Pet Blogger Challenge

The Puppiness Project, usually seen at this time slot, has been postponed for a special edition of the Pet Blogger Challenge. Please return next week for our regularly scheduled post.

Golden Retriever Puppy

Is it true that you picked out the puppy from the litter you thought could write the best captions?

What were you doing on March 23, 2010?

I was starting a blog and preparing to bring my first puppy home in nearly 20 years.

With all the excitement in bringing home a puppy (setting up a crate, puppy proofing the house, saying goodbye to your clean floors), why did you feel the need to start a blog?

I had a few reasons.

  1. I wanted to document Honey’s time with us in a way I had never done with previous dogs. Agatha and Christie were with us prior to the era of digital cameras so I only have a few pictures of them and rely on my memory to think of our time together. We have pictures of Shadow but I didn’t track much of our time together in writing. So this was going to be my way to reflect on our time with Honey.
  2. I like hanging out with dog people. I’ve always appreciated people with deep passions and didn’t think I had any of my own. It’s only been recently that I realize that dogs are my deep passion. And I like the idea of hanging around (even if it’s only virtually) with people who share my passion.
  3. I was wondering if blogging could be part of a way of supporting myself financially that would allow me to live a pleasing life–one less dominated by a schedule that feels artificial to me and that allowed me to be more creative.

After nearly 10 months, are you still blogging for the same reasons?

Reasons 1 and 2 are still very strong. I wrestle with reason 3.

So far I’ve done nothing to make Something Wagging This Way Comes earn its keep. I’m paying boarding fees at a very nice web host and will have to pay year after year to keep that very pleasing name. I’ve thought about ways to earn money from Something Wagging but I suspect I’d have to be more “customer focused” instead of my usual narcissistic approach and that I might not have as much fun if I start thinking about every activity in terms of whether it’s profitable.

I would love to chat about this with other pet bloggers.

Does that mean you’ve stopped considering making money through blogging?

Actually I decided that a more profitable topic might be what I do every day in my job–counseling and teaching first time home buyers. I really enjoy helping people wrestle with the emotional and financial decisions that are part of buying a home. And I think I can do something quite different from other sources on the web.

The students in my home buyer’s classes tell me I’m the first person who’s ever defined amortization so they understood it and got a good laugh.

I’ll be launching Hands on Home Buyer as a new blog this month.

Since the best reason for buying a home is to have room for pets, some of the folks I’ve met through Something Wagging This Way Comes might want to check out Hands on Home Buyer. I have a page set up on Facebook. If you become a fan, you’ll get first notice when the blog goes live.

Oh yeah, and on Facebook I have a link to an interesting video about home inspectors who are using dogs to sniff out mold in buildings.

Are you finished with the shameless self-promotion?

Yes, yes I am.

What is your method of blogging? Do you post on a schedule or wait for inspiration to strike?

I used to wait for inspiration to strike and if you look at my archives, you’ll see very sporadic posting.

Participating in National Blog Posting Month for November (a challenge to post every day of the month) let me know that I could post more frequently without cracking up. Since then, I’ve posted nearly every day except Sunday.

My rough schedule includes the Puppiness Project on Mondays, Tue Cute Tuesday, and a video post on Fridays. But I try not to be too rigid.

Golden Retriever Puppy

There's no label on this one. Is this where I'll find the treats?

Do you add cute puppy pictures to your posts because you’re afraid you’re too wordy and boring and you hope the cute puppy will keep them hanging on as you blather on and on?

Why yes. How did you know?

Just a guess. Do you write and edit your posts in advance?

No, part of what has kept this fun has been writing quickly, right into WordPress, with little or no editing. I get up at 5 a.m. to write my posts and they have to be quick because I have to get to work on time.

That’s another concern I have about blogging for pay. Somehow I suspect people might want my writing to be cohesive, clear, and free of mistakes.

I like writing. I hate editing.

What do you enjoy about blogging?

  1. I love meeting other people who stop to comment or who are writing their own blogs.
  2. Writing quickly without worrying too much about whether it’s publishable in a traditional format and being able to be silly is lots of fun.
  3. I’ve always liked the idea of starting a magazine and bringing lots of resources together into one place. Blogging gives me a chance to do something like that.
  4. I love WordPress and all the developers who’ve created a product that allows me to do something pretty attractive without working too hard on layout.
  5. I love the synergy of different ideas coming together across the web and that much of it is in the hands of passionate individuals and not just corporations.

What do you like the least about blogging?

  1. Figuring out the technical side and troubleshooting problems.
  2. See #1.
  3. See #1 and #2.
  4. See #1, #2, and #3.

What do you think will happen with Something Wagging This Way Comes in 2011?

I’m not sure. I have some decisions to make.

  1. Can I continue to keep up with Something Wagging, start a new blog, entertain my puppy, keep my job, and prevent my husband from divorcing me without getting up too much earlier than 4:30 a.m. each morning?
  2. Should I try to find ways to raise income from Something Wagging because I enjoy it so much or would adding commerce make it a burden?
  3. Will I ever figure out how to add a widget to allow folks to subscribe by email and replace the subscribers I lost when I started self-hosting Something Wagging?
  4. Should I attend BlogPaws in 2011? I think it would be great to get up from the computer and meet other people doing the same thing.

I wouldn’t expect to see any answers soon. I’m a notoriously slow decision maker and don’t have the confidence of a puppy crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope with butter on her paws.

Do you have anything else to add?

Just to thank Amy Burkert and Edie Jarolim for hosting the challenge and setting this up. I know they both have lots of other things to do and it was very generous of them to get this going. I can’t wait to read what everyone else has to say.

This is a blog hop. So hop on!

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Comments

  1. Hey Pamela–good luck with your new blog! I’m not a first home buyer, but I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. I admire you for posting everyday during November. I hadn’t hear of National Blog Posting Month. What a concept!

  2. Thanks for the well-wishes.

    Although November was promoted as a national month of blogging, at the site, NaBloPoMo actually hosts challenges every month to post daily.

    I wouldn’t want to add to the guilt quotient of anyone but if you’re looking for a mountain to climb, it might be fun to do once.

  3. Enjoyed reading your answers… I cracked up at the part about adding puppy pictures because you’re worried about being boring and wordy. It’s like you are in my brain! :)

    • Isn’t one of the best things about blogging discovering that lots of other people are just as kooky about these things as you are?

      BTW, I would probably read a diesel engine repair manual published in Latvian if it had enough puppy pictures in it.

  4. It’s seems that finding balance it something many of us pet blogger are struggling with. Thanks so much for participating in this challenge – I’m new to your blog so it was great to get the background!

  5. Good morning! I enjoyed reading your answers and am very impressed you are able to crank out your blog posts in the morning! I’m a zombie most mornings so always need to get a good start on my posts prior to publishing. Kudos to you!

    • Actually, waking up early to write has been how I’ve dealt with insomnia. I used to go to bed later but wake up around 2 or 3 a.m. and lie awake for several hours. Now, I got to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

      I don’t get any more sleep but I’m not miserable lying awake for several hours.

      I’d love to hear more from you folks who publish posts after working on them ahead of time. I think there’s some lessons I need to learn there.

  6. I enjoyed reading your responses.

  7. Maybe have the “Puppiness project” in some form of book? Just thinking. You are such an excellent writer. The blog and book could serve each other well.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I suspect the Puppiness Project would have a better chance in another format (like a book) if I were better at incorporating the lesson into my life. : )

  8. I saved reading your entry for my lunch break because I knew it would give me a lot to think about.

    First, your new website sounds like a terrific idea! My husband and I have yet to decide if we are ready to buy a home, not sure if I really ever will be, but there are a lot of benefits that tempt me. It’s a gigantic decision and commitment, I expect your experience and knowledge will help me a great deal.

    Second, I’ve kind of wondered about the whole making money through a blog thing. Is it really possible to do it without losing integrity? ie will I actually have to start editing my videos and will I not be able to just post photos if I am out of inspiration? I am not sure if I am even capable of turning it into a money-making site. But I am intrigued at the thought, regardless. Like you, I have just newly discovered my passion for dogs and I would love to find some way to make a living that involves them.

    Thirdly, I do the same thing with the photos, shove them in just so people will at least have something to look at. Heh. Is that a bad thing?

    Good luck in all your future decisions! Thanks for being so kind and for writing such heartfelt articles.

    • Wow, I’m worth taking a few minutes of your lunch break. I’m really flattered!

      1) I hope you’ll join Hands on Home Buyer on Facebook. I’ve decided to launch Monday (the day we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday) as a good reminder that housing is a justice issue. Probably some of the business stuff won’t apply in Canada but hopefully you’ll find some other info that would be useful.

      2) I think you raise some good points about making money with your blog. Advertising if a service doesn’t allow you to reject ads you don’t support can be perilous. But I’m also just thinking about doing a few things (Amazon affiliate ads for products I really, really love) just to bring in enough money to pay for hosting fees.

      I think the whole integrity and making money subject is a good one. Perhaps something that will be discussed at Blog Paws?

      3) See my reply to Pup Fan above. I think puppy pictures make everything go down a little easier, don’t you?

      So glad you stopped by. I always look forward to your posts at Rescued Insanity and your thoughtful comments.

  9. I enjoyed reading your answers. I like your comment that pets may be part of the consideration for first time home buyers. What if you devoted one post a week to that subject, driving traffic to your home buyers business? Good luck!

  10. I very much enjoyed reading your entry! I’ve been thinking about some of the things you’ve mentioned and it’s good to know I’m not the only one struggling with decisions like that! :)

    • Although it’s such a solitary pursuit, it’s amazing how much blogging can demonstrate what you have in common with others.

  11. It sounds like you are in it for exactly the right reasons. We are planning on attening BlogPaws this year with my blog http://www.PetBlogsUnited.com, so we hope to see you there!

    Nubbin wiggles,
    Oskar

    • I’m definitely leaning toward going so I’ll make a point of introducing myself if it happens. And I’ll check out your blog soon!

  12. Congrats on the new home-buyer project. Sounds terrific. And you were so smart to plug your FB page … I liked them both.

    If it helps at all, we use Feedburner to manage our RSS and email subscribers.

    • Thanks for joining on Facebook.

      I have a feedburner account too but the widget I set up to manage subscriptions caused code problems with other parts of my blog. For example, it messed up my search widget.

      Being the non-techie that I am, I’ve been reluctant to get back and fix things but I guess I’ll have to try again.

  13. Hi! We took the PEt Blogger Challenge too! Your puppy is so cute. She’s probably already way bigger than Lily, who is a ten-pounder!

    • Honey was probably about 10 pounds in those pictures. She’ll be a year at the end of the month and I expect she’s now around 50 pounds.

      Good thing we have pictures, huh? They grow up so fast.

  14. Your writing is fabulous. I could never just get up at the crack of dawn, write and hit publish like you do. I work and rework my posts, hamming and hawing about whether I should publish. Then I publish, see something I could say better, and quickly fix it hoping nobody has bothered to read it yet. LOL. The life of an infernal perfectionist… Your way sounds much more fun.

    • Thanks for the compliment, Kim. I guess that’s the difference between being a professional and being an amateur. I’m still an amateur writer.

      I’ll probably have an approach much closer to yours with the new blog. But I’m not looking forward to it.

      It’s not that I fall in love with my words. I just don’t think I can do any better no matter how much I tinker with it.

      • Yeah, that part about not thinking you can do any better and running with it? That proves you have talent – because you don’t fret like I do and it still comes out amazing!

  15. This was great, Pamela — except that I now am horribly envious of you for being a natural writer, someone who doesn’t endlessly edit and still sounds great. I work very hard to make my writing sound easy so think it’s unfair when others don’t.

    Lucky I really like you. If you do come to BlogPaws I will only try not to mention it or scowl.

    • Well, it takes me about 1-2 hours to write a post so I’m not just tossing it off. But I can’t say my method is because I’m such a great writer–it’s because I’m a horrible editor.

      I remember sitting across from an editor telling me what he wanted me to do to fix an article he’d agreed to publish and thinking, “I have absolutely no idea how to do that.”

      Believe me, if I could polish my writing to improve it, I would. I just don’t think I’m capable of it.

      So you can grin all you like at BlogPaws knowing that I’ll never get a book contract because I’m incapable of taking editing instructions.

  16. Pamela, I loved reading your answers, but the “rewrite” of your questions had me cracking up! Love your writing style, and Honey looks a lot like my Cassie in these pics… gonna look around your blog now and see what she looks like now. I bet she keeps you on your toes! – Janet

    • Now who would have thought that someone with a Golden at home would need to find tough toys? ; )

      I’m really looking forward to seeing more reviews at your site. Honey’s starting to run out of toys.

  17. Hello Pamela!
    First time visitor to your blog! When you talk about making money, I think that you might have a winner with your new blog that you are about to start. When Sean & I bought out first home, my Dad gave me the advice that I needed, since he is experienced at buying real estate. BUT there are a lot of people out there that haven’t the first clue about what to do. I see a possible e-book in your future..

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Karen. It means a lot coming from such a creative entrepreneur.

      I’m really excited about the new venture. I find that people who have taken my classes save a few thousand dollars over folks who did it entirely on their own. It’s amazing what a little advice can do for folks. You were lucky to have someone right in the family to help you.

  18. I have to hand it to you – I can’t put together a cohesive thought at 5 am, I have no idea how you do it!

    I must be a freak for loving the technical challenges based on all of the answers I’m seeing. :)

    • I presume the 4-6 hours of sleep you get are all the the morning? And you stay up late posting?

      BTW, if you’re looking for another income stream, you might want to think of charging for solving discrete technical glitches for pet bloggers. I’m not ready to hire a designer to help me redo a site. But I’d be happy to pay a friendly person to solve a little glitch in 30 minutes that takes me weeks to work out.

      Of course providing that service would probably mean you only got 2 hours of sleep a night. : )

  19. LOL! I might survive on three, but two is pushing it. 😉

  20. Yes! You should go to BlogPaws ’11. That is one of my resolutions this year – to work on networking opportunities. Come on, it will be fun!!!!

  21. “I like hanging out with dog people”- me too! I always feel an instant connection with dog people, not only on the topic of dogs… but just things in general :)

    • I find it hard to believe that anyone with a soft spot for animals could be all bad.

      Maybe we’d have better success in politics if all the pet people in congress got together every once in a while for play dates?

      I’ll stop over at Fido & Wino soon. I think it’s going to be about a week before I finish visiting all these great blogs.

  22. Love your post! I’m really happy you participated, as it might have been ages before I found you otherwise.

    • Glad you stopped by. I started following you a few weeks ago.

      At first, I was afraid your blog would be too centered in your community to be of general interest but I’m glad I subscribed in my reader. I like reading what you have to say.

  23. Pamela – Kim is right. Your writing IS fabulous! I especially like your sense of humor. Your questions you asked yourself about the puppy pictures and your answer just completely cracked me up!

    I hope you will continue with your blogging (and I am interested in seeing your new one too). I think you have a perfect name and a lot of people would be envious to have it (including me).

    P.S. Thank God I am a pet sitter and dog walker. I get to talk to dog people all of the time! And, dogs too of course!

    • Thanks for stopping by. You realize that as a professional working with dogs every day you are a rock star to many of us who would love to make a living with dogs?

      I have to admit I’m very proud of the name. I wonder what Ray Bradbury would have thought of it?

  24. Hi there, I’m really really hoping you’re the Pamela who left a comment on my Challenge post. I clicked on the name but didn’t see anything. Anyway, I’m guessing it’s you because I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while and it sounds like you. If it’s NOT you, please shoot me now.

    But if it IS, I’ve had a good laugh over many of your posts since I discovered it. I did comment on one some time back as well and that post in included in My Top 10 posts of 2010. Yes, it is. And if you want to see what it is, you’ll have to go back to my blog to check it out. You’re not the only one here who can do shameless self-promotion!

    Not to rabbit on, I hope you do find a way to continue with this blog while working on your new blog and everything else in your life [mainly because I very much enjoy your way with words and would miss it if Something Wagging That Way Went.]

    I think you might be the last blog I have time to read today. Boy! Am I slow at this. I’m guessing everyone has already moved on to The Next Big Thing. I will sign off now with an image of a puppy crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope with butter on her paws. Funny.

  25. We all wish our blogs could support us, and maybe one day it will happen. For the meantime I’m just happy that my blogs supports and helps others.

    But what do you know, maybe one day we’ll all get rich like Google! 😉

  26. Thanks so much for this post – talk about entertaining! You had me smiling and laughing, and I’m sure all other readers as well. And definitely other bloggers; why is it we all seem to experience the same things, the same way?? It’s a wonderful life 😉
    Good luck with your new project!!

  27. I also stopped by to read your challenge post. I like the way you interviewed yourself. And yes, the puppy pictures work, rest assured. They are really cute!
    Just a small tip, if you want the browser to spellcheck what you write, you could try using Firefox, it has that option. I find it very helpful; before I had to read everything again to make sure it’s all correct.
    Good luck with blogging and the Hands on Home Buyer project!

  28. I laughed out loud at picking the puppy who could write the best captions. But of course I would, if you look at my blog header, you’ll see I picked the puppy that could type :)

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