Are you sprouting something new under your mask?
What do the following three things have in common?
- Grooming, or the lack of it.
- Words from other countries so unique yet essential, such as “schadenfreude,” that languages like English borrow them.
- Blogging tips.
What they all share is that they pertain to activities now common as a result of Covid sheltering-in-place and masking up.
With people staying closer to home, pajamas became workwear. In the case of hair, many people I know let theirs grow wild and long, whether on their scalp, faces, or legs. Others experimented in totally the opposite direction and now know how they look totally smooth-skinned. Some friends tinted rainbows into their manes and others did away with coloring altogether.
Are you sprouting something under your mask that you didn’t have before the need to mask up was a thing?
One friend’s working-from-home mustache was so cool that I had to grow one my own, albeit one I doctored up on the computer. Check out the photo of us sporting cookie dusters at the Happiness Between Tails blog post that corresponds with this podcast by typing “27 Blog Tips” into the search bar.
Statistics indicate that the slower pace of staying home also reignited people’s love of reading and writing. In addition, Donald Trump’s presidential run boosted the word “schadenfreude” into everyday reading. It’s an English noun borrowed from two German words. “Schaden” means “harm,” and “freude” means “joy.” Combined into “schadenfreude,” they refer to the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.
When I discovered the word, I invited friends at my Facebook page to riff off of “Schadenfreude”…
Pam Christmas: I enjoy singing it to the tune of Danke Schoen, just like Wayne Newton did of “Schadenfreude, Darling, Schadenfreude” in this 1963 video. A favorite word and feeling.
Angela L Brown: Holy crap! Did that dude who keeps yelling about my dogs just get bit by his own?! Schadenfreude, sucka!
Stella B. Katz: Here’s a GREAT example (The Hill’s post: Hurricane Laura topples Confederate monument town had voted to keep”) of what Yuman is feeling. My Yuman will be experiencing Schadenfreude when Drumpf loses in November.
Chrys Mumma: I hope when I experience schadenfreude, that I recognize it as hateful.
Robb Fulcher: Carl Jung surpassing his former mentor gave me Sigmund Schadenfreude.
Tao Walker: I cannot help but have this feeling of schadenfreude over the Jerry Falwell Jr. scandal.
Bonnie Noble Pacego: Lily felt schadenfreude when she secretly found the loot the robber dropped as he fled the bank!
Beth Pottiger Gorman: The schadenfreude on Johnny’s face was obvious when he found the baseball someone else left lay.
Corky Anderson: Rump = Schadenfreude “joy at the misfortune of another.”
John Saffery’s link to Avenue Q singing Shadenfreude.
Carol Snyder Jarvela: I prefer the southern belle term “mean bitch thrill.” It’s easier to spell and is self-explanatory.
Peter Basson: Me and my friend, Sigmund, were very hot so we stood in the schadenfreude.
Susan Sobon: Trump is a master of schadenfreude.
Lastly, the onset of the Covid pandemic got people more involved in blogging, vlogging, and podcasting!
I listed some of what I’ve learned about blogging in a prior post. In no particular order, here are more tips I’ve gathered while working on my own blog and visiting other sites. Feel free to add your own insights in the comments section.
- Nothing detracts from a post as much as poor writing. The software that comes with a word processor isn’t enough. Fortunately, lots of useful apps like Grammarly have decent free versions.
- Reading aloud helps tremendously. Sometimes I even have my word processor read to me. That way, I can hear how my writing sounds without my own inflections.
- Finding an empty ‘about’ page feels like maybe there isn’t a real person managing the site. And when there’s no photo, I hope the blogger isn’t worried that their looks will frighten people.
- It doesn’t take much to keep a site’s background theme from looking cookie-cutter by adding photos and changing colors.
- Composing a post: sometimes WordPress leaves important messages in the right-hand column.
- Ideas are precious. I capture mine by texting myself or jotting them into the notes section of my smartphone.
- Before publishing a post, I check how it looks on a smartphone, desktop, and tablet. Sometimes I need to replace a photo and break up my text more.
- Dimensions for photos: Elle and Company Design has a very useful post.
- Featured photos: When it comes to selecting a featured photo for a post, always be sure to select one. Also, people who’re successful on social media always add text to their main pictures. Canva’s free version of their graphics editor does a great job.
- Workspace: clutter saps my creativity and efficiency. I try to keep only what I’m working on in front of me, and every night I tidy up.
- Sound: A fan, such as the one inside my compact space heater, is impressive at muting noise pollution.
- SEO, a.k.a. “search engine optimization”: to help get at the top of internet searches, use keywords in post headings and first sentences.
- Heading: again for SEO, keep them 65 characters or shorter.
- Categories: select less than ten.
- Tags: five is plenty. What’s most important is that your total categories and tags don’t number over fifteen.
- Visitors enjoy interacting with their fave bloggers. Ask readers to subscribe and share. End posts with something they can comment on.
- Invite visitors to look around your site by linking posts to other posts.
- Images: only use ones you have legal rights for (such ones you took or that are classified as royalty-free) and always credit where you got them from.
- Befriend other sites like yours — visit, comment, link, and meet their fans.
- Reblogs from someone else’s sites to yours are lovely — and even nicer when introduced with comments of your own. Add your thoughts when you click “reblog” or later within your site’s editor.
- Composing Posts: Begin them with a sense of where you’re going, and conclude them with a quick review.
- It takes time and care (a.k.a. love) to compose a blog post people will want to read and come back to.
- Good writing is all about rewriting. Let a post sit, then review it a couple of hours later or the next day.
- Continually study how to use social media more effectively.
- Hosting: Self-hosting works for some. In my case, I use WordPress.com, and find that having them host my site is inexpensive and easy.
- It’s never too early to start collecting an email list — ugh! — in my case, I’m learning this far too late, so I’m now researching how best to start mine.
- WordPress Editor: Frustrated by WordPress’ block editor? I still mostly use Classic and here I explain how.
Let me know how you like my first attempt at adding a poll…
What tips have you learned? If you’re using self-hosted WordPress dot org, do you have a way to get your posts listed on the WordPress Reader?