Tag Archives: blogging

To Blog or Not to Blog

Lately there’s been a itch in my brain reminding me that it’s been a while since I blogged. And then I looked and am now officially aghast that it’s been like three weeks since I wrote anything. So the question I have to ask myself is “why?”   <– Now does the question mark go inside the quote mark or outside?

So why no bloggie? Sometimes I feel like I have nothing interesting to blog about. As if there are rules about being interesting.

Perhaps I am embarrassed about how many posts I have made about my vegetable garden, although I must say that it has been a very rewarding experience for me. I made some spaghetti sauce yesterday with some of my Brandywine tomatoes. Wow!

Perhaps another reason is that I am NOT a morning person, and since all the experts say that you need to post a blog by 12PM EST, I have to be fully functional–or, if you will, blogtional–by 8:30 AM at the latest. Now that I write this, I feel ridiculous. Most working people have to be functional by 8:30–so functional that they are already showered, dressed, fed and have commuted to work and are at their post, be it desk, construction site, or barrista bar.

On the other hand, I probably shouldn’t beat up on myself given that I am like a lot of other people who currently do not have a day job. And to be fair to myself, regardless of whether or not I am still in my jammies at 8 AM, I am busy working on one freelance thing or another. So, no more self-flagellation.

So, back on the horse, so to speak, here is a blog post, filed at 7:36 AM. Now time for another cup of java.

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Where’s Kelly? episode #19885

Every once in a while, when I haven’t been blogging much lately, I feel compelled to provide an update on my life. This is because I have found out from people that they actually read (and enjoy) my blog posts. Apparently people are interested in my posts about random stuff like my gardening and cooking projects, my attempts at getting a music career going, funny signs and earthy humor. And who doesn’t like a little earthy humor now and then?

So what have I been up to? A lot of catching up. My music partner Scott Burnett and I have been working on a “light jazz” EP titled “A Glass of Summer”. (It’s actually more of an “MP” since it’s about 30 minutes in length.) Our original plans were to have this in the can by early June, but then my 88-year old dad got real sick and Scott went and got a real day job (the nerve of him!). I am happy to say that the project is finally mixed and almost finished being mastered. And now all we need to do is design the graphics and send it off for duplication. Check out the groovy cover art that Scott has been painting. This is the latest picture taken of it, but he is still working on it.

Now that the CD project is winding down and summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest, I have plenty of house and yard projects to catch up on. Summer here is so beautiful once the sun comes out–and stays out.

By the way, if you live in the Seattle area, Scott and I will be performing at Match Coffee and Wine in Duvall starting at 7:30. Actually, even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, we’ll still be performing there. (tee hee)

Perhaps you are wondering why this particular episode is number 19885. That happens to be the number of days since I was born. It took a while to go through all the calendars and count up the days. Just kidding! Of course, all I  had to do was google “days from birth calculator” and sure enough, there were several sites out there. The one I used can be found at http://www.easycalculation.com/date-day/age-calculator.php. You should try it. Let me know how many days you have been around.

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Freshly Pressed Wow!

Last week I woke up to a ton of emails from people who had commented on my blog. On a couple of them, they congratulated me for being “freshly pressed”. What that means is that one of my blog posts, “The Power of Place” was featured on WordPress’s home page. This is a BIG deal as the stats below show. I got over 2,000 views on that post. Amazing! Typically I consider over 50 hits to be a very good day. A BIG Thank You to all who read my post, left a comment, and subscribed to my blog. It’s fun to know that people are listening, even when I have nothing important to say. :-)

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Funny Sp*m Blog Comments

Occasionally I check the comments that get caught in my spam filter and some of the remarks are just plain funny. Here are a few:

“We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.” – Hmmm… What kind of nefarious activity are they scheming about? It makes me think of the fund-raising scam in the movie, My Blue Heaven. And how many are a “gaggle”? Somewhere between 11 and 17 1/2?

“I rattling glad to find this website on bing, just what I was searching for.” – I didn’t know snakes can get on the internet. Should I be concerned?

“I simply needed to appreciate you all over again.” – Grab a number.

“i seen cool articles there good hope.” – You’re from here, don’t you?

“Great being visiting your weblog again” – Is God now reading my blog? I suppose I should be more careful about what I write.

“I will be back soon and follow up with a response.” – I am waiting with baited breath. What does “baited breath” mean anyway?

“Great post. I subscribed to your rss….” – Not a funny comment per se, unless you consider who it’s from: “Bail Bonds 24 Hours Blog”. How did they know?

“Thanks for the useful details. [and then a link to:] stye eye treatment” – Uncanny! How did they know?

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Time for a Makeover

Hey friends, I think it’s time for a makeover, a redux, if you will. Will you? Doncha just love those little meaningless phrases people tack on to the end of sentences? It’s as if there is still excess air in the lungs and they are going for a full “purge”, in a manner of speaking. There’s another one.

For me, it’s a form of entertainment. I love words. I mean, I LOVE words. I love to play with words and play with people’s names. Most people enjoy having their names messed with because they recognize it as a term of endearment, and rightfully so. Occasionally, I run across people (not literally) who DO NOT like having their names played with. I have a particular story about one such occasion, but I am already pathetically off topic…

I get bored. Perhaps it’s the ADD. But I want to frequently reinvent myself on the web. I do have a web presence, albeit pretty small, and trying to grow it day by day. Makes me think about this blog. There’s not a lot of traffic on this blog lately or my website for that matter. Time to change things up, I say. What to do?

Well, regarding this blog, I realize that my blog posts are too dang long. Probably pretty overwhelming for most people. When I browse around, I take note of the blogs that I like to hang around on. I find blogs that are short, frequent, and have lots of pictures or other media to be fun. People like to take pictures of their meals. I find that fun. There are some really good photographers out there. Or does food make anybody’s photography look good? Perhaps I should test it out.

Well that’s enough blogging for me. You’ll notice I changed themes. This one is cleaner, less heavy, less serious. That’s where I’m going. See you next time.

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Will I get my “smojo” back?

Shock and horror envelop me as I realize how absent I have been on the social media scene these days. Yes, you’ve heard it before: I have been seriously engrossed in my latest record project. I’m finding it’s been pretty hard these days to come up for air, dust off the Facebook thingy, scrub some rust off the Twitterator. And blogging again? The thought fills me with panic. I am so rusty, I’m not sure what to blog about.

So now I am worried: Will I ever get my smojo back?

You know what I mean: Smojo is the “mojo” of social media. Smojo. I think I lost it.

People’s exhibits A, B, and C: I seem to have bloggers block. I am almost voiceless and faceless on Facebook. And I am about 140 characters short of a full Tweet. Serious hypo-smojo.

For a while I thought I could overcome my smojo deficiency by getting into video blogging. I bought a webcam, found out it wouldn’t work with my Mac, bought another webcam, it seems to work only half the time. Why the webcam when I already have a digital camcorder? Well I wanted to do screen casts of me mucking about in my music tools as I finished working on my record. That and I plan to do some live streaming house concerts which I discovered can’t be done with my camcorder. So pesky technical obstacles persist that will one day be overcome with time and attention.

Meanwhile, I need to get my smojo back. So I’m jumping back in the game with nothing more to say than that I have nothing more to say than this: Here I am. Hello world once again.

Incidentally, I decided to google “smojo” and discovered it’s the name of a band. Well it’s no longer just the name of a band. Unless they trademarked it. Then I’m in trouble.

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Blogging in 2010

Thank you all for 2010!

WordPress.com just sent me an email reviewing my blog stats for 2010, along with an option to post this information to my blog. I decided, “what the heck?”, so the information is shown below. Thank you all for being a part of my blog community. It is because of you that I have these numbers. I plan to be just as busy on my blog in 2011, if not more so.

Have a terrific 2011 and see you soon!!

Kelly

WordPress Stats

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 74 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 54 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

Featured imageThe busiest day of the year was October 7th with 194 views. The most popular post that day was A dark night… and then a ray of light.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, kellycarpentermusic.com, networkedblogs.com, kelsongs.com, and cyberprmastermind.ning.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bandcamp vs reverbnation, kelly carpenter blog, reverbnation vs bandcamp, ulnar neuritis, and music success in nine weeks.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A dark night… and then a ray of light October 2010
6 comments

2

Optimize This! – Music Success in Nine Weeks, Week 3 July 2010
7 comments

3

About My Music May 2010

4

About Me January 2010
1 comment

5

Music Success in Nine Weeks? July 2010
10 comments

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Music Success in Nine Weeks – Nine Weeks After

Yes, it’s hard to believe that about nine weeks have already gone by since the end of the Wave 1 Blog Challenge. I am so grateful for the challenge and the amount of progress I made during that time. I thought it would be good to reflect on how things are going now and share that with y’all. So what have I been up to since then?

Well, first of all, I won the grand prize for the Wave 1 blog challenge! This means I get a free 3-month PR campaign from Ariel Publicity whenever I want it. When I started the blog challenge, I decided to give it 110%, fully expecting to win. Of course, I knew there were 82 other contestants that were “all in”, so as much as I wanted it to be me, and visualize it so, I was still very surprised to win. I am so grateful for Ariel and company! Even if I hadn’t won, the amount of progress I made would have been reward enough. But it’s great to win! Here are some highlights of my progress since then.

Making a New Recording

After nine years of no output, I went into the studio in Vancouver with some friends and started work on my new album. The post-production is taking longer than I expected, so I won’t have it ready for release until after the new year, at which time I will take advantage of the PR campaign. If you’d like to keep track of my progress, I have been making a video blog series that you can see on my website, KellyCarpenterMusic.com

My 15-Second Pitch

My official pitch is “Instrumental piano infused with splashes of Chill, Jazz, Americana, and Post-Rock. Perfect for daydreaming, relaxing with friends, and beach sunsets”. When I share this, people appear a bit perplexed, asking questions like “what’s ‘chill'” or “what’s ‘post-rock'”. Of course, I can use this as an opportunity to hand then my card with my website address. But I have also added a bit more meat to my pitch once people land on the site. Speaking of…

My Website

I have been keeping tabs on the wave 2 and 3 blog challenge contestants and have found their website development ideas to be very helpful. So, I decided to do a mini-overhaul of my own website which I launched last July. One major change was to make the front page dynamic where before it was pretty static except for changing the free song I give away. I have moved my “news” section to the main page and am updating it at least twice a week. I am also employing BandZoogle’s available page elements more fully. I now consider myself an advocate for BandZoogle; I suggest you check them out if you are a music artist and still not sure who to use for your site.

My main page also features an expanded pitch: I am a music artist, songwriter, and producer in the Seattle area who is currently focusing on “Instrumental piano infused with splashes of Chill, Jazz, Americana, and Post-Rock.” What does that mean? Well, imagine the “new age” stylings of Kevin Kerns, David Lanz, and Michael Gettel, mixed in with the jazz and Americana influences of Dave Grusin, Lyle Mays and Bruce Hornsby, against a backdrop of Chill and Post-Rock beats and textures. The result? Perfect music for daydreaming, relaxing with friends, and beach sunsets.

Social Media

There is so much to continue to develop regarding social media. For Twitter, I try to do at least five tweets a day. I find that Echofon is a great Twitter client for the Mac. It makes it easy to find new people to follow and also to increase your presence by retweets and follows. I get an average of about half a dozen new followers each week. As far as Facebook goes, I find it challenging to get people to visit my fan page, and more importantly, interact with it. I started video blogging my album project and have tried creating FB events around each video blog episode release. When it comes to personal and professional blog posts, as well as events, I am spreading out the timing of sharing them on FB profile and fan page. For example, when I do a new video blog, I will share it to my FB fan page one day, my FB profile, the next day, my BandZoogle page the day after. That way, my announcements don’t get all clumped together in the FB news feed.

I am also keeping track in a spreadsheet every professional thing I post or share and then checking out the analytics of my blog, BZ, and FB fan pages at the end of the week to see what the effects of those posts are. Of course, I want to drive up my site visits and search engine rankings so it helps to know what’s working vs. what’s not.

Blogging

This, by far, is my greatest opportunity for growth. By blogging, I am referring to finding music blogs that feature music similar to what I do, commenting on songs, and building enough cred with the blog hosts to be listened to when I send them songs to consider. I believe that a nine week course could be developed just for this piece of the puzzle alone. How about “Blogging Success in Nine Weeks”? Short of that, there is an excellent free e-book by Chris Bracco called “How To Really Get Your Music On Blogs”. You can find this on TightMixBlog.com. I highly recommend it.

Mailing List and Newsletter

I roll my own HTML for my monthly newsletter and then send it out via FanBridge. They have a great preview feature so you can see exactly what your newsletter will look like before you send out the full campaign. You can save multiple drafts and also manage multiple mailing lists. Good stuff.

One thing to know. If you like giving away a free song in your newsletter, don’t bother trying to imbed a music player in your newsletter. Most mail web services will throw a fit over security issues and possibly divert your email to the junk folder. So now, I simply include a link. And I just discovered FanBridge makes it real easy to download a song; I’m going to check it out.

I am still tweaking the free song giveaway. I get very few email signups via the freebie. So I am trying a “mystery gift” approach where they won’t hear the song until after they sign up and download the song. Currently, I am using BZ’s signup widget, although it is a bit confusing what the difference is between a email member and a full-fledged member, the latter of which requires a separate signup process.

By far, the best way to build the email list is at events. I am doing a couple of keyboard workshops this weekend at a conference and hope to add at least 200 people to my list. We’ll see.

Networking

A well-timed opportunity during the blog challenge got the ball rolling with live networking. I am pretty shy and introverted, but when I went to a local “wine walk”, it wasn’t difficult to figure out what to ask people to get them to talk about themselves. “What made you decide to get into the wine business?” “How would you describe this wine?” And in the case of the local “boutique” winemakers, “What do you do for your day job?”.

How Do I Do All This?

I am in this full-time. I don’t have a day job. This is a good thing, but it is also challenging because I have a lot to learn about effective time management. I realized that I needed to work out a weekly rhythm in order to be consistent with all my business activity. This is what I came up with:

  • Mondays – Work on the newsletter email list, catch up on email, read and comment on music blogs, post and promote the video from last week on FB profile page
  • Tuesdays – Catch up on social media, write a personal blog and post to FB profile page, post video to BZ news blog
  • Wednesdays – Work on newsletter or finish up whatever free songs I’m working on this month. If it’s the week before the newsletter, it’s time to change the free song for the email list incentive. Share the previous day’s personal blog post on the FB fan page if it’s professionally oriented, such as this blog post.
  • Thursdays – Create new music day!! It’s important to set aside time to just create new stuff, whether it’s some instrumental music or songwriting (music with lyrics, which I haven’t done much in a while). The fruit of this work is both mentally beneficial as well as material that I can use for freebies. Since I’m getting into video blogging, I can do a lot of this with the digicam in record so that I have fresh video content.
  • Fridays – Produce a video for the video blog, then post it to YouTube and share a link to it on FB fan page. Also, create a news post on BZ about whatever I’m up to. And finally, review web traffic analytics on my main music site (kellycarpenter.com) my songwriting site (kelsongs.com), by BZ site, FB fan page, BandCamp, etc.
  • Mondays – And that brings us back to “doe”, also known as “rinse and repeat”

Pomodoro

All the above is necessary business stuff and, of course, on top of that all, I have projects I need to work on, such as my new album, keyboard workshops I’m preparing for, practicing music, etc. So much to do, and it seems like I never have enough time to do it. The sheer weight of stuff to do and the fact that I have ADD, means that I need some type of time management framework in order to not get too overwhelmed. Enter the “Pomodoro Technique”. Major thanks to fellow blog challenge alumnus Neil Milton for telling us about this. This blog post is already way too long, so I won’t go into detail here, but if you struggle with time management and feel shamed by the clock that seems to be moving faster than you’d like, check out PomodoroTechnique.com.

If you found this post useful at all, please express your gratitude by “liking” my FB fan page which can be found at http://facebook.com/KellyCarpenterMusic and/or share this post on your FB profile. We all benefit when we share the love.

Cheers!

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… and so on …

Oy vey! I have been so bad about blogging lately. Perhaps I have “bloggers block”. I really couldn’t think of much to blog about. The thing is, I have been busy sorting through the tracks from my recording session up in Vancouver at the end of September. Oh my gosh! Has it been almost a month?

This will probably be one of my most random and disjointed blog posts. I put a lot of pressure on myself to create meaningful, witty, and truly memorable blog posts..and now especially since I won the Music Success in Nine Weeks Blog Challenge! Perhaps that’s it. I have created such high expectations and now I suffer from performance anxiety.

Right now, however, the only anxiety I am feeling is that my Dad is back in the hospital once again, this time due to a minor stroke. I’m sitting here in the hospital lobby along with my Mom who is catnapping on the couch. Dad is staying over at the hospital for the next two nights while they observe him as part of their stroke response protocol. If you believe in prayer or “positive mental energy” or whatever, please pray.

Back to music for a wee bit… I am sorting through hours of material from the recording session. There is a lot of cool stuff and I am so happy about the music contributions of the band. I am in a bit of dilemma, however…

When I got the gumption to do another recording, I had always visualized it as turning out to be an extension or progression of my last recording. It would be part of the “Songs for the Silence” series. The code name for the project is called “Songs for the Silence Vol. 2”. People like the fact that Vol. 1, “Draw Me Close”, puts them to sleep. (Hopefully not while driving).

The vision of Vol. 2 is to do the same sort of thing, relaxation music, but do it with a band. And we did it. We have some great moments in there. But wait, there’s more. As I prepared for the project, the songs I wrote wound up having more structure and form than just simple stream of consciousness stuff. (You know what I’m talking about if you’ve heard Vol. 1). So we didn’t just create relaxation music.

It started when I was goofing around with a song idea that became what is now called “Summer Rain”. (You can listen to the demo on my BandCamp site here. It was the free song I gave away in August to people who joined my email list.)  “Summer Rain” is not just a stream of consciousness thing, but a song with a real structure. The song in its one-man-band demo form turned out to be really cool, and then once I recorded it with the band, WOW! It starts out just like the demo, a very structured song, but then we jam on the groove for another four minutes, all sorts of cool mellow.

And that’s just the first song. Other songs have blossomed and have taken on a thematic or perhaps even cinematic quality. Songs with names like “Waiting”, “Hope”, “The View From Here”, “Solace”, “More Hope”, “Procession”, and “The Final Journey” (which by its very title means that it has to be the last song). These songs are more than just relaxation music.

The evolution of this project has been very intriguing. I set about to create a certain type of music, essentially a followup to Vol. 1, but yet this other stuff has emerged. Almost like setting sail in a particular direction and yet the wind sends me a completely different direction. As if this has taken on a life of its own. As if I am not in control, control-freak that I am.

Where is the wind taking me? I don’t know. But I do know this will turn out to be a most interesting journey.

Stay tuned…

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Monday

I woke up today at 4:30 AM. I’m not a morning person by nature, but lately, I have been waking up pretty darn early. “Why”, you may ask, “not-so-morning-person Kelly, are you waking up so dang early?” You may not have asked this particular question and/or are just blissfully non-curious. That’s okay. It helps me to think of this blogging thing as a two-way conversation, and since I have no idea what you are thinking, I’m just making stuff up, pretending that you are grossly interested in my life and have all sorts of questions for me. For instance, you may wonder “Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?” Probably not. But it makes me wonder what inspired Hal David to come up with that line. Perhaps he was hanging out on the back deck of one of his multi-million-dollar mansions and was sitting next to a bird feeder. Can you imagine how freakin’ rich Burt Bacharach and Hal David are? Boggles the imagination, it does.

So back to my grossly interesting story, I wake up at 4:30 AM this very morning with my mind racing due to anxiety. Anxiety as in “how the heck am I going to make a living doing this music thing?” (I mean, this is pretty freakin’ scary if I let the anxiety overtake me.) Yesterday, I was musing about all this out loud to my sweetheart, “Yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and this is going to take a LOT of work, and it’s scary, BUT I wouldn’t trade this for a second to be back on the 27th floor of an office tower, sitting behind a computer, suffering through meetings, and generally despairing of life.”

The byline of this blog is, after all, “A journal about life interrupted and a new coming of age.” Change is HARD. But change is also GOOD. I have been through a very intense few months of change and growth. The blog challenge is just what I needed and I see all the work that I put into it starting to bear fruit. I’ll go into more detail in a subsequent blog post.

I am challenging myself to be less of a perfectionist in my blog posts and try to keep the time I spend on them down to a half an hour. I’m almost there. By the way, I woke up at 4:30 AM to a house with NO COFFEE. So here I am at Starbucks in downtown Woodinville, enjoying a cup of their bold blend. I am so totally addicted to their ham “artisan sandwich”, so I have wolfed one of those down instead of having something healthy like oatmeal. Maybe I’ll have oatmeal for lunch when I’m back at home. (Probably not.)

I don’t know about other parts of the country, but here in the Northwest it’s amazing how many Starbucks you can find per square inch.

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