The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


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My 2013 Blogging-Type Goals


Blogging Goals 2013

Blogging Goals 2013

I’m not sure how much I’ve actually told you about this challenge that I’m doing – and at the moment, I’m the only one doing it but that’s okay, I’ll make it work. So tonight, not only am I going to tell you more about the challenge, but I’m also going to use TODAY’S INSPIRATION to write my own post. I’ve been semi-working on this list for month’s, but have been being an incredibly annoying perfectionist about it, so today, I’m throwing that out…

I’m not going to go into great detail about The Blog Everyday Challenge, because I’ve written about it pretty much everywhere you could imagine and because it’s title is pretty self-explanatory. You blog, every single day, for however long you want to set your goal to blog for is – could be days, weeks, months and even years. Our mission is to support you on that journey!

By joining our official group on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, you’ll get support and encouragement to keep you blogging everyday and you’ll also get to meet up with some great adult bloggers. But even if you’re not an adult blogger and still want to join in, we’ve got you covered.

There are even brand new products in the Blog-A-Holic Designs shop so that you can motivate yourself to keep blogging when the going gets tough and even products that you can customize to promote your blog (and the fact that you’re doing this challenge). I’ve been posting about that everywhere too, so I’m not going to say anymore about that…

So, that brings me to my very first goal. I really want to blog every single day for an entire year. So, my plan is to blog daily right here on The Rantings, and while I can’t guarantee what the ratio of adult posts to non-adult posts will be, I’m hoping that it will generally stick around even.

Some of my many other blogging-related/online/technology-type goals this year include:

  • Finish and post the second installment of 100+ Sexual Bucket List Ideas
  • Finish and post piece on different ways to communicate about using your sexual bucket list with your partner
  • Begin commenting on my reader’s blogs more often (because I always mean to and then always cower shamelessly in the internet corner)
  • Post at least 3 times a week to the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous blog
  • Post to The Blog Everyday Challenge group(s) every single day, come rain or shine, sickness or health!
  • Post a video to Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous at least twice a week
  • Actually go through all my FetLife groups, ideally on a daily basis, but even once a week will be better than what I’m doing right now…
  • Post to Updates from the Head Blog-A-Holic at least twice a week
  • Add new products to Blog-A-Holic Designs at least once a week, which includes promoting said products on Tumblr blog
  • Actually start going through my drafts (on all the blogs…) and start finishing and publishing the pieces
  • Learn how to create an application for devices – just because I want to!
  • Step up my social networking game… This one requires quite a bit, but a couple of things that I vow to absolutely do this year:
    • Post every day to my personal Facebook page. It already streams my blog posts there and it shows stuff from the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Tumblr blog twice a day, but I’d really like to start putting my own posts up there. Ideally, I’d use Facebook notes to kind of do a daily update about all the stuff I got done online that day… Here’s hoping!
    • Post every day to Twitter, at least once a day, because I’m really bad for forgetting all about Twitter
    • Start posting and using my YouTube accounts, both my personal and Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous one. One day, the LBA one will include uploaded videos, but at this point, I just don’t have time to focus on it. It’s something that is in the very early planning phases…
  • Figure out the one and only system that I’m going to use to curate content (ie. Digg, Delicious, Diigo, Bit.ly), because right now I seem to use a whole bunch of different things and it’s just not working out to my advantage at all…

I know that more will come to me the more I think about it, but I think this is looking like a pretty hefty list already. I guess another goal we can add to this, is to upgrade Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. I had planned to do this before the New Year, but life kept getting in the way of that goal, so I don’t want to make any promises… But I really want to allow people video uploading and a video chat room (personally, I really want the chatroom, my members apparently want the video uploading).

So now, what are your blogging goals for 2013? Do you typically set goals for your blog, or is this your first time? 


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9 Steps Make Me a Candidate for The Worst Blogger on the Planet…


The other day, I was reading through my Google Reader when I ran across a post from Problogger by Karol K of  ThemeFuse titled “13 Steps to Being the Worst Blogger on the Planet”.

I was automatically intrigued and wanted to see if I was, in fact, the worst blogger on the planet. Well, guess what folks? I’m only 4 steps away, and I feel like I should go to a meeting or something…

I have, on multiple occasions (sometimes at every posting), taken some of these steps. And because I’m apparently a sucker for showing off my weaknesses, I’ll re-count all my worst offenses.

**Disclaimer: This is pure entertainment 😉

Step 1: Do no research before writing a post

Check!

Well, I guess I did a little research before writing this post. But for a typical post here on The Rantings, I don’t research much at all. I can name every single post that I ever did research for, and that equals two posts. It’s something that I like doing, so I’m not sure why I don’t do it.

Step 2: Don’t spend longer than 30 seconds on a headline

Check, Check!

I don’t remember the last time I put any serious effort or thought into a headline. My favorite part of this and a suggestion I follow dilligently, “Be honest and make it clear from the get go that there’s nothing interesting in your posts”.  That describes my headlines in a nutshell.

Step 4: Use long paragraphs

Check, Check, Check!

I am the worst for doing this and I always tell myself not to, and then just go right on ahead doing it. When I read this step, I instantly blamed it on my highschool English teachers and every music teacher I ever had. These were the two subjects that I was the best at in school, but the one thing that I could never remember is that a comma that appears in musical lyrics is not the comma that appears in a sentence within a paragraph. So now, I write a comma where I would typically take a breath, should I be speaking my posts to you. It’s a hard habit to break and results in a lot of long paragraphs that seem to run ass end into the other…

Step 5: Write as if you were writing to yourself

I suppose I delve into this one every once and awhile. More like I’m writing in a journal than writing to an audience – assuming I have an audience (shout out to those of you I know about!!).

Step 7: Don’t Edit

I almost never edit my posts initially. I often write in a very spur of the moment kind of way (refer to Step 9), so when it comes to the point where I should be editing, I just hit publish instead. I also find that if I edit right off the bat, I won’t actually publish anything, because my self-criticism gets in my way. And that is definitely not what this blog is for.

I do however, tend to return to posts at a later date and will make any spelling corrections or grammatical errors that I notice, and I even go back and update links every once and awhile!

Step 8: Don’t even profreed

CHECK!!

I just discovered awhile ago that I had been spelling definitely wrong for YEARS!! I have long ignored the squiggly red lines that appear under misspelled words. When I first started using computers on a regular basis (when we first got one in our house!), I was obsessed with making up diseases for all my dolls, so naturally, my computer became the way for me to make medical records for my dolls. But this created a lot of problems where proofreading is concerned, because all of my dolls had the weirdest names and their diseases were even weirder…

Same with fictional stories. Put in the names of the people, and every couple of sentences, you’ve got a red squiggly line. Eventually, when you’re doing spell check, you just start accidentally skipping over misspelled words because you don’t notice it popping up after 50 times of having the person’s name pop up as wrong. And yes, I know you can fix that by adding these names so they don’t appear, but seriously?!?

I also generally tend to think I’m a really great speller. I even won awards for it in school!

Step 9: Post as irregularly as possible

I just have to quote something for you real quick:

“One day, publish two posts one after another; then wait a full two weeks before publishing another post.

Then wait one more month and write a post in which you explain why you’ve been gone, thinking that anyone even noticed. And don’t forget to promise that you’ll be posting more often now.”

Now I ask you, how many times have I done this?!? I even find myself getting tired of it. Awhile back, I had done NaBloPoMo, and posted everyday for a month successfully. It was difficult and exhilarating and I felt more creative than I had in a really long time. So I vowed to carry it on throughout the whole year. 4 days later, that was out the window. Last year, part of my resolutions was to blog everyday for a month again. Not only did I get a late start to the month, but I quit after a short period of time.

This year, it’s the same old story. I want this to change so badly, because I feel better when I’m writing everyday or at least more regularly. It seems to be the hardest thing in the world for me. Even when I schedule time into a calendar for it, it just doesn’t happen…

Step 12: Don’t tell anyone about your blog

Now it’s not really that I’m not telling anyone about my blog, it’s just that I’m not telling the right people. Well, more like I don’t know any of the right people. I’ve told my family about it, and the people I work with (though most of them aren’t even sure what a blog is, so I don’t know why I expect them to be able to find it), but outside of that, I don’t know many people to tell about it. It doesn’t come up in the real world that often.

Online networking, so I can tell online personalities about my blog, is a goal of mine, but something that I’m treading extremely delicately with. I’m a very awkward socializer…

Step 14: Get the count of your list posts wrong

I just did this the other day on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous. It took two days before I realized that I had made the mistake and changed it. Thank goodness you can edit posts after you publish them, even if it does make you look a little less credible for those who have caught on… The good news is that I try my best to correct it, so I guess that gives me a little bit of a boost.

So there you go, I am admitting that I am at least partially the worst blogger on the planet. So far, I’m okay with it, and maybe one day I won’t fit into this category at all. I thought this post was hilarious and definitely think you should check it out (and let me know that I’m not alone in the worst blogger on the planet category *smiles*). Thanks for reading!


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Trying Not to Feel At All Defeated…


Sometimes, all my online work seems to be such a waste of time. I hate to be kind of a party pooper here, but I feel like I’m working so hard on all this stuff sometimes for nobody’s benefit but mine. And while that would be fine if my blogging goals were the same as they were a year ago or four years ago, times and goals have changed. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be whining right now.

I’d still be going on about, “I’m writing for me!”, instead of creating social networks in the hopes of making some sort of epic connection with another great adult blogger… Yes, you guessed it, this is 100% about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, which I’ve been working so hard at, that I have two little perfect circles on my lap from where my laptop gets really hot when I leave it on for 12 hours straight!!

There are 17 members on the site right now, and only 1 of those members actually participated on the site and that’s because she’s my sister (not an adult blogger) and because I practically begged her! To try to keep member participation up, I decided to create Community Guidelines that made where after 3 months of inactivity, members could have their sites deactivated…

Scary statistic: 65% of members have NOT been active in the last 3 months. So, I sent out notices to those members saying that their accounts were at risk of being terminated. This was mostly for practicality purposes, being that currently I’m using the free version of Spruz, which only allows me to have 50 members.

But then I sort of chickened out. I don’t want to be mean to these potential members, even if they’re not participating. It feels good to be able to say that, including myself, there are 17 members on a social network I maintain. I’m happy that something lured 16 people into joining Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous… Needless to say, I’m reconsidering…

I’ve just been working so much harder than I had ever intended for a website. I’ve been stepping out of my networking comfort levels like crazy, because I really want this site to be something to someone other than me. I’m normally the type of person who won’t go out of my way to talk to people in real life, let alone get up the nerve to speak out online.

I’ve been doing so much of what some of my blogging idols tell you to do (ie., Problogger and Mashable), and it all seems to fall short. I’ve been commenting on people’s blogs (though I’m peeved that I can’t figure out how to comment on Ask Dan and Jennifer, because some of their stuff just grinds on my nerves), I’ve been posting other people’s links on Twitter and even mentioning people more and more (on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Twitter). I’ve been seeking out new blogs like a mad man and mostly, I’ve been crazy hard at work on content for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous.

And no one seems to be participating. I got one mention on Twitter from the blogger of a blog that I tweeted out, and that was really exciting and I went off about it for awhile. But I wouldn’t say it’s participation… Here’s the tweet:

http://twitter.com/#!/LearningDD/status/98984709773733888

I’ve been adding stuff to the Facebook Fan page at least once a day, and none of the 4 fans have commented, I’ve had a couple of votes on questions after I posted them on my personal wall, but no new “likes” in months and not very much commenting or sharing, outside of me.

While I have had 3 members join Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous in the last month, I was disappointed today when I discovered that the bounce rate on the site is at about 85%, which isn’t good and definitely doesn’t meet my goals. Oh, now you want to know what my goals are? Well, that’s a little bit harder to explain, because I’m still trying to define what’s realistic…

I read a few blogs about blogging. Mostly from bloggers who do not need to work outside of the home, because they make enough money just blogging. Normally bloggers who have views on their blogs that are 10 times what I have on any of my blogs. A lot of them who promote their stuff and people eat it up like it’s steak, potatoes and gravy! I’m unsure if those types of things are even possible for adult bloggers, unless they do porn on the side…

So far I know that:

  • I want to have an average of 10 visitors each day, 2 of those being returning visitors
  • I want the average time on the site to be at least 10 minutes
  • I’d like a bounce rate under 50%
  • I’d like people to visit an average of 3 pages when they visit
  • I’d like 3 members, outside of my sister, to be truly active on the site
  • I’d like all the members to change their profile photos
  • I’d like to get some interaction going on both Facebook and Twitter
  • I’d like to make at least one connection with one other blogger that I find to be meaningful in some way…
Now, I need to figure out what it is exactly that I’m not doing right to be able to achieve these goals and that’s being so hard for me. When I’m getting no real response to all the hard work that I’m doing, it’s very hard to get motivated enough to go and add discussions to a speechless forum, or create a group that nobody will join, or write a blog post that no one cares enough about to share or comment on or visit more than once..
Don’t worry though, this is just a rant and I’m still working. I’ve come to realize that this kind of thing is a struggle for every blogger, just more so for some than others. It’s a hump and I’ll get over it eventually. It’s not like I’ve been doing all these things for a SUPER long time, so I’ll give it some more time. Just cross your fingers for me that it gets better…
Love,
Just another struggling blogger


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Checked Off The List…


Today was an incredibly productive day online! I have had a things-I-need-to-get-done-online list percolating for a few days and I’ve had a really hard time concentrating on the stuff. After 12 hours in front of my computer (can’t believe it’s been that long… I just noticed…), give or take a few minutes here or there, I have checked off the biggest things on my list and ended up getting even more than that done!

So all of my work today was Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous-related. First thing I had to work on was the minor design renovations to the site. I had started this a few days ago and then gave up on it for a bit and then re-started yesterday and left it unfinished until today. Finally, I got it done! I even did a few extra things that I hadn’t planned on…

  1. I changed the Navigation menu to now include drop-down menus to more in-depth content. Some of these links take you to internal site pages (on Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous), and some of these links take you to external pages such as the new blog or the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Facebook Fan Page.
  2. I changed up the header. Not only did I make the actual header smaller, but I added an 18+ warning below the navigation menu. It’s a pretty cool little picture:

    Adult

    Slowly getting better with my default Paint program. One day I'll get an actual graphics program...

  3. I added new stuff to the sidebars of almost every single page. You can now donate directly to Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, unlocking access codes for the new blog and check out who is online.
So after all that, which took way longer that I expected it to take, I hopped on over to the new blog. Originally I had done this up on Blogger, but became unsatisfied with the labels option, so I switched it over to WordPress, so that I could get Categories and Tags. Seriously got so much done here, considering just yesterday it was a blank canvas.
  • I created every page and every category. Now you can learn more about the blog, check out all of the features, answer questions we have for you or ask your own, learn about subscribing to Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous and the forums and much much more!!!
  • On this blog, we have a Members Only section, which offers exclusive content and insider updates, but only for people who have an access code. So first I created a page explaining all the ways in which you can get an access code, which includes:
Which takes me to the last thing, that I spent a large chunk of time on, creating newsletter related stuff. Using my MailChimp account, which Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Donations go towards upgrading as well, I made templates for donors who request access codes, and templates for the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Newsletter, which also gives out access codes. That probably sounds a lot more complicated than it is, but what do you expect, I’m all happy I accomplished so much.
I’ve also spent some time customizing the @LBAnonymous Twitter account, creating a YouTube account for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, creating a few different Google Moderator Series and checked out a couple posts on Mashable, because that’s how much of a nerd I am!
Over the next week, I have to:
Now it’s just a matter of getting all my offline stuff done on top of all that, because I’ve been completely sucking at that. If anything, that list has now gotten exceptionally longer. Tomorrow is the day that I plan to deal with all that!
So what have you been getting done online and off?