The Challenge has always been a great opportunity to look back at all the work done in the past year and to look forward and think about what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.
In last year’s Challenge, I announced that I was taking a break from my blog. I was tired, and burned out, and completely bored with myself AND my writing. Oh, I kept the blog going (just barely) by posting pictures a couple of times a week, but that’s it. No words. Just pictures.
Eventually, I made my way back (as you can see), but under new self-imposed conditions: to only blog when the urge hit me, and not under meet some imaginary obligation to follow a schedule.
And, I’ve stuck to that too, choosing only to blog when I feel like it and nothing more. Some weeks there was only one blog post to share and other weeks, three or four. There was no schedule.
No pressure = no stress = HAPPY.
As a result of the changes made this year, my answers to the Challenge questions are very different. Some just don’t even apply anymore. Amazing how much can change in a year.
So here we go…
1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I am going on year 7 in blogging years. I started blogging about my puppy mill rescue dog Daisy at Daisy the Wonder Dog back in October of 2008, but created this blog, No Dog About It, in 2009 for my pet sitting business.
My blog is a hodgepodge of a lot of things – animal welfare, animal health, dog behavior, training, dog videos and photography (i.e., lots of pictures of dogs).
2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.
I walked away and gave myself a break? I’m not sure I have an answer to this one.
3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?
- Blogging less does not necessarily mean a less successful blog. Writing when there is something valuable to share or something new to say is much more satisfying than trying to write a post every day.
- Choosing not to host my own site is less stressful and less time-consuming. (After seeing all the time and energy other bloggers put into their blogs, choosing not to do so seems so much easier – for me anyways.)
- It’s okay to blog and NOT do sponsored posts or push a product.
4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Writing about issues people care about – how to keep dogs safe, have fun with your dog, and dog behavior issues.
5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?
Totally surprised me. I thought it was an innocuous little post and then it just took off.
6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
No idea. Probably one that allowed me to share fun pictures of my dogs. It’s hard for me to remember last week. :)
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
Nope. Still don’t do them.
8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Do what works for you. Don’t live to some blogger ideal if that is not who you are or what you want to do with your blog. You don’t have to do product reviews or manage your blog on your own hosted site or share blogger awards or whatever the latest craze is today. Blogging should be fun, not an obligation.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
More of the same. No schedule.
10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
To read what some of the other pet bloggers wrote this year, head on over to Take Paws from Go Pet Friendly!
When I started this blog, I had planned to make it a resource for my pet sitting clients. I never expected it to grow as much as it has or that some of the posts would be shared around the world. My deepest thanks to all of you. You inspire me every day!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 630,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 27 days for that many people to see it.
The Casa del Mel crew (Daisy, Jasper, Cupcake, Maggie and I) wants to thank you to all of you for being a part of the No Dog About It community. We love that you share your stories and your experiences with your dogs with all of us.
Knowing that many of you are not worrying about a lost dog, because yours came running back to you when you sat down or opened a car door, is something I am truly grateful for.
Knowing that many of you have found comfort here when you were faced with the pain of saying goodbye to a beloved pet is something I never expected, but I am so truly grateful for. It can be such a sad and lonely moment and it helps to have others who have been there before. I am beyond grateful to coniatthebeach, who has offered some of the kindest and most supporting words to those facing this difficult decision. Coni, I could never say what you do with such support and empathy. Thank you.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends, family, joy, laughter and your beloved pets. God bless all of you.
I was tagged by the most wonderful Maggie Marton of Oh My Dog! blog. Maggie is a professional writer so I was really interested to learn more about her writing process. It’s always nice when you can learn from the best. If you get a chance go on over and read about her writing process.
Unlike Maggie, I am not a professional writer. (Oh, I write communications and project plans for work, but that is quite different from writing for a blog.) However, I do write and I love doing so. My hope is to write a book some day, but that will require a lot more discipline than I have right now. :)
For this tour, I have three questions to answer:
Question #1: What are you working on?
In all honesty? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Like Maggie, when it comes to my blog I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. I used to be much more disciplined, but as my life has gotten crazier (is 4 dogs crazy enough for you?), I have found it much more difficult to plan ahead and get things done before the week begins. Thus, I usually end up writing a blog post at 9 or 10 pm and publishing it around 11 pm and editing it a couple times after publishing it. I know. Not exactly the best way to manage a blog, but there it is in all its messy glory.
I should mention that I also have about 43 drafts sitting in my drafts folder just waiting for my mind to formulate the words. When everything clicks into place, I write.
Question #2: Why do you write what you do?
Hmmm… That is truly a tough question. My writing has changed over the years so I can’t really say that there is one “why” to my writing. I started writing about Daisy, my first puppy mill dog, to document her progress, but when I started my pet sitting business I needed a blog that would allow me to share information with my clients. I kept it much more light-hearted in those days.
Now I try to write a little bit for myself, a little for you and little bit for fun. I write about what fires me up. but I also write about what I think most people would want to know if they had the good fortune to be exposed to a wealth of dog training knowledge via their friends (as I do). I want people to have a chance to learn more about their dogs and about dog body language. The one thing I don’t want to be is a blogger who just rants, What’s the fun in that? Who wants to read a rant every single day? Not me. That’s why I add in photography and Favorite Friday videos. I want others to have fun too.
I write about what I am passionate about. It allows me to let a little bit of my creativity out.
Question #3: How does your writing process work?
As I mentioned above, my writing process right now is pretty disorganized. I have the 43 drafts available if choose to use them, but I also save a whole series of stories, studies, news reports and training information in my Blog Topics folder. If I am feeling a little unmotivated or not sure about what I want to write, I go to my folder and peruse it for an idea or story I want to share. Usually, they are an impetus for me to write about a related topic.
I also keep a series of folders filled with YouTube videos I can go to whenever I need one. I even have them organized by category!
Sometimes I write a post in one shot, and publish right away, and other times I start the post and save it as a draft to be finished later. For example, my blog post Are we rescuing? Or, are we passing the buck? sat in my drafts folder for over a month before I actually finished it. Sometimes my mind just needs time to roll the idea around before I can write it. When I do create a draft, I will often include the links (and videos) that inspired me in case I want to refer to them in the post.
So now that I have shared a little about me and my wiring process, here are a few other people I would like to tag for this tour. They have two weeks to answer the same questions. I can’t wait to hear how they approach their own writing process:
Notes from an Endless Sea by Eleanore MacDonald - I love the way Eleanore writes. Her words flow like water and have a beauty that is indescribable. She draws you in like a friend and confidante and leaves you wanting more. I always feel richer for having read her blog.
Will My Dog Hate me by Edie Jarolim – Edie is a professional writer and someone I admire very much. I often wish I could write like her. She can make any story sound interesting and often does. Reading her Labor Day post about her mom was wonderful and interesting and enlightening. I would love to pick her brain if I could. This is my chance.
Back Alley Soapbox by Jen K - Jen hasn’t written since early July, but I am hoping she will do this one. She is always a fun read and I love her perspective on things. She is a knowledgeable dog person and loves the outdoors and her two big black Newfies, Moses and Alma. I enjoy her writing. I hope she will share her perspective on her own writing process.
Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 15 days for that many people to see it.