The End of the Road?

Hmmm… It may be nearing the time for me and WordPress to part company…

I do understand this is a free site so the need for putting up with small ads appearing at the bottom of posts is a necessary evil to be endured – after all there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But this new addition of entire sponsored WordPress posts appearing large as life between my own posts feels like a step too far for me to be able to continue comfortably.

The addition of these full-scale WordPress posts means it no longer even looks to me like ‘my’ blog any more. It’s WordPress basically giving the platform and its native ads equal importance and visual weight to my personal blog posts, blatently muscling in and taking over my chosen content rather than just adding a small post-script to my posts as before, potentially signalling the end of the road for this little blog.

I know ‘all’ I have to do is upgrade to a paid site to get rid to these native sponsored ads but to be honest I’m not prepared to pay for what is no more than a hobby, a pastime – I only blog for fun so it really doesn’t matter that much to me. Advertise if you must, but don’t crowd me out of my own blog space and effectively bully me into submission. I’m not a business, and the bulk of my followers aren’t businesses either.

I had a Facebook page I used regularly for eight years, but when the ads became too aggressive and intrusive and Facebook started to decide for me which ‘preferred posts’ were to be given prominence in my own newsfeed and which should be disregarded I simply removed myself from the platform altogether with nary a backward glance.

So here I am almost seven years into my relationship with WordPress wondering if the time has come to do the same thing here… Hmmm…

Frayed Around the Edges

When it comes to my regular blogging interactions I think I’m possibly going to lie low for the next few weeks…

One way or another 2020 has not proved to be a great year for most people, and as we see the end in sight I for one am feeling more than a little frazzled and frayed around the edges. Coronavirus fatigue is frustratingly real – I’m still following all local and national restrictions as required but to be honest I’m starting to feel resentful when I see so many others around me bending the rules, or in some cases blatantly breaking them.

And added to the usual stresses of working in retail over the Christmas period during a pandemic (including working longer hours all through December), the large UK company I work for is no longer doing so well financially in these Covid times and we found out last week that I and all of my work colleagues are now facing the painful prospect of potentially being made wholesale redundant early in the new year.

So overall it’s proving to be a really difficult time for all of us at work just now, but in the meantime we still maintain the polite professionalism of helpful sales advisors and continue to give good customer service to everyone. Still smiling while social distancing, while breathing through a stuffy face-mask all day, while sanitising our hands after every transaction and keeping our cash points constantly decontaminated.

Right now I feel like I’m running on fumes, and it’s all taking its toll on me far too much. I’m tired of all of it, so its probably best if I just take some time out…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Fumes

To ‘Me’ or Not To ‘Me’…

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks Do you blog anonymously? Why or why not? Hmmm… So basically to ‘me’ or not to ‘me’, that is the question…?

This is my fourth blog here on WordPress, and these days I use my real name and post honestly about my my real ongoing everyday life experience, because I’ve discovered that however cautious I feel about data protection and keeping my online identity as safe as I can within reason, I find that for me I also need to feel comfortable about sharing enough of myself to feel my virtual presence is genuine.

My first foray into blogging was totally anonymous – it was a cautious attempt to give myself a voice to discuss living with a lifetime of recurring depression which worked wonderfully for the first few months, but then I found it all became too restrictive and weighty. I soon discovered that part of the benefit of having a voice is the right to choose not to use it, so I deleted that blog and started all over again.

My second blog was far less anonymised, I used my own first name and opened up the field a bit on topics to cover beyond depression, but eventually that blog floundered and was deleted too – I felt as long as my initial focus was based around writing about my mental health, however light-heartedly, it constrained me too much when what I found I posted most was photographs and poetry for fun. So eventually, that blog, too, bit the dust.

Blog three was based entirely on what I knew I posted most of – images and words – where I not only used my own name and posted photographs of myself but also I twice attended the brilliant ‘Bloggers Bash’ in London, actually meeting other bloggers face to face, which was a great experience as much as anything because it brought home to me that whatever names they choose to post under there are real, recognisable people behind their blogs.

And then for a while I just stopped blogging altogether, and the longer I stayed away, the less I felt like going back to it, so I took a deep breath and chose to delete that blog too. But after another few months I started to wonder about how the bloggers I liked to follow were doing, so I decided to start another new, totally generic blog that would allow for any extended gaps of non-posting from time to time – and here I still am.

Here I discuss enough of my real life to feel truly connected to my blog, but hopefully not enough to disclose or expose the identities of my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my extended family, my friends. I feel I’ve been blogging long enough now to pick up from blogs when people are being their genuine selves whatever name they blog under, and in general those are the bloggers I like to follow most.

I know people blog for many different reasons, both for business and pleasure, but I find myself drawn more towards those who post with a personal touch. I also prefer to be able to visualise the person I’m interacting with online, but it’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule – looking at you here in your cartoon paper bag, Fandango!

People’s personalities tend to come through the page regardless, and I find it is that personality behind the scenes I like to engage with. Hopefully that’s also why people follow me here on my blog, too! πŸ™‚

Disappearing Comment

Oops! I was trying to answer a comment on one of my blog posts earlier and something crashed, and now I can’t find the comment anywhere – it’s no longer on my comments feed, or in the trash bin, so I’m stumped where else to look to try to locate its whereabouts. And annoyingly, I can’t even remember whose comment it was I’ve managed to lose, so if any of you have recently left a comment on one of my posts that has since disappeared, sorry about that, my bad, and all I can say is if I’ve somehow managed to delete it, it honestly wasn’t intentional… 😦

PS Found it! Clicked the link from my email notification to get to it πŸ™‚

Blogging Insights: Distractions

What distracts you from blogging? Apart from family or work what factors or forces prevent you from creating content?

Very timely question from Dr Tanya at Salted Caramel this week. What distracts me most from blogging – and from eveything else that counts as fun in life for that matter – is the infinite black hole of recurring depression.

Chronic depression is (and always has been) without doubt the single most difficult life issue for me, and after the last couple of seriously down weeks where focusing all my efforts on still going to work and otherwise maintaining the basics of life as a priority (cooking, eating, cleaning, keeping the household ticking over, etc.) was the absolute best I could do, I’m beginning to feel it’s time I picked up where I left off and got back to creating some semblance of blogging normality around here.

So I’m going to make a concerted effort to try to join in with some of my usual prompts and challenges over the next couple of days and see how I get on… wish me luck! πŸ™‚

Breathing Space

Think it’s time that my blog took a rest

Gave me breathing space, that would be best

Just a short blogging break

For my sanity’s sake

Till I’m not feeling quite so depressed…

Nine Days, Nothing to Say

Nine days with nothing to say – still here, just been a bit busy with one thing or another and haven’t had a lot of spare time recently to devote to blogging, but no doubt I’ll find something that motivates me again soon enough πŸ™‚

Blogging Insights: Pandemic Posts

How frequently do you post abou the pandemic? Please share links to a couple of your ‘Pandemic Posts’ that you particularly like…

My blog posts are always about the mundane stuff of my everyday life, so as my life has been touched by the pandemic, I’ve posted about it as necessary. I even tried to be a bit creative with pandemic poetry early on, so am sharing links to a few limerick posts. Oh, and I’ve also included my re-write of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ to be sung aloud rather than read silently πŸ™‚

Vulnerability

Stir Crazy

Express

A Bit of Beethoven

What kind of ‘posts about the pandemic’ do you like to read?

I like to read how ordinary everyday people like me are coping with all of this restriction within their daily lives, because that brings me a sense of collective community in this time of crisis. But occasionally I also read a few proper political article posts to get a feel for how other countries view things – OK, to be honest it’s usually America I read about, and I usually end up yelling at the screen in disbelief and frustration at the sheer lunacy of Fuckwit 45 and his ilk, but still…

How have you and your blog adapted to the ‘new normal’?

I’ve pretty much just carried on as normal, and have stuck to my usual blogging routine including successfully completing this years April Blogging from A-Z Challenge. Except I suppose my daily world has necessarily become slightly smaller, closer to home, and there’s a bit of a ‘Groundhog Day’ feel to what I’m posting about. But it’s probably going to be good to have it all down on record for posterity, to look back at once all this is over…

Have you seen any change in your blog stats during the pandemic? Also, are you posting more or less than you used to?

I don’t generally check my stats, so have no idea and am not going to look now, but I’m probably posting at about the same level as I usually do so I would imagine my stats are probably about the same πŸ™‚

Blogging Insights: Pandemic Posts

April A-Z: Reflections on 2020

A-Z Challenge Reflections

I had such great plans for this year’s April A-Z, with the idea of sharing brand new photographs taken in real time of Inverness in Scotland, where we now live. But being in lockdown throughout the full month of April with no real advance notice whatsoever left me stuck without access to many of the people-filled public places I’d hoped to show.

But rather than change my theme altogether, I decided either to use some of those few images I already had (we’ve only been living here for six months) or to find alternative, pandemic-friendly topics to photograph in real time – and to my surprise I succeeded, 26 posts on 26 alphabetical topics posted in good time on each given day.

As you can see from the image gallery above, there were a few buildings, a few bridges, and a lot of landscape shots, and although it wasn’t my original intention I can see in retrospect I’ve probably shown you less of a generic busy tourist’s view of Inverness and more of my own personal, quiet experience of living here. So maybe no bad thing…

One thing I do feel bad about is not visiting enough new A-Z blogs this year – it just felt one step too far for me. I’m not in a particularly happy place right now and for me, and focusing mainly on my own posts and those of bloggers I already follow had to be enough. But I’ve done it, I feel a sense of achievement to have got through it all in such difficult circumstances, and look, I even have a badge to prove it! πŸ™‚

Anyway, here are the links to my individual daily posts, just incase anyone wants another look back, or missed some of them at the time – welcome to my Inverness! πŸ™‚

A is for Abertarff House

B is for Ben Wyvis

C is for Castle

D is for Department Store

E is for Eastgate

F is for Farraline Park

G is for Greig Street Bridge

H is for Home

I is for infirmary Bridge

J is for Jacobite Cruises

K is for Kessock Bridge

L is for Landscape

M is for Muirtown Locks

N is for Ness Islands

O is for Old High Church

P is for People in Passing in a Pandemic

Q is for Quotations

R is for River

S is for Swing Bridge

T is for Tomnahurich Hill

U is for University of Highlands and Islands

V is for View

W is for Waterways

X is for Level Crossing

Y is for Years Ago

Z is for Zero Regrets