I obsess about what I write. As I write, I will scroll back up to the top of my post and re-read what I've written numerous times. I will sometimes start a post over a lunch break (because I have time to myself to think) only to save it as a draft to pull up later that night to read through and edit some more. Then I'll add pictures, or attempt to locate just the right picture I took that one time four months ago and get side-tracked into looking through pictures for an hour. If I actually do hit publish that night, I will immediately open my blog in a browser window and re-read it again. Because - ya-huh - it makes such a difference.
I would say only 20% of what I think is interesting enough to write about actually makes it to my blog. Either I get busy and A) forget what I was going to write, B) get sucked right into the next life event, thus "overwriting" that "to blog about" portion of my brain or C) start writing a post and think, "Huh. THAT'S lame." Other lame things make it to my blog and I don't know why.
I have a great camera that I use for most of the pictures on my blog -- its a Nikon D60. I started a photo blog and am doing a 365 photo project. (Posting one photo every day for a year.) Its a way to force myself to take pictures that are more artistic. I'm a pro at the candid snapshot but having to find time and a subject every day is making me learn the finer technical points of taking a photo. This one's still one of my favorites:
I totally cheat on my 365 project, too. If I actually made myself take a photo and post it every single day I'd make myself insane. Its my blog so its my rules. I post a photo for every day, and more often than not its a photo that I took on that particular day. But sometimes its not. Sometimes I suppliment with a pic I snapped earlier in that same week, or like the week we went to the Packer game, I had several I liked that made the "blog cut" while some others I took on purpose for the photo blog did not. One that "made the cut":
I also tend to post photos to that blog about once a week. Currently, I am 10 days behind and I'm totally OK with that. I have the photos on the hard drive of my laptop, and for about half of those days I already have the "photo of the day" selected. I will more than most likely get around to setting them up to post tonight, and then will set them to publish every few hours or so (so as not to overwhelm my twitter or facebook streams). Later, I'll go back and change the post date so that there is one photo for each day.
I own a copy of PhotoShop CS4. I've been a PhotoShop user for more than 10 years (ack! actually going waaay back to my days as a high school co-op student in the mid 90s) but I know I'm probably only comfortable with about 20% of that program. I'm taking an advanced PhotoShop class at a local tech college in December and am hoping to learn a few more techniques (and keyboard short-cuts). I just wish PS had a way to edit photos in a batch!
I often publish my pictures as-is simply because I don't have the time to muck with them. Other times, when I'm really busy, I'll upload the "straight-out-of-camera" photos to Flickr and edit them in Picnik as I have the time. Rarely do I take a picture and immediately think that I want to edit it in some way. This one I loved -- my kids were excited to trick-or-treat with some of their friends -- but it came out blurry. So I cropped it, softened it and made it look retro in Picnik.
I have a lot of people ask me for recommendations when buying a new camera. (Though me ≠ expert.) I think a lot of people believe that you have to have a really expensive camera with a lot of bells and whistles to get good photos. If you are going on a trip with the fam never underestimate the value of a small point-n-shoot. I love mine. In fact, the bottom two photos above were taken with my Canon SD1000. Its small enough to fit in my pocket or my purse, and cheap enough ($200 when I bought it more than 2 years ago) that if I lost it I would cry more for the lost photos than the camera itself. Most point-n-shoot cameras these days allow you to take photos in up to 10 or 12 megapixels -- more than adequate enough for printing in large sizes. I hardly ever take my Nikon with me if I'm going to an event with my kids - the potential for damage just doesn't seem practical to me. The Nikon is more my project camera. (Though don't get me wrong I take it out plenty!)
For a really long time, I obsessed about how often I posted here as well. I made myself crazy -- I checked stats every day and visited hundreds of blogs, hoping that leaving comments for others would make them want to visit my blog as well. It got to the point that it just wasn't healthy. Now, traffic is nice, but I can go days without even thinking of my blog.
I like to think that checking blog stats is like weighing yourself while dieting: do it periodically, but not every day.
Your day-to-day traffic will fluctuate, but if you really want to work at building an audience and do so, you'll have to give it time.
I've gone back and forth about blogging carnivals. Back in my obsessive days I played along with lots of them. Then I went through a period where I was like, 'Hey, my blog doesn't need your linkie-up thingie!' Now I've sort of settled somewhere in the middle. Some are fun (I still love Lotus's Weekly Winners and there are a few other photo ones out there as well) and others just provide good periodic writing prompts.
One more photo, just because I like it: