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Happy New Year!

Happy_New_Year

Now that we have that out of the way; on to personal improvement and pet projects!

Apparently New Year’s Blog Resolutions are a BIG DEAL in Blogland.

All over the blogosphere people are gearing up for a year of Internet Awesome.

The lovely ladies at Finish the Sentence Friday are encouraging me to finish this thought:

My blogging goals for this year are …

Do check out the ambitions of the wonderful bloggers over on that hop once it goes live tonight at 10:00pm EST.

BlogHopButton_Friday

The Daily Prompt wants to know what I’d like to see when I look back on my blog on January 2, 2015.

And WordPress, throughout January, is running a “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” series, which I’m toying with joining – although I’m not sure I can handle a daily challenge, so I’m going to follow along, but play that a wee bit by ear.  I’m also unclear on whether some of the bits might be too basic – while I know others I could certainly use. And really, who couldn’t use help when it’s offered.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

Today’s assignment: Write and Publish a “Who am I and Why am I here Post”

To break that down a bit, they are asking:

Why are you blogging, rather than keeping a personal journal?

  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout 2014, what would you hope to have accomplished?

———–

Okay.  So with my shiny new action oriented 2014 fortitude to be all I can bloggy be, let’s get this done.

1.  Write a Who am I and Why am I here post

This is another reason I am a bit on the fence for Zero to Hero.  I’ve already spent a bit of time over the holidays sprucing up the blog and that included a new “About Me” page.  I think it answers much of this.  Do check it out.

However, if that’s just one click too many, here’s the Cole’s Notes.

I’m Louise.  Married 30 something Canadian mom of two girls – 4 and 18 months – working full-time for the Federal Government in Ottawa.

I blog because I like writing and the creative process, and while I get to write at work, I don’t get the creative aspect.  So: blog hobby.  I started Baby Gates Down in June 2013.

Why blog not journal?   I remember before I had kids talking to one of my girlfriends.  She mentioned that she knew so many women who became “baby morons” once they had kids.  Namely that they suddenly spoke about nothing other than their kids.  I never thought I’d be LIKE THAT.  Until I had my first.  I then realized how much I wanted to talk about the minutia of all things baby.  To avoid becoming a baby moron in front of all our friends, I baby blogged for nine months, which was just what I needed.  I outgrew that blog – and that phase of parenthood – but interacting with other bloggers who have similar interests?  I still like that aspect.  Hence blog, not journal.

What topics do you think you’ll write about?  You can check out my subject list, but to date, I mostly blog about parenting, kids, music and the general humorous moments in life.  So I guess that currently puts me in the parenting/lifestyle blogger clan.  If you’d like a snapshot of my home life, I’m currently typing this with my 18-month old on my lap, while Disney’s Tarzan is playing on the TV behind me for my 4-year-old [Note: that was at 4:30 pm.  They’ve since gone to bed.].

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?  Others at a similar life stage, or with similar interests.  I also follow other blogs if I find them funny or useful.  I tend to read a few different cooking blogs for instance, as I taught myself to cook last year and spend some time hunting for healthy recipes online.

If you blog successfully throughout 2014, what would you hope to have accomplished?  Well!  This brings us nicely to the lovely question from the fine folks at Finish the Sentence Friday…

2.  My blogging goals for this year are…

I read a great article on Blogher about committing to commenting more.  So that’s one goal.  I’d like to do that, but in a way that’s genuine, without burning me out.  I find actual posts – if I do them well – take a lot of time – and I’d like to blog about life, not spend my life blogging.  So one of my goals is to find that balance.

Related to that, I’d like to break 100 for followers.  Really, I’d like to break 200.  But again, I’d like to do it without being overwhelmed for interactions, and amount to read each day.  I’d like the social aspect of blogging to mean something; not be superficial; but not be overwhelming.  I don’t see the value of following to get followers back.  And sometimes I just like to shut off for a few days.

I’d like to figure out how to incorporate more graphics and gifs and how to create some of my own like so many of the awesome bloggers I follow already do.

I’d like to find inspiration for a few more posts that aren’t related to the Blog Hops I do.  I love those hops, but I’d also like to stretch a bit and find my own voice and own topics.  My challenge presently is that I just find with how busy life is, that picking a few hops and writing to a prompt is an easier way to keep a blog – which was part of the initial “just keep this going” goal.  I’d like to take it to the next level, time permitting.

I’d like to make it to my one year blog anniversary in June.  I think this blog likes me; and that we work; and “get” each other; and stuff. So I’m hopeful on this one.

I’m toying with going to a local blog conference.  That would be the first real money invested in this hobby.  So that’s a big moment.  It will mostly depend on what happens in the rest of my life (read: how busy work gets).  I’m also on the fence as I’m slightly worried these conferences may largely be about me paying to meet brands who will then try to get me to review their stuff (for free or nominal pay) and while I’ve seen some blogs that strike a good balance, I tend to find blogs that do little else than review products a huge turn-off.  Given the number of those out there I wonder if this is partly generational, but it’s not where I want to focus my blog time.  I’m looking for fun and entertainment on the Internet.  That said, I’m keen to understand the broader blog environment and I’m not averse in theory to monetizing or writing about something that I enjoyed or that works for me.  I just figure there’s my land line and the local ad pack for companies looking to sell me stuff I don’t need.  So there’s no reason for me to pay to go find them or actively review their wares.

bconnected

I’d like to contribute to a few of the local parenting blogs like Kids in the Capital or Ottawa Mommy Club.  I keep toying with this, and then run out of time.  Or figure I should focus on establishing MY BLOG first.  Or find some other excuse.  I’d like this to be the year I just do it.

Related to the above goal, I’d like to give some thought to something a co-worker said about blogging: Basically, that companies don’t need to hire people like they use to for research and writing jobs because there are so many people (ie: bloggers) online “doing it for free”.  I’d like to give some thought to this point and figure out how I feel about it as it relates to writing vs. blogging; hobby vs. job; what is considered valuable content and how blogging fits into the larger marketplace of ideas.  I think that basically goes to increasing my understanding of how the online world, social media and more traditional networks and mediums interact.   Last year I successfully (enough) figured out Pinterest and Twitter.  I think working this out for myself might be my social media goal for this year.

So that brings me (not all that) promptly to the final question…

3. What I’d like to see when I look back on my blog on January 2, 2015?

Well, naturally, I’d like to have achieved a good chunk of my bloggy goals.

But mostly?  I’d like to have a blog that is still active.  Earlier this year, Rarasaur did this great post about the “graveyard” of untended blogs out there.  Basically, once she’d been blogging for about a year, she looked at her first 177 followers and checked who was still blogging.  The answer was – about 60%.  So that’s a bunch of bloggers who don’t last the year.  I don’t want this to be one of the abandoned blogs.  I want to still find value in doing this.  I want to still be enjoying blogging.

What about you?  Do you have blog ambitions for this year? 

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