Do You Call Yourself a Blogger?

This is what I wrote as a comment in the Problogger post and comments about what a blogger is and why it is not beneficial to call yourself a blogger if you are running it as a business.

There are very few people I would call bloggers. Most of those who say they are bloggers are a hybrid of blog and splog. A blogger, to me, is still someone using weblog software to create art, write a journal or some combination of those on a personal level.

The traffic and readers are a fun side effect, not the point of the whole thing. I have seen many so called bloggers who are obsessed with seo and monetizing to the point where the blog content has been left to rot or is stolen from others. I’d be glad to see blogging be left to fall back to what it began as, something fun and creative.

No Splogginess

It’s been quite awhile since I did anything here. Kind of a shame when there is so much emphasis on monetizing and splogging and it has become rare to find a really good personal blog.

Why have so many bloggers gone to splog? Is it just greed? Jealousy? The thought of missing out on easy money? Short sitedness?

Whatever it is the blog world has not changed for the better from it. Reading a website (usually using blog software) has become like watching TV. You can go out for a snack while you wait for the junk to load. Then you sit there and seek out the content out from under all the junk.

This blog (whatever becomes of it) will continue to be personal, purely without splogginess.

Mad Science Grrl Does it Again

The computer is formatted again and I am back to reinstalling all the software again. Some I think I will leave off. I still have hopes of getting a new computer. Once the taxes are actually, finally done and I get some money back. Computers aren’t as pricey as they were last time I bought a new one. Maybe I don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a new one this time. That would be nice.

Anyway, it’s nice using a clutter free computer. It’s running faster and the mysterious and aggravating slow downs are gone. Maybe not all of that was from Sympatico. I think at least part of it was Webshots so I am not going to load that again. I do think I will go to my backup disk and nab the fonts and some graphics which I saved.

One thing I forgot to save to the back up disk were my bookmarks. Most of them don’t matter, but a lot were sites I intended to go back to and have a better look at. The ones that I do wish I had saved were about local history and urban exploration. It’s a pain that they are gone cause each was a site I found by chance. I didn’t find it through Google or any other search.

Do other people reformat their hard drive now and then? Seems few do when I ask. I think it’s great. Like having a new computer, almost. This one is so old I can’t say it feels new this time around. A lot of new stuff won’t work with Windows ME now. Stupid of them. Not everyone wants to buy the latest Windows, it’s unfair that software makers try to force it. I can’t use Google Toolbar, the new one now. They made if for Windows XP and up. Idiots. One more strike against the almighty Google.

Anyway, tonight I am going to muck around with the computer. I only installed one game so far. I thought I would do the split hard drive thing and have Ubuntu here but I decided against it cause this is such an old computer now and it does have little things going wrong with it. But, I will keep it when I get the new one. That way I don’t need to split the hard drive of a new computer. I can keep this one for the old software and start the new one on Ubuntu and keep it that way. I’m looking forward to it.

Setting up a Home Office on the Cheap

Not everyone can decide to freelance write and then go out and buy up a storm. Likely those are very few and far between. So, for most of us we are looking for ways to cut corners without leaving out something or making ourselves feel we are second rate.

First, consider what you really need versus what it would be nice to have. You can always get those nice extras later, like when you have a first real profit to show for your efforts, buy something slightly extravagant for yourself then. Meanwhile, make a list and cross off those things you can treat yourself to later.

I think the main essential in the computer age, is a computer, printer and matching software. But, don’t think you must invest thousands of dollars. Try thrift stores, ask family for copies of software and look online for freeware. Word processing software comes with new computers, likely you have a CD with MS Word or Lotus Notes. I use Lotus Notes myself.

Although we tend to back away slowly from computers and other hardware at thrift stores you should take a look, try plugging it in, booting up and seeing how it runs and what’s been left in it from the last owner. Printers and scanners are especially cheap (and plentiful) at GoodWill. Thrift stores aren’t likely to let you return a computer but you can test drive it before buying. Also, consider your needs, if you’re just using a computer for word processing and email you can manage without a new, souped up one for gamers and hefty music/ movie downloads. Check the software bins too, you may be amazed at what you find. Make sure software is compatible with your computer and check how old it is. Some software will have free updates online but that won’t help you if it’s too ancient to run on your computer to begin with.

Beyond the computer situation you need basic office supplies and reference books. These are often found at thrift stores, second hand bookstores, flea markets, garage sales, library cast offs, family and friends and office supply stores going out of business, back to school sales in the Fall, etc. Beyond the standard dictionary and thesaurus look for books about writing including grammar, word usage, style guides, editing and publishing. See if you can find general reference books for fact checking and research.

You won’t need a lot of pens and paper with a computer. But, consider having some kind of file system, a way to keep organized with story ideas, story submissions, publishing contacts, invoicing and whatever you use for self promotion and marketing. Find a system for keeping everything organized and work on maintaining it.

Blog for Fame

Want to be famous and trendy on the Internet? Join the personal publishing era – get blogging.

Weblogs are part scrapbook, part magazine, part journal, part soapbox, part obligation and part fantasy. Anything that can be typed on a computer keyboard or made into a digital file (images, sounds and scanned items) can be part of a weblog. People (bloggers) with a scanner or digital camera can include pictures of themselves and the objects they write about. Links to other websites are what really make a weblog a digital twist to the old fashioned scrapbook. The best weblogs are those with well-written journal content, interesting links and an eye catching design.

However, don’t get the idea that weblogs (blogs) are just another personal home page. News and commercial sites use them too. Blogging software makes updating simple and quick. Just open the program, add your content and click. Automatically the software puts your entry into HTML, sets up the navigation (layout, date, etc.), and publishes it to your website.

Some blog software will have more features. Movable Type is very popular but not simple to install. is simple but (has been) unreliable due to high use. As a new blogger, you need something easy to use with dependable technical support. Almost all blog software is free for personal use.

There is a group online called GTA Bloggers, for people with weblogs in the Toronto area. Join the email list or read the website if you need help, inspiration, ideas or just want to chat with other bloggers. I also found a webring for Ontario bloggers. Take a look online for blogging groups in your own area.

Passionate About…

“The creative process is not computer software that provides all the answers at the click of a mouse. Rather, the process is a mysterious beast who comes to sit by your side and befriend you only after you’ve stroked and fed it every day for a long, long time. This beast demands your care and nuturing, it wants to build up your trust, and it craves your love, because in truth, that beast is you. More people don’t create than do because they cannot give themselves that critical extra bit of love.” – Suzanne Falter-Barnes

At the end of this chapter was a writing exercise: write down (for three minutes) everything you are passionate about. Here are mine.

-ideas -philosophy – marketing/ promotion
-old things -buildings – gadgets
-pirates -dragons
-sewing – creating – stitching -embroidery -quilting
-the rain – water -ocean, lake
-fire -wood -stone, rock, pebbles
-growing things -garden
-places -history -culture
-women as a culture -traditions
-nature -outdoors
-ice cream
-travel -backpacking -road trips
-Internet -web building
-optimism -cheery – positive
-singing/ dancing alone
-drawing -art – graphics -ASCII art
-nights and mornings
-mysteries -unknown -Wicca -possibilities -science fiction
-Victoria Holt and Shirley Jackson style writing/ books

Looking for E-card Freeware

I’d like to run web greeting cards from my site. It would be much simpler with some kind of software but so far I haven’t found anything freeware that lets you do it from your site. There are a few which run like affiliates. I really don’t want to promote someone else or use their art/ graphics. I have my own in mind.

It will be cute once I stomp on all the bugs.