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29 Oct 2009

3 years and counting


Twas a cold October evening in the year 2006, the wind was howling and the body lay there cold on the floor.... Shit wrong story! Ah hem, forget the body bit. A young (ish) woman was stumbling around the internet looking for an online journal of sorts, something to record her thoughts for a personal development project. It was for her new counselling course, as the old pen to paper of recording thoughts thing wasn't working for her. Somehow she stumbles upon 'blogger' and Bob's your mothers aunt. She ponders for a while on what to call this blog thing (for about 2 minutes), nobody is going to read it anyway, so what does a name matter? Then the poor gal falls down a rabbit hole and awakes three years later.......

Lessons Learnt in Blogging
If you are a newbie blogger or just clueless like I was (well still am), then I think that you will enjoy reading the posts that I wrote for my first and second blogging anniversaries. I have learnt a lot and it really can't all fit into this one post. I will still highlight some of the information from those previous posts, in this post, as I try and sum up three years of blogging fun. This is blogging 'Personal' stylee, not making money, not professional writing, blogging tips or anything like that. This is just my little journey through HTML hell, troll dung and template tiffs.
My first blogging anniversary was a tad late,who knew you had to write an anniveresary post for every year you don't quit.
The blog looked like this

You can also see it in action here, thanks to the Way Back Machine (records all your old horrors). I have no idea how it works, but maybe you should check to see if your blog is there? Wayback Machine

The first actual incarnation was a horrid green spotty classic template (no offence to those that have the horrid green spotty one, although you could change it). There are No screen shots of that, because I had no clue what a screen shot was.
Main lessons learnt after year one: Posted like crazy, several times a day, twas a bad idea. Tried paid posting, it got boring,fast. Horrid template at first, messed the HTML, did a million memes, got bored.


The blog looked like this

The wonderful Design Bug designed this for me and I loved it, still do.

Main lessons learnt after year two: Started doodling again, twas a joy, found more of a 'style', posted a lot less. Made some great friends, not all people on the internet are scary. Rediscovered twitter, found it vastly appealing. Twitter also led me to connect to people closer to where I live.

Keep Reading for more wonderful insights........




Year Three
Here I am now three years on, how would of thunk it!
Well it has been three years, so I must have some words of wisdom to share with you all?

Blog Appearance: Well as you can see it is now a vision in doodles, with less clutter and easier to navigate (I hope?) Again I called upon the talents of Design Bug, who just read my mind and turned it into the blog template I wanted. I loved the previous design, shown above, but it just wasn't working for me anymore. Also I thought I deserved a three years of blogging treat, so voilĂ  here it is. If you are from the UK, the exchange rate really works in your favour, although to be fair, it is a bargain in dollars too.


What Tools do I use now?
I mean blogging tools, don't be thinking rude thoughts.. Oh just me?
I have continued to use BlogCatalog, it has its up and downs, mainly downs of late. It is changing though and soon it will be a real asset for blog promotion. Like any social networking site, you have to sieve through some shit to find the real gold nuggets.

Twitter- It is the marmite of social networking, you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it, because of a few things. It has connected me to local folks and that has been a joy! Who knew there were bloggers and tweeters so close to me. I have used it to build up a fantastic set of mental folk, by mental I mean those that tweet with a 'mental health' kind of theme, which has been invaluable to me. It is networking with like minded folk, who you can bounce ideas off, whatever time of day or night it is.

People - They are most valuable tools and the thing that keeps blogging alive. Whether you find them via blogcatalog, google, reading blogs, twitter etc, hopefully once they arrive at your blog, they then get hooked and want to stay. You have to make an effort though, a selfish blogger is no fun at all! Sure you can have a large cranium because people visit your blog and comment, but don't be pompous arse about it. If people bother to comment or reach out in some way, then try to respond in some way back. Some folks consistently reply to comments, some email, some twitter talk, some facebook, some do all! I try to do at least one of them, but at times I have been an ignorant sod.

Friends - Not something I even thought about when I started blogging, not that I was thinking much about anything. Some of those people that you trick into reading your blog, via whatever means, end up being rather friendly people! I know, who would of thunk it?

Other Thoughts
Blog-Roll - I axed the blog roll a while back. Why is that? It was getting long, nobody was using it and it doesn't actually do anything for your stats. All the good stuff is stored in my google reader. If someone writes something that needs to be shared, then I may include a link in a post, tweet it, stumble it, broadcast it, etc etc.I do check other peoples' blogrolls, but of late the interesting folk have been in their comment boxes too and it is those folks that you really want. The question arises quite a bit in blog world 'Are you a reader or a writer', I have always answered 'both'. I love reading other people's blogs, they are entertaining, inspiring, informative, creative and I could go on and on.The Blog Roll use to be a way of keeping all those cool folk in one place, but as your blogging habits evolve, so does your reading habits.


Personal Development- I was just at the start of my counselling studies when I started this blog and now I am right at the end, well for this level anyways. Blogging has been immensely helpful to me for college stuff, from the stuff that I written here, to thoughts I have bounced off people on twitter, to the people that have commented on the 'counselling' posts. Having a creative outlet for all my random thoughts has been a unique experience and I think that is what has proven to be the most addictive thing about blogging.

Here is too another three years of headaches, fun, friendship and a whole heap of other bollocks.

/raises a glass to all those read this, cheers!
(by glass I mean a humongous mug of tea)

49 comments:

  1. Here's to at least another 3 Claire, my third anniversary coming up next Spring. Never though I would still be here too. Cheers!

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  2. A good read ... well, your blogs always are - and without having read your blog, I wouldn't have started my own. Most of the time, I'm grateful to you for this - except when I can't think of anything that seems worthwhile enough to write about which then, of course, is entirely your fault. I jest. I love your blog, your doodles and I like being in the privileged position of finding out about a littl bit of you! xxx

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  3. Claire! I loved reading this! It wasn't too long, just right ^_^! You came a long way and I have to say it again...I LOVE your new layout! I'm one of your biggest fan of your doodles and writing :D. Your doodles are just soo vivid! I wish you many more years of blogging and I do hope that one day we can meet in person!! Ciao Xxx

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  4. oh shoot! I forgot to raise my glass!!
    *Raises her tea mug as well*

    CHEERS CLAIRE!

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  5. Congratubulations Claire! I have enjoyed your blog for a few months now and I love it! Keep going! Salud with decaffeinated tea!

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  6. Woot woot! Congrats on your year three anniversary. (hey that rhymes) Cheers to many more. :)

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  7. Love the new look Claire. Its always nice to refresh the design every so often. And congrats on three years of blogging!

    My goodness, I've only been blogging for about a year and a half. I've quite the way to go if I want to catch up. 'Cept I'll never catch up if you keep going. But I hope you do, coz the doodles and fun are very enjoyable to read :)

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  8. Cheers! This is my first visit; nice to get the history.

    Raising a glass of malbec.

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  9. Happy blogiversary! Love your new look

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  10. Wow how you have changed and evolved over these past three years. Congrats and best wishes on many, many more great years of blogging and your fab doodles.

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  11. Claire! Kudo's to you! Blog looks GREAT! Really looks fresh and inviting. You've got to be thrilled. What growth. And you've only just begun!

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  12. Cheers for top tips, invaluable stuff seeing as I've just set out into the world of blogging. Your question on whether you're a writter or a reader was very thought provoking. I've always tried to be actively involved in the Flickr photography community but I really need to dig deeper into other peoples blogs.

    The blog design is awesome by the way. Here's to another 3 years.

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  13. Brilliant design - really love it! It was fascinating to read about how your blog developed (as I haven't been reading it as long as some others) and comparing it to my experience is interesting. I'm so glad to be on board. :)

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  14. Happy anniversary :) And wow your blog looks amazing.

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  15. Congratulations on your third anniversary and on the lovely new theme!
    Keep blogging. We'll certainly keep reading.

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  16. Congrats on the big 3!!

    The new design is awfully cute (and a bit mad-- sorta like the blogger)-- and Design Bug does such a nice job, doesn't she? :)

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  17. Happy Third! and welcome to the club. I really enjoyed reading your evolition of the blog post. Long may you blog Claire. :)

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  18. Happy anniversary ! Your blog looked and is looking awesome! Love your writting, is sensitive and funny. Hope your Mom is Ok. Cheers !
    Dana

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  19. The site looks great :) Congrats on 3 years chicka!


    Bettie

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  20. Wow, is it really 3 years? Where did the time go? Congrats on keeping it up for us all of these years (ahem) and your new design is really rather spiffing.

    Wonder where some of the past blog crowd are now? Some missed, others not so......

    Still don't get Twitter though, bah humbug.

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  21. And a very happy third year anniversary of blogging to you! You have definitely evolved over the past 36 months and I must say that I really like the new look!

    The one thing that you haven't been doing that you used to do a lot of, though, is picture posting. You had some real gems from some of your hikes but it seems that real life has gotten in the way of your outings of late. I guess we'll just have to be happy with the doodles, right?

    Cheers, dearie, and may the next three years be even better!

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  22. Happy Anniversary! I just started blogging a few weeks ago so your tips should come in pretty handy.

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  23. Congratulations on being in the blogging biz for three years. I tend to read the more personal blogs and even though I don't comment often, I do tend to read yours quite a bit. Keep up the good work!

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  24. Congratulations, you old blogger you!

    I am not even two yet (but, almost).

    I hope you keep blogging forever, Claire! :)

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  25. Oh darn! You have no idea on how to make money! :) Congrats on 3 yrs of blogging!

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  26. I love your new design, it is absolutely beautiful! You have certainly come so far in your blogging journey and I applaud you. You are right, you definitely have to sift through the rocks to find the golden nuggets. You are one of the golden ones, by far. Congratulations on reaching this milestone and I am looking forward to more sharing and reading. Kudos.

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  27. The experience of expressing ourself is very exhilirating, that is why I started my blog too, though a few months old.

    I have been curious about the purpose of blogroll and since I don't understant it I've removed it from my blog. Good thing you have mentioned it here, it has justified my decision. :-)

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  28. Claire, this is monumental and happy anniversary. I'm with you. I started off like a babe in the woods and have evolved into this blogisphere where too many people have kinda stuck and I am a sentimental blogger after all. The relationships and the variety of talented buggers ... I mean bloggers who touch our lives are more important than they will ever realize. Tonight I drank an entire beer (four hours later) so I will dedicate it to your first three years of sharing "A Little Piece of Me," with all of us. Well done.

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  29. Clair, I just discovered you and your charming blog. I'll be honest with and tell you that I have not read this entire post. I've been flitting around your site taking in all the creative sights and sounds.

    You have totally engaged me with your obvious talents. I've decided to follow you so that I will be reminded to come back often.

    I intend to peruse your site slowly, a little at a time, so that I can savor your delightful posts and authentic persona.

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  30. Happy 3 year anniversary. And what a long way the look of your blog has come!!!! I'm only on month two of this crazy thing called blogging, and I've learned so much already; can only imagine what you've learned in three years. Bravo!

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  31. hey claire, happy 3rd anniversary!! ur blog is excellent, love ur writing style and the new design is brill :) Jen xx

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  32. Happy 3rd anniversary! Your blog looks so colourful!

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  33. A GREAT history of your experiences! next sept. will be my third anniv., and this is a great idea for getting perspective. The main thing is finding out what my goals are and what gives me passion. And I love reading blogs, too!

    Congrats!

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  34. Claire, well three to go for me, I just got my third month in.
    BIG HUGS

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  35. so you had a happy evolution.
    evolution is the in thing

    good one..keep bloggin

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  36. I'm a bit late, here, Claire... So, consider this a 3 years and 3days congratulations.

    I love the doodles. :) - Julia

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  37. I remember your first template, so I guess I've been blogging for a while, too. I'm SO glad you're still at it. I'd hate to think I couldn't come over here for a "Claire-fix."
    Love you, girl!
    ~~~Blessings~~~

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  38. Hello Claire

    Well it is my first time here and who knew, you are celebrating your 3rd anniversary! So happy celebration to you!

    Your blog looks really great - very fun and yes, clean and easy to navigate!

    I too love Twitter, haven't realized BlogCatalog was changing...will have to go there more often, but it is like you say a lot of sifting....

    Anyway, here is to another great new year!

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  39. I was browsing BlogCatalog and found your blog. Wow, cheers for you that you are on your 3rd anniversary! It makes me inspired to continue blogging...

    Congrats!

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  40. Three years! That's an impressive length of time you've been sharing Claire, I have a lot of back reading to catch up on :D The new layout looks great. Good on yer, and happy blogging for many years to come *Clinks big steaming mug of tea against Claires*

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  41. I was going to respond to all these lovely comments, but well erm..........

    I will summarise instead:

    Thanks to everyone! Glad you like the new design and I hope you continue to read :)

    Hooray :)

    I am sure one day I will actually finish imploding with college work, the blue arsed fly is not a good look for me.


    Cheers
    Claire xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  42. Claire, congrats on the 3-year anniversary!

    I really like the originality of your design. It makes such an impression, when blogs are everywhere! Your writing style is so humorous and spunky and refreshing!

    Thanks for sharing what the journey was like. I think it's great that you kept a place for your thoughts and personal development while still pursuing your counseling career.

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  43. Here you go and write something important and I was on jury duty and not making the rounds. Figures I'd miss you being insightful and brilliant when it happened. Oh enough snarky, congratulations on your "I'm big now that I'm three!" blirthday. You've been a great and thoughtful read and it has been fun sharing the adventure. My best to the mumborg, hope all continues to be well.

    A tip of the tea cup to you.

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  44. Hey, I'm new here but LOVED this post. Amazing to see how your blog/philosophy has changed over the three years. Quite inspiring. Laughed at the 'scary people on internet' line...do you really believe that? ;-) Hope I last that long - only been doing it just over two months. Oh, and you blog is very cute looking. Well done. Good luck for the next three years!
    Right, I'm going now but I'll be back. Check out my dating disasters if you get a minute: plentymorefishoutofwater.blogspot.com/

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  45. I just finished reading your fourth, first, second and now third year anniversary posts and I must say, it is interesting how everything has unraveled and evolved for you. This sounds lame, but I had no idea a google reader existed. I need one because my blogroll primarily consists of other humor blogs (because that is what had been suggested to me.) However, I gravitate to reading a wider variety than simply humor. Not to mention, some of the humor blogs I do read are selfish bloggers (as the ones you described) and I don't want them to know I read their material. Haha, pretty petty, eh?

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