BLOCKED!

Image courtesy of pikist.com

B efore the WordPress genies
L avished us with New BLOCK Technology—
O verflowing with features galore that I
C an’t with my non-techie brain fully appreciate—-
K eeping to two longish posts a week was
E nergizing and whet my creative juices, but
D amn: as change is hard, my post, today, is short.

Note: I know the above will please the “don’t give me anything longer than 500 words” readers, but since there are actually more than a few of you who encourage my verbosity, I felt an explanation was in order.

My brevity for who knows how long (?) is due to my needing time to master this new editorial challenge—and not an abandonment of my desire to continue researching articles on topics that I always feel require more in-depth coverage.

In truth, WordPress gave us plenty of warning that this day would come, but I was too busy writing to pay sufficient attention to the looming new requirements. In greater truth, I pretended the warning would never really force me to stretch my meager techie talents. But as I sought to enter my new post, the page I opened scolded me: “Time’s up, kid. Get to it!”

Thanks for understanding—whether your tastes in my posts fall into the long or short of them!

Annie

Continue reading “BLOCKED!”

What’s On My Menu? Annie Needs You…

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Image courtesy of Pixhere.com

I’m not about to write of food
Or remembrance of repasts

My blog is clogging up right now
And I need your help real fast.

I used to have a sub-menu
That offered all my oeuvre

But a WP Engineer warned
Its growth was a SNAFUer.

S/he led me to the solution
That’s inspired this short chat

To see if what works for WP
Isn’t a bothersome gnat.

I’ve passed my one-hundredth post,
To me, that’s really cookin’

Computerwise, it’s not too bad
A widget* helps those lookin’

So to the right of the full texts
Linked titles are there to see.

I like to keep them all in view
And many seem to agree.

My stats tell me that lots of folks
Read posts going quite far back

But on your phone to reach that list,
You must scroll, scroll, scroll—alack!

Our Happy WP Engineers
Have told me what to do:

You must change your design, they say–
Or else we just can’t help you.

But I like the look I have now
I really hope to keep it.

So I turn to you, dear readers
It’s time you interceded.

Must I choose between my fond wish
You see all posts, come what may—

And my perhaps stronger hope this
Menu won’t drive you away?

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

______________________

Ok—enough with the rhyme. I know I should be archiving older posts, but if I do,  I’m not at all sure that as many people would read them. 

Often after five or six older posts have each received a single view, the next day I’m pleased to welcome a new subscriber. The ease of perusing those lists is clearly helpful in exploring my work.

And I realize that most of you are probably reading my most recent one or two posts as they appear, so this may not be an issue for you at all. I would still welcome your observations.

Is a tradeoff necessary? Please let me know your thoughts about my current setup and any possible ideas for helping me accomplish my dual goals. 

If scrolling through all those posts on your phone to get to the linked titles is a drag, please tell me. All suggestions are welcome, as long as you’re kind.

*Explanatory note for my email subscribers: “In WordPress, widgets are blocks of content that you can add to your site’s sidebars, footers, and other areas…” 

If you’re viewing this on your computer, the sidebar widget facilitates the index. But since on the side of the phone there’s no room for it, the linked list appears at the very bottom of those now many posts.

Annie

Continue reading “What’s On My Menu? Annie Needs You…”

Wherein My Personal Blogosphere Expands Via a Fun Exchange With a Super New Acquaintance

I’ve often said that I’m one happy blogger: I love to write and to research new topics; I’m grateful for your feedback; and—this was one aspect of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated but is becoming one of the most valuable—I feel personally enriched by meeting so many extraordinary, talented people from all over the world.

The most recent is Judy Dykstra-Brown, a poet, writer, artist, and lecturer who blogs at Life Lessons. She’s a prolific blogger, posting something—sometimes several things—every day. That energy alone boggles my once-or-at-most-twice-weekly blogger mind!

My virtual meeting with Judy occurred in a manner that frequently happens among bloggers. As about 30% of my subscribers aren’t bloggers, I hope you WP folks will bear with me while I explain this process—very briefly.

Judy clicked on “like” concerning a comment I’d made on someone else’s blog. That triggered a WP email informing me of her action and citing some of her posts that I might find of interest. Intrigued, I visited her site. 

It’s a treasure trove, as you can imagine from the versatility I note above. I immediately knew I wanted to see more, so I clicked on “follow” and became one of her more than 5000 subscribers.

I was drawn to a funny little poem she’d written, which—as is often the case—fueled my own creativity. I responded in verse, and Judy then began to follow me. She also graciously reblogged one of my posts, a poem I’d titled “Chaos in America…BUT…We Can End It!” 

(An aside: The poem was written as a near-acrostic, in which the first letter of each line, viewed vertically, clearly spelled out the title. However, that little attempt at cleverness required indenting parts of the longer lines—formatting that apparently became lost when I had system problems and my WP advisors told me I needed a new menu. I didn’t realize the impact of the change until I saw the post again, lines now awry, with Judy’s reblog. The fix involves html, which is not my native language…so it may not happen soon. If you choose to read the poem, please note the bolded first letters.) 

Anyway, we had such fun with our first meeting that I thought I’d share with you Judy’s poem, my verse response, and our subsequent exchange.

Judy’s poem:

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Image courtesy of flickr.com

Piscine Phobia

I don’t eat salmon, don’t eat flounder.
I prefer my protein rounder—
chicken, roasts or food like that.
Fish is too fishy and too flat.

Tuna mixed with soup and noodle
I despise kit and caboodle!
Nothing could persuade me that
I should eat food fit for a cat.

I won’t eat food grown in a swamp,
so crabs and clams I never chomp.
No protein caught by motor boat
will ever pass my teeth and throat.

When dinner parties serve up chowder
I’m likely to just take a powder.
I simply can’t take the suspense
of what fish lurks in soup so dense.

So if you want to plan a treat
that I will find the nerve to eat,
once again, I must repeat,
forget the lobster. Give me meat!

And my comment:

“Give me meat,” the woman pleads,
But I must turn aside:
A bloody steak, a fatty slab
Will make my gorge uprise.

“No mammals” is my credo;
I find it tough enough
To eat a little Nemo
From seas serene or rough.

I used to love my bacon,
But now a baby pig
Reminds me I’m more comfortable
Just chewing on a fig.

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Image courtesy of needpix.com.

Judy’s response:

Touche!!! Ha. It takes all kinds of us in this world, right?

And mine:

It does indeed. And if we could all accept and embrace our differences with good humor, what a lovely world it could be!

————————

When I asked Judy if she was OK with my printing the above on my blog, she said, “Of course, you are most welcome to…It was a fun interchange. I predict future ones as well.”

I’ve written about inspirational people. After reading Judy’s bio. on her blog and information about the books she’s written, I’ve concluded that she’s clearly one of them. 

So with regard to future fun interchanges, the pleasure will certainly be mine!

Annie

And Now a Word From Our…

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Courtesy of BlueDiamondGallery.com

Sponsor? I have no sponsor, and my accountant says that’s a problem because it also means I have no blogging income. Thus, after a year of blogging and accurately filling out the appropriate Schedule C form itemizing the costs I incur in this endeavor, I am in serious danger of slipping to the wrong side of the law.

According to my accountant, I will no longer be able to take those vast deductions, which could possibly reach all the way into the stratosphere of triple digits. 

I find it offensive to tell the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that I’m retired; it’s also not true. So I am seeking suggestions and guidance from my virtual friends in the blogging community who do monetize your blogs—or from anyone else with good, non-larcenous ideas. How do I make some money from this effort and allay my CPA’s concerns? 

It needn’t be a fortune, obviously. I love what I’m doing and will continue even if I don’t resolve this dilemma.

Blogging provides the ideal format for fulfilling my strong writer’s itch. As I’ve noted before, I am one happy blogger. But it would be quite nice to be able to cover my costs and then have a bit more to add to the retirement nutshell.

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I certainly do not intend to deny the IRS folks any monies due to the government. Still, my accountant is a straight arrow, a cautious soul, and she wants to make sure that if we’re audited, everything is copacetic. Apparently, she sees Annie’s Schedule C as a red flag. 

I’m not sure why she thinks the IRS would zero in on me, as they are no longer auditing billionaires—or nearly anyone else (except, of course, the President, which is the reason he can’t possibly show us his tax returns, even though the entire accounting world has said that’s a bogus excuse). Anyway, this post isn’t about income inequality, which I’ve addressed before and will again.

I find this IRS concern a bit annoying. I am a bona fide blogger with the statistics to prove it. I spend a good deal of time on my posts. I do a fair amount of research, and I like to print out articles so I can underline the points I want to include.

And the toner—wow, my printer eats through that stuff as if it were cotton candy. (Bad simile: cotton candy is definitely not something one wants anywhere near a printer!) 

And then there are the WordPress and domain fees, the fee for the relatively new special address that I use as my contact email but have been afraid to switch to elsewhere for fear of generating a techie snafu that would lose you all, and the occasional book I buy to further my research. 

Here’s where I need your help. I’ve read a number of articles about monetizing blogs, and the most prevalent way appears to be via WordPress AdWords. It seems that’s what many of the bloggers whose sites I frequent use. 

As I see it, one problem is that once you sign on with them, you are at the mercy of the bidders who buy their space.

Most of the time that wouldn’t be a problem for me; I wouldn’t mind a single discreet ad following the statement: “This post is ad-supported.” I’m not bothered by ads for Motley Fool, Wayfair, or AARP, which have all proliferated from time to time. 

But for a while, there was a gastroenterologist whose photo of a piece of intestine, cilia upright, was everywhere, and I found that picture odious.

Oops: I just got some key and slightly creepy information from a very smart techie relative who knows about such things.

Apparently, the ads you and I see are different: these ads are targeted to what the advertisers know about us.

So those of you who have never searched for anything gastro-related have probably been spared the intestinal cilia ads that inundated me for weeks.

Sometimes there are several ads breaking up the text; I would prefer that not be the case with my pearly prose.

If you use AdWords, what do you think? I’m not asking for your finances, of course–simply whether based on your experience, would you recommend this method to me?

Or do any of you use other approaches? I’ve rejected ideas that will require me to seek money from my readers; why would you want to pay for stuff you’ve been getting for free? (If I ever collect my posts into a volume or two, I may reexamine that conclusion.)

I eagerly await your responses. The end of the year approaches, as I have been procrastinating about this matter for months.

It seems appropriate (I’m not sure why) to end my request with a haiku:

Incandescent goal
Blogging fuels both head and heart
Bureaucracy bites

Annie

PLEASE NOTE: I had a tech snafu that whisked away my Comments box. It’s now back, so I hope if you’re revisiting, you’ll respond to my query–or say anything else you care to about this post. Thanks–and sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: Many thanks to those who offered suggestions. I’ve decided to keep things as they are–absorbing the costs of continuing the blogging I love, and accepting the fact that in the eyes of the IRS, I am simply “retired.” So be it.