Questions for bloggers

Olive the cat on the sofa

Olive the cat hanging out in the casita.

Yesterday morning something odd happened. My blog post that was scheduled didn’t post. I had a small message in red type that said “Missed schedule.” That’s the third time it’s happened to me. I’ve made mistakes more frequently with my scheduling, like selecting p.m. instead of a.m. But how does WordPress miss a scheduled post? I thought it would happen automatically?

I want to know if that’s happened to anyone else?

Other questions I have for bloggers:

Do you schedule you posts in advance? How far in advance?

Where do you get your ideas?

What are your most popular topics?

What is a post you wrote that surprised you with the number of views and comments?

When Bloggers Disappear

Waffles the pug at the ER
This is Waffles, my daughter’s pug, at the vet. He doesn’t look happy.

I was looking at my posts from a year ago, wondering what I was up to. It turns out that we had just gotten back from the beach — after staying in the same spot we are today.

But what caught my eye were comments from a year ago.Several bloggers left comments that I follow and I enjoyed reading their posts. But I haven’t seen them pop up lately in my WordPress Reader. I clicked on their blogs and discovered one hasn’t posted anything since October 2021.

What happened? I wonder if these bloggers are okay? Did they get COVID? Did they get bored with blogging? Did something happen in their personal life that took away their time to blog?

I’d like a conclusion, an ending, an explanation. Perhaps a note that they are taking a break or they are done. If I decide to stop with this blog, I believe I owe it to my readers and friends to give a note of thanks and heads up.

Have you experienced the loss of a blogger? What are your thoughts?

Is it possible to manage thoughts?

The Movie Colony Palm Springs
The view of Mt. San Jacinto during my morning walk in my Palm Springs neighborhood.

Yesterday after reading LA’s Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50s blog, I remembered writing about how to manage thoughts. Here’s link to LA’s blog post.

This is what I learned about managing thoughts:

I was listening to a webinar on my morning walk and when I got home, I had to jot down a few notes. The talk was from one of my favorite sports parenting experts, David Benzel, from Growing Champions for Life. The topic was “Teaching Kids to Manage Their Thoughts.” It had great information to help your kids manage negative self talk and to get them on the right path when they beat themselves up. Benzel said he got most of the information for this webinar from a book called Managing Thought by Mary Lore.

It also had a lot of great stuff for adults, too. Adults and children alike can get bogged down with negative thoughts about themselves. How often have you told yourself, “I’m not good enough,” or something else similar? If we can recognize that our brain is creating 55,000 thoughts per day and we can separate ourselves from them, they will lose their power. When a negative thought pops up, we can say “Where did that come from?” or “Is that useful for me to accomplish my goal?”

Benzel also said that negative thoughts spread like a disease and once you have one, more and more will pop up. Also, our thoughts are a choice. We can choose instead to rephrase a negative thought into a a positive one. If our child says “I don’t want to fail the math test,” instead they can say, “I will finish my homework and ask for help.”  Benzel made the point when we focus on what we don’t want, the more we focus on it, the more likely it will happen.

Now to the part where I was so impressed that I had to write it down: “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you do these four things, you’ll be happier, more positive and your relationships with others will improve.

ONE

Be impeccable with your word.

TWO

Don’t take anything personally.

THREE

Make no assumptions.

FOUR

Always do your best.

Those seem so simple, but aren’t they valuable? For example, if someone says something you feel is hurtful, don’t take it personally. It’s not you. It’s more of a reflection of what that person is going through. We shouldn’t make assumptions about people’s motives or intent. Instead we should investigate and ask questions. Try to learn where the person is coming from. As far as always doing your best, your best may change from day to day. Do the best you can on that particular day.

Palm trees in Palm Springs
Views from my morning walk in my old neighborhood.

What do you think of the “Four Agreements?” Do you think it’s possible to manage your thoughts? What tips can you share?

What I’m reading

I grew up reading Anne books. My mom gave me her worn copy of “Anne of Avonlea” when I was young. The book was a Christmas present to her in 1944 from my mom’s cousin according to the inscription inside the cover.

Soon I was buying my own Anne books by L.M. Montgomery beginning with “Anne of Green Gables” and ending with “Anne of Ingleside.” I love these books. I read them over and over. I loved the countryside of Prince Edward Island. I loved Anne’s friends when she went off to college. I enjoyed her children’s adventures after she married to Gilbert.

“Chronicles of Avonlea” and “Further Chronicles of Avonlea” were collections of short stories where Anne played a small role, but the stories focused on characters in her small town. I remember feeling like I knew these people.

I discovered the biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery through a blog post. I ordered the book and have been waiting to read it as soon as I finished my assigned book club book, which I did over the weekend.

“House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery” is a YA biography and an easy read. I’m finding it fascinating how many of the characters in her book were taken from her life. If you’re an Anne fan, you’ll definitely enjoy it.

Inside the book “Anne of Avonlea” that my mother gave me when I was young.

I’m sticking with book club for the time being. June’s book is called “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell” by Robert Dugoni. At first I wasn’t interested in reading it and I was annoyed it was so long. I gave it a try and it was an enjoyable book with short chapters. The story is about a boy growing up in California, going to an all boys Catholic school. He was discriminated against because he was born with red eyes (due to Ocular albinism.)

Were you an Anne of Green Gables fan? What were your favorite books to read when you were growing up? What are you reading now?

Motivated by bloggers

cat on SwimSwam magazines
Olive hanging out on top of magazines with my stories inside. She doesn’t want anyone to read them.

I literally dusted off two picture book manuscripts that I wrote 20 years ago — thanks to my blogging community.

I was motivated again by blogger LA for her leap entering a writing competition. In her comments section, I lamented that I had not fulfilled my dream of having a book published. Another blogger along with LA encouraged me to keep going.

Although I’ve won contests, been published by magazines, websites and newspapers — that elusive book deal hasn’t happened.

I realized that it won’t happen — because I quit submitting to agents and publishers two years ago.

When I said I dusted off two picture book manuscripts, it’s because I discovered they aren’t on my laptop, nor are they on icloud. They’re on backup devices that no longer work with my current system. It has been 20 years since they were on my computer or backed up. That’s a lifetime in nano years.

I wondered if I had thrown out all my manuscripts when we moved? If so, my work would be lost. After searching the house and garage, I found two notebooks that I used to keep copies of my manuscripts, a spread sheet of submissions and a bevy of rejection letters. It wasn’t sad to look at the rejection letters, some had personal handwritten notes and were encouraging.

Long gone are the days of the snail mail submission with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). I won’t receive hand written notes or form letters in the mail. Everything is done online and many publishers and agents don’t send rejections. If they aren’t interested, they don’t respond. Fortunately, some do reject via email, so I’ll know from those agents and publishers if my submission got lost in the ethers — or not.

I quickly typed the two manuscripts into my laptop and I’ll be off pursing my dream once again.

What are your goals or dreams? Have you stuck with it or did it go by the wayside?

Question for fellow bloggers

Waffles the pug
Waffles the pug when he lived in Arizona.

Do you receive solicitations by people or companies who ask to collaborate with you? I’ve been getting a few each week. What they want mostly is for me to post something they send me or for me to write about their company.

It’s interesting to see what they are proposing. Sometimes they are off the mark. For example, one woman sent me a link to their website and asked if I’d like to post their article about healthy pets. I clicked on the link and it was a parenting article. Oh well. I passed.

Once I was asked to add a link to a certain post and I did that. But I’m not comfortable with posting a company’s press release.

Once I posted a guest blogger. It was a friend of mine who I love his writing. It was a fellow swim dad and swim parents was the main topic I was writing about. It was nice to get his perspective. Also, I thought it would be a welcome break for my readers.

What are your thoughts? Do you get solicitations by email to include articles or links on your blog? What type of collaborations do they ask for? Do you feel that your blog should only be your own content? What do you think about bloggers who post other people’s material?