So You’re Starting a Blog, What Comes Next, the Post or the Page?

I’m writing a book about blogging, so this is the start of Chapter 10. The idea behind it is that you, the reader, have a blog account, and you’re in the dashboard for the first time – NOW WHAT?

Clothes in HI002

I activated my WordPress blog account, and stared at my a dashboard, which takes me where no one but WordPress genies are allowed to go. The blog itself is a blank page except for the name I gave it and a couple of tabs, About Me and Home. Home is there the posts go. It changes every time you post something new. Pages are different. You write them just like you do a post, but they stay put.

First, I played around with themes and colors, trying to figure out what fit me best. I changed tons of time, and I’m still not sure I have the right theme, but at this point it is what it is. I clicked on all the links on the sidebar of my dashboard and filled in the blanks as best I could, including creating a gravitar profile. Making all those little decisions made me think and further define myself and my goal for blogging.

2015 BV March149
The sky’s the limit.

Since I started a random blog, and experiment, I started out journaling what I was doing when I did something I thought was fun or interesting, and posted my way into the blogging world before I did anything else. Of course, no one was listening and watching, so it didn’t matter what I did first, second or in whatever order I wanted to do it.

I waited until I got the hang of posting for a while before I started in on my About Me Page. For one thing, I had to decide who I wanted to be to the rest of the world. I think I rewrote my about page three or four times, but again, no one was really looking, so it didn’t matter. If you are famous, you will not be doing this yourself, so you do not need this advice. If you are like me, it’s amazing how much thinking it takes to decide what to and what not to say about yourself.

A lot of people like lists, random, usually. I like lists, but I can’t think of enough cute and interesting random facts about myself. I struggle with my about page. Over the years it’s accumulated nearly 100 likes. That works out to about 25 likes a year.

Here are links to just a few of the well liked About pages belonging to people who I like.

http://leannecolephotography.com/about/

http://tricksterchase.com/about-2/

http://ceenphotography.com/about-2/

https://anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com/about/

https://elainemcnulty.wordpress.com/about/

http://wheresmybackpack.com/about/

http://kurtbrindley.com/about-2/

https://bopaula.wordpress.com/about/

Sally Pace BD941
Sorry for the nudity, but you can’t get too much newer than a baby doll! 🙂

After reading a post I read on Twitter about the necessity of having another page called “New Here.” Here is the post I wrote when I created that page. I have about 11 likes on that page – definitely not worth the time and thought that went into it, if you measure success by the number of people who interact with your page. There are other reasons to develop pages, though. One of which is to keep track of things for yourself, like, did I read that book, or not?

And the chapter continues with one of my blog posts, Good Morning World about a page you’ve probably never seen called New Here. This is not an advertisement for the best page you’ve ever read, for sure, but you might be curious to know what an unpopular page looks like. 🙂

Be part of my new book about blogging, and leave me some responses, please. What pages do you have on your blog, and how are they doing? Why do you have them? Are they worth the time? And finally, can I quote you on that?

Blog Management Solutions

HELP!  I want to blog, but I’m out of time! My life is a roller coaster!  What can I do? There is hope, and I’ll share not ten, but eleven ideas that have helped me.

SFW Santa Monica155r

Passionate bloggers have something to say to the world. The world, or at least a very small fraction of it, wants to connect and interact, increasing the desire and commitment to blog. Experts convinced me that I needed to write daily, or at least consistently, to attract my fair share of people to my blog. V calls that market share. SO TRUE!!!

When I started blogging, I drove myself to do publish daily, and life became a balancing act, not to mention some of my posts were kind of cruddy, Yeah, I own up to it! Not to mention the bags under my eyes were becoming scary.

Even so, I am passionate about blogging because it has changed my life, but what do I do when the rest of my life dictates that I spend my time in other ways? Just like I did when I worked full-time, I struggle to maintain a balance between blogging and the rest of life. AND SO DO YOU! There just are not enough hours.  So here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years.

  1. Shop for the best and fastest internet service. Poor Internet service can discourage your blogging quicker than any other obstacle. I’m happy to report that ours has improved over the years.
  2. Prioritize, unless blogging is your job, not just your passion, it sometimes has to take second or third place.
  3. Write shorter posts. Write about what you are doing.
  4. Publish your to-do list so people will feel sympathy. That’s the ugly side of my personality. I crave praise, and blogging changed my life because a small group of people continued to support me in that need.
  5. Blog (reading and writing both) as a reward to yourself after you complete tasks.
  6. If you can’t read all the blogs to which you subscribe, visit those who have troubled to comment on your blog.
  7. Scroll the reader, scan articles, and at least press like on blogs you enjoyed.
  8. Blogging is you. Write when you can, and do not beat yourself up when your life interferes.
  9. Write several posts when you have time, and schedule them spacing them several days apart.
  10. Keep a to-do list handy so you can cross off what you accomplished and celebrate.
  11. Make draft posts of your ideas, instead of writing your ideas on a scrap of paper. Then you’re ready to go when you start writing again.

How are you keeping up with blogging and life?

 

Because of Blogging

#amblogging

I switched to a MacBook Pro from an old Toshiba laptop in preparation for my retirement from teaching and administration. I have been trying to clean my A S D and E keys because I thought they collected lint in the center, just like my Toshiba. I tried to pick the lint out with a pin. It frustrated me that they did not get any clearer. I must be dense. During the day the keys look about like my Toshiba keys. They are just keys. At night I turn on a light to type so I don’t burn my eyes out, so I have not noticed much difference. Tonight I got up in the middle of the night and stared down at the computer like I always do before I turn on the desk lamp. For some reason something hit me. I turned the lamp back out. The keys on my computer are blurry because the blue apple light that lights up the keyboard is shining through them. They are worn out. Blogging is addictive.

 

Images of America Woodlake Sales

I’m not a famous blogger or writer, except in Woodlake, the tiny town in Central California where I live. My fame is new – since August 2015 when my Arcadia Publishing book came out, Images of America Woodlake. Even now I can stand right next to the book or this lovely poster made by my Kiwanis friend, Lauri Polly, and talk to someone in a business office, and they don’t recognize me. For example I walked into the grocery the other day and offered to autograph the books they had for sale in the window.

“You’re the author?”

The young man’s voice behind the manager’s window sounded skeptical . He looked like he was about 20. Age has nothing to do with this, but I could smile instead of being insulted. What twenty year-old male thinks that a sixty-four year old woman can do much of anything except bake cookies?

“You WROTE this book?” Maybe I don’t know the meaning of the word author.

“Are you FROM Woodlake?”

Woodlakers are surprised they don’t know me. They grew up here. I just moved here fifteen years ago, and taught fourth grade here twenty years ago. They thought they noticed everything important about Woodlake, and they had never noticed me before, so maybe I was mistaken about living in Woodlake for fifteen years.

I started out talking about blogging, not about my fame in Woodlake. I talk about blogging frequently. I’m like the blogging evangelist to the stranger on the street, “Can I share with you the Four Steps to Happy Blogging?” I speak at the high school on career days. I spoke to Kiwanis once. I speak whenever anyone asks me to speak.  

They respond, “I really should start blogging. I just…” Fill in the blanks.

I really need a published book about blogging to establish myself as an expert. I AM an expert on some aspects of blogging. I KNOW what it has done for me. Since blogging brought me such fame and fortune, that should motivate others like you to start blogging, right? It is OK with me if you do not blog. Just like cooking, it is not for everyone.

My husband shakes his head. “You spend all this time on blogging, and what do you have to show for it?”

MacBook Pro1t
He means money, income.  We argue. I’m retired. I don’t feel that it’s my responsibility to EARN more money. MY value isn’t defined by my income producing ability. Money is wonderful, and I can definitely earn some through blogging. I defend blogging . “Because of blogging, I…” I fill in the blanks in my mind with hundreds of benefits. That’s when I decided to write another nonfiction book, because blogging has changed me.

Because of Blogging Cover

Because of Blogging is not another How To Blog or You Should Blog If You are a… kind of book. Rather I want to share my journey of blogging with you. I will include some of my old posts, updated to make them relevant and some of your comments because you are part of my journey. If you prefer that I don’t use your name, I’m glad to preserve your anonymity. Sure I will share blogging tips and obstacles you can avoid because I have experienced a bunch of them. But I hope this book will go beyond the how to the because.

Thanks again for being part of my journey. Watch for my book in the next month or so. Let me set a date so I’m committed, April 1st. Look for my book by April 1, 2016. Don’t let me fool you! I want to do this!

Because of Blogging calendar

Now I’ve got to go get started because my OTHER next book after that is a third grade reader or coloring book about Woodlake, I can’t decide yet which.

Is Social Media the New Reader, Or Is It Just Laziness?

Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging and love my blogging friends. But I’m frustrated. When I’m busy, I spend my time on quickie social media and not my blog. I take a quick picture when I’m walking or driving, post it on Instagram, and maybe write a caption – BAM gone to all my social media accounts including WP. I don’t bother with my brand, floating like a misshapen cloud above the mountains, or edit, edit and re-edit only to find another error after I’ve posted!

Lazy blogging?
Lazy blogging?

Done.  It takes two hours for me – at a minimum –  to create a blog post – this small – that’s hard! (Granted I’m slow!)

I wish WP had a better way to share blogs, and here’s why.

Cat LoveIn Facebook I browse through the comments, pictures and memes sharing likes or a quick comment.  My wall is as cluttered as my work table, but I love it. If I want to find what you posted yesterday so I can copy it to my blog, I type your name in the search box, and bingo – your wall appears. I scroll through your stuff, take what I want, get to know you a little better, and I’m out.  I’ve joined some groups, become friends with some, and those comments show on my home page. I don’t have to click to find them. For those of us with slow internet, every click means wait, wait, wait.

Max Brooks will speak at the CCSS Conference on March 6th.
Max Brooks will speak at the CCSS Conference on March 6th.

Twitter is Facebook on speed. I meet colleagues, new contacts, and post news. It’s not impolite to follow others first. Many people follow me that I don’t know. I check them out briefly, and speed read through news. I don’t engage much more than a star unless its Rosy, Al or Ann, my blogging friends, or I’m working my California Council for the Social Studies accounts.

Author of Historical Thinking who changed the way we think about teaching history.
Author of Historical Thinking who changed the way we think about teaching history. He’s speaking at the CCSS Conference on March 6th, too.

On LinkedIn people have common professional interests. I like to endorse people I know, just to let them know I still think about them even when I don’t see them. I also post news. Like FB, it doesn’t take much time to browse. If I see something I want to read, I stop and read it.

I share what's in my inner storage shed.
I share what’s in my inner storage shed, but Photoshop out some details.

Blogging, however, is where I get to know people well. We are friends even when we’ve never met. But commenting on blogs is more difficult because I have to click on each blog, and sometimes they don’t load or take my comment. If it takes too long I don’t get it done.

Everyone looks better at the beach!  :)
More time to lay around.

So it is laziness, or do we need all types of social media? So please join me on FB if you consider me a friend @ TC History Gal Productions, or one of the other social media.

Why It’s a Good Reason to Delete “Shitty Drafts” and a Short List of Tips to Improve Them

writing, fiction
writing, fiction

The naughty words are from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  Anne didn’t write me and tell me to cut my drafts, “shitty” or otherwise. In fact, she gave me permission to write them.  My editor Debbie Simorte told me it was a good idea to delete them from my blog, for the same reason spammers give me.

“Your site is rife with errors.”

Rife with Errors

Excuse me, Ms Spammer, “rife with errors.” I have a few too many, I admit, but I think rife is harsh.

But Debbie agreed, even though she didn’t put it like that.  Editors look at your site. If they see a Work in Progress (WIP), see it even has an acronym, they wonder if the rest of the story will be a WIP.

Internet users
Internet statics users Worldwide

 

 

To the 10 faithful Girls on Fire world-wide readers, I apologise, but you’ve already read it anyway. So no apology needed, right? To the 3.05 billion internet users who hadn’t seen it yet, I’m sorry, but you will have to buy the book when it comes out.

Anne Lamott’s Stages of Drafts and Tips to Get Through Them

1. DOWNDRAFT:  First draft – get it down

  • Avoid so much draft three – dental work –  by setting your page the way publishers will want it – even if you are just practicing.
    • double space
    • indent paragraphs
    • use only one space between sentences instead of the old-fashioned two. The best way to do this is to turn on the little button ¶ that hides in various places depending on what program you use. This magic button shows you how many spaces you have everywhere.
  • Write out small numbers.  Just get in the habit while you are putting things down. It makes it easier later and it doesn’t slow down your spontaneity.
  • Sometimes in the middle of your editing you have to draft an entirely new chapter to fill in the holes. I did that today. Forgive yourself and with that chapter you are back to stage one.

    Down Draft - Ger 'er down!
    Down Draft – Ger ‘er down!

2. UPDRAFT:  Second draft – fix it up

  • Ask someone like you husband who never read a romance in his life to read it.  His insight will astound you.  You will learn how men think, and more importantly how he thinks. He will be really honest and say things like, “You can’t wrestle a washer full of water. Have her turn off the water like this. Come here.” Or “This sounds petty like she is making fun of the blind. Pick a different cause. Why did she say something stupid like that?”

    Editing - picky picky
    Editing – picky picky

3. DENTAL DRAFT: Third draft – check each tooth

  • This is a job for another pair of eyes. A very picky pair. This person finds errors that run between chapters like “Ted is 88 in chapter 2 and 89 in chapter 1.” Or  “Why did Vanessa move away from Sarah’s into a hotel.  I like her living with Sarah, but then you have to deal with her comments to Tani in Chapter 2.
  • This is where you also pick up the extra space between sentences, commas on the inside of quotation marks, and misplaced commas in general,
  • Eliminate passive verbs and redundant words

What I realized is that we  weave a net when we birth fiction characters, just like life.  When we edit one thing we may miss the other connections that one statement makes. You need those extra eyes.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for the pictures, Google.