The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, September 26, 2011

From Halloween to Hmmm?

          First of all-- Happy Birthday to my daughter Ada!

Yes, Ada can juggle as can all of my kids.

From Halloween to Hmmm?

      In my last post I revealed that my blog Tossing It Out started out as a Halloween blog.  If anyone is interested in reading more about the history of this blog you can read my three part post from last year that can be found here, here, and here.   The short story version is that I started a blog to make money from AdSense because I kept hearing how you could make big money blogging.

         I never got the AdSense approval in the time frame I had expected and I began to not particularly care.  From what I was starting to hear from other bloggers AdSense income was minimal in most cases.  And I had begun to focus on writing.

        Shortly into my blogging career I realized that I did not want to always write Halloween related topics throughout the year.   Besides, my blog title Tossing It Out did not seem especially related to Halloween.  I began writing a variety of essays.  A mutual attraction developed between me and other writing related blogs.  I began thinking of my site as a writing blog.

         But is Tossing It Out a writing blog?   I don't think of my site as a niche blog because I write about many topics.  Some days this is a book blog, other days it's a travel blog, often it's an entertainment blog, and it has at times even been a religious and a political blog.   Much of the time I just toss out ideas to see what readers catch onto and toss back to me.  Maybe a good term for my blog is a potpourri blog.

           Many blog experts seem to think that the truly successful blog needs to have focus--it must specialize in something specific.  I have a difficult time sticking with one topic and I don't consider myself such an expert in any one thing that I could--or would want to--write about it all of the time.  I think that I am establishing a platform as a writer and not an expert in a specific field.

          I somewhat suspect that I am closer to where I want to be as a blogger.  But is it where I need to be?  And is it how you the reader perceive me to be?   Is Tossing It Out a writer's blog?   I don't mean a blog that is necessarily about writing, although I do talk about writing sometimes.  What I mean is that this blog is a place where writing occurs, not so much for the sake of imparting any specialized information, but for the act (or would I be pretentious to say art?) of writing, be it for the sake of entertainment or satisfying some unspecified curiosity in my audience.

          Forgive my ramblings, but I'm thinking out loud.  Perhaps this is sounding like an early entry to Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group which occurs on the first Wednesday of every month (click here to join).  But I don't think I'm alone in this.   I think many of us wonder, "Why do I blog?".   

          And that's where I am today:  Tossing It Out--formerly the Halloween Blog turned eclectic potpourri blog and occasional "Home of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Blog"--now thinks of itself as a writer's blog with an identity crisis.  Tossing It Out--the shape shifting blog, the cyber-wormhole between one blog and the next blog.

           What's more, Tossing It Out is now a monetized blog.  Nearly two years after I applied for AdSense my blog became accepted.  Ads appeared on my blog page.   In my Labor Day post when I asked if anyone noticed any of the changes that had occurred on my blog, a few of you mentioned the ads.  Other big changes have occurred on the page and more changes in my blogging activities are still to come.  I will be discussing these and looking for some of your feedback in the weeks to come.

          On Wednesday (9/28) I will have a guest post by my friend Larry Cavanaugh of the blogs DiscConnected and Back in the USSR.   His post will be "The Ghost Writer".  I hope you will join us then.

         Why do you blog?  What kind of blog do you think Tossing It Out is?   What kind of blog do you think yours is?  Has your blog changed much from when you first started it and if so, how?   Do you have advertising on your blog?  Do you or do you know anyone who makes a living off of their blog advertising?





  1. Happy Birthday to Ada:-)
    I like the variety in your blog and blog in a similar way, I hope. I describe mine as a mishmash.
    I have found that participating in writing memes has helped me to focus and tighten up my writing - though it takes away time from my supposed novel(s)!!
    Yes, I have AdSense, and it pays very little. I'm sure some bloggers earn quite nicely from it but I wouldn't want my blog simply to be a platform for consumerism (that sounds a bit pretentious, doesn't it?)
    Don't change anything - you're doing fine:-)

  2. I'm not really sure why i blog either. i think I expect it to lead somewhere in the future (although I don;t know where that mught be) so I'm setting down roots now, just in case.

    Moody Writing

  3. I do not know anyone who makes a living off their blog advertising. Hubby has asked me about this a few times. My blog has evolved from a simple whispering of a writing journey to Pub Q&A, Guest Posts, etc... I love socializing via blogs and meeting such amazing people. I've only been at it around a year, so I have a lot to learn. I love your blog just the way it is, Lee!

  4. Happy birthday to your daughter. I hope it's been a good day for her. I wish I made a living off blogging, it's probably my ideal job but unfortunately I currently don't. Nice post anyway buddy.

  5. Happy birthday to Ada:-) I started blogging to get some short stories out there and see if people (other than Mum and my best friend) actually liked them.

    i read a lot of blogs - some are focused on writing, many are just day-to-day "life" blogs, some are just a mishmash of all sorts of things. All are enjoyable, because I meet great people and learn a lot. So, just keep writing about whatever interests you and have fun!

  6. I remember this story of your beginnings, Lee!
    And a happy B-day to Ada. In Serbian language Ada means an island in the river :)

  7. Happy Birthday to Ada!!!
    1. What do I think is your blogs focus? Predominantly a writers blog I would think...even when you stray in to entertainment, someone had to write it , yes??
    2. My focus? What?? I just blog about whatever strikes my fancy. If I had to follow a topic it would start to seem like work and I wouldn't want to do it.
    3. I don't think mine has changed at all. I started out random and I continue to be random. Occasionally I change the look of the blog just for fun, that's about it.
    4. I did start out with adsense but decided that it jst didn't sit well with me. It looked commercial and I felt uncomfortable with it. I don't want my readers blasted with advertising. There is too much of it everywhere else.
    5. Do I know someone who makes a living off adsense...It isn't something I would ask anyone so I have to say no.

    I wouldn't worry about fitting into a specific "slot". Just enjoy what you are doing.

  8. When I decided I wanted a new blog (I also have a food-related blog), I had a hard time narrowing down by focus, so I made a list of all the ideas I've had for one over the last year. I realized that about 6 of those blog ideas could live under one roof comfortably, so that's the blog I chose. I think yours blend well, too. (BTW, can't believe Ada is a grown women, but then again, I have a 20-year-old now.)

  9. I blog because I want to leave a part of me in this world for my children (after I'm gone)...I love blogs that have a variety of subjects! Well done!

  10. Janice -- More changes will be coming, but I hope they are mostly improvements. Making enough money to live on from blogging would be nice since I'm going to have to have an income and a regular job would greatly cut into my time for writing and blogging.

    Mood -- That's kind of where I am as well. Focus is starting to develop but I'm still not sure whether it will all come together as I hope it will.

    Ciara -- Thank you, I appreciate your continued to support. I'm not sure the types of blogs we have can generate enough income to make it a sole means of support. I've seen the bigger money blogs and they are not talking about writing and books.

    YW -- A blogging income is worth thinking about and I know there are ways to make it work.

    Li -- A blog is an ideal forum for getting ones writing out where it can be read by others and maybe even get feedback to some extent. Anyone who has writing aspirations should blog since it is a great way to build up writing skills in the public eye. I wish I'd have had blogging 30 or 40 years ago--what a great opportunity for high school and college students to unleash their creativity beyond a notebook that few people or nobody sees.

    Dezmond -- You've been with me on much of my blogging journey and I thank you for that. Ada's name didn't come from the Serbian word for "island" (which has some great poetic connotations), but a street in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    Delores -- Thank you for the answers. I think many of us have writing blogs from the perspective that we write about things, but like you I like to write about what's on my mind and that could be anything. I think niche blogging might be rather difficult for me. I feel like the AdSense ads are pretty unobtrusive--certainly better than those pop-up ads that some sites have.

    Kelly -- Yes, Ada is 29 now with a child of her own. It's kind of fun and fascinating to watch them grow. Just wish we didn't have to get older to see it. I think you are off to a great start. If you keep the posts coming on a regular basis I think you gain a steady following. Writing down ideas is a good plan. I have many posts started or outlined for the future.

    Rae -- Blogging is part of our legacy. Are you or have you put any of it into hard copy? Losing the data is something I think about and I have considered getting it all down in print someday. When I can afford it that's something I'm going to do.


  11. I think it's a life blog, like my smaller blog. I started it because I want to keep My First Book focused on my writing. :-)

  12. Happy Birthday to your daughter :)

    My blog has evolved, metamorphosed, expanded and adjusted along with me over the short two years I have been blogging. I've changed its name, focus, content, atmostphere and each time it has been "me". At least for the moment.

    I like what you said about "a writing blog for the sake of writing" not to impart any type of writing information. I enjoy those blogs, the ones that pile on the writing "how-tos" and links and such. And I've tried to be one of those. It's just not me.

    In order to continue blogging, we have to be ourselves. I've changed focus as well, as recent as today, and I feel with each shift, I'm closer to who I really "am" in terms of blogging, writing and communicating.

    Best of luck in the changes!

  13. I was very clear on why I began Girl Wizard-- for stimulating intellectual companionship. I wanted to meet people who I could get to know and walk with for long stretches of time. But then, it began to occupy the bulk of my writing efforts, and I happen to be a novelist trying to sell my three manuscripts.

    So, recently, I let Girl Wizard lie fallow for a bit and have focused my efforts on my writing blog, Analog Breakfast. It is a way to keep blogging, which I love, and to focus on my vocational priority.

    As for Tossing It Out, I think of this as a storyteller's blog. I like your voice and I like your perspective on the world. It feels like subtle vaudeville-- case in point, juggling pic (Happy Birthday, Ada!)-- and holds for me a bit of the past with an eye to the future in a very easy-to-read, companionable format.

    Hope that helps!

  14. Hi Lee, interesting blog you have over here! I think that my favorite blogs are the ones (like yours) that share humanity. Isn't that we're all drawn to in each other?
    Christine Dougherty

  15. I blog to keep myself writing, to communicate with the world around me, and most certainly to make friends. The bonds I've made through blogging will last me a lifetime, I'm sure.

  16. Following you now after finding you via Middle Passages.
    My blog is at
    Don't know yet what I think your blog is about, but it looks interesting and that's what I look for.

  17. Happy Birthday to Ada! Has anyone mastered walking the tight rope and juggling? Maybe over Niagra Falls? I would pay good money to see that.

  18. I blog for a couple of reasons. One it acts as a journal of my writing and publishing experiences and second to connect with others on the same journey.

    Tossing It Out since I have been following it has been primarily a writing blog.

    My blog is definitely a writing blog with a splash of personal life thrown in.

    The only thing that has changed with my blog is the interval of posting. It has moved from twice a week to once.

    I do not have advertising on my blog other than to promote my own books and occasionally others.

    I do not know of anyone who makes a living off of blog advertising, or anyone that makes a living off of the internet in general. Though I am trying with KDP and PubIt.

  19. Happy birthday to your daughter!
    To me your blog is half writing half entertainment. Mine's probably even less writing than that, which is fine. I blog about what I enjoy and I blog to encourage.

  20. Lee, I love dipping in and out of your blog - it's so diverse and there's always something of interest to see!

    I set up my blog, I Refuse To Go Quietly!, to be a 'pasteboard' for all sorts of interests - it quickly became a platform whereby I could write fiction and engage with other writers. However, it was also the place I posted things that were of interest to me and which I felt were worth sharing.

    In time I diversified and created two other 'specific interest' blogs, but I always kept IRTGQ as my go-to blog.

    Alas, family issues have prevented me doing anything on any of my blogs for the last weeks - but I'm hopeful of a return to normal service in the very near future!

    Keep up the good work, here, Lee! ;-)

  21. Misha -- Much of what I do tends toward memoir, but I do toss in a lot of other things into the mix including a number of guest posts.

    Jen -- I think change is good in order to keep the blog fresh, but maintaining one's persona is very important.

    Suze -- Your posts do seem to stimulate a lot of intellectual interchange. I like to generate conversation as well though it may not always be intellectual. However, I've got great readers who leave excellent comments. I like the label of "storyteller blog". I do try to make a story out of nearly every topic.

    Christine -- A blog that is attached to a personality tends to be easier to identify with I think.

    Jeffrey -- Having a blog can be an excellent way to encourage one to write and to make friends with others.

    Jasmine -- I'm glad you stopped and hope you will return often.

    Stephen -- I've seen people stand on a tightrope and juggle, but not walk. Anyone who would attempt to walk across Niagara Falls while juggling would be either crazy or have extraordinary abilities.

    SBJ -- I'm not familiar with KDP and Pubit. I'll have to check those out.

    Alex -- I try to mostly entertain with my writing. Like you and several others I like to encourage people. I think that's why you have so many loyal followers.

    Sue H-- Thanks. I'm thinking about adding some more specific interest blogs to my repertoire but my focus will remain on Tossing It Out.


  22. Birthday greetings to Ada.

    I've blogged for a while now and never can decide what I want to do, where I want to be and who I aim it at. So I just blog about my life and whats going on in my heart.

    I always feel that a blog is a internet sample of ones life, and our lives are about more than one subject, so how can we blog about just one.

  23. Happy birthday to your daughter.

    I blog as I can write what and how I feel about life, trying to stay psoitive when things go pear shape,It is sort of release of strains and stresses of life,.
    It has become a way of life as I have been writing a bog for 7 years.

    Have a good day.

  24. Happy Birthday to your daughter! +followed, come check my blog out when you get the chance!

  25. Happy Birthday to Ada from me. :) Cool that all your kids can juggle.

    Blogs do seem to change over time from their beginnings. I think they become more 'us' over time. A reflection of the writer in some way. So, they have more focus than we think. Maybe?

  26. I do think of your blog as a writer's blog. I think mine is the same, although I do like a good ramble now and again too!

  27. Let's see. I'll start with my blog, 'cause that's got to be easier for me to define that yours. Mine is pretty much a continuation of my newspaper column, which was published daily in a family of Chicagoland newspapers for about ten years. The publisher of the paper gave me gobs of leeway--basically, I was allowed to write about whatever was running through my noggin on any given say. I loved that job and mourned when the paper went belly-up. The blog cures my column withdrawal symptoms.

    As far as your blog, I think I'd categorize it much like mine--a reflection of the writer's current thoughts. I like it a lot.

    And YAY! for having Larry as a guest blogger. I love Larry--he's smart, funny, kind, and thoughtful. :O)

  28. Ah, I see your offspring is (almost) as talented as you in the juggling department....
    Happy birthday to her!

    And, to me, this blog is generally about writing...although a little more personal than many other writing blogs (and that's a GOOD thing).

    As for my own blog??? -- It's...evolved, I guess, in its own twisted, rather, unfocused way.

    I'm not really sure what my blog is actually about, to be honest. I think that's why I keep reviewing obscure movies on it -- they're the one common thread to all of the crap I write, and they (BARELY) justify the entire enterprise.


  29. I blog for the five reasons:

    To exalt the glorious character of our Lord Jesus Christ

    To expand a passion for the supremacy of God in all things

    To expound the Scriptures in order to have an accurate understanding of the Word of God

    To edify or build up my readers in the faith once for all time delivered to the saints

    To expose my readers to a variety of spiritually beneficial topics, books, articles, thoughts, and people

    I think Tossing It Out is an eclectic blog that, was once very eclectic and informative, but then slipped into a writer's blog.

    I think Gospel-driven Disciples Blog is a theological blog.

    My blog has not changed much from its inception.

    I do not advertise on my blog.

    I do not know any one who makes money or a living from advertising on their blog.

  30. I started my blog as a way to get my name out there, but also as a way of reaching out and connecting to others. I didn't want to have a specific theme because I wanted to be able to talk on a variety of subjects as the whim struck me. I love what I have created, though I am intimidated. I don't really know what I'm doing and am still feeling my way. I feel terrible when I am unfollowed because I'm afraid I have offended someone. I will keep pushing forward though, because I love my blog very much and I love the people I've connected with.

  31. Jason -- You have expressed my philosophy as well.

    Yvonne -- 7 years! That is pretty amazing and you've really done well at what you do.

    Rob -- Thanks for stopping by!

    Mary -- You may be correct about that focus. Maybe we just learn more about blogging as time goes by.

    Jemi -- I agree that we have writing blogs of a similar nature.

    Word Nerd -- I guess bloggers are the new columnists for our era. I am saddened by the direction newspapers have taken. Nice words about Larry and I agree with what you said.

    Andrew -- I guess a lot of us wonder about what your blog is about but it is wonderfully weird, twisted, and totally entertaining. I love the way your posts lead into the review of odd movies.

    Gregg-- I think you do an excellent job of meeting your goals. My content changed drastically when I cut back to three days per week--a time frame which limits the variety of content, but leads to many more comments and gives me more time to do some other things. I'd like to derive an a sustainable income from blogging, but I don't want my blog to become a garish advertising blog either. Whatever the case, with no income for the past couple years things are looking dire. I keep the faith that things are going to change.


  32. Melissa -- I don't know about the unfollowing thing either. I guess it's just something that happens in blogging. I think you had the proper intent in starting a blog. Like any of us you are experimenting and learning along the way. You are worthy of blog confidence because you do a fine job.


  33. Hi Lee .. Now I blog because I've learnt a way forward for my life .. I can use the concept of my blog to entertain and amuse in another way - project ongoing!

    Definitely an eclectic blog with an historical educative slant - I love it when people come on saying they can't wait to see what's coming up next - amazes me.

    I've relaxed into my blog .. it's become a blog, rather than an article promoting machine ...

    No I don't want advertising on my site .. and no I know no-one who makes money from adsense ..

    .. the ones who make money are offering a product or service, have a list and repeat the process ..

    Looking forward to reading more .. cheers Hilary

  34. My poetry blog was the second blog I created. The first one was an issues blog which ended up offending more people than doing any kind of good. So I deleted it and stuck to poetry.

    But sometimes I post more than poetry, which is why I changed the name of the blog to poetry and prose.

    Good to know I'm not the only one who waffles from one theme to another.

  35. Happy birthday, Ada!

    Hm. I see your blog as quite eclectic, actually - but that works for you! I love the variety.

  36. Lee- my sister used to convert my blog to a disc for me- I'm not computer literate enough to figure it out...That way I had a backup. I think Blurb will transfer your blog to PDF (?) files for a minimal fee.
    And I've given thought to printing out my post a few at a time for safekeeping. Printer ink is so expensive, though!

  37. Happy Birthday to Ada.

    I started blogging because I read that having an on-line presence/following would help in my quest to be published. Then I got to know other bloggers and found I liked being part of the blogging community. Sometimes I have something I want to share and writing a post is very enjoyable. Other times, it's a royal pain. Getting comments gives me a lift, not getting them is a downer. I think I'm still hunting for my "niche".

    I have to admit I don't think of your blog as anything other than "Lee's blog". A place I like to visit.

  38. Justin -- Thanks for visiting.

    Hilary -- You do have a unique site that is entertaining and educational. You provide fascinating information while imparting a bit of yourself. It's fun.

    Angela - When you start dealing with issues you are bound to offend somebody. I have touched upon some issues in the past that created some controversy and even put a few people off, but that's a chance one takes in expressing opinions. It's fun to experiment though. And I love waffles.

    Talli -- I've always liked the word "eclectic". I don't mind being described in that way.

    Rae -- I do back up my blog files, but I'd still like to have a hard copy. I have visions of a massive technological meltdown where all data in all forms is obliterated or made somehow irrelevant. My paranoia.

    LD -- I like just being Lee's blog, but I guess for someone who's not familiar with what I write there would need to be more of a description. The concept of platform came after I started blogging, but it is the motivation that makes most sense for me. And I know what you mean about connecting with the community. I don't know the niche is necessarily as important for a writer as it is for someone who blogs about a specialized skill or topic. Writers can write about anything and I'd prefer not to be confined to a box.


  39. Hi, Arlee. Thanks for stopping by yesterday and commenting on the second excerpt of my memoir I'm ghosting for my friend Maureen. I appreciate all feedback, positive or negative. Ghost writing is really difficult. Thanks for cheering me on!

    My oldest daughter wants/needs to make some money and is going to try blogging. I think she has a good friend successful with this who is going to help her. I don't care if there are ads on a blog, and congrats on getting accepted for AdSense.

    I don't even care about "niche" as they call it. I like anything that interests me. I love the personal. Blogs about writing? Nah. We all know the basics. Again, the personal is what is unique.

    I'm a later to bloggerland blogger than you so I didn't know you started out with a Halloween blog. My youngest daughter is Halloween Queen and last year I posted pictures of her house. She goes all out. I like pictures, too, on blogs.

    I think my blog is eclectic. Yours strikes me as eclectic, too. And I've been having some identity crisis issues lately too with blogging! Like, what am I going to keep writing about? Then I found 50 ways to blog as a novelist. I need to find time to do a post on this!

    I see you're hosting Larry Cavanaugh tomorrow on "The Ghost Writer." I don't want to miss this!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  40. Belated Birthday Greetings to Ada!
    (The picture of her juggling is cool!)

    I blog because it exercises my brain and allows me to write about things that are of interest to me. It also serves as an exposure for paid writing assignments.

    I don't think I'll ever monetize my IMHO blog, but have plans for the children's entertainment blog - just haven't gotten around to it at this point. I'll probably do Amazon, if and when I decide to monetize. The pay isn't always top dollar, but you will make money if the content is good, and this is probably where being a niche blog is more important.

    I've always thought of your blog Lee as "eclectic," and I say that as a great compliment! There's always something interesting, fresh and well written.

  41. Happy Birthday Ada... Lee I am grateful to your blog, I think you are interesting and funny... and coming to visit is always fun! Have a super super day!

  42. Hi Lee!
    I love how your blog has transformed - and I think your term of "potpourri" blog is a good fit. Although my blog has an overarching theme, I do write about a lot of different topics...but I think that's what keeps blogging fresh and fun!
    I have read many stories of people making money off of advertising on their blog, but one must really get a lot of traffic in order to be profitable. I think what must come first is the love for writing and the love of your topic, and then the money will follow.
    Here's hoping AdSense brings you a few well-earned bucks! :)

  43. I love the variety on your blog. I'm not sure why I blog either, not that I blog very much. I think it's mostly to have a good moan in my case :-)

  44. This is too funny cause I did a post sort of like this not long ago. It's like we run writing blogs, but people comment WAY more when I'm not talking specifically about writing. Funny.
    It really is the support group thing :D

  45. I think we all ask ourselves about why we write blogs sometimes. I do thank each of you for stopping by to comment on this post and for offering your encouragement. I can use it.


  46. I now have juggling envy. I'm attracted to the personality of the blogger most of the time. I prefer a blog that "mixes it up," with focus.

  47. It's never too late to learn how to juggle. I tend to like bloggers who have good personality and variety in what they write about. That's how I try to be.



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