Do It… For Love

A teacher I know remarked how she would like to stay at home and run a blog. It got me thinking about what people think is involved versus what it actually takes. So this post is intended to dis-spell some blogging myths.WritersLife

1.The only thing bloggers do is run their blog.

Most bloggers either have a full-time job, a family, or even if they are a full-time blogger they have a schedule and most likely are busy doing other work; writing, freelancing or are consultants.

2. That it’s expensive to build a blog.

There are so many templates especially on Word Press that are free, or inexpensive.

3.That you write a post and then publish it immediately.

I often get asked: when do you have time to write your blog? The answer is, I can write a post at anytime and schedule when I want it to post. Most bloggers do this as well.

4. That everyone in the blogging world is nice.

The blogging community is an amazing thing to be part of and I’ve met incredible people along the way. People also can get nasty toward bloggers who monetize their content saying it’s not a real job. There’s a dark side to any online comment thread, it’s the nature of the Internet, and something that everyone will encounter at some point.

5. That blog posts take a few minutes to write and publish.

Some do, some do not. You have to be your own editor, and I am meticulous about my words, since they reflect me/ my work. But like anything, the longer you do it, the better you become.

6. That you need an expensive camera.

Fashion or Beauty blogs require a good quality camera – as does video. I am a visual person so I cannot post without a visual. But, I don’t think that it equates to running a successful blog.

7. That bloggers get freebies.

It astounds me when I hear someone say they want to start a blog because they want free perks. It really defeats the objective of having a blog and in my opinion, is juvenile. Do it for the enjoyment. Not from what you may or may not gain. The relationship between a blog and a business is something that needs to be nurtured so it can grow and work well together. That can only happen when you invest in relevant content.

8. That bloggers work with any brand to make sales.

Blogging has become a large industry, bloggers are being asked to participate in campaigns, giveaways and to do reviews. Bloggers cannot say yes to everything and say no to things that are not mutually beneficial or interesting to their readers.

9. That you must have a blogging niche.

I’m of the mind-set that it helps. But you don’t need to pigeon-hole yourself. Lots of blogs cover a wide spectrum of things and blogging awards categories have got broader. It’s good to find your ‘specialty’ and be unique in your style and tone, but you don’t need to fret over not knowing what your topic is, it will develop over time.

10.That it’s all about numbers.

Most of the time it’s about traffic, referrals, followers etc. But that’s not everybody’s key metric. Blogging can also be for engagement; be it the emails, the tweets, the letters, the friendships. For me personally, it’s about finding and growing the right audience; the people that I want to reach, share my ideas with, because as I see it, communication is awe-inspiring.

I didn’t mean to push your Buttons, I was looking for Mute

comeon

This week chatting with a friend, I remarked that blogging is like magazine writing. You need to welcome a reader in, and not hide your ideas in cluttered writing that assumes the reader understands you, but encourages them to learn from you.

Some years back I had a friend of a friend who, when asked a simple question, would tell you everything she knew/thought about a subject. We met at a class. If you asked where you should park, she would tell you the history of the parking lot, explain the institution’s relationship with the lot, contrast this with other parking locations, and somewhere in there, if you were lucky, and on rare occasion, would be where you could or could not park.

It didn’t help that her voice was loud and incessant.  Being sensitive to sound, I get affected mentally and physically by tone of voice. Sound has power. Loud noises, and constant chatter are counter-productive for a writer and increases stress hormones.

After her monologue, I learned to nod — “Uh huh”— and my interest would sharpen when she said something relevant to what I wanted to know.

That’s how some have learned to write internet material, they ramble every facet of a subject in one post, while throwing out opinions.

The problem with this is we do not naturally write the way we read. Most people tend to write long-winded, assuming readers will read every word. They don’t. As Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Writing with clarity and brevity can be learned with practice over time. Here are ten suggestions for writing a better blog post:

  • Choose a topic readers identify with.

  • Make your tone conversational.

  • Have a good opening paragraph.

  • Write your post in a logical sequence.

  • Keep in mind; Blogging is a bit of sales, — if you choose a “how-to” strategy — insert supporting elements.

  • Convince your reader the problem merits their attention.

  • Know that you provide value by offering readers how to solve a problem.

  • Increase depth by reflecting on how to make the post more memorable and useful for your readers benefit?

  • Finally, offer solutions and present ideas to consider.

  • Edit and revise.

Keep in mind, a blog post is not a lecture; or a monologue, by making it identifiable— and engaging with a story there is a discovery made tangible.

Good Intentions

The Fifth Agreement by Jose Ruiz, Janet Mills and Miguel Angel Ruiz is a fast, easy read with thought-provoking messages.  With that said, the first half is very similar to the Four Agreements, so I was re-reading material with different examples. I was waiting for the curtain to come up and for the fifth agreement to be revealed.

The fifth agreement is this…Be skeptical, but learn to listenDon’t believe yourself or anybody else.  Use the power of doubt to question everything you hear; Is it really the truth? Listen to the intent behind words, and you will understand the real message.

Very wise, indeed. What makes this a special book for both seekers and novice initiates are some of the messages that come toward the end of the book, that are inspiring, beautiful and unique in their simplicity.

“I believe that we come here with a mission, but our mission is not really to transcend anything.  The mission that you have, and the same mission is true for all of us, is to make yourself happy.  The “how” could be millions of different ways of doing what you love to do, but the mission of your life is to enjoy every single moment of your life.”

Are you living up to this ideal? Share your thoughts and ideas.

Here’s one way I enjoy life; I love music and as I have often remarked nothing can change my mood to happiness as fast as through the power of positive music that instantly uplifts:

Blogger Take Note

I tutor Bloggers privately; a few that don’t see themselves as a struggling writer or business owners who are interested in setting up a Blog to help support their business.  However, when they show me their sites I analyze their writing skills and look at the visual and marketing content of their websites. And I see all the mistakes. I’m not saying one shouldn’t try for fear of not measuring up— even if the writing is poor it takes courage to venture into new territory and I applaud those who do.  Similarly, I tell my Blogging students that their writing skills will improve and they will gain an audience if they continue to post relevant blogging content.

It’s not possible to do something every day and not become better, so if you have a goal in mind, practice working at it and you will get there. It takes time, and most of all a commitment, but someday you will be able to check that goal off your list as an accomplishment and that will bring you a great deal of self-satisfaction.

Things for Bloggers to note:

It’s always a good idea to try something new.

Even with concerns and insecurities of the unknown if you push through them it will be thrilling and may awaken something inside you—a place of interest.

Inspiration can be found anywhere.

If you look and listen to life with clear eyes you will find answers in the most common of places.  The key is to be alert.

Everyone has something to teach you, but it’s up to you to learn.

Each person comes into your life with a lesson and vice versa. It may be positive or not. Either way you will learn and grow from experiences and relationships with others.

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s success. 

That’s Blog envy. It will rob your creative desire.  You may read other blogs who have many more followers and sponsors. It’s a waste of time. I know this one first-hand; I have a former student who compares his writing —a new and occasional hobby —to mine.  I’m not in competition with anyone other than against myself. Writing is an art, not a sport.  I’ve continuously worked at it and have been at it much, much longer.  

You will get better with practice.  

I didn’t make this rule, the Almighty did and even he can’t change it now.   practice


Thunder won’t defeat me

Thunder and lightning struck yesterday in Las Vegas. I was at Vegas PBS, volunteering my time for the Senatorial debate between Republican Sen. Dean Heller and his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley.

Although most would call it a tie, I don’t think it’s important that a winner be named.  I found that one stumbled and failed to make a point, but was adept at personal attacks, while the other seemed composed and respectful but policies are slanted and wouldn’t answer questions specifically.

Ironically when the issue of energy came up, we experienced a blackout. The thunderstorm caused the power to go out.

When moderator Mitch Fox asked both candidates to name a Supreme Court justice they admired and what justice should have never been approved, Berkley’s answer was polished and Heller fumbled.

I think two things rang loud for me… that the United States gives twenty-four billion dollars in foreign aid. Two of it goes to Egypt, a country, like Libya that murders, attacks and boasts about hating Americans. I think we should sever the ties that keep dependency going.  And it’s worth pointing out that as millions of Americans suffer under a weak economy, our government continues to send money we don’t have.  Big Mama U.S.A.  ought to let her whining babies cry. And for that matter, cut everyone loose. Impose a five year plan where we keep that money on domestic soil and invest it on ourselves and let everyone work out their own problems, democracy or not.  Maybe then we can get back to having a budget again.

I know some of my readers are going to point out that Israel is in a precarious position, surrounded by radical bullies. There are plenty of organizations and rich Americans that support Israel and they have big brothers that will help them out—they’ll be fine.

The other issue that stood out is while I strongly believe we need immigration reform, I can’t get over how some politicians use the term, “those people.” Have they been so stripped of their cultural heritage that they don’t know their ancestors came from somewhere else?

History Lesson 101- there is no such thing as a real American— with the exception of the Native American people, for five centuries, the U.S. has been a melting pot of cultures and our ancestors came from different countries.  We equate being American with citizenship, not with ethnicity or nationality. It’s why we have a responsibility to cast our ballots.

I’m glad to have been in the audience because it influenced my vote.  What about your reactions to the Vice-Presidential debate?  I hope you join me at the polls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VILWkqlQLWk