5 Things I Love About Blogging

I did a blog post about the 5 things I hate about blogging, so I thought I should follow it up with a post with 5 things I love about blogging.  I’m not a masochist, so there must be things I like about it, or I wouldn’t keep doing it.  I’ve been blogging off and on since, well, probably since around 2000.  (That was just, like, two years ago, right?)  So, what is it about blogging that keeps me coming back?

#1 – Writing

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Credit: Pixabay

I love writing.  It’s something in my life that I’ve been told I’m good at.  That’s debatable, but whether I’m any good at it or not, I love doing it.  And that’s what counts, right?  I love taking all the jumbled up thoughts in my head and getting them down on the page.  I do most of my writing on the computer these days, but sometimes I like to kick it old school and sit down with a pen and paper and just write.

I’d love to write a book someday.  (All writers/bloggers say that, don’t they?)  I think the problem has been that the book people tell me I should write isn’t a book I want to write.  I’m still trying to figure out what kind of book I would like to write.  Which is probably why I haven’t written it yet.

In any event, blogging lets me empty my head onto the page.  Then I have room for more thoughts – and so on and so forth.  Plus, it’s good practice.  What’s that old adage about practice? You have to practice something for 10,000 hours to be a master at it?  I’m not sure even 10,000 hours is enough to master writing, but blogging does let me at least get some of that practice in.  (Even if it still doesn’t keep me from ending sentences with a preposition!)

#2 – Community

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Credit: Pixabay

Blogging lets me find other people who are interested in the same things I am, without having to put myself in awkward social situations.  And if I’m in them, they’re generally awkward. 😛

We’re all searching for our ‘tribe’ – for me, that’s not people who have the same views and ideals I do.  I mean, those people are great, but I also like interacting with people who have different views and having deep philosophical discussions about why they have the views they do.  I hate small talk and chit-chat, but I love being able to have long, drawn-out, deep conversations with people.

One of the other appeals about blogging is that it allows me to reach people I would never be able to in real life.  I live in a rural area in a small town, and so being able to find people all over the world through blogging who share my interests is amazing.

#3 – Learning

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ALL the books! Credit: Pixabay

I am a lifelong learner – I love to learn.  I am one of those people who loved school.  I’d be a perpetual student if I could afford the tuition.  Blogging lets me explore all kinds of things I would never have been able to otherwise.

In the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned about SEO, marketing, technology, and a whole host of other things I would never even have been exposed to otherwise.  I tell my husband I’ve learned just enough to be dangerous – a running joke, because I have by no means learned all the things I could or should about those things.

Every day is a new adventure in blogging, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

#4 – Being Creative

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Credit: Pixabay

Everyone talks about “finding your passion” and “architecting your best life.”  I don’t like either one of those expressions.  Finding your passion and making a living at your passion are two completely different things.  Some of us are lucky enough to find a job/career that lets us do both, but most of us don’t.  Blogging is a passion because it feeds my soul in a way nothing else does.  That’s why I keep coming back to it – because being creative – whether with my writing or something else – feeds my soul and keeps me happy.  I’ll probably never make a living with my writing, and that’s okay.

As for “architecting my best life,” I think that’s a load of bull.  We only get one life.  So by definition, it is both your worst and your best, because it’s the only one you get.  I do the best I can, and I think that’s all you can ask of anyone.  Blogging is part of my ‘best life,’ because it helps me be a better and more rounded person.

#5 –  Stats

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Credit: Pixabay

I know I said in the previous post that I hate stats, and I do.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  Because if my stats show growth, I love them.  But if they don’t, I hate them.  It’s like having someone constantly judging you and that is exhausting.  No one can be ‘on’ all the time – it’s not humanly possible.  But, of course, we all want to do well, and having concrete data that you’re not doing as well as you’d like can be soul crushing some days.

I take the same approach to stats as I do to social media.  I dip my toe in, but I try to limit the amount of time and energy I devote to them.  Because in the grand scheme of things, what random people on the internet think of me or my writing doesn’t matter.  I mean, I want you all to love me, of course, but it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t.  😀

What about you?  What do you love or hate about blogging?  What keeps you coming back?

Learning Curve

FailMy struggle to start my online business continues.  For whatever reason, my brain insists that before I start something, I must know ALL THE THINGS.  So I decided to see how other people were running their sticker businesses on Etsy.

My first goal was to order some stickers from other stores. I had a million questions.  What kind of paper do they use? How do they package their products? What do they charge? How much is postage?  Do they charge shipping?  What about sales tax?

So I purchased some stickers for my own use and I also purchased some stickers that I could download, print, and cut myself. I’m still deciding whether I want to mail out orders, which will add to the cost because of postage and packaging, or whether I want to just sell downloadable files.

So I purchased a couple of downloadable files that also included the cut files so I could use the Cameo and see how things work. Buy the files, download, open, print, cut – easy peasy, right?

Right.

After 30 minutes of work, I was ready to pull out my hair. I made ALL the rookie mistakes. I’d tried to read and research about how to use the software and the cutting machine, so I thought I was ready to go.

Nope.

First, I wanted to try out my new CMYK printer and see what the print quality was like. It was okay, though not as saturated as I thought it would be. The images I was printing were kind of washed out, so I’ll wait and see how I feel after printing more than 3 or 4 pages.

I printed two pages of the stickers I purchased and then got ready to cut them. Opened the cut files and loaded the cutting machine. And then realized, after the cut job failed, that I had just printed the pdf files of the stickers, which don’t include the registration marks that the cutting machine needs to cut.

Sigh.

So, I opened the cut files and printed the stickers again – this time making sure the registration marks printed. So far, so good. Next headache – my Cameo is connected to my PC via bluetooth because it sits too far away from the PC to connect with a cord. Then I got the cut job loaded and ready to go, but when I went to send it to the machine, the bluetooth was continually searching (and not finding) the Cameo.

Grrr.

Deep breath, and then I shut off the Cameo, counted to 5 and turned it back on. Finally, the bluetooth connected and I was able to get the cut job started. I did notice that the blade didn’t seem to have moved (my Cameo came with an auto blade), but I didn’t think much of it. I wanted to track how long it took to cut, so I was watching the clock.

As I said, rookie mistake. When the job finished, the machine had cut, but not deep enough to peel the stickers off easily. Some of them were quite small and they ripped as I tried to take them off, or I couldn’t get them separated at all. Clearly, my blade wasn’t cutting deep enough. Google, here I come.

After spending just a few minutes searching, I found the answer. Because my machine has an auto blade, the machine has to adjust the setting on the blade, rather than me doing it manually (which is how some other machines work). Apparently most newbies insert the blade incorrectly. Mine was actually inserted correctly, so that wasn’t the problem.

I went back to the cut file and realized that the cut file assumes that your machine has a ratchet blade (one that you adjust manually). So, that problem solved. I just change the blade selection to reflect that my machine has the auto blade.

Success! I load the paper to be cut, get the machine connected via bluetooth, and when the job starts, it adjusts the blade. Yay!! I wait another 4 minutes for the job to finish and then I go to remove the sticker paper from the cutting mat. As I pull, I realize that the blade, rather than kiss-cutting the stickers, has instead cut all the way through the paper. Which means when I try to peel the paper off the tacky cutting mat, it comes up in pieces, leaving the stickers stuck to the mat.

Arrrggghhh.

I spent 10 minutes peeling off all the stickers from the mat. Another piece of paper wasted. But – now I know what not to do. So, back to the drawing board. Print the stickers, make sure they have the registration marks, make sure the machine is connected to the PC, and adjust the blade settings so that it doesn’t cut all the way through the paper.

How did it go?

Well, partial success. I adjusted the blade setting, but I left everything else the same. Mistake. I considered adjusting the force/pressure of the blade as well, but I decided not to. After spending more time cutting the stickers, this time I think the blade depth is good, but it is still cutting too deep. Some stickers were fine, but others were still cutting through the backing of the paper. Not enough that I couldn’t pull it off the cutting mat in one piece, but enough to make it unworkable as a setting.

Back to the drawing (cutting?) board. 😛