Messing with the design of your blog

I’ve not really written much lately but as I start to embrace the hobby again I found that I wasn’t that bothered about design before. I didn’t want to spend too much time messing with the design and not actually producing any content. I’ve settled on this new WordPress Theme (Twenty Sixteen), which I actually really like. It’s basic but does the job and goes back to the roots with some widgets I’ve added to the sidebar. Having a sidebar felt old when I was here before but I really like it now.

Let’s see how long this lasts but I don’t plan on changing it up (unless everyone tells me they hate it!).

A renewed love for blogging

As you know if you’ve been following me I change my mind a lot, I’m not very decisive and quite often struggle sticking to one thing for too long (check out my two failed podcasts, so far…) but writing sticks. I’ve freelanced for years now (not so much over the last few to be honest) but always come back to my blog here. It’s where my workflows work for me and it’s simple and quick enough for me to get my thoughts down. I don’t enjoy Twitter so much these days but thanks to Tweetbot I can still dip in and out and interact with some of the great folks that follow me but my main thoughts have always come back to blogging.

I can write from any device, be it a quick post like this one or something more like a review. More importantly I’m very thankful for everyone that reads my stuff and believe me that really does help keep me motivated.

It also lets me write without worrying about my voice or how I come across, something I’m very conscious of. Podcasting is great but I’m not sure I’m cut out for hosting one anymore to be honest, it’s something I’m wrestling with at the moment.

Anyway a bit of a ramble just to share how I’m feeling about blogging at the moment.

Keeping down the costs of blogging

I’ve got to a point where I really need to watch my outgoings and now I’ve done a review of my outgoings I’ve had to look at my passion projects. At the moment WordPress costs me £39 a year including the URL, which is pretty good really but it’s meant I need to cancel anything else. I’m trying to build a portfolio that could lead to me being able to support myself but I can’t right now. I want to write and build here so I’ve had to drop my £4 monthly to Micro.Blog unfortunately. I’ve got a history here and statistics that let me show how it’s grown over the last few years.

I really feel that if you want to blog then pick one place and decide on a budget, for me I have zero coming in so I can’t justify much more than what I’m paying now.

I don’t like any of the free options out there having tried most of them so like I say make a budget and stick to it.

I’m starting to test posting from the Micro.Blog app from iOS, it appearing in my timeline and the post ending up on my WordPress blog. I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy interacting on Micro.Blog, being off Twitter and still posting my longer form thoughts.

WordPress VS Micro.Blog – engagement

This is my first post on my blog for a few weeks. I’ve been active but over on Micro.Blog instead. I posted my content over and went all in for almost of month. I want to share my experience as an independent blogger.

First off I want to talk about engagement.

I have to say that over on I’ve had nothing but amazing conversations. No negativity or personal attacks (something I’ve been experiencing on Twitter in the last few months). I’ve been loving posting and finding new people.

I don’t check Twitter anymore and am now doing my best not to go back.

I’ve missed a couple of things though. I have an active group of readers on WordPress that follow and comment on my posts, I’ve missed this interaction.

I’m going to try the best of both worlds.

I’ll be posting longer form on my blog like this one (I’ll go into reasons in a later post). But anything social like photo sharing or just how I’m getting on will be on Micro.Blog and cross posted here.

How to blog more

I thought I’d revisit this one after coming into taking another little social media break. I truly believe if you want to blog more then come off social media. I don’t mean delete your account, I mean delete the apps on your phone and replace them with your blogging platform app.

Anything you were going to share on social media would probably be best thinking about a bit more and turning into a blog post.

I also believe that coming out of the version of the world the social media companies want you to see isn’t a bad thing either.

I find that having less influence on what I’m told I want to see and influence from others helps me form my own opinion and come up with different takes on stories I want to write about.

Give it a go, 30 days with no social media but only blogging.

Simplifying my setup and slowing down

Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’m hardly updating the blog at all these days. This is in part due to simplifying my iOS setup with an iPad Mini replacing my iPad Pro. I’m now using an iPad Mini 5 as my iOS device of choice and my MacBook 12″ for podcasting. I’ve found I’m consuming more and creating less, from a writing perspective. I’m thankful I don’t rely on my writing to earn so am lucky in a way I don’t need to write about news to make a living right now.

I’m able to do my day job and still take on creative projects as a hobby.

I obviously only have so much time in the day for this so I’ve slowed down on the writing and putting energy into the Home Screens podcast instead. These days I have very little time for my creative outlet and trying to focus on one.

I’ll still post here but I’m no longer thinking of it as something I need to do daily, I’ve taken the pressure off myself to feel that I need to.

Swapping social media for creativity

I’ve noticed in the past (and rewriting this post as a reminder) that if I want to create more I need to swap my Twitter habit with a creation one. I’m finding that in downtime that I’m scrolling my feeds in Twitter or Reddit instead of doing something to benefit my mental health like playing my guitar or jotting down my thoughts here or hey even going out for a walk.

I’m going to be taking a break from Twitter especially over the next month to see if I improve my mood and frequency of output I’m happy with.

Join in with me and see what happens to your creative projects you’ve been looking to spend more time on.

Using iA Writer again

I’ve been away for a while but I’m trying to get back in the habit of using iA Writer for my blogging. The WordPress app (for me) has gotten to the point that it’s slowing me down and forcing me to use their block editor.

My only concern is how I easily publish to WordPress via iA, something this post will test for me. If this looks ok then it’s working.

Don’t worry about engagement on your blog

I’ve fallen into a bit of a trap after a great month stat wise in January to now seeing a 60% drop in traffic since and feeling down about my creative endeavours. But weirdly swapping to Tweetbot and not seeing engagement has actually helped me realise the blog is about getting stuff out of my head and sharing my thoughts. It’s not a money maker (costs me to run it) and after several failed attempts at Patreon I realise my content isn’t worth paying for but I still ploughed on – I needed an outlet to talk about passions I can’t do in my day to day.

This’ll continue whilst I have the energy to put it out there.