Ten good reasons to start a blog

IMG_2057I have agreed to share the knowledge I have gained over six years blogging with some fellow community members through our local group of the University of the Third Age (U3A). It is not a paid position but a sharing with like-minded people. It doesn’t commence until May so I have some time to fine tune the content.

I started thinking about the many reasons to start a blog and thought I would share a few of mine here. Please feel free to comment and add other reasons I may have missed.

  1. Learning about using WordPress (and keeping up with the changes) keeps my brain active.
  2. I have met so many amazing people from all parts of the world and been able to enjoy their photos, weather reports, local happenings, different cultures/styles of architecture and more. It really adds to my knowledge of the world and reminds me of how much we all have in common.
  3. The joy of getting a “like” or even better a “comment”. It always brightens my day.
  4. The opportunity to put some positive words out into cyberspace and hope that I am able to add a little joy to someone else’s day.
  5. I sometimes have ideas that I want to share and it provides me an avenue to do so and get feedback from others.
  6. My interest in photography has grown since I started blogging. I have discovered it is one of those things I can lose myself in it – time flies by!
  7. The diversity of blogs provide such a vast resource of valuable information- I take down recipes from other parts of the world and try them out at home – great fun. There is also lots of wisdom out there!
  8. When I got my current part-time job I was able to provide my blog address to the editor so she could see that I can put a few sentences together.
  9. It is MY voice I am putting out there. I know at times that some people may not like what I post but I reserve the right to have my say.Being an introvert I find it harder to express myself in person than I do in writing.
  10. I feel a real connection with a number of bloggers that I have followed for some time. I know that if I was in their neighbourhood I would love to drop in for a coffee and a good long chat.  🙂

There are probably a lot more reasons to blog and I would love to hear from you what you think.

 

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Is there a point to blogging?

18 February 2014 006 (Copy)I am home again after spending some time away visiting my extended family. Sometimes the topic of blogging comes up. People often ask me the following:

  • what is a blog?
  • how do people find my blog?
  • why do I do it?
  • what does someone have to do to start a blog?
  • what do I like about blogging?

I find it hard to respond to these queries as there are many answers for the points. Blogging has become a part of my life over the last few years and I am reluctant to let it go.

I try to explain about some interesting people I have met through blogging and their eyes seem to glaze over. I have learned a lot from other bloggers. I am more aware of where people are geographically located and I know more about cultural differences in other places in the world. I have also learned how much we all have in common.

My technology skills continue to grow as I keep blogging. I noticed in my recent online studies that I wasn’t daunted by some of the technical challenges that would have overwhelmed me if I didn’t blog regularly and look after my site.

I don’t worry about how many people read my blog and/or comment. I get a buzz when it happens, but it is not the motivation for my writing. I enjoy the interaction with like-minded people, whether it be few or many.

I enjoy sharing insights I have about life – I haven’t had any ‘aha!’ moments lately but sometimes they come out of nowhere and it is good to share.

The fact that I blog makes it easier for me to sit in front of a computer and write about other things as well. Tomorrow I will be working for about four hours in my job with the local paper. I HAVE to write and get it done in that time. There is no time for me to sit staring at a blank screen (or do any rewrites for that matter).

So, I have told you some of my thoughts about blogging – now I would like to hear from your point of view, if you would like to share.

cheers

Lorraine

Contagious … I wish!

You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?

I would build a widget for my blog so that no matter what I wrote about, the widget would give a sprinkle or two of magic dust and my blog will become viral. It will be on Facebook and even in the news.I would also be Freshly Pressed 🙂 on WordPress.

Wow, wouldn’t that be wonderful!

One is better than noneBut seriously now, I wish I knew how to make a really successful blog or website. Successful being determined by the number of views, likes and subscribers. I really enjoy blogging and the interaction with other bloggers, but, just once in a while it would be great to see my statistics sky-rocket!

What is the secret?

Access to photos

Yallingup 010

I would love to have greater access to photos on the internet but I want to do it legally and ethically – i.e. I don’t want to breach copyright or use someone’s work without their approval. I am open to paying a subscription fee if it provides me with what I want.

The photos would be sometimes used in my blog but may also be used in my business and on Facebook. Currently I use my own photos or Public Domain photos from Wikipedia.

All suggestions appreciated! Thanks in anticipation 🙂

cheers

Lorraine

My 500th blog post

number500Today I celebrate my 500th blog posting! WOW! I started blogging on 28 December in 2010! This is what I had to say in my very first post:

“I want to share my thoughts about life and its purpose. I want to pose questions that are eternal! Why are we here? Does it matter, what we do? Is my role in life predestined?

When I was growing up, I was taught by nuns in the Catholic Church. I hung onto those thoughts and beliefs for many years. They were good for me at times in my life. Overall, I think they had a very negative impact on my self-esteem. I started to study philosophy and see the world from a different perspective.”

***I had to really restrain myself from changing the above words as I would say it very differently today!

As I reflect on my blogging journey, I also reflect on my life journey. Blogging has given me a platform to express myself like I have never done before. I write and post photos because I have something to say and share. My blogging has evolved just as my life’s course has evolved – it is all ONE journey!

I greatly appreciate it when someone reads my blog or “likes” it or both. This is my opportunity to thank YOU!

I have not chased the statistics and I obviously will never be a star blogger but that is OK. Thanks for joining me on my journey and for teaching me about other interesting parts of the world, different cultures, age groups, interests, and perspectives.

This blog would not be complete without an enormous THANK YOU to WordPress for enabling all this to happen. You are awesome!

Cheers

Do you know what you want to do when you grow up?

IMG_0044A group of celebrities on a recent TV program seemed to clearly know their vocation. One of them said, “I saw someone do ‘stand-up’ comedy and at that moment I knew that it was for me”. Another one always knew they would be a journalist and yet another, an actor. It got me reflecting on my choices and if there had been any sense of vocation from a  young age. The short answer is NO! I did have some false starts though, or trial runs…

  1. In high school I took all the right subjects to enable me to become a nurse. I nearly went down that path as I was accepted into two training hospitals in Melbourne. I am so pleased I didn’t go through with it. I think nursing is a very worthy and noble profession but I believe I wasn’t cut out for it. One of the main reasons I didn’t accept the offers was the idea of doing shift work. That had no appeal.
  2. Retail – this was more about paying the bills and enabling me to stay in the City and not return home to Mum and Dad and admit failure at achieving independence. I was reasonably good at sales but dealing with the public day in and day out was pretty challenging.
  3. Teaching English as a Second Language – now this was something that I really enjoyed. I had no training but used my knowledge of language plus some intuition and had some good outcomes.
  4. Office work – again I was self-taught as I didn’t do any commercial subjects at school. Administration is much more attractive with the advance of computers and the latest software but it doesn’t really excite me at all!
  5. A good government job came along in 1993. My skills and knowledge were a good match with the job description but it was really the pay and conditions that kept me in that job for 17 years. I worked in the employment and training field in regional areas of Western Australia.
  6. That brings me up to 2010 when I resigned from the State Government and commenced a journey of self-employment. My work today requires good writing skills, good computer literacy and good customer relations.

Perhaps the idea of a job for life or a vocation is not as relevant today. We need to be flexible and keep learning and adapting to support our relevance and our skills. When I was working in employment and training we used to tell people that most of the jobs of the future have not been invented yet due to the pace of change due to technology and globalisation. I still think that is true today.

So, did you have an “aha!” moment when you realised what you wanted to do, or has it just evolved over the years?

Cheers

Lorraine

PS I get a lot of pleasure out of my blog – not just the writing but the technology in putting it all together. I probably enjoy that more than I have ever enjoyed the workplace!

The passion to write

Baobab tree near Fitzroy Crossing where I taught Adult Literacy to Indigenous Women

Baobab tree near Fitzroy Crossing where I taught Adult Literacy to Indigenous Women

I love to write! So where did my journey begin and have I ever arrived at the destination of “being a writer”?

I am the youngest of five children hence, when I started school, I knew my alphabet and was confident in spelling some words. Through-out my primary and secondary schooling I always enjoyed studying English most of all. Writing seemed easy – writing essays seemed easy and I got good results.  As I student I wrote letters to my local paper and they were published. It was a real buzz to see my writing in the paper 🙂

When I left school I knew that English was my strongest point but, then, I couldn’t see any scope for it as a career. I married at 18 and had 3 children by the time I was 29 years old. I was content to be a mum at home while my children were young.

I used my love of the English language by doing voluntary work with adults with literacy problems. I also worked, at first voluntarily and later paid, as an English (reading and writing) tutor to a group of Australian Indigenous women. I have also worked with migrant women teaching English as a second language.

When my marriage broke up I moved to the city and went to University to study English and Intercultural Studies. My goal was to produce books that would be relevant and interesting for adults with poor English skills. It was very difficult looking after three young children on my own and studying as well. I withdrew with the hope I could come back to it at a later date. At 38 I won a good, full-time  job with the State Government. It involved some writing but it wasn’t the central focus of the role. Over many years I took on other job roles and in later years became a policy officer and writing was a core requirement in the job. At last I had the chance to do what I loved doing.

Today I seek opportunities where I can use my English writing ability. I’ve done some tertiary studies in professional writing. I have blogged for two years now and I really enjoy it. Today I have found a niche where I get paid to write tenders and funding applications for community organisations. I can combine my desire to make a difference in my community with my wish to produce a good piece of writing. I don’t see any novels on the horizon, but who knows what lies down the track!

Do you have ambitions for your writing or do you write purely for the pleasure of it?

Lorraine

 

A glimpse at a dream come true…

going with the flow

going with the flow

Today I cleaned up my computer! You would not find my desk if my office filing was anything like my computer filing. You would not get in the door! It is easy hide electronic mess. I had folders labeled random docs, random excel docs, random PowerPoint docs!

I had a My Documents folder that had a My Documents folder, that had My Other Documents folder….get the picture! Well, there are random pictures too! I decided not to go there today!

I got more ruthless the longer I was at it. I kept information for years, that I MAY NEED ONE DAY! Work stuff from several employers ago. There were job applications, work projects, samples of work I have done. I couldn’t even bring myself to read most of them.

A moment of enlightenment arose among this frenzied clean up! Much of the information was EVIDENCE. It was to prove that I could do something, or that I didn’t do something, or evidence of ability for job applications etc. And so much of it was not really ME. I believed I needed this stuff to be who I thought I ought to be.

I don’t need to do that anymore and I feel so grateful for that. I worked for Government for a long time and for a long time I found it really tough going. Not because the government was bad, mean or corrupt. I found it to be soul destroying. I wanted to make a difference through what I did at work – at times it was possible to do that. A lot of the time it was just really dysfunctional and incredibly frustrating. I stayed because it gave me security – it was a trade-off. Not uncommon – I guess most people do that at work and in life generally to some degree – we have to do that to survive in our society.

I am self-employed now – I earn a lot less money but I am a lot happier. I can be true to who I am. I can work hard and be satisfied with my personal effort, knowing that I did the best job that I am capable of.  Most of my work involves writing applications for funding for community groups. I get to WRITE and people pay me to do it! The time just flies by when I am on a project – I experience that sense of being “in the flow”. I look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone.

I find the writing I do in my blog actually does help me to write for other purposes. I am not daunted by a new topic (project) and I just start writing (and editing) and after a while it just seems to come together. My experience working with government gives me some insight into the sort of stories they want to hear. Hopefully there will be some positive outcomes for all.

Lorraine