Thursday, July 25, 2019

How to Start a Blog when You're Broke and Clueless

I heard that the lions at the San Diego Zoo are so prolific that they have put IUD’s in the lionesses. 
I heard that Australia is run over with rabbits…one rabbit, two rabbits, three, four thousand–that would keep some undergrad student busy. 
This blog has nothing to do with lions or rabbits, that was just a fact that stuck in my brain and I dislodged it onto this page. 
I’ve gotten some inquiries about blogging, so I’m putting my ten suggestions here.
Blog Rule Number one: Begin with an attention-getter.  
I ran across mistakes I been making blogging, not just typos and redundancies, those happen, I can’t help myself, but suggestions from those super-duper bloggers who say they make six-figures blogging.  
 Is that money or doodles? 
Number Two: Post on Schedule, Not Just When You  Feel Like It. 
I pay attention to blogging gurus only when I feel like it, for who wants to sound like everybody else? However, those smart bloggers have large audiences and big bucks. (I have a super audience, not big numbers, but my readers are choice.) 
Regarding income, around here it’s more like yesterday at the Fair, I sold one book for $10.00, bought one for $20.  
I had fun though, mainly visiting with other writers. It was a slow day. Perhaps this afternoon will pick up, today is senior day. Seniors like to read, don’t they? 
Regarding a schedule, I have circled around Thursdays, although I have been throwing content on my sites whenever I feel like it, now I will try to make Thursdays POST DAY.  
I want you guys to count on me. 
Three, Pay Attention to SEO’s. 
It took me a while to know what a SEO was, and I still know little, but the gist is that it is keywords that google notices. SEO = Search Engine Optimation. 
Four: Scatter Keywords throughout your post: 
Keywords? That’s another thing I gave little attention. Who are we writing for, readers or google? However, I know if people don’t find you, you won’t get read. A simple fact. 
Five, Write a Good Headline. 
That’s like “Knock my socks off,” that every contest MC tells their participants–as though they aren’t trying. 
And use a word from your title in your first paragraph. (That would be hard in today’s post wouldn’t it?) I finally did place a title word into the first paragraph of my last blog, Christmas was in the title and in the first paragraph. (That’s rare. And two blogs in one week, that’s rare too. I’m not saying I will only post once a week, but I will try to hit Thursdays.) 
I don’t like to be manipulated, and I figure neither do you.  So, I will do whatever I damn-well please, and so will you.  (Do I have an attitude or what? But then, I encourage it.) 
Six: Write Short Paragraphs. 
Okay, I know that. It is no longer what we learned in school, “Develop your paragraphs.” Now the rule of thumb is to write only one or two sentences per paragraph. It does make for easier reading online. People are busy, they read fast. We want to make it easy for them. 
Seven: Use Contractions. 
I have to laugh at Royal Caribbean, their monitors would mark-down their email respondents for using contractions. I guess they wanted to sound formal. But emails and blogging is informal, and we ought to write as we talk. 
I saying all this for I have gotten some requests for blogging advice. 
EightWrite Blogs of 1,000 to 2,000 Words.   
It used to be that the ideal word count was 300 to 400 words. Now for some reason, I don’t understand Google likes long blogs. (Yep, I’ve mentioned this before, it’s a peeve of mine, for I have trouble hitting 1,000 words.) People skim, but Google gives preference to long blogs. They think it makes the material sound more important. But you know me, just say it and get on with it.  
Mine usually fall under 1,000 words. Write at your own peril.  
And remember that Seth Godin writes a blog daily, short posts, and he is perhaps the most popular blogger—maybe it’s because he knows what he is talking about, and has established himself and a marketing/business expert. 
Nine: Include links to Other Content on Your Site. We do want to make our website easy to use. 
Ten: Publish Consistently. 
I try. 
I could have titled this post Blogging and IUD’s, and as I wrote that, I thought of the comedian Phyllis Diller who said her IUD opened garage doors as she drove past. 
He son said she died with a smile on her face. 
Much love from Jo 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July Christmas--Details Confused, Message Clear


It was just before Christmas--with temper short and to-do list long when a Unitarian Minister received a pounding at the door.
Heavy sigh. What Now?
Outside stood a very small person wearing a cheap Santa Claus mask yelling “TRICK OR TREAT’ at the top of his lungs.
This is Robert Fulghum’s story. Remember him?
In 1986 Fulghum wrote a brief Credo that took on a life of its own. Today we would say it went viral.
Every spring Fulghum had made it a habit to write a personal statement. Sometimes it was as long as a Supreme Court brief, however, that year he gave himself the task to reduce it to one page.  
He read his Credo to his congregation, and later at a primary school celebration. As luck would have it, Senator Dan Evans was in the audience. Evans requested a copy of the Credo and took it back to Washington where it was eventually read into the Congressional Record.
From Washington, it went to The Kansas Times. Larry King read it to millions, and a literary agent called Fulghum asking, “Have you written anything else?
As a matter of fact…
Over the years Fulghum had made a habit of writing uncommon thoughts on common things.
Fulghum knew that wisdom was not at the top of a graduate-school mountain, but in the sandpile at Sunday School.
That disgruntled day before Christmas when Fulghum opened the door and stared at the Santa Claus mask, the little person below it was shaking a bag. “Trick or Treat.”
Fulghum reached into his wallet, found a dollar bill and dropped it into the bag.
The mask dropped and an Asian kid with a ten-dollar smile Fulghum recognized as Hong Duc, as a recent immigrant from Vietnam. The kid had been there at Halloween looking like a Wise man with a towel tied around his head.
“Want-a-hear some Caroling?” asked the semi-masked person.
“Sure,” says Fulghum expecting to see a choir jump from the bushes.
“Where’s the choir?” he asked.
“I’m it.” says the boy and begins to sing Jingle Bells, then reverently with head back and eyes closed he sang “Silent Night, and as I read this to my husband I laughed until I cried as the little fellow belted out, “ “Hark the Harry Angels Sing.”
Wet-eyed, Fulghum dropped a five-dollar bill into the bag and received a half-eaten candy cane in return.
Flashing that ten-dollar grin, the kid turned and ran from the porch,  
“God Bless You—Trick or Treat” he yelled as he continued to deliver Christmas door to door.
“I’m it.” He had said.
While Fulghum pondered whether he ascribed to any of the Christmas hype, the wise men, the babe in a manger, and the town of Bethlehem is the pit, he said, according to people who have been there.
And yet, right down the chimney came Saint Hong Doc, confused about the details, as most of us are, but knowing that he was IT.
Well, here was Christmas in July, and me at a recycle warehouse with a book falling into my hands.
It’s semi-sweet there in the recycle place, feels like a graveyard with old books sitting on old shelves, a dollar a book, two dollars. People’s life stories.
Good people. We hear now comments like “People are no damn good,” and with a polarized society, we wonder, and yet in Fulghum’s day 70% of the people felt they could trust people.
Trick or Treat—God Bless.
This Credo has been copied over and over so I feel I can put it here:
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
By Robert Fulghum
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Friday, July 19, 2019


All my troubles seemed so far away 
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay...” 
--The Beatles 
Have you ever had one of those days—like mine today where you have been rejuvenated from the day before, you're anxious to get home and to work and what happens? Your brain freezes up. And its 88 degrees in this room with the door open.  

And you’re depressed.  

Yesterday I read that I ought to write an “About Me” page. Maybe that scared me, or it could be that I’m experiencing a let-down from a three-day vacation.  

We rented a cabin in the woods—out where the big trees live. 

Have you ever sat or walked among the old-growth forest? There is a serenity there like no other. Some say it’s the silica present in the trees that causes such a feeling. Since the grandfather and grandmother Douglas Firs have had years to pull silica into their systems, they offer calmness, like a room full of crystals. Do crystals affect human systems? I don’t know.  

It could be that we forest dwellers were experiencing the benefit of all that carbon dioxide the trees were transpiring. Whatever the scientific explanation is, I prefer to think that their serenity is contagious.  

Oregon Grape Holly, a low growing plant on the forest floor a ways down from the cabin.

Friends joined us at the cabin, along with daughter and grandson, so all of us soaked up the grandeur that is the forest.  

I had been wondering if I could live in the tropics. I can. I did, but I thought as the cool of the evening settled in—you know that time when the earth calms her hectic day and prepares for nightfall. Even the people calm, and the earth is quieter, and dusk comes tip-toeing in like baby kittens following their mother.  

When I had a horse, that was my favorite time to take a trail ride. Now it’s still my favorite time, (We had no baby kittens in danger of horse’s feet.)  
Today I was moaning the lack of comments from my blog. I’m embarrassed to mention it, but there for a while, I was getting about 100 a day, and then silence. Guess they didn’t like what I was writing. I didn’t expect people to gravitate to a couple of blogs, but when silence dropped, I felt that my playmates had all gone home and taken their toys.  (That was 

I’m discouraged with my blogging and wondering if my book is selling. I have no numbers, so don’t tell me unless it’s good.  

The day ten years ago as I stood in the horse paddock and asked my poignant question, “Where would I be happy?” and the idea of Hawaii popped up, I decided to write of it. Of course, I didn't know, as the case of all adventures, how it would turn out. Two years ago, Regal Publishing Company and delightful Jaynie Royal decided to take a chance on me, and The Frog’s Song was born 

The book was released this past June—cast of eight, including two dogs and two cats.  

I’m telling myself to follow what Andy Warhol said, “Make art, and let the world decide if they like it or not, in the meantime, make more art.”  

So, this is my “About Me” page. Tomorrow it will be a different story.   

I wrote this long-hand for I have heard that there is a stronger bond between hand and brain in cursive opposed to typing. And I figured that perhaps I would get to the bottom of my melancholy.  

Outside helped, the plants helped, seeing happy chickens helped, for I went outside and pulled some weeds and set the sprinkler, and freed the chickens from their pen for some good picking and scratching and dust bathing before I sat down to write this. 

At the end of yesterday, the end of our vacation, hubby dear and I went to the theater to see "Yesterday."  

What would you do if you were a struggling musician, and the world took a blip, leaving only you to remember the Beatles music?  

And how was your day?  

With love from   

Sweet, Yesterday sung by the young Paul McCartney