I'm currently toiling away at some sewing projects, writing my draft novel for NaNoWriMo (I knew it would be hard, but it's really hard), waging war against the Empire of the Evil Cockroaches and removing viruses from my computer (why did I click on that link?). So, it's chaotic, but also a bit dull.
By the way, have you ever noticed that when people write blog posts about their sewing projects, their sewing pictures always looks so artful and inspiring? No one ever really shows you pictures of how messy and untidy things get. I've got scraps of fabric and thread everywhere. You would think those cockroaches could earn their keep by tidying up for me at night. After all, they're up anyway rummaging through all of my stuff - why not be productive and help out? But, no, they're just ungrateful freeloaders who never lift a finger.
See, sewing isn't pretty. You'll notice I've spared you from any pictures of cockroaches. Pretty swell of me, don't you think?
So, instead of boring you with more tales of chaos and dullness, I thought I would talk about blog hops today. I mentioned them in my post earlier this week about what makes Facebook and blog posts popular and Stephanie from S/V Cambria asked for some suggestions on our Facebook page, which inspired today's post.
WHAT IS A BLOG HOP?
Blog hops (or link-ups) are like pajama parties for bloggers. No one needs to worry about what they're going to wear or what hostess gift to bring. The introverts don't need to worry about whether they'll know anyone at the party and can stop fretting about making small talk. Everyone joins in from the comfort of their home, RV or boat - they can even be dressed in their PJs. If you do decide to have the second glass or wine or slice of chocolate cake, no one is going to judge you, because they can't see you. This is my kind of party.
Someone hosts the blog hop (often times, there are multiple hosts) and uses a widget such as Linky Tools or InLinkz so that other bloggers can post a link to their blog on the host's site. This allows everyone to check each other's posts out without the embarrassment of wearing those silly "Hello" name tags.
A blog hop will usually have a particular theme - such as travel, photography, arts and crafts, feminism, cooking, weddings, raising a family etc. - which helps you find like-minded bloggers who write about things you have an interest in.
There are usually some rules that you need to follow. You might be asked to link back to the host's site, include a badge on your blog post, comment on a certain number of blog posts, only link to one of your blog posts etc. This seems entirely reasonable to me. It keeps things focused, makes sure everyone plays nicely and ensures folks get introduced and chat with each other through comments.
Blog hops are typically open for a specific period of time and then they close to new entries. They'll often take place on the same day of each week or month. Blog hops come and go - folks get tired of hosting them or they stop blogging themselves. But, just like there are always new blogs to discover, there are always new blog hops to participate in.
SOME BLOG HOPS TO CHECK OUT
If you're interested in checking out blog hops, I've listed some that I'm aware of below. I only participate in a few of them, but I included links to others so that you can get an idea of the diversity that's out there.
Alphabet Photography Project
Stephanie from S/V Cambria flagged this one up. To join in all you have to do is link up a post or photograph. It might be of an object, an adjective or a representation of that week's letter. The project runs weekly with a new letter every Wednesday.
There are lots of Wordless Wednesday blog hops out there (the Alphabet Photography Project listed above is an example of this). The idea is to post an inspiring picture(s) with minimal text. This one is hosted by BeThere2Day.
My bloggy pal and fellow boater Sandee hosts a number of blog hops on her site. My favorites are Feline Friday and Awws Monday. Everyone knows I'm a sucker for cute animal pictures.
Insecure Writer's Support Group
The first Wednesday of every month, writers can share posts on their doubts and concerns and get support from others. Experienced writers can offer guidance and tips. It's billed as safe haven for insecure writers of any kind. I participated for the first time earlier this month and found it exactly as advertised - lots of support from like minded folks.
Our World Tuesday
Our World Tuesday is a blog hop where family friendly bloggers can share images of their world and tell a little bit of a story about the place.
No, it's not what you think. Gordon Ramsay isn't hosting this one. This is a blog hop for folks who want to talk about equality, feminism and women's rights. It takes place on the first Thursday of every month. To be honest, I don't know much about it, but I thought I would throw it in the mix in case it is of interest to anyone.
Every Tuesday, Bonnie Rose at a Compass Rose, hosts a travel blog hop. She usually has co-hosts who manage the blog hop with her and whose posts are featured on the Compass Rose site. It seems to be more of a "younger" travel blogger site with contributions from a lot of American expats, but, despite my wrinkles and gray hair, I participate from time to time. They haven't kicked me out yet.
Wednesday Around the World
Another Wordless Wednesday blog hop, this one is hosted by an American expat photographer in New Zealand.
Weekend Travel Inspiration
This blog hop is hosted by Rhonda from Albom Adventures, along with a number of other travel bloggers. As the name indicates, it takes place each weekend - I think it usually opens on Saturdays. The blogging crowd at Weekend Travel Inspiration seems to be a bit more diverse - more international bloggers, some focused on family travel, wider range of ages etc.
AND A SHAMELESS PLUG FOR THE MONKEY'S FIST
Although not technically a blog hop, The Monkey's Fist is a great resource to find posts from different bloggers on various sailing and cruising topics. It's a wonderful way to discover other sailing blogs, as well as join in the community and share your own blog posts or even be a Topic Coordinator.
What's great about The Monkey's Fist is that it is a permanent resource. If you're interested in a particular topic, you can search on the site. It's a little trickier to find that blog hop that was hosted a couple of months ago where you vaguely remember someone had post on 15 Ways to Convince Ungrateful Cockroaches to Tidy the Place Up which you want to check it out again.
If you're interested in sailing blogs, check it out. And if you're really inspired, get involved and share your own posts.
Do you participate in blog hops? Are there any you would add to the list above?
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