Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014 Winds of Change Continue to Blow

Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014 Winds of Change Continue to Blow

Hello my old friend. I’ve had a wonderful ride here and the past year has been one of change, challenge, camaraderie and catharsis. Enjoyable yet disconcerting, 2013 has been an amazing followup year to 2012. Events that took place in the year prior to ’13 are still resounding in me and their long term affect has yet to be realised. Still, at this point, the beginning of another new year, sees me bidding goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. It is already apparent that the winds of change will continue to blow and that my “tumbleweed” like lifestyle  will keep bouncing from one exciting event to the next.

A short recap is in order. I’ve discovered that writing professionally is possible. My earlier queries about getting a paying writing job from blogging were proven to have answers in the positive. My blog, which kept me busy in a most tumultuous time in my life, did indeed lead me to paid work. A job that allowed me to further develop a style, that is constantly changing/adapting, and that nets me thousands, and in a few cases millions, of people who read my printed words.

I am able to write about the things that interest me and for the first time in my life I have found that “perfect job” the one that I would do for nothing, and indeed have done, that actually pays me for my labor of love.

The only drawback is that I have ignored you, my first love, with only the smallest of inputs in the way of linking to my articles. Do I feel guilty? Most assuredly. In my neglect, you have gone on to pass the 100,000 mark in terms of page views. Followers continue to support your existence and the count surpassed 800 quite some while ago.

I also have little time to read the wonderful posts of those whom I’ve followed since the beginning. My loss completely. These bloggers have often taught me new things and entitled me to a point of view that I may never have considered if left to  my own devices. I miss you all, my dear WordPress family, even those who have never quite agreed with my ramblings.

But management of one’s time is itself time-consuming. Working professionally means that little time is left over for the more fanciful musings. Even reviewing films falls under work now. When faced with the reality that the most views an article about a recently viewed film on my own personal blog will never go over a hundred, as a rule, and that one reviewed on my professional site will/can get thousands…

There is no real contest. We write to be read. When I started, I was, and still am to some degree, happy just to write. Later, when I found that readers responded well to my ramblings, the focus shifted. As it naturally would. But…I am not saying goodbye to my blog, just 2013. I wish to continue stopping by occasionally writing; not just linking to my other articles. Saying hello to 2014 means following the winds of change, which continue to blow incessantly and moving my life forward. A life that, until recently, I thought was pretty much over.

Another huge leap; a life changing episode, has again become part of my life. I cannot yet get into details of this latest event yet.  I can, however, say that it looks like after four years of, sometimes, life threatening actions that have put me in a place I never dreamed of being in my life, that I am reaching a crossroad that, regardless of which route I take, has brought me to yet another new beginning.

I will not ramble on. I stopped by to say again just how much I love all those folks who have followed, supported and interacted with me. The members of the blogging community who took me in and gave me…what? A place of belonging? A forum to tell stories or formulate thoughts? A place of refuge, when things in my real life got too difficult to face alone?

The answer is yes to all the questions listed above even the incompletely constructed ones.  There have been those of you who have definitely changed my life. Marilyn over at serendipity and Natasha at Films and Things are just two examples of folks in the blogging community who have brought much to the table and shared experiences with me.

I reget deeply that I’ve not had time to follow all the folks who have take the time to follow my blog, just as I feel guilt for not delivering more in the way of written recompense. I will, however, promise to keep dropping in and adding my “two cents worth” on a more regular basis and not just provide links to my “paid work.”

Saying goodbye to 2013 via my little blog, has given me a chance to say how much you all mean to me, and if I didn’t mention you by name, it is only because of the time. It keeps moving, you see. It marches forward resolutely while, if you believe in physics, moving in all other directions at once. I’m moving on a path that I never dreamed possible and I hope to let you all know how it turns out. For now, I’ll stop at saying hello to 2014 and with a little prayer: May your new year be filled with winds of change that continue to blow in  your favour.

My Summer Vacation
Author

Michael Smith
United Kingdom

January 1, 2014
Norwich
Norfolk

BOOM Upside My Head, Versatile Blogger Award!

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Whilst I was reeling from getting THREE nominations for the Epically Awesome Award for Epic Awesomeness, Dave over at  Last Road Reviews pummelled me upside the head with a Versatile Blogger Award.

Ouch! I didn’t see that one coming!

As with all awards in the Blogging verse, this one comes with rules. Since I’ve taken days to respond to Dave’s nomination (Sorry Dave) I’m going to expedite this via the “lazy man’s” way. I’m going to copy said rules from his post. Have I mentioned lately how lazy I am?

Versatile Blogger Award – Rules for those who wish to participate

1. In a post on your blog, nominate 10 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award; and link to them.
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 10 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

My randomly selected nominees are:

  1. Claratsi Movie Review
  2. RobinsRealm Blog
  3. FOXXIECINNAMON’S Blog
  4. readful things blog
  5. Bad Horror, Good Times
  6. Roll on some movies!
  7. Film As We Know It
  8. Kevin’s Movies
  9. hypersonic55
  10. Reel Ex-Stream

My ten unknown (probably not by now though) facts are:

  1. I snore.
  2. I love golf but cannot afford to play it.
  3. I am just breaking into the world of freelance writing.
  4. I’m on the staff as a writer for web magazine Rogue Cinema which focusses on Independent film.
  5. I am a host for Tommorrow Comes Media by Seventh Star Press and my first event will be May 16th.
  6. I’m going to be acting in a film by Natasha Harmer  called Once Bitten, Twice Shy.
  7. I am writing short stories at the minute to become a (hopefully) published collection.
  8. The first novel I’m writing is going to be a western (cross genre).
  9. I have 7 plus scars on my body, most from surgery!
  10. I have quit smoking, but, now appear to be hooked on the bloody nicotine gum!

And that, as they say, is that. I’ll leave you now to enjoy your Sunday lunches, trips to the seaside and pints at the pub. But I’ll remind everybody that my choices, as always, are completely random and chosen from the lovely folks who follow my blog already. In my mind you are all deserving of an award…I’ll just have to think one up!

Thanks again Dave!

Cheers!
Cheers!

 

 

 

Blogging Part 4: Etiquette Part II

That little badge of excellence.
That little badge of excellence.

Metaphorically strolling through the recent entries on the Freshly Pressed page, I noticed a disturbing trend. Some of these recent winners of that coveted page placement aren’t responding to their comments. They are responding to a few, but not many.

When I got Freshly Pressed last year, I tried my damnedest to answer every single person who commented. I would have continued doing so if I hadn’t had a heart attack and wound up in hospital and almost dying. At that point my blog and getting Freshly Pressed was forgotten. I think it would be safe to say that the only things that existed in the world for me at that point was the hospital.

If I remember correctly, when I came home four days later, full of scars, stitches and medication, the first thing I did was to check my blog and answer comments.

I can hear a lot of folks saying now, “What makes you think that what you have to say on the subject is worth reading! You don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers.”

And they would be right.

But what I do have is appreciation, manners and courtesy. And a real idea of time.

I have quite a lot of time. I’m ill-heath retired and I don’t have another paying job to go to. I am writing/hosting for other web sites, but that is non-paying and not enormously time-consuming. I do all my own housework (But honestly? How much mess can one bloke, on his own, make?)

I do my laundry, cut my grass, run errands. But all of these things, as a rule, don’t take hours.

Stop shifting in your seats and looking at your watches! I am making a point here!

But where I have a lot of time, most folks do not. They have full-time jobs, children to raise, an entire family to clean up after, hobbies to pursue and lives to lead. If one of these people take the time to read or like or comment; they are making a statement.

They are saying, I like what you’ve just written, or your point of view, or how you write. By commenting, they’ve taken even more time out of their busy lives to say something.

If these busy people can take the time to comment? You can take the time to respond. Don’t let getting Freshly Pressed make you forget your manners or, more importantly, your appreciation.

If you are like me, you would keep writing your blog, even if no-one liked, commented or reblogged your work. But it is precisely those little things that make blogging more satisfying and enjoyable.

Try to remember that in future you Freshly Pressed bloggers. I’ve been there and I’m telling you; only a heart attack kept me from responding back to everyone who commented on my Freshly Pressed post.

Etiquette is not just about leaving comments, it’s also about responding to them.

Photo on 27-03-2013 at 09.03
All advice given with a pinch of salt, the same way it should be received.

50,000 Plus! Thanks Guys!

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Literally the day after I posted about my 1 year anniversary on WordPress, I passed the 50 thousand mark. To add to the excitement of that landmark, I also got 673 views yesterday which obviously helped to move my view totals up. While still surfing this wave of excitement, I thought I’d do a short post of gratitude…again.

I still haven’t figured out what drove all that extra activity to my site. It certainly wasn’t any of the regular search engines or terms. It is baffling to say the least. But not unappreciated at all. I mentioned to my friend Tyson over at Head In A Vice and he assured me it was not down to the “FACE OFF” that we’re doing at the moment over on his blog. *How’s that for a plug, Tyson?*

Still, wonderment aside, I have to say thanks again for all the folks who take the time to stop by my little blog. Your views are what keep me going. Sure I like the “sound” of my own voice, even if it’s only in my head while I read my ramblings, but it is nice that other folks seem to like it as well.

I don’t want to jump on the “I appreciate you guys so much train” again after just doing it in my Happy Anniversary to Me post I just did, but, doggone it! I am pretty excited to hit two milestones so close together. So you’ll have to excuse me if I get too carried away.

I know that I am still not a “successful” blogger yet (whatever that means) as in I have tens of thousands of followers who hang on my every word, but, I do love all the folks who have obligated themselves to following my words and images. It means a lot, so much in fact that I kind of feel like you guys have been instrumental in my recovery from my heart attack last August.

My writing has helped me keep my mind off the negative connotations of almost dying and your interaction with me through the auspices of my blog posts has given me more ammunition for the old grey cells to ruminate on instead of my own fractured mortality. In other words, you all have given me a new lease on life. And for that I am grateful.

I do follow folks back (at least I try, although it may take me some time to do it) and I try to read as many of your blog posts possible. I just wanted to take another minute or two to thank everyone once again for helping to make my blogging experience a fun one.

On a final note (see I told you this was a short one) I’d like to thank WordPress! You guys so totally rock as a weblog site!

Believe it or not this is my happy face!
Believe it or not this is my happy face!

Blogging Part 3: Comment Etiquette

Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com
Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com

I find myself hopping back on my soapbox this morning so I can pontificate about blogging and comments. Well, specifically about comments left on blogs and a sort of code of etiquette. A long time ago, in a land far away, I had another blogging site (I actually still do, as apparently you can be inactive on the site for a millennium and still keep the account) and I had a blog I followed quite religiously.

I got in the habit of leaving “semi” long comments. The lovely lady who owned the blog I was commenting on sent me a “sharp” rebuke for being too wordy. My response at receiving this email of displeasure was two-fold.

I was upset that I was breaking some sort of comment etiquette and irritated that she did not want my input after inviting people to comment on her blog. After a bit of thoughtful deliberation and a conference with my daughter (who’d been blogging much longer than I had) I stopped following the lady’s blog and dropped her from my email contact list.

A short while later, I got an email from her (in my spam bin) saying that she was sorry. She told me she was wrong about my comments being too long and she missed my feedback. By then, unfortunately, I’d moved house and was living in another blogging site, WordPress. I never bothered following her blog again, as I don’t ever visit that particular blogging site since my move.

But as time has gone by and my experience grows on blogging and the interaction it requires, I can see her point. I also read a great blog post from Marilyn over at Serendipity a while back where she posted about inconsiderate commenters. By the way, if you have not had the extreme pleasure of reading this fascinating lady’s Blog just click HERE. You will not regret stopping by.

I decided that as a “not-so-regular” commenter on other people’s blogs (I have a hard time fitting in reading and liking them) and the fact that I have a lot of folks who  do leave comments on mine, that perhaps a short list of don’ts might not hurt. It might save you that cringe worthy moment when the blog owner that feels like you are “taking the Mickey” with your comment and  upbraids you on it. *Taking the Mickey is an English phrase for making fun of or being tacky towards someone or taking liberties.*

Comment Etiquette:

1) Don’t leave an entire page worth of  comment. Most blogger don’t appreciate your version of a comment that resembles Gone with the Wind. Keep it short, but if you want to engage more fully, send an email to their contact email address.

2) Don’t link back to your blog site. Nothing is more offensive to a blogger than if you use the comment section to advertise your blog post. Social media is for self promotion, not someone else’s blog comment section.

3) Don’t argue with other commenters on the post. It’s cool to interact (that’s why we blog) but do not get into a protracted war over an issue. I once had two people carry out a full paged campaign on a blog post I’d written. Don’t do it.

4) Play nice. This really could be an addendum to 3). If you disagree with someone, just say so and try to make your point as succinctly as possible. Don’t get tacky. It’s not appreciated and can result in getting you blocked.

5) Don’t NAG. This, along with the GWTW type comments are my pet peeve. If you don’t know what constitutes nagging, here’s a clue. If you leave repeated messages (comments) talking about the same things? It is NAGGING. Stop it.

6) Don’t be negative. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

7) – This is the last one, I promise – DO feel free to express yourself and commit to your comment. Remember, other people are reading what you have left on someone else’s blog post, if you do it “right” they will follow you back to your blog. It is a great way to self-advertise without being offensive.

So that’s it. The MikesFilmTalk’s Comment Etiquette Guide. I would like to point out that this post is not “aimed” at anyone in particular. I had the idea for this post while pondering a response that someone left on another blog site. It made me think of my cringe worthy moment over two years ago, when I got diarrhoea of the keyboard.

We all love to interact with each other in the blogging world, let’s just try to do it politely and positively.

So how about you? What sort of comments can you do without or make you see red? Do you have any commenting etiquette that you think should be followed?

Let me know, but to paraphrase Captain Spaulding in The House of a 1000 Corpses, “Don’t go all Margaret Mitchell on my ass.”

Cover of "Gone with the Wind"
Cover of Gone with the Wind