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


How blogging and social media are enriching my life

I began blogging almost by accident. I had a writing project in mind. A-M was encouraging me to get on with it. She had already shown me that blogging was a way of sharing writing. Rather than bombard her with emails, I decided to start my own blog. That was in 2012 – the year we really were empty-nesters.

After about 8 months of blogging on Sue’s considered trifles, where I mainly wrote to a formula and found that my regular readers did not appreciate more experimental posts I began Sue’s Trifles. This was a place to practise writing. I explored the web for challenges. It was late March 2013 and I discovered that the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge was about to begin. I signed up with little idea about how to proceed.

I wrote my posts as I went along. By the last week of April I was ahead of the deadlines. I had fun! I am still following and interacting with some of the bloggers I encountered online through that challenge.

I was persuaded to join Facebook to be able to see the photos another member of the family was posting. It was not something I’d have done otherwise. I had been following public Facebook posts from a particular band tour, so I had some idea about how Facebook worked.

I soon realised I could use it to promote my blogs, but I haven’t really done that well.

More recently (in 2015) I joined the Association of Christian Writers and discovered their activities on Facebook. I also belong to a poetry writing group. It is these groups, which I enjoy most on Facebook.

I knew less about Twitter at the time I joined. Having signed up for Blog Action Day 2013 I was under the impression that a lot of interaction would take place on Twitter. It was a problem to know who to follow at first as I knew hardly anybody involved.

However I got started and wrote a few posts about my early experiences on Twitter.

I prefer Twitter to Facebook. I find it a useful source of information, entertaining and providing some beautiful photography in a quickly accessed format.

I have made new friends on Twitter and Facebook.  My twitter friends are a less homogeneous group.

The interesting part of this story is the way in which my blogging and social media activities began to escape from the computer screen into real life. The first blogger I met was Fletch the Perchcrow. I have visited him and his assistants at Wordsworth House and Garden several times over the blogging years (and earlier). Fletch and I were both short-listed in the first UK Blog awards in 2014. As he couldn’t attend the award ceremony, I went as his representative as well as for my first two blogs. It gave me something interesting to talk about to the other bloggers in London. Hardly any of them knew about Cockermouth, where William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived as children.  (Cockermouth is over 300 miles from London by road.)

At the awards ceremony I also met a handful of bloggers I had met through Twitter chats. One of them made sure I picked up a goody bag!

In October 2015 I attended a writer’s day in London and met some people I had been in contact with online. In June 2016 I went on a writers’ weekend and met even more (and some for the second time). I attended another meeting in London in October 2016. The speakers at these events were all inspirational. I hope something from them has rubbed off on my writing!

Among my other interests I regularly blog about books I have read. If I am able to connect with publishers, authors or organisations with a strong link to any of the books, I do so. When I was given a book by an acquaintance, who had contributed a poem to it, I was pleasantly surprised. (I may well have bought the book, because of its local interest.) My activities online led to an invitation to the book launch, where there happened to be live music from a friend of A-M and interesting conversations with like-minded people.

For Christmas 2016 A-M gave me a book, which has led to another adventure. It was Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane, which I reviewed on Sue’s Trifles. As  members of the National Trust hubby and I had received news about an exhibition at Wordsworth House arising from the work of Robert Macfarlane and his parents, who are talented photographers. I mentioned the exhibition in my blog post and tweeted about it. An invitation arrived through the ether to an evening event at Wordsworth House with Robert Macfarlane and his parents and others including those involved with the exhibition. It was a very enjoyable evening.

I have skipped over the fact that I was recommended via a Tweet from someone, who contributed a word to the Landmarks’ glossary, to read another book by Robert Macfarlane and others. This book is Holloway. It is an exquisite little book. I had to request it from the library. A-M has a copy and had been inspired by it to write a lovely song. She has recorded a demo, which Robert Macfarlane has listened to and enjoyed. So have hubby and I.

So the boundaries between online activity and so-called real-life are becoming blurred. The positive aspect of this is that connections are made. Writers encourage one another. There are conversations between writers, artists, photographers, song-writers and others, who use the internet for business purposes. It is all about networking and making connection. A published writer has promised to buy my first poetry book, when I eventually find a way of getting it into print. (I am still an amateur or hobby writer.)

My third blog resulted from a day trip and has led to many more visits to interesting places.

This post is appearing on Easter Day. I wish all my readers the blessings of Easter. May peace and joy be yours.



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?