Changes to my blogging and social media habits

While I have been spending more time at home, I have perhaps also spent more time reading and writing blogs and scrolling through Facebook and Twitter.

I have noticed some changes in the blogosphere, some of which I had noticed when they happened and others for which I missed the announcements. In the past I have taken part in challenges set by WordPress’ Daily Post. These stopped some time ago. The UK Blog Awards, which I entered in 2014 ceased after a few years. Only recently I discovered that the post40bloggers, which featured posts from older bloggers no longer has a website. The Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues each April. On the official challenge website there were a number of posts about blogging and its future. In part those posts have helped me decide to write this post.

Another blogging group on which Sue’s Trifles is listed is Bible Gateway’s blogger grid. The badge in the sidebar or below the post, depending on the device used, is a link.

My blogging habits have changed recently. After the Daily Post stopped issuing a weekly photo challenge I reverted to posting once a week on Sue’s words and pictures. This year I decided to join in with Cee Neuner’s On the Hunt for Joy photo challenge. This is also a weekly challenge. I have been posting my response to it midweek as well as a post on Saturday. My Saturday posts have become rather parochial since lockdown began in March, but I am hoping this will not continue indefinitely.

Here on Sue’s Trifles I took a month off from book reviews and craft posts and an occasional post about blogging in order to complete the A to Z Challenge. Normal service is now resumed.

Another challenge I have been taking part in is Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry Challenge. This is a weekly challenge issued on Fridays. There is a topic and a number of words or phrases from those paint colour sample sheets found in good hardware stores. The challenge is to incorporate a certain number of these into a poem and share it either in the comments or on one’s blog. I have been sharing mine in the comments, but have decided to gather them together on a page on this blog.

I have also entered several of Helen Yendell’s writing competitions, which also involve including words she provides. All these help me improve my writing skills. Reading the work of other writers in response to the challenges also helps.

Over on Twitter I have been a regular participant in #wildflowerhour on a Sunday evening (8pm London time). I have decided to take a break. This is to free up some time to work on a writing project. I have learned a great deal about the wild flowers that grow locally, but I have found that there is far more to recognising plants than just being able to name them: there are different kinds of speedwells, vetches, scabiouses and more. I forget some of them from one year to the next and have to learn them again! A break should be good for me.

For the followers, who are more interested in craft than writing, I am including a photo of a small blanket I have made from my friends’ left-over yarn. It is going to a new arrival in their family.

Today (21 May 2020) is Ascension Day. It is the day when we remember that Jesus Christ returned to heaven. Luke 24:50-53

This was necessary for the Holy Spirit to be sent to Jesus’ followers. Acts 2


Just a trifle

This post is what I have written for this month’s meeting of the writing group I joined last year.  The prompt “Just a trifle” was really about how a detail can bring a piece of narrative to life.  Considering the names of my blogs, I could not resist writing about them.

One of the piano pieces I learned to play while I was still at junior school was called “Un petit rien”.  The editorial notes above the music explained that the phrase meant “A trifle”.  Once I began to learn French I realised that it actually meant “A little nothing”.

My Grandad asked a riddle.

“What is smaller than nothing?”

We were puzzled.

“The dot on the middle,” he told us.

We were still puzzled.

He fetched paper and a pencil.  First he drew the shape of a nought (or zero as we are learning to say.)  Next he put a dot in the middle.  “That’s smaller than nothing!”

Smaller than nothing

Smaller than nothing

So a trifle is something insignificant – or is it?

When I began my first blog in July 2012 I needed a name for it.  As it was going to be about sayings and perhaps proverbs, I thought a name along those lines would be appropriate.  Registering for a free WordPress blog, I needed a name, which had not already been used.

I tried “catintheadage” – it had gone.  So had “consideredtrifles”.  That was an abandoned blog about food.  Later in the day I tried “suesconsideredtrifles”.  It was mine!

After about eight months, having caught the blogging bug, I was debating whether or not to start a new blog.  I decided that if I could have Sue’s Trifles, I’d definitely do so.  I could and I did.  Sue’s Trifles now has 500 posts.  These range from craft posts to responses to blogging challenges, points of view and more besides.  A blogger wrote a memorable comment on a post I published about mental health.  She thanked me for tackling a not-at-all trifling subject.

Out of my 500 posts only three have been specifically about mental health, but one of those has the most votes as a 5 star post.  It is in my top five most-viewed posts.

My most popular post for a long time was the first craft one I wrote. It was about a pin cushion I made at the craft group using Cathedral window patchwork.  That has now been overtaken by a knitting one about enlarging the neck of a child’s sweater.  Two posts linked with other sites have also been viewed more than most.  One about overcoming shyness was featured on a site for bloggers over-40 and the other was the reflections post after this year’s A to Z challenge.

One of my favourite trifles is this, written in response to the prompt: Three people walked into a bar.

Three men walked into a bar.  They didn’t do it on purpose.

It was a dark and stormy night.  The electricity had gone off, so there were no street lights.  They had been in a bar earlier and were a bit the worse for wear.

They decided to take a short cut down a side street.  They were walking three abreast with their arms linked for mutual support.  They didn’t see the alley gate – a red and white striped bar across the road.

Three men walked into a bar.  Ouch!


My blogging year – 2013 in review

At the beginning of 2013 I had been blogging for less than six months.  I had one blog with 51 posts and a few pages.  I was posting frequently, but not regularly.  Once written, a post was published immediately.  So there might be two or three a week.

The main thing was that I was enjoying writing.

When I had been blogging for six months I became a little bored with just writing in the style of my English language blog and began to branch out.  By the end of March I had another blog.

This was just in time to take part in Blogging from A to Z in April.  (Sign up for 2014 from the end of January!) I participated in other challenges through the year.  Apart from responding to many Daily Prompts and a few Weekly Writing Challenges, I have participated in Blog Action Day, Blog Every Day in November and Fifty States of Pray.  I have written a guest post for Blogging from A to Z in April and contributed to two e-books about blogging.  I have also widened my horizons with some of the prompts for the promptless from Queen Creative.

I have created a Facebook page for my blogs and have joined Twitter.  Rather rashly I entered both blogs in the UK Blog Awards – Sue’s considered trifles in the Education Category and Sue’s Trifles in both the Education and Lifestyle Categories.  One vote is allowed per person in each category.  Please click on the buttons in my sidebar to go to the voting page and receive a free e-book in which entrants (including me) are interviewed.

At the end of the year I have 170 posts on Sue’s considered trifles and 214 on Sue’s Trifles, where I have managed to post every day since 25 October.  I may slow down a bit in 2014!

Although I have spent a lot of time sitting at my lap-top, I have also been busy in the local community and visiting family members.  For me 2013 has been a good year.  It has bee a time of  learning new skills and renewing old ones.  I have enjoyed friendships old and new, online and offline.  I have been to places I never dreamed I’d visit.  My craft projects have given me enjoyment and something to write about.  Musical activities have included two concerts, many church services, where I sing in the choir, carol-singing and occasionally playing in a small orchestra.  Only yesterday I was privileged to be able to visit a care home with the orchestra and join in on descant recorder playing carols for the residents, staff and visitors to sing and other music for them to listen to.

I have much to be thankful for as I look forward to the New Year.

Today’s Daily Prompt is about being a new person tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year. Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to by anyone, alive today or someone gone long ago. If you decide to stay “you” share your rationale.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us METAMORPHOSIS.

I have (at last) learned to be comfortable in my own skin.  How about you?