Of Coffee Shares, Link Parties, Writing Challenges, and other Lovely Things

.

Most bloggers know that link parties, coffee shares, and other variations on the theme can be a great way to grow one’s readership. They are also a great way to grow one’s mind, and enlarge the circle of people that somehow become part of your “tribe”. So I thought for this week it would be fun to share some thoughts on The Weekend Coffee Share.

Credit, or blame, a blogger named Ju-Lynn. I was sitting on the edge of my bed the other night responding to something that she wrote to me in response to something I had written and could not help but think of the wonder of it all, me, in small town Pennsylvania, having a conversation with a writer in Singapore!

For friends, family and other readers who are not bloggers, a brief word of explanation may help here. Participating in a link party or coffee share carries with it the expectation that the writer will read posts by some of the writers, few people could read it all, and leave a comment about their post, as well as respond to comments that other bloggers leave on your comment wall in response to your post.

Sometimes, when a blogger is “new to you” in addition to reading the post they are sharing in the link party, exploring their site and reading something they have written, or their “about me” page can be helpful.

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Sometimes the comments made are brief and sometimes a real, although written conversation takes place, something like an e-mail, but connected to the blog format. When I started blogging I wanted to read what other bloggers were writing, partly to see if I was doing it right! But those earliest follows all seemed to be people who wrote book reviews and a) I do not do book reviews per se, although I am happy to tell you what I am reading. And b) I wanted to find bloggers who wrote similar types of posts to mine.

I stumbled into a mid-life blogging party, and although I was at the top end age-wise, maybe beyond what might be considered midlife, I was accepted into a group of similarly minded writers, mostly women. I eventually became part of the group, and saw that blogging can really be a form of community. Surprise; happy surprise. I thought blogging was just a way to get my writing out into the atmosphere, so all those thoughts in my head that were pouring out onto paper, did not, as my mother often joked, die of “solitary confinement.” But it become so much more.

Let me share just a few ways, I may be forced to name drop here, although I do not want to be considered a name dropper. Australia and New Zealand: If I start naming people, I may forget someone important. though I don’t expect feelings would be hurt. The First Australian blogger I remember reading and following was Deb from Deb’s World. http://debs-world.com/ Deb takes stunning pictures, is an avid bicyclist and a good writer. Many of the first bloggers I connected with were from Australia or New Zealand. So much so that I still would like to get a small but readable map of A/NZ so I can picture where they are. I do know where the continent is, but it would be nice go look at it and say, Oh, there, that is what they are talking about.

Ireland: Enda is a funny but also serious writer and I hope you will check out his blog. http://endastories.com/He is also patient because every now and then he uses a word I am unsure of, but rather than assume, I ask him and he is always gracious in his response. I am not a traveler and am quite sure I will never visit the places where I have blogging friends, well, Toronto might be doable and when I see Natalie’s amazing and inviting pictures, I think, maybe. http://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/ Bucket list?

Cheryl is in Bulgaria and we have become Facebook friends, for which I am really glad. She was living in Russia when I first encountered her and I have followed her through two moves. I started blogging at the end of December 2019, so much of my “international travel” via reading the words of other bloggers has happened during COVID.

That has been an education in itself that I wish many of my friends could experience. Even people who are not friends, I wish they could experience the COVID experience through the eyes of writers around the world. Sorry friends, but we can be very self centered in the United States when it comes to many things. I would give us the benefit of the doubt and say that we do not mean to be that way, it is often the end result. Reading the COVID life experiences of writers in other countries has been an education.

Benefits and Blessings of Blogging I am not sure what I thought retirement would be like, beyond having a vague notion that whatever I chose would be it, written in stone. One of the blessings or benefits of following other bloggers who are retired from their jobs, careers, or professions, is that it is possible to make a change, more than one. While that may seem obvious to some readers, it was not obvious to me.

Reading about changes that other bloggers have made in retirement, has helped me to broaden my horizons and dream, perhaps not about where I wanted to be, (pretty sure we fixed that in place by buying our retirement home), but what I wanted to be and how I wanted to spend part of my time, now feels open and not restricted. For instance, in a way I had not envisioned before, I realized I could make changes (weight loss), learn new skills (bread making), and retool others. In other words, I am not ready to choose a headstone, or set my life in stone.

Although I had some things in common with the writing community I stumbled into, age mostly and writing style, many of the early bloggers I followed are very much into healthy living, diet, exercise, physical activity; none of those things applied to me. I felt a little sheepish, as though I had wandered into the wrong room and hoped I would not be found out. When I began my weight loss journey in earnest, I found compassion, encouragement and support from my new friends. If you have read any of my #strongerthanthecookie posts, you know I have not shied away from honest confession of a lifetime of bad habits. They have generously and faithfully cheered me on. Perhaps even better, they did not seem to tire of my updates and they are champions of self-improvement.

Photo by Pixabay  from Pexels

There are a few other things that I found to be happy surprises or positive side-effects to blogging. But I will end with this, the exchange of ideas, opinions and experiences, especially in this long season of COVID has allowed me to get to know and care about people in other countries that I would never have met in person, or any other way in print. As a result, when I hear about an issue in Ireland, or England, or Bulgaria, Mexico, Australia or New Zealand, Singapore, or India, Toronto, British Columbia and other places as well, it no longer feels impersonal. I have friends there, who have impacted my life and who matter to me. Even though we will not likely ever meet in person, they matter. This is true also for blogging friends who live in other parts of the United States as well.

I wonder if more people had that experience, if there would be, could be, fewer wars. Granted bloggers generally connect with people with similar interests and feel an affinity with, yet it is our differences that are part of what enriches the process. If more people had more positive relationships with people in other countries, I would like to believe it would make a world of difference.

I’ll have another cup of coffee and maybe one biscuit.

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2020-2024 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Linking up with Natalie’s #WeekendCoffeeShare, Denyse Whelan Blogs and Esme’s Senior Salon

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

25 thoughts on “Of Coffee Shares, Link Parties, Writing Challenges, and other Lovely Things

  1. When I first began blogging, I pictured a lonely endeavor – just me and my laptop, tapping out stories and sending them out into the world wide web. I had no idea it was such a social activity. The bloggers I met were inspiring, encouraging, friendly, and interesting. Like you, I first hooked up with book review bloggers. Even though I don’t write book reviews, the group I stumbled upon was so helpful and generous. They gave me tips on how to get started and how to grow my readership. I agree with you – if more people developed real relationships with people from around the world, much international conflict could be avoided. And…even though we are both from the same state, I am so glad our blogs introduced us to each other!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too Laurie, thanks so much. Thinking about taking a short break, although I have a few posts started. I avoid working on the writings that I want to publish as a book of scripts, but I procrastinate. If I took 2 weeks, and did nothing but them and cook and preach, lol, I might get them in shape to submit to someone, or get motivated enough to self publish. Back to the topic of peace, we don’t have the same opportunity to connect with the photographers who share their pictures on pexels, etc., but many of them are from other countries, including China and Russia, lots more besides. Wouldn’t that be rich? Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, Michele. Thank you for the mention. Before I started blogging I’ve had international pen friends. Blogging feels like pen pals in the 21st century to me 🙂 I’m glad you found my blog and my weekly Weekend Coffee Share. I know sometimes life gets in the way and blogging or link-up has to wait. I look forward to reading your updates whenever you have time to post. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was such a beautiful post about blogging and link-ups. i started joining the Coffee share in January or February and it’s been pleasant to “meet” all these bloggers. I started my first blog a long time ago and have been blogging very inconsistently but have been around somehow during these years. The one thing that kept me going was the community, the chats through blog comments, the possibility to connect with people. I also look for blogs with similar posts to mine but have almost stopped looking because blogging has changed so much. However, through the Link-ups, I get something that’s close to what I had when I just started out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susanne, thanks very much for taking the time to read and comment on this post. There is an interesting thing to writingi blogs, we make oursevles vulnerable to a degree, but sometimes reading what others write, either their comments on our posts, or what they post themselves, offers us a sense of normalcy. As in, “I’m not crazy after all!” So far, I have loved the journey and still more thoughts and stories to share and read. Blessings, Michele

      Like

  4. Hi Michele – it’s lovely to read how much you were helped by Sue’s and my #MLSTL link party from days gone by. I’ve enjoyed ‘meeting’ and getting to know so many wonderful women through link parties too. I think that those days are drawing to a close in some ways – I only engage with two now, but they served a great purpose in helping me discover a whole new level of connection through something we all share. My little foray into writing down my thoughts nearly seven years ago has opened my world as much as it opened yours. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you, Sue, Deb were my first blogging connections as I tentatively stepped off the diving board from wishing to writing! Things change for sure, and hopefully we grow in new ways, but I think blogging will remain in some fashion. Sometimes, as you know people step in and bow out for lots of reasons. I am grateful to you and the outlet that blogging has given me to share stories in print that i have been sharing with family and friends, and my poor mom has shown up in more than one sermon story! Best and blessings, Michele

      Like

  5. This was a lovely post Michele and had me smiling and nodding along as I read and then I saw my blog mentioned and I was thrilled! Thank you for the mention and for putting into words your thoughts on how blogging has enriched your life. I love the meeting of people from all over the world and i’ve written before that that was one of the unexpected joys of blogging. I also feel more of a connection now to people in different places because, as you say, there’s a personal connection. It’s been like having many penpals all over the world and we learn from each other, see the world though their eyes and understand more fully how the world works. Your post has made my day, may our friendship continue for many years to come. You always have such an interesting and different perspective, which I value.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very kind and I am glad you were happy to see your blog mentioned. I would have added some other links at the bottom, but it felt awkward, so I chose three that would give folks a flavor of places to look, and writers I appreciate and admire. Thank you for tak ing the time to read and comment. I love blogging, and think we have so much to share with each other and really can make the world a better place with relationships and communication! Best and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Michele, this is a lovely post. Yes, the blogging community is a very friendly and supportive one, and I’m happy to be a part of it. As you know, my blog is quite neglected at the moment, but it will be there when I’m ready to come back to it. As for my blogging friends, even though I haven’t participated in the parties for quite a few months now, I still feel close to them and I do read their blog posts from time to time. Real life has gotten in the way of my blogging life for the moment, and that’s a very good thing, because my life right now is full of great new things, as well as new challenges, and I’m enjoying this stage of my life and trying to live it in the here and now, and not so much online.
    I’m so glad that we chose to be bloggers, as it has brought us together with each other and with others. It’s really a wonderful thing! Wishing you a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cheryl, thank you for taking the time to read this and comment. I sure understand l. life getting in the way. I hope you and your husband are well and that health is not the issue. I am glad taht, as you say, life getting in the way is a good thing with new opportunities and challenges. Among other things a new home, community and country. How are the chickens? Most I am glad that you are enjoying life in the here and now. I am glad we have connected here and on Facebook. You are a blessing! Best, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Michele. And thanks for asking about our health – we are both in top form so nothing to worry about there. I take much better care of myself these days (both physically and mentally) than I have for many years. I do feel so lucky that I can grow our own food (not all of it, of course), and get fresh eggs (and meat) from our chickens. Our chickens are fine, we have 4 girls and they are all laying so for now everything is ok. I have learnt, however, that they are very delicate birds health-wise, so I do wonder what we will be confronted with next (after a number of problems that left me in tears on several occasions). But I am having a great time in the garden and love preserving the fruit and other food that we have been able to grow this year, as well as learning about our new country and making new friends. Life certainly is interesting for us right now. We feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity to have such wonderful new experiences!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cheryl, I am so happy for you, that is exciting. I can understand the emotional impact of the birds health issues. Who knows, after a time, you may find you have so much more to write about, writing about this experience, if you feel called to do that. But you are so wise to simply live into it. I have never taken a lot of pictures, and often said the pictures were in my heart, and I was busy living it. I can’t believe I don’t have many pictures of my parents at the Union Villa, just the beat up ones I have posted. I will go th rough the envelopes of pictures some time, but I only remember 2 that seem to be missing. What you say though the garden work, growing and preserving your food that you have grown sounds deeply nurturing. Blessings to you both, and the the chickens.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Michele, It’s a tricky thing finding a comfy spot and fit with all the millions of blogs and bloggers out there. I’m still looking I think. Love that you’ve been inspired to think and live more broadly in retirement. I find it a wonderful space to be in and am relishing reinventing myself in another form. I’d love the double the number of hours in the day and there’d still be no shortage of things to do or discover or try. Christine, one of those from DownUnder

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Christine, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Blogging is definitely a big wide world and I love the connections I have made and am making and the challenges to learn, think and grow. Being partly retired, and partly not, it sometimes feels as if there is less time for everything. But I will soldier on. Not quite ready for full retirement…yet! Blessings, Michele

      Like

  8. Well I am very happily connected to many bloggers around the world and that includes you! I am one of the oldest bloggers I know (71) but became a blogger to counter social isolation in 2010 when I had left my world of teaching. I needed connections and blogging became one. Now, for over 10 years, I have been “making friends” with people I may never meet but that doesn’t matter as much because we can dip in and out of our lives via blogging link ups. I have, what is now as far as I understand, the only long running link up in Australia. I couldn’t have ever imaginated that back in 2010.

    Great to see you here and linking up…

    Thank you for taking part in the 5th Birthday celebrations of Life This Week. Great to see friends who are bloggers linking up each week when they can. I appreciate each and every one of you. Next week, Mr W is back with Time Part Two. See you then if you have a post to share. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Denyse, over ten years is quite an accomplishment. I don’t pop in every week, I don’t always have something ready and I still have to remind myself of the time difference, your Monday is my Sunday! I may just have to pop in and see what Mr. W. has to say, even if I don’t have a post to share. Thanks and blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Blogging really is amazing! I first started blogging 12 years ago (different blog,) during theses years I’ve lived in different countries, and connected with bloggers from different parts of the world, several whom I’ve met in person. Like you said, it widens your horizon. It is great seeing you here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Maria. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment and share your experience. Just published my 86th post, my second anniversary of blogging is the end of December. I fit in posts, this week there may yet be one more and then nothing for 10-14 days. But enjoying the journey,

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: