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.
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.
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,
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