2011 A-Z Blogging Challenge (Miscellany), A-Z Food, Alison Boston, alisonboston.com, Amazing, Blogging, PostADay2011, Writing

Looking Back on Post a Day 2011

I wrote a little about the Post-A-Day challenge in my blog post Busy busy busy on Soundcloud but Erika has posted some questions, so I’m going to try to answer them.  Here’s a little instrumental track I made you can listen to while you read.  This is the first track I ever made.

Here are Erika’s questions and my answers:

Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge?

  • I was looking for something to do to maintain my sanity and give me a sense of purpose beyond the daily delirium of looking for a non-existent job.
  • I wanted to get writing again – after an almost 3-year hiatus.  We writers/creative types do go a bit crazy if we can’t/don’t/won’t write/create.
  • I wanted to learn more about digital media and how to write for the web.

Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge

How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge?

It got better.  Much, much better.  I discovered I love to write about food!  I found it a great place to post recipes I invented.  As a person living alone, who loves to cook, I realized I have you to share my kitchen creations with – and that you really like that!  So I started to write down my recipes, and even measure just so I could tell you how to make it.

I also learned…

  • HTML
  • How to use Zemanta
  • How to re-size images
  • Embed video and audio
  • How to use RSS
  • How to network blogs with social media
  • A little about SEO, tagging, and linking.
  • I’ve started learning about design and organizing information on the overall page: laying out the text on a blog page to make it more attractive, working with widgets, sidebars, images, colors, and fonts. (I’ve got to start using footers and pages, and improve categorization…)
  • How to write longer posts in blocks of thought, making it more appealing for the random surfer.

…and on and on and on.  I learned so much!  And I have so much to learn! I love learning. I don’t ever want to stop. That’s the day I die.

Did you post as often as you had hoped? Why or why not?

English: Monkeys Blogging Español: Simios blog...

  • I wrote 292 posts and published 211 – on this blog.
  • On alisonboston I wrote 45 and published 43 posts. ( By the way, I really like how that blog has evolved.  Go look at it!  Though be aware: as soon as you land on the page, an audio track will start playing.  You have to click it off if you want silence or if you’re listening to the track on this page. Mind you, that can be interesting – I even mixed two tracks to make a sound bed for a poem.   Here’s a sample:
  • On the personalone, which has been changed to ThePrimaLuce, I wrote 8 and published 4…
  • So that’s 345 written and 258 published.  That’s pretty good.  I almost wrote one a day and published and about 2/3 of what I wrote.
  • The posts I wrote that I didn’t publish were either too personal, or just sketches for ideas.
  • I didn’t post every day because I didn’t have to.   The Post-A-Day Challenge was more of a way to pull me to write than a benchmark of success.  Most importantly,  I achieved what I wanted to do: to write and learn more about digital media. I did all that, and more.

What type of blogging strategy works best for you?

  • When I was writing for magazines, newspapers and radio there was nothing like a pay cheque, an editor, and a clearly focused assignment to create a strategy.  The Budapest Times was great for that.  3 stories a week: 2 shorts and 1 feature on the Budapest culture scene.   I had a weekly assignment, a style guide, an editor, a fantastic, vibrant city, and…. a pay cheque!
  • Blogging for yourself is different. I really didn’t know what I wanted to write about when I started this blog, I just wanted to do it (with my goals in mind) and see what happened. I’m delighted that I started to write about food. Lost about 10 kilo, too!
  • The A-Z blogging challenge certainly revved me into high gear.  I DID IT! and I finished!  Then I  did A-Z food. Gad!  I forgot about that! Oh my God did I ever write a lot!  Yes, A-Z – either random to help you find your favorite subjects, or on an already chosen topic – is a great blogging strategy. It really focuses your mind on the writing. I did think about doing A-Z Blogging Geek for Dummies, as a way to learn…

If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?

  • Nothing.  What I did was perfect for me.  (Yes, I come from the school of thought that where ever you are in the moment is perfect, even if sometimes it stinks.)
  • Except maybe click ‘follow’ or ‘like’ sooner and more often.   I was hesitant to follow people because, quite frankly, I had enough to do with all the learning!

 What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?

  • Here’s a link to more poetry tracks on alisonboston or you can go straight to my main Soundcloud page.  I have a lot to learn about making audio tracks.  Live radio was so much easier. Even making a documentary was easier. Having a pro studio to work in sure helped.
  • Read Busy, busy, busy on Soundcloud. I’m really interested to explore a way to combine blogging and sound.  My post Sounds from My Kitchen is an attempt at that.  Possibly the poetry will also evolve that way.  I’m on a journey with an idea destination, and I love exploring side roads.

 Name 3 great blogs you discovered through the challenge.

Jennifer Ward Pelar of http://militaryzerowaste. wordpress.com is dedicated to saving the planet.
  • Well top of my list is Jennifer Ward Pelar’s Zero Waste Blog.  That woman is amazing. She and her husband are amazing.
  • Femina Invicta deserves an award for bringing important issues to light.
  • World Music is wonderful for just that – world music.
  • I’ve also really enjoyed reading Indie Albany Not sure what it is: the variety of voices, the clear, honest writing, the photo blogs of Eric’s cycling adventures.  It’s so down to earth and real.
  • I’ve also enjoyed sheriji’s Just Sayin’.  She often says things I would like to say, but don’t.  At least not on my blog.  I put stuff like that in my poetry and some audio tracks.
 What surprised you about the challenge?
  • No answer. Yet. Except maybe how much I could learn about digital media just by blogging.  Also, how much time it took – because I wouldn’t just write. I had to also format… and I’m so picky! I’d spend three times as much time formatting and choosing images!  But I’m faster at formatting now. I also reactivated an old Nokia mobile with a half-decent camera and started taking pictures – that sometimes made it faster because I had the image, I just had to choose the best ones from the ones I’d snapped.

What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?

  • Just do it! and if you want readers and followers, you have to interact.

What are your blogging goals for 2012?

  • To get more focused and better organize my main topics into individual blogs.   I’m really pleased with how this blog has evolved and with the alisonboston blog.
  • To write more posts about meaningful life experiences.  That was my intention for ThePrimaLuce.  But I wasn’t ready to write that blog in 2011.  I didn’t know how to write about meaningful life experiences without totally spilling my guts, which I don’t really want to do in a blog post!  I do that in my poetry.  I want to work on that in 2012.  Both making more of my poetry public and writing about meaningful life experiences in a more universal way. I especially want to get more poetry onto audio tracks and into digital books.
  • It sure would be nice to integrate sound and earn some money. Maybe I’ll start doing blogcasts. Well, I did work in radio…once upon a time! And it’s way easier to listen to someone talk than to read a blog. You can do the dishes, cook, ly down and relax, drive a car, ride a bicycle, take a bath, fall asleep…and listen to someone talk. Blogcasts – rather than Podcasts (not sure what the difference is, other than putting the audio track on a blog page) now that’s a fine goal! That’s actually a most excellent goal.

Yeah – there’s a lot of blatant self-promotion in this blog post, what with all those audio tracks and links to other blogs and blogs posts.  But, I’m Canadian ‘eh..with a British passport..so ahhh..

A-Z Food, Food, PostADay2011, Recipes from the Veggie Box

Zesty Surprise

…and I bet you thought it would be zucchini. Truth be known I’d asked someone to write a guest post, half an alphabet ago. He offered, but alas, seems to have disappeared into his adventure.

So I’ll share my adventure with food!

Fresh mozzarella on sliced tomato with lemon zest.

a twist on mozzarella tomato, add a little zest of lemon.

peel the rind
gently now, 
leave the bitter pith behind
cut the yellow
to tiny pieces
sprinkle o’er
tender mozza,
gently laid 
o’er sweet tomato
dotted with
bright green basil
season all
with salt’n’pepper
garlic slivers, ‘n’ olive oil, 
squeeze of lemon, glass of wine….