Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Is How We Do It

Today is a day of empowerment!

I feel so fortunate to have my blog as my outlet.  I have poured onto these "pages" my fears, joys, excitement and yes, sometimes anger.  My readers (yes, YOU) are so supportive and encouraging, laughing and crying and sometimes spitting right along with me!  I so appreciate all your emails, texts, comments and hugs over my entries.  Even when I'm having a cranky day, it always brightens it to know that I can pour it out here and get words of encouragement back!

So to honor all my friends and readers, I have had many questions on how this whole thing works.  Here is a simplified list of the Top 10 questions:

1.  How do you set this up?
2.  Does it cost to blog?
3.  How in the world do you have time to blog? (I get this one the most..)
4.  How secure is it to write on the web?
5.  Can you block readers?
6.  Why do you have "followers"?
7.  Do you have to put ads on your page?
8.  Can you customize what is shown on your page?
9.  Do you ever fear strangers / retaliation etc. from your blogs?
10.  More a comment, not really a question ~ "Nobody will care what I have to say."

Well friends... your long awaited chariot is HERE!  I thought I'd give you some Blogging 101 to help get you past the hurdle of intimidation you may be feeling.

More than anything, if any of you have ever been to therapy you know how important it is to journal your thoughts and feelings.  My mom bought me my first diary when I was 10 years old (a Hello Kitty one, and yes I still have it).  I would journal really important stuff like "I hate my brother" or "My mom is a doo doo head".  But what I was really doing (and still do to this day) was sharing my thoughts and feelings to help myself better understand what was happening in my life.  It gives great perspective to your life to write it out, if for no other reason but to reflect.

So for the questions above.  Here goes:

1.  Setting up a personal blog is EASY PEASY.  There are a million different sites that offer free blogging tools.  For mine, I chose to use Blogspot.  Here's the link:  I landed there because a good friend of mine used it and I always loved her pictures.  That was the initial draw.  It is basically Blogging for Idiots... you can't mess up.  And if you don't want your website to have the blogspot title in it, you can choose to buy your own domain for $10 a year (only if you want).  My official webpage for those of you that don't go in that way is  

2.  Nothing!  It's free, unless you buy a custom domain for $10 a year.

3.  BIG secret coming on this one... I blog ahead of time, most of the time.  You can schedule your blogs out.  For example, I never ever write my Friday Faves on Friday (or Thursday for that matter).  They culminate throughout the week when I have time.  Much easier to get your blogging in every day!

4.  Security is always on the top of most people's minds.  What if someone can find my house by my blog?  Well, don't use your real name.  Or the name of your City.  Or the name of your kids.  Some bloggers that I follow reveal all about themselves personally and others are totally anonymous.  It's complete up to you and your comfort level.  (Keep in mind in about 5 keystrokes I can find out where you live, what you drive, where you were born, your birthday, your parents names, etc.  It's public information on all of us.

5.  Nope.  This one might be a biggie for some.  You can't block out who is reading your site, built in this format.  It is a webpage on the giant world wide web.  Anyone can read it.  My thought is if you have things to hide (or want to keep secret), don't blog about them!

6.  Readers can choose to "follow" me if they would like.  For those of you that view my page on your phone, you may want to jump on a computer to look at it in real life.  It is way cooler that way!  You will see who I read, past blogs (if you want to go back easily) as well as choose to follow me.  If you follow me, it just means that you will be notified when I blog.  Kinda like having Facebook on your phone and getting notified when you have a message.  Only I only blog once a day, so you are safe there.

7.  You do not ever have to put any ads on your webpage.  I tried it out as so many people talk about how much money you can make by advertising.  You can get specific on ads though.  I put a couple up on my page and if you click it, I can get paid.  It's nominal, so don't get to excited!  I'm not going to quit my job or anything anytime soon.

8.  YES!  This is what I love about Blogspot... the customization.  There are so many options, from backgrounds, to fonts, to colors, to pictures.  It's unbelievable what you can do.  Many of my readers have a very specific title and background and it is their "trademark" if you will.  I haven't gone that far yet.  I like changing my colors and backgrounds every month.  But I always leave my title, "My Soul Steps".  My blog is a reflection of the steps my soul takes every day.

9.  I don't fear strangers or retaliation.  I am typically only publicly negative about 2 people that I blog about - my ex-husband and his 4th wife - both of which I do not speak to or see.  I do not care if they read my blog or not. I also do not care if people tell them about it (if they don't read it).  I don't type anything in there that I wouldn't admit to their faces.  They are crap and I don't mind telling them that.

That said, if you are experiencing volatile relationships with others and are coparenting with them or working with them or something more intimately related, don't blog about them if you don't want confrontation.  It will only lead you to a drama filled life.  Every single one of my close friends know that I blog and that they may become the victim of a story some day.  It's part of knowing me.  They accept it (maybe not love it, but accept it... sometimes begrudgingly).  And by the way... my hubs has never told me not to blog about something.

10.  This one hurts my heart a little bit.  Friends, somebody will most definitely care about what you have to say.  Maybe you wouldn't have something to say everyday, but when you do speak you have a voice!  Your good friends and family will always be supportive of you!!  I will give you a bit of advice though... a lot of people are skeptical about blogging.  They worry about what others will think if they say this or that.  If you are one of those types of people, don't blog.  It will EXHAUST you wondering what others think of you.  Do it for self expression, for growth, for release... not for approval or acceptance.

My last piece of advice?  If you take this journey on, you will see that there are a million people JUST LIKE YOU in lots of ways.  Say you have a cause, like pet adoption.  By virtue of your blogs, others will find you and you will find them and all of sudden you will have an expanded network of people just like you.

I'm proud to say that my daughter took up blogging earlier this year and I LOVE reading her blogs.  They make me laugh right out loud most days!  She is funny, spirited and sarcastic.. but most of all she blogs about little nugget which I love to share in HER journey of motherhood! 

I hope you find this helpful in lifting the mysticism that is blogging!  If you want to take the leap and have any questions, I'm always here for you!!

Happy hump day!

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