Blogging update

In recent months my book review posts have filled every weekly slot on this blog. My tagline: “Tasty writing surprises (non-fattening!)” is hardly accurate. My valued readers must feel they know what to expect. So here is an attempt to provide something a little less predictable.

My 7th blogging anniversary is approaching. Sue’s considered trifles was my first blog. WordPress will surely remind me on 23rd July that I have been blogging for 7 years. Anniversaries are good times to take stock of what has gone before and to plan for the future.

While I have been reviewing books, I have not been doing much creative writing. However I have a number of poems (or verse if you prefer) which I have written sporadically over the years. One of those has recently appeared on the blog of another member of the Association of Christian Writers. Trevor Thorn, writing for the More than Writers blog, invited others to contribute their poems about climate threats. As I had written a few rhymes, which met his criteria, I sent them to him. One has already appeared on his blog, The Cross and the Cosmos in a post about light pollution.

Perhaps I should write some more poems about the natural world and faith. Christians believe that God was the originator of everything that has being. That simple statement gives rise to all sorts of debate. However one thing which is certain is that Christians have a responsibility to look after the natural world and to encourage others to do likewise.

Much of my blogging recently has been in the form of microblogs on Twitter. The Sunday evening #wildflowerhour has been keeping me busy. With others from all over Britain I post photos of wildflowers I have seen during the preceding week. When I began taking part in this Twitter chat, I was aware of the names of various wildflowers. I had no idea how many different species of flowers there are in the various families. When I was younger I used to answer hubby’s questions about many flowers I couldn’t name, saying: Some sort of vetch, I suppose. That has become one of our jokes. Now I am able to name a few vetches – correctly, I hope. I am beginning to learn the names of other flowers too. The first thistle I have learned is the spear thistle. I have had to relearn the names of the plants in the Willowherb family. Rosebay Willowherb, I have known from childhood. I thought the only others were greater and lesser, but it turns out that there is Great Willowherb and a whole bunch of others named after the shape of various parts of the plant or its usual habitat. It would appear that the saying attributed to Albert Einstein, “The more I learn the less I know,” is true in this instance. It can feel overwhelming to realize how many different species of flowering plants there are.

It would be easy to become defeatist, thinking: I’ll never learn all of the names, so why bother?

On the other hand walking in the fresh air and noticing one’s surroundings is good for mental and physical health. There is enjoyment in looking at photos other people have taken of plants, which perhaps do not grow in the part of the country where I live, also in seeing the same plants are in flower elsewhere. Experts (and those with more limited specific knowledge) are happy to help with plant identification.

I have begun to use a notebook to catalogue my wildflower photos, but I am taking photos faster than I can update my list. Again it is no good giving it up as too demanding a job. Using a few minutes here and there might result in a useful list even if it has to wait until the dark winter evenings.

Helping to record the wild plants in various areas can go a little way towards looking after the natural world. Through the efforts of activists on Twitter a local council recently protected some rare wild plants from being mown down too soon.

While I am writing about difficulties, I now have a dilemma about a poem I wrote, when my ignorance (about the extent of the willowherb family) was bliss. Thinking incorrectly that greater and lesser were proper flower names, in November 2015 I wrote:

To a wayside plant

Unwelcomed by gardeners,
you establish yourself in swathes
along routes familiar and strange,
spotted from motors and trains
by observant travellers.
In summer your purplish spikes
provide nectar and bright colour –
a change from late-spring white
of meadowsweet and thorn.
Your staggered coloured flowers
at last give way to curled wisps
of white like thistledown,
while your leaves turn red,
or yellow and brown.
Your greater and lesser cousins
are not as well known:
you are the most successful willow herb by far!

Perhaps it only needs a minor edit such as “taller and smaller” to make it accurate.

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What will the New Year bring?

The numerous posts on social media at the beginning of 2019 setting out people’s goals left me feeling unfocused. This was partly because my health and fitness were low. After an outing in beautiful countryside on a sunny day, I feel more like getting to grips with the New Year. I took far too many photographs and have the material for a number of posts on Sue’s Words and Pictures. I had been considering abandoning that blog, but for the time being it will continue to have a new post each Saturday. I am posting a taster picture here.

Derwentwater

Sue’s Trifles has new material on Thursdays.

The category cloud for this blog indicates the main topics, which I have blogged about. The ones I return to are blogging, books, craft, faith, seasons and travel – and blogging from A to Z in April. Many of the others are projects, which have been completed (such as #psalmtweets) or prompts, which are no longer available or which I have tried and found to be too demanding. (I do have things to do away from my computer!)

In the last year books have been the main focus of Sue’s Trifles. There have been some craft posts and very little about faith. As there is a link to this blog on Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid, perhaps I should bear that in mind when writing my posts. The hashtag for the blogger grid is #bgbg2. That will appear as a tag rather than a category.

One project I have in mind for this year is to do a deeper study than the Ladies’ Bible study group is doing. This will require discipline. I do not intend to publish it online. The books we have been using recently featured in another post.

It was Epiphany on Sunday. I still had the aches and pains I had been struggling with for a few weeks. I moaned to a few friends after the morning service. I hope I didn’t make them feel miserable. There is a time for being honest about one’s struggles. I don’t want to make a habit of being miserable and moaning, but saying, “I’m OK”, when it isn’t true prevents others from knowing how to give prayer support. Galations 6:2 

To conclude, in 2019 I am going to try to

  • be more focused on my writing
  • communicate better with the people around me
  • listen more
  • be less irritable
  • improve my fitness by spending less time sitting down
  • use my skills to help other people
  • remember to trust God and not to rely on myself
  • rejoice in the Lord always Philippians 4:4
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Blogging round-up

I was surprised, when I learned that blogs have a natural lifetime. Having blogged for over six years I now understand why this is often the case. It’s a long time since I posted any statistics about my blogging. This post is as much a reminder to me of what I have achieved as an attempt to write about blogging.

This post is a brief history of my blogging life. It is not complete. I hope it is of interest to my readers. I follow too many blogs to read more than a small fraction of the posts, which appear in my WordPress Reader. It is clear from the discrepancy between the number of followers and the number of views, that other people also fail to read blogs they thought they were interested in. (Unless people only follow in the hope of gaining reciprocal followers.)

Sue’s considered trifles began on 23 July 2012. It currently consists of 325 posts and 54 pages, some of which are reviews of books I have read. After about 20 months I slowed down my project to collect together sayings which were familiar to me as a child. This part of my blog is a resource for people setting their books in the middle of the 20th century. No new material for this project has appeared since the end of August 2015. I also posted some of my creative writing to this blog on pages and as posts, when I followed the WordPress BloggingU introduction to poetry course.

I keep the What’s new page up to date.

When I became a bit bored of writing to a formula for Sue’s considered trifles, I started my second blog, Sue’s Trifles on 25 March 2013. I soon discovered blogging challenges and became an enthusiastic blogger. (Previously I was a rather tentative one.) Sue’s Trifles is still my main blog. I have linked up with various challenges, notably Blogging from A to Z in April and WordPress’ Daily prompt from the Daily Post. My aim was to improve my writing skills and to do something enjoyable. I have shared craft projects, real life experiences and book reviews. I hope my blog is not becoming so predictable that the strap-line “Tasty writing surprises (non-fattening)” has ceased to be accurate. If nothing else, readers may be surprised by some of the books I have read! This is the 722nd post.

There are also 16 pages, some of which are out of date. Your favourites and My favourites both need revision.

Two years after starting Sue’s Trifles, I went on an outing with hubby and my new smart phone. In the car on the way home I decided it was time to start another blog. This was Sue’s Words and Pictures, which now has 281 posts and 6 pages. It began on 26 March 2015. Recently my posts to this blog have been less frequent. One or two have not been quite up to my usual standard, perhaps as I have been struggling with seasonal bugs. With a blog of this nature (posting photographs of places visited) there is a limit to how much new material is available. WordPress used to issue a photo challenge each week, providing me with inspiration for short posts between the main posts for which I set the blog up. Once WordPress discontinued their challenges at the end of May 2018, I tried challenges set by other bloggers, but did not have the same enthusiasm for those. It is likely that Sue’s Words and Pictures will slow down at least over the winter.

My excuse for stopping posting new material on Sue’s considered trifles was to concentrate on writing for possible publication. I have to admit that I have made little progress. I have catalogued my poetry and added some new material. I have rediscovered at least one story I wrote years ago, which is possible children’s picture book material. My memoir has had some new input, but I found that writing it made me become rather self-absorbed. I didn’t think that was healthy and took a break. So far I have not returned to it. By entering writing competitions I have gained practice at presenting my work in a format set out in the rules. I have had an article and a poem published in Christian Writer, the magazine of the Association of Christian Writers. I also am privileged to post on the blog More than Writers on the 31st of seven months.

Once again I need to try to consolidate what I have already written, do some research about possible publication routes and try to make good submissions to likely publishers. Otherwise I could take the self-publishing route. However in this instance I regard myself as a team-player rather than someone, who can see a project through from start to finish with little help from others.

If you are a blogger what is your experience of the lifetime of a blog? Have you used blogging as a springboard into publication?