A Quick Podcast Note

I have done my first recording of my own voice. It is way out of my comfort zone. I did not write a script.I just hit record and started rambling. Here is the link. Let me know what you think I should do with it moving forward.

Random episodes that don’t really connect to the blog?

Recordings connected to a blog post?

Admit that this one is terrible and I should burn it all down?

Moving forward, if I record I will add it to the bottom of the next morning’s post.

Writer’s Block Tuesday

Today is one of those days when I have multiple ideas bouncing around in my head but can’t seem to put them into writing. I’m hoping as the day goes on I might be able to get at lest one of them into blog form and I can use it for a post tomorrow. I’m hoping that the writer’s block is only a blog writer’s block and that I will be able to accomplish some non-blog writing today If not, I guess today will be an editing day instead of a writing day. I’m happy that I have things to pick up and return to libraries today. I have an excuse to step away from the laptop and leave the house. I also need gas and need to pick up cards for birthday/Valentine’s Day. So, that combined with two library stops should kill an hour or more. Sometimes I have good post ideas while driving.

I think part of my writing issues come from an unsettled feeling after a dream last night. What I recall from the dream was not unsettling at all, but I woke from it feeling that way. I guess I subconsciously remember something bad from the dream. It was weird, but I wouldn’t consider it a bad one.

Now comes the pledge drive portion of the post. My son works for the Audubon Naturalist Society. They are doing a plunge to support Chesapeake Climate Action Network to keep winter cold. Please consider helping him support a worthy cause. Thanks!

Outstanding Blogger Award

Many thanks for Pepper Valentine for nominating me for the Outstanding Blogger Award here. Its nice to be recognized by other bloggers. You should go read her blog. Its a good one. So, here’s my response post.

The Rules:

1. Provide a link to the creator’s original award post.

2. Answer the questions provided.

3. Create 7 unique questions.

4. Nominate up to 10 bloggers.

5. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination.

6. Now let’s continue to support and cheer each other throughout 2021 for the Outstanding Blogger Award!

Questions by Pepper Valentine

1. Tell us your 2021 goals for your blog. My 2021 goal for my blog is to post at least 4 times a week. I would love to have content Sunday through Friday, but I’m not going to force it. I would like to increase the number of people reading.

2. How do you plan on implementing your goals for your blog in 2021? Plan more. Less writing whatever pops in my head in the morning and more writing planned, well thought out posts. Be more active in commenting on other blogs. Be better at Twitter.

3. What inspires you to write your blogs? I generally write what is in my head in the morning when I open my laptop in the morning. It has trended more toward my personal life recently. My life is pretty boring these days, so I will have to find inspiration elsewhere.

4. Why did you begin your blog? I was working alone at the jail and social media was a way for me to not feel so alone. I had done a boring work blog for a training and decided I should try to do more. At the time I started it long, long time ago I thought I might blog about library stuff but figured out pretty quick that it would probably be a mistake to write about library stuff given where I worked. I saw trouble and didn’t want any of that. I actually wrote about why I started blogging over 10 years ago here.

5. What have you learned about yourself in writing your blogs?  I have to learn patience in my writing and editing the same way I need to learn patience in my real life. People actually want to read what I have to say. I worry too much about stats.

6. What would you change about your blog? Better editing. Add more images to my posts. Be better about writing real reviews of books, TV and movies.

7. How do you feel about collaborating on your blog? I would welcome collaboration. I don’t really know how all of that works. I’m not sure why anyone would want me to write for them. I’m sure anyone could do better on my blog than me.

I am leaving the same 7 questions for my nominees because I’m lazy.

I’m going to list the blogs I read regularly. If you want to take this as a nomination and answer the questions, great. If not, I hope you at least get a couple of new readers from being on the list.

I’m sure there are many more I missed. Apologies.

If you like my posts and want to support my writing ot buy me a coffee click here

Giving Myself a Break

I’ve spent some time this morning fretting over the fact that I have not been very productive in my writing so far this year. My blog stats are down. I haven’t worked on the book much at all. I didn’t have a blog post idea for this morning. Rather than let the fretting continue, I instead decided to look at what I have done and will do this week. While I have not been productive when it comes to writing I have:

  • been more active online which is important in getting your work out there when you do write
  • cleaned the bathrooms
  • taken down the outdoor Christmas lights
  • cooked dinner most nights
  • taken out the trash
  • done a load of laundry
  • organized my sock drawer, throwing away ones with giant holes in them
  • spent quality time with my daughter
  • taken multiple walks
  • exercised more

This week I may not be productive writing but I know I will:

  • pick up holds at the library
  • stop by the grocery store while I’m out to pick up some essentials
  • maybe also buy a lottery ticket while I’m out
  • go to my therapy session online
  • deliver some belated Christmas gifts to porches
  • virtually attend the funeral of a friend’s mom
  • do more laundry
  • go for more walks
  • clean the kitchen
  • vacuum the house
  • spend more time with my daughter

So, even if I don’t get much writing done, it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing. I need to give myself a break. Next week, when my daughter is back at her apartment and my wife is home I can get into a more regular routine.

My Year in Blogging 2020

I’m not sure I will post much more before the end of the year so I’m going to go ahead and recap my year in blogging. First, the stats:

Total views: 12,016

Visitors: 6282

Likes: 3608

Comments: 773

Top views by location:

  • United States – 8169
  • India – 1262
  • United Kingdom – 825
  • Canada – 267
  • United Arab Emirates – 172

I wrote 303 posts and 98.5 thousand words for an average of 325 words per post.

Here are my top five posts:

Every End is a Beginning – The post where I announced I was leaving my job and why.

A High School Rex Chapman Story – In which I talk about the time former basketball player and now Twitter celebrity played against my hometown team in high school and we got in trouble for harassing him. It seems like it might become one of those posts that randomly gets views forever.

Band Names – My sometimes updated post where I keep a list of phrases I hear that I think would make a good band name. My dream is that some day a band will use one of them and become famous. I wonder if I should make it a page instead of a post so it is easier to find?

Taking a Step – In which I talk about making the call to start therapy for the first time in my life. My therapist has since left his job. I must be really bad.

Live Like You Were Dying – This was actually written right before the pandemic and was prompted by the sudden death of someone I knew from high school. It means even more to me now. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Think about your life and how you are living it. Life is too short.

Thanks for reading this year. Here’s to a better 2021.

Click here if you would like to support my writing or buy me cup of coffee

Year in Review Posts

Welcome readers to a post where I write about what I might write. Exciting stuff, huh?

Several sites have started posting their best of 2020 lists. It made me start to think about my year in review posts I generally write. The ones that I will definitely do:

My 2020 in review – Highlights from my year. It will be very thin this year. I might do it on Monday since I doubt anything exciting is going to happen over the next few weeks.

My year in reading – Coming January 1 or so – I will use Goodreads for stats on books and pages read. I will go through my list to try to figure out my top ten books I read over the year and which one I would most recommend.

My year in blogging – Maybe next week I usually take a break from posting over the holidays, so I can write thus one early and not much will change. It will be stats on views and such, a look where visitors come from and which posts were the most viewed. Riveting stuff.

Ones I might write:

My year in TV – I might try to think about what I’ve watched and do a top ten list. It won’t be top ten new in 2020. It would be the best of what I’ve watched in 2020.

My year in movies – Again would be what I watched, not necessarily new stuff. I’m not sure I can remember enough to make a decent post.

I don’t listen to enough new music to do a music post.

So, my questions to you – Do you like year in review posts? Do you write them? Any other year in review posts you would like to see?

A Collection of Thanksgiving Posts

I have discovered this morning that I do not have a new post in me. I’m still struggling with life in the in-between. I still have a little under three weeks before I can finally put the job behind me. The relief has not set in yet. The stress of what the job an bring is still there. It all makes it hard to wrote about anything else. Since this is Thanksgiving week, I decided to look back on all of my Thanksgiving posts from the past. Maybe I will write a new on this year.

First my pledge drive. Click here to support my writing or buy me a coffee

Thanksgiving – A collection of random thoughts about the holiday.

Christmas’s War on Thanksgiving – Where I write about how I used to be one of the people who hated Christmas stuff being out before Thanksgiving but now I’m good with Christmas now.

One of Those Sappy Thankful Posts – The year I actually wrote a post of thanks after I had a bad week and needed to remember the good things.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – In which I write about how in normal times this is my favorite time of the year. It sucks that I won’t get the happy, kinder holiday world this year.

Let’s Talk Turkey – Turkey is a mediocre meat and not the best part of the meal. I don’t understand why people want to have it again at Christmas.

My Quiet Thanksgiving – We never travel for Thanksgiving, so this year won’t be different from others. This post did remind me that I thought my daughter would be in Italy this year so it was possible we were going to have an even quieter year.

I’m not sure I will have much more to say about it this year. I might do one of those “what I’m thankful for posts” on Thursday. It will probably be good to reflect on the good.

What Now?

Yesterday was a big day. I announced on my blog and Facebook the news that I resigned from my job. I still have a month before I am actually free, but the end is nigh. The blog post gave me my second highest views ever on the blog. The highest is still the day a Twitter celebrity retweeted my post about Michael Vick. So now I face the question What Now?

Obviously, the question applies to real life, but it also applies to this space. What do I write about when my life is spent at home writing? How do I use the extra writing time to make my blog posts better? How do I find the discipline to sit in a room and work on writing projects when it will be so easy to let things distract me? How do I decide when it’s time for me to merge from the distraction of writing to look forward another real job? How to I keep myself from getting depressed about my lack of success? How do I stop myself from second guessing my decision to leave my job when things get hard? How do I coexist with my wife who is working from home full time when she needs quiet for work and I can’t work in silence?

I’ve always used the excuse that my blog isn’t great because I don’t spend time on it. I vomit words into a post in the morning before I go to work. I don’t edit anything. I hit publish and I’m done. Now that I have the time to actually work on it, plan posts, edit, etc. how do I cope with the fact that it probably won’t change anything about the number of readers I get?

As I deal with the what now in life I’m also dealing with the what now for the Common Tater.

Do You Have an Online Plan?

A second person I knew online only from FriendFeed died recently. It made me think of this and the fact that I still haven’t told anyone my passwords in case anything happened to me.

I recently found out that someone I only knew online passed away.  We followed each other on Twitter, but did not communicate much there. We had both been active users of Friendfeed before Facebook bought and killed it. I didn’t really know him, but we he was one of the people on Friendfeed I could count on interacting with my posts. If not for a post on yet another social media site, I might have never known about his death. It’s possible that others I have known online have passed and I missed the news for various reasons.

This made me think – how would people know if something happened to me(I’m pretending here that random people online would care). Facebook friends would be easy. That is a more personal place for me and the majority of the people there are real life friends and family. I’m sure someone in my family would post something and tag me and then people who didn’t already know would know. I’m not really active anywhere else online except for posting here. I do wonder, though, if I should have something in place for the blog. Maybe I should give someone my password so they could post any news that I would be unable to post myself. I would hate to think that my blog would go quiet and no one would ever know why. Hopefully, this will not be something I need to worry about for years, but the death of my online connection put it in my mind.

So, my question for you – do you have someone who is tasked to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc if something were to happen to you? If you blog, do you have a plan in place for someone to post if something were to happen to you? Do you prefer not to think about such things?

A History of Election Posts

Instead of a new election post, I’ve put together a list of past posts regarding elections. The last one goes all the way back to the first time Obama was elected. So, if you want to read old Tater thoughts on elections, here you go. I’m so ready to be done with political ads this year. Here’s hoping this is not a long, drawn out process and we get an answer soon. And while voting – click here to vote buying Tater a coffee

In Defense of Independent Candidates

A History of Dumb Posts on Election Day

Another Message to America

We Are the Problem

A Message to America

Election Thoughts