Blogging Changes Lives: How It Changed Faitth Brooks

Blogging Changes Lives

Faitth Brooks and I chatted about how blogging changes lives as I charged my phone at the airport. Since I’m still writing Because of Blogging, I asked if I could interview her. She agreed.

Faitth Brooks Program Director at Legacy Collective

“My name is Faitth, and yes I spell my name with two t’s, so it’s not a typo. I am relishing in the glory days of my early twenties and loving every moment.”

Faitth Brooks embraces life.

Her lively eyes and bright smile caught my attention. She explains why she embraces life on her blog.

” If you are feeling stuck in life, remember to create your own adventure!  I made every day pleasures fun because I was convinced that I wanted to live a life of whimsy and wonder. … Choose to enjoy life for yourself! “

I would say that this sums up her philosophy of life.

Being positive is one thing, but someone who is always positive ruins their credibility because life does not always deal positive experiences. Faitth embraces life and shares realistically about how she deals with bad times.

“The past two years were some of the hardest years for me but I blossomed so much because of the hardship I faced. If you need help, ask for it. If you need a therapist, get one. If you need solid community, find it. There’s no reason for you to endure a hard season alone. You need people, get your tribe to rally around you.”

Faitth’s Advice to New Bloggers

Like so many of us, blogging impacts her life in a positive way. She told me that blogging gives her courage to say things she might not say otherwise.

“It’s freeing. It’s sharing your truth out there in the world and having it resonate with others.”

Her advice to new bloggers is to write “even if you feel that no one is reading it because each person is unique and has something to share.”

Blogging changes lives
Faitth Brooks

I hope you enjoyed meeting Faitth. She blogs at Lyrics&Letters. Check out her uplifting blog there.

If this was helpful, feel free to share it. It’s the best compliment you can give a blogger.

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Related Posts

Why Blog? Blogging Teaches Me New Skills and Refines Old Ones.

Before I started blogging four years ago, I was great at computer-based programs such as Word, Pages, Excel, Access. Internet programs such as Evernote for taking notes online no longer mystified me. I used Dropbox and shared files. Pridefully, I thought I was pretty digitally savvy. I probably figured I could blaze through Blogging 101 into blogging stardom, but I had a rude awakening when I stared at my new WordPress dashboard. Feeling young and much like a new puppy before its eyes open, blogging challenged me and did not let me stagnate after I retired.

MacBook Pro2

Getting Help From Home

Working at a county office of education spoiled me because I had tech support on site. As soon as I retired, that immediate access to help stopped. I had to learn to do what they did. Find my own answers. Search engines, my favorite is Google, continue to help me do almost every task from cleaning the deposits off my acrylic shower to how to edit a video. Now I am not shy about contacting authors of websites, videos and other self-help products. My biggest help, has been the friends I’ve met on WordPress whose work and personalities I got to know before I asked questions. Or their work may have prompted me to try push my boundaries and try new things.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary was, and remains, to be the most perplexing and confounding problem. Blogging vocabulary words are sometimes familiar English with new meaning applied to them, and I did not have a clue what they meant. That was frustrating when I was in the midst of doing something new, following instructions and could not understand half the words in the very first sentence or video clip. I could have saved myself hours of frustration by bookmarking sites and videos to help me.

Here are a couple of sites that might have helped me. Each of them has references to other sites.

Dynamic-Range-Magazine-Issue-2-Nov-2015-cover-page

Photography and Photo Processing

I started with no processing skills, and amateur photography skills. One of my friends, Leanne Cole from Australia impressed me, not just with her photography, but her blogging skills. We have had a few video chats, and one lesson. I just purchased her newest publication, a magazine called Dynamic Range. In photography, dynamic range is the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark which can be seen in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights wash out to white, or the darks become black blobs. Blogs need some kind of visual material. I could steal from the web, subscribe to many services, or develop another hobby. I chose the latter. 

Writing Techniques

An elementary school teacher, not high school or college English professor, nonetheless, again, I thought I knew more about writing both fiction and nonfiction than I did when I started blogging. Once my eyes opened, I read books, read blogs, copied and practiced styles, improved my grammar, and became a little more of a perfectionist. I still make a lot of mistakes, and have a long way to go, but I’ve improved. You will learn more about that later in the book, too.

Technology

A computer geek since the 1980s, I always pushed buttons when it came to technology, usually meaning the patience of my techy husband and our technology support staff at work. Every platform’s dashboard, the screen that shows your blog’s creative center, is a new challenge. WordPress is similar to Blogger, Weebly and other platforms, but not the same. Even different themes within WordPress are developed by different web designers and have different dashboards. I learned what all teachers sometimes take for granted with their students. Learning is not all transferable between similar skills.  For example just because my student knows his two multiplication tables does not mean that learning the seven table will be easy.

My Areas of Interest and Expertise

Whenever and whatever I write about causes me to increase my knowledge. Many times I have had to look in books or go to the internet to check my facts whether I write about quilting, food, history, movies or books. Whatever I share with others, I do not know enough to sit down and write without facts around me. The result is that I become more of an expert in my own content area, and as I become that expert, people start to call me or ask me to speak. The result, of course, is that I learn even more.

Social Media

Blogging pushed and continues to push me to try new products, new technologies. Vivian Kirkfield started fiddling around with landing pages and static pages three years before I even knew what one was. I’m still learning about landing pages, as you’ll learn in later chapters. Blogging and marketing go hand in hand, even when you don’t have a thing to sell, which I did not when I started. Blogging enhanced what I already did with social media, and took me to a new level, building my credibility in my real world as well as my virtual one. No one takes out their wallet and buys a packet of credibility, but that’s a post for a different chapter.

1931X Woodlake wag-in train

Hang on, if you decide to blog, you board a train headed for unknown territory, even if you think you are the content expert in your field. Learn how you can stay vibrant and develop new skills whatever your occupation, age, or financial status. Start a blog.

Summary

  1. Blogging opens doors of opportunities I can not foresee.
  2. Blogging develops skills in technology, writing and photography.
  3. Blogging develops marketing and communication skills.
  4. Blogging refines and expands my expertise in my areas of specialty.

Three Easy Steps to Start Blogging for the New Year

Happy New Year!!! Are you celebrating yet or all done?

RR MuseumR Dining carA few days ago a new blogger asked me for information about blogging.  I remember life as a  neophyte blogger.  Blogging experts wrote in a foreign language, as did photographers.  My blogging friends still help me learn new techniques.

SFW History Ladies SD 1-5-2013141a
Blogging friends Marsha and Russel Ray

 

1. Decide the Purpose of Your Blog – Is it for you or for you AND readers?  Remember you can change it later.

  • Are you a vanity blogger or commercial blogger? Vanity bloggers DO NOT selling products.
  • If you want ANY traffic, you want to increase statistics. To build statistics quickly experts teach that specific blogs draw more readers. True! Readers click in and out rarely leaving a comment. If the information is good, blog statistics climb rapidly.
  • Random blogs get less traffic, but attract like-minded readers who chat and build friendships instead of statistics.
  • Most blog readers prefer positive blogs to negative ones. Complaining housed in humor works, but most venters need a private blog. Cause-venting attracts readers, but doesn’t necessarily build long-term relationships. If something bad has happened to you, but your overall blog is positive, sharing makes you more human, but folks DO NOT want a constant diet of it unless it is VERY humorous.
  • If feedback is important to you, short articles (500 words or less) work better than long ones. Edit, edit, edit!  Break long posts into chunks and publish them later.
  • If your blog teaches a skill, share what you learned AND what you thought about your learning, including your mistakes. People will get to know you, learn from you, and keep coming back.
  • Blogs NEED pictures even if you borrow images from Google. Daytime bloggers enjoy music, but songs and videos load slowly, and impatient blog surfers may give up. Sleepless bloggers with families won’t listen to your music at night unless they have a blog cave, or their families are deaf.

kildeer 1

2.  Label Posts with Blogging Categories

  • Organized people may start with categories, and then write posts.
  • Random bloggers like me start rambling, then determine what categories fit.
  • WordPress will suggest tags. Tags differ from categories, and help WWW readers find information quickly.
  • Categories help readers who come to read you find what you write about. They also help you find articles you already wrote about specific topics.
On the Floor of Congress http://www.ushistory.org/us/19e.asp
This ia a battle in your brain. Is it History? Blogging Skills?, Famous Art? Best Lectures Ever?

3. Label Pictures with Blogging Categories – rainy or snowy day projects!

  • Most of my picture titles started with the letters IMG. Poor labels filled my blog with repeated pictures, and used up my storage capacity. Edit using the scale changer. (Later, no hurry on that!)
  • Click on a picture to edit it and change the title using category names.
  • Use the text feature as you process your photos to  write your name on the image.   If you don’t, some malicious person might Photoshop your image and re-purpose it.  I did not sign them at first as you can see with my killdeer, but who cares if she ends up protecting a lion in Africa and not her eggs in my driveway?
Blogging skills
Blogging skills See the copyright signature????  Its tiny.  I make them  more pronounced now!  

That’s enough for today because you need to go post your first post of the new  year.

 

 

Why Fly Through Cyberspace With a Vanity Blog?

There are basically only two things one can do with a blog, read them or write them, but most bloggers do both.  I just learned that what we have here a vanity blog.  It’s called vanity because Marsha Lee is not performing a service or selling a product for profit.  I’m just writing for the pleasure of it.  Oooh, I’m SO vain.  I probably have a blog all about me.  I’m SO vain.  I probably have a blog all about me, ’bout me, ’bout me…

So what about you?  Even bloggers wonder why so many people are starting to blog.   How many of you liked getting letters or post cards when you were kids?  Why?  How many of you use Facebook or some other social media?  How many of you have a hobby that you like to discuss with fellow hobbyists?

You’ve Got Mail

Blogging is ONE literacy activity among MANY other choices.   Why get started down the blogging path when there is already plenty of other stuff to help you pass the time?  Which of these activities do you enjoy in your spare awake time?

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • emails
  • bills
  • junk mail
  • My Space
  • news
  • magazines
  • TV
  • video games
  • board or card games
  • hobbies
  • books or Kindles
  • OTHER

Are YOUR eyes tired yet? On top of reading and writing folks need to devote a little time each day to eating, grooming, working, running a household, and raising kids – the first or second time around.  Ah yes, then there’s sleep.  So why blog?

Millwood62a copy
The blogging path is fruitful and leads to… OK we don’t know where it leads, but it sure is fun.

Let’s start with why one would involve him or her self in reading blogs.  I only started reading a blog out of curiosity and to please a friend whose daughter wrote one – every day.  It was about her life as a photographer and her beautiful family.  I didn’t know her, but she engaged, not just me, but had comments galore that were as much fun to read as the blog itself.  I thought, “WOW, this woman is Erma Bombeck.”  I fell in love with her and with the process.

For me blogging is the height of entertainment.  I used to spend hours playing Spidersol while I talked on the phone, finished a project and wanted to vege, or I couldn’t sleep.  Blogging is a lot healthier activity, and, surprisingly, not as hard on my eyes.  It’s fun, relaxing and informational as well.   Other bloggers share their own reasons for blogging, but since I wrote this post, I happen to agree with them.

People Read Blogs Because:  “

  • I like to interact.
    • I love to take guesses, vote on silly answers, and converse.
  • The content including titles are what attracts me.
    •  I read blogs because they help me write.
    •  I am following you because your blog is named Blue Fish Way.  Blue fish are the only of their species still in existence, or extant. Extant also means projecting. In psychology, one projects when they attribute traits of one person on to another in order to subconsciously manifest unresolved issues from a past relationship. A person like that has issues. If a blog resonates, provokes, challenges, or interests me I follow it.
    • I like pretty things, a face, a blog or post design, and great photographs.
    •  I am always curious about what other bloggers have to say.
    • I follow blogs that tickle my fancy,
      • a poem, joke, way out posts, quality of post that has a different slant.
  •  The personalities are what keep me coming back. 
    • I also follow people who I think I can help in one small way or another.
    • Bloggers are ordinary people with no agenda, who are not being paid to write.
    • Good bloggers are a dose of intelligence and with to mix with my daily meals of everything else.
    • Bloggers’ comments are what make us friends.
    • I like bloggers who are kind, sweet and witty.
    •  I read because I am proud of the blogger.
    • I love a blogger  who is a uniquely passionate and courageous spirit: outspoken, controversial “Kalanian” like me,
    • Successful bloggers expose their spirit and soul.
  • Bloggers read out of fairness and sense of etiquette.
    • When someone takes the time to like, follow, or comment on my blog, I return the action because it’s polite.
  • There is a sense of community.
    • iI’s pretty much the only way I get “grown-up time”
    • I read blogs because it lets me peek into people’s mind and their circumstances and in turn helps me to understand my own circumstances better.
    • It’s raw and real, like looking into shards of people’s lives.
    • Blogging lets me know that I am not alone.
    • Blogging is like going to the thrift store.  I LOVE surprises. You don’t know what you will find, you’ve just got to enjoy browsing.
    • I interact with people all over the world, something I wouldn’t do outside of blogging.”

Even though most bloggers start reading blogs because they write one, they didn’t have as much to say about why they started writing.  I read my friend’s daughter’s blog faithfully for a year, without ever making a comment,  I thought to myself, I could do this.  Like most bloggers I love to talk, and I like writing even better.  I blog to get feedback from live readers.  I have content I want to share with someone, and I can’t burden my poor husband with all the stuff in my mind, so I need an expanded audience  I wondered who might read a blog, and was scared that no one would.  So I started to blog to find out.

People Write a Blog Because:

  • “I want to find my place and establish myself in the world.
    • I suppose it is to get my face out there, be noticed, recognized  and hopefully to be followed myself.
    • Blogging has totally changed me.  My blogging experience has been about opening up, making sense of my life, and figuring out how I fit into the bigger scheme.
    • t gives me a chance to lead my world.  The blogger is the leader and all the followers are the students.
    • I blog to share information with my students.  I post:
      • assignments
      • homework
      • content
      • writing tutorials
      • photography tutorials
      • Pictures of class activities and photos that students share.
  • For the most part I read and write posts for the connections I’ll make.
    • It is so easy to talk through the blog to far away countries, and I can reach so many more people through the blog.
    • It is certainly worth doing because it gives me pleasure to see that many like my blog, and reading the wonderful comments is so heartwarming.
    • I met a blogger living close by accident and it is nice to meet bloggers from my home country.
    • People crave interaction. To be heard, understood, accepted, or even argued with. Life is full of love. Love is defined differently to everyone.  Readers read what writers write and writing is an art form. All is love. God Bless!
    • Blogs offer an unfiltered perspective, which inspires me, but also gets me thinking outside my little me-shaped box.
    • I have met so many other writers online who often have so much in common with me.
  • Bloggers have a skill to share.
    • I go to sleep and wake up thinking about stories, I take photos with the direct aim of being able to write a story to go with them.
  • They want to learn.
    • I  learn a lot about computers. haha.
    •  I can get advice, jokes, and compliments.
    • The writing and the process itself, satisfies me immensely.  If I didn’t write, I’d burst at the seams.
    • An opportunity to play with words and thoughts in a new way – I believe there is a lot more to be discovered about why me? and why now?.
    • Writing is important to me because it’s the only way I know how to communicate something without stumbling.  I could never voice any of this without writing it first.”

I want to close this article with a quote from a comment made on one of my posts from my friend Jim, aka MHDriver (motor home driver).  Jim has a wonderful eye for photography, and has a collection of beautiful photographs he has taken over the years.

Marsha, I went to night school for photography. The problem was it was 35mm film. The digital camera is kicking my a–. The Nikon F3 and several of the lens, digital meter, and many other items were stolen in Las Vegas. Every thing was in a back pack that I carried everywhere. What was really stolen was my passion for photography.  It took several years before I purchased another camera, that is the present one.  I took a few pictures now and then.  It wasn’t until I started blogging that I started getting some of that passion back.  With the help of people in the blogging community, I’m starting to get some of that passion back.  Because of people like you I feel a lot of encouragement by the hits, the like button, and the comments.  I say, “Thank You Marsha and to all the other bloggers that has visited my site.”

Like most people Jim has tons of photographs that were probably sitting around with no one to ever look at them.  He needed an outlet to share them.  Blogging gave him that outlet.

Maybe you’re a reader who has thought about blogging.  There are many, many bloggers who rally around new bloggers and welcome them into a loving community.  Platforms like WordPress provide challenges and support articles that smooth the way so that anyone who has something to say can find a place in the blogging world.  Do I sound like a blogging evangelist?  Why do you think I wrote this post?

  1. Maybe I just want more hits on my website.
  2. Probably it has changed my life.
  3. It could be that I am being paid several thousand dollars by WordPress to write this post.
  4. Or I’m hoping to sponge a free night’s stay at all my new friends’ home so that I can travel the world.
  5. I’m going to get rich writing my new novel that will be turned into a box office hit movie.
  6. I’m doing a presentation for Kiwanis Club, and I needed to get my thoughts together.
  7. Possibly V. is playing poker tonight, and I was bored.
  8. If I don’t write a blog I’ll lose my job.
  9. Maybe my blog will help V sell more real estate.
  10. I really don’t know why I sound like such a blog sales woman.  What’s up with that anyway?

Disclaimer:  The quotes above are not exact quotes, but are a categorized compilation of the comments on the following posts, edited by me to read smoothly together.

Bibliography

Thanks to Hal for the following YouTube Christmas Flash Mob.