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Friday, February 7, 2014

February's Secret Subject Swap - Learnings

Welcome to February’s Secret Subject Swap. Again 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  
Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out:
                                    

My subject is 

What I've learned most from blogging is...




It was submitted by Follow me home - thank you!


It's been a little over 18 months that I've started blogging. Looking back, a learning is to choose the name of the blog carefully, preferably with your marketing glasses on. It is your label. In other words: today I might use a different one. More personal and relevant.

If I was to take the whole blogging extremely seriously, I would probably need to do a SWAT analysis, define my target audience and brainstorm the first 100 post titles. Or not.

I called it "confessions of a part-time working mom" because I had been following confessions of a stay-at-home mom and overworked supermom for a while, and I figured I was positioned somwhere in between. Plus my first post was about a spur of the moment purchase of a purse, hence the confession. Starting my blog was an unprepared endeavor, by the way. The story of how and why I bought this handbag was too long to be posted as a Facebook status. So I needed a platform and a login - quickly!

There isn't much else that I have confessed on this blog since the beginning. People I know well and people I don't know well started reading it, and while I had no problem telling anything to strangers out there, I felt uncomfortable posting too much about my private life other than food and crafts. 

And even that!! The other day I was part of a conversation between a mother I am friends with and her 16 year old son about who would take care of him, should she consider taking that weekend trip without him. I asked what a 16yo needed taking care of for. Compared to my 5yo he looked pretty independent. "Well, mostly meals" she laughed, "he's always hungry". That, I could relate to, and so I offered he could always come over for dinner if it wasn't too uncool. He flashed me a broad smile and said "not at all, I would actually love to! You post the most amazing food!" 



Learning: you can never know who reads your stuff (think neighbor, coworker, relative, old schoolmate, even someone's kid!) and what conclusions they draw. "There's cake and cookies every day at their house. Eating veggies is in fact fun over there!"
More learning: most people I know in real life don't comment. So unless they tell you in person, you will never know that they are interested in hearing about your daily life.

I try to be considerate when I point out someone. As a rule of thumb I will not write about others what I wouldn't want them to write about me. I may have gone a bit overboard with the political acitivites in my community, the lady at the mall kids' place or my declining enthusiasm about working on the charity board. I won't post the links here, but I also won't remove or sugarcoat them.
I don't worry about being judged or stalked when I write. I am who I am, - this is not a learning, I knew that before ;-) And reading my blog is totally up to everyone. 
I don't even post every contribution on Facebook anymore. People are busy, but those who are subcribers or followers - I prefer to think of them as friends - will read them if they want to.

I installed a live feed on the sidebar of my blog that tells me about traffic sources and audience. My son loves to discover that people from Romania, Italy, Brazil or India were visiting. Mulţumesc, Grazie, Obrigada and Dhanyavaad for reading my blog! And of course thank you guys from English speaking countries! A word to my writing in English: I do it so you can all understand. Swiss people's English is better than your German - I assume? So if I make mistakes with my prepositions or vocabulary, please bring it to my attention! Learning: even if I can speak fairly fluently, I can't always get it right in writing!

I get a kick from seeing the search words that brought you to my blog: "Einstein, school, failed", "frog party food" or "Tom Cruise, blonde".
When I started blogging, my husband used to read my posts and said "this is good fun. Can you make money with that, so I can retire?" I never pursued it. Maybe Louis Vuitton or Wolf Blass would like to sponsor my blog? But then they would probably slap me for wearing sneakers and drinking Coke Zero. 




I write purely for fun. I write about what is on my mind whenever it hits me. I guess if I had sponsors, I would need to follow certain guidelines like limiting subjects to fit my "label", presenting a certain word count and product placement as well as following a schedule on when to post. Probably I would have to hand in my weekly stats and lose ads if I don't achieve enough clicks.

One of my last posts was not something that many people were interested in. No biggie. I am kind of taking a break from crafts and baking, and it was a tough choice between two things that were on my mind: the wrinkle cream and the broken washing machine. Not sure if the appliance topic would have been any more exctiting. But hey, this is real life! No paint brushing! Speaking of, I saw my friend's "Writer B is me" #WhoAreYouWearingMom post and loved the idea.

As much as I strive to get more organized as in purging in our house, I've found that blogging is definitely not the place to be organized. Don't get me wrong, I try to structure my text so it all makes sense, but I learned that it doesn't make sense to finish one post before starting a new one. Even if that's how I grew up. No dinner, no cake, you know?
I allow myself to have several drafts sitting in that folder (after all that's what I have a draft folder for) until I feel like resuming a certain topic.

"You can't rush art!" (Toy Story 2)

Meeting a diverse crowd of blogger friends is probably the most surprising and pleasant learning! Let's take Michele whose prompt I got this time. Reading about when she was a little girl who ate a ginormous chocolate rabbit makes you want to play catch with her - and of course you'd hope to catch some of her chocolate as well. Or Karen who facilitates not only this "secret subject swap", but also "use your words" and "fly on the wall". She also manages to include a yummy recipe in each and every post. I could go on and on. 

This learning topic was a tough subject for me. The night I got this prompt, I had a date with a friend who writes for a living, and I had planned on picking their brain over a glass of wine. Getting some ideas on how to go about this. But then I fell asleep and arrived at the café too late. But this is a whole different story.