My Blogiversary post for 2021

It was 23 July 2012 when I published my first blog post on Sue’s Considered Trifles. I have not added any new material to that blog for some time, but it could be useful to writers wishing to know which phrases were in use in the second half of the 20th century.

Tomorrow will be 23 July 2021, so that marks 9 years of more-or-less regular blogging. Sue’s Trifles, which has become my main blog, is a bit younger having its first post on 25 March 2013. I chose the theme Pachyderm for reasons I explained here. It is perhaps a little twee. Should I change it?

At first my posts were written in response to daily prompts from WordPress, but these were discontinued. Since 2013 I have taken part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge every year and in 2016 I also completed the challenge on Sue’s words and pictures, which I began in March 2015. My first post is here.

My What’s new page lists all my writing adventures, if adventures is not too exciting a word for my exploits!

Nine years is a long time and my off-line interests have changed gradually as time has gone on. My favourite games are now Rummikub and Triominoes, with Scrabble and Upwords demoted to occasional use. Even before the pandemic I had stopped going to the craft group, the reading group and an embroidery group, which may all have been mentioned here on Sue’s Trifles.

I am far more involved with social media now than I ever imagined would be the case. When I began blogging, I was unaware that it was social media and that I’d make online friends among people in various countries, who also blog.

My first reviews of books I read appeared on Sue’s Considered Trifles as a page or pages. Gradually book reviews have become the major part of my blogging activities. If you had told my 10-year-old self that this would be the case, she would have been incredulous. Having to write a review of every book read and to queue up to show the review to the teacher before being allowed to choose another book, led me to choose the thickest book on the shelf in the classroom! (Writing and queuing stole valuable reading time.)

I try to include occasional craft posts and faith posts, or reflective posts such as this one for those readers, who perhaps followed Sue’s Trifles after reading posts in those categories. I am currently rereading the psalms, attempting to keep up with another blogger, who tweets every day. A few years ago I joined in with his #psalmtweets.

Lockdown has affected both Sue’s Trifles, where Paint Chip Poems have become a regular feature, and Sue’s words and pictures, where photo challenges have provided a source of inspiration rather than outings to places of interest. At the time of writing a few posts of local interest are in the pipeline and one has been published already.

As restrictions are lifted in the UK, I am spending more time outside the home – if only in the garden! In fact gardening is seasonal. I have returned to my voluntary job and am attending some church services, but not singing in the choir.

Although I carried out my garden survey this year at the end of March, I have not yet found time to compare the results with those for previous years.

My word for the year, Focus, has proved helpful as I seem to be able to work more efficiently than at some times in the past. There are always distractions like other people’s blogs to read, conversations to join in with on social media and podcasts and videos by blogging/writing friends.

My quiet times continue to include the Bible reading notes I mentioned here.

I also try to keep my contents and other lists up-to-date, although they seem to be of more use to me than to my valued readers.

What about the future of my blogs? Book reviews and paint chip poetry are likely to make up the majority of my posts on Sue’s Trifles. The photo challenge posts on Sue’s words and pictures are likely to continue on Wednesdays with posts on some Saturdays about places visited or events, such as a steam train passing along the local railway line.

Thank you for reading my 959th post on Sues Trifles!

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Reflecting on life, blogging and writing on International Bloggers’ Day

At the beginning of 2021 I picked the word ‘Focus’ for my word of the year. At first I kept reminding myself to focus on one thing at a time and to keep my goals in sight. Recently I realised I had forgotten about the word, but am finding that I am developing new habits. One is to eat less in an attempt to lose a little weight and help my hip and knee joints!

I am also trying to spend less time on my computer. A writing friend, Deborah Jenkins, blogged about whether life interferes with writing or writing with life. I had perhaps reached a stage during lockdown where life was put on hold, while I wrote!

Now with lockdown having eased somewhat I am doing more outside the home. There is less temptation to go online, although there is always my phone…

I have also set myself some goals in the house and garden, which will take time away from writing, but may also provide some new ideas.

The reason I missed two weekend posts on this blog was a lack of prompts. I am aware that there were more important things in Linda Kruschke’s life than setting poetry challenges. Her return to blogging resulted in a more personal poem from me.

Meanwhile there is a poetry competition I wish to enter this month. I have been working on my entries for it. I also entered a limerick competition for the Evesham Festival of Words.

The A to Z Road Trip, which I signed up for, is another project I have been neglecting. Perhaps I need to add it specifically to my to-do list. Does anyone else forget to look at their to-do lists? I make mine at times when I know I have a lot to do and at other times when I am uncertain what to do. They give me some motivation, but then I stop looking at them.

I have been enjoying working with writing friends on posts for their blog tours to promote new books.

One of my new habits is to read less. While Goodreads is encouraging everyone to read more, I have decided that I need to be more active with gardening, spring-cleaning and to read less. You may have noticed that my latest bookish posts have included a single book rather than several. I have a backlog of books to write about, though.

With arthritis affecting my thumbs I have taken a break from knitting. My sewing projects have been more masks. Even when they stop being essential, there are probably times when they will be useful in the future. I find that they help prevent my hay fever, but I cannot always wear my specs with a mask. Fortunately I can see reasonably well without them, but if it is sunny I need the light-sensitive lenses, which are also helpful for hay fever and protect my eyes.

Then there is email correspondence with friends to keep up with. While people have not been mixing socially this has been particularly important.

It is seven months since I have been more than five or six miles from home. Our walks have all been done without travelling to a starting point by car or train.

There is still uncertainty in the UK about when it will be ‘safe’ to reduce the measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid. It makes scheduling in-person meetings for any purpose difficult. An announcement from the UK government is expected the day this post will be published.

I continue to spend time in Bible reading and prayer every morning in my quiet time before breakfast. I also try to find time to play the piano, mainly playing worship songs or classical music.

In a few weeks time I’ll have been blogging for 9 years. Blogging, and particularly reading other people’s blogs, has taught me a great deal. I have learned more history and geography, more about life in other countries, found new books to read and made new online friends, some of whom I met in person before 2020. Then there are the allocated days for so many causes!

I was alerted via Twitter to International Bloggers’ Day by an A to Z Challenge participant, Narayana Rao.

The bloggers I have mentioned in this post are in the UK, the US and India – international bloggers!

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World Book Day, blogging and lockdown

Today 4th March 2021 is World Book Day. I was alerted to this fact by two emails. A rather unlikely source of this information was the one from the National Trust. The National Trust website has some literary podcasts about famous British writers.

It was not at all surprising that Penguin Books also mentioned it. There are books available for just £1. If your local bookshop is able to supply books in the lockdown, please try to support it.

Blogging in lockdown has kept me motivated. I know some people have been finding it difficult to write or to be motivated in other ways. (I have to admit that some of my household tasks tend to be neglected in favour of reading and spending time online.)

It seems to me that reading blogs has also become more popular as people have more time indoors. I find blogging challenges help me to stay motivated and also provide communities of supportive bloggers. Cee Neuner, who has Midweek Madness Challenges (CMMC) for which I have been posting entries for on Sue’s words and pictures, has a list of blogging challenges for writing, music and photography.

On this blog I have been using Linda Kruschke’s paint chip poetry prompts. I am learning a lot about poetic forms this year. If you have enjoyed my occasional photos accompanying my poems, do pop across to Sue’s words and pictures to see more.

I am looking forward to the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge, which begins later this month with the theme reveal sign up from March 8-11. My theme reveal will appear on March 11.

Some good books have been published during lockdown. S.L. Russell, whose book The Healing Knife came out in the first lockdown, has written another; I hope to read The Thorn of Truth soon after its publication date of 21 May 2021 . Joan E. Histon’s book, The Senator’s Darkest Days is likely to have a sequel. Tracy Williamson and Marilyn Baker told their story in A Beautiful Tapestry. Ruth Leigh’s debut novel, the diary of Isabella M.Smugge is being followed up with other books about this star of Instagram. Another debut novelist, Joy Margetts is going to be featured here on Sue’s Trifles in two weeks time. Her historical novel, The Healing, is already available from her website and will be in bookshops from 19 March. A new children’s book, My diary, is being launched today by Emily Owen.

Which books published in 2020 and 2021 have you read and enjoyed?