Salt N' Pepper

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5 min read | 876 words

Yes, I don’t know what that post title is getting at either.. So #NaBloPoMo is over and - a bit like waking up to a house full of discarded wrapping paper and half eaten leftovers on Boxing Day - it’s come and gone quicker than expected leaving me a bit dazed. I wrote 19 out of 30 posts this month so didn’t quite reach maturity as a fully grown #NanoPoblano Tiny Pepper. I’m happy with my attempt though: I’ve written more blog posts in the last month than I have all year (seriously, i’d written only 5 posts this year before I started). But what worked and what do I need to work harder at? It started well with a trio of posts about our trip to Madrid. It was good practice tailoring each post towards a specific message and is probably the first time I’ve written a ‘series’ of posts under an over-arching theme. In the past my posts on this blog have rambled on without purpose but these posts are evidently more tailored - yay, go me! I’m most proud of my Parque de El Retiro post this month because I managed to combine beautiful - if I do say so myself - images with a ‘story’ of the day. I didn’t know it when I took the pictures but they were a perfect fit here. Especially in that post, but overall, I’ve focussed more on pictures. I deliberately chose a theme that encouraged this and having them front and centre meant they had to look good alone and in the mosaic of featured images. I like the Watermark theme because of how minimal it is but it isn’t perfect:

  • I don’t like that the social media icons are at the bottom of the site and all but unreachable unless you disable infinite scrolling (The author was kind enough to respond to my enquiry though)
  • The featured images are nice but cumbersome when I wanted to post just a video since a single frame would look like a duplicate on the post page.
  • There’s no widget menu on the front page meaning I couldn’t display the #NanoPoblano badge permanently or show a category cloud (though the latter is probably a good thing considering this is a relaunch and awful old posts still haunt me).

All of the above could be fixed by tweaking the theme files but in October I moved away from the self-hosted Wordpress to in an effort to both save a little money and avoid falling into my usual trap of tweaking the theme rather than writing content. Since I haven’t been able to fiddle with the back end (I’m on the free plan), I’ve had to grin and bear it and ultimately it has meant my writing has been distraction free. I can always try a different theme in future. I struggled for ideas on some days and the Daily Prompts were so useful. I really need that jumping off point or focus to stop me rambling and I think my posts have benefited as a result. It was also interesting how easily they resurrected old forgotten memories like this one about made up words. I added a Silliness category for just such posts ;-) It would be loathe of me not to mention my fellow Tiny Peppers and the inspiration they’ve shared with me this month. I’ve laughed, cried, found strength and love, learned more about feline etiquette than I thought possible, laughed some more, remembered that women are awesome, saw my current city in a new light, found a fellow Harry Potter fan, swooned over so many pretty pictures, found a reason to like Mondays, and oh goodness where are those tissues again? All the feels. I couldn’t have even attempted NanoPoblano without the Peppers - and Cheer Peppers - and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share, in many cases, some of the most personal moments of their lives. I tried to read as many of my fellow Peppers as I could and even now have only scratched the surface. I’ve found blogs (and bloggers) that I just love and I now return to on a daily basis. I also found blogs through comments here and there including this gem, that is taking me on a wonderful tour of all the Disney classics. It’s magical :-) What about the missing 11 days? Well, I did have a busy month, what with a trip to Scotland and my volunteering, but really some days I just couldn’t bring myself to write. This year hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows and some days I just felt like hiding away from the world, sulking into my duvet. I couldn’t really articulate the way I was feeling enough to write about it. I’m still figuring out what I want this blog to be about and I don’t plan to whitewash the bad, but I think there will always be some kind of filter. The realisation that people actually read (and hopefully like) what I write is dawning on me so I aim to be more consistent and considerate with my writing. Time will tell.

NaBloPoMo or, to give it its Rock Star name, NanoPoblano - How was it for you?

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