Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10A few weeks ago I signed up to participate in the 2012 Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me.

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:

  1. When did you begin your blog?

    My first post was published on August 7, 2011

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.







40 comments:

  1. We loved reading this. Keep up the good work :)

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  2. i'm so glad you started writing this blog--you're one of my new favorite people! also, i totally think you should take on some reviews. as long as you don't have to give a good review in order to be allowed to do it/keep the item, i think it's a sweet little perk in return for spending time on the blog.

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  3. Thank you for sharing about your blogging intents and interest.  I really enjoyed this posting today as it gave some wonderful insight into who you are and what you thought when you started blogging.  Blogging has been wonderful therapy for me and even when the writer's block or living life pop up and I can't write, I so love reading others blogs.

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  4. I loved reading this! Keep up the great work
    Dachshund Nola

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  5. Great reading new things about you.  Good luck in 2012!

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  6. Wanting to tell stories about your dog is always a good place to start. I think you're doing very well for someone who just started in August! You must be one of those blogging wunderkinds. I see you're already up to 42 lol. I don't think it's just friends and family anymore. At this rate, you'll definitely overtake me by the end of the day! I should take notes on how you do it :)

    Happy blogging in 2012!

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  7. Wrestling with the words is something I also spend a lot of time doing. I imagine if you go back to writing about Bella ... from your heart ... the words will come easier. Thanks for participating in the challenge. It was great getting to know you.

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  8. Great answers! I look forward to future posts!

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  9. We love reading about your adventures w/ Bella. And love your photos too!

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  10. same thoughts here....we are only at the 100 day mark, but it's fun...just mom has a real job, so sometimes I don't get to blog about me and I worry that I might run out of things to blog about.   keep sharing Bella's tales....i will be back for more!

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  11. Awesome post, Leslie.  I was going to do one this year but I fell asleep on the kid's mattress on the floor with them instead:)  I can relate to so much of what you've written.  I'm so pleased that you've started blogging and love reading the posts that aren't about Bella too.  It's easy to tell all your posts are written from the heart.  And your photos are wonderful.  Happy blogging in 2012 my friend!

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  12. Eva or sometimes PriscillaJanuary 11, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Thanks for letting us know more about you and your blog. I'm glad that I've found your blog and enjoy reading it.

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  13. Just read about you on Coffee with a Canine and loved your story of how you found Bella.  I've added you to my feed reader.

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  14. Great post - what a cool way to find out more about you and your blog. Looking forward to hearing more stories about Bella (not that the other topics and dogs for rescue that you post about are any less poignant!)

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  15. Loved your post... I always forget you've only been blogging since August!  Your blog seems so well-designed and written that it seems like I've been following you for much longer.  :)

    I love reading your posts about Bella - you're a great writer and I always enjoy my time reading your blog.  Can't wait to read more this year!

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  16. First of all, your writing is always impeccable, so your hard work has paid off. (Not that you couldn't shoot something off in a crunch and it be any less worthy.)

    Also, I would NEVER have pegged you for a fellow innie. :) Good to know.

    So glad you started a blog and reached out to some of us others. And for being so gracious. 

    Brace yourself for the rapid growth in follower count!

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  17. Really enjoyed reading your answers and look forward to more Bella posts! 

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  18. Thanks. It was interesting stuff to think about.  Now I've just got to catch up on reading the nearly 100 blogs who also partook! :o

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  19. Right back at you, Lauren. So happy to have met you and Des this year.

    I have some reviews planned (in fact, that'll sort of be the gist of my next post) but we'll see how that goes...

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  20. Thank you, Ellen. I have got to find time to get back out and visit other's blogs - that's one of the most wonderful take-aways I've found in this blogging experience - I didn't even know there were all these fabulous blogs that just shared the wonder of their dogs lives. It's been tremendous to be a part of it all.

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  21. Thanks Nola! We'll keep trying. :)

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  22. Thanks. Can't wait to watch your pups through 2012 as we travel along. :)

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  23. LOL - not hardly but thanks for the kind words.  Don't know how I've missed your blog previously you have yourself a new follower. :) 

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  24. Thanks for running the Challenge - it was interesting to contemplate.

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  25. Thanks for visiting.  I am so far behind in getting out to visit the blogs in the hop  but, since I have a bit of a 'thing' for Dachshunds, you can be sure I'll be by to visit soon! 

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  26. Hi Theresa & Pru.  Thanks so much for the kind words. It's nice encouragement.  Hope all is well and I promise to visit soon.

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  27. I had not idea you were so new as well.  Feels like I've been following you forever!  I can relate to the "running out of things to blog about" feeling but I suspect that will never happen for any of us. The dogs will make sure of it. :)

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  28. We are glad to have found you as well.  Now if I can only finish this work project so I can get back to visiting with my favorite pups and peeps. :)

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  29. Hi!  And, wow, thanks for following us. I had a blast doing that Coffee with a Canine interview. It was kind of fun to brainstorm Bella's voice. :)

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  30. Thanks, Donna. I think Bella's stories are the ones that need to be told so I'm looking forward to focusing on her for a while in 2012.  :)

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  31. Thanks Pup Fan. As an admirer of yours, your kind words mean a lot.

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  32. Hi Elizabeth.  Thanks - and for the record - I would NEVER have pegged you for an innie either!  Funny what one can screw up the courage to accomplish at times, isn't it?  :)

     Thanks for the support and encouragement. It is well and truly appreciated.

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  33. Hey there! Thanks for the kind words.  I've been keeping tabs of Ferg and Flo but just haven't had a chance to comment yet. So glad to hear how well it's going.  Will be by soon to say hello!

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  34. Hello friend.  You know, I think Bella wishes I would have done just the same with her instead of sitting at this computer but since a work project keeps me bound here anyway....

    Thanks so much for your kind words and all the support and encouragement you've given me from the start.   I can't wait to travel 2012 with you. :)

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  35. I have so many things I want to write about I keep forgetting that I have many years to cover it all. And once I'm dead I probably won't care about the blogging so much. :)

    So you have time to cover Bella's stories even as she's making new ones. And to write reviews. And to advocate for great causes. 

    I've been enjoying your blog and look forward to what you have in store for us in 2012.

    And I wasn't feeling you were neglecting Bella in your posts but it occurs to me that's because you refer to her in your comments when you stop by Something Wagging. I feel like she's always close to your thoughts and heart.

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  36. Howdy. I'm belatedly stopping by on the pet blogger's challenge. :)  Your blog is almost the opposite of mine - starting with your dog Bella, and then expanding to other stuff.  My blog started with dog science, and then expanded to include my dogs.  Your blog is quite pretty, so your OCD must be paying off. ;)

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  37. Hi Pamela,

    I like the way you think. Part of that is just me, I wasn't kidding about that OCD bit. It's something I have to deal with "IRL" so it's no surprise it would make an appearance here.  That said, I'm still really new to this and I think I'm just going through an adjustment period.  Thanks for the reality check. :)

    (FTR, though, I also suspect I have a few less years to blog than you do. (Read: I'm a LOT older than I look. ;) )

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  38. Hi there Tegan!  Thanks for visiting.  If it makes you feel any better, I'm still slogging my way through the all the Challenge posts myself.  I've really enjoyed reading the posts but it is taking me forEVER! :)

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.  (That list of links you posted yesterday is so going to seriously cut in to my productivity level, though. ;)

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  39. Working my way through all the great posts in the Pet Blogger Challenge.  I agree that you should never say never.  We've slowly, but surely been building our readership for over 4 years.

    I'm with you and need to focus on my boys a little bit more.  Last year we ran a series of videos on raising our guide dog pup, Dublin.  This year I'd like to focus more on the other 2 dogs in the house, Stetson and Linus.  Although now we have Apache (another guide pup in training) for six months so maybe another video series...so much to do so little time.

    Thanks and best of luck in 2012!

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  40. Hi!  Thanks for visiting.  I'm still trying to get through the Challenge posts myself - goodness there were a lot of them, weren't there?

    Thanks for commiserating about the "so much to do, so little time" thing - that's encouraging for a new blogger.  I want to do it all but have to learn how to focus. It's nice to hear folks who've been around a while don't necessarily have it all worked out yet either.

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