Laying out a set of questions to answer, I think the idea started as a way for bloggers to talk about their blogging experience and realize many of us face the same issues, concerns and rewards.
At the very least, it's an opportunity to examine our own motivations and ambitions as well as consider where we're headed and what we want out of all of this.
Here's my take:
- When did you begin your blog?
My first post was published on August 7, 2011
- What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
Like more than a few of us, I think, I had wanted a place to capture Bella's stories and pictures so my husband, Jan, and I could look back on them in later years. I didn't really know anything about blogs and blogging but I signed in to my Google account one day and noticed this application they recommended for me called 'Blogger'. I thought maybe this Blogger thing could aid in my desire to write Bella's story.
- Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different? If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals??
It's largely still the same: tell Bella's story. But it is different in the way that it's a much less private venture than I was expecting it to be which changes and challenges my own expectations of it. Its "purpose" has expanded to include campaigns and events that bring awareness to things I support such as animal rescue, adoption, anti-cruelty... All these things have tremendous meaning to me and knowing I have a public forum to help address them gives me a responsibility to do so.
However, I'm not sure I'm doing a great job meeting my original goals yet - Bella's stories are getting lost among all the other things on the blog right now and I think I'm going to have to go back to its roots and place my focus there for a while.
- Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you? If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it? If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?
I blog on a schedule, mostly. I have a 'real' job that, sadly, does not include writing, talking about or taking pictures of dogs so the blog is a hobby (one of many) and as such, gets relegated to hobby hours. It also takes me a long time to write a decent post, in some cases taking days from inception to publication. I am a fanatical researcher as well as a web design snob so I try to make every post "just so" before I hit the publish button. (Throw a little OCD into the mix, and well, you can maybe see why I'm not posting every day...)
I try for at least 3 posts a week though: Sunday/Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Wednesday and Saturday posts have a theme so that's pretty easy. But the Sunday/Monday posts are my stories and they can be challenging.
I had my first case of writer's block a few weeks ago. I knew the topic I wanted to cover but couldn't find an angle in to the story. I'm not sure I have a "technique" to deal with it so much as just bull-headed brainstorming and writing. Brainstorming includes talking things out with my incredibly supportive and generous husband, Jan. But when all else fails, I just write. And write. And write. Eventually I'll get something out that I can work with.
- Are you generating income from your blog? If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?
Are you kidding? I have 34 followers and half of them are my friends. Luckily I love my day job. (Oh wow, I just checked - I'm up to 41 followers! Thanks for that.)
I don't know about the future. I doubt it. It was never the intention of the blog but I know better than to say never.
- What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?
I like telling Bella's stories and I really like that a few folks out there think she's worth reading about, too. I've always been a story-teller so I enjoy the creative outlet the blog provides. I'm also a geek and I love tinkering with the technology. Mostly, I just love bragging about Bella. She's so amazing to me, so resilient, so smart, so charming... The blog is my poduim to sing her praises to the moon whether someone's listening or not.
I have really enjoyed the commaraderie of the pet blogging community. Being an introvert, it can be overwhelming to me to be especially social but online it's a bit different - I can be social but on my terms, at my times and I can withdraw if I find myself floundering in the deluge. And the people I've met, how warm and welcoming and funny and supportive they are, it's been a truly rewarding experience.
I absolutely love reading other people's blogs. The amount of talent and wit that's out there is extraordinary. Plus, I'm kind of a freak about dogs, so you know, that part's full of win.
- What do you like least?
I probably least like the same thing that started this Pet Blogger Challenge with Edie and Amy last year: the feeling that the blog is in control and I'm not. I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started and I panic a little at times when I think of trying to keep this pace up long term. I've got to figure out how to balance what I love about the experience while minimizing the panic.
- How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?
I honestly don't know. I've started getting offers to advertise on the blog and write reviews. (Seriously? That's kind of geez, I don't even know. You won't find me speechless often so enjoy the moment...) I don't know how I feel about that whole side of things.
Like I said earlier, I think I have to go back and focus on Bella a little more. She's already got so many stories to tell, and I can't wait to share them.
So that's it. Thanks for letting me play in this sandbox. It's been rewarding, frustrating, challenging and a true joy. Be sure to hop around the blog hop and see what other folks have to say about this crazy experience we call blogging.