Stay Calm – Feedburner is Not Dead (yet)

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Despite the rumors on Twitter, Feedburner is not dead (yet).

I’ve written some tips and listed some alternatives on Archer Creative.

Revisiting “Instagrate to WordPress”… again

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I am so thankful for my iPhone and the ease with which I can stay in touch and take photos of so many moments that would otherwise fade into my foggy memory.

I use Instagram almost daily. I say ‘almost’ because there have been a half-dozen days or so, that I’ve missed since I posted my first photo on it October 16, 2010 (yes – I know the actual date) and the honest, non-exaggerating side of me wins out in this post.

Most of these photos tell great stories without a lot of words, and would make blogging easier if I could use them regularly. But I’ve had many complaints with the WordPress app. While they have made some good updates, I still find myself deciding to wait until I get home to post a photo and caption with it, only to not do it.

So I was thrilled when I found the “Instagrate to WordPress” plugin for WordPress, back in January. It takes your Instagram photos and creates posts from them, using the caption as the post title. The idea intrigued me, so I gave it a shot and was thrilled at first.

But I do take a lot of photos that I only share on Instagram, like when I post screen shots of what we are watching on Netflix. They really aren’t worthy of a post of their own, and might work better if I posted several in a post together.

Every single photo was getting posted to my blog as an individual blog post, and sometimes, what I wrote as my caption made for a real long and/or dumb blog title. I was having to edit my Instagram posts because of how I wanted them to post on my blog, which was a big ‘ol hassle… I became annoyed. So I deactivated it, and submitted a couple of requests/suggestions to the plugin author.

I’ve kept my eye on it, hoping that some of these changes would be implemented, allowing a bit more control of how things post (eg: the option to post several photos in a collage in a single post), and the number of accounts you can use on it (I really wanted to use it on Living the Life Fantastic and have both mine and Randy’s accounts linked to it). This past week I noticed that many changes have been made to it. I’m super excited to look into it more and see how they work. The drawback: many of the changes I want are in a premium version, selling for $35. Not sure if my laziness is work that or not :/

I’m curious if any of you have tried out the premium version, or if you have another way to easily make posts from your IG photos. Or feel free to tell me to just get over it.

This Week on LTLF and Archer Creative

I’ve been working on my editorial calendar for both of our other blogs, so watch out! I’m gonna be on a blogging roll ;)

On LTLF: This month, I’m writing a series on Retro Living: How we make our small home work with a large family. This week: Big Family, Little House: We are a big family, living in a small house. Find out why, and how we do it.

On Archer Creative: Struggling with what to write about on your blog? This month I’m writing a series on blogging and how to find ideas for blog posts. This week: If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, the answer is sitting in front of you. Recycle your old posts for new content.

What good is blogging?

Tonight I got sucked down a rabbit hole that placed me smack in the middle of my old blog posts.

Those journeys always start so innocently, don’t they?

All I wanted to do was check for broken links. But alas, I found myself thrust back into a different world that seems both a million years ago and yet, a mere second ago.

I’m not the first person to ponder the point of blogging, or what, if  any, value there is to it. Many have written about it way more eloquently than I will, but I couldn’t help but try to capture a bit of what I’m feeling right now.

Vulnerable: I was surprised by the rawness and openness that I had in many of my posts. Many of my posts were (are) soul-searching… seeking meaning and purpose in events that have occurred in my life. It’s hard to look over those sorts of things and not instinctively touch the spot where the wound has healed, no matter how invisible or ugly the scar.

Guilt: Blogging provides only a snapshot of a person’s life. As I read through some of those old posts, I cringed at the picture I portrayed of certain aspects of my life and the stories that weren’t being told.

Pressure: I always want to be moving forward and improving at the things that are important to me. Writing is one of those things. Yet, I sometimes put so much pressure on myself to write the next great blog post (heh) that no words come. I have a sheet filled with blog post topics and ideas. Dozens of unfinished drafts saved. I walk around composing blog posts in my head only to draw a blank when face-to-face with my monitor.

Comforted: While there are pieces missing on some levels, blogging adds a layer of richness to the legacy that we each have. While it may not be printed in a book that’s sitting on my shelf, the fact that I am leaving a trail of something that my children can one day read and, hopefully, understand me, and thus themselves more, brings me great comfort.

Grateful: I’ve had three computers die since I started blogging. I’ve lost hundreds of photos each time (excuse me while I try not to vomit at that thought…) Because I blog and share snippets of my life via photos, many of those photos were not gone forever. As I looked over photos I hadn’t seen in several years, I was flooded by the memories encapsulated within each image.

Encouraged: To be able to look back over experiences I’ve had and see how I grew from each is pretty amazing. (Along with that, I’m so grateful that I’ve written so much of these things down, because apparently, I have the worst memory ever. And who couldn’t use a reminder of how far they’ve come, once in awhile?)

All of these feelings flooded me tonight and it was important for me to sift through them and embrace each and every one.

Blogging has caused me to examine myself more. To see the importance in the stories that fill my life. To be grateful for all of the days I’ve had with my children, loved ones and friends, no matter how perfect or painful.

Is there value in blogging? Heck yeah.

(PS – if you dare venture back through my archives, be warned: while there is quite a bit of depth, there is also a lot of fluff. Oh, and if you see broken links, please let me know. I’d prefer to not have to head down the rabbit hole on a daily basis)

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell Your Story

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I’m disappointed.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about something that happened in my life. It would be silly to try and deny that I was nervous and fearful about sharing it. I knew it would shake people and ruffle feathers.

For two years I’d held on to my story, afraid to tell it.

Ultimately, on that post, there were two unsupportive commenters (and several people who ‘unfriended’ me). One had a confrontational tone, whose intention, I imagine, was meant to embarrass me. I easily shrugged that one off.

But it was the second one that, months later, I still find myself pondering and tossing around in my mind.

I was told that some things do not belong on blogs and that my post was one of those things.

My story had no place on a blog. Even my own blog.

…insert long pause…

I had many thoughts about that comment and still do, because ultimately, the post wasn’t just about telling that particular story, but about the fear that I felt in writing it.
In telling my own truth.
My story.

And why?

Because… I was afraid that it would make others angry at me.
Or not like me.

{hate me.}

Do you know what?

Out of the hundreds of emails, comments, texts, tweets and phone calls I received, all but those two were able to relate in some way and applaud me for having the courage to write what I did.

Despite my fear.

Some of those people may not have even agreed with what I wrote; I don’t know… But they supported my right to tell my story and didn’t try to make me feel badly about doing so.

Why?

Because it was my story to tell.

From my perspective.
About my own experience.
Through self-examination.

When all was said and done, the story wasn’t even about what that commenter implied and was pissed off about. But rather it was about sharing something so that others could maybe… hopefully… learn from something I’d experienced.

I will always shake my head at that comment. But I will continue to tell my stories.

Despite the feathers they may ruffle or the way people may be made uncomfortable.

Not everything looks pretty from every angle, but everyone has a right to tell their own story.

And you should tell your own.
Without fear.
Without anxiety.

Unless you are making up your stories and selling them as ‘truth’.

In that case… you’re on your own.

photo credit