On a recent road trip, I recorded our entry into the light.
The frosty, shrouded air …
… began to turn orange.
The sun began to appear …
amid the trees until …
Sometimes, breaking into the light comes after a lovely lustrous rime.
Greetings from the frosty northern sun. 🙂
Salted Caramel has created more questions for her series on blogging insights. Please pop by and take a look at her blog. 🙂
Her questions this time are:
How old is your current blog/website?
Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?
How long ago did you update your about page ?
If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?
These questions got me thinking about the general concept of updating, of keeping things neat and orderly. Updating, going back and cleaning up things, sorting though things is something we all have to do, although some of us are much better at it than others. I think if you’re not much of a cleaning up person, then your blog might be untidy too (or creatively messy 🙂 ).
I’ve moved a fair bit in the last 13 years. There was a lot of upheaval. I was getting a divorce and had purchased another house. It was empty and very new and I started with pretty much a blank slate except for four boxes of papers and things that I needed to sort. Of course, I didn’t sort them. The boxes just followed me around, ignored and helpless hangers-on, but I couldn’t just throw them out either. If I did, especially without looking at them, I would be irrevocably throwing out an older chapter of me. That’s what it felt like, anyway.
So these four boxes moved with me again, and then again, and then again. They are now in a storage locker awaiting final deposition.
A couple of years ago, I started examining these boxes, and eliminated some of the stuff in them. The garbage bags containing some of the discarded stuff are still sitting in the storage locker though. So, all I did was shift the contents from one storage container to another.
I got called away, actually to start this job here in the Northwest Territories, and now when I go to my southern home, I don’t want to spend time in a storage locker sorting through stuff.
But the time is coming. My M may be returning to British Columbia to sell the place that we presently have and to purchase another in a neighbourhood that will be more conducive as we get older and become decrepit. It’s a very walkable location with shops and restaurants and the market close by.
Eventually, and sooner than it feels, I will be finally dealing with those boxes.
So why has it taken me so long? Why does it take anyone so long … to sort through a box? Clean a closet? Write a will? Finish an assignment? Organise a blog site?
Procrastination is usually for a reason, and I’ve certainly been procrastinating. I dug in my heels because I needed to. When I’m ready to clean up, I’ll clean up.
I’m not sure yet why I haven’t completely dealt with these boxes. It’s boring? It’s painful? I’m feeling a need to exert control over when I do it? It’s probably all of these.
What about you? Is your blog (or life) all orderly and up to date?
Thank you so much for reading and commenting and visiting; I’ll be taking a little time away over the next week and may not be as attentive to my blog.
I send you Season’s Greetings! Whether you are in a big family group or are looking forward to some alone-time, I hope you enjoy the next few days. 🙂
Can blogging, like anything else, become a chore, a requirement, a source of stress? Can the life be sucked right out of it because we’ve made it be something we have to do?
I first began thinking about this after reading a post from Melanie B. Cee of sparksfromacombustiblemind who reprinted and answered questions from Salted Caramel. You can read Salted Caramel’s original post here.
Here are the questions:
What, in your opinion, is blogger burnout?
Have you ever suffered from blog-related stress?
What steps could you suggest to prevent blogging from becoming a stressful activity?
In my opinion, burnout is extreme mental fatigue caused by stress. This fatigue can manifest in very serious physical concerns as well – insomnia, a lowered immune system, blood pressure issues, heart attacks, strokes, and lots of other health problems.
Can bloggers become burned out? I believe we can. If given the right context, anything can be mentally fatiguing, as most of us know very well.
We have such a period coming up soon; in much of the world, December can produce a lot of stress. There is pressure to produce “perfect” gifts, meals, and happy family events. A lot of this pressure comes from advertisers but there are other avenues of cause, including the pressures we place on ourselves.
If the stressors are continuous and/or intense, there’s going to be a point at which we become exhausted by them and can’t go on or are only firing on one mental cylinder. We have to take a holiday, or a stress leave, or a “mental health” day, or maybe several days. In the aftermath of extremely stressful situations, people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
I am in my second year of a very stressful job as a CEO. It’s action-packed and very fluid, no matter how much anyone tries to impose a schedule on it. We have detailed, major inspections that we have to pass. We often deal with unhappy people who might head toward wigging out. I’m not afraid to get tough and I have that card stowed in my pocket. My “office time” when I get caught up on paperwork and emails occurs when most people have long gone home.
In my first year, there were periods when I recognized that I was nearing burnout, and I had to take action on it. I reorganised, I decentralised, and I reassigned duties and tasks. Not only did I have to create space for my employees to relax, I had to create space for me to do the same.
The idea of “productivity” has produced a false economy, in my opinion. We’re supposed to make use of all kinds of tips and tricks for reducing stress while on the job (do you see a contradiction there?) when the real stress reducers are reasonably simple and mostly instinctive: spend some time away from work doing other things and being with the people who love you. Having some time to yourself to do yoga is better than squeezing in some yoga between meetings. If that’s what you have to do, then the yoga just becomes another stressor. Does that make us any more productive? Or do we just become used up and unable to have a life outside of work?
So, do you need to take more vitamin D or do whatever the latest stress-reducing fad is or do you need to draw a boundary around some space for non-work?
Some stress is good for us, of course. It can keep us on our toes, alert and ready to go. But like anything else, too much can really be too much.
Blogging is the same. There has to be a boundary around it so that you don’t burn out or find it stressful. I’ve noted lots of bloggers who step away for a while, or who close comments on their posts or who still read but don’t post any more. I’ve done the same at times. One year, I was away from my blog for four months.
For me, blogging is a stress reliever. It takes me away from work, gives me a change of scene and I get to see what my blogging friends are doing. I like watching basketball for the same reasons (well, I’m not friends with any b-ballers, but you know 🙂 ). I don’t let those things consume me, though. That would take all the life out of them.
What do you think?
I was away from WP for a couple days last week, but not because I wanted to be.
I wasn’t able to log on. 😳
It all started on Saturday when I tried to access my WP app on my phone. A new screen popped up and I was asked for my password. I thought, yeah, okay. Many other sites do this every so often.
So I typed in my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, okay. That password is quite old. I should change it.
This photo has nothing to do with technology. It’s just a nice photo of a local waterfall here in the Northwest Territories so that talk of technology issues doesn’t ratchet your blood pressure up too high.
So I changed my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, this is getting irritating.
I tried again, and … no dice.
But I was able to access WP on my desktop. So until I got an answer from the WP “happiness” gurus, I went there, because normally I use my phone.
Until I couldn’t access my desktop either.
Somehow, I was signed out. It was suggested that I change my password, but … you know the drill.
Yikes. No access. At all.
So there was lots of emailing with WP, and with turnaround being anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, this took a while to sort.
The upshot is that I sent a screen shot of the password request loop that I was inhabiting; they came back with suggestions for a retrofit, and then everything started to work after I changed passwords once more and then tried logging in again.
The WP people were friendly and helpful.
But the whole thing got me thinking about our dependence on technology and the bugs that can infect it. In my work I rely heavily on technology, but every time I think about going completely paperless, something like this happens to remind me that it’s not a foolproof system and and then I think, yeah, maybe I’ll go paperless … at some nebulous point in the future.
So, there’s paper in my office. Lots of it. (Although a lot less than there used to be.) And I guess that makes me the worst sort of Luddite schmo because really, I’m worried that there’s going to be some sort of tech blow-up and I’m going to need it.
I also work in a part of the world that’s largely off-grid – the Northwest Territories is a massive land area with a relatively small population. Cellphones can quickly become useless up here and aircraft and vehicles need sat-phones (as well as survival kits) for emergency purposes.
Sometimes, we need to be aware of where we are and how quickly technology can abandon us.
What do you think? Have you gone completely paperless? Would you be able to survive without your cell? Do you worry about a technology collapse?
I wish our American friends and neighbours a Happy Thanksgiving, and especially a Happy Thanksgiving to all the lovely bloggers whom I’ve come to know through WP.
No matter which side of the border we are on, we have a terrific lot to be thankful for.
I hope you have a good day, whether you are enjoying a feast or just eating a sandwich.
Melanie from Sparks from a Combustible Mind passed on the idea for this post. Please check out her post and the blogger who originated these questions: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/27669916/posts/55683
How important are images to a blog post?
What is the role of images in blog traffic and reader engagement?
How many images on average do you use in a blog post?
I think that images can be important to a blog post, but that really depends on the blogger and the subject of the post. From a pragmatic standpoint, having the occasional image can be easier on the eye than being confronted by large chunks of text, but I also don’t need the images either. I choose images and imagery because I connect well with them. Since I also do lots of photographic posts, I often like to make the image the focus, but I do use words to enhance the images. Sometimes, the images enhance the words; it depends on the links that I’m making.
Most people have become inundated by images and media of all kinds. For some people, especially people who have been raised to expect lots of visuals, not having them could be jarring. For others, having a break from all the imagery could be a relief. I think that in the end, it’s really the content of the post that drives whether or not the blogger wants to use visuals.
On average, I only use one or two images per post, but I have been known to use several. If I’m doing a post that’s not specifically photographic, I will use some of my pictures to back up a point I’m making.
I like these lake photos. Lakes can be calming, menacing, a giver of life, a taker of life. They can be all of these things, all at once. Images communicate. Sometimes just one thing, sometimes many things. Sometimes images communicate complex feelings or ideas that we don’t immediately understand.
To me, choosing images or visuals to add texture or depth to a post or having the images stand as posts on their own is dependent on thinking style, content, mood, and about 12 billion other things that go into making a person a person, because blog posts are what the bloggers are. 🙂
I recently got a notification that I’ve been on WP for seven years now.
It has been a growing, very changeable period. I started with wanting to share an experience, and through writing about that experience, I was able to sort through what happened and how it happened and how I had contributed to it. I wanted my blog to be informative for others, and more importantly, I wanted it to be a sort of catharsis. But, as with so much of life, it turned out that I had much more to learn than to share.
So, what happened? I didn’t know it then, but I started with a question about being a human being. I was asking, where in my head do I come from? And later, where in OUR heads we do WE come from? And still later, where in our heads are we going?
This blogging experience became a journey of interior exploration which became a journey of exterior exploration, an exploration of others and how they bounce off me, how I bounce off them, and how that bouncing changes us, even if only in the smallest of ways.
When I was much younger, I used to think that everything changes. Then I thought that nothing changes. Then I realised that in between the everything and the nothing is a world of life, that if I spent too much time worrying how I should change or not change, or how others should change, that nothing would change.
Which is really interesting, because physically, lots has changed, and that lead to a further discovery of inner landscapes that I didn’t know were there. I did a 360.° What comes around goes around. 😉
In the last seven years, I got married. I moved to a different province to take a job in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Then I moved, sort of, again, this time to take a job in Canada’s north. My home is in BC and I have another home, a “work home” in the Northwest Territories.
I am now an administrator and the buck stops with me. It was scary at first but I have become more comfortable as I have become more experienced. I am paid very well; I am at the top of the earning capacity for my profession, something I thought I would never achieve. I didn’t even think of it as a possibility, but now it’s a reality and I’m grateful.
My M retired. About three to four years from now, so will I. We have started looking for another home; it will likely be our last one.
As I have changed, so has the content of this blog. I started with posting about narcissism, then I slowly started posting about lots of other things. I still post about narcissism and still read about it, but it’s less dominant for me now.
My readership has changed lots too. The vast majority of the bloggers I followed in the first couple of years have stopped posting. A few announced that they were leaving. Sadly, a few passed away. Others have completely revamped their content and moved on to other topics as well.
Some of those first blogs that I started to follow are still here and I love that I’ve gotten to “know” these bloggers so well, even though we’ve never met and in some cases, I don’t even know their real names. I don’t post under my real name either – I post under my grandmother’s name. I remain cautious about the old ex-narcissist still lurking out there behind his computer screen.
Those I have followed for years now have changed too, and I have enjoyed that they have shared those changes. Some of the changes were planned major departures from the previous, others much more subtle. These bloggers welcomed me, enveloped me, and challenged me to think or feel or see in a different way. Thank you. 🙂
I initially wasn’t sure how this whole blogging thing was supposed to work, but I got the hang of it. I still remember thinking that it was pretty amazing that someone would click “follow,” that people would want to read or look at what I have here. It still amazes me.
Having said that though, blogging is kind of odd. We say a whole lot about ourselves, either directly or indirectly, and we put it out there for others to look at, comment on, and to decide whether they like it or not, literally.
All of the photos in this post are of roads. They were taken through the windshield of our blue Ford truck while we were travelling rather long distances. M and I very much enjoy our long drives. We talk, we think, we daydream. These roads all lead to places large and small, unique, ugly, barren or dazzling. But really, in the end, it’s the journey, isn’t it?
Kind of like blogging. 🙂
Ursula from An Upturned Soul has gifted me with the Random Acts of Kindness Award!
Thank you, Ursula! It was very surprising and very welcome. 🙂
Ursula is a truly gifted writer and thinker, and I’ve been very lucky to know her since very early in my blogging life – about six years now. She has become a friend, and over the years we have had many interesting conversations via comment-chats. Ursula’s parents were both narcissists, and when I was a beginning blogger and still sort of reeling from the experience of my ex-narcissist, she often opened my eyes, pointed to different interpretations, helped me to see that I had all the tools I needed to have, and very generally communicated that I was travelling a learning curve that just had to be travelled. Ursula is smart, funny, insightful, patient and caring (I’ve seen her really pour herself into helping a reader figure out narcissism or come to terms with it – including me), wonderful to know and I just love her. She lives her life kind of sideways, and I think that is what gives her her extraordinary ability to really see and know human beingness and to also work her way through the uber-demanding and extremely difficult set of crazy-making issues that growing up “in-narcissist” will produce.
From Ursula: This award was created by Mws R Writings, and you can check out the birth of this award and her vision for it in her post —> Random Acts of Kindness Award/RAKA – Mws R Writings.
The rules are:
1.Tell who you nominate and why.
About a year and a half ago, I came across a very funny blog. I re-blogged one of Brian’s posts because I couldn’t stop chortling and chuckling and I wanted anyone reading my blog to become acquainted with this great story-teller. Not only is Brian funny, but his humour is informed by a difficult childhood, a very kind heart, an acceptance of humanness in all its weirdness, and an insightful facility with life’s vagaries that not only makes me want to laugh, but also sometimes to cry. Brian is a blogging gem who shares peace, tranquility and insanity. 🙂
2. Copy and share the picture that shows the award.
3. Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.
When I was in the middle of dealing with my ex-narcissist, when I thought I was losing my mind and heading for bankruptcy, a very good friend of mine held me together. She fed me (in more ways than one), opened her house to me and listened as I repeated my fears, blamed myself, kicked myself, and ranted and raved. She provided a haven, gave me books (about narcissism) to read, and through her kindness required me to start thinking again. She pointed me in the right direction and gently prompted me to stop wallowing. C, you are the best and I love you.
4. Nominate anyone or share to your own page if you choose to participate. Tag or pingback to the original person who gifted you, or the original post.
I’ve enjoyed blogging a lot. I have learned a lot, been challenged to change my thinking, and have “met” many interesting people. In the meantime, I have been able to sort myself out in lots of ways.
What a great thing.