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Blogging news

Blog Action Day involved thousands of bloggers from over one hundred countries.  It was the second time I had taken part.  My post was the result of a great deal of thought and a certain amount of writing and editing over at least two months.

I was nervous about writing about the topic I had chosen.  There is still stigma attached to mental health, although as I wrote in my post, there are campaigns to reduce this.

My post stimulated some interest.  I had encouraging comments from new readers.  These were some of the best comments I have ever received.  I also gained two new followers.  I hope they will not be disappointed by my future posts.  The number of 5-star votes will ensure that this post is easily accessible for some time.

I was so excited by the quality of the comments that I tweeted about them and Blog Action Day featured my tweet on their rebel-mouse (new to me!)

WordPress used the Blog Action Day topic (inequality) for their Daily Prompt, so once that was published I linked to it for extra exposure.  (They expect posts to be written as a response, but more than once their prompt has coincided with something I had already planned.)  The Daily Prompt is a good means of attracting readers.  It is a good idea to use the category “Daily Prompt” and to link to the page where it was published.  In most cases, copying the text of the prompt gives context to a response.

Recently I have been interacting with bloggers and writers on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of these are new to blogging and are learning as they blog (just as I did when I started my first blog in July 2012).  For their benefit, I’d like to point out a few ways of improving blogs and pitfalls to avoid.  Categories and tags help people find what they are interested in.  Copyright is a tricky issue.  There was recently some discussion on Facebook about it.  Both words and pictures are protected.  It is a good idea to check what is permitted.

If pictures are included in blogs, formatting posts so that the text appears around the pictures is pleasing to the eye.  The first time I took part in Blogging from A to Z in April I suspect one reader did not scroll down to find my text.  There was a complaint that my blog was not loading properly.

For new bloggers on WordPress there are support documents and forums containing lots of useful information.  I am a bit of a techie and enjoy reading about problems and solutions, but many people just want to write and publish their posts.  Presentation is important.  I do not often use photos, but many readers are attracted by them.  Setting out paragraphs with enough white space matters to me.  I sometimes use colour for particular purposes and bold or italic print.  For poetry I use single spacing, which is not the default.  (Shift and enter is required.)  Uploading files from Word, I find that I have to use Control +V to paste the content in the New Post box.  A poem then has to be reformatted.

It is not a bad idea to look through all the headings on the WordPress dashboard (or its equivalent on other platforms) and find out what they do.  There are lots of ways that we bloggers can choose how we interact with others.  The appearance of a blog is something I looked at in my post 20 widgets explained.

 

If you are a new blogger, what have you found most difficult in getting started and in attracting readers?

And if you read blogs, do you know how to find older/newer posts?  I have a page explaining how to find posts on this blog.

 

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Blanket crocheted in four shades

In an earlier post, I showed a work in progress.  It has now been completed!  The first photograph shows a detail of the corner with the edging of one round double crochet in lemon and one round in half treble crochet using each of the other shades.

Detail of edging

Detail of edging

The materials used were Wendy Peter Pan Double Knit. One ball (100g) of each colour was required. The pattern for the motifs was in a book about crocheted and knitted motifs.The blanket consists of six rows and six columns of the motif, which is not quite square. I am still rather a newcomer to the craft of crochet. The yarn cannot be ironed and the blanket does not lie completely flat. If I ever use this design again I have a few ideas for improvements, which I could experiment with.

The finished blanket measures approximately 34 ins by 34 ins.

Blanket in four shades

Blanket in four shades

The photos were taken using my tablet and I uploaded them to a new post, which I accidentally published rather than scheduling.  Before I managed to delete it and produce a draft version, it had two views.  Another time I’ll see if I can just upload the photos to the media library first.  I had not even cropped the extraneous surroundings from the edges of the pictures!  I’m sure the trigger-happy blog readers will have noticed that something was not quite right.

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Mind what you say!

I have decided to write about language in the sense of “bad language”.  My definition of bad language includes swearing and rude words and using the name of God inappropriately.

Some recent real life and on-line incidents have made me look again at my attitude to this issue.

At school our French teacher explained that a certain phrase in French was not as strong as its literal translation into English.  Even at the time, I silently queried her logic.  It is true that the French seemed to accept the phrase as a normal part of their vocabulary.  This was a cultural difference.  Sad to say the literal translation into English raises few eyebrows nowadays!  It is even a text-speak abbreviation.

In my view it is still taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Anne of Green Gables is a classic children’s book.  In fact it is the first of a series.  Although it is many years since I read it, I have never forgotten the account of Anne using a swear word.  For her it meant that she lost her peace (with God).

I have sworn on occasion, but I do not do so habitually and always regret it afterwards.

Some of my friends and acquaintances on and offline habitually use words I was forbidden to use as a child, because of their derivations.  This leaves me in a quandary.  I can only assume that these people are unaware of the underlying meaning or they would not use these words.  A song, which was popular years ago, includes one such phrase.  It was explained to me by my Dad as meaning, “God, blind me”.  He forbade its use saying that God was likely to answer such a prayer. (I won’t go into the theology of that here!)

Another word which I find unacceptable is derived from “God’s Truth”.

Rather than tackle individuals about these issues, I have written this post.  There is no way I can recommend a piece of online writing which includes this sort of language (which may not even be classed as swearing), no matter how much I agree with everything else that is said.

A writing friend does not allow people to use the name of Jesus lightly.  She politely reminds strangers that they’ll have to meet Him one day.  I admire her courage.

The Bible teaches about the use of language.  Jesus talked about swearing oaths in Matthew 5:33-37.

James (thought to be a brother of Jesus) wrote about the tongue in his letter. James3:1-12

After writing this I found myself laughing at an anecdote which included a swear word.  Partly it was because the anecdote was good news about someone’s improved health, but the word in question was very expressive of the frustration and good humour of the person being quoted.

In some groups of people swearing may reduce stress, but in other situations it can be offensive and should be avoided.

In my opinion young people should be taught standards of speech as well as behaviour.  Those of us, who are professing the faith, should set an example in our daily lives, but be slow to condemn others, who may have different backgrounds.

If this post has provoked you to comment, please note that this is my space and I reserve the right to edit or delete comments as I think fit.