Friday, May 16, 2014

Outstanding Blogging [Doesn't Look Like This]. And Snails.

Two days ago I clicked on a link to an article (from twitter) that discussed ten ways to be an outstanding blogger. I carefully read over the suggestions, and concluded two things:
  1. I am not an outstanding blogger
  2. I will never be an outstanding blogger
To write outstanding blogs, you have to do things like include a hook for each know, a compelling question, or an interesting fact, etc. This entry, for example, should start off with "Did you know I suck at blogging?" or "Statistics show that 100% of bloggers over at are lousy bloggers." That would have been much more captivating than "Two days ago blah blah."

Another component of outstanding blogging is keeping your posts centralized around one topic. Members of our technology-driven society tend to have short attention spans; they don't want to read long rambling narratives that veer from topic to topic. Curious how often I fail at the whole focusing-on-one-topic thing, I scanned over some of my past blog post titles. Here were some titles I came across:
Resolutions, Black Fish, & British Relatives
Mines, Breweries, & Burning Pianos
Mother's Day & Chopping Tables
Rodent Escapees and Staple-ectomies
Student Teacher & Deadly Doors
Universal Studios Monsoon & Other Unrelated Stuff
The Rambling Times
Okay, this goes on and ON. And if words don't speak for themselves, just scroll down a bit and you will see a picture of a snail. What on earth does a snail have to do with this post? Who knows. I swear, it seems to be my trademark to start a post with the idea that "I'm going to squish every possible unrelated thing into this blog entry, and then make sure to squeeze all of it into my title too!"

Seriously, even my so-called trademark is rambly.

At this point, an outstanding blogger would tidy up this post by declaring some call to action, or conclude with some other statement that would leave the reader with an idea of the overall message of the post. But I, sticking true to my nature, am going to veer on over to my next topic.

Which is...I'm switching my URL back to Ocean in a Cup! The votes were nearly unanimous for that name. I have some construction I need to do with that site, and then I'll make the switch. I decided I will not be going through Wordpress as I had originally hoped. My reason for this is pretty shallow: Unless I go through Wordpress's self-hosting (which requires a monthly fee), it looks like a huge pain in the ass to customize the blog the way I want.

Next topic: I finally got through my April rut and am officially working on DoT again. It's slow going, but still. YES.

Wednesday (yes, changing subjects again) we break ground on our pool! Speaking of pools, for Mother's Day, we drove down to Camarillo to visit my grandma. Shannon and Jeremy came too, along with my parents. On Saturday we all visited, went swimming, and had a fun dinner at an Italian restaurant (which transitioned to a silly dinner after two bottles of wine). I also got to talk shop with my Grandpa again. No editing this time. We just daydreamed about book covers, and talked about the parts of our novels that had come from real life experiences. Wow was THAT an eye-opener. I found out that my Grandpa had a BB pellet stuck in his butt cheek for thirty-some years after he tried to steal a watermelon. And one time, he broke into a church to spend the night and got caught by two choir girls the next morning. Anyway, on Sunday morning my dad made everyone an awesome breakfast. Later we went swimming, followed by a picnic lunch. On our way home, we stopped at Charlie Brown's for chocolate banana shakes. I'm still full just thinking about how much eating I did that day.

My grandma has snails in her yard. I guess this isn't a spectacular thing, but we don't generally see snails in the desert. The kids love them--they like having snail races, or building snail-castles. Okay, admittedly that last one probably isn't so nice. Anyway, Cassidi kept bringing snails into my grandma's house, and my goodness they are the cutest things! Have you ever seen a snail up close? I get that it's this pile of sticky muck in a shell, but it's adorable...this little sluggish yet motivated worm serving as its own motorhome.

I could just hug this little guy (don't worry, I won't).

Congratulations, you now see how snails relate to this post. Which, they don't.

Today sucked. I was tired for no reason (I slept awesome last night) and had no sense of humor. You can't teach seventh graders without a sense of's like flipping eggs without a spatula.

Outstanding Blogging Tip #11: Use similes that make sense.

Okay, I have to go add snails to my title now.


  1. Wow, that is a lot to cover. If it makes you feel better, I'm rambly and try to squeeze lots of topics into my posts too. I think it's a personal blogger thing. Like you, I'll never be an outstanding blogger. I'm actually okay with that, though, since mostly I write for my own edification.

    About switching to WordPress. Yes, is a pain in the ass. They also make you pay for every little thing and last time I checked didn't allow you to use plugins, which is part of the whole WordPress experience. Self-hosted is really better, but you still have to customize. Fortunately, the monthly fee is nominal. If you have one domain it's like $5 per month (I pay $10 but can have an unlimited number of domain names). In my opinion, it's worth it. I'm also biased.

    It sounds like you had a nice mother's day weekend. Your grandpa sounds like a really interesting person! Congrats on making progress on DoT again!

    1. This actually reminds me of a post you wrote awhile back in which you were defending personal blogging, and arguing against the idea that every blog has to have a central idea (i.e. cooking blogs, gardening blogs, DIY blogs, etc.). We write our blogs as a sort of online diary, I think. Granted, we both know that what we write is viewable by the public, and that's always going to require a certain level of censorship, but since they are by nature personal blogs, we have the freedom to ramble away (suddenly my brain is singing "It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to").

      That being said, I actually think you're really good at keeping your posts on one main topic. I've never had to scan through, wondering "When is she going to shut up?" (I only say this because I've done this with my own posts several times).

  2. You will always be an outstanding blogger in my eyes!

    I love snails too. Although I didn't love that Cass kept sticking them on my legs every 5 minutes. ~Shan

    1. Awww, I think your eyes are a little biased Shan, but I'll still take it.

      In Japan they use snails as a beauty treatment for the face. You just got the free trial version. On your legs. We should all be so lucky. ;)

    2. I'm not sure if I would call little slime trails on my legs beautiful, but who am I to judge? :)

    3. And here I thought your skin just had a healthy glow...

  3. Oh, how I can relate to this post... I try really hard to be focused when I blog but it's so sporadic that I feel I therefore MUST include the last 10 things of note that I experienced, or thought of, or read, or whatever. Clear, concise, and focused are three things I'm working on. Your Grandpa sounds like an amazing and adventurous soul -- am I reading this right, you're both writing novels at the same time? His poor butt cheek! LOL. Great post, again :)

    1. I'm glad to know Cheyenne that I'm in good company with my compulsive rambling urges!

      My grandpa is indeed pretty amazing...he is the quirkiest, most energetic 84 year old Jack of all trades that I've ever met (from my biased opinion, of course). And yes, we're both writing novels at the same time, or we were--he just finished his third one (and I'm still on my first). He's been writing my whole life, so while most eight-year old girls are reading Babysitter's Club, I was reading my grandpa's first 250K draft of "Formula for Terror." ;-D

      Thanks for your commentary on my long-winded post!

  4. I like snails. ^_^
    You know, Wordpress actually is a bit of a pain to set up. Lol! I remember setting up on Blogger in a day, and I spent a week preparing to move everything over. I'm happy and I do like it better, but yeah, Lol! And you know what else? I read a couple of "outstanding" blogs and I don't like them near as much as blogs like this. This one has personality. Who in real life sticks to just one topic? Lol! When I was condo shopping, one of the places I looked out had a snail on the back patio! That place was kind of small inside, but I wanted to live there because of the snail. ^_^ I used to watch them growing up. They are so cute. Also, rambling is fun.

    And another also, Congratulations for getting out of your rut! ^_^

    1. Right Krystal? Outstanding blogging is sooooo overrated. Rambling should be considered an art. A very abstract art. ;-D

      I am thrilled to discover that I am not the only crazy person who has a fondness for snails. When I was reading your tale of how that particular condo was a wee bit too small, my first thought was "Bet the snail was thinking the same thing about HIS condo."

      And I have to say, personality is the EXACT reason I like your blog so much too!

  5. Personally I like the non structured blogs... It means they are personalized and reflects your personality and thoughts. That's why I come here... To read what's going on and catch up with you from miles away without interrupting your extremely busy routines. Those DIY blogs and "structured" blogs are boring! Who wants boring?

    Snails are gross and carry schistosomiasis parasites! Ewe!!

    1. Awww...thank you for liking unstructured stuff as much as I like writing it!

      P.S. If you blogged too, we could BOTH keep up with each other's life. ;) (I know, I know, blogging isn't everyone's thing)

      P.S.S. It's not the snail's fault he carries some parasite. He's still cute. :-D

    2. Lol Jojo! The snails are the parasites! I'm sorry I just don't have enough time to blog. I tried it once and it didn't work out.

    3. Some people say that people are parasites too. Just saying'. ;-D

      I know blogging didn't work out for's all good. I have to say I'm thrilled to see you commenting in the actual comment-form box for a change. If you lived closer I'd put my hand on your forehead to see if you were running a fever or something. ;)

  6. Haha you're an OUTSTANDING blogger because you don't follow the rules! Which is what "outstanding" means, last time I checked :)

    Does your grandpa still have the bullet in? I'll be on the line to read his book once it gets published! I need to find out more :D

    Great you're writing DoT again! It's inspiring! The closer June comes, the more I get into a panic. o.O

    1. He had the bullet removed once he was an adult. But it was in there for decades! Him and two of his friends swiped one watermelon each from a farm, and the farmer caught them and shot my grandpa in the butt cheek as they were running away. My grandpa said he still got the watermelon though, and it was delicious and juicy. LOL.

      Aww, don't panic about June--if you have to, come up with a goal that works for you. June 30th works for me because a) I'll be 30 days into my summer break, and b) it's so hot here there really is nothing better to do but stay inside and write. =)

    2. Haha! I'd say the pain in the butt(cheek) was worth it. Because watermelons :D

      Yes, I'll love to be done before the end of June, as I start my rotations in July and life would be a lot busier, at least till October, so yes, it's either June 30 or November 30 or something. But I'm writing today, taking it one step at a time!

    3. He thought so too Ify! :-D

      How about you make June 30th your deadline for a certain amount of chapters, then you make November 30th your deadline for the whole book? Or something like that, where you're splitting the difference?

  7. If you are not a successful blogger, I am the absolute worst ever. I understand, however. Sometimes we just need to get thoughts and ideas out and FB doesn't always cover it. Neither does Twitter, for that matter. So proud of you anyway and will always be your follower.

    1. Awww, thanks Niecy. Glad to see you back!


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