World Traveller…..ie All over the Map

Now there’s a figure of speech that works for me, “All over the Map”. It’s what best describes my writing style of late, so much so I’m thinking of changing my tagline to “World Traveller”.

My mind wanders. It frequently wonders too but mostly it just wanders, jumping from thought to thought without settling on any one thing. Perhaps it’s like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices that deciding on just one is onerous.

I think of blogging. I think of things in my yard or in my house, tasks, responsibilities. I think of friends, both current and past, and right now I think of my last counselor Elly. She was my favourite.

Not that Gloria was not good, or anything remotely like that, Elly was just more ‘into me’ if that makes any sense. Elly was like the friend I never had. I felt more open with her, more real. And that’s not to say I could tell her my most inner thoughts, my darkest quirks, those things best left unsaid. Those things or thoughts that should never be let out. Things like…….
(more here http://wp.me/p8mDx0-vc)

Build It, They will Come

I can’t explain it, and maybe it’s foolhardy to try. Can it be so simple as to ‘Build it and they will come’?

The quote is a derivation of the famous quote from the movie “Field of Dreams” and in the show the “it” they are referring to is a baseball field. Kevin Costner, as the central character, builds a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field, in order that dead baseball heroes come back from the hereafter to play.

Field of my dreams
Field of my dreams

The quote used here, in this context, doesn’t relate to any out of world sport. What I’m thinking of here is this blog, these posts. The same posts and blog that often surprise me with readership, and followers. Now not to look a gift horse in the mouth as it were, but I wonder ‘why’?

Call me a cynic but I’m surprised if it’s my exhilarating wordsmithing, or the subject matter. I would like to think (optimistically) that it’s my writing, my style or patter. The whole exercise just makes me go ‘hmmm’ that’s all.

Again being the cynic, the perpetual doubter, I’m drawn to the theory that a number of these followers have a somewhat ulterior motive, perhaps that of drawing attention to their own posts. This technique is oft touted as one to be used to garner more traffic. You know, I will ‘like’ your posts if you ‘like’ mine. Sort of a digital ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’.

And this may often work, just not generally for me. Not at this time anyway. I’m quite sure there are tons of great, even superb, posts out there, many written by my followers, but it’s unlikely I’ll see them as I’m so wrapped up in my own sh** that I have no time nor little energy to read them. Just look at my posting frequency. That’s likely my loss.

So I’ll continue to build my field and if the readers come out of the corn to read and follow then I count my lucky stars. If I build it, will they will come?

Wow! MIA again

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but I’m pretty sure that only applies to a few situations. Perhaps that only pertains to loving relationships, not errant bloggers. Lately I feel like one of those bloggers. I’m MIA, “missing in action”.

Certainly it does not apply to those who profess to love the art of expression though blogging, and yet in their absence from the ‘net show a position which could be construed as indifferent at best. I hope that’s not me.

What can I say that I haven’t said before, life gets in the way. Didn’t a wise man once say that?

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
John Lennon

Enough of that, it’s been said here too much before.

I’ve been a nomad of late, travelling here and there, mostly back and forth to Kelowna where my daughter and family live/work. Let’s face it, that’s where my grandson Madden is too.

20131018-120625.jpg

At any rate I’m frequently mobile, not lots of time at home. And when my needs for grandson attention call you can bet I’ll respond.

He’s a big one for electronics as you can see from the photo above. I think that’s a genetic thing as both his mother and father, and me of course, are addicted to e-devices of one sort or another. Not something to be proud of necessarily, just an observation. I for one can’t seem to shake ‘the beast’. They are addictive, so even if I’m not around, if I’m MIA, I can still likely be found on my device

I Have to Ask…

Does anyone….sorry that’s kinda negative… how many people really follow a blog for any length of time? I ask because I am quite curious. The question could really be put to any type of social media.

I’ve been blogging for a relatively short period of time in the big picture, lets call it 2 years for arguments sake. Certainly many bloggers/writers have hung in longer, many almost as long as the medium has been available, and my question would also be put to them. Do you know many followers have hung in there for the duration, ie how many of the xxxx number of followers one might have are :

  1. current, still reading/following your blog
  2. real, living, followers, ie not dead links or bogus accounts that somehow slipped through the cracks,
  3. still a follower/subscriber, but never (or seldom) read the posts

When I look it up on my ‘Site Stats’ I have a little under 80 followers listed and yet when I review the list on an a person by person basis a number of them are either invalid sites or no longer show as a current WordPress account. Now I’m not really that hung up on readership numbers, it’s just nice (great) to have people interested in what you say. The only real way I can measure what I’m doing is by the followers or subscribers, or any ‘likes’ or comments. I do essentially write for my own needs but let’s face it peer acknowledgement is better, heck it’s awesome. We all like to have our ego’s stroked.

mappa_blog
mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

While on this topic of readership, the idea of which was sparked by my most recent interest in SEO, I came to think if we can’t trust the number of ‘followers’ how do we really know how well we are doing? Of course if I ask questions in the body of my posts and those are answered by some number of readers I will know immediately if I’m reaching anyone. That’s good blogging (according to most ‘good blogging’ practices), and I know I don’t do that well. Partially that’s due to the type of posts I usually generate (journal entries) and partially because when I do create questions they come off as forced, at least to me. I don’t want my stuff to be forced. So I guess I’m stuck, either ask questions, intelligent questions hopefully, take the number of followers at face value, or just not worry about it.

Hmmm, don’t think ‘not worry about it’ is an option. May be a good idea but it’s not my nature, I’m more the type that’ll perseverate over the smallest thing. Just who I am.

So I’ll dig into it a bit further, try to improve the site(s) to generate more notice, and then ponder the results. I might even throw in a few questions, just to mix it up.

If you do have the answer, or would be kind enough to comment anyway, I’d love to hear what you say. I just have to ask…..

I Came Here to Write

reading, books, SEO, search engine optimization

I have some time, I’m making time, I am waiting for my wife.

We escaped our small town today and ran away to the big city to shop, relax, eat, try and relax, eat, shop.  Something tells me the relaxing part may not come to fruition but likely the others will.

Once we arrived in Spokane our first stop was one of the largest malls in town, good planning or what. I knew it would be a good place to begin, the wife can limp around (another story) perusing all the sales etc. and I can scoot over to Barnes & Noble to look at books, and perhaps do some research.  My current ‘interest’ you see is SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization.

This interest in SEO maybe a fixation, will likely fade over time.  Heck, it may be gone by the time I leave the store, but it is with me now and with me strong. Seemed the least I could do was write about it.

It began when I read a post written by Lesley Carter at Bucket List Publications called “7 Great Ways to Improve Your Alexa Ratings”. I guess it really didn’t start there, but it was re-inspired when I read her numerous posts on ways to improve hits on your site and increasing your readers and followers. I don’t personally subscribe to that particular SEO service but I have taken part in Google’s Analytics and another service called HubSpot, a web marketing service.

I don’t proclaim to know if one site is better than the next, you’ll have to do the research and find that out for yourself, but the concept is sound I think. If you can improve your site by making small changes, by increasing links or putting the name of your site out there on other sites it can only help. I am just touching on the very basics here and there is certainly much more to it than that.

seo, books, bookstore, learning
All you wanted to know about SEO

So this bring me full circle. Here I am in Barnes & Noble, waiting for my wife and spending time searching the shelves for an appropriate book(s) on SEO.

Unfortunately I quickly become overwhelmed. The sheer number of books (and the cost) takes the wind out of my sails and I rapidly decide I will endeavour to learn most of what I need to know by getting library books and reading free articles on-line. That’s not to say the books aren’t beneficial, only that for me, right now, they are too much and too soon.

So, as the saying goes, if you can’t do something, you can write about it. Here I am, I came to write.

Away, But Not Gone

upside down, sewing, change

I am here, but not. Wanting but not having. Feeling but not saying. Alone but not lonely.
– me

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

It’s been some time since my last post. This sounds suspiciously like the preamble to a confession, where I enter the confessional and spill my sordid deeds to the priest. Tisn’t though.  First off I’m not Catholic and don’t really believe confessing my sins to another man carries any weight. My sins are between me and my God, or whatever Deity you may choose to believe in. But that’s just me, you have your beliefs and I have mine.

No, it’s only my ‘confession’ to you, my loyal readers.  Those that chose to follow my ramblings, to see where this lunatic would take you, and perhaps get the odd chuckle or maybe a thought provoking idea.  I love you for that, I truly do.  My confession today is about my blogging.

I know I’ve been remiss.  Many times I grabbed my laptop, or my iPhone, and thought “you know, I should post something”.  The rubber never hit the road, as they say, I never followed through with the thought.  Hope was not a plan.

I am ok though, I haven’t had a fall nor fallen ill.  I’ve just been busy, and where I realize you should never be too busy to write I guess the drive to do that, to write, just carried less weight than the other things going on in my life.  In actuality I’ve been feeling pretty good.  I’m still on a reduced dosage of my meds and looking to get off completely in a month or so (whenever I run out of pills). No, I’ve been busy with ‘life’.

We just got back from Hawaii, my wife and I, along with our daughter and her family.  We were enjoying the sun and surf, sightseeing, bonding (maybe too much bonding), and just generally trying to relax.  I took just over 650 photos, most of my grandson Madden, and have all those to deal with yet. What a problem to have.

Also just prior to our departure on Nov.29th I purchased a domain name and began setting up a website.  Since our return I’ve been fixated on getting that to a point where I feel ok with it, and then I began setting up an online gallery for all my photos.  This required more software acquisition, installation, and set up.  I’ve also become reacquainted with some family members and have had my interest in genealogy rekindled.  So many things to do, so little time.

So the long and short of it is that my focus has been oriented toward ‘other’ of my many interests.  Somehow in this cornucopia of things I like to do I still need to find that balance, a moderation of all things enjoyable.  Til then I deal with my passions in the only way I know how, to try and do them all.

Cheers

I’m Struggling, Grasping for a String

forward, future, distance

Today is another challenge, I want to write, to post something meaningful.  My mind is blank, the ideas aren’t coming, I’m struggling.  I’m looking for a string, a concept to grasp and write about.

I just finished reading a post by another blogger, a specialist in blogging and creating blog and web traffic.  His name is Daniel Scocco and his topic was “A Quick Strategy to Increase Your Traffic.  You can read the post here.  It was very informative and suggested a number of ways we could increase the number of page views, the traffic, on our blogs.  Good ideas all.

It’s an interesting post, one which would undoubtedly help any of us, certainly me.  The caveat in my case seems to be finding the time.  I realize if the task is important enough you WILL find the time, you’ll MAKE the time.  I suspect at this time in my life it just isn’t that important.  I also believe there will be a time when it will.  There are certainly aspects of his suggestions I WILL employ, good ideas.

I started to write this blog to supplement my paper journal, to create a diary if you will of my ’emotional state’, a record of my mood and journey (to use an over-used word in my mind) out of depression.  If for no one but myself it has been a beneficial exercise.  Along the way I have attracted a few followers and created some interest, and that has been …… mentally supportive.  I search for the right word but it doesn’t come, needless to say it feels good.  I don’t feel as burdened by the yoke of depression as I once did.

I’ve seen this site morph into a venue where I frequently bitched, still do on occasion, to one where I’ve developed additional interests.  Maybe re-developed is a better term.  I’m thinking specifically of photography, the art of taking pictures and seeing beauty in the people and things around us..  Blogging is not only a means to not only talk about myself but to strut my stuff (light-hearted humor attempted!)

rail, tracks, railway, perspective
Tracks to the future

Whatever the reason the outcome is the same as it is for so many of use.  Blogging gives an opportunity to speak and be heard.  A means to dialogue with those of similar interests.  Somewhere we can feel connected.  A path or road on our journey through life.

Mine sometimes feels like this photo, I’m taking a path but I can’t see my destination, I can’t see much beyond the next 1/4 mile what life holds.  It’s an interesting trip though.  I’m glad to be on it.

Fall Back, The Colours are Upon Us

I hate to admit it but I think our summer is over. The fall colours are showing and autumn is on the cusp.  The days are noticeably shorter and while it’s still amazingly gorgeous here in the Kootenay’s I can’t help but feel just a little sad.  I’m having so much fun, or most of the time anyway.

Unfortunately my job list doesn’t appear appreciably shorter, in fact every time I look at it the “completed” column is significantly shorter than the “to do” side.  It could be because I keep adding to it I guess.  Who am I kidding, there is no list save for the one in my head.

Travel, family, travel to family, and a host of other interests continue to pull me in multiple directions, and sometimes at the same time.  Just another facet of my personality I’m learning to live with, and only beginning to understand in some ways.  I often jokingly refer to it as my ADD side, certainly not to minimize it for those that are impacted by it significantly.

autumn, colour, tree, fall
fall colour in Van’s yard

I was at my friends house the other day picking something up.  More stuff for future, as yet unnamed, projects.  I noticed a tree in his front yard, beautiful in it’s fall garb, all oranges and reds.  I don’t know what kind of tree it is but I had to go back today to take a picture of it.  This kind of beauty is awe inspiring.

The beauty of Autumn

Another thing that inspires me is that my moods have been pretty good lately too.  I don’t know the how or why of it, could be that it’s just the way things are.  Could be my meds, could be I’m better.  Could be I’m just at a high point.  In light of some other posts I’ve read, particularly “Understanding Emotional Intensity”, it could be just that I’m normally an up and down kinda guy and just have to accept it.  I believe the term was Emotional Intensity.

Essentially, if I am such, it’s not abnormal for me to have some stronger swings of mood.  The kicker is the moods can be higher and lower than what others may normally experience.  Now I’m only paraphrasing here, this certainly isn’t a diagnosis.  Let’s just say  I’ve interpreted these mood swings to be a sign of my depression.  It would be swell if they were not.

Anyway as life rolls on and my retirement progresses I am learning to adapt to a number of things.  So far I’d say I’m pretty successful, I hope others would feel the same.  I enjoy my private time but do find occasions where I feel the need to be around people.  Maybe not socializing as such but being around others.  We are after all social beings.

I got out of the house today to take some photos and run errands, and in fact I’m sitting here writing this from the pub.  Sorta like killing two birds with one stone.  Free wi-fi and my blogging clock was ticking.  I had the pictures in hand so let’s use them.

Once I post it’ll be back home to take on one (read that part of one) project.  Whether it’s a welding project for a friend or cataloging my photos I can’t say.  Maybe just reading a book, who knows.  I do feel a bit recharged though, taking photos can do that.  And the fall colours don’t hurt.