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Yes, I’ve moved to a new home. I’m still Joyfully Retired but I have a new address/url. Please click the link below and bookmark my new page. I don’t want to miss your visits. Click here:

http://joyfullyretired.com

blogimprOur assignment for this portion of the Blog Improvement Project was to write as many different kinds of posts as possible. We were given the following list of ten varieties and challenged to come up with these ten different posts in the next two weeks. I MADE IT! Here is the list and my posts that fit the criteria. Click on the dates to go to the post.

  1. A Link Post – A RECYCLING CHALLENGE on February 11.
  2. A Short Post – TUESDAY MEMES on February 10
  3. A List Post – WHAT MAKES A GREAT BOOKSTORE? on February 6
  4. An Opinion Post – BANNED BOOKS on February 10
  5. A Poll or Question Post – THE GOOD OLD DAYS: PLAYGROUND GAMES on February 8
  6. A How-To Post – HOW TO BAKE BREAD IN THE CROCKPOT on February 3
  7. A Long Post – I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS on February 3
  8. A Review Post – ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE on February 12
  9. A Definition Post – WHAT IS A FULL-TIMER? on February 13
  10. FREE SPACE – I started a weekly meme – FAVORITE PLACES on February 2 and February 9

I hope you have enjoyed my little experiment this past two weeks. I’ve had fun doing it. Hopefully my blog will have a little bit of variety to it now. For more information on the Blog Improvement Project visit Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness.

blogimpr1Improving My Blog Through Brainstorming

In step two of our year-long project on improving our blog, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness  challenged us with improving the content of our blogs through brainstorming. Here are three techniques I like:

  1. Set up a place to record my ideas. What’s working for me is to put paper/small notebooks in the areas where I habitually come up with ideas. One is by my laptop, one by my bed and the third in my purse. And, equally important, I put pencils in each of those areas.
  2. Schedule time to “work” my blog. I set up time to write posts, answer comments, brainstorm and plan new posts, time to visit other blogs and add comments and time to do things on my blog improvement to-do list. It’s so easy for me to be distracted when reading other blogs. Pretty soon I find I haven’t taken the time to post to my own blog.
  3. Use mind mapping to create ideas for new posts and to write. Following a great article here, I used mind mapping to come up with 19 new post ideas. The suggestion was to draw five circles across a piece of paper and write inside each one the title of my last five posts. From there I used mind mapping to come up with new ideas. It really wasn’t that hard! And then I decided to use mind mapping to write this post. Again, it wasn’t that hard. It was much easier than the normal outlining. I’m now a big fan of mind mapping.

In addition to the brainstorming techniques we were asked to think about creating a special feature that could be added to our blog. I already do a feature I call Favorite Places in which I show a picture of a place we have visited and talk briefly about it. I do it sporadically but I’m toying with the idea of doing it on a regular basis and seeing if there are other bloggers who would like to link in. I’m looking for some advice and opinions here. What do you think?

I found this assignment informative, fun and useful. If you’re interested in joining this project, head on over to to Sophisticated Dorkiness.

 

blogimpr1I really like the idea of doing this project and I know good projects require goals. But, there is a part of me that is cringing at the thought of doing this. I think of all those years of reading goal-setting books, writing mission statements, developing plans for managing-by-objectives or whatever the latest buzz word was – Aaaahhgg! I actually taught people how to do this stuff and I’m rebelling at the thought of writing a few goals for my blog? I’m actually procrastinating on this post!

I’m retired, why am I doing this work? Because it ‘s not work. Writing this blog has been pure fun, a joy. It’s opened a door in my brain and in my soul that’s been closed for a while.  I’ve “met” and “talked” with people I never would have without this blog. This blog has stirred up a huge pot of creativity in me that’s just bubbling over and ready to be served. And, I do have a strong desire to improve my blog and make it successful. So, why not write down a few of those plans for improvement? Get on with it. Okay, I’m ready  now.

The purpose of my blog:

To write and share the things a retired person – me – is interested in and the things I am doing. I will speak only for myself, not as a spokesperson for the retired community. I will speak in a positive voice – no whining or complaining. (Ah, discount the paragraphs above.)

I will speak about the topics that interest me: reading books and talking about books , food – it’s preparation and consumption, favorite places we’ve been, people, movies and TV, music, knitting, RV life, and thinking about the good old days.

What are my desired results?

Using some of the questions laid out by Visionary Blogging, I’m organizing my desired results into the following:

  • content: I’m going to stick with the topics I stated above although I will remain open to adding new topics if they fit my main purpose. I will evaluate weekly whether my blog is unique, creative, and meeting my purpose. I will also work to improve the overall writing content. 
  • design: Even though my blog is only two months old, it needs to be “redecorated”. I want it to be a fun and relaxing place to visit, where people feel like staying for a while. I need to dress up the sidebar and figure out how to put buttons, badges and other fun things there. It can be done. I will just have to figure out how. I will experiment with themes and other technical things until I get it to look the way it looks in my head.
  • community: I will expand my friendships by being a better blog friend: commenting on blog posts I read, responding to comments people make on my blog, encourage and appreciate bloggers who sponsor memes and carnivals, and join groups such as Library Thing or GoodReads. I also want to sponsor a meme or a carnival or a give-away in 2009.
  • traffic: I don’t know anything about building traffic but I will research it and learn. I do know how to get my daily and weekly numbers and have been recording them for analysis. 
  • RSS or e-mail subscribers: I will figure out how to do this, technically. It is so rewarding to have readers and I’d like to cultivate regular visitors. 
  • search engines: WordPress is good about telling me daily what search terms are being used to come to my blog. I’ve been recording those terms and will analyze what’s working and what’s not. 

Whew – I always liked it when the goals are done. However, I know the important part is ahead of me. Writing goals won’t do any good if I don’t do them. I’ve set aside time on my calendar to begin implementing the things I have promised myself. Follow my progress in the weeks ahead and let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

Welcome To My Blog

me2 Hi and Welcome. I'm retired, joyfully, and now have the time to indulge myself in books, family, travel, food or whatever. This blog is my way of sharing the things I'm doing - places I visit, books I read and all the other things that make up this new retired life. For more about me visit my About page.

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