Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blogs and blogging. Thoughts.

Blogs – thoughts

I think of blogs as public journals. They generally consist of a series of individual entries, each usually dated and frequently titled. Unlike a diary, where sequential pages usually move from the past to the present, blogs are usually arranged with the most recent entry, or “post,” first. Like a diary, there is likely not a safe hiding place for a blog – so don’t write things you don’t want other people to read. Blogs can be written by a single author or by several.

I have a rich history of blog-writing fear. The source of the fear is at least two-fold: 1) written words seem more permanent to me than spoken words so I worry more about errors ranging from typos to grammar to irrelevance to non-logic, and 2) my family of origin is very word-laden and I get worried that I will melt under the weight of the words I mix together, like a chemistry experiment gone bad.

Here’s how I’ve talked myself down from the blog fear: 1) I’m already in actual print every month with the pastor’s column in the church newsletter, 2) I am as word-laden as the rest of my family, so it’s too late now to traffic in word fear, 3) very few people will actually read what I write, and 4) on a practical level the blog format is better than twitter, facebook and pinterest for short essays and opinion pieces.

I find 4) the most convincing of the above reasons, and it is what spurred me to figure out my blog password, update my profile and restart myself down the written-yet-virtual word path.  For purely pragmatic reasons, a blog can be very helpful. Teaching at license to preach school but you are pretty sure the students will lose or fold into origami paper cranes anything you hand them? Give them the link to your blog and post notes there.  Do you have a bunch of book reviews from a previous life that you want to be able to find again? Post them on the blog. Doing your best to teach your colleagues about social media, but afraid someone will notice you haven’t written in your blog for a year? Post to the blog – that way there’s a current post, plus you might encourage someone else to lay aside their blog fear.

Where to blog and names: I picked blogger because it’s a google product, and I already use gmail so I figured if I could navigate one google product, I could probably figure out another one. When you pick a blog name, remember that the title of the blog can be longer and more descriptive, but the name of the blog is what your readers will use to find you online. So: the title of this blog is kind of goofy. Rev Steph’s Eclectic Garden. My guess is I was trying to give myself room for a variety of post topics without sounding too complicated. The blog name for web use, however, is The difference between the two? I advise keeping the name short and spellable, and the title as poetic and confusing as you’d like. 

Proofing: I have some typos and missing words in my recent posts. This is because I did not follow my own advice. Which goes like this: write your post in a word document and cut and paste it into the blogging tool you use. This way your spellcheck will find basic, annoying errors for you. Once you paste in the spellchecked words, utilize the draft function to proof what you have written again. Then wait at least ten minutes to post so you can read again while you feel less enthusiastic and therefore are better able to read for continuity, voice, structure, and redundancy. The good news is that after you have posted, you can go back and edit your work, so you won’t leave behind a permanent grammatical disaster.

Late July, 2014. Omaha garden

I once read that gardeners should keep a notebook, and anytime you plant a perennial you should make a note of the name and draw a map of where you planted it.  

I don't know the name of the purple plant, nor do I know when I planted it or its source.

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