Let me kick this post off by saying I was initially going to go with a title like "My Top Ten List of Blogging Mistakes", or "Why I Suck at Blogging" ...
For a while I was actually fixated with posting a title that read "How Failing 'Blogging 101' Can Build Intestinal Fortitude".
But I didn't.
I chose to stick to a 'me' title.
Nothing more than incorrigible stubbornness is the best answer I can come up with. "Me" is my theme, and I'm sticking to it, I guess ....
And that would be the first item in the list of "poor blogging etiquette and blogging mistakes" I'm about to describe for you in agonizingly painful detail:
- I don't choose catchy titles that are likely to attract interest ... I keep to my theme, choosing to blatantly disregard every marketing strategy known to man and woman. People don't want to read about "me" ... they want to read about "them". "Me" is a turnoff. But the reality is, I started this for "me". If someone happens to drop by and actually relate and enjoy the insane rumination I've left behind for them to read, I say: "Hoorah!" I hope some of my experience as "me" in the "ME" (Middle East) may be of help to them. If they don't like it, they can carry along on their merry way knowing full well that what I had to say had nothing to do with them initially. After all, I did say it was all about 'me'! (My 2 followers just unsubscribed in disgust at my self-centeredness ... )
- I choose to blog on a "blogger-friendly" rather than "blog reader-friendly" platform. I started out using Squarespace because it was easy for me. I pay a few bucks a month for the peace of mind of having the software do the thinking for me. There are many more 'blogger community-friendly' hosts that would make my life easier and let people know I'm here. But they really take a lot of effort to develop initially. Sure, I have to use HTML code to show strikeout, and have to import a widget from Feedburner to allow people to comment on my "About Me" page, but in the long run, that's little price to pay for not having to configure my site from scratch (no one's ever commented on the 'About Me' page anyhow, so I really wonder why I agonized so long about developing it).
- I blog sporadically. Some months may have 8 entries, some months may have 2. There's no rhyme or reason, no guarantee of a weekly update. I love writing, I love blogging, but sometimes life gets the best of me. I wish I could do this full-time, but I can't. I have all that mom stuff, and wife stuff, and employee stuff and house stuff, and school stuff, and social engagement stuff, and plain-old social stuff, and a whole lot of other stuff that I just have to deal with first. So sometimes blogging just can't come first.
- I think I nominated 'myself' for a blogging award in a drunken haze sometime last February ... can't be sure. This is a true sign of blogging despotism. I got an e-mail last week informing me that I'd been nominated for a reputable blogging award. I was so thrilled! And then I had a hazy flashback. Back to the days when I had '0' viewers. Back to the days when a "www.gypsyintheme.com" Google search would produce "0" hits. I decided I was going to read other blogs ... and reach out to other blogging forums. And I THINK I NOMINATED MYSELF for a blogging award sometime in early 2013! To the "Jury of said award nomination site", if you are reading this, I may have been drunk, but I'd actually read my posts and found them vaguely entertaining at the time .... Disregard the fact that I may have been plastered; concentrate on the fact that my 'Interesting Reads' section actually shows a menu advertising "chicken anus". Enough said?
- My favorite bloggers are not displayed prominently enough on my homepage. They show up on the bottom right-hand corner of my page if you scroll all the way down. This is something I am committed to fix; I've had a hard time with it because I'm not very blog-savvy. There are too many amazing bloggers out there. Don't waste your time on my blog. It really is too self-centered. But for goodness sakes, please take the time to click on some of the links under "You Might Like". The life experience accumulated amongst this crowd is nothing short of "AMAZING".
- I resort to YouTube clips when I feel I can't actually "get 'you' to get 'it' ...". I'm not sure if this is legal or not. But YouTube has a "share" button. Which I interpret as "share". So I "share".
- I don't comment near enough on the blogs I love. Life gets the best of me and I let it take me away. So ... Multifarious Meanderings, ExpatEyeOnLatvia, CasinosToCastles, HX Report, KatieAndYoshieAroundTheWorld ... and all the others on my "You Might Like" page ... "sorry". But I am following you. You're all Wordpress and Blogger folk ... check your stats ... I'm the Qatar visitor. I follow you, I read you, you keep me coming back because of your incredible talent. Please don't use the frequency of my comments as a measuring stick. Just know that I read all your posts, and when I do respond, every single word has been thought through fully.
- My pictures suck big time. HX Report has kindly sent me some links to photography workshops and seminars being held in the ME (Middle East) and online ... which I am hoping to tap into in the new year. But 'til then ... well, you either get NO picture, a YouTube frame, or my own sucky pictures. Sorry, folks.
- I'm not an expert expat even though I claim to host an expat blog. I am a married, working mother, struggling to make things work in the ME. I live in the ME, I breathe in the ME, I drive in the ME, I work in the ME. But I'm not an expert in the ME. This land remains a great mystery to me. I am struggling still, after seven years, to learn the language, to understand the motivators, to read the cues. I have many Arabic and National co-workers and acquaintances, but very few could be described as 'friends'. This is no one's fault. But it's a reality. There is minimal meaningful socialization outside of work between Nationals and Western expatriates. It happens, but in my case, it hasn't happened often. It's a shame. We have so much to share with each other, so much to learn from each other. And I keep on thinking it's never too late. Until then, I keep on hoping, keep on struggling. Keep on searching ... and that's probably what keeps this blog alive.
- Once I start writing, I can't shut up! People want to be entertained ... BRIEFLY! 4,500 words is way over the limit for a blog post. And yet, over and over, I keep on writing endless, meaningless posts. Much like this one. (Sighhhhh .......)
If anyone actually gets this far, my point is: if you like to blog, if you love to blog ... step back for a moment. Think about 'why' you're doing it? For 'who' are you doing it? As long as you're ok with the answer to both those questions, please keep on doing it. You may be lousy at it; you may be amazing at it. But if you know who you're doing it for and why ... well, you've got it covered. Acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, mistakes ... and move on from there....
HAPPY BLOGGING! And don't let your blogging mistakes ever let you down.
Oh, and mistake number 1? Well, it's hard to correct ... Just feels so empty without 'me' in the 'ME'.
For some reason, this video seemed right ... minute 4:45 shows me surrendering to my incessant navel-gazing ...
"Just feels so empty, without Me ..." "Nananana, nanananahna, nananananha, nanana NA...."