Tag Archives: look for the silver lining

I bid farewell to splint and sling at the end of last week. A fond farewell. I wrote to have a week without use of my right hand would be no big deal in the scheme of things. I’d be fine without it. I lied. Or at least, I projected it would be no big deal when in fact it was.

The last month has been stupidly stressful. Stupid the best word I can come up with to describe frustration that you just can’t seem to circumvent however you try. Stress that leaves you overwhelmed, exhausted, easily distracted.

I hate when people say to “let things go,” as if in the midst of difficulty it isn’t the very thing one wishes for. As if it were so easy and a simple reminder does the trick. Silly me, I forgot to let it go.

While some people find the sofa and a stack of films the way to decompress, for me it’s found in writing, in taking photos, in calligraphy, in decorating and in the act of making stuff – all the things that require my right hand.

And so, I had to figure out a Plan B. It was an unexpected sort of mindful awareness, the sort I accepted begrudgingly because options were few. Silver linings weren’t in abundance, but they were there.

I found that with one hand not only could I make gluten, soy, egg, dairy-free pancakes, but that this amazing mix that sat unopened for ages is really good. I never make pancakes because, you know, time. But it really didn’t take much time. Not at all.

While my reading habits swap between paper and tablet, last week my iPad was never far from my lap as I read, I surfed and I scheduled. Life with screens is a fabulous thing when I am using it well. Writing was a bit less than productive, but I did mess around with Dictation on my computer. It isn’t terrible, but I don’t think technology has come as far from that scene in L.A. Story as we’d like to believe it has.

I saw a kindness in strangers I’d never known. I find people pretty kind in general, but I’ve never been without use of a limb, and this was new. With Tetris-like precision, checkers placed items in my reusable totes so I had less to carry (I’ve been a BAGGU user since 2008 – is it just me or are reusable totes often met with a look of confusion, as though a bag not made of flimsy plastic or paper is just inconceivable to hold objects?). As I was handed my bag(s) or a door was held open, I have never heard myself called “Ma’am” so many times – I’ll focus on people’s politeness rather than feeling old, OK?

The week ended. A new one begins with two hands.

I  play catch up, only it’s not as big a list as I’d thought it would be. Because last week I let a lot go. Kind of like the days before DVRs when we had to choose to stop, sit down and watch a show in the moment or miss the chance. I couldn’t be and do all I wanted, which isn’t exactly a new feeling, only this time it was met with whatever, I’ll just make pancakes.

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I’m a bit confused when I hear about readers disappointed or unhappy that a blogger has written a sponsored post. Amongst many great writers I know online, you’d never know a post was sponsored if not for the fact they disclosed it. Why this bothers readers, I can’t be sure. We fill our lives with the work of paid writers all day – be it in print, online or on TV.

When an article comes out discussing what bloggers make or the “perks” they receive, it furthers the misunderstanding of what bloggers are expected to be.

There are several reasons for this, but a huge one is that the umbrella term “blogger” covers a wide range of things – from personal diary to big business. And I’m starting to think that to call oneself a blogger gets lost in translation. That it’s too simple a term.

A chef works in a kitchen, but we wouldn’t call them a kitchener. A blog is a medium, and the blogger makes something out of it. (The Kitchener Chronicles will continue – this has been on my mind some time now.) If they can make a living doing it – chef or blogger – that’s fabulous.

To monetize or not to monetize a blog – there is no wrong answer. And to judge one as better than the other doesn’t seem right.

I see blogs that declare they are ad-free, and I think what they are trying to say, what I believe they mean, is that they want readers to know their content will not be controlled or compromised by anyone. That they have integrity.

The web needs integrity, no doubt about it. But I don’t think it’s all or nothing.

Most bloggers are advertising all the time, even when they’re not.

I write for a living. I take photos for a living. I talk about those things on my blog. I also talk about books my friends write, movies made by friends and family – it’s just me talking. I have no ads.

But I’m advertising myself (and my family/friends) all the time, right?

I don’t have sponsors or brands I work with, but I’m always open to what might develop. I may monetize my blog over time, and I have no intention of letting that change my voice. That’s important to me. I’m an Amazon affiliate – if I were to link a book or film, it would something I had already written about in the post. The link would be an afterthought. I write a lot about books. I quote them regularly. If I ever included affiliate links, it would be made clear. Still the same old me.

Whether a blogger makes enough through advertising and sponsors to call it a living or simply enough to break even on web hosting, that’s a great thing. It’s honest work. There should be no need to justify it. But I think it sometimes needs explaining because it can be misunderstood.

FACT: The FTC requires a level of transparency from bloggers very different from a print publication. All bloggers must disclose affiliate links and sponsored posts and goods and services provided to them. By law.

And yet, flip through the latest issue of your favorite magazine and the bag or perfume they’re raving about is probably something they are being paid to promote. A lot of money to promote. (Look in the issue for the ads. Possibly by their parent company, not the specific brand.)

And that’s OK. That’s business. That sort of product placement is seen everywhere except online, where bloggers must place neon signs pointed at products or face legal consequences.

The silver lining? Bloggers should be trusted for the very fact the have to be on the level.

If a blogger could take an all expenses paid trip and simply share the great details of the getaway, like a print journalist would, readers would realize just how much they they read and watch that is sponsored, advertiser-driven content that is hidden in the guise of travel or updating your wardrobe or redecorating.

Are there unethical bloggers out there? Sure. But on the whole, the level of trust between blogger and reader is a powerful one  because of this honesty.

Because of their integrity.

If you’re a blogger – with or without ads – and need help with a disclosure policy, this is a great FREE resource I’ve included in the IEP Blogging Tools: DisclosurePolicy.org. It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books we had as kids. Just pick what works for you and it will generate a policy you can use as is or tailor it to fit your needs.

Piece of cake. Peace of mind.