I've missed you guys! Big group hug! Alright, this is going to end up being a long post, I apologize now, but there's a few things that I need to cover and don't want to bombard you when three separate posts.
First, let's get the sad business out of the way first. Last week my aunt, Donna, passed away. She was a huge Elvis fan (obsessed doesn't nearly describe it). If I knew what her favorite Elvis song was I'd embed it, but I don't so I'll embed one of my favorites, "Angel" from the movie Follow that Dream.
This is for you, Aunt Donna.
I should have picked a more upbeat song. Well... moving on...
Next order of business, the Blogging From A to Z Challenge Reflections Post. There doesn't seem to be any real standard for how I have to do this, so since I learned a few things about myself and blogging I'll discuss some of the things I learned...
Commenting takes me out of my comfort zone. I'm instinctively a lurker, and I knew I was pushing myself to try commenting on so many other blogs each day. I started out commenting at nearly 20 the first few days, but by the end of the week I was so stressed out from it that I allowed myself to slack on the comments. I also realized that the only way to make friends from blogging is to comment. So I need to push myself to comment more on the blogs that I read. If you comment frequently here, and feel like I don't comment enough on your blog, feel free to call me out.
I've always been irritated with captcha device on comments but this last month has taught me to detest them. I got to the point that if I was going to comment but there was a captcha device, I didn't even bother going past them. Seriously people, turn the damned thing off. Every time I've gotten bit by the blogging bug, I've used Blogger and I promise you the spam filter is pretty good. Even if the occasional spam comment slips gets through and you don't have moderation turned on, it's very easy to delete the comment. Takes like 2 seconds. If you don't want to trust Blogger, turn on the comment moderation. I have it on to force myself to respond to everyone but this also allows me to screen for spam, offensive comments and cyber bullies. As a side note, I've also noticed that the new Blogger has some bugs. One of which is if you go into the settings and change anything, it turns on captcha. Be aware of this and double, triple, quadruple check that it's turned off if you've tinkered with your settings.
A well placed advertisement or product placement will be more enticing than bombarding me with ads. I understand the desire to put ads on your blog for the income; I should probably do it, but I don't for several reasons. But don't throw them at me constantly. I have discovered other blogs, online shops and products from the well-placed ad, but to put an ad after every paragraph of text is just obnoxious. Same thing goes with sidebar ads. Organize your sidebar so all the ads are in one place, it's easy on Blogger to put a section called Blog Sponsors. I've come across a handful of blogs that would have really great content, if they'd get rid of the ads.
I like writing and pre-scheduling posts. But I also like writing and posting spur of the moment posts. There's advantages and disadvantages of both. I need to figure out what types of post work best for each and find a way to balance them.
By far, the hardest post for me to write was Quests but looking back over the challenge, I think it was one of my best. To admit to anyone what my deepest dreams are was absolutely terrifying. Afterwards though, I felt better for having told. Even if I had never discovered the blogs I had discovered or planted the seeds of friendship with some of you, that alone would have made the challenge a success for me.
Will I be doing this next year? Absolutely yes! With this blog and my craft blog. I already have my theme for my craft blog and am tossing around a few ideas for a theme for this blog. We have 11 months to wait and I'm already anxious to begin.
So that now brings me to my final piece of business, looking at the future for this blog. I've been contemplating the things that I want to write about and how I want to write it. I'll definitely go back to blogging about weight loss (probably in a couple weeks). I want to start blogging regularly about music: the process of learning guitar, increasing my skill at the piano. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to attempt recording and releasing a cd at some point in the future. You'll be the first to know though, I promise. I'll blog about my adventures in writing original fiction but possibly also fan-fic. It was my first adventure into writing and will always hold a special place in my heart. I haven't completely decided whether I'm going to post my fan-fic and if I do, whether I will post it here or create another blog for it. As of this second, I'm leaning towards posting it on a blog created specifically for that purpose. But in ten seconds I might change my mind. Again, you'll be the first to know when I've made a decision and stick with it. I also want to blog about photography, fashion, cooking and entertainment (movies, tv, music, books, etc.). I have to do some more thinking about what exactly I want to blog about those and how I'll present them. And as always, I'll continue blogging about crafting over at Oh Frog It; although I might start doing a weekly summary here. We'll see. I'll keep you updated every step of the way, and I hope you'll stick with me as I find this myself and this blog.