I Mention Chaos for a Reason

So I have blogged enough now that I am starting to get search results. The first one was this:

life chaotic with toddlers?

Dude, that’s a whole concept in this blog. With three small children five and under, it’s totally chaotic. Now don’t get me wrong, most days it’s a good kind of crazy. Little monkeys are running around playing, climbing and generally causing kid mischief. You have to watch where you step because a kid could be under foot at any moment. This is the kind of daily chaos I love.

Lately I’ve seen an upswing in the bad kind of chaos. You know the kind where you want to pull your hair out and scream loudly, pillow optional. A lot of it can probably be traced back to me. There have been lots of issues lately and I’m having a hard time dealing with everything. I’m stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and that’s just the physical symptoms. I’m also emotionally and spiritually overloaded.  Everything feels like too much.

I’m trying so hard to not take my negativity out on my kids as I try to figure out how to deal with it and fix my situation.

Of course, nothing beats when one of the kids comes up and wraps me in a big hug say, “Gotcha Mom!”

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My Love Affair with Social Media

It started so out so simple and innocent. I think it was a few of my writer friends from Absolute Write that introduced me to Twitter. Then I eventually joined Facebook. Now I can’t keep my hands off social media.

The biggest thing I love about it is that I can interact with so many different people. There are so many viewpoints and you can have a well rounded conversation with all sides of a topic being addressed. I know I can throw out something I’m having issues with and get a ton of good ideas in return.

And now that businesses are really stepping up their game, I get all the benefits there. From special offers and bonus coupons to well-targeted customer service, companies that manage to hit the mark in the social media market are going to be well ahead of the rest of the game.

All the methods of social media provide an easy way to keep in touch with family and friends I rarely see. Now, my personal preference is to keep close family and friends on Facebook and loads of other people on Twitter and in the writing forums I belong to. This is just how I segregate the really personal stuff from the not-so-personal stuff.

The various social places I hit up include:

Absolute Write Water Cooler – This is an internet forum and while forums aren’t a modern form of a social network, I would consider them one of the first. There are people from all walks of life here and everyone shares advice, information, and support unconditionally. It’s a labor of love for everyone involved and one of my favorite places on the internet.

Twitter – The primary reason that I got an iPhone was so that I could tweet any time, any place. Seriously. I love Twitter. Most of the people I connect with on Twitter are big into writing, social media or the weather. And speaking of weather, Twitter is my go-to spot if the power goes out and I need updates because our Tri-state area does a fantastic job of keeping up with real-time updates of what’s going with the weather.

Facebook – Mostly I connect with my family and friends that I know in real life on Facebook. I talk a lot about my children, sharing frustrations, joys, concerns, photos and video. It’s not the stuff I really want everyone to see, so it’s more private. I don’t friend people I don’t know.

Social media provides a means to connect people who might otherwise never meet up and I think that’s a very important thing. It’s really broadened my perspective to talk to people I would never have known of if it weren’t for the internet.

It’s why I love it so.

Bad Blogging Habits: #1 Consistently Random

Plenty of bloggers will tell you about the habits you have to build to be a good, successful blogger. Not very many talk about the bad blogging habits. Especially not the ones that they themselves are horribly guilty of.

Which may be why I’m choosing to talk about my bad blogging habits. I’m weird like that. Today’s bad habit (not hobbit, which I typed first) is being Consistently Random.

Be Consistent

Any blogger will tell you that in order to be successful you have to be consistent. This is so your readers will know what to expect. If they know that you post new content on Wednesdays and Fridays, they will come to your blog on those days.

Now being a bad (not to be confused with badass) blogger, I am consistent. But the only thing I consistently do is randomly post. So much as I try to blog regularly and often, real life tends to get in the way, so I often do a couple of posts and then disappear for awhile only to return with another couple of posts sometime later. Rinse and repeat.

So what can a blogger do to better serve her readers?

Make a List

Nothing fuels my brain better than keeping a list of interesting topics handy so that I can sit down and write something up from those ideas. This post was one of many that is sitting in Windows Live Writer as a title and/or a few notes or links to kick off something I realized I wanted to talk about. But even  a sheet of paper, a cell phone or some other place to store notes will work.

But make sure you have enough written down to recognize it later on after it’s been awhile since you last touched on the topic. Nothing makes less sense than a handful of words that have no meaning.

Set a Schedule

A good blogger sets a consistent schedule by posting regularly. It doesn’t even have to be often. If your readers (and eventually you should be able to attract readers) expect entries every Wednesday, by all means be sure to have post pop on Wednesday, even if you’ve written it on Sunday. One of the best feature ever to happen to social media was to be able to schedule posts, updates, tweets, etc. You can write now and post later while still meeting the expectations of your readers.

Sit Down and Write

You have all your ideas written down for reference. You’ve decided that you want posts to show up at 4 PM every Thursday. Now you have to actually sit down and write that content. It can take some effort and maybe a little time. Are you going to go with a particular angle in your discussion? Are you just going to discuss the basics? There are a lot of different ways to spin a topic.

When you write your post, you might need to do a little search engine optimization (SEO). There are tools you can use to help you select the right keywords, but you might also ask yourself how you would search for the topic you are writing on. What search terms would you use? Use those phrases in your writing where appropriate. This will help attract readers.

Being a good blogger takes some work, but the biggest factor is writing good content that will engage your readers and prompt them to strike up a conversation with you. Connecting with other people is what keeps them coming back time after time. It takes work to make a bad blogger go good. We’ll discuss another bad blogger habit soon.