Friday, January 10, 2014

• Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

With its broad focus, my blog can include a  bunny in a dress and a Dal.
Every year on January 10 Amy Burkert of Go Pet Friendly hosts the Pet Blogger Challenge. This year Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me? is co-hosting. They pose questions and bloggers answer. (I shortened the questions.)

1) Why do I blog?
I've been blogging since 2011. Deciding to blog was part left brain: As a pet sitter, I felt I needed to participate in social media. But truthfully, my decision was mostly right brained: Whee! creativity time.

2) One thing about my blog that made me proud in 2013
I'm getting more comments.

3) What about blogging has changed for me in the past year?
One thing that hasn't changed is that I'm fairly lazy. I always post on the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop, but otherwise I don't keep to a schedule. I did come out of the closet about being 21 years' sober. I think I'm ready for what I write to be more meaningful. Stay tuned.

I can post about doing energy work with horses . . .*
4) What lessons have I learned?
People want to be heard. When someone comments on a blog, "Likes" a post on Facebook, or retweets, it shows that someone is listening. When we pay attention, we honor each other.

5) How do I get more traffic to my blog?
Sometimes I mention a post several times on Twitter. I should do this more, especially for posts that are evergreen, like my post about dog fighting. (Notice how I'm getting more traffic to my blog here?)

6) How much time do I spend publicizing my blog?
None. To get regular readers you need to post on a schedule and have focus, but I write about what I feel like when I feel like it. I worked at National Geographic for 32 years. Being behind the scenes (Get more readers! Keep them! We're losing them—get them back!) took a lot of the fun out of it. I love to use my background to help other people, but as for myself, I'm just having fun.

7) How do I gauge if what I'm writing appeals to my audience?
The more comments I get, the more I assume I appeal. Ironically, the most thoughtful comments I received last year were in response to my Meet the Bloggers post, in which I revealed that I'm a recovering alcoholic. I was transparent and authentic. People found that meaningful, which, in turn, meant a lot to me. (Feel free to make meaningful comments below. LOL)

8) What inspires me to comment on someone else's blog?
On Wordless Wednesday sometimes I comment on blogs so people will visit my blog. Shallow, huh? If I have pertinent information I'll share that, but I tend to make few comments.

9) Do I do product reviews and giveaways?
No. A lot of my work at National Geographic was production (print publications, T-shirts, etc.) and coordination (printing and distribution). The thought of setting up a system to run contests and mail prizes sounds like what I used to do. And I don't want to do what I used to do.

. . . and about doing Reiki on horses.**
10) When writer's block strikes, how do I recharge?
I don't blog regularly, so this doesn't apply. I admire people like Amy who produce on schedule, week after month after year. I would have thought that 5 years after I retired that I would be ready to commit to a blogging schedule, but I'm not. For this INFP, 32 years of deadlines was about 31 years too many.

11) Have I taken a break from my blog? Thought of quitting?

12) What goals do I have for my blog in 2014?
I want to get back to writing as a craft: the punch of the right verb, the "Ahh" of an unexpected metaphor, the kind of piece that makes people say, "I never thought of it that way." A good goal would be to write one blog post a week. Mind you, that's not my plan. I don't have a plan. And for now I like it that way.

*  Fire Horse Ranch Equine Guided Experience. Photo by Diana Gogan
** Manifested Harmony Reiki for Animals class. Photo by Allie Phillips