Real friends, virtually

Can real friendships grow out of online acquaintances?

Yes. At least, they can in my experience. And one of those real friends, bc, who I might add is also an amazing friend in the RP verses we share, nominated me for this Award. I have to admit, I’m surprised, but then I’m often surprised when anyone reads, let alone likes, my personal ramblings. Frankly, I’m afraid that if anyone got know the real me, they’d realize I was a fraud about two minutes later. I’m told that’s not an uncommon fear among writers, probably because so much of our lives happen in our own heads.

versatile-blogger-award-imageFortunately, my friendship with bc, the fascinating lady behind Never Pity the Past, is very real and I am very grateful for that. I tease her that a writer can never have too many librarians in their life, but it’s more than that. It’s more than a shared appreciation of knowledge, books, train travel and the diverse voices in our heads that find expression online. It’s the kind of friendship that supports, comforts, encourages, indulges, grounds, uplifts, teaches and makes the universe a better place. It’s laughter and tears, consoling hugs and Gibbs’-style smacks to the back of the head, silence and endless conversations. In other words, it’s the best kind of friendship to have!

I’m flattered she likes and reads, this blog, but I have to admit, it puts me at a disadvantage, because now I have to come up with seven (actually 14, since she nominated two of my blogs, this one and RolePlayWriter) interesting things about me. Since this is sort of my “real life” blog, I’m going out on a limb and posting real life points of interest. Here goes:

  1. “Home” is a boarding school in Fairbault, MN. Even though I only spent 2 years there more than 2 decades ago..
  2. I love my handwriting. It reminds me of my grandmothers. My printing reminds me of my dad. My signature is my mothers.
  3. I finally started making my own bed every day…this year. I also stopped leaving my clothes on the floor. Better late than never, I suppose.
  4. I have strong opinions but I hate making decisions.
  5. When I say I don’t care after being given a choice, I really mean I don’t have a preference.
  6. I really wish I’d never grown up. In some alternate universe, I am forever in 5th grade, wintering in Key Biscayne, summering in Omaha and living at home without a drivers license.
  7. I think i am a lousy friend, floating in and out of people’s lives on an irregular basis, yet I still manage to have friends I’ve known since before pre-school and all over the world.

Ok, that wasn’t as bad as I feared. Of course, it probably isn’t as interesting as it could be, though it is a lot most personal and revealing. And no, I’m not telling what I scratched off to get to that list. I also wouldn’t make a character with those traits, which explains why I am stumbling on that advice to treat my life like I was one of my characters.

Now then, for the 15 blogs I would like to nominate for the Versatile Blogger and WordPress Family Award…. In no particular order, they are:

wordpress-family-award1So now the ball is in their court. In the unlikely event that I am the first person to have nominated any of them (which even my fertile imagination has trouble imagining given the wonderful quality of the content they produce and provide), here’s a recap of the rules I was given and hope the will work with.

The rules are:
Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
Announce your win with a post. Make sure you post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.

Present 15 awards to 15 deserving bloggers.
Leave them a comment to let them know after you have linked them to a post.
Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

That’s all there is to it. Pretty simple, when it’s all said and done. Not to mention a great way to recognize and reward the writers who make your corner of the blogosphere a little more interesting while sneaking a peek at their Muses.

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Preternatural Post tops 5100 hits in February

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Where role play meets real life for fictional characters, legendary creatures, fans and creators.

Back at the start of 2013, I set a goal for growing the Preternatural Post. After three years, I felt I had enough content and enough experience that I could take a year to focus more on promoting the Post, as I call it, than just creating it. So I set a goal for myself.

The goal I set was an 10 percent increase in the number of hits on the Preternatural Post over the course of the year. Knowing that I have a tendency to forget about or lose interest in anything with an extended deadline. I broke the number down to daily and monthly goals because I’m not always great with daily goals either. Also the monthly goal was a nice round number 5,000 which somehow makes it both easier and more daunting. (For those of you who like math the daily goal is 187 and the annual goal is 70,000). 

Based on statistics from previous years, 10 percent is a reasonable growth rate. And yes, I realize 5,000 x 12 is only 60,000 not 70,000. The 5,000 is my goal for a monthly average because, based on the nature of the content of the Preternatural Post I know that the year starts off slow and builds to an October frenzy which should allow me to achieve my 70K goal. In other words, I’m more worried about making my daily and monthly goals than the annual one. Sounds weird but it’s true.

The main reason I’m more concerned about the daily and monthly goals is that they seem like more of a stretch, especially in January, February, March and, oddly, August. Of those, I was most concerned about February. Not only is it the shortest month of the year, it’s also historically the month the Post attracts the fewest readers. 

I had, I thought prepared myself for a low month in February. One of the few months, I hoped, would fall below my 5,000 hit average. And I told myself that was ok since by definition an average is in the middle with some months being lower and some months being higher. I was so convinced February would present dismal numbers, I didn’t even look at them for the last week or so. I just kept doggedly doing what I do.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I did check the numbers and discovered the Preternatural Post had, unbelievably, garnered 5,199 hits! I still can’t quite believe it.

Before I break out the celebratory espresso (I’m a total coffee junkie), I should probably mention why I’m telling you all this. It’s simple. That advice about just showing up being a big part of life and success is true.

Of course, just showing up is only part of the secret of succeeding. The other part is having a plan and working your plan. I’m not entirely sure you can call a goal a plan, but I do know I need to publish at least one article on the Preternatural Post per day, everyday. More is better, if there is news worth sharing but there has to be at least one article published every day. So I do. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I used to wonder if it was worth it. After all, I’m not J.K. Rowling or Anne Rice. I’m not sure anyone, even me would call the Post a real success, though it’s doing better than some other blogs and news sites I know of. Looking back on February 2013, I’m still not convinced I’m succeeding, I am however, convinced that I’m heading in the right direction, which is more than I would have said when I started the Preternatural Post as a wordpress.com blog in 2010 or even when I moved it to a self-hosted wordpress.org blog in 2011. 

Will I ever be as successful as Rice or Rowling, or even Mercedes Lackey, Laurell K. Hamilton or Charlaine Harris? I don’t know. I do know that I am going to keep showing up and working my plan. Success, as February 2013 has shown me, will take care of itself.