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My words and photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission, even on Pinterest.

~ Kathy M.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy is Three Years Old: My Blog is my Music

 In November 2008, my little sister suggested that I make my own blog, after I had so much fun reading hers,  Chubby Mommy Running Club.  I also enjoyed Robyn's Living Oprah (the lady who watched Oprah each day and followed every bit of her advice and then blogged about it), and Ree's  Pioneer Woman.  All three of them ended up on t.v. in one form or another over the past three years, but believe me, that was not my goal.

I did want people to read my blog, but I didn't know anything about blogging.  That was certainly apparent in the early days.  I give great thanks and appreciation to my close friends and relatives who tuned in to see what Cary and I were up to, and to see their own pictures in family gatherings and birthday posts.  I appreciate that they let me use their pictures, though come to find out some people wished that I would not have.  One person said "don't ever" and I minded him.   The rest, it took me a few years to figure it out by a change in their attitude toward me.  Sorry.  Directness works better over all.

Still, I was very excited about the opportunity that blogging gave me as a resource to organize my thoughts, photos and interests.  I went crazy making blogs!  Some have become inactive, but when you have 49 blogs, that is bound to happen.  I don't have any advertisers (though I am not against that one bit), and I don't owe anybody a thing, except to stay positive and to not be mean.  This gives me freedom to blog as I wish.

One day, Becky Povich discovered me, and turned me on to the blogging community at large.  She introduced her friends to me, two of them now being my sweet friends Lisa Ricard Claro from Writing in the Buff  and Lynn Obermoeller from Present Letters .  A new level of blogging had begun for me: friendships and relationships.  Repeat commenters.  People who actually enjoyed my blog who were not related to me.  I started to feel accepted. 

The next step in my blogging journey was discovering meme/linky parties.  Boy, did I go full force on that trip for about eight months.  I am glad that I did, because I met so many really neat people (many who are now listed on my sidebar under the general category of the type of blog they have).  Our insurance company will probably be grateful for all of the pictures I took of our things, if push ever comes to shove.  Tablescapes, room remixes, vintage items, red things, sky watches, watery things, table tops, vignettes, tea times, Mary Engelbreight items, outdoors, blue things, old pictures, reflections, bargain books, book blurbs ... you name it, I was on it.  Now I have settled down to just a few each week. 

I did get more visitors and followers by participating in the linky parties, but I have stuck with the ones where I feel included in the group.  I enjoy getting to really know the others who share the same interests as I do.  Remember to acknowledge your visitors and those who comment.  Pay them a reciprocal visit when you can.

I would leave somebody out if I tried to highlight all my favorite blog friends, but please know that I appreciate each of you who stop by to visit and get to know me.  Thank you so much, I love ya all. 

So, over the past three years, what have I learned about blogging?  

Be true to yourself.  Write about things that interest you.  Your voice and your personality will shine through. There are so many people in the world, that eventually those who enjoy your blog and will find you. 

Don't worry about the numbers and getting "official" followers.  If you are going to run your blog as a platform and want advertisers, then I guess that the follower number is important, but it isn't for me.  At least now.  It was too important before, and I got my feelings hurt when people would drop me, so I took off the widget for about a year.  I just put it back on this week, at the bottom of the page. 

Offer something of value to others.  I like to think that my bits of history and geographical reports will come in handy to somebody someday.  My Sepia posts have brought me together with long lost relatives from many sides of my extended family.  My photos of the coast, campgrounds, Freemont Street in Las Vegas, and the Alamo may have been helpful to others who were wondering about them and looking them up on the internet.  Some of the posts with the most hits are about Heidi and Billy the Exterminator, just because people wondered about those topics. 

Do something for your own personal growth with your blog.  My attempts at writing essays and fiction book blurbs stretch me, and have given me confidence to go forward with my writing. 

Offer variety.  Not everybody cares about my ancestors, but they like it when I offer up personal, chatty posts.  Or, they like to see how to make split pea soup or learn to make a fleece blanket.  I'm eclectic by nature, so it shows in my blog. 

Watermark all of your pictures, not just the ones that you consider to be your "best".  Things have changed over the past three years.  People steal whole blogs now.  Google takes your photos from your blog or Picassa account and puts them under "Google Images" for anybody to take.  Give it a try, with your own name and see what comes up.  Unless you sign your name, somebody else might!  On the other hand, give people credit and link back to their website if you use one of their photos, asking them first if it is a personal blog.  I feel bad that I didn't know about doing this when I first started and Live Images didn't do the work for us back then.  (I process my photos through Picassa 3, which is a free program, and use the text feature to write my name, and the year that I took the picture.  Easy peasy!)

When I thought of making this post, I remembered a Jimmy Buffett song called "Making Music for Money".  His agent suggested that if he wanted to be played more on the radio that perhaps he should write more standard songs.  This song is his reply to his agent, where he says he needs to make music for himself.  And look at all the people who follow Jimmy Buffett now, because he was true to himself.  He never sold out, he never gave up, even though he still rarely gets played on the radio unless he's with Alan Jackson.

My blog is my music.

Please check out how I have reorganized my sidebar.  It will be much easier to find older posts now.  I have put my interest area, my blog posts about it, and then link lists of blogs with similar interests.  Enjoy, and please keeping coming back to see me! 

Kathy M. 

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Grammy Goodwill said...

This is a very informative post, Kathy. I have to learn how to watermark my pictures, I guess. I started a blog because my daughter had one. Now she's made hers private and I'm still out here.

Lynn said...

I'm going to have to learn how to watermark my photos too. Thanks for the shout out, you're way too sweet and glad to be called your friend and vice-a-versa :-). Love all your suggestions, good food for thought.

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy Blogaversary. Three years is impressive and you have done it your way.
Blogging really has been great fun and a healthy challange.
So glad you decided to start pounding the keyboard. Keep em coming.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Now you need to do a post on "how to watermark photos." :) I put names on through Picnik, but I don't know if that's the same thing. Is it?

Love your blog. You are loving and genuine, Kathy, and that comes through loud and clear. I'm proud to be your friend.

Lisa Plumb said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and what you've learned! What good advice for all of our lives - to be true to ourselves! And thanks for being such a big cheerleader as I embarked on my blogging adventure. Happy Anniversary, dear friend!

Melissa Bradley said...

Happy Blogoversary!! Thnk you for sharing what you've learned. I don't take pictures because I'm bad at it and have no camera. :)

No Copying!


Links to My Oregon Blog Posts (Except for Central Oregon):

"Oregon Bloggers"

"Sepia Saturday, Postcard and Stamp Blogs"

"Writing and Poetry Blogs":