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The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout,…

The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout, or anything else. If you have a post, page, or idea you want to bounce off someone, leave a comment. Your fellow bloggers can then click through and offer input either on your site, or in the comments here (feel free to indicate which you’d prefer).

Read on for the ground rules and to leave a comment . . .

  • You’ll get the best feedback if you can be as specific as possible about what you’d like people to respond to or where you’re struggling.
  • Please keep all comments civil and constructive. We’re here to help and support one another, not to beat anyone down.
  • If you haven’t looked at our Commenting Guidelines in a while, now might be a good time.
  • To keep from losing your place in the comment thread while you visit others’ blogs, right-click on a link to open it in a new tab or window.
  • No running on the deck.

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  1. I feel like none of my posts are deep; I feel as though they’re shallow and abstract. I want my blog to be about my life as I become a teacher, and other things that interest me, but not if I can’t get out of this rut.

    Can you please offer advice on how to make the life posts more interesting and my other posts more detailed? I want to be interesting; I don’t think I am.

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    1. I liked your Facebook post!
      I don’t feel that your posts are shallow. Maybe if you are feeling a little exposed at the thought of really saying what you think, do it a little bit at a time? Continue the style you are using, and add little personal touches to it? That way you will begin to feel more comfortable with “putting yourself out there”. That’s kind of what I have started to do, and I got a great response!

      http://laugraeva.wordpress.com/

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      1. Smartsstunningseaerching, I have to agree with Laugraeva that your Facebook post is fantastic. Sensationally written, so obviously you are on the right path at the very least.

        For interesting, deep, detailed, and any of that, I simply suggest being completely open and completely yourself. It is my experience that the blogging community are amazingly accepting and you will never feel alienated for any opinion or part of yourself that you offer up on your blog.I know it can be daunting, but with great risk comes great reward. Personally, I love witnessing all the little quirks and individualities that make us completely us. And so many people will agree with that. If you play it safe, you will not truly express yourself. If you are able to express the absolute you onto that page, people will find you interesting, because they will see what it is to be uniquely you.

        That is the theory behind it anyway. I have not and may never master this myself, but I think my theory is solid. Haha. Anyhows, I think your blog is great and I’ve no doubt you will be wowing people with your interesting self for a long time to come.

        And Laugraeva, I know you did not ask for feedback, but your blog is also magnificent. A wonderful read!

        Kudos to both of you!

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    2. I don’t think your posts are shallow. It can be hard to put yourself out there. You can start by doing a little at time like the person above me suggestions or you can start by starting with something small and build from there.

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    3. Fist off, I’ll suggest that you not take one random person’s opinion of “interesting” because there’s a broad array of views out there.

      That said, your topics aren’t generally what I would choose to read (but plenty of other people would). So I’ll just offer some advice on how to be more “interesting,” if you feel you need to be:

      Write about what excites you. If it’s not interesting to you, how do you expect to make it interesting for anyone else? If you have that enthusiasm going in, the details will flow naturally. (And also remember that different readers are interested in different levels of detail. There’s no right or wrong around here when it comes to that.) That often means sitting down to write when inspiration strikes, and not so much at a scheduled time.

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    4. I’ve been having the same problem lately. I’ve found that keeping a journal can be helpful. I type my journal up digitally so that I can password encrypt it and feel sure that nobody else will read it. The security gives me peace of mind and allows me to express myself openly without the fear of being judged restricting me mentally.

      If nothing else, writing a journal entry seems to be a good way of warming up and getting into a writing mindset.

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      1. I totally agree with the journal comment. I have been writing one for forty one years, and find it is a great way of releasing emotions, trying out new ideas, practising the literary devices we all use – and learning to find your own writing voice.
        I rant and rave, sing and play in mine; I siphon off all the overblown crap – and then synthesise what is left into my blog posts, novels and so forth!

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    5. The Facebook post was extremely well-written. Loved what you wrote about YouTube comments ;) – so right on. I don’t think you are shallow at all. I would have loved to hear more about your Uncle and family. I’m looking forward to your updates when school begins.

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    6. Everyone is interesting when they think deeply and honestly about themselves. The problem usually lies with the ‘uneasiness’ that comes along with expressing ones deepest truths. Don’t be afraid to say what you really feel! It is real and authentic and engaging. The pains that come with true self expression is great. But, the rewards can be unimaginable. Not only will you show the world who you really are, you’ll learn more about yourself!

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    7. You will feel “deep” when you start writing honestly. Some will say that “your posts aren’t shallow”, because they are probably pretty good, pretty “deep” in fact, at least from the readers perspective. Only when you begin to write honestly, with no reservation, will you feel “satisfied” that your post is now “deep enough”.

      Tip – write about something you would not even say to your Mother. Really. Remember that controversial subject matter is the key ingredient in creating excellent content. Offer an opinion about something your passionate about, but your not usually willing to make public. This could be a risque topic, or it could be about Autism, abortion, or marijuana…If the phone doesn’t ring 10 min after the post, try again.
      -Moneymakerspy

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    8. This is deep so think about it, you should be grateful for the air you take in and let out. When you have lost every thing you have and you haven’t had a income in two years. The lawyer you trust have tied you up that you can’t see your way out, and when you fired him his words ” you will never find a lawyer to represent you”. Why? Milwaukee Wisconsin is control by Marquette University graduate Lawyers. But wait you took all the change in the jar you were saving and that is gone. The last straw is you are running out of toilet paper. All you want to do when you trust this lawyer is feed the homeless and start you a group home for trouble children, But wait their is nothing like the Creator when every thing look dark, your faith has to come through, when you work at it..the Creator wants you to Create!!

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  2. With each post I make I feel as if my writing style is lacking something. Having never had writing classes. At times I find it difficult to express myself in words so others can see, feel, and grasp ideas that I am expressing. I hope to be a light in a dark place, within thoughts and minds of people who may be experiencing life as I am, along the somewhat same pathway, expressed in blog form.

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    1. I don’t see your writing style as lacking something because I think there’s a fairly large audience that would be very happy with what you’re putting forth. One does not need writing classes to be a strong writer.

      Also… although you didn’t ask about it, I do feel the need to comment on one or two other things. First, your blog theme split your blog title in an unfortunate way. Since there’s no hyphen or lowercase letters, it looks like your blog is called “Compass Ion Pages.” I like your intended blog title, so you might be better off changing themes if you can’t get “Compassion” into one line. Also, consider replacing the default “A topnotch WordPress.com site” with something more relevant to your blog.

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      1. Great points you gave to me. I never thought of that as of yet, but would have come to it at some point I would think???? But then… Thanks so much for your views and those points.

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    2. @compassionpages – Didn’t you just start writing?? I only see 2 posts listed for you. Its hard to know if your writing is lacking anything this early. I really think if you keep writing with your content focused you will find your niche. I have never had any writing classes either and I don’t think they are necessary to write on a level that relates to people. Another tip, your layout kind of confused me, and your blog name appeared like this, 2 lines, “COMPASSI ON PAGES” So thats something to think about with your layout, how it will appear on other screen sizes. You can’t please everyone, but the horizontal layout has me confused where I should be looking.

      http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

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      1. Thanks for the feed back. I know I need to do something with the layout. But I liked the look of the theme, but now may need to look for another one better for me. Yes I just started posting and hope to have more to come soon. But I’m a slow writer and need to work on it. But no need to rush right? Just having some fun with the ideas in my head. Thanks again.

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    1. I don’t know what to say about your posts other than; do not change a thing. You have a real knack for this. I could not care less about Dirty Dancing but still found your post incredibly interesting and enjoyable to read. I have worked as a teacher, so I could relate more to the first, but even if not, I still believe I would have loved the post. Keep up the terrific work!

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  3. Hello, I recently found a scrapbook of political Cartoons that my dad had collected when he was young. I didn’t know what I should do with them but I thought perhaps there are people out there that might enjoy seeing them. I have put together a blog and would like to post one a day so anyone who may wish to view them can also enjoy them. Please visit and give me some feedback or suggestions on how I can improve of changes that might be helpful. Thanks, http://dadspoliticalcartoonscrapbook.wordpress.com/

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    1. Thank you for posting these. That’s going to be an amazing blog.

      I do have a question, though. Are all of these cartoons going to be so light in color? Assuming they will be, they might look better against a black background instead of the white. (I’m not 100% on that, so perhaps test the black and see what you like better.)

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      1. Thank you I will try that. Also I have been simply taking photos Do you think maybe scanning them would help make the print a bit more clear? I haven’t attempted taking them out of the scrapbook yet however I believe I can without harm to them. Thanks again for your thoughts!

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      2. I am having trouble getting the background of the header and photos a darker color. Is this possible? I found how I can change the color of the font however not the background of the header area?

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    2. I have to agree with BUMBLEPUPPIES. The white background creates a wash-out of the images your putting on your blog. You don’t necessarily have to use black in the background. A dark brown or sepia color could work giving an antique look of the blog.
      Good Luck …

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    3. It might be necessary to change the theme of your blog. Some start out with a black or brown background and some will allow you to change the background color. (Some are also specifically labeled as photo blogs… you may be able to search based on that one feature.) If you’ll need to change the background color, be sure to pick a theme that has the text directly on the background instead of in a box. (My blog has the text in a box, which protects it from the loud background pattern.)

      And I second Isadora’s idea of a dark brown or sepia as an option. That could look really good as long as you’re not putting up any black text against it.

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      1. That’s definitely better. Half of me wishes the light brown were darker and the other half realizes that you’d lose your header menu that way. So I’d say keep it like that.

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    4. Just came from the cartoon site – great idea. They seemed to have held up well over the years. I would look into ways to make sure they stay in such good condition – definitely a scrapbook you will want to pass on.

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  4. I’ve changed the look of my blog quite a bit since I started trying to find my favorite look. Interested in anyone’s opinions on the current version. Thanks

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    1. Hey there. I find your background color really strong. Reading long texts while having that in the background is really heavy on the eyes. You could try something more mild. I would suggest matching the bg. colour with that of your widgets, which is a nicer shade of blue.

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    1. Ok let me dust off my college literature class cap from a few years ago and take a stab at it. Great use of imagery and action verbs. But I was still wanting a little more. I couldn’t picture the setting, other than the lamp post, and what were the stakes? Why did she need his help without hurting him. I know it’s a short story so not everything is going to be spelled out, but I didn’t quite get the undercurrent of their story. I do like the rhythm of your writing though, it’s very easy to follow:)

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      1. I like to keep it simple when writing short stories. I just don’t think too much about the details, only the action that is happening. I totally understand what you mean though. Thanks! :D

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  5. I MUST PARTICIPATE!!! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL HUMANITY! :P

    But seriously, I love wordpress bloggers. You’re all so helpful and supportive. Rock on!

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  6. I have written a post for the Daily Prompt – but I have absolutely NO IDEA how to get it onto the page with all the other entries. My technological skills are very poor. Please could someone help? Thanks. Alienora.

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    1. To join that list, simply include a link to the relevant Daily Prompt post in your own post. That should do the trick. If this is not clear, let me know. Good luck!

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  7. I’m not sure if my more recent style of posts are any better than my older style? Blogging almost everyday this week has actually begun to change my style slightly. Not sure if it’s a good or bad change!
    Would really appreciate feedback!

    I’ll do you if you do me!

    http://laugraeva.wordpress.com/

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    1. I don’t think it is vastly different in style. There may be a few subtle changes in delivery, but all in all the posts are still very much ‘you’ from what I can gather. I read a fair way back and I think you’ve been on a winner for a long time. So, I don’t know, just keep doing what you’re doing! If there is a change, I think it’s certainly not a bad one.

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  8. I have an idea to start a blog or website which can maybe be expanded into a magazine wherein everyone who contributes does so under an anonymous name. Not everyone likes this idea of not getting credit under their real name but I think it is an interesting concept which if used with respect can bring about a change in journalism. The blog/magazine will have a theme and people contributing to it can use their poetic license to put forth their views in a safe environment and thus readers can see it as well. The main aim of maintaining anonymity is to eliminate personal bias and to direct the attention to the content rather than the individual who wrote it. If anyone is interested in being a part of such a project then please get in touch with me via this account. Thanks. Also any feedback is appreciated.

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      1. The subjects are unlimited as I see it as a platform for various subjects, anything that you feel passionate about. I’m not entirely sure about the audience but I feel it would be appropriate for teenagers and adults.

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    1. Putting egos aside may well be extremely therapeutic and, actually, have a sharpening effect upon the writing of the posts! I like the idea, Vedra25, and would certainly be happy, in principle, to contribute to it. It could be liberating for the self-conscious, a safe space for the angry, dispossessed and unhappy – and a great way for writers to get together. Go for it! Alienora

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      1. thank you and I am really glad that you understood the whole point of the anonymity without me even having to explain it! You seem perfect to be a part of this and I would appreciate any contribution you can make, if you are interested. What type of things are interested in writing about?

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      2. I am mainly a creative writer, but have also been a community reviewer and, for the past forty one years, a journal writer!
        So, descriptive, lyrical writing; humorous pieces; very blunt and graphic rants…
        Have a look on my blog if you want:
        alienorajt.wordpress.com/
        That should give you a flavour of my style and approach!
        Alienora

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    2. This sounds really cool! I just started my blog here on wordpress (sexualfluidityfrolicker.wordpress.com), but I have been writing poetry for years. I like writing because it feels like its organization my often scattered brain. I see the idea of writing posts anonymously as a great way to develop and hone skills while the world remains oblivious. Let me know if this idea goes anywhere and you’d like me to participate!

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    3. @Vedra25 I think this sounds fun, especially for some bloggers (such as myself) who for reasons such as social, family, blogging expectations, cannot veer from their current subject matter. I would love to participate, as there are many topics I have opinions on or things I want to say, that I cannot always link with my name. Please let me know if you go through with this!

      http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

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  9. I have a question about my own blog. I have Oxygen and I have all my featured posts on the top. To you, does that look good? Or you do think it will look better if I nixed the idea of having featured/sticky posts and have it as a regular theme? I welcome any opinions on the blog.

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    1. Personally, I like the way you have set it out. The post links at the top look good and entice you to check them out. They’re also more accessible that way, without having to do any scrolling or searching or any of that. Great for lazy wanderers like myself! Haha. But yeah, I think it is basically perfect as is.

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    1. Your blog looks very nice, I really liked it. However, I saw some of your posts had over 15 tags, which means they won’t make it in the Reader ( please correct me if I’m wrong), and that is a real shame.

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    1. I don’t think the “read more” links have any effect on how I perceive your subject matter. When you’ve reached a high number of posts, they can be useful for letting people browse through large numbers of posts. Some people like this. Others (and I belong to this crowd) will read fewer posts on a page with “read more” links because we can’t simply scroll through everything from the home page. So I don’t think there’s a wrong decision either way you go.

      However, the green background color seems a little out of place for the topic you’ve chosen. (It also doesn’t go with your header image.) You might want to consider changing that.

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    2. I actually like the read more links, I know some arent a fan, but I like to quickly scroll down the last couple posts and determine which one I would like to read. I feel that if people are interested they will click in!

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  10. Hi,
    I started a regular feature on my blog where once a week I would take a picture and talk about a local species: “species of the week.” These posts have proven to be less popular than my regular posts. I like doing them, but will I lose my audience? Any thoughts?

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    1. The posts are good and you should keep doing them. However, based on what you’ve said I would advise eliminating “Species of the week” from the post titles. I suspect that more people would click on something called “”The Twelve-spotted Skimmer: A Dragonfly with Attitude” or something like that. The idea is to make the titles interesting, just as you do for your other posts. “Species of the Week” is not an interesting title that will grab readers’ attention.

      Then at the end of these Species of the Week posts, you could say something to the effect of “This was the species of the week. For more posts in this series, click on the “Species of the Week” category in the sidebar.” That mean’s you’d need to add the “Species of the Week” category to all posts in the series and start using the Category widget. That would let you keep writing the posts you love and attract an audience.

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      1. Thanks, that sounds like a good idea! I was thinking of something like that. I didn’t know about the category widget. I will have to look into that.
        I appreciate your help!

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    2. I think your species of the week posts are interesting. Perhaps you could try to connect with other bloggers who are interested in these, while keeping your existing audience interested with your usual posts. Or you might consider having a second blog and keep the two types of post completely separate. Sue

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    3. @CathyMCallister I agree, come up with a more catching title and people might click more. I like to learn about nature and such, but your posts vary, from trees to flowers to bugs. Find a key descriptive phrase and spin it into a catchy title!

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  11. Hi Cathy: I think you have flagged up something of great importance here, and there is no easy answer. If you enjoy ‘Species of the week’, and it is just one part of your overall blogging pattern, I would not worry too much. Obviously, trying to gauge what the audience likes is important – but so is your creativity, your need for experimentation, your need to express yourself in your own way.
    Perhaps you could tweak the Species pieces a bit – ask your readers to share their own favourite species in fifty words or less/get a guest blogger to write about his/her species of the week, something like that? Just a thought.
    Apologies if these are things you already do: I have only been on here for a six days, and am responding to you ‘blind’, as it were! Good luck! Alienora

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  12. I am not sure about the design on my blog and I wish I could get more followers and readers (especially ones that will comment and give advise and constructive criticism.) Any advise is much appreciated.

    dwbb.wordpress.com

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    1. I think your blog is easy to read and navigate through. Furthermore, I like your work. The only thing you should have in mind is to pay more attention to spelling/ grammar. I know it can be tricky but in creative work it does make the difference. Goodluck with your writing.

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    1. You should try to upload a blog post on a regular basis. It makes it easier for people to come back to your blog. It means they can incorporate reading your posts into their weekly schedule. It also makes it easier to post as well, because then you have a deadline!

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    1. Hi, I just want to give you one tip, comic sans is pretty much a design no no, and you have used it (or otherwise something that looks too much like it) for the title of your blog. I would change the font, because I think it will put a lot of people off. The first thing I look at when I’m looking at a new blog is the design and if it is messy or unattractive I often don’t bother reading. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but design is pretty important. Hope this helped :)

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      1. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving an input, i will definitely redesign my title font, was having it in mind for a long time but do not have enough time to think of something good.

        As for the design, my blog is pretty simple. It will have only 1 story, which i want people to read one by one post.

        Once again Thanks!

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