In just a couple of months it will be two years since I started blogging. Writing a blog had never been a goal of mine. In fact it would be fair to say that until I started blogging I didn’t have much of an idea of what it was; or of any social media platforms for that matter. I was a latecomer to the party considering, according to Wikipedia, blogging began in the 1990s!
My goal at the time of beginning blogging was, and still is, to set up a website of educational resources for use in early childhood classrooms or homes. The main message I received when attending a writers’ seminar about digital publishing was the importance of having an “online presence”. I took the advice and started tweeting and blogging. Here I am now, a semi-experienced tweeter and blogger, still a bit unsure about the online presence.
I started blogging with a goal of posting twice a week, which I have pretty much maintained since then. Initially I had just few readers, all of whom were “real” people, family and friends, I already knew. As much as I was, and am, very grateful for their continued support and encouragement, it was very exciting to receive my first “outside” comment two months later.
It was over four months before any new readers visited and commented regularly. Some of those first readers are still with me (Anne and Caroline), others have moved on, and others have since joined. Now I have a wonderful group of online friends. As with offline friendships we interact when we can, exchanging comments and ideas with each other, mostly on our blogs and Twitter.
I have been as fortunate with my online friendships as I have with my offline friendships. (I was tempted to use the word “real” instead of “offline”, but I consider my online friendships no less real.) We don’t have to see each other every day, every week, or even every month, for the friendships to flourish. Wherever the friendships form, they require certain ingredients to keep them strong, including:
respect, acceptance, attention, appreciation, gratitude, and open communication that goes both ways.
I really appreciate people who challenge and extend my thinking as much as those who are happy to jump on my bandwagon with me, or just come along for the ride.
During the past few months when some of my blogging friends and I have been sharing appreciation for each other and our comments, I have suggested that we belong to S.M.A.G.: The Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude.
It started off in a light-hearted way (yes, I coined it) but others seemed to appreciate the thought and welcomed the idea of belonging to a group that required of them no extra effort. I decided that a S.M.A.G. badge to be displayed by anyone who wished was in order.
In a previous post, I discussed the need for Making choices in how I allocate my use of time while working towards achieving my goals (including posting twice weekly). I shared thoughts about using a contest on 99designs to obtain illustrations for some of my work. While I was very happy with the illustrations, I was a bit uncomfortable with the contest process. However I decided that engaging each of the three runner-up finalists to do other illustrations in a guaranteed one-on-one project would (in my mind) help, in a little way, to make up for all the work they had done without reward. I have since done this and feel much happier about the process and am pleased with the results.
One of the designers, Kari Jones (ArtbyJonz), is now illustrating a second book for me and I approached her for the S.M.A.G. badge. This is what she produced. I love it. I hope you do to.
If you would like to display it on your blog, and share it with your blogging friends, I would be honoured for you to do so, but please attribute it to me and link back to this page.
I have found Kari wonderful to work with. She has been very helpful and accommodating and I am delighted with the artwork she has produced for me. If you are looking for illustrations I am happy to recommend Kari. You can check out some of her other work on her ArtPal page and contact her on Facebook if you have any queries.
So thank you, all my friends, for your continued support and readership. Whether or not you choose to post the badge, you are still part of S.M.A.G. and it is a pleasure knowing you.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.