Another year?

Yeah sure…

Hope you stay around with me.

Header Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Drafts

Inspired by a post this week talking about hitting the button on drafts I checked out my own draft section of WordPress. I have six. For a while this one might make it 7. I can’t help thinking that drafts are same as thoughts in that just haven’t made it out…yet, if ever.

Like the thoughts we swirl around daily in every ones heads.

Thoughts that sometimes are spoken, sometimes are not, sometimes savoured just for ourselves, and sometimes saved for a better time.

Thoughts are like that; our own. Blogging reminds me of this. My drafts are my own until I feel like sharing them. My drafts are usually in my head. Hence the short number in my WordPress thingy.

Sometimes my drafts are just one word. Sometimes just one amusing thought. Sometimes they make it to a header or heading. Often they just swirl around for a while and most of the time they are forgotten when other things take over the swirling.

So thinking about thinking about drafting and drafts I figure I will hit the button on this one. Its shorter than normal but my thoughts today are more focused on how late I will be for my afternoon out in Glasgow.

Thanks for the inspiration V!

Header Photo by Dan DeAlmeida on Unsplash.

Sunshine Blogger Award

This is my second one and I am really chuffed (overly pleased for non UK folk) with being nominated. When I did my first one last week I immediately thought of Lee Cleaver’s blog and it turns out when he was nominated last week he also thought of mine. Clearly we are both rather intelligent and great minds think alike (or something along those lines). We both agreed we had to do this second one. In it together and all that.

So thank you so much Lea for the nomination. My mind is literally blown with your knowledge of the body and you know I think your posts are amazing. I told him yesterday that I feel like his words tumble out like a river. One that meanders but also has purpose. It’s true so go check him out at Cleaverfit for a load of positivity, good advice and motivation.

Another reason for me being really pleased with this is the interaction that these awards create between bloggers. There are loads of brilliant blogs that I follow and loads more that I have found through other people nominating their favourites. So another 11 nominations is an easy task.


Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations.

My Questions from Lee

1. At the stage you are at in your life…what’s…your own personal definition of the word “Love?” Bloody ell. Nothing like going in on the first one! Well I am a little older but honestly I think there is no definition. I’ve been in love a number of times. All were different. Now I’m not although there are 3 men I would say I have love for but we aren’t together, shouldn’t have stayed together, and couldn’t have stayed together for various reasons. Only one of them was a potential of all consuming love but it is another one that I think would have lasted longer if it was a different situation/time. We keep in touch and wish the best for each other. Summary – who the hell knows.

2. Would you entertain…you…10 years ago…now? Totally. I laugh at myself a lot and am constantly amused.

3. Where’s the place…or places…you feel most at peace…at one with existence? At work, especially in the midst of any type of difficult situation. I feel weirdly at peace in high levels of tension/stress. On the opposite side of this I have never felt more relaxed than sitting on a beach in Koh Samui just listening to the ocean and sipping on a cool drink.

4. If you could take a personal life lesson…then turn it into a quote that connected with and helped others…what would it be?

“Confidence only comes when you are confident about not being confident.”

(by me). Most things are manageable and those that are not are ok not to be. Nobody knows everything so it irritates me when people pretend they know.

5. What’s your favourite smell? I don’t know! Currently sniffing things to test this out.

6. What’s your favourite sound? A wave, a gorgeous song, a bustling bar, the silence in the country. I don’t have a favourite. I probably should.

7. At the stage you are at in your life…what’s…your own personal definition of the word “Success?” Enjoyment in what I do. I used to think I would like a Lamborghini but currently have what I think is a really (as in really) rubbish car. So similar to my quote, I am good at what I do and so feel successful.

8. Sum up your blog space in 5 words? Kind of quirky and funnyish.

9. You’re fighting…professionally…for sport…for the championship of the world…and…you win it. Did you highlight reel your opponent in the first round…out cold…or…win on points after warring with each other the entire distance? I prefer the long game so a win on points is always preferable. Unless my opponent was annoying. Then a knock out would be the only way.

10. If I turned your life so far…into a blockbuster movie…what would it be called? She was a complete nightmare 🙂

11. You’re writing a best selling book…fill in the blank. “10 steps to……………” feeling happy…most of the time.


My Nominations

Easy peasy…there are so many great blogs. These are some that I love to read so I hope you are ok with me nominating you. Some I have just found recently…others I have followed for a while.


Questions for you

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. If you were stuck up a tree for an hour or two…what would you do?
  3. What is the funniest thing you heard today?
  4. What makes you smile on a regular basis?
  5. What is the one (or two if you must) thing you can’t live without?
  6. Who’s blog do you read that you recommend to us all (it doesn’t even have to be someone you nominate)?
  7. What kind of soup would most reflect you as a person?
  8. What is your favourite TV show right now?
  9. If you have a spare £100 in your wallet / purse…what does it get spent on?
  10. What was your favourite children’s show growing up…can you remember the theme tune…are you now singing it?

Blogging: when you just can’t figure out how to say what you want to say

This might be one of those ironic situations – in that I might not be able to figure out how to write this post. I’ll try. [pause for long while whilst I contemplate the amusing situation I now find myself in]. Ok back in the room. Blogging is generally easy. You write something and put it out there. But sometimes the process can catch you off guard. Sometimes you have an idea but you just can’t decide how to write it.

Ideas

There is so much variety in the blogs I follow, read and even in the ones I post. This means there is something for everyone. I think the ideas are probably the easy part for most bloggers. I’m still new to it (not even 6 months in yet) but my favourite thing about blogging and blogs is the variety of ideas that people have for their blogs and in my own own, the freedom to blog about various things in my life.

Types of blogs

All sorts. Loads.

  • Blogs giving advice;
  • Instructional blogs;
  • Meanderings of the mind and blogger’s personal thoughts;
  • Blogs about lifestyle, beauty etc.;
  • Travel blogs;
  • Photo blogs;
  • Blogs written as experienced by the blogger; and
  • Blogs written purely for the reader.

Im sure this list could be bigger. What is interesting to me is that the style of writing across all these different types can vary. So when you sit down with your idea – how do you figure out what style to write it in? Up until recently, this thought had not crossed my mind. My posts don’t have much preparation put into them; maybe just a few notes over the week in my (very pretty) notebook which is for capturing thoughts. There are times when I am writing a post and I will think about the structure and what I wan’t to say. I note this down in my notebook before the typing. Although often I write in one big flow, have a little break from the screen and then do a quick edit.

There are some post I read where you can tell the blogger has put some serious research into what they are saying. I’m probably not that type but, as said, it’s all about variety. Whatever preparation (or lack of) that you put into your blogs, it only matters to how happy you are with it. I think it’s great that there aren’t any set rules. Let’s face, when writing just flows it is a really enjoyable process. After you are done and the publish button is hit (morel like gently pressed with the mouse thingy) you just hope that others then find your writing enjoyable.

When it doesn’t flow

For me this happened in a recent post. It was a personal post about an area in Edinburgh that I spend a lot of time in (my five favourite things about Stockbridge). I had the idea. I had sat in Inverleith park with my coffee and my notebook and jotted down a few of my favourite bits. So when I got home I added a new post and sat down to write it. It didn’t flow. At all! My difficulty was the style of writing. I’m honestly not sure why this happened but I started to write in a style purely for a reader. The kind of post where you see a heading like ‘5 things you should definitely see’ or something along those lines.

I like these kind of posts as they give me ideas of what to do, what products have good reviews and information on all things yoga related. I even think I have written these types of posts (kind of). But I struggled with the Stockbridge one. It started to feel like I was marketing the place. I suppose I sort of was doing this; it is a favourite for me and I think it should be for anyone visiting Edinburgh. But I definitely struggled with how that would pan out in a blog as I am no expert blogger and there are other people that do the travel blog type post with flair.

Go back to your idea

I was in a situation where I had a list of my favourite things, I had the basic idea, but I just couldn’t figure out how to say what I wanted to say. Which got me onto thinking about how I generally write. Quick check of all my posts (not that many yet!) revealed that I am generally more comfortable writing from my own experience rather than for other peoples’ experiences. Even where I have posed a question or written a ‘why’ or ‘how’ post, they are based on my own views rather than generic ones (if that even makes sense).

So in this mixed up blog of advice giving and personal experience, I think what I am trying to say is that writing can flow better when you write in a style that is comfortable to you. Learning to write in another style is something I wan’t to do. But at the moment I know that I can translate my ideas onto the screen by just thinking a little more about what I want to say. That reflection time should lead me to knowing how I want to say it. When I was stuck, I went back to the idea. Fundamentally I was wanting to write about my favourite things. So no wonder I was stuck when I started to write about what other people could think about or do. The post was just much easier to write from my own perspective.

If giving advice is where this post is ending up then my advice is that it is worth thinking about what you want to say and why you want to say it. I am now feeling like this is stating the bloody obvious. It probably is. I’m still new to blogging though so I’m happy with the obvious. It is my own perspective after all. I am also hopeful others will enjoy it 🙂

Blogging Tips: Categories

This might not be the best example of a blog about blogging, or a blog to give tips on blogging. Im still a beginner. I don’t really understand all the intricacies of customising your site or how to get all my posts on it to show only the excerpts. I do like the ‘theme’ I currently have. That was a small acheivement for me when I was trying to make it all look a bit better. And yes, I did to a mini fist pump when I hit the publish button and it didn’t all go wrong. Today, given I am off work, I decided to sort out my categories. I thought it would be a good idea. It wasn’t.

Categories are important

I know this. Categories are important and I am a little jealous of the bloggers who maintain a clear focus. My blog is almost akin to life ramblings with a bit of a focus on yoga, Edinburgh living and some observations on the things I find amusing. This has meant, since I started blogging, that I have a tendency just to add another category when I think it best describes the blog. I am starting to understand the errors of my way – sort of.

So having done a little bit of research (aka google search and a blog search) I have learnt the following:

  • Choose categories well;
  • Don’t have too many categories if you want a drop down menu of categories on your site (it just looks messy);
  • You can do sub-categories to your parent categories but dont. I will probably repeat this statement somewhere below. Also see point above as sub-categories just add more drop downs to the messy list. If you like sub-categories then go ahead, just know the dangers;
  • Plan your categories; and
  • Try to stick to your categories. Avoid the temptation to keep adding to them.

How to add or change your categories

My learning would have been better done before I started to sort out my categories. But as it has been a rainy day I feel as though I have not entirely wasted the hours away. I am trying to be philisophical about this after a good two hours of getting nowhere.

So the easy bit. Bloggers on wordpress will all know how to choose and add a category on the ‘document’ menu of their blog. You go to your category tab and either tick the existing one which matches or add a new one. If you add it as a parent category, e.g. yoga, you can also add a sub-category, e.g. yoga props, and click on the parent category to add it in to the main one, e.g. yoga. Makes sense right?

If like me though you think you have too many categories (see the messy point noted above) then you might, like I did, start the job of tidying them up.

I started by thinking sub-categories were a good idea. So I went through all my posts editing them to get the right categories. I put things like ‘yoga practice’ and ‘yoga props’ under the banner (primary category) of ‘yoga’. I changed things like ‘Lifestyle’ to ‘Edinburgh lifestyle’ with sub categories below.

How to delete categories

This is a bit more tricky and took a bit of googling to figure out. You have to go into your main ‘Manage’ menu, select ‘settings’ and then go to the ‘writing’ tab. In here you click on ‘categories’ and woop de woo you can edit or delete them!

So I started deleting the ones I was no longer using. I felt quite chuffed with myself afterwards. Everything was starting to feel a lot neater and organised. Categorising is organising so this is what I should have been feeling. Right? Well….wrong. My high level of blogging smugness wore off when I went back into my ‘customise’ page and looked at the drop down menu of ‘categories’ I had put into the sidebar. It still looks messy! All the sub-categories just appear as if they were their own standalone category. So I have not reduced the size, and effectively messy, list. I have probably added to it!! This may not occur with all ‘themes’ and there might be a way to fix it on the one I am using. That level of blogging tips are beyond me at this stage.

I am, as I said, trying to be philisophical and reflective about the many (ok only two) hours I have wasted today. Today I have learnt through error. I am not going to tackle it again this evening. I will be favouring a glass of wine and a good book as my activity (I still have one more day off of work). I will however plan ahead and sort them out tomorrow…probably.

The most annoying bit about this whole thing is that I now need to add another blooming category just to categorise this post!!

Header image from http://www.pexels.com