October blogging landmarks

With cooler weather expected in the Northern Hemisphere this month there are too many blogging events to choose from.

WordPress offered a poetry course beginning on 1 October.  I had neither the time nor the energy for that.

Our own (UK) #NationalPoetryDay was on 8 October.  The theme was Light.  I wrote a light-hearted poem to fit this theme and also the National Trust’s #lovethecoast theme.

The see is not blue

The sea is not blue

The next big blogging event is Blog Action Day for which there are three hashtags #BAD15 #RaiseYourVoice and #Oct16.  I participated in 2013 and 2014.  So far this year I have no real inspiration for the theme.  My draft post looks rather feeble to me.  I’d rather not take part than publish something half-hearted.

It is not too soon to think about Blogging from A to Z in April as we were reminded recently.  I have made some good blogging friends through this particular challenge.  Sue’s words and pictures is lined up to take part in the next one.  Sue’s Trifles, which has been my A to Z blog for three years, is still undecided.  (As if a blog can think!)

Another blogger alerted me to Emily P. Freeman’s monthly link-up “What I learned in…”.  I have linked there a few times recently.

Other bloggers are taking part in 31 days of Writing challenges and I wish them every success.

Are you taking part in a blogging event or challenge this month?


Looking back over three years of blogging

I became a blogger almost by accident.  An idea for a writing project – to collect the sayings, which I heard a lot in my youth – met with encouragement from my daughter and some trusted friends.  My daughter, who had left home, had been blogging for some time.  Rather than do my project privately and bombard her with emails, I decided to set up a blog so that she (and anyone else) could read it without any pressure.

The story of my blogging adventure is recorded in the What’s new section of my first blog.  Sue’s considered trifles was 3 years old on Thursday.

Writing to a formula has advantages and disadvantages.  The main disadvantage for me was that my imagination was being limited by the structure of my posts.  After a few months I had learned quite a lot about blogging and WordPress.  I had discovered the Daily Prompt and other blogging challenges; I wanted to join in.  One of my followers commented that he preferred my usual posts.  The time had come to start my second blog!

Sue’s Trifles was available as a blog name – unlike my first two choices for a name, when I signed up to WordPress.  It was nearly the end of March 2013.  Within days I decided I was in need of inspiration, so I typed “Challenge” into the WordPress Reader.  A post came up announcing that its author was going to take part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge.  I clicked the link and signed up for the challenge.

Through the A to Z Challenge I have made friends with bloggers in several countries around the world.  I was thrilled, when the founder of the challenge visited my blog early in April and left and encouraging comment.

Since then I have posted in various categories.  I have been involved in Blog Action Day twice.  Blog Every Day in November resulted in posts on topics I might not have considered otherwise.

Taking part in Blog Action Day encouraged me to join Twitter.  I’d love you to read the story of how my Twitter handle (username) came about.

Craft, gardening, travel, books and more have appeared on Sue’s Trifles.  I have done a few guest posts on other blogs and have hosted one guest blogger.  She seems to have found some renewed enthusiasm for blogging recently.

Having prepared the posts for my third Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge in advance, I expected to slow down on the blog-writing front.  However an outing on what I later realised was the second anniversary of Sue’s Trifles inspired me to start a third blog.  (By this time I had stopped writing new material for Sue’s considered trifles, although I still have some phrases and sayings left over.)

Sue’s words and pictures is the blog where I share photos taken on my smart-phone.  I have only been using it for eight months.  The phone, that is.  Perhaps the novelty will wear off.

I enjoy fiddling with the appearance of my blogs, although it can be frustrating at times.  Widgets have to be set up carefully!  Layout is also important to me.  I have been known to edit the words so that they fit round the pictures more neatly.

I nearly forgot to mention that I entered both my blogs in the 1st UK Blog awards under the Education (individual) category.  To my surprise they were both short-listed.  (I also entered Sue’s Trifles in the lifestyle category.)  The Awards Evening was an experience to remember (in a good way).

As well as blogging I am also trying to write a book.  I hope over the next year to be able to reduce the time I spend blogging and concentrate on other projects, which might lead to publication off-line.

For those who like numbers, here are my stats on the third anniversary of Sue’s considered trifles:

Sue’s considered trifles

  • POSTS 285
  • VIEWS 7,930
  • VISITORS 3,639

Sue’s Trifles

  • POSTS 493
  • VIEWS 11,597
  • VISITORS 5,806

Sue’s words and pictures

  • POSTS 33
  • VIEWS 589
  • VISITORS 380

If you blog, do you see it as an adventure?  If not, what sort of blogs do you like best?

20 widgets described

Blogging on WordPress.com gives me the option of using widgets.  These allow me to provide information and links in my sidebar here on Sue’s Trifles or below my posts on my other blog – Sue’s considered trifles.  Where these widgets appear may be chosen to some extent, but only within the limitations of the template aka WordPress theme chosen.  (It is possible to change one’s theme, but I have good reasons for sticking with the first one I chose for each blog.) Here I am providing a guided tour to my widgets on Sue’s Trifles at a point in time.  I remove widgets as they become out-dated and add widgets as they become topical. So at 08/08/2014 I have from top to bottom

  1. Award-free blog (Text widget)
  2. A follow by email widget (Follow blog widget)
  3. RSS links for posts or comments (RSS links widget)
  4. Disclaimer regarding adverts (Text widget)
  5. Link to my other blog (Text widget)
  6. Link to recent posts on my other blog (Display WordPress posts widget)
  7. Link to Christianity.org including the official button/badge (Image widget)
  8. Links to recent posts on this blog (Display WordPress posts widget)
  9. My gravatar (Gravatar Profile widget)
  10. Invitation to like my Facebook page (Facebook Like Box)
  11. Invitation to follow on Twitter (Text widget)
  12. List of ten top rated posts (5/5 stars) (Top Rated widget)
  13. Archives (select month) widget (Archives widget)
  14. List of all the categories used on this blog (Categories widget)
  15. Contact details (Text widget)
  16. Blog Action Day 2014 (Image widget)
  17. Ultimate road trip badge (Post A to Z Challenge Blog Hop) (Image widget)
  18. A to Z Survivor 2014 badge (Text widget)
  19. A to Z Survivor 2013 badge (Image widget)
  20. UK Blog Awards 2014 finalist badge (Image widget)

The widget settings may be chosen from the WordPress.com dashboard menu under Appearance. It is interesting that badges may be displayed using text or image widgets.  I can never remember how to do these, so for my benefit as much as anyone else’s, here are the instructions: For an image widget, where I copied the image into my media library (after copying it to my computer), the following fields have to be completed.  (Prompts are in bold type)

Widget title: Blog Action Day 2014 participant
Image URL: https://suestrifles.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/155x250bad14bloggerbadge.jpg
Alternate text: ( ? ) Blog Action Day 2014 participant
Image title: ( ? ) Blog Action Day 2014 participant
Caption: ( ? ) #Blogaction14 #Inequality #Oct16
Image Alignment:      None Left Center Right None
Width:   250 Height: 155 If empty, we will attempt to determine the image size.
Link URL (when the image is clicked): http://www.blogactionday.org

For a Text widget to display a badge some html is required in the text box. Title: A to Z survivor 2014

<a href=”http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/”><img alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-slQ6OiKVhQA/U2DkajMbkII/AAAAAAAACpE/quWPgHpokrg/s1600/survivor-atoz%2B%255B2014%255D%2B-%2BSMALL.jpg&#8221; title=”A to Z survivor 2014″ /> </a>

All the badges on my sidebar are active links to other websites or blogs. Having so many widgets in a sidebar means that many visitors to a single post on Sue’s Trifles may  not find the >> or << allowing them to navigate to other posts.  I am considering introducing a standard sentence on every post to help avoid this difficulty. Please scroll down to access other posts using the >> or << links.