Monday, August 20, 2012

Blogging Tips & Links to Challenges I've Done

Today's prompt for the Summer Blog Challenge is to give a tip for new bloggers. The first one that comes to mind is: Define why you want to blog.

For me, I originally started the blog as a way to give some insight into what inspired the creation of Harvest Moon by Hand's products.

Summer Solstice Star Collection
Some of the window stars that I make.
(Taken on June 7, 2009.)

When I began homeschooling Sophia and Olivia, I began adding more posts about what we did. This was, in part, as a way to share ideas with other homeschooling families much in the same manner as I was inspired and learned from other homeschooling blogs.

Sophia and Olivia Dissecting a Cattail
Sophia and Olivia dissecting a cattail.
This was part of their nature study for the week.
(Taken on April 19, 2011.)

Concurrent with adding posts about homeschooling, I was adding posts about developing and expanding my hobbies. Some activities were simply enjoyable ways to spend my time while others were intended as ways to process my grief and loss. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease (in May 2009), the disease became more profound, and it eventually resulted in his death (in January 2012); writing and crafting became (and are still) essential ways to deal with grief.

June Journal Quilt with Border
This as a journal quilt I made.
Each month during 2010 I made a 9" x 12" quilt
that reflected things that happened during the month.
I also wrote a journal entry (3-5 pages) about what happened,
and the symbolism of the quilt components.
The full description about what each component means is here:
(Taken on June 29, 2010)

Throughout the few years that I have had this blog, what has remained consistent is that it is one that I keep as a reflection of my life journey. In the process of writing and posting, I hope that others find bits and pieces of it that are interesting and helpful.

The second tip for bloggers is to participate in challenges and blog hops. Both are wonderful ways to connect with other people who have blogs with whom you may not normally connect.

I have done some fun, meaningful, and life-changing challenges and blog hops throughout the years. Below are some of the ones I've done with links to posts I've written about them:

- 3 in 30
- 30 Day Vegan Workshop
- 30 Days of Giving Thanks
- 30 Days to a Simpler Life
- 52 Books in 52 Weeks
- 52 Weeks of Baking
- ABCs of Homeschooling
- Art Every Day Month
- Embroidery Journal Project
- Flashback Friday
- Handbook of Nature Study/Outdoor Hour Challenge
- Heartwarming Animal Stories Reading Challenge
- Journal Quilt
- Kids Clothes Week Challenge
- Muffin Tin Monday
- No Impact Experiment
- P52 - Photo Challenge
- Preparedness Challenge
- Project Simplify
- Simple Woman's Daybook
- Summer Blog Challenge
- Summer of Color
- Take a Stitch Tuesday

Triple Ginger Cookies
One of the recipes I tried as part of the 52 Weeks of Baking.
These, by far, have been the best ginger cookies I've ever made.
There are three types of ginger in them.
The blog post and recipe is here:

Because of the challenges and blog hops, I have:
- set and reach goals in a variety of areas;
- tried new recipes;
- improved my homeschooling efforts and teaching skills;
- broadened the type of arts and crafts I've tried;
- expanded the number of embroidery stitches I can do;
- explored the farm and nature at a greater depth;
- enjoyed looking at past pictures and reflecting on childhood days;
- read many books;
- did a variety of types of journaling (e.g., written, embroidery, quilting);
- made children's clothes;
- reduced my impact on the environment;
- organized and simplified the home; and
- wrote more frequently than I would have if I didn't have a blog.

The most important tip I have for bloggers - whether they are new or have written for some time - is to enjoy the process. If it becomes laborious, take a break. Writing and blogging should be fun and bring you joy...not be a burden. Life is too short to do something that isn't worthwhile and/or pleasurable.


What Remains Now said...

I was just thinking about this question the other day. I love blogging and find "challenges" fun and helpful. I'm the type of person that needs deadlines and accountability, so blogging has been a wonderful tool for me both creatively and personally. The ginger cookies sound yummy!

Shayla Burks said...

These are great tips! I've really enjoyed the Summer Blog Challenge, and have met incredible people during this process.

Anonymous said...

I agree these challenges are really a great way to met other great bloggers and keep you interesting in what you are doing!

Shai Smith said...

Oh, these are great!!! This has been one of my favorite challenges, so far, because I love the group of ladies involved. ♥

Shannon said...

This challenge has been a lot of fun! I agree, if it isn't fun anymore, take a breatk. Challenges and blog hops are a great way to meet other bloggers! You can read mine here

Anna Murphy said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm a new blogger and need all the help I can get.

Domestically Seasoned said...

Wow you have done some amazing challenges. That is a lot of writing. Great job. I find the prompts to be inspiring when sometimes I lack creation.

Shannon said...

Hey, I couldn't find a contact you tab, but wanted to invite you to the MN bloggers group. here is the link to it.

Rita said...

You have been in so many groups...and still are! Lots of good things have come from it. Awesome! :)