Why do you like me?

I got a lot of likes from other bloggers on a recent post, My Next Big Thing. A lot by my standards, that is. My likes and follows have been trending upwards recently but this blog has not exactly gone viral.

After blogging for more than two years I am just now learning how the blogging community operates. My learning was delayed because I started out on Blogspot, where no actual networking went on as far as I could tell. I switched to WordPress last October for technical reasons and stumbled into the blogging community. WordPress has a number of features that promote networking. The main one is that when a fellow WordPress blogger likes your post you get an email saying:

“Soandso liked your post on the practical mystic.

“They thought My Next Big Thing was pretty awesome.

“You should go see what they’re up to. Maybe you’ll like their blog as much as they liked yours!”

And then it lists links to three “great posts worth seeing from Soandso.”

Out of curiosity you may check out this fellow blogger who likes what you wrote and in the process you increase the traffic to his or her site (I should give up grammatical correctness and say “their site” since “they” thought my post was awesome). I’m sure a lot of liking goes on purely to increase site stats. But it also connects you to people who might share your interests and it lets you know who your readers are, at least in the blogging world, which may not mirror the real world.

I guess the true test of love is if the blogger who likes your post begins following you, that is, getting an email every time you post. I can’t imagine inviting more email unless you truly care. I now have 56 followers, very modest by blogosphere standards but more with each post.

Since I started getting more blogger likes and follows I’ve been acting more like a community member myself, visiting blogs, occasionally liking, commenting, and following. Very occasionally. There are some gems out there but they’re rare. I am handicapped in this networking business by my writing snobbery. My remaining life is too short to spend reading bad writing and most blog writing is bad: trite, clumsy, sentimental, too much information of the wrong kind.

This is not a reflection on the blogger, just on his or her (their) writing.

Writing I willingly read doesn’t have to be perfect, just show some originality of thought or style. Something genuine. Something promising. Or, of course, a good blog might offer something helpful like recipes, though I will not follow a recipe blog that is badly written. I would like to find more life blogs like my own that meet my snobby standards but so far I’ve discovered only a few. I haven’t been looking too hard because I already spend too much time reading rather than writing or getting material for writing, that is, living. But if you have suggestions, let me know.

I know my writing snobbery puts me on the outskirts of the blogosphere because many terribly written blogs get way more likes, followers, and comments than mine. On the other hand my favorite blogger, the nature writer David George Haskell, who writes extremely well and always has something interesting to say, gets very few blogger likes. Go figure.

This brings me to the question of why that one post got so many blogger likes. It’s not just that I’m generally getting more readers, because other recent posts, which I think are more interesting, have gotten way fewer likes.

Here is my theory. It is because I wrote about being stuck in my writing and I ended the post with a tiny plea for support. “Cheer me on,” I said. And my fellow bloggers cheered.

We all need to be cheered on. Bloggers have recognized this need, both in themselves and others, and they have learned to respond. They respond to the vulnerability, the need for support, the confessions of failure and stuckness embedded in the writing, good and bad, that is being sent out into the ether.

Am I right?

Or maybe it was just some kind of weird, organized like bomb.

Clue me in. Share!

First Things first

There are so many things I have to do first thing in the morning.

I have to have my tea.

I have to have my breakfast and take my meds.

I have to have my fire in winter and it is still winter.

I have to satisfy my curiosity about the world and my friends.

I have to meditate.

I have to journal.

I have to do my alignment exercises.

That last thing, the alignment exercises, is the newest First Thing I’ve introduced into my morning but I’ve noticed that recently it has fallen by the wayside.

There is no order to these things; it’s more like, I have to do each one of these things first. So many morning urgencies.

When I look at this list I understand why the new morning practice of exercises has gotten lost. Why do I think I have to do them first thing in the morning? Because the guy who wrote the book said I should. “Do these exercises first thing in the morning so you get the benefits all day.” Of course.

Same thing with the journaling. I subscribe to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages theory, expounded in The Artist’s Way: that writing just after rolling out of bed gets your creative juices flowing and of course if you have had dreams that is the time to get them down.

And I also believe that the day should begin with God because (apologies to God and Coke) Things Go Better with God. So I do want to meditate for 20 minutes. First thing.

However, if I listen to my sleepy mind and spirit and my chilly body, I really want that hot tea and warm fire first. And I have to take a daily pill before I forget and it has to go with food so I make and eat breakfast while I’m at it. So that’s three First Things right there.


If Hazel were here she would trump all First Things but she isn’t and Vic isn’t and so today I have only the fire.

And if I open my computer to journal, how can I avoid checking email, news headlines, and Facebook? This is just normal human curiosity. Maybe this is why Cameron was pretty adamant about Morning Pages being written by hand. But The Artist’s Way was written pre-Facebook. She just thought creativity demanded handwriting. Not for me. I’ve been journaling on the computer for 15 years. This is especially important now because if I start journaling something cool I can ease right into writing a blog post, which is what I am doing right now.

So blogging inserts itself as yet another First Thing today. Plus, I really intended to carry the laundry basket down to the basement and start a load of laundry First Thing so it could dry on the racks during the day but by the time I’d pulled my clothes on and remembered to put in my hearing aids (another First Thing) I forgot the laundry.


Just as well because yet another First Thing was calling me as I looked out the window and saw yet another lake-effect snow decorating the landscape on this First Day of Spring and I just had to get that picture on Facebook First Thing, before anyone else did.


And while I was taking pictures I noticed my iPad had captured a nice view of my kilim that didn’t show the dirt.


But before posting to FB I had to check if anyone else had posted the snow and they hadn’t, but I read what they had posted including some articles. And of course I checked email.

But before that I did make the tea and my breakfast smoothie (recipe below) and the fire so I could be warm and cozy and optimistic while I held my warm Mac on my lap, surfing and writing. And I shared a tiny bit of milk with the cat (whole milk for my tea is my daily deviation from my Lenten vegan diet).

So I have been up for a couple of hours and still have a number of First Things to do, including meditate.

Fortunately I don’t have to go to work anywhere or get any kids ready for school or walk down to a river to get water or any of the other First Things my sisters around the world have to do.


Photo by Kongo Lisolo

But I think I need to find another slot in the day for those alignment exercises. It’s almost lunchtime.

First Thing in the Morning Smoothie Which Tastes Better Than You Think

Blend in the food processor:

1 cup raw oatmeal

2 T ground flax or whatever healthy additives you are into (I add a green veggie energy powder which makes this smoothie ugly brown)

1 orange

a handful of berries (I like frozen blueberries)

some applesauce or a banana

a splash of whatever milk you are into, or unsweetened yogurt

This serves two, or you for two days. The oatmeal gets even thicker by Day Two.