The first step of getting myself back into blogging is complete – a reinvention of the look and feel. I’ve branded the site to a point, changed the look fully and got it to the spot I think I want it to be.
I’m still debating whether to keep full posts on the main page or a “read more” link, but in the end, I don’t think it’s bad as it’s currently set up. We’ll see as I keep moving forward.
Now, it comes down to shaping things on the blog itself, which is mainly recurring features, “whatever” blog posts, and challenges.
My issue over the past couple of years has been pretty simple, in all honesty. I’ve been so backlogged with work that when I get home, I just don’t want to read and write. I may mess around on the computer at home, but it might be a goofy game, or social media, or things like that. Blogging at times has been tough.
But I’m going to change myself up a little (been working on it a little at a time). I recently purchased a Google Chromebook. For those who don’t know the Chromebooks, they operate the Google system and are great for internet etc, but not really to add more things. The one I got was cheaper (after some Dell discounts and such, I paid much less than $100), so it’s not like it’s some speed demon of a computer. It will, however, do exactly what I need it to do.
I have it set up so I can access all of my Google items offline, so I can take this to a park or some other place, access my files, and write. My hope is it will give me some inspiration to write and have fewer distractions. I mean, if you can be in a place where you don’t have the normal distractions, it would seem like some writing could be done.
I hope, anyway.
I really do miss the blogging community. Not just the writing aspect, but also reading and commenting on other blogs; seeing different styles and items; and just being part of the community as a whole. Since I’ve reworked the look and feel here, I’ve also been working “behind the scenes” to change other aspects and “brand” things a bit more.
Let me share what types of items are going to be new to the site, still staying around, or even making a return. Keep in mind that some of these items (more specifically the features) are not scheduled, per say, rather are some items I will be doing when it fits.
I’ve found, in the past, challenges have been good for me. But that’s only when I really put my mind to it.
I’m sure many of us can say the same thing.
What I mean is, when I have blog challenges to work on, I usually find a way to write. And that’s a good thing. I haven’t been as diligent every month visiting others with the Photo Blogging Challenge (I am working, slowly, to catch up), but I miss the confines of some other ones in the past.
So I am going to be starting a few other smaller and easier ones in the hopes people might enjoy them, as well as keep the ones I’ve had. And, hopefully, it will get me to go out and visit blogs.
Maybe this, mixed in with a few challenges, can give me what I need to get into it.
You can also join the HooHaa Challenges page on Facebook to keep up to date as well.
So, what is already set and what’s coming up?
+ Photo Blogging Challenge (ongoing)
This will continue. Despite all the linkup issues we’ve seemed to have recently, the challenge will go on!
I intend on this continuing for years to come and hoping that I will get a lot more traction myself.
I keep trying and hoping to get more ambition to use my main camera and not just my phone, but it’s so easy to just use the phone, especially when you are up against the clock toward the end of the month!
This challenge is monthly. Themes are (usually) posted on the first of the month, with the linkup scheduled for the last day of the month. Sometimes those deadlines aren’t hit, but if that happens, I will get things up as quickly as possible.
You can follow this link to see more on the history of the challenge, as well as past linkups to see the themes we have done and what people have done with those themes!
+ 20 Days of Chill Challenge (each January)
Sometime in December, I have a post with themes for 20 days in January – all weekdays. The themes are loose and open for interpretation. You participate in as many or as few challenges as you would like.
This has been a fun challenge in the past, but has been rather quiet the past few years. I want to try and get the word out a bit more this year in the hopes that things will be a bit more active and fun. Themes can be all over the place and, usually, give other bloggers several different ways to go with it.
The days you participate, come to the blog, link up, and hopefully visit the others. Often times participants will check out the linkup on the following day with the hopes that everybody has already linked. The linkup is usually only live for a couple of days.
+ Food Photo Challenge (not started yet)
The idea will be simple – one photo per month food-related.
I haven’t decided yet if I want to have a theme each month, or make it random or something else. I just know I’d love to do more food photography, so this seemed fun to attempt.
If I do themes, it will be very broad, such as “dinner” or “candy” or something along those lines. I want to see how people take photos of food, as I think it could be fun.
It will be like the others — we’ll have a date when the post is created, and then people can come link up to it. Hopefully, it will be pretty simple.
More details when they are ready.
+ Also …
If I can get fully back to where I want and plan to be, I might bring back a few other challenges. These are the ones I might consider, so let me know thoughts. Would you join if any of these were back?
- 10 Days of Heat Challenge: Similar to 20 Days of Chill, but held during a summer month and only 10 days.
- Story Cube Challenge: Utilizing story cubes, I roll nine and you make a story out of what comes up on the dice. This would likely be a monthly challenge.
- Can of Corn Challenge: A baseball-based challenge, covering nine months of the year (February-October) with one baseball topic each month to write about.
Features are something important to most blogs. Look around the internet and you’ll find every blog has some sort of weekly or monthly features they do. It might be something silly, or something more serious. But it’s a great way to keep content on your blog, as well as give your readers certain things to watch out for.
Below are some of the features I will be doing on the blog. Some of them have been done before or are ongoing, and some are ones I am planning to do moving forward.
+ Living with Diabetes (ongoing)
Part of the hard part of not blogging was not doing this feature. This was always something that helped keep me in check, which is needed.
I have battled Type 2 Diabetes for several years and some A1C tests are better than others. Recently, I’ve started to really kick it into gear again and I know that having this feature will help me stay on task.
When I do this feature – which is usually monthly – it allows me to keep myself in check and see trends and patterns I might be able to catch. It keeps me accountable for what I eat and how I take care of myself.
+ Notes from my Noodle (ongoing)
This is something I used to enjoy doing.
Basically, it’s when I see some crazy news and such out there and I have a mish-mash of things to just write randomly about. So if I see a bunch of different and funny things on the Internet that gets my juices flowing, that’s when this will show up.
There are no set times for this – just when I feel like being really random. Could be weekly, monthly or some other random time.
+ Put it on Repeat (coming soon)
Since I’ve really pushed myself more lately to try and get myself into better shape, I’ve also started to (finally) utilize my iPod.
This, combined with my Apple Watch and not having it hooked up to cellular service, allows me to unplug a bit while out walking. It allows me to not have a phone with me, which I like.
Sometimes I listen to podcasts, other times I play music.
This feature is going to cover music that I might be listening to, so maybe I will talk about the lyrics and things like that. Basically, it’s music that I might want to repeat a few times.
Hopefully, this is something I can work on every 3-4 weeks.
+ Podcast Review (coming soon)
As above, my iPod is becoming part of me a lot more, and I’m listening to more podcasts.
The odds are my tastes in podcast don’t match some others, but that’s fine. I enjoy listening to podcasts while out walking, so every once in a while I will work on a review of a podcast, giving it the goods and bads and an overall rating.
From my eyes, of course.
No set time on this one, just when I feel I have time to give a good and honest review.
+ Snapshot Saturday (ongoing)
I haven’t done this in a good while, but it’s something I always enjoyed doing.
And, honestly, it could be planned out a year or so in advance, so there’s no real reason to not do this.
Basically, it’s a weekly snapshot from the family and friends photo album. It’s always a lot of fun and family and friends have always enjoyed. It’s a little more personal in nature, too, which is never a bad thing.
I am going to be having a lot of photos scanned, and once I get them back, I will start scheduling these quite a bit in advance so it’s always publishing on Saturdays. I hope to start this back up in the next couple of months.
+ One Meeple
One Meeple is a feature I’ve only done a few times, but it is one I want to start doing more.
I own quite a few board games and many of them are able to be played solo. I enjoy the solo aspect of board gaming, so this is a spot where I can talk about those adventures.
I’ll talk about the game, have some photos, and any other thoughts. In a perfect world, I’d like to do this every 3-4 weeks.
+ On the Trail
The idea of this is to allow me a spot to blog about things I’m exploring, be it a park, or a rail trail, or something else. It might have to do with geocaching, or something else with getting out.
But this isn’t just walking on a street, rather getting out into nature and seeing different places and such. This feature might also include going out for a paddle or a bike ride. It will encompass things, though, more in nature or “on the trail.”
There’s a lot of places in my area, and within a couple of hours, so it’s time to start exploring and seeing what’s out there. There will be no set timetable for this one, rather it will be just when I have some place I’ve explored!
I really want to make sure there’s a lot of photos to go with this as well.
+ Walking with a Purpose
A simple idea, actually. This is more about me and, again, a health kick. The thought process is to talk about things with walking.
I try and walk as much as I can, so I’ll cover topics from a random person’s eyes about walking.
It could be about times to walk, items I use (sneakers, trackers etc.), and different ways of staying motivated. There is a whole range of topics. I might even throw in some stories about seeing others out walking etc., or just random observations from my own walks. I assure you I see a lot with the times I tend to go out!
It’s just another way for me to take control of things and hold myself accountable.
+ DayZero Project
I am attempting the DayZero Project for the third time.
The basis is to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. I haven’t completed the past two attempts (though I made a good dent), so I decided to give it a go one more time.
So far, I am doing OK, but I need to push myself to check in on it more, set goals, and get things finished.
There is no guarantee how often this feature will be done, being it is based on when I actually cross off a goal.
+ Also …
I am still debating a few other features. Some could include baseball stadium reviews, photo of the week, some travel things etc. I first want to see how all of these do, and then I’ll eventually reevaluate features and if they need to be shaped up or not.
The basis for the way I am doing things now is to somewhat “brand.” Even though I may never profit financially off the blog, I do like things having their own look and feel. It sometimes makes it easier to not only write about certain things, but also always have an image associated with the feature.
This is the randomness that is a personal blog.
I’ve always said it’s hard to build a following based on my own personal wanderings of life as I am not sure I am that exciting to want to read about. So mixing in some features as well as some of my own adventures seems like as good of a mix as any.
I’ll still have things like this within the blog, but I’m going to try and shape and find a path and get myself back into blogging on a semi-regular basis, and not just when I have the Photo Blogging Challenge.
Some of these things will take some time. Others I’ll break out sooner rather than later. We shall see how it goes!
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please “Like” A ‘lil HooHaa on Facebook! You can also follow me on Twitter @softball29!