Today on The Blog Lowdown, I’m pleased to be bringing you the lovely Judith, from Hide-N-(Sensory)-Seeking.…
Please Introduce yourself:
My name is Judith. I grew up in Alaska, USA, though we now reside in as far an opposite climate as one can imagine, in hot and humid Louisiana, USA. I play at the piano, but I’m much better at violin, which I play in an all-volunteer orchestra. My son makes my coffee every morning, and my hubby brings it to me in bed many mornings. Sad proof that all attempts have been thoroughly exhausted to turn me into a morning person.
My husband wanted to be my highschool sweetheart, but I wouldn’t date him (nor anyone else, mind you) until halfway through my Senior year, and he proposed two weeks before I graduated. He was 20, I was 18, and we were married three and a half months later. In our 14 years together we have been blessed with three fantastic kiddos, one boy, 12, and two girls, 8 and 3, owned two cats, four parakeets, five dogs, six chickens, and countless fish and houseplants (both of which we have made steady progress at keeping alive!), though, much to my husbands relief, not all at the same time! (Oh, and we homeschool. We’re kinda crazy like that!)
When did you start blogging?
Tell us a little about your blog
It started out as a way for me to organize the loads of new information on, and explain to family and friends about, the challenges we were facing with our kids’ sensory processing issues. After a few months, we got our first autism diagnosis – our then ten year old was diagnosed with Asperger’s and the psychologist agreed that sensory processing was a major aspect. A few months later, autism diagnosis number two, for our almost two year old daughter (she’s now 3), who also had intense sensory processing difficulties, but even more scary had regressed severely in her speech to the point that she only had one functional word left, and we were communicating with her almost entirely through sign language.
My blog allowed me to share research and how our family was affected, but it also provided me a place to show that my kids are also just kids. Gradually I included more and more posts on homeschooling, family life, recipes and more, and it became a place where all families can find something to relate to, to laugh about, sometimes even to cry about. I view it as a hearth rather than a soap box. And I hope all my readers gather round and feel a sort of commradery in the parenting trenches!
Who designed your blog?
I did, with the tools provided by Blogger. I have been strongly influenced by what I have read, especially by those who have sensory issues, to keep it very simple, uncluttered, and easy on the eyes. Sensory friendly, in other words. Also, more and more people do their reading on mobile devices, so I actually chose my layout based on how it looks in the mobile format first. I have stopped reading blogs I otherwise liked because it was too hard to read on my phone, or they had no mobile format. That might sound harsh, but that is what I do most of my research and internet reading on, so I want the experience to be hassle free and not come away with a headache.
Which of your posts have been the most popular? Are there certain types that get more interest?
A post I wrote on speech delays has been my most read from internet searches. That surprised me. And the recent post I wrote to say thank you and farewell to our amazing occupational therapist had an overwhelming response.
I have found the posts that seem to touch people’s hearts move them to comment more. And the project posts get many views as well, which tells me there are always many families looking for ways to keep bored kids busy on a budget!
How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
For a long time I didn’t really, mostly because all my energy was tapped out elsewhere. But periodically someone would tell me how much they appeciated something I had written, or that my blog had helped them, and I was encouraged by family and friends to write more. So now I network through blog hops regularly, comment on and follow other’s whose writing I enjoy, and I recently joined Twitter, so now I promote my blog there as well.
I find that I get higher flow from smaller blog hops. Which makes sense, most readers are juggling their time, and so only have minutes to select a few posts of interest, the less posts to choose from the more time they might take to peruse and visit multiple blogs. Also many of the writers link up regularly. We bloggers are sort of loyal that way, and as a way of thanks we tend to try to support one another with visits and comments.
Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
I love wrap-up linkys, like your Word of the Week. Looking back on things and reflecting, and then checking out how others survived always gives me a boost! And I love Share With Me by Jenny at Let’s Talk Mommy. I also really like Manic Mondays on Mommy A to Z. I have found some great blogs and amazing women through these linkys!
I also love the lighter side of parenting, so I’m always trolling for the feel good laughs that make us all nod with understanding, as well as adding my own fumbles to share on linkys.
When are your busiest days on the blog, and why? (if you know why!)
I have found traffic to be fairly steady throughout the week, if I post regularly. Higher on the days I sign up with linkys. It dips often on Friday evening through Suday. I suppose it’s because people are shifting the focus to family time on these days. But things pick back up starting on Mondays.
For me though, Friday – Monday are my busiest days personally. This is when I do the bulk of my writing, usually late at night after everyone is sleeping. With homeschool on the weekdays, I don’t get much writing time, so I make notes and blurbs to myself all week, then I try to write out as many full posts as I can over the weekend. Then I will schedule my posts for release throughout the week. This doesn’t always work out like I’d like though, and I find myself scrambling to get posts out in a timely manner sometimes.
Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
1.) It gave me a voice, a way to really gain confidence as a woman, a mother, and a writer.
2.) It brought me a sort of sanctuary which has helped keep me going. It allows me to indulge my brain, to research, to challenge the norm, to engage my adult needs and reconnect with myself. I have met parts of myself through the blog for the first time, more than once; I have found out how I really feel about certain things when I have been allowed the freedom to write them down.
3.) It has brought me joy! I love my kid’s antics and craziness, even as they test me and stretch me in every way possible. And I get to share their humor, charm, brilliance, and sass with so many others, and maybe make them smile, too.
My Top Tips for Bloggers:
* Write about what you want to read about. Dig up answers to questions you haven’t found on any other site. Or details often left out. When I was first researching Sensory Processing Disorder, there were very few blogs dedicated to information from a parents perspective. But I had questions that I wanted answered by a parent, not a doctor. So I try to provide that for other parents.
*Anything can become a blog post or shared on a social network, but that absolutely does not mean that everything should be. If it might humiliate, embarrass, or hurt someone (including your spouse or children)…hit delete instead of publish. In the long run, the vast majority of cyber-friends are exactly that, linked to us through a device only. Never sacrifice flesh and blood relationships to score higher traffic flow, get more likes, or to say something you are not willing to say in person. Cyber friends are not going to embrace your children when they cry, or care for them in an emergency. Treasure the people who show up in real life, even when you’ve given them every reason not to.
*Don’t just state the facts. Share how the facts made you feel. Good or bad, and what did you do about it. If you don’t know more words for emotions than happy, sad, angry, and stressed…look them up! Readers want to connect to you, the author, even if the content is not especially of high interest, but people will often keep reading if they feel connected to the writer through emotions.
*Don’t let the technology intimidate you! I am not tech savvy, but I keep on blogging and learn as I go. I didn’t even know that our tablet came with an e-reader app for over nine months, and I certainly didn’t know how to use it! If you run into something you don’t understand, check the help settings. Still don’t know? Google it. I have yet to have a technology question related to blogging or my devices that someone else hasn’t encountered and either written about (usually in a blog post!) or made a YouTube tutorial for.
*Teach your readers how to use and navigate your blog, and make it EASY to do so. One thing I didn’t realize is that some of my followers who used the email option were not commenting because they didn’t know they could click on the title to link back to the live post and comment. Others couldn’t comment because they didn’t have their device set to enable cookies. What might be second nature to you may need multi-step instructions for others. I recently set up a page for this on my blog. I explain how to get to the Web Version from the mobile format, how to subscribe and what that means, how to search for posts or content, what the labels mean, and my commenting policy. Those who don’t need it won’t spend much time on it, but those who do are very appreciative.
Thanks very much, Judith. Lovely to find out more about you and your family, and I do love how you describe your blog as a hearth. I really like those tips, too, very honest and all so true.
If you’ve any questions for Judith, feel free to comment on this post, and she’ll pop by and check in. And this sees the final Blog Lowdown in the series. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading? In the next few weeks I will be going back over these fabulous posts and picking out the top tips and recurring themes to share with you, so do look out for those.
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