What say you about my depth, breadth and selection?

I had great hopes earlier this week when I clicked the clicks, filled out the blocks, and sent my request to take part in Blogging 201 away to the powers that be at WordPress.

It’s coming up on 14 months since I started this blog.

Blogging U, you say?

OK, I’ll try it.

Except they sent me all the credentials and links to Blogging 101. I clicked to the home page. It wasn’t for me.

I am not looking to start anew. I’ve written at least one post a day, every day, since the end of October. Topics do not elude me. (Knock on wood.) I think I’ve pretty much found my voice. (Knock-knock on wood.)

I want to polish this baby, tighten the bolts, make it the best it can be. I want to explore the ins and outs of blogging, the more nuanced matters, the widget-ry and layout-land and follower-gathering.

I asked to be linked to 201 instead.

I asked again to be linked to 201 instead.

I think the time has passed for me to be linked to 201.

Instead, I hijacked some course matter indexed on the 201 home page by clicking the link provided by one of the bloggers I read, Silent Pam, who was carrying out a writing assignment.

The page has three lessons listed:

Blogging 201

I have read them. I will soak up the messages. I will check in for more every day. I do not, though, have access to the list of daily prompts. I’ll live with that one. Worse, though, is not being part of the interactive classroom, the give-and-take WordPress has built into the system. That stings because a good way to learn is to talk with other people floating in different boats in the same waters of Blog Ocean.

I’ll keep a closer eye on the Daily Post, too, and maybe next time sign up for something before the final day. I think the last-day submission may have added to my trouble this time around.

Until then, though, I’m going to work smarter here.

It’s time for some reader research.

I’ll close with questions that I hope move you to comment, which is my custom.

What is the most important mission that you try to master when you post on your blog? What do you consider your best blogging trick of the trade?

Also for those of you who are readers, not bloggers: What would you like to see more of on my blog? Less of?

Now’s the time to take off the gloves and let me have it.

47 thoughts on “What say you about my depth, breadth and selection?

  1. Looks like I have some catching up to do. How did I miss this post, Mark? I love the variety I find here daily. And your voice is that of a friendly approachable person who you want to have a cup of coffee or a pint with. You could teach 101 and 201, I’m sure of it. Don’t fret. As for me, it wasn’t until I stopped hiding behind a pen name that I was able to write more freely and connect with other bloggers. For years my blog sat like a ghost town, think tumble weeds and crickets. I love your blog. The best part is that you take the time to connect with your readers via content and comments. Thanks!


    • Thank you for always writing, reading, commenting and connecting, Sandra. I look at your blog as an example of successful interaction with real world and blog world.

      I’m glad you came out from under anonymity to free your mind.

      Some folks obviously operate under the opposite, feeling more able to write without restraint under a pen name.

      Have a great Monday, my friend.


  2. 1.I try (hope) to keep the reader entertained and stay positive (this month’s corny poems not withstanding), and I like to engage responses when applicable.
    2.While everyone has room for improvement, I can’t think of anything specific that you could improve. I think your blog is awesome and engaging and I love reading it! ❤


  3. This is my first visit to your blog and I am really enjoying your free writing style- it draws me in- I have already 5-6 posts! I am a new blogger so am not sure I can offer any tips. I write the way I teach- by telling stories. I have always found that my students respond best when I wrap my message in an interesting life story- I’m hoping the same rule will apply to my readers in the blogosphere. Keep writing because I plan to keep reading! Cheers!


    • I think you have launched your blog with an effective approach, onehindu. Relatable stories are always in demand. I will be stopping by to read your work. Thank you for finding my blog. I appreciate your time and comments.


  4. Mark I’ve been doing this for four and a half years. I never knew when I started that I wanted anything more than to write. Then I discovered comments and commenting. It took me years to get followers. And yet I’m still struggling with the ever growing changing of blogging. I want to write. And I want to read. And I want others to read “me”. I have yet to learn any tricks. I still don’t know what to do to be “better”. The biggest thing I try to be very diligent about is return comments to every one who leaves me one. It’s not always easy, time wise, to do. But it’s worth my effort. I’m curious to see what you learn.


  5. Q1 I blog because I thought it would be a helpful thing to do for me. My blog has sort of become something I never intended. I write honestly and just to mark this time in my life. It’s great ‘talking’ to people who take the time to comment. I know I’ll love looking back over my blog in five years time.
    Q2. What I like about your blog is the variety of subject matter, the personal touch, honesty and learning about the USA. I also appreciate the way you answer the comments – not everyone does! Oh, and humour too. Plus I feel like you and Karen are friends of ours now. That’s the best bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Rachel, the fact that our two blogs have enabled Karen and I to become friends with you and Steve, through stories, pictures andn comments, is indeed the best bit of it all. Thank you for your kind words, and I must add that I think you do a fine job of marking this period of your life, and showing the rest of the world about London, too!


  6. oh, mark, so sorry this had me laughing. this is exactly something that would happen to me. my comment is that perhaps you should sign up for the ‘how to sign up for things’ course. just a thought ) ps – i love your blog just the way it is, i think you have indeed found your voice, but i can understand always wanting to make things better )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good food for thought, Mark, as always … I agree with some of the other commenters (yes, I had nightmares about Buckner and the ’86 series, too). I think following one’s own gut and journalistic storytelling instincts is key — universal themes, unique stories, people we might like or care about. I try to mix in stories about people like Jay, Wayne, Gertis, RPF Friend of the Motorist Since 1950, Gabrielle, Ellen, et al, with personal experiences and “takes” on random encounters and experiences. You do the same (just more of it!) I look forward to yours every day, as well as others that I’ve encountered through yours. Jim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for offering your perspective, Jim, because that is one of the many things I admire about you and your blog. The way you look at life is quite individual yet universally approachable, too. Great combination, that.

      Hey, new followers who have not yet clicked over to read Jim’s Irish Investigations blog, get over there! You will enjoy the light he shines into life’s main rooms and cubbyholes.

      I will continue to attempt to lend my voice to relatable themes. I’m glad you take the time to read my stories. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When posting on my blog, I simply try to stay true to me. By that, I mean I post for myself and try not to ‘edit’ content ‘just in case’ it may offend a reader or turn away a subscriber. My best blogging trick is being authentic (mostly being able to make an ass out of myself) and (hopefully) laugh along with readers. This won’t shock you, being that you’re a reader of my blog but I love when you incorporate photos along with your posts. Cheers!


  9. Associate your blog with winners. Start by putting Yankee Stadium in the background. And for Phil maybe a Boston Sucks T-Shirt on the sidebar. LOL! Re-examine your message. What will I write about next is weak. The best advice given earlier is be yourself. You have 57 years of experience in that arena. Lastly I’d say expand your playing field. Zoom out from your Syracuse micro focus to attract more interest. Did I mention be yourself? Keep up the great work buddy. Remember every journey starts with a single step. You’ve taken quite a few already.


  10. Best wishes on your quest, Mark. You do reach out and connect with others – even some, I suspect, who do not do the same. You have a great hook and your stories are varied so that you have a broad appeal.

    I don’t have a best blogging trick. I just post what interests me and hope that it will appeal to readers as well.


  11. I’m just getting familiar with your blog and enjoying every minute of it! My most important mission is to write from a place of rawness – whether it be poetry, humor, philosophy, or a day in the life of post. It needs to be raw (unfiltered) for my writing and my fellow blogger’s perception of who I am to develop along the way. That’s my goal…for all of us to evolve as we enlighten one another. Be well! ~Karen~


  12. I usually make it over to your blog when I see a link to a topic on FB. Then I usually find 3-4 other great posts that I read too! Like the others mentioned, you do a wonderful job of interacting with readers/bloggers. All of your writing is interesting, some is stellar (still thinking about your post Re: your wife’s daughter and son-in-law.) So what would I suggest you do differently? Of course, I think you should write more about music, but that’s my bias! The only thing that I hate about your blog is the goddamn Mets sign in the background. I still have nightmares about the ’86 Series! This is a great site!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You had many years of faithfully reading my music work under your belt, Phil, and I always appreciated your participation with comments back then, too. I will keep your request for more music posts in mind. And I am very glad that my posts about life interest you, too. It was a leap going from the narrow focus from the big daily to the wide focus of the human condition. Happy Easter to you and your family, Phil. PS, the Mets stay … for now. If I take it off, it will be because it is getting stale. And it might be!


  13. the same happened to me….I just sent my request to the instructor on the 101 class and they switched me over…..I think it happened to a lot of people.


      • It’s alright, I thought it would be more about writing and improving my brand……and although I’ve learned some things to improve my blog, I really don’t want to change my theme or tweak certain looks on my blog because I just made my blog over. I will continue to check in every day and participate in discussions but I’m not redoing my blogs look!! …..but on the positive side, I have found some amazing bloggers out there!


      • That’s a cool part that I feel badly about missing, Jolene. Congratulations on meeting other amazing bloggers. There are so many. I wouldn’t change your blog look either. Your recent makeover is a good one.


  14. I’m nowhere near a blogging expert. However, I did start the blogging thing due to my wanting a place to write Non-fiction and fiction. Of course, my writing and voice has evolved through the years.

    You communicate really well with other bloggers, which is one important aspect that everyone should grasp. I’ve honestly learned that from you. After reading some blogs, following them, commenting on the writer’s posts… well, these authors and writers do not even reply with a simple ‘thank you’ or acknowledgement.

    Much of this is about “street credit” or “internet credit.”

    You write about a wide variety of topics, which is amazing. You already know I loved that piece about your father and Stony Brook, and this is where coax you to bring back that voice. There is something new every day with your blog.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Haha. I am assuming the course does, but there is much hope the blogging 201 gives you more insight rather than the general statements listed above.

    Happy (Good) Friday, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting analysis, Chris. I particularly will take time to mull around your concept of ‘Internet Street Cred.’ One of my main daily missions is to have a reader exit my post feeling like they took away a little piece of me, and that it is relatable to a little piece of them. I shall continue to strive. I agree with you that my throwback pieces have hit this mark.

      Yes, have a very happy (Good) Friday yourself, and satisfying Saturday and super Easter, too.


  15. Good questions, I may need to look at those myself.

    I think the best “trick of the trade” really is just interactions with others. I don’t think people will always read what I write, but when they do then I want to continue that conversation with them.


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