Blogging

What is Your Blog About?

Recently after writing an 80k novel, I needed to take a break. I took a step away from blogging and social media and have only recently begun to catch up on blog posts, etc. Upon doing so, one post by a blogger asking this particular question caught my attention. It made me question my own blog.

When I began blogging many years ago, it was to stretch myself as a writer both in terms of craft and productivity. As an isolated profession, it was also a great way of meeting other writers and bloggers. Initially my blog was to be about my writing journey and what I have learned along the way and it still is. It has also been about what interests me and my genre/s. After doing some blogging and social media courses with author Kristen Lamb (which I highly recommend), one thing she mentions really sticks out: – talk about the stuff you’d talk about to friends – that makes the blog fun!

As a result my blog may be a bit of a mixed bag, which some people may or may not like, but it represents me as a person as well as a writer. After all, these days in the world of the internet, isn’t that what people want to see? Yes, I’m a writer and I talk about writing, but I don’t want to be the all-writing-all-the-time channel. That can get boring pretty quickly and there are plenty of writing blogs out there already from people with far more experience than me.

Author Anne R Allen believes that blogging can jumpstart your writing career even before you publish, where we need to treat it like a magazine. So in answer to the question my blog is about writing, the paranormal, history, film & television, crime/mystery and anything else that may take my fancy. I think having a blog showing a wide range of interests can be less inhibiting than focusing on one particular niche, although at times it can make one easily distracted. 😉

Blogging, like other forms of social media should be something we enjoy doing, therefore it doesn’t become such a chore and it’s a great way to build a community.

So, what is your blog about? Do you focus on a particular niche or do you have a wide range of interests? How has your blog evolved over time?

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Blogging · Writing

Finding a Writing Community.

 

Writing is well known for being a solitary endeavour; one in which a person must be comfortable with being in the presence of their own company for a good length of time. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way, which is one of the reasons why social media is so popular amongst writers.

Before the days of the internet, finding other writers was at times limited and depending where you lived, consisted of writing festivals or conferences. It wasn’t always easy to find like-minded people and keep in touch. Social media has made finding writing communities so much better, so that we can talk to other writers around the country or around the world and not feel so alone.

Over the years I have been a part of a few writing communities, making friends along the way, but there has been quite a few instances of trial and error in order to find the right community. Recently, after reading an article by Joanna Penn, I joined the Romance Writers of Australia. This is something I have contemplated for quite some time and after reading this article, I finally took the plunge. I have heard a great many things about this organisation and as I tend to have romantic elements in my stories, I am hoping to gain some knowledge as well as form new friendships.

The best community I have come across after all these years is that within the blogging community. By having a blog and putting myself out there, I can reach out to others, whether they are writers or readers. Having people comment and commenting on other people’s blogs is a great way to meet and get to know others. This friendship can then be extended to other social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I know there are writers out there that think blogging is a waste of time and that’s their choice, however forming friendships through blogging can’t be overlooked.

Finding the right writing community can take some time and you really need to push yourself out of your comfort zone (yes, I’m still working on it). You will find your fellow writers to be the most friendliest and helpful group of people around, which will make your efforts all the more worthwhile.

And for those of you who I’ve made friends with over the years through this blog and other social media I thank you – you’re the best! 🙂

Are you in a writing community? After some trial and error, which writing community have you found to be the best so far? Have you been lucky enough to meet other writers you have only ‘met’ through social media?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Blogging · Up Close & Personal

Liebster Award.

When it comes to blogging, there can be times when you wonder what it’s all for, but every now and then something happens that makes it all worthwhile. It came as a surprise to be given an award for my blog once again, so a big THANK YOU goes to Adam at Write Thoughts for giving me the Liebster Award. I really do appreciate the recognition and it’s a great motivator to continue blogging. It’s good to know that my blogging efforts are appreciated. 🙂

Adam has asked me a couple of questions and some had certainly given me pause for thought! So this week, in answer to these questions, it’s time to get to know a bit more about the person behind the keyboard.

1.We’ve all heard of comfort foods. Do you have any comfort stories? Stories you go back to when you’re feeling vulnerable and you just need to laugh, or be reassured?

I have a couple of comfort books, which I go back to every now and again because I really enjoy them and it feels like visiting old friends. One is Dragonwyck by Anya Seton, a gothic novel set in New York during the 1840s; another is Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, an Australian mystery/gothic set in 1900 that has basically gone down in Australian folklore and the last is the Poldark series by Winston Graham, set in Cornwall during the end of the 18th century.

2.Do you have any stories you generally recommend?

When I think stories, I think of the short story, so there are a few authors I recommend. As I grew up on Stephen King, I really enjoyed his short stories. More recently I’ve read some good ones from Daphne du Maurier, Susan Hill and Ramsey Campbell. As these stories are of the horror/paranormal/suspense genres, they may not be for everyone, but they are good examples of how to master the craft.

3.Have you ever found yourself in a situation so absurd that you had to stop and take a moment to recognize the absurdity of it? Or just burst out laughing?

Too many to mention! It doesn’t help that I can sometimes be the cause of it all as I have a tendency to either say or do something stupid. This usually happens when I’m amongst other people I may meet for the first time or still trying to get to know. I can have a tendency to say things before thinking things through and then laugh at myself. So I guess, when people first meet me they may think I’m a bit of an air-head, but I’d like to think I’m getting better at it as I get older. This is why I’m much more comfortable with writing. 😉

4.When having fun with friends, would you rather get up early and get started, or linger late into the night?

That has certainly changed over the years! After I left High School, I was a bit of a night owl and I would come home late at night (once arrived home after partying at 6am), and sleep until midday. These days though, I’m the complete opposite and prefer to get up early.

5.What was the last song that you heard for the first time and went, “Wow, this is something special”?

This is a tough one, as I haven’t listened to the radio for years (yes, it’s true) and can be a bit behind the times when it comes to music these days. However, after having heard ‘Chandelier’ by Sia for the first time I couldn’t get it out of my head.

6.What villain, super or otherwise, do you most feel a kinship with?

I’ve always been a strong advocate for the underdog, so ever since I read Frankenstein, I’ve always been sympathetic towards the monster. All he ever wanted was love and friendship, but instead received rejection through fear and misunderstanding. This kinship has only been strengthened by his portrayal on the television series Penny Dreadful.

7.Would you rather have the power to stop time (and not age during those frozen moments, but be able to interact with things), or live forever (not growing older, and gradually healing from any injury/malady)?

Given those two choices, I would have to say live forever. By stopping time, you might not always be in a good place (emotionally), so it would be nice to keep moving forward. By living forever, you have more time to do things/visit places and hopefully have a far lesser chance of regrets.

8.What’s a hobby or interest that most people would be surprised to learn you have?

I would have to say true crime; of special interest is murder and serial killers. I’ve always been fascinated by people’s reasons behind committing such acts, how their minds work, their M.Os, etc. This is why I watch a lot of crime shows and listen to podcasts and why I chose to work within the NSW Police Service upon leaving high school. During my first year of study at University, I even did a subject in criminology. The legal side of it put me off, whereas I prefer the psychological aspect of crime.

9.After writing, what would you say is your second passion?

That would have to be the paranormal, which is as much a part of me as writing. I’ve always been interested in the unexplained. I’ve inherited a belief in the spirit world from my Scottish father and I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), so I have a tendency to pick up on things a bit more than others. As a child, there was an incident that left me wondering if I had some special kind of ‘ability’ and in more recent years have had some ghostly encounters.

10.What first led you to consider/try blogging?

Back in the late 2000s, when blogs were really taking off, I read that in order to help build your platform, you ‘had’ to be on social media and that included having a blog. I began blogging in early 2009, but stopped shortly after, wondering if it was worth my time. However, a few short months later, I picked it up again and have continued to blog ever since.

* * * * *

So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed finding out a little bit more about me as it certainly put my little grey cells to good use coming up with some of these answers. My thanks once again to Adam for this award and giving me the opportunity to share.

Are there any questions from Adam’s list that you would like to discuss? Have you ever been given an award for your blog? What do you consider some of the best aspects of blogging?

Blogging · Social Media · Writing

Why New Writers Should Consider Blogging.

Over the past few months, I have been hearing a lot from other authors about the need for a blog. Some believe that it’s just not worth it; that they are better off staying with social networks like Facebook, or that it takes too much time and effort, which would be better put towards writing. I understand their reasoning as I’ve been there before. I’ve been blogging on and off now for eight years and I’ve often wondered why I even bother. However, over that same length of time I have been reading popular blogs within the writing community and books on the subject. Recently I also attended some social media courses, including one on blogging.

Here are five reasons why I believe new writers should seriously consider blogging:-

1. Blogging Helps Create Your Own Community

A blog helps you to break out of your comfort zone and puts your writing ‘out there’. Readers of your blog, whether they are other writers, bloggers or future book readers become a part of your community. As a solitary pursuit, it’s comforting to know that you are communicating with others and forming friendships. Years ago, I joined a blog hop community that has since folded, but I have remained friends with people I met back then (some of whom have become my beta readers). More recently I have joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, another blog hop, and have made some new friends. Because you’ve created a community, when you are ready to publish your books, you’ll already have their support to cheer you on and help spread the word (and word of mouth sells books more than anything else).

2. A Blog Secures Your Place on the Internet

Don’t rely too much on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter when trying to secure your place on the internet. They have a tendency to change things and may even become obsolete in years to come. Having your own space on the internet is safer. Just like having your own website, you control your blog’s content, how it looks, etc. Claim your piece of internet real estate by buying your domain name. Not only does it help you get your name out there, it also proves you are serious when it comes to your writing future.

3. Blogging Allows You to Focus on Your Genre/Niche

I have found that as a fiction writer, blogging helps me to focus on my writing genre and can write blog posts accordingly. Blogging about your genre/niche helps to ‘test the waters’. Is your genre popular? Are your readers interested in your research? By focusing on your genre/niche, you are also focusing on your target audience and what appeals to them.

4. Blogging Helps You Get Used to Working to Deadlines

Whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish, you need to get used to working to deadlines. When you blog, you need to set yourself to a schedule and preferably it needs to be one which suits you (even once a week is acceptable). When you have subscribers, your readers rely on you to be consistent, so you need to be someone they can trust. Getting used to deadlines now will help you when the time comes to publish your first book. Google counts attendance, so the more you blog, the more your name gets out there.

5. Blogging Gets You Writing

My husband once told me blogging is not writing. I scratched my head on that one until I realised that what he meant to say was I always wanted to be a fiction writer, not a blogger. That’s true, however, blogging is still writing and it helps to test out our writing skills. Experimenting and trying different writing styles helps to make you a better writer. It may even lead to a different career path!

As you can see, creating a blog makes a lot of sense. The trouble I think some writers have is that they don’t know what to write about. I’ve had this problem too, but when you really stop to think about it, there are plenty of things to blog about (Anne R Allen has a helpful post to get you started). And when this happens, blogging becomes less of a chore and can be a lot of fun. And isn’t this what writing is all about? 🙂

* * * * *

While we’re on the subject of blogging, I have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award. It took me completely by surprise, so many thanks goes to Ronel the Mythmaker for thinking that my blog is worthy enough! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a blog award, so I appreciate the recognition.

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

I have also been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. To receive two awards in a matter of weeks comes as another pleasant surprise. It’s a recognition of all the work that goes into blogging (and yes, at times it can become consuming), so many thanks to Adam! It’s good to know that our blogging efforts are appreciated.

The Vesatile Blogger Award was created to feature and recognise blogs that have unique content, high quality writing and fantastic photos. The webpage about the Versatile Blogger Award says:

Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.

Receiving these two awards goes to show that blogging is not always a complete waste of time. Others recognise our efforts and appreciate what we do. Blogging may not be for everyone and we don’t know until we try. But if we are consistent, make it fun and make friendships along the way, then blogging can be an enormous benefit to us as writers in the long run.

Do you blog and if so, what has been the best part of blogging for you? Do you dislike blogging and what don’t you like about it? Do you think blogging takes too much time away from our ‘real’ writing? How do you balance writing with blogging?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Blogging · Writing

The Art of Slow Blogging.

galapagostortoisesmallAlthough I enjoy blogging, I have been experiencing blogging ‘burn-out’.  Between blogging, my studies and my writing, it has become a bit overwhelming.  This is why I have decided to join the ranks of the slow blogger.

Apparently, slow blogging has been around for a while.  I have only just discovered it, thanks to author Anne. R. Allen.  She wrote about The Slow Blog Manifesto and she makes some very convincing arguments on why writers should take it up.  The emphasis for slow blogging is on quality and not quantity.  This makes perfect sense, because as writers, our readers judge us by our content.  If we write something that grabs the readers’ attention, they’ll want to come back for more and this goes for our blog posts as well as our stories.  For the most part though, our time is better spent focusing on our stories.

Following my post on 5Ways to Bring back the Muse, I read another post by Anne about the overwhelmingly high expectations upon writers these days.  Once again, this is where slow blogging makes sense.  Time is important to readers and writers alike, and if you feel pressured into producing a high quantity of blog posts, not only will you as a writer feel burnt out, but readers will be inundated with too much in their inbox.

Other writers are beginning to explore slow blogging and questioning how often should fiction writers blog.  Author Jody Hedlund has also entered the debate on whether Blogging is a Time-Suck for Writers, and asking Do Agents and Editors Expect Novelists to Blog?

Blogging is a great way for writers to practice their art and connect with readers, yet everyone is different; what works for one does not necessarily work for others.  While some may thrive on being constantly on the go, others like myself, are not one of them.  Perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me, which is what makes slow blogging so appealing.

So, now that we have entered a new year, I will be taking slow blogging to heart.  I’ll be blogging on an intermittent basis.  Blogging will slow right down in order for me to concentrate on my priorities, which is complete my last year of studies and work on my various writing projects.

Ideas about blogging has changed and putting the emphasis back on what’s important – our writing.  This is what we as writers do best after all.

Have you discovered slow blogging? Have you suffered from blogging ‘burn-out’? Are you a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes? As readers, do you see blogging as a good way to connect with writers?

Image of Galapagos Tortoise by Debbie Johansson.

Blogging

Author Blogs.

There has been some discussion of late amongst writers on what content to have within their blogs. This is an issue I have been grappling with myself for quite some time now.

As an unpublished author, I have the advantage of experimenting with my blog to find out what works and what doesn’t. When we start out we naturally blog about writing, however there are so many blogs on this topic that the humble beginner can get lost in the crowd. Published authors also blog about writing; they know what they’re talking about and are well informed about the industry. I have read both Get Known before the Book Deal by Christina Katz and We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb, and both recommend authors blog on topic. With this in mind, I decided to take a step back to see exactly what other authors were doing when it came to blogging.  Here’s what I discovered:-

  • Authors blog about writing and the writing process.
  • Authors blog about their books – new releases, book signings, television versions of their novels, etc.
  • Authors review books they like by other authors.
  • Authors talk about the inspiration behind their books.
  • Authors discuss how they became writers.
  • Authors blog about social issues that affect them.
  • Not all authors blog.

I was beginning to see a pattern emerging; when authors blog, they talk about books in one form or another; they also blog about topics that interest them and therefore can inspire their writing. When I read books by an author I enjoy reading, I look them up on the internet to find out more about their books.  If I’m lucky, I can also find out more about them as people.  These days, people want to find out more about the personal lives of celebrities.  Fortunately, authors don’t seem to have to put their lives under the microscope, but it is always fascinating to learn about how they became writers and what inspired them. There have been biographies written about authors such as Jane Austen, the Brontes and Charles Dickens for example, because as readers we are fascinated about them as writers.

By undertaking this research, I have discovered a number of things. As writers it is only natural that we need to talk about our books (and those of others) and our inspiration behind them. This not only informs the reader on what our books are actually about, but also lets them know a little bit about our own personalities and what we are passionate about. If we are passionate about certain topics this will come through in our writing for both our books and our blogs.  I have recently discovered something that I’m passionate about just by undertaking this research – it has allowed me to dig deeper.

So where do I go from here with my own blog? Yes, I’ve been guilty of blogging about writing (I think we all have from time to time), but it is one of my passions.  Here are some of the things I’ll be blogging about:-

  • Books.
  • The writing process.
  • Specific locations of where my stories are set.
  • Topics I’ve researched.
  • Time periods I’ve researched.
  • The inspiration behind my stories.

Blog what you are comfortable with; write about your passions. The main thing to remember about blogging is to have fun! I’m looking forward to blogging in the future – what about you? 😀

Have you undertaken your own research when it comes to author blogs? What have you discovered? What do you like to see in an author’s blog? What don’t you like to see? Do you think authors should blog at all?

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blogging · University

Blogging Basics.

During this past week, I’ve been tearing my hair out.  Doing an assignment on a blog proposal may sound like fun, yet there were times when I felt like I was going around in circles.  If nothing else, it has certainly helped me to look at my own blog all over again.

As well as the Three Golden Rules of Blogging, here are some of the basics you need to consider (or indeed, remember) when writing a blog:-

  • Do you have a catchy title?  Does it reveal to the reader what your blog’s content will be about?
  • What are your objectives for writing your blog?  Is it to provide information, persuade action or promote discussion?
  • What is your chosen angle, brand or voice?  How will your blog be distinguished from others within a similar genre?  Will your tone be formal or informal?
  • Why is it needed?  Why would your blog be of interest?
  • How will your blog be structured?  This will include interactive elements, images, etc., as well as your written content.  Remember to use tags, which are very important if you want people to find you on the internet.
  • How much research will you need to help support your written content, such as links, etc.?

It’s so easy to start a blog and it can be difficult not to just jump in with both feet.  With the vast amount of blogs out there, you want yours to stand out.  This can take a great deal of time, thought and planning.

Are you using your blog to its full potential? Do you now look at other blogs and wish yours were as good?

Free image by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com