Tag Archives: Blog Business

Why I Blog About Multiple Topics

Nine speech bubbles in a variety of shapes and pastel colours.Edited on May 13, 2020 to include two responses to this post: On Blogging and Requiem on Blogging

I’ve been blogging on various sites more or less continuously since I was in college.

It started after I read a friend’s blog and realized I could do that, too.

Several of the blogs I worked on solo or as part of a group of bloggers no longer exist, but PK Stories is an exception to that.

I was a preacher’s kid growing up and spent a few years sharing amusing stories from that part of my childhood. (Please note that I’ve learned a lot about writing, blogging, and storytelling since that site was last active. It’s pretty old).

Blogging has changed quite a bit over the years. The best practices for it these days are generally thought to include picking one topic and only writing about that.

So why don’t I follow that rule? Well, there are a few reasons for that.

Content Fatigue

Image of a puzzle in the shape of the profile of a human head
Actual footage of my thought processes after a couple of years of writing about the same topic every week.

I’ve learned through trial and error that I experience content fatigue on single-topic blogs after about two or three years.

It’s tricky for me to know where to go next after I’ve covered everything I want to say, especially since I dislike recycling posts or repeating myself.

Rather than building a new site from scratch every other year, I now prefer to stick to the same site and bounce around among a few different topics instead.

Kudos to those of you who can blog about the same thing for years or decades.

I admire your constancy, but my creativity eventually struggles under those circumstances.

Overlapping Interests

Blue rectangles and squares that are overlapping each other. There may be some people on this planet whose interests all exist in well-defined bubbles that never intersect with each other, but I’m not one of them.

My fitness posts often reference science fiction or fantasy because I think about topics like Frodo’s long walk to Mordor or what it would really be like to use a Holodeck  for my workouts. (Yes, I will actually write that post one of these days).

Sometimes I need to share childhood stories when I talk about the magic of Halloween so my readers will understand why it’s so important to me.

Yoga is both a workout and an exercise in mindfulness. That still blows my mind and may require a few more posts to fully explore.

So why not talk about all of the fascinating things that move between and connect these seemingly-unrelated topics?

Simple Human Curiosity

A group of human-shaped figures in every colour of the rainbow - brown, orange, yellow, green, red, and more!Look, would I ever tell someone else what to write about on their site? Absolutely not!

But I do quietly love it when bloggers reveal new pieces of their personal lives and interests that may or may not be related to the main topic(s) of their sites.

There’s something delightful and surprising about everyone once you get to know them well enough.

It’s amazing to learn that someone you’ve followed and interacted with for years has this whole other side to them that you’d never would have predicted whether that’s a hobby, interest, or something else entirely.

So one of the other big reasons why I jump between topics is to give my readers a better understanding of who I am as a person. Yes, half or more of my posts are about the science fiction and fantasy genres in any given month because of how passionate I am about them, but those aren’t my only interests by any means.

My hope is that by sharing these parts of myself other bloggers might be encouraged to do the same thing.

How did you all pick the topic(s) for your sites? What made you stick to one topic on your site or include multiple ones on it?

My 20 Most Popular Posts of 2019

Every December I catalogue my most popular posts of the year. This is something I first began doing in 2017 with a roundup of my 10 most popular posts. Last year, I decided to double that number in response to my blogging buddies Terry Tyler and Tom Williams doing the same thing.

I was surprised by how popular my reviews of various Youtube workout videos were this year. When they were first published, they didn’t get as many hits as I was expecting, but that changed quite a bit over the longterm. Look for some more reviews of free online workouts in 2020.

Interviews with readers and writers of science fiction were well-represented in this round-up, too. I’d love to do more of them in 2020 if anyone is interested. The informational link on how to sign up is included below.

On a silly note, I thought it was interesting to see how many posts that had stock photos with orange or yellow hues made it onto this year’s list. Maybe my readers really love those colours. Ha!

Woman using a cellphone

20. Put Down Your Phone and Pay Attention

Carved and lit Halloween pumpkin sitting next to a calendar that says October 31

19. My Best Halloween Memories

The personification of spring. She's sitting on a swing that's adorned with pink roses.

18. An Exclusive Interview with Spring 

two front doors in a duplex. One door is blue and the other one is yellow

17. 5 Tips to Beat Writer’s Block 

Couple cuddling a dog

16. 3 Fictional Families I’d Want to Spend Family Day With 

Books covered in a thick layer of cobwebs and dust

15. Why I Prefer E-Books Over Physical Books 

Woman stretching over to touch her toes before a run.

14. What to Do If You Missed a Week of Working Out 

Poster for the film The House with a Clock in Its Walls. The three main characters from that film are smiling and looking straight ahead in it. One is holding a book and the other holds a light.

13. My Review of The House with a Clock in Its Walls 

Woman doing an upper body workout.

12. My Review of Fitness Blender’s Toned, Lean Arms Workout 

Athletes laughing and jumping.

11. 4 Things I Love About Fitness Culture 

Science Fiction fan Tammy Schoch posing by the grand canyon

10. Interview with Tammy Schoch 

Stack of books sitting next to a vase of yellow flowers

9. Why Taking Reading Breaks Can Be a Good Idea 

Photo of Berthold Gambrel

8. Interview with Berthold Gambrel 

Woman dancing while using headphones and iPhone

7. 4 Games You Can Play While Listening to Audiobooks

Grapefruit Slice Lying with Lemon Slices

6. Blogging Advice: Finding and Using Visual Images for Your Site 

Photo of author M.H. Thaung

5. Interview with M.H. Thaung 

Group of people networking with their cellphones

4. Blogging Advice: Social Media and Networking 

Person blogging about coffee on a WordPress blog

3. Blogging Advice: Brainstorming and Idea Management 

Blue and Red Galaxy Painting

2. If You Love Speculative Fiction, I Want to Interview You

Woman Performing Deadlifts

1. My Review of Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout 

Search Engine Questions from 2019

Every year I take the last two week of December off from serious blogging, so here’s a lighthearted topic for today that I’ve been slowly compiling since last winter.

The phrases and sentences in bold are the funniest, most interesting queries that have sent new readers to this site over the last year. My responses are below them.

Will we ever run out of new music

Only when we run out of people. Even then, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t leave behind a few machines that knew how to make music and continued to churn out new songs.

How popular is the name lydia

It was #85 on the top 100 list for baby girl names in 2017. I love my name and hope it becomes more widely used someday.

How much do gym teachers make

According to this site, it’s about $51,000 a year for elementary gym teachers and $53,000 for middle/high school gym teachers in the United States. Depending on your years of experience and where you live, the salary can be as low as $35,000 or as high as $80,000.

teleport lydia to me
how to teleport lydia to me

If this is a Star Trek thing, sign me up! I’d love to explore your ship, have a few minor health issues fixed in your medical bay, eat replicator meals, and visit all of the cool holodeck programs.

achoo gif

Your wish is my command.

Gif description: a man sneezing repeatedly into a handkerchief.

What is gender treachery in the handmaid’s tale

Having a physical and/or romantic relationship with someone of the same gender. LGBT+ people didn’t fare well in Gilead at all. We’d  give it 0 out of 10 stars.

compliments that begin with t

  • Talented
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Terrific
  • Thoughtful

how to summon Lydia

Other than teleportation, you could offer me dairy-free chocolate and an engrossing story. Or, you know, text me and say you want to get together for tea or something.

Is The Magicians worth watching?

Yes. I found the first season a little slow in the beginning, but the storylines become really good once you get to the end of that season and the start of the second one.

wtf facts about silent people

Sometimes we have top secret meetings about talkative people. The ones that think it’s funny to ask us why we’re so quiet or treat our temperaments like they’re a character flaw get added to the naughty list. Everyone else gets fresh, homemade cookies (unless they don’t want cookies).

I’d say more, but I don’t know that the Silent People Board of Elders ™ would approve. 😉

How do I get to Mordor

Just about any other destination in Arda would be a safer place to visit. I’d much rather visit The Shire, Rivendell, or Treebeard’s Hill. If you insist on going to Mordor anyway, I’d suggest flagging down a Nazgul or wandering into Orc territory. 

I’d follow you into the Mists of Avalon

Thank you. I’d lead you into the Mists of Avalon if I knew where to find it and that I could get us home safe again. Ideally, we’d use your teleporter and be back home again before anyone missed us.

Is Jean M. Auel dead?

Not so far as I can tell. She’s in her 80s now and isn’t particularly interested in spending much time online from what I’ve heard, so I suspect any future notices about her health will come from one of her children.

How to make lembas bread

I blogged about a recipe that’s the closest thing us mortals will ever get to true lembas bread. It’s pretty delicious, but it has yet to give me superhuman endurance.

Should I Bring Back the Reader Questions Series?

Years ago, I occasionally answered reader questions about all sorts of topics. This is something I originally began doing because a friend of mine started doing it first.

The post that began this series on his site as well as some of the entries in it are no longer online so far as I can tell, but reading his answers to all of the questions people have sent in over the years has been fascinating.

My friend blogs about all sorts of topics: his chronic health issues, raising a (now-adult) child who has Down syndrome, photography, memories of his youth, U.S. politics, and the many theological and other changes his family has been through over the decades. The questions his followers send to him generally fit into one of these buckets, although sometimes people throw wild cards into the mix that probe parts of his mind he generally doesn’t share with the world.

Reason #1

One of the things I really like about my friend is how open he is to discussing just about anything with his readers. While I completely respect the wishes of some bloggers to stick to specific topics or to keep a firm line drawn between their online and offline selves, I think it’s interesting when they’re willing to open up to their audiences and talk about random things occasionally.  This is the first reason why I’m considering answering questions again.

Reason #2

This site has grown and changed so much since the last question in my series was published in 2015.

I know that most of my current readers weren’t following this site four years ago. With all of the new followers who have shown up over the last six months to a year, answering questions you come up with instead of what I think my readers are most interested in checking out might be a fun way for you to get to know me a little better.

What could we talk about?

  • Meditation (and how not to fall asleep during it)
  • Reading habits
  • Genres I love like science fiction
  • Genres I generally avoid and why
  • Stories from my life as a preacher’s kid
  • Life as an immigrant and dual-citizen
  • The writing process
  • Self-publishing
  • Demisexuality
  • Bisexuality
  • Polyamory
  • Fitness for people who aren’t athletic or good at team sports

Or anything else you’ve wondered about while reading my posts.

I’m a little nervous about sharing the link to some of my old reader question posts because of how much my writing style and choice of topics have evolved over the years, but click here or do a search for the term mailbag if you want to look through what people have asked in the past.

Reason #3

Change can be a good thing. As much as I want to go back and revamp some of my old posts, I’m proud of how willing I’ve always been to try new things and see what works. There have been times when certain types of posts flopped when I expected them to succeed. At other times, a post I didn’t think would do well still continues to draw in readers years later.

The Internet can be an unpredictable place at times. I’m ready to roll the dice again and see who is interested in reviving this series with me.

Respond

If you have questions, I’ll have answers. Leave them as a response to this post, fill out the contact form, or email them to interviews AT lydiaschoch DOT com.

I’ll Tell You About My Drafts Folder If You’ll Tell Me About Yours

Robot fingers gently touching human fingersIt’s been a long time since this blog published a lighthearted writing post, so let’s change that.  Lately, I’ve been gently poking my drafts folder and trying to decide which posts in there, if any, are ready to finish and share with the world.

On a related note, finding an appropriate stock image photo for this post was tricky. It turns out that there is not a lot of demand out there for picture of draft folders!

I’d like to think that if draft posts literally had hands, they’d have five digits just like people do. Yes, I anthropomorphize everything. It makes life more interesting, and also gives me a better reason for using a photo of a robot and a human gently touching each other’s fingers.

But before I get too off track here, let’s talk about draft folders. Most of the time, I have half a dozen or so finished posts sitting in the queue waiting to be published. I also have dozens more posts in various stages of completion. Some of them might consist of a couple of words thrown into my list of ideas. Others have grown large enough to warrant a draft post in the backend of my blog.

Not everything on my ideas list becomes a post, story, or book, but their chances of being written into their final form jumps once I create a draft post for them. This can happen because I need to publish that post at a specific time of the year, or finish reading a book for it (in the case of reviews or recommendations), or have some other experience that would enrich my words.

I thought it would be entertaining to give all of you a peek into my drafts folder for my blog. There are fourteen posts there in various stages of completion or contemplation.

 

1. Title: Book review for Chesya Burke’s “Let’s Play White” (I’m sure I’ll think of a better title for it by September)

Publication Date: September 5

Why: Earlier this year, Apex Magazine asked for volunteers to participate in a huge blogging bash that’s happening in September. I chose to review this book as my contribution to that bash.

 

2. Title: Autumn Worlds I’d Like to Visit

Publication Date: September 23

Why: This is the final part of a short series of posts I’ve done on books that remind me of specific seasons. It feels right to wait until autumn has officially began to publish it.

 

3. Title: Characters I’d Never Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

Publication Date: October 14

Why: The idea for this post came from reading my search engine log. I thought it would be great for Thanksgiving (which happens in October in Canada).

 

4. Title: Mindfulness and Difficult People

Publication Date: December 2 (tentative)

Why: It’s a great topic, but I think it would have an even bigger impact during a time of the year when some of us may be spending time with folks we may not normally associate with.

 

5. Title: Fitness and the Holidays

Publication Date: December 16 (tentative)

Why: This is one of those ideas I’ve been playing around with for years. Maybe 2019 will be the year I actually publish it? Every December, I take a two week blogging break. I generally write lighthearted roundup or similar posts well ahead of time for that break, so you’ll see a lot of entries from late December and early January on today’s list.

 

6. Title: Search Engine Questions from 2019

Publication Date: December 26

Why: I need to wait until as late as possible in the year in order to make this post as funny and as accurate as possible.

 

7. Title: My 20 Most Popular Posts of 2019

Publication Date: December 30

Why: Obviously, this is a post I can’t put together or publish until the end of the year.

 

8. Title: What I Read in 2019

Publication Date: January 2, 2020.

Why: It’s not January yet. Unless someone has a crystal ball, I don’t see how I can write a post about what I’ve read ahead of time.

9. Title: 5 Places You Should Visit on a Trip to Ontario for Canada Day

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: As I was writing it, I realized that my answers were very Toronto-based because I spend so little time outside of my city. I think I need more experience visiting other parts of this province before I can say for sure where everyone should go.

 

10. Title: Modern Classics Series (tentative title)

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: Eventually, I hope to start recommending science fiction and fantasy books written in the last 20 years that I believe will be considered classics in the future. I need to do a lot more reading before beginning this series, though!

11. Title: 3 Benefits of Taking a Yoga Class

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: Earlier this week, I had originally planned on taking a yoga class and then blogging about it. I woke up with a sore, spasming muscle that morning and decided it was better to rest my body and try again at a different time. Maybe someday you’ll see this post go live!

 

12. Title: How to Find Your Way Home in Minecraft

Publication Date: Unknown

Why: I’m an intermediate Minecraft player, so I’m still deciding if the Internet needs another post about how to get un-lost in that game.

 

13. Title: Mindfulness Exercises for a Bad Mood

Publication Date: Unknown

Why: People keep finding my blog with phrases like this one. Eventually, I do hope to write a full post about it once I’ve tried enough exercises.

14. Title: The Various Sock Choices of Harry Potter Characters

Publication Date: Either never or ASAP. There is no middle ground.

Why: I’ve gotten multiple hits on my blog about Harry Potter characters wearing socks, Harry Potter characters who won’t wear socks, socks that feature Harry Potter characters, fuzzy socks, hand-knit socks, and just about any other sock-related query you can think of that so much as glances in the direction of the Potterverse. I am so tempted to write a full-length post on this topic. Would you write it?

 

Okay, you’ve seen my long list of drafts. I’m editing this post to include links to other people’s draft lists as they share them with me.

Patrick Prescott’s Work on Hold.

If You Love Speculative Fiction, I Want to Interview You

I’ve decided to try something new on my site. This was loosely inspired by what Downright Dystopian started doing with her interviews earlier this spring. I’m hoping I’ll be able to tap into a new audience since I’m focusing my questions on people who like speculative fiction and have multiple social circles that don’t seem… Read More