To Blog Or Not To Blog – Is That The Question?

blogA couple of weeks have gone by since I made a serious effort to get my blog up and running.  I went through theme after theme trying to find the perfect one that just felt right.  Not understanding all the concepts, I turned to the wonderful people in some of the blogging communities I joined and asked questions as well as YouTube and the Internet.  Slowly I began to  understood a little more and blogging took on a whole new meaning to me.  I am by no means an expert and I still have a long ways to go, but I thought I would share a few things I have discovered in my journey.

  1. Blogging takes a lot of work.  It isn’t a matter of just setting up a page and writing in it every once in a while.  You have to interact with people and interact often.  Most important is to get your name out there.
  2. When I first started, I joined every blogging community I could find on Facebook.  I am not sure this was a smart thing to do because I soon became lost. Too many comments to comment on,  not remembering who I liked or followed.  I spent more time clicking peoples blogs only to discover I already followed them. I would have been smarter to maybe join one for beginners and work on that, then as I got more confident and experienced, join others.
  3. First thing I did was get my blog on every social media site I could find, Pinterest, Stumble etc. – not sure that was a smart thing to do  because I didn’t and still don’t understand how some of them work.  I think I would have been wiser to look into each site and fully learn how they work so I could interact properly.  These sites all have great benefits but if you don’t understand them, they are useless.
  4. Having a niche is very important.  Without one you are just  blogging for the sake of blogging.  If you are going to want people to follow you, you need to have something worthwhile for them to read and something interesting that makes them come back for more.
  5. Adsense isn’t going to make you lots of money.   Everyone wants to make money on their blog, well maybe not everyone but most, and I don’t expect to get rich with mine but I thought some pocket change would be nice.  So far with Adsense I have made a whopping 3 cents. – Yahooooo – am living the dream.
  6. There are a lot of great people out there.  Yes, there are.  Wonderful, helpful people who will answer questions and go out of their way to make sure you understand.
  7. You can like, follow and share all you want, if you don’t have good content on your blog, it will not go anywhere.   You have to walk the walk.  If people like or follow you, you have to make sure you like and follow them.
  8. If you are going to blog seriously, have a game plan.  Just don’t go into blogging without thinking it over or making a schedule.  Because I work full time and only do my blogging in the evenings and weekends, it is important that I have a plan.  I didn’t at first but realize now just how important it is.  Take some time to organize yourself so you know what nights (or days) you are going to do what.
  9. When ideas hit you, write them down.  There have been so many times I have been sitting on the bus or even sitting at work and an idea for a blog article will pop in my head and by the time I get home I have forgotten what it was or can’t find the words anymore for what I want to say.  I now make a point of writing it down or if I am on the bus, use my notebook feature on my cell phone.
  10. Don’t be afraid.  For years I never really wrote anything because I thought it sounded stupid, I didn’t think I was any good or I thought no one would want to read my rantings.  Now I wish I had started writing years ago.

So after making these discoveries, I have stepped back, taken a good look at my blog and made some changes.  Not sure it will help but I am bound and determined to make a go of it.

What has blogging done for me?  Well for one thing it has given me confidence.  Confidence to know that I have something worthwhile to say and people will listen.  It has improved my writing and allowed me the freedom to say what I feel and feel what I say.  It has given me courage to not be afraid to put words to paper or words to computer screen in this case.

Blogging is fun and it is also a lot of work.  Don’t give up – there are a lot of success stories out there and those are the ones that keep me going.

Happy Blogging to all you wonderful people out there.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

gay heartGrowing up in the 70s, the idea of anyone being gay, lesbian, bisexual or even transgender was something you didn’t talk about.  In fact I remember seeing someone I went to high school with, who everyone used to talk about as being a kind of an odd guy, wearing eyeliner and working in the make up counter at the Bay after graduation.  The only thing that crossed my mind was – That is weird.  I mean, he was a nice guy, never did anything to hurt me in high school.  He was always friendly to me.  Who was I to judge.

Over the years I have worked with many gay and lesbian people and never really thought anything anything other than what wonderful people they are.  After all, someones sexual preference is no business of mine.  I have had several incidents in my life that have really made me think about this side of life. The first was when my Photographer husband was hired to photograph his first Lesbian wedding.  I agreed to go as his assistant  to help out, but partly because there was a curiosity.  They were a couple from down in the States, who wanted to start a family and it wasn’t legal for them to marry in their State, so they came up to Canada.

Now, being an emotional person, I have cried and still do, at every wedding I go to.  I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about a wedding, at that moment when the Bride walks in with her father and sees her husband to be  for the first time that brings tears to my eyes.  Maybe it is the romantic in me, I don’t know.  I was very curious to see if I would feel the same emotions at a Lesbian wedding that I do at a straight wedding.

Unfortunately the Brides father was not in favor of his daughters lifestyle and wouldn’t  attend,  but her mother was there and although I felt she might have been a bit uncomfortable, the fact that she was there to support her daughter made her A Okay in my books.  The ceremony started and in comes the Bride with her mother, walks up the aisle and sees her Bride waiting for her at the alter and the tears started to flow. I realized something very important that day.  I realized that it isn’t about  whether you are gay or straight,  it is all about LOVE.  The love that two people share when they finally find that perfect someone to spend the rest of their lives with. The fact that two people, who had had such a struggle and have had to fight for their rights can find happiness  and live a normal life just like straight people. The other Brides parents did not come and I remember thinking how sad that would be.  To have the most important time in your life happen, and your parents not attend because they refuse to accept a who you really are.

As a mother, the only thing I want for my children is to be happy. I went on to think about how I would react should they ever tell me they were gay.  It doesn’t matter.  They are my flesh and blood and all I ask is that they find love and be happy, even if that is with the same gender.  Would I, as a parent, be able to shun them and tell them they are no longer my child. I don’t understand how a parent can do that. I even told them, even before they started dating and were old enough to understand, that it didn’t matter to me.  That no matter what their preference was, I would love them no matter what. I didn’t want them living in fear or even worse, hiding who they really are because they are afraid how I would react.

I have since gone on to assist at several lesbian and gay weddings and the emotions are always there.  I think it is absolutely wonderful that two people can be proud of finding happiness and I have some wonderful friends who have since come out and married and it makes my heart swell with pride that they can now live a life full of love and be happy without ridicule or negativity.

It was through a friend that I became aware of the Transgender community.  Again, not something that I really thought about.  As a teenager, we would fall down laughing if we saw someone dressing as the other gender especially a man.  I mean who doesn’t love a good Drag Queen, flamboyant with a bit too much make up on.  That was the image that came to mind.   I had the opportunity to support this friend by attending a Transgender Christmas Party a few years ago and I have to say I was absolutely overwhelmed at the amount of people who are transgender and have struggled over the years  just to be heard. To see them all together, laughing and enjoying themselves really makes you think. For some of them, it is  one night of the year that they can actually be happy and be themselves.  That is just plain sad.

We, as straight heterosexual people, find so much fault in life, we are constantly criticizing people for their beliefs, for their preferences, for their loves, for their values, and for the color of their skin.  This needs to stop.  We need to look at everyone as equals. So what if they love the same gender, want to be another gender or even just dress as another gender occassionally, who are we to say it isn’t right. We need to look into their hearts and their souls.  They are all good people.  In fact, I think better people than some of the straight people I know.  I have met some pretty fickle straight people in my years, but have never met a fickle gay person.

It is time we start accepting that the world is changing.  People from all walks of life want rights, they want to be heard and it is up to us to stand and listen and welcome them with open arms.  I know my arms are open…. are yours?

 

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