Tag Archives: Site News

The Unplanned Hiatus

beach-394503_1280For those that follow me here and on the various social media platforms I use I’m sure you’ve noticed the drastic drop-off of interaction and posting – it was unplanned.

I’ve often said that this is my personal blog and while I don’t typically share much about the family directly I decided to break that rule (ok, it’s more of a guideline) and break my silence with a peek inside that world.

Some weeks back, shortly after my the post about picking up a Chromebook, my family’s world was tipped upside down and shaken (definitely not stirred) with the news that my wife of nearly 22 years had breast cancer. There’s the initial shock that overcomes you when news like this is delivered, followed by the “why me?” question. My wife took the news pretty hard and as you can probably guess I went into support mode.

I not only shifted my thought process to cover what she needed but I needed to take on all the roles she filled with my three teenage kids and continue to fill the requirements of my day job. It’s been and continues to be a struggle to keep all of that in balance but it is getting easier (at least until school gets out!)

She’s been through the needed surgery and we received a bit of good news there as the cancer was contained and we got to it early enough that she’s dodging the radiation and chemotherapy bullets (at least for now). We are still dealing with the emotional issues of not only the cancer but also the initial surgery and the work we are now doing with the plastic surgeon.

All I can say about my wife is that she has a heart of gold and the inner strength that many of us would die to have. She calls me her rock but I have to admit that seeing her handle this with the grace and sense of humor she has shown is inspiring – so we’ll both take something away from this experience that will make us better individually, as a couple, and I believe as a family.

So what does this all mean for my blogs and social media? Just that while there’s been a hiatus and a general lack of focus on them, they aren’t going anywhere. In fact the time off has also given me a chance to think about what I’m doing here and elsewhere.

So going forward the focal point of everything I do online is right here, at this blog. It’s one of the things that I’ve found in dealing with everything going with my wife and the family, it’s better to have focus than be scattershot.┬áThis doesn’t mean I’m abandoning my social media presence, it just means that rather than spending my time trying to build an audience everywhere else I’m going to focus that time here.

Everything I share here will be pushed out through my various social media accounts and I will respond to questions, comments and general pings that come in through those avenues but I’m not going to spend time actively seeking followers out there.

There’s also going to be a shift around here too. During my hiatus I came across a blog post, Stop Listening to Blogging Advice and Do This Instead, and as so often in life you hear a piece of advice over and over and until you’re ready to hear it, it just doesn’t sink in.

For some reason this time it did.

I’ve spent a great deal of time reading about blogging, blog design, developing a following, how to promote things on social media, the list goes on and on but there was something missing from all of that . . .

I wasn’t actually blogging.

So I’m going to try really hard going forward to stop trying to find the “magic bullet” that will take this blog to the level I would like and just write. As I said above, this is a personal blog so the topics will likely cross many things as I have many interests and let’s face it, if you want read about one particular topic I’m sure there’s a place you can read about it. I will also be honest, over time a focus may develop for the blog and the topics may dwindle, but that will be because that’s where this journey has taken me, not something I arbitrarily decided and forced myself to write about.

You’ll also start to see some changes to the design and advertising as I figure out what I want and not necessarily what the “experts” are saying we should do. I do understand that on some level I need to be concerned about my personal brand but should be about who I am and what I feel I can give back to the community as a whole, not some pigeon hole I’ve picked for myself.

I’m also going to be looking at the organization of things, so don’t be surprised if things get placed in new categories or if categories and tags vanish or new ones get added.

Finally, I’ve decided that I’m going to post when I want and when I have something I want to share. So many of the “experts” out there have an answer for when you should post along with how often and quite frankly I’m not totally sold on that line of thought. Yes, I may start to favor a particular day or time frame but that will just because I’ve found a natural rhythm and not because I’m conforming to some formula.

They say that when your family is hit by cancer it is a life changing event and I can definitely agree with that statement. My offline world has already started showing those changes, not just in the way that my wife and I are dealing with it but also in the ways that everyone is interacting and working to beat it. My online world has benefited as it’s finally caused me to really give it some thought as to what I should be doing and get off my backside and start actually doing something instead of just reading about it.

I appreciate all of you that are reading the blog and are following me on the various social media platforms, it is because of you that I do this. I could write a daily journal on my home machine if I just wanted to write, but I feel it’s important to give back and I honestly enjoy the conversations.

I hope that you’ll continue to follow along and let me know your thoughts on what you like and what you’d like to see more of – be sure to share those in the comments below (don’t worry, I won’t bite).

Planned Server Maintenance

Server MaintenanceI’ve been notified by my hosting company that they are doing server maintenance tomorrow night, January 22, between the hours of 8-10 PM MST.

During that time period it is expected that this site will not be accessible for about 15-30 minutes along with my email.

Hopefully all goes well and the outage will be minimal. My apologies for any issues this may cause.

And then there were three

Three Twitter streams that is.

This past week I decided that I needed to break up my Twitter activity, not because I tweet a lot but because I felt that by separating certain things folks could follow the accounts they want to get the information they want.

Thus, I now have three Twitter accounts which are:

@scotnewbury – this is my main account. If you’re okay getting tidbits about my life, what I’m up to, or items I’m reading this is the account to follow. Please kept in mind that that this account is not centered around any given subject matter so you’ll never know what’s coming. You will hear about the posts on my blogs but it won’t necessarily be the moment they go live, so please keep that in mind.

@newburyonline – this account is for this blog. If you’d like to know when a new post goes up or when something specific happens regarding this blog – this is the account you want.

@ofdicendragons – this account is for my blog, of Dice and Dragons, centered around role-playing games. If you want to keep up on what’s going on with that blog then this is the account for you.

I hope this makes life a little easier for everyone, now you can follow the Twitter feed that best suits you.

If you think I’m nuts to do this or if you think this is a great idea please sound off in the comments.

I just need to be, well, me

This above all: to thine own self be true
– Polonius

Another morning dawned, another morning routine, another day at the office and it finally dawned on me . . . .

I’m doing what everyone else tells me I should do, not just with my job or my daily routine but also with my writing and blog. I’m using the same tools, programs and processes everyone is using, I keep thinking what I should be writing to form that “cornerstone content” that I should have on my blog, what social media avenues I should be using, the list goes on and on and what is the result?

A rut, with no growth and since the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth I best make some changes.

The 365 Day Project is over

Back in January I thought this would be a great idea, a daily post with a photo, nope just a gimmick. Looking back on this I saw a great opportunity to have a steady stream of posts but it wasn’t my idea, I thought I could make it work for me. Nope, it isn’t me. I don’t walk around all day thinking what will make a good picture and quite honestly many of the photos I posted were taken very near the end and posted to Flickr quickly to make the deadline.

Doesn’t fit me so it goes.

Blog Extensions, Plugins and so forth

While I do enjoy toying with numerous extensions, plugins and all manner of customization I’ve come to the realization that in most cases the additions were based on what I saw on another site and thought since it’s working for them I need to have it on my site too. Big mistake – copying an idea is not a bad thing but doing it on an assumption that it will pay off for you too is just nuts. So I’ll be changing things up a bit, removing things and adding others – based on what I think will work for me and the site.

Post, post, and post some more

A lot of great bloggers out there say you need to post a certain number of times a day, week, month, or whatever to gain audience, or traffic, or the necessary ad impressions based on what they see as a successful blog. Well, I’m going to break the mold and post when I want and not keep a “schedule” like so many feel you need to. Why? Simple, life happens and quite frankly while I would like to have my blog make money for me it’s not going to be at the expense of spending time with my family and friends.

My goal is find a balance and keep it. I may go weeks between posts (it’s been two weeks since my last post) or I might post more than once in a given day, that’s just the way I’m going to roll with it.

Social Media

Yes, I use it. Yes, I would like more followers. No, I will not allow it to run my life, so feel free to follow me as you never know when I’m going to pass along an interesting website, quote or note – just don’t expect me to follow you back (see My Twitter Policy).

So what’s up with the quote?

Polonius was referring to the very real need to be true to yourself. Do what is best for you so that you can be in a position to do for others and as light dawned on marbled head that quote came to me. I’ve spent so much energy doing what others feel is right, I stopped doing what is right for me.

So, no more trying to find the right niche or article. No more trying to imitate what others have done before “just because.” It’s time I go back to what I enjoy, finding solutions and exploring options and writing about them as I go. No more rules, just writing and we’ll see what comes out on the other end.

Hopefully you’ll come along for the ride, and if not . . . .

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Looking back to look ahead

As I sit here writing this the first day of 2010 is coming to a close and while I had hoped to post something sooner the delay has caused me to rethink what the post would contain – a combination of what so many others have done today, a look back and a look ahead.

Looking back

The first thing that comes to mind is that I posted very little in 2009 on both this blog and on my RPG blog, of Dice and Dragons, which had resided at this URL (https://newburyonline.com) for over three years (started on 12/23/2005).

The obvious thing to say to that is just get writing. I’ve tried that in the past and it really hasn’t gotten me anywhere, so this time I took a different track, why am I posting less?

After the usual, “no time, nothing to say,” was dispensed with it, it really comes down to my tendency to want to get everything just right before posting. I’m not talking about just the spelling or grammar, I’m talking about links, any graphics, follow on items, in short I want it all to be perfect going out of the gate. That’s going to stop.

The second item that came up was my tendency to constantly tweak, and tweak, and tweak, and . . . you get the idea. I’ve spent more time than I should looking for new plug-ins, ways to automate postings to some of my social media outlets, tagging, categories, the list goes on from there.

After those it’s just a matter of shifting my energy – do I need to check my stats? Do I need to look at what my ad revenue is? The answer to those is I do, but not at the frequency I have been.

In short, I’ve managed to kill a lot of productive time for writing by focusing on those items I can’t control, trying to hit a level of prefection that is styfling and succumbing to my inner geek more often than I should.

Looking forward

Well, after looking back and thinking on things during the day today (cleaning a kids’ room with nothing but your music can be such a benefit sometimes) I’ve made a few commitments to myself that I’m going to share with you. These aren’t resolutions per se, but instead some of the goals I’ve set for myself, and those things I do online.

Start a 365 day project

Jan-1-2010

Done! Ok, it really should be complete a 365 day project but hey, at least it’s started. I decided to take a photo a day using my iPhone, and just my iPhone. No high end camera, no fancy lens, no studio, just the iPhone and the built in camera app. I’ll be posting them to my flickr account, if fact the first one is already up and I’ve included it here. I’m not counting the title shot of the set, so there will be 366 in total.

I’ll also be including them here from time to time (maybe even every day if folks don’t object).

Post more frequently

I already have my weekly reading log published each Saturday and that will continue, and now I’ll be posting my progress on my 365 project so I’ve already increased from the dead stop I was at not too long ago. The next step is to stop trying to get it perfect out of the gate, just write and post. Posts can always be updated and modified – need to keep that in mind as I move forward. I also need to apply this same thinking to my other blogs as well.

Stop tweaking

Okay, maybe it should be don’t tweak as often. I need to get settled into an rythym and then worry about everything else – I need to write, see above!

Grow my Twitter following

One of the things that stood out as I looked back over the last year is that my Twitter following has stagnated (just above 600) and I would like to see that grow. I typcially share when I post something, when I read something interesting or just to share what’s going on. I’ve got an interesting idea on how to do this and will be kicking if off once I’ve ironed out the details.

I think I’ve rambled on long enough, I would welcome any and all comments you may have including any goals you’ve set for yourself. Sharing goals is one way to help you stay focused on them.