Why Blogging Is Hard Work.

I have learned many lessons since I first started blogging way back in October 2011. First and foremost, I now know that blogging is hard work, and involves a lot more than just writing.

Screenshot of Blog Landing Page

1. Social Media and Marketing

 

You must write, and write plenty, but that’s just the beginning of a blogging journey. Nobody will stop by to read my brilliant, and sometimes not-so-brilliant words of wisdom, if I don’t let it be known I’m sharing my insights.

And how might I ask do I do that? Why social media and networking of course. The very words put the fear of God in me.

Yet over the past few years my website has come a long way. Thank you to all my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest followers. This little blog would NOT be possible without YOU.

But as we spread the word about my writing, a never-ending cycle begins …..

 

The more you market and publicize ……

….. the more visitors come to my site.

 

The more visitors come to my site…..

…… the more server space I require.

 

The more server space required ……

……. the more money it costs.

 

The more money I don’t spend ……

……. the more my site crashes.

 

The more my site crashes……

……. the more visitors I lose.

 

And that’s where I must end this cycle. I don’t want to lose you, my readers.

If I don’t address problems, and sometimes throw money at them, all of my hard work could be for nothing.

 

2. Technical Glitches:

 

Now don’t worry, I’m an optimist not a pessimist, and I truly believe that for every problem there is a solution.

But in the interim …….

 

I’m never surprised when things go wrong.

 

I knew that at some point on my blogging journey, technical difficulties would inevitably raise their ugly little heads. Don’t forget I’m Irish, with an inherent respect for Murphy’s Law.  That’s when I want to curl up in a little ball and cry out:

 

“But I know nothing about computer programming.”

 

Faced with the dilemma of whether to give up, or move on, I always choose to try to master new skills.  Success is never guaranteed, teaching this old gal new tricks.

But, I’ve come too far to give up now, even if technical glitches try my patience.  For example take a look around at my beautifully blue site. 

I know!

Not very fitting for an Irish themed blog :)

But rest assured, I don’t particularly want blue backgrounds and fonts, but I completed a theme upgrade for my site and everything turned blue, including me. I’m trying hard to change it back to green. I won’t bore you with my trials and tribulations with plug-ins and widgets, but I know for sure, I’ll never earn my living as a WordPress programmer.

So while I’m working out how to go Irish green, bare with my blues.  I was born in Dublin, so I suppose I can claim to be a “true blue Dub.”

 

3. The Business of Blogging:

 

All of these challenges have taught me a valuable lesson.

 

Blogging can turn into a little business in the blink of an eye.

 

As a little blog baby grows and grows, who feeds it? A growing blog needs marketing support, technical back up, accounting, security, policies, artistic creation, socializing, business development, advertising ….. I could go on and on.

Blogging turned into a little business for me before I knew where I was, and guess who tries to fill all the business roles in my little company.   Yes!  That’s me, and half the time I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, just learning to fly by the seat of my pants.

Wordpress Dashboard

I started this blog for fun, but with increasing traffic I now need to pay for more server space, which means I need to do something to generate a little income, if I don’t want to totally raid my kids’ college funds.

Luckily, my little blog doesn’t need to generate income to feed my family. Phew! Right now it doesn’t even cover overheads, so we’d be starving if I was hoping to feed my hungry boys.

And so, when you see a few advertisements flashing away on the side bar of my site, please understand I’m just trying to keep the lights on.

Heart failure struck a few times, when I saw some wiggly, jiggly belly fat ads before my very eyes. Then to make matters worse, my mother reported some soccer betting ads were popping up on her side of the Atlantic, especially around the time of the World Cup.

I’m working with my advertising agencies, and fingers crossed all ads will be of a higher standard in future, but in the meantime, if a wobbly belly appears on your screen, I really do apologize.

 

4. Coping with Blog Anxiety:

 

My audience has started to grow, and I cannot thank you enough for visiting my little corner of the world wide web.But let me confess, that makes me feel a little nervous when I realize:

 

YIKES !!!!!  

Readers want to read MY STUFF!

 

When I work on a post for a few days, and time comes to hit the “publish” button on my blog, my stomach goes a little  queasy. I guess I worry that my ramblings may disappoint some of the wonderful readers who revisit my blog over and over again.

But then I think of what my granny would have said:

 

“Ah, just get over yourself!”

 

Believe me – my granny was a very straight-forward, no-nonsense kind of Irish gal. She milked over 60 cows on a daily basis. Now in the latter years she had a lovely milking parlor to make life “easy”, but she was milking cows right into her 70’s.  When we would fuss about homework, her motto was:

 

“Just clap it down, and get on with life!”

 

 

So guess what?  Granny’s advice wins out every time.  I do just as she would tell me, and get over myself.

No more worrying! No more anxiety! And if today’s post isn’t good enough, then hopefully tomorrow’s will be a little better.

 

Thanks to my Facebook Fans

But believe me, your heart warming comments and e-mails go a long way to keep me motivated. It’s lovely to read your two cents worth at the end of my ramblings. Your heartwarming words are what makes all this hard work so worthwhile.

 

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

 

 

Off To Ireland To Cook A Stew

A short while ago I shared news about the World Irish Stew Championship being organized in County Sligo this week as part of the Gathering initiative.

On a whim I entered my recipe for Guinness Beef Stew.  Believe it or not, my recipe was chosen for the homecook’s portion of the competition.   I was completely amazed and thrilled. I’ll be flying to Dublin today and then traveling to Sligo to compete.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghiggs/7755282834/in/photostream/

County Sligo

Image Credit

A trip to Ireland to cook a stew is definitely a prize beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn’t believe my luck when my husband’s work schedule cooperated, allowing him be off to take care of our four little ones. And into the bargain I will be visiting Sligo, one of the most scenic counties in all of Ireland.

When I was a little girl we visited Sligo for a short family break one weekend.  We stayed at a hotel on Rosses Point, beside a spectacular sandy beach overlooking Sligo Bay.  When we reached the hotel I discovered I had forgotten my suitcase.  My two sisters wore their trendy 1970’s maxi dresses to dinner at night. I wore practical corduroy pants with a red sweater my mother bought in Sligo.  All weekend other guests assumed I was the boy of the family.

And that’s not the only time I reached my destination without sight nor light of my suitcase.  Most people can blame their airline for such incidents, but in my case it’s usually some silly oversight on my part.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelclarke/3584266839/in/photostream/

View of Ben Bulben mountain from Drumcliffe, the burial place of W.B. Yeats

Image Credit

On our trip to Ireland two years ago, I once again arrived without my suitcase.  Unfortunately my bag has very sensitive rollers. It only needs the slightest touch to glide across a hardwood floor.  As my husband grabbed bags from a stack of six awaiting loading, a slight nudge caused my bag to slide away and topple over behind the bed.

And there it lay, all forlorn hiding in the bedroom awaiting my return.  And there I stood, with nothing but the clothes on my back when I arrived in Ireland.  Lucky for me I have two sisters living in Ireland.  I felt like a teenager as I raided their wardrobes.  Don’t worry, I didn’t find those trendy 70’s maxis.

My bag is now packed for my trip. Let’s all say a prayer it makes the journey all the way across the pond to Ireland.  This time I plan to arrive in Sligo with a suitcase and a change of clothes to my name.

A big thanks to Debbie Chartoff, a travel writer for Examiner.com based in Louisville, for her words of encouragement when she reviewed my trip in her feature article today.

I promise to take lots and lots of photos of Ireland to share with you this week.  Keeping my fingers crossed a little bit of sunshine will break through the clouds to illuminate some good shots.

In the meantime, please excuse me if I don’t add very many new posts this week.  I have a few stories prepared to share, but posting them will depend on internet connection at my destination.

And so during this first week of May, the Kentucky Derby won’t be the highlight for this Louisville girl.  Instead of focusing on horses, I’ll be cooking stew in Ireland.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

Winner Of The Signed Copy Of “The Selkie Spell”.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s giveaway for a signed copy of “The Selkie Spell”, a wonderful book by Sophie Moss.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and learning about all the creatures and characters of Irish folklore you find intriguing.

01_Selkie_Spell-(Sm-800-x-600)

And a really big thank you to Sohpie Moss for her fantastic post about Irish Folklore and Fairytales, and for graciously providing a signed copy of her book for our lucky winner……

 

Susie Lindau

 

Susie wrote:

“I relate most to the Leprechaun. My parents bought

chocolate filled coins and hid them on St. Patty’s Day

 every year because we were McCartans and I did

the same for my kids!”

 

Congratulations, Susie.  I will send you an  e-mail  to arrange to send your prize.

A big thanks to everyone who participated and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

Winner Of The My Ireland Box Giveaway

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our St. Patrick’s Day giveaway for the prize of an April craft gift box from My Ireland Box.

 

My Ireland Box - Craft Box

The randomly chosen winner of this lovely surprise is:

 

Mary

 

She shared her love of Irish foods with us in her comment:

 

“I think of Barrys Tea and Tayto crisps when I think of home!

Happy days!”

 

Congratulations, Mary.  I will send you an  e-mail  to arrange to send your prize.

A big thanks to everyone who participated.  I so enjoyed reading all of your comments, thoughts and memories of Ireland.

And a great big thanks to Katharine from My Ireland Box for sponsoring this giveaway.  We really appreciate your generosity.

Thanks again to everyone, and have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.

 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig

(St. Patrick’s Day Blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

My Ireland Box – A Giveaway For St. Patrick’s Day

My Ireland Box is a subscription service providing monthly Irish craft or artisan food surprises from Ireland.  To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, My Ireland Box graciously provided one craft box as a prize for Irish American Mom’s readers.

Before getting into the details of our giveaway, let me first introduce you to this novel gift idea.

craft-box

 

What Is My Ireland Box?

 

My Ireland Box is a curated gift box subscription service, delivering the best of Irish crafts or Irish artisan foods each month.  It is a gift that keeps on giving for as long as you wish, and a perfect gift choice for those who love all things Irish.

 

How Does It Work?

 

Step 1:  Select from either Irish Crafts for Women (available to the USA, UK, and EU) or Irish Artisan Food (available to the UK and EU only). Both are curated and carefully chosen to offer you the best Ireland has to offer.

Step 2:  Select your subscription length. You can choose a prepaid gift of one box, 3 boxes (one box for 3 months), 6 boxes (one box for 6 months) or 12 boxes (one box for 12 months).

Step 3:  Be surprised each month.

 

Who Are The People Behind This Great Idea?

 

catherine_square

Katharine Keane Barrett


Katharine Keane Barrett and Thomas Barrett
, a husband and wife duo, who live in Dingle, County Kerry set up My Ireland Box in 2012 as a result of their love of Irish designed crafts and artisan foods.  Thomas was a currency trader by profession and Katharine a qualified solicitor, when they left the corporate world in Dublin in 2007 and returned to Katharine’s native Dingle, County Kerry .  Surrounded by gifted craftspeople and food producers, the idea for My Ireland Box was soon born.

Merging their experiences in the corporate world and their passions for the Irish tourist industry, they launched My Ireland Box.  By creating a subscription gift service they introduce subscribers to wonderful Irish handmade and artisan products and to those who make them!

 

My Ireland Box - Craft Box

 

What Surprises Await In My Ireland Box?

 

Teardrop-wine1-150x150The monthly craft box includes a selection of 1 large or 2-4 Irish made or designed home goods, accessories, jewellery, stationary or beauty products and the value of the box is at least €30, and it’s usually more.

My Ireland Box Food promises a variety of delicious Irish made artisan tasty treats of at least €20 or more in value.  Unfortunately for those of us in America, the food box is only available in the EU and UK.

peppermint-chocolate-lip-balm

The story and information on each Irish craft maker whose product is featured is included.  What a wonderful way to introduce Irish made products to those who may not be able to easily discover or access them.

 

 

How Do I Enter The Giveaway?

 

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, March 16th at noon.  Tell us what crafts come to mind when you think of Ireland, or simply tell us what you love about Ireland.

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky winner.

The winner will be announced on Saturday March 16th, so Katharine can pop the winner’s gift box in the mail in time for April delivery.

 

My Ireland Box - Gift Box

And so, if you have visited Ireland or simply want to enjoy authentic Irish gifts, why not  surprise yourself with thoughtfully chosen and lovingly made Irish goods every month, and subscribe to My Ireland Box.

And don’t forget to leave a comment to enter this fabulous giveaway!

 

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

 

P.S.  Irish American Mom does not have a business relationship with My Ireland Box, and received no remuneration for this post.  My Ireland Box graciously provided this prize free of charge.  I am featuring this wonderful gift idea as a way to promote and support Irish business and crafts people.