Photo Credit: Ben Zvan
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This lesson starts with a short story. Stick with me.

Many years ago, at a time when it was safe for two young girls to travel alone, my best friend and I went on a road trip. From the Midwest, we headed toward the west coast. Weeks later, 2300+/- miles from home, we were nearly out of money in a Bay Area town named Burlingame (CA). Too proud to call our parents, we found a safe looking park, slept in the car, took cold showers in a beach cabana, got jobs as hotel maids, and three weeks later moved into an apartment.

When we were going through this experience, we didn’t give it much thought. We found a solution to our situation, and life went on.

Years later, as my friend and I were “going down memory lane”, we realized at that point in time, we had been “homeless”. We talked about how unprepared we had been for the trip, and how not asking for help, resulted in many sacrifices, including cramped sleeping conditions in a small car. Although we admit we had been stubborn, we were also naive. But it did cause our determination to kick in, and we were able to say, we “made it” on our own.

This mentality, has stuck with me. I say I’m independent, some may beg to differ.

Today’s Lesson

I was very naive when I started blogging. Six months prior, I didn’t even know what a blog was. If I had seen one, I didn’t know it was a blog.

I wanted a blog, so I researched how to get one. I got a domain name, signed up for WordPress and BlueHost, and started blogging. I trusted the rest would “fall into place”…and it has.

But, when I had questions, I was too proud to ask other bloggers for help. From reading comment sections, my questions sounded elementary, I didn’t want to “look stupid”, so I didn’t ask, I would go back to researching. I made mistakes, crashed my blogs, and often wondered if I was cut out for blogging.

My blogs have “taken off”, but I don’t recommend others do what I did. It created more gray hairs, headaches, and sleepless nights than I care to count.

When I set up this blog, I wanted it to be helpful and welcoming. I don’t want a visitor to feel a question is “too elementary” to ask.

Although you will see some eloquently written comments on this blog, your comment or question is just as important to me.

At Blogging Without A Blog, no question is a stupid question. No comment is a dumb comment.

My door is open. I welcome you in.

Today’s Assignment

Questions, anyone?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – that was brave of you – sleeping in a car for three weeks. I don’t know that I would like to do it.

    I have a question – v basic one. But where did you get that social networks plugin – the one with the tiny buttons. I’ve been looking everywhere and the only one I can find that works so far is a Digg one and I barely use Digg.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..21 Amazing Business Writing Resources

  2. Barbara, you said “This lesson starts with a short story. Stick with me.” Actually, your stories are a big part of why we stick with you! This was another good one.

    My sister had a teacher who said “The only stupid question is one you already know the answer to.” That sounded like a very good environment for learning. I also found it funny, because lawyers are trained to only ask witnesses questions they already know the answer to!

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Treading Water Only Delays Drowning

  3. DebNo Gravatar says:

    I didn’t really know what a blog was until August. Sure I’d seen the local ones in the paper, but those always are controversial and the people that comment on them are negative and demeaning. My impression of blogs was not positive. I started reading “Because I Said So” because the woman had posted a funny item on ebay. Her blog took off after that item and she is often referred to as the Pokemon lady. I really enjoyed her blog and read it faithfully for several months until finally “itching the scratch” and starting my own blog. I have never been good at internet research and get easily confused when there is a lot of technical computer talk. I’m slowly finding my way and I am so glad you found me because you’re blog has been very helpful. It is great to have “mentors” to help you through the blogging world. There are addtional things I want to do with my blog, but I’m taking my time. It’s nice to know that I can come to you with basic questions that may seem remedial. I don’t have any today, but I’m sure I will have more in the future!

    Deb’s last blog post..Survivor Anyone?

  4. DebNo Gravatar says:

    You proofread and proofread and proofread and still you make stupid mistakes. I believe the correct term is “scratching the itch”! Oops.

    Deb’s last blog post..Survivor Anyone?

  5. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Forget eloquence. I’m not even smart enough to think up my very own stupid answer. I’d love to hear the answer to Cath’s question.

    But here’s the really tricky bit! I tried to find one that worked with “new blogger” and couldn’t find one. I did though find one that worked with stumble.

    The problem with blogger is it needs you to really dig deep in the code. And I nearly messed up my blog.

    Now I know this is WordPress, but as you have lots of other readers – maybe one of them uses Blogger and knows the answer.

    I know I’ve seen it done, but as you say, I felt a little bit stupid asking them.

    The great introductory story has given me the courage to ask next time I see it (unless someone knows?).

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Email Marketing: Don’t Spam, Know Your Audience

  6. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    I agree Ian – knowing that Barbara was mad enough to sleep in a car for three weeks has given me the courage to do many things – aside from sleeping in a car.

    I hope she knows about these plugins because I have heaps of useless plugins on my blog that I downloaded thinking they did something completely different to what they do.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..21 Amazing Business Writing Resources

  7. NatashaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I may not say much but I often times stop by your blog. One of the things I appreciate is how comfortable you make guest feel to leave comments and ask questions. I hope my blog sends out the same energy. Be safe. :)

    Natasha’s last blog post..Yes We Can – Barack Obama 2008

  8. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    The plugin I use is “Notable”, and here’s a link to it, via a post I did months ago. Adding-the-notable-plugin-to-your-blog

    I’ll be back shortly to answer the other questions…work in calling.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Stubborn Blogger Wouldn’t Ask For Help

  9. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I think we can do more than we give ourselves credit for. At the time, I was young and naive and didn’t know any better. Sometime innocence can work to your advantage.

    I’m glad I inspire you to be brave, however, I imagine you could share stories that would amaze us as well.

    Hi Hunter,

    I’m glad you like the story. I like when bloggers share a little about themselves in their posts, and have tried to emulate that by using life experiences in some of mine. We all learn so much from experience, it great when we can pass that on.

    I like what your teacher said. It reminds me of the “here’s your sign” spoof.

    Hi Deb,

    That’s interesting how you started blogging. I like hearing what inspired others to join the ranks.

    The way I see it, if I don’t know the answer, my other readers may, or I will do research and hopefully find a suitable answer the questions. I love to help others, so this gives me a perfect opportunity.

    Hi Ian,

    Oh, that code. Sometimes I find it so amazing how adding a few lines of code can transform the look of a blog, but other times, one small mistake, and you can crash a blog.

    I’m not familiar with Blogger at all, but hopefully others are and they can assist you.

    As a reminder, remember to save a copy of your files before adding or deleting things.

    Hi Natasha,

    Thank you for the kind words. That’s a great reminder that we often visit other blogs without commenting. But, it doesn’t mean we’re not interested.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Stubborn Blogger Wouldn’t Ask For Help

  10. Barbara, you are a brave soul. What an adventure.

    it’s wonderful to find such a helpful community. Thanks for being so willing to share your blogging knowledge.

    sterling | bizlift’s last blog post..Go Big: Free Enterprise Tools For Small Biz

  11. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Did you meet your Brad Pitt then, too? :-)

    That’s an amazing story — thanks so much for sharing.

    Nez

    Nez’s last blog post..Are You Living a Perfect Life?

  12. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sterling,

    It was a great adventure, and a wonderful memory.

    I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the great group we have here at BWAB. Everyone is so willing to help each other. I believe that is what having a successful blog is all about.

    Hi Nez,

    No, it wasn’t until years later that I met my Brad Pitt. After landing in Ca, I began concentrating on my career.

    Stick around, I’ll be sharing many more stories.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Stubborn Blogger Wouldn’t Ask For Help

  13. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – thanks for the plugin.

    I like these stories. And I definitely want to hear more of them. I ran out of oil yesterday and I was lying in bed freezing last night. And I thought about how bad it must have been for you sleeping in a car for three weeks, and then it didn’t feel so bad. I think I fell asleep still trying to imagine what it must be like to sleep in a car for all that time.

    I will tell some stories – I just worry about giving away too much sometimes and maybe putting people off my blog because they think I’m crazy or something.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Write The Grafitti On The Wall

  14. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m glad you like the stories. That was many years ago when I was a lot younger and sleeping in a car was “no big deal”. Now, I would probably think twice about it, but it also reminds me that if I did it once, I could do it again, ….if I had to.

    I guess some stories could put off our readers, but personal stories can also add credibility to what you write.

    Barbara’s last blog post..New Commenter Becomes NBOTW

  15. NicoleNo Gravatar says:

    No questions, but thanks for the offer and the trip down the memory lane.
    We wouldn’t be where and what we are today without the stubbornness in the old days, no?
    ;)

  16. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Nicole,

    No truer words spoken.

    Barbara’s last blog post..New Commenter Becomes NBOTW

  17. [...] Although I had questions about blogging, I was too stubborn to ask for help. [...]

  18. JannieNo Gravatar says:

    I am having a lot of CSS questions and can’t quite understand the books I got out of the library but luckily the Austin WordPress Group is meeting soon and I thorougly plan to latch onto someone and milk his or her mastermind for all it’s worth.

    Ain’t too proud (or stubborn,) to beg.

    Jannie´s last blog post..Why Thursdays rule