Blogger in the House – what exactly is blogging all about?
I was recently invited to give a talk about blogging at our local library, as part of Library Information week. I made some notes and decided to share these thoughts in the form of a post.
The event was free for all to attend and advertised through the library facebook page and I also shared it on my social media. Our town is quite small so I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd – and let’s just say, thank goodness I didn’t let my imagination run away with me as to how big the crowd would be to hear me talk! But I am grateful to each and everyone who attended.
Meet and Greet
The small group who attended were mainly my friends (and a baby), one newcomer to town plus the two librarians, but that didn’t stop me giving my talk as planned. They all learnt something about what I do, having not understood what blogging was really about.
In preparing for the talk I discussed my thoughts with good friend and experienced blogger, Sue, and I made notes as I thought of things that might be interesting. I was keen to debunk the usual stereotypes of what a blogger is and what people think we do.
My main aim was to show how blogging can help in lots of ways – it encourages creativity, helps with mindfulness, can have a positive impact on mental health, shows different perspectives, and provides a community.
I broke it down to 10 main areas of interest, as described below. These were just my guiding notes and we discussed lots of other things along the way.
Brief Introduction to Deb from Deb’s World
I’ve recently turned 60; am a mother of 3 grown up daughters; Granny Debs to 4 grandchildren; married for 41 years; have lived in Tumbarumba for 30 years and I’m more than happy to stay here for the foreseeable future.
I was made redundant from my role as Senior Correctional Education Officer at Mannus Correctional Centre in 2016, after being a teacher and manager for over 22 years. Now happily retired, a rail trail enthusiast, ebike rider, a reader, a blogger, a Rotarian and involved in a variety of community activities.
1. What do you think a blog is? Do you read any blogs?
I invited the audience to discuss what they thought blogging was all about and if they regularly read any blogs. The main consensus was they knew I wrote a blog, sometimes popped in for a read, but rarely read any other blogs. One newcomer to town said she usually watched vlogs and listened to podcasts.
2. How can a blog provide information?
Given it was Library Information Week, I wanted to show how blogs can provide information and expanded on these points below.
- Can help to find your purpose
- Midlife re-invention
- Helps you to stay current
- Learn new skills, technology, writing, photography
- Creative pursuit – photography and writing challenges
- Missing your MOJO – Australian Writers’ Centre offer courses
- Information on transitioning into retirement
- Book reviews, recipes, craft, sewing, painting….
- Health and fitness & life coach information
- Travel ideas and information – I’ve met some fabulous bloggers this way
3. What is a blog?
It’s like an online journal. Web-log = shortened to ‘blog’.
Blogs can be on any subject, personal or business, and can be used to showcase someone’s creativity. In my blogging experience it’s all about a life in words and pictures.
4. What I’m not:
Just because I don’t do some of these things is my own personal choice – there is no right or wrong way of blogging and I respect everyone’s decision to blog however they want to. It’s just that some things aren’t for me!
- An influencer 🙂
- A niche blogger – I write about a variety of issues not just on one topic eg. financial tips, blogging tips, fashion, beauty….
- A mummy blogger or even a granny blogger – discussed the implications of sharing too much information online, especially when it comes to young children. It’s a fine line at times and i always seek permission to use photos and information.
- A Professional Blogger – it’s not my main focus in life, it’s more a fun creative pursuit for me. I don’t ‘follow the rules’ of blogging either.
- I don’t make money from my blog – in fact I spend money to host the domain, the theme with WordPress and other additional things. I even pay extra not to have adverts on my site.
- I don’t have annoying pop-ups on my site and I don’t have a newsletter.
- I don’t use SEO – search engine optimisation, key words or title analysers – I’m not professional at all!
- I’m not an everyday blogger – I blog when it suits me and don’t have posts planned ready for the next 12 months like many do.
- I’m not anything special!
5. What I am as a blogger:
- Authentic and real
- What you see is what you get
- Friendly, fun, quirky, enthusiastic
- Engaging – I respond to all comments left for me
- A ‘neighbourly’ blogger – I interact with others
- I’m a sharer and a joiner – I regularly join linkups and challenges
6. How did I start blogging?
- Travel Pod was my first blog – I used it to write about our travels for family and friends back home. It was a way of sharing our activities and photos with everyone all at once. It was a free platform and easy to set up. I then gave everyone the link and they could check up on our travels very easily. My father, who was a travel agent at the time, loved reading my posts!
- I then moved to WordPress.com and set myself up as Deb’s World back in 2012, over 9 years ago. A lot has happened in those 9 years (good and bad) – weddings, births, deaths, redundancy, travels, illness, rail trails, bushfires and I’ve probably covered most of them in my blog somewhere!
- Steep learning curve – I did it all myself and learnt a lot, and I’m still learning. Technology can be fun and it helps keep my brain ticking over.
- I did a few free courses offered by WordPress and joined challenges, met other bloggers and forged friendships.
- I was working in a role where I couldn’t be my true self, inside a correctional centre meant I had to be ‘buttoned up’ and professional at all times. Blogging let me be myself and allowed some of the creativity inside to bubble up and out.
- I tried to keep my blog separate/anonymous and still some people don’t associate me with Deb’s World – but my cover has been blown in many ways over the years.
7. Why do I blog?
This is a big question and every blogger has a different answer. These are just a few of my thoughts!
- It’s fun and gives me joy, makes me feel alive and included.
- It has made me more observant.
- It allows me to leave a legacy behind – my grandchildren may learn more about me through my words in my blog in future years. One of my daughters loves reading my posts as she always learns something new about me.
- Gives me a sense of purpose.
- I feel relevant – being made redundant was an awful feeling after so long in a rewarding role.
- I don’t want to fade away and become invisible as can so often happen as women age.
- I enjoy finding and belonging to a community of like-minded people all over the world.
- I like to discuss important things with others.
- To challenge myself.
- I get to use the creative side of my brain.
- I get to escape into other people’s worlds.
- To experience life through the eyes of others and share my world at the same time.
- I like to think I can inspire others to do something that pushes them.
- I love to promote Tumbarumba whenever I can.
- It’s a form of therapy for me.
8. Challenges and Linkups
I discovered challenges were a great way to make connections, challenge myself in terms of writing and photography, even poetry, and found I enjoyed the creativity it brought to my blogging.
Some of the challenges and linkups I’ve joined over the years have included:
- 3-word story challenge
- 99-word story
- Sunday Stills photo prompt #SundayStills
- Life this Week #Lifethisweek
- One word photo prompt
- Wordless Wednesday photo posts
- Book Tags
- Squares – photos to a set theme for a month
- Courses – Blogging 101, Blogging 201…
- Weekend Coffee Share #weekendcoffeeshare
- Midlife Share the Love #MidlifeSharetheLove
- A Sentence a Day
The best thing about joining a challenge or a linkup is the exposure to other bloggers and this can lead to real friendships forming. It also extends my brain, so that I’m constantly thinking and working out how to create something special.
9. Latest stats:
I’m really not that prolific in the blogosphere and am still considered small fry, even after all these years! However, I am proud of my efforts.
To date my blog has 6673 followers, and this number still surprises me! I can’t believe it. Not everyone engages with me but over a month I can get up to 4-5000 views of my blog, sometimes more. Since I started in 2012, I have written 1532 posts, had 30283 comments, and 239,015 views. The statistics section tell me where people are from, how they found my blog, what’s most popular and lots of other information. But I don’t blog for the stats!
10. Most popular post:
A Guide to Riding the Rail Trail – 7116 people have viewed this one since I wrote it in May 2020. It helps that it’s been shared by a lot of other people and Rail Trails Australia refer people to it from their website. Another popular post is the one I wrote about surviving a tragic accident while on a school excursion. It took me 40 years to write that post and ended up being a real form of therapy!
Q & A:
- How long do you spend blogging?
- Somedays more than others, but generally at least an hour or so a day (don’t ask the Mathematician that question). Reading and commenting take up more time when I’m involved in a link up with other bloggers. But my brain is always switched on, thinking, observing, taking notes, compiling stories in my head…
- Do you need to have a decent camera to take photos for your blog?
- No, these days smartphones are doing a great job but a proper camera can help if you are primarily setting yourself up as a photographer blogger.
- Do you get support from your blogging platform?
- Yes in many ways eg. spam comments are filtered out, Happiness Engineers are available to answer my questions (yes that’s what they’re called), information is available
- What would make you give up blogging?
- illness or medical issues with either self or family member
- scarcity of time
- nothing left to say (who me??)
- lack of commitment or when it becomes a chore
- not fun anymore
- death of either self or close family member
- What are the negatives of blogging? –
- the time it takes – not just a matter of writing a few words and pressing the publish button
- feeling that you have to promote yourself, social media, justifying what you do
- the fact that it’s not recognised as an art-form like those who draw or paint
- Have you won any awards?
- Yes! On this day in 2018 I was in England visiting my daughter and I was able to attend the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in London, where I met many other bloggers in person, and won the Hidden Gem award 🙂
After my talk, we all indulged in the delicious morning tea which was provided by the librarians, and chatted less formally. Despite the small numbers in attendance I was pleased to have been asked and proud of myself for saying yes – all part of my being more ‘bold‘ this year and saying yes to things I might normally have declined!
Each of the attendees were given a gift (from the library) of a pen, notebook and bookmark and I was given a lovely pot plant for being their guest. It really was my pleasure to attend, but the gifts were much appreciated by everyone.
How about you? Do you have any thoughts to add or further questions?
Just recently I wrote a post about ‘What makes you return to a blog again and again?‘, which looks at blogging in more detail, with input from other bloggers. If you’d like more information maybe click on the link and have a read.
So that was basically my talk on blogging! Hope you enjoyed it and felt like you were there.
Thanks for your support 🙂
Joining Natalie for her #weekendcoffeeshare link up – where all the cool bloggers hang out!
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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