Time flies!

Wow! How can this be?

I was watching a terrible football game yesterday (we are 49er fans) when this message popped up on my phone.

If you’d have asked me, I’d have said I’ve been blogging for five or six years. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.

As for the Eagles winning the game instead of the 49ers, I’m excited because of a player from my daughter’s university, Britain Covey, who is on the Eagles. I’m a big Britain Covey Fan.

Britain’s grandfather is Stephen Covey who wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and owned Franklin Day Planners. Britain played football at the University of Utah while my daughter swam. Although 5’8″ tall, was quick, smart and returned punts for touchdowns, up to 98 yards I believe. He was a team leader of the Utes.

I never thought he’d make it into the pros, let alone to the Super Bowl as an undrafted rookie!

If you follow football, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?

How many years have you been blogging? Does it seem longer or shorter than the actual time?

A few random thoughts

sunrise in the desert
Sunrise view from our backyard.

I turned off the ads.

Did you notice the difference? I turned off the ads on my blog. At one time, years ago, I thought I could make money blogging. So far that is not the case. Blogging is a creative release to express my personal thoughts and feelings. When I first turned on the ads, a blogger told me it interfered with her loading my blog. She said she enjoyed my writing but was no longer going to follow me because of ads.

That should have been my first clue to end the ads.

WordPress help is helpful! I entered a chat box because I couldn’t figure out where or how to control the ads. Within a minute I was given a link to make the change.

I get really upset when my kids get in a fight with me or my husband.

We’ve had a few unpleasant conversations with our kids lately. One was yesterday and it really tears me apart. I feel like a failure as a parent and everything I tried to instill in my kids is for naught. I was surprised to get a phone call this morning with an apology. I’m grateful for that.

It’s hard to go to the pool when the weather is cold.

I’m making myself go at least two days a week. But when it’s dropping to the low 40s it’s hard! I don’t want to get in my bathing suit let alone get in the pool. I do feel better when it’s over. I reward myself with a long hot shower!

I swam yesterday and I never warmed up. I was chilled. Usually the hardest part is getting in or out of the pool than after a few laps you feel warm. My face and arms felt cold the entire time I swam.

Do you have ads on your blog? Why or why not? Would you stop following a blog because of ads?

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?

Boring words

Bunny staring at me through the window. He has a hole in one ear. I wonder how that happened?

I use boring words in my writing. I’m talking about “interesting,” “great,” “amazing,” and “important.” There are many more. If you google “overused words” you can find article after article of overused words and phrases.

I need better words.

When I write one of these words, I stop and think, what word can I use instead?

I managed to get rid of “very” and “just” — most of the time. Those words are unnecessary.

When I write, I have a choice to include overused words or ones more specific. General words don’t add flavor but make writing flat. Rewriting a sentence to avoid a boring word may improve writing rather than using a thesaurus to find a replacement.

It’s a challenge to avoid overused words. It makes my brain hurt!

What are your thoughts of overused words? What words do you use too often?

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?

The ups and downs of blogging

sunrise in the desert
Sunrise from the back yard.

I have never posted about stats before. I’m talking WordPress numbers. But after I posted Party time! something weird happened. It’s only happened once before.

My stats boomed. I was up 1,427% !!

The question is why? Wouldn’t I like to know that secret.

The other time my stats skyrocketed was when I wrote about a Darlene Love concert I attended with my husband, dad and son. We had a venue in Palm Springs called The Follies. She was the headliner for their last few shows that included dancers in their 60s and 70s who look amazing!

I figured out why those stats boomed. I shared my blog post with Darlene Love through social media and she posted it!

But Monday’s post? Maybe it’s because our son’s sister-in-law Alexandra Simpson has a following or Chuck Prophet, the musician she’s playing with in the Youtube video for newly released song “Meet Me at the Roundabout.”

If you don’t know who Darlene Love is, I highly recommend the Oscar-award winning movie “20 Feet from Stardom.” Heck, I recommend that movie because the stories of the backup singers are so powerful and it includes many big stars like Sting, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

What are your thoughts about stats? Do you think spikes happen because of key words, SEO, tags? Or just luck?