Blogging Is A Process

This will be my 4th post in a series on blogging……these are my thoughts and not a template for anyone else…..I just see the whole blogging experience as  a labor of love.

Most of us bloggers begin our process with checking the news to see what is happening while we were otherwise distracted…..with stuff like…..SLEEP.  once we have digested our information and have found something that appeals to our sensibilities then we begin to write our posts…..whether we agree or not we have an opinion and that opinion needs to be voiced.

The beauty of the internet and most specifically, is that it is a place where everyone has a voice and we can use it……sometimes it hits a nerve and other times it is just a thought we want to pass on……whatever the reason does not matter…..what matters is that we can begin a conversation and others may join …..for the exchange of ideas and thoughts is what it is all about.

Like I said previously…..we all have a process or if you will the madness of our infliction……a method to our posts.  Mine is a bit extreme more so than most….I begin my day at 0100 hrs (1am)…..I start so early because my interests are in the Middle East and in war zones….so in my time is about 0900 hrs Baghdad time, depending on whether it is real time or that fake time……I begin with check with sources in Iraq and Syria to see what has happened while I snoozed….then I check around the region for news that could be a game changer and then I begin my writing process once I have decided what the subject will be of my post……I also mark stories that I think would help my readers to understand what is happening in the region……..believe me when I say what we hear in the US is not necessarily what is important in the region.  These marked articles will become presses for my readers education.  Of course during my process lots of mind soothing coffee is consumed.

I also as part of my process try to visit daily the sites that visit my site……I feel that it is my effort to help support their attempts to make their blogs more popular.  Some bloggers want it to be magic that everyone reads their stuff……I try to assert myself into their world by commenting as much as possible…….

After I finish my posts I save them in draft of which I have any where from 5 to 20 being held to be used as needed…..after all that I sit down and make one more trip through my news sources before I shut down the process go eat and then try to sleep.

I am by no means telling my readers this should be their process……..but I am serious about my statements of concern for the education of my readers and a little work and lack of sleep is a small price to pay for a better understanding in the world.

I truly enjoy writing my blog….In Saner Thought is a true labor of love for me…….plus it helps me deal with retirement, forced retirement and it expands my knowledge and that is a great thing in my mind.

 

The Rewards Of Blogging

Memorial Day and Summer begins…….as usual we have yet another disaster movie and about the only thing missing is another Nicholas Cage movie.  Please take a moment and remember those that gave their lives in service to their country.

As per my tradition I will not be posting much today….instead I will spend the day with family and friends doing what people do (you fill in the blank)……….

This will be number three (3) in my series of why I am blogging and what the experience means to me personally…….

Most of my regulars know that I enjoy research and then writing about what I have discovered.  Have you ever felt like there is something that you were destined to do?  I feel that blogging is mine.

Some of my fellow bloggers judge their success by the number of daily hits which is their thing…and yes I would very much like to get 1000+ hits a day but I try to be realistic.  The only way to get those high stats is from some sort of promotion service and most of them are looking to get paid for their “secrets”.  I just refuse to pay for popularity just to feed my ego.

I find that there many rewards to blogging, at least to me……..regular visitors and commenters, fellow bloggers that think my stuff is worthy of a re-blog, but my biggest reward is those readers that come to my blog looking for what I have to say on a given subject or situation…..recently there was an international situation that one of my regulars said that he came to me first because “I would probably be all over it”……that made me feel that all my hard work has NOT been in vain.

I do not always blog about the story du jour, unless of course it is of major importance and I need to address the situation……instead I try to give my reader information that they may not be aware of or those situations that they, my readers, may find thought provoking…..there is enough confusion out there….I just want to try and clarify it, at least from my point of view which I realize that not everybody will agree with the analysis.

I write a lot on the Middle East….it is the area of my interest….I have both lived and worked in the region….but to write fresh perspective I am on the PC at 0100 hrs (1 a.m.) for at that time it is about 0900 hrs in say Baghdad and I can get fresh news as it is happening not the selective regurgitation of NBC………. I could puke up the popular topic these days…..hate……..but that is not my style…….if I speak ill of something I try to explain why I feel that way………. hopefully my readers appreciate that I want to give them news as it happens not later……ignorance must be fought whether the people want to hear it or not……for ignorance breeds hate and fear…….

After college I was recruited by a think tank to analyze and then report on situations in the Middle East…..the problem was I was given a conclusion and I had to make the report fit that conclusion…..something I would not do….needless to say I was not hired and got a bad name in the world of think tanks……so I took to writing and analyzing stuff on my own…..did not pay well but it was so satisfying to punch holes in the garbage being sold as analysis……then a blog became the next step into my world of international relations……..

The rewards in blogging are many….but it all takes work and it becomes a labor of love……well, at least for me.  I also feel that it is my duty and my responsibility to point out misinformation wherever I find it and by whom regurgitates such lies…..and I must do it everyday without fail….dependability is an asset when blogging……if my readers cannot depend on me then I have failed in my duty.

Enjoy your day and I shall be in form for tomorrow……see you then.

Blogging Is Hard Work

The weekend again…..I want to try something completely different from my weird little stories I find to break up my week….some of them are popular and some fall dead from boredom……today is about blogging……a subject that is near and dear to most of us…….

We bloggers are always looking for ways to increase our exposure…..it is hard work to keep a blog up and running and current.  It is even harder to get readers after all there is about a gazillion blogs out there.

We try to find ways to get more readers to increase our stats….some of us pay a service to increase our traffic……or like me they try to visit and follow as many as possible…..we comment on their sites and we give them a like whenever possible…..with the hope that they will reciprocate….this is not for those that are impatient….it is a time consuming process but it does pay off.

Some bloggers carve accolades……like awards that are heaped on them……most of the awards are just a way to try and increase traffic to sites…….do not get me wrong….there is NOTHING wrong with these awards and they work for some people…..we do what we must to try an increase readership.  Thinking that readers show up because it is a certain type of blog is not always true……we bloggers work on the old adage….”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”

There is no guarantee that there will be people flocking to your site because it has a certain word in the title….like liberal or conservative or other descriptive names……people will help those that help them……

For me I try to use my schooling in international relations especially the Middle East……a subject that many want to forget or ignore simply because it does not fit into the narrative they have made for themselves.

I could post many articles a day….but I try to limit my day to 5 or 6 post at most……more and I feel my readers will be overwhelmed…..plus I look for stuff that can expand their horizons, so to speak…….events and situation that they might not give much thought to but could be a thorn in the country’s butt……I like to be fore armed…….

Hard work pays off, at least it did for me……recently  when the US and Iran came to an agreement on nukes a reader said that he came to IST because he knew I would be all over it…..and that is why I do what I do.  That made my day…….made me feel like it is all worth the hard work.  Then I was asked to be a guest writer on another site……for me that is the highest honor that someone would like my opinions and analysis on their site.

Not just bitching about issues that frustrate me but rather helping my readers understand what is what.  I also try to help them understand politics….but these days there is NO understanding politics other than to realize that it is NO longer a science but rather a circus of morons playing a dangerous game…….dangerous to the country but not to themselves……..HELL the more extreme they talk the more wackos vote for them…..the more wackos that vote the more dangerous the world becomes……it is a vicious circle that cannot be broken until people try to understand the world…..and that is where we bloggers enter into the conversation.

Me?  I have been a writer for decades……until I discovered the internet most of my stuff was ‘letters to the editor’ and an occasional piece sent to magazines and such…….then Katrina hit where I live and I was badly injured and could no longer work…..but I continued to read, research and analyze……and by a stroke of luck I was given a used computer by a friend…..and as they say…’the rest is history’.

Blogging is hard work and bloggers are hard workers!  Most of us do it out of love of information and passing it on to others with the hope that they will use it for a better understanding and to eventually make better decisions.

 

How To Be Effective

This may be my only post today….I have to settle a bunch of legal stuff dealing with my father’s estate…….but do not despair I shall return….probably more opinionated than I was……we can only hope that I do not take offense and try and strangle some random attorney……my handler will be with me to keep me on the straight and narrow……Let us pray!

All of us bloggers, especially those of us that write on politics, want to be effective.  We try and bring issues and situations to light to hopefully start a dialog…..we all want what is best for the country and its people.

When I began my political writing and analysis I was given some great advice by my grandfather…….”Never write a novel when a paragraph will do.”  Basically, keep it short and precise and always stay on topic.  It has proven to be excellent advice that has served me well over the years of writing and speaking.

I try to help my fellow bloggers in any way that I can….I am by no means an expert and have made many mistakes in the last 8 years of blogging….a lot of hit and miss……I pass on some of the stuff that I have come across in those years that could possibly help my friends and fellow bloggers……

Awhile back I was reading on the ‘net and came across some advice that a man, Ramzy Baroud, had given to a 16 year old that wanted to get involved in activism….let me pass on a couple of his points that I found helpful……..

Humanize – But don’t sanctify your subject

It doesn’t matter how worthy a cause is, if it is too distant or disconnected from people. It is essential that you allow your audience the chance to relate to your cause as that of people, with names and stories, beautiful, inspiring, but also disheartening and complex. But it is important that you don’t provide a sanctified, thus unrealistic narrative either, for your audience will disown you and question your credibility. Humanize your subject, but remain truthful in your presentation.

Be educated, strive for intellect and be wary of ideology

Education will give you access to otherwise inaccessible platforms. It will empower you and your message with the articulation you need to widen your circle of support. But you are also an intellectual. The right education could further develop your intellect. And when it is done with sincerity, both education and intellect will feed on one another. While there is no harm in adhering to an ideology that you may perceive to hold the answers to the dilemmas with which you contend, be wary of becoming an ideologue, a slave to stubborn dogmas. That will stifle your intellect and will make your education a mere platform to serve unworthy, elitist causes.

Keep an open mind

No matter how powerful your argument may seem, how high your education and how insurmountable your intellect is, remain humble and open-minded. If you close your mind, it will cease to grow. Your ideas will eventually become outdated, and your ability to imagine a world beyond your own will wither and die under the weight of your own sense of self-importance.

These are excellent points and I feel that if we try to keep them in mind there could be a better dialog and possibly find the answers we are all striving to find…..Just a few of my thoughts early in the morn after a good cup of Joe…….Have a day, my friends.

How To Judge Success

It is the holiday season…..

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the blog…..not a creature was stirring with the exception of Chuq…..the professor, who just cannot let it go…….

All of us bloggers want a successful blog……we like to know that people are reading and appreciating our diligence….but how do we judge success?  Some of us spread HATE….and they may call it anything they like…but if it smells like a turd…it usually is……do we want a certain type of person to visit and read or do we just like to know that all visitors appreciate the work it takes to post on a daily basis without being redundant….or are the visitors looking for crap that can feed the hate?

I admit that I spew a little hate from time to time….but if I single a person out for an insult or two I will email them a copy of my post and ask them if they would like to respond and that anything they write will be posted on my blog…..I give everyone a fighting chance to explain their thinking.

I try to give my reader news that is just not regurgitation of the day’s talking points but rather news that they may not be aware of….news that could have a profound result if it goes unchecked……all that is just ducky……but how does one judge success?

Some like a ba-zillion hits on their site……others like it when everyone feels the necessity to re-blog their posts…..some feel that they need recognition from outside entity in the form of awards………all these are indications of a successful blog and I too would like ALL of them……but for me….I judge success by the number of followers…..that means that the more followers one has the more people get each and every post by email……and most are never counted as ‘hits’….I like the idea that so many people will receive my posts and hopefully ALL are reading them…..but I am realistic…..probably only a small amount of people actually spend the time to read my posts…….But I feel good that that many people get them daily……and then I judge success by the comments…….not necessarily the quantity but the quality….and so far my visitors are of high quality and even when I do not agree…the exchanges are thoughtful and civil….and I thank those people from the bottom of my heart…..I have you guys and that makes In Saner Thought a success……..

Hopefully, they appreciate the work that goes into writing a post and ….once again hopefully it will give them an insight that they had not considered in the past……conversations will save this country from the insanity that it now has made for itself……the more we talk the better the understanding……the better the understanding the sooner we start working as a people and stop this tribal insanity…..

I would like to thank all my followers, commenters and friends that I have made…… writing this blog is a joy…..and that is why I do it and I consider In Saner Thought a success…….thank you one and all for all your help in making this blog a success.

Merry Christmas to all….and to all a good night!

Name Change UpDate

Yesterday I decided to change the title of my blog……it has gone through a couple of changes since 2006…..Studies and Observations…..Info Ink….Opus Libertas…..Blue Nation Agitations…..and several in between….but none of they popped for me…..and last night I found a small book of poetry I did in the late 70’s….the title was In Saner Thought……BAM!

That pops for me……no matter what your political or economic affiliation the title will mean something.

Thanx to my readers that help me through this agonizing search and decision……I appreciate all the assistance

Name Change!

I started my blog back in the days when I was in rehab for a crushed leg, then it was titled, “Studies and Observations”.  I have long been a political animal, mainly in political thought and not so much into the day to day activity of a party….although I have from time to time bitched and moaned like most of the others bloggers on certain topics and issues.

In the beginning it was mostly a spot for me to comment on the war between Lebanon and Israel……and cut and paste of accounts of that war……and then I started injecting my political thoughts into to content and it began to morph….it was at this point that I decided to re-name the blog, Info Ink, in honor of a company I started back in the early 90’s…….after awhile I changed the name again because I figured that if it was Googled most of the pings would be for ink prices and such….the new name was Opus Libertas or Liberty’s Work.

Today I have to decided to try again to find that perfect title for my blog……Opus Libertas is just not doing it for me.  But what to change it to was the gnawing question….and over coffee I was thinking about my past…..the days when I was an anti-war activist, a union organizer and political writer I was attending a conference presenting a paper on the shortcomings in theory of non-violence and was introduced as a proven agitator and a working class warrior…….after about a pot of coffee my decision was simple and clear…….

Since I am a deep blue political person and I live in a deep red state the choice of a name was all too obvious…………why not return to my days of agitation?  My blog from this point forward will be titled………Blue Nation Agitations!