I'm not part of circles where everyone blogs or twitters or leaves a comment on whatever or lives for publicity. I actually am fairly private, despite often having things to say. I hang out with writers (especially my long term writers group) and photographers, when I can, but I live a rural life in Appalachia -- by choice -- miles from anyone with an Apple laptop, until recently, that is, when some of my family members moved back to our ridge. I've had to learn to make do or make it up. It does help that we have that fiber optic in our county through our local telephone coop corporation that covers four counties.
I don't remember exactly how it happened, but about 6 1/2 years I "took a notion," as we say in Appalachia, to start a blog. I had no idea how to do it, but since there were millions of them out there, I suspected I'd be able to figure it out. The main thing I wanted to do was share my photography about my region of the country - Eastern Kentucky - and write about the region as well. And I knew myself well enough to know that once a week was enough to ask of myself. In addition to this not being part of a money making strategy, I didn't think I'd last if I had to think about my blog all the time.
Now, six and a quarter years later, I have posted 320 times on my blog, usually on a Sunday or maybe a Monday, and I still enjoy doing it. I am proud of myself for that, even if a lot of people who could read it either don't know about it or don't have time to read it regularly. That don't matter none no-how, to use a family phrase of ours. The truth is I do it for myself. Zoning in on my photo work so regularly helps me make sense of what I see and what I want to share.
I don't know how people in countries all round the world find my blog, but I will hope at least that they come away with a fresher view of Appalachia, perhaps, or a new way to look at something American, or an answer to a question they might have. (My posts about growing tobacco, for example, are visited periodically, as are some about Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, 4H, barns, etc.)
As for where my ideas come from, let me just say that sometimes I know a week or two ahead, but other times I sit down on a Sunday morning to see what surfaces after I look at recent photos or reflect on something that happened in the neighborhood or in the nation. Also, if I am visiting somewhere that my neighbors might never get to visit, I will post photos from that trip. Since my step-mother is British and lives in England, and since the light for doing photography is so remarkable over there, I really enjoy sharing photos while I am there.
As my viewers may have figured out, I am curious about a lot of things, I love photography and I love where I live.
1. I chose to use blogspot.com (connected to Google) in the beginning, and I've stuck with them. I use the same format every week, because I don't have time or incentive to go cutting edge or play around with the format. Maybe someday, but not yet.
2. It took me a long time to learn that if a viewer clicks on one of my photos (usually there are 10-15 photos per post), they all line up along the bottom of the screen and can be viewed one by one in a larger format, thereby looking better that way than in the post itself.
3. I'm relieved that once I click "Publish" to post my draft on my blog, I can later go back in and REVISE or CORRECT or ADD. This helps me immensely, especially psychologically. Clicking on the "Publish" button is therefore less fraught, i.e. improvement is possible. Thank goodness.
4. Every blog has a title, and I came up with Sideway Views. This is because my gallery is on Sideway Road. Even though everyone wants to put an 's' on the end of Sideway, where there isn't supposed to be one, I still like the title. It turns out it is possibly the only use of those two words together on the whole Internet!! Who knew!
5. Like with photography or writing itself, posting on one's blog goes better with PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. My early goal was to get better about using humor in my writing. I'm not there yet, even though I keep practicing, and this is a hard reality for me.
I have gone on longer than I like to. And this is a second week without any of my photos. Gasp! But before I quit for today, I want to add two more things I have learned:
A sample blog located in northern Appalachia that my friend Meg told me about is inspiring -- saratogawoodswaters.blogspot.com Delightful! So well done! Written by an intrepid naturalist sharing her love of place. I even contacted her to ask what was the camera she uses. I am still trying to learn how she does such a consistently good job with nature photos. She naturally frames photos into a story, which I also like to do.
Another time I did a workshop for writers about blogging. It turned out several people in the "class" had been doing blogs a long time and were much better informed than I was on many aspects of blogging! I loved being reminded that teaching is a great way to learn.
Note: My photo class has met and I am so glad to be there. Then there's the amazement at the many voices heard in the women's marches on Saturday, all over the country. I added an excellent article to my last post, about narcissism, that my sister shared with me. If this topic interests you, which I hope it does, please look there and read it.
Next week: PHOTOS!