Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Blogger Recognition Award

Arwen Undomiel awarded me with this on her blog -- thanks, Arwen!  (I find it extra-special fun that I have blogging friends I get to address with names like Arwen and Eowyn.  Makes me grin!)

Rules and Regulations: 
~ Attach the award.
~ Thank the person who nominated you.
~ Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night.
~ Give a brief story of how your blog got started and a piece or two of advice for new bloggers.
~ Select 15 blogs to nominate.
~ Comment on each nominee's blog and let them know that you've nominated them.

Having checked off the first three items there, now it's time for the story of how I started my blog:

It all began back in October of 2002.  Earlier that year, I'd graduated from college and gotten married.  While my husband finished up his last year of college, I worked doing data entry at a local business.  In the break room there, I picked up a newspaper at random one day in the break room and read about this relatively new internet thing called blogging.  Being a writer and a journaler, I thought it sounded like a fun new creative outlet, and after considering it for a few days, I started up this blog.  My blog entries back then were a LOT different from what I write today.  It was mostly me contemplating various things that happened in my life, jotting down little experiences, and other kind of boring things.  No one was reading my blog, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, and so I abandoned it in early 2003.

But in 2004, I picked it up again and started posting a little more about books and movies that I was reading and watching, though I didn't do real reviews, but more like reactions to them, sharing memorable quotes, things like that.  I posted fairly regularly from then until 2009, when I quit again for nearly a full year.  But since I started back up again in 2010, I've been blogging steadily.  In 2012, I started The Edge of the Precipice, which is devoted to books and bookish topics.  And in 2014, I started We Cook Too Much at the behest of my sister-in-law, who wanted a way to access my recipe collection online in a searchable way.

Oops, that said it was supposed to be a brief story of my blogging life, wasn't it?  Oh well.

On to the blog advice!  Here are a few things I've learned over the years:
  • Write about things that interest you.  Sounds obvious, but honestly, it's probably the most important thing to remember when blogging.  If you're getting bored with your posts, your readers will too.
  • Choose a focus, and make that focus apparent on your main blog page.  For instance, my book blog gets its name from a quote about storytelling from one of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I feature that quote in my header at all times so anyone who happens upon that blog for the first time will know exactly what it's about (stories!  books!).  On the other hand, this Soliloquy blog has no real focus, other than that I do post about movies a lot, so my blog description makes it reasonably clear that you can expect to read about movies and random things here.
  • Use pictures.  Pictures make blog posts more fun.  But don't put in so many pictures that they overwhelm the text.
  • Make it easy for people to follow you.  Add a widget to your sidebar for Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin' or both.  Add one for people to follow you via their email too.
  • Follow other blogs.  Read them and comment on them.  Stop following blogs that bore you.  Participate in blogging memes, blog parties, and any other event you find that sounds fun.  Is it cool to have 100 followers?  Probably.  Is it great to have 20 followers who all respond to your blog regularly because they enjoy it?  Absolutely.  But you're not gonna meet other bloggers and make blogging friends if you don't get out in the blogosphere and explore it!
(I've never read or watched "Game of Thrones," but this meme makes me laugh.
Also, Sean Bean!  Mmmmm.  Sean Bean.)

Also, here are some things I personally like or dislike in a blog, just because I feel like sharing them:
  • I like blogs that let me easily access their previous comments, like an "archive" section and/or a "labels" section in the sidebar.  Before I start following a blog, I want to see if they write about things that interest me.
  • More than one moving GIF appearing on my screen at the same time makes my eyeballs go crazy.  I can't read your text very well as a result.  If you do that a lot, I might quit following your blog even though you write amazing posts.
  • I don't like blogs that have a dark (EDIT: I meant black -- brown doesn't bother me!!) background with light text.  They're really hard to read.
Okay.  Enough of that.  Now I'm supposed to nominate 15 bloggers.  Holy cow!  That is a LOT of bloggers.  I mean, I follow about 50 blogs, but... that's a lot to tag.  Okay, here goes:

Ashley of A to Z
Birdie of Lady of the Manor
Elizabeth Anne D. of Incidents of a Literary Nature
Emma Jane of A Lantern in Her Hand
Eowyn of Captured by the Word
Hannah of Miss Daydreamer's Place
Hannah of Reading in the Dark
Jamie of Through Two Blue Eyes
Jessie of So Much More Than They've Got Planned
Kara of Flowers of Quiet Happiness
Lynn of Fiction Predeliction
Manette of Music & My Mind
Naomi Bennet of Wonderland Creek
Ruby Danderfluff of We'll See How This Goes
Sarah of A Free Mind

Happy blogging!


  1. Thank you for tagging me!

    You have been blogging for a long time! Wow! Much longer than I! Everyone's blogging story is so intriguing! Fantastic blogging advice as well--I especially agree with the "no dark backgrounds and light text"-- I almost never give blogs with that makeup my time because it's too hard to focus on!


    1. You're welcome :-) And yes, I've been blogging for a really long time. But I've only been active in the blogging community for the last couple of years -- since early 2013, really. I participated in a couple of blog events and started discovering a whole lot of wonderful bloggers who are every bit as enthusiastic as I am about books and movies, and blogging has just gotten better and better since then :-)

  2. I'm so glad you did it!:D

    Great advice, by the way:)

    1. It was a neat change from the usual "tell us 12 strange facts about yourself" kind of blog tag. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for nominating me! And great blogging advice, I was nodding in agreement half of the time, and the other half of the time thinking, hey I hadn't thought of that before, I really should really put that piece of advice to good use. (-:

    1. You're welcome! And I'm glad some of what I said was helpful :-)

  4. I love reading people's stories of how they started blogging. It's fun to see how the journey begins in all of us. :-) Wow, you've been blogging a long time! Me, almost two years. (WUT.)

    Thanks for nominating me! And I found all your advice really helpful. Yes, if you write about things that really interest you, someone's going to come along and find it the coolest thing ever. It's awesome, it is. :-)

    Oh, I AGREE about the gif thing. Saaaame here. I think gifs are really cool, and it's awesome when you find one that perfectly fits what you want to express, but too many of them....yowza. It makes me quite dizzy.


    1. I read somewhere recently that most blogs sputter out after 4-6 months and never get picked up again, so... you've passed that phase! Well done! You'll probably continue it a good long while.

  5. Hello Hamlette!
    Thanks a bunch for the nomination! I don't think I will be able to do it, but thanks anyway. :) The tips you gave are excellent--and that Shakespeare picture only more so! :) I paraphrase that quote ALL THE TIME, and I have read Hamlet only once (I mean it is from Hamlet isn't it??? :)) Oh, and when it comes to GIFS: I totally agree, cute in moderation, but rather confusing to the eyes in excess.


    1. Yes, that's from Hamlet :-) Which is why I couldn't resist it, hee. And don't feel like you have to do it just cuz you got tagged! Tags are always decline-able.

  6. Thanks for the tag! And whoa! I knew you'd been blogging a long time, but hadn't realized precisely how long. You are amazing. And a writer! A writer who's writing I absolutely love. :)

    Also, I SO agree with the black/dark backgrounds. It's nearly impossible to read the text and so I usually tend to just give up. I sure wish those bloggers would realize this. Ah well.

    1. You're welcome :-) And yeah, twelve years. Don't they go by in a blink!

  7. Loved reading your blogging story! In whatever amount time I've followed you, I've always really admired your stamina and dedication to blogging regularly. You're truly an example to us all, madam!

    I especially like your advice regarding writing what interests you. It's easy as a writer to get stuck in a writers' block or malaise, but it really does carry over to the readers. Not worth writing if it's not worth reading!

    The dark blog struggle is real. New bloggers beware, don't get emotionally attached to a dark background with light text. Once you do it there's no going back - and it will haunt you for the rest of your blogging days. x.x

    1. Why, thank you! Blogging is a great outlet for my creativity -- I can write blog posts when my kids are around me, in little stolen snippets of time, which I can't do with writing fiction.

      There have been times when I've been like, "What shall I blog about? I have nothing to blog about! I've run dry!" And then I'll ask myself, "What am I super in love with or excited about right now? What am I enjoying? I can blog about that." Which is why I refuse to narrow the focus of this blog, because I need somewhere to discuss random fun stuff.

      I had the same blog design for the first 7 or 8 years of blogging. It was a pastel lighthouse, and very nice. But when I picked blogging back up in 2010 after my hiatus, I decided it was time for a change, and switched to this one. I suppose in another couple of years I'll change it again. But yes, when you love a blog layout and background, it's hard to let go of it!

  8. Thank you for the nomination, I've done my own post now! It was really nice reminiscing about the beginnings of my blog, even though it's no further than two years back :)


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