So, this thing happened. It was called NaBloPoMo, and it was a national blog posting month, where some bloggers committed to trying to post in their respective spaces every single day for the entire month. You know, I’m not sure why we pick November for this when it is already No-Shave November and National Novel Writing Month and contains Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving, but I’m pretty okay with it nonetheless. Here are a few thoughts I have about the experience and some ideas I’ve gathered for making my blog better in the coming year.
Lesson one: substance matters
as much as more than frequency.
Sure, more-frequent blogging keeps my page views up, but page views aren’t everything when the quality of your work starts to suffer. Lame, awkward, cliché posts are only going to keep even the most dedicated readers [Hi, Mom and Dad!] coming back for so long. After a few lame posts I started to feel embarrassed of my content and decided that I’d have to really write something or not post at all. This decision was made the day after a photo-only post that I thought would hold down the fort on the day I was too tired to write. A dear friend told me the next day, “So that fake blog you wrote? I clicked over and was disappointed.” And honestly, that’s how I felt too! So, here are my goals for the blog in the coming year:
Lesson two: words aren’t enough.
When I decided to start this whole thing, one if my first tasks was to download a photo widget from BlogHer to add to my sidebar. I discovered (1) that my sidebar had disappeared sometime since I last revised my blog theme, (2) that a full sidebar with a single photo widget is kind of awkward-looking, and (3) that lazy plans for filling up a sidebar can only get you so far.
Basically, my blog needs a makeover, in the beauty department. Nothing screams AMATEUR like poorly photoshopped headers, random formatting glitches, and blurry snapshots. Here are my plans for the new year:
Lesson three: Blog challenges are fun!
So, I’m not sure I’m going to post a blog every single day forever — but it was a pretty fun challenge! I did pretty well at it for about 60% of the month, and was almost perfect during pre-Thanksgiving November. There are blog challenges going on all the time, and trying something different with your writing shifts your perspective and deepens your sensitivity as a writer. It’s a good idea.
So, that’s a wrap. NaBloPoMo, or post-almost-every-day-in-November-until-Thanksgiving-distracts-you-from-everything was a success. I’m so glad I did it and hope to carry these lessons into my blogging for the next year.
The participants of this year’s ChamberL.I.N.K.S. program came together last week in Washington, DC to meet with various policy-makers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce staff, CIPE staff, and other non-profit organizations. This was also an opportunity for the participants to reflect on lessons learned, and strategize how they’re going to translate their fresh ideas and energy into their everyday work…
The summer after I graduated from college, I went to Ireland with two girlfriends. We rented a flat in Galway for three months and, from there, traveled all around. It was an excellent and hilarious trip, mostly because because Cara and Marisa were a lot of fun. Whenever St. Paddy’s rolls around, I think of them and the country we traveled together. Here are some things I learned while there:
That it can actually be quite sunny in Ireland – it didn’t rain for our first 10 days there. Lots of pale people (myself included) flocked to the beach. I probably got more of a tan there than I have ever gotten since. The news reported lots of cases of sun poisoning and first degree burns. This photo was taken at Salthill beach in Galway:
There’s a preponderance of stones and rocks and they do impressive things with them – this photo was taken on the Aran Islands:
They let you walk all the way to the edge of cliffs! We wondered: Would they let you do this in America or would there be a fence? (And I wonder now: should I have been that close to the edge? Sorry Mom.) Also taken on the Aran Islands:
The road signage is brilliant. These kinds of intersections would surely drive anybody to drink:
Funghi, the Friendly Dolphin, who resides in Dingle Bay was exactly as friendly as promised but I failed to catch a picture of him with my disposable camera (I was probably winding it) when he made an appearance – Anyway, this photo was taken on the boat, while in hot pursuit of him. (Notice that my love of polka dots was well underway even at this young age):
The castles, abbeys, and forts are simply stunning – this was taken at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara. (This is, for me, the iconic photo of the trip – I have kept it framed on my shelf for all these years):
Understanding the rules of cricket is not exactly a cinch for tourists who are passing through (in other words, not even remotely possible) – taken at Trinity College in Dublin:
Three things about Guinness – 1. It does actually taste better the closer you get to the source 2. It’s so thick that a match will indeed stand up in the foam 3. One pint of it will fill you up more than 47 milkshakes. Taken at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin:
You can only carry so many souvenirs (and hand-knit sweaters) in your backpack. But I did pick up this little tchotchke in County Cork. The back says: “Triple Spiral from New Grange, Co. Meath, 3000 B.C. (Symbol of three: male, female, child: birth, love, death; the flowing continuity of life.)” I keep this on my office shelf all year, but just brought it out to our living room in honor of March 17:
And finally, the coast of Ireland is simply breathtaking:
What an incredible country and an amazing trip. Have you ever been?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!