Weekend Roundup: The Solitary Blogger Edition

And the quest moves ever forward.

Sorry I’m thinking/talking like that. (not sorry.)

I’ve been re-reading Lord of The Rings and given the lack of outside social interaction, Tolkien’s verbiage has taken over my brain.

Next on my re-read list is A Confederacy of Dunces, so prepare yourself for my sounding pretentiously verbose/bombastic.

Don’t let me give you the wrong idea of the book, though—it is literally the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Although The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey had some pretty dumb laugh out loud moments.

Lord of the rings hobbit hole

Please tell me you know this reference

What’s good about these roundups is that it causes me to look at my week and question what I did differently or what I learned that’s new.

It’s month three of being an anti-socialite, and indeed I have to carefully navigate the waters of solitude lest I lost my edge. I don’t know what my edge is, but the sentiment there feels right (if a little dramatic).

There is this risk of my days turning into tunnels. Edit the book, build social media, build my empire, you know, routine stuff.

It’s easy to get lost in there.

So in a way, doing this Roundup holds me accountable to proving that I am not completely living in a bubble…If there are five new things coming into my life each week, then I must be reaching out somehow or another.


biker exiting a tunnel

On that note, let’s get to it, as item number one seems quite fitting for my little prologue…

The Weekend Roundup: Preparation Edition

1. Embracing: Solitude

2. Understanding: RSS

3. Reading: Blog it!

4. Doing: Making the Bed

5: Discovering: Google Surveys

1) Embracing: Solitude


“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude express the glory of being alone.”

-Paul Tillich

Surprise, surprise.

This quote started off one of my morning readings this week, and I’m guessing it’s no coincidence. Living in a way where I spend most of my time alone tends to make others raise an eyebrow of concern. Aren’t loners a bad thing? Don’t they murder people eventually?

The superego voice in my head tends to me that I’m abnormal or maladjusted somehow because I love being alone for long stretches of time.

Eventually, I think I’m just going to have to accept that that’s who I am (at least in this season).

person sitting loner in a field

The guilt is the main hurdle: turning down invitations and feeling like I’m letting people down. But honestly, others probably care much less than I expect (heyyyy, Ego).

Oh, Meggan can’t join us? Too bad. I’m going to check Facebook now and then go eat sushi.”

I realize that I’m not alone in this; if you’re still reading you  probably relate, and if you’re a creative—especially a writer—perhaps even more-so.

So if that’s the case, let’s join forces and embrace the glory of solitude, shall we?

2) Understanding: RSS

Even though I have been blogging for nearly five years, I never understood RSS. T’was a shame, really, because now that I have finally taken the time to read one well-written article, I get it.

RSS for blogging is important because some people only read the websites on their RSS feed.

What is an RSS feed, you ask? Well, it aggregates headlines to blogs or websites the reader has chosen to follow. No inbox-cluttering or internet browsing—they’re all right there in your feed list.

If you have a website, RSS is pretty easy to set up so people can follow you in their feed and you don’t have to understand the concepts well to do it (like me until this week). It’s fine to not understand RSS, but if you quickly read this Copyblogger article called “What the Heck is RSS?”, you’ll probably be better off.

You may even level up and establish your own feed list, which is useful if you post articles to Twitter or Facebook or, you know, if you prefer simplicity.

I chose Feedly for my RSS feed (because the name is cute and it’s fine), and followed some blogs that I like. Now all I do is skim headlines to see what looks good, then read/repost as I see fit.

3) Reading: Blog it! By Molly Greene

Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, is a mouthful of a title (hooray for SEO optimization…?), but it’s also a cheap and useful buy if you want to know how to start a blog and maybe even make money.

blogger typing at computer

Even though it would seem I already know how to start a blog, I still found several good tips and tricks. No doubt this would be great for beginners.

For example, things like how important Twitter is to building blog traffic. She goes on to provide ways you can force yourself to be a Tweeter in a way that’s as non-invasive to your life as possible.

Plus, she writes well; The book feels like an exchange with a friend.

Get this fabulous blogging guide on Amazon for a measly four bucks.

4) Doing: Making the Bed

As much as I exhort the values of routine, I’m actually pretty damn bad at maintaining it.

This week that I fell off the wagon of morning meditation. Sometimes it just feels so boring to to the same thing every day when my life is pretty damn predictable as it is (for now, at least). I gotta cut predictability corners where I can!

Speaking of corners, let’s talk about beds. One routine I have not abandoned in years is that of making the bed every morning.

Seriously, if there’s one thing you choose to believe me about, let it be this:

Make your bed every morning. Don’t go crazy on it, just, you know, pull the sheets up and stuff.

Navy Admiral Willain H. McRaven is going to take it from here (it’s less than two minutes…don’t be a chump):

5) Discovering: Google Surveys

Oh baby, this is a good one for all you creators.

Ask questions, designate the demographics from whom you’d like to receive answers, then see results.

Asking hundreds of strangers what they’d be interested in is a bit less-biased than asking your friends and family. I polled 200 people about four possible podcast titles and 300 people about preferences for my upcoming book’s title.

Given so many interactions are made online and often impulsively, this is useful in letting me know the odds of people following one lead versus another.  

empty checklist poll

Ego and personal preference tends to blind us to what is often the most reasonable decision, like when my old boss at a high-end specialty grocer decided that we should begin selling bulk sliced pizza out of a costco-style hot plate warmer.

Google surveys is relatively cheap at 15 cents per answer. When considered against the lost-revenue of people who aren’t drawn in by a badly-chosen title (or whatever), that price is peanuts.

Also, if you use it once, keep an eye out for a coupon for a second survey or poll in your inbox—I almost missed mine.


There you go, all wrapped up!

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Photocred: photopin.com

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