Blogging & Writing


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Tired of “what I’m doing while stuck at home waiting out the coronavirus” posts?

 

Me too.  I’m lookin’ for posts with a little more meat on their bones, if ya know what I mean. But what to write about?

 

If you’re staring at the screen and wondering what to blog about while the clock ticks, here are 10 blogging topics you might consider tackling:

 

1. Creative Ways to Stay Connected

 

“Stay at Home” orders are the order of the day. How do you stay connected with friends, family and colleagues while practicing social distancing at the same time?

 

Do your readers know about video communications like Zoom and Skype? Videoconferencing with GoTo Meeting? Give them the skinny on Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

 

Videoconferencing is part and parcel of today’s workplace as many companies are seeking to accommodate work-from-home options. Here’s a list of 10 meeting tools and products for your organization.

 

2. Grocery Delivery Services

 

Research and polish a post comparing pros and cons for Shipt, AmazonFresh, Peapod, or Instacart. How ‘bout Gourmet Meals to Go? Which service provides the best quality, most selection and quickest delivery options at the best price? Also check out: 9 Best Site for Online Grocery Shopping in 2020.

 

3. Classic Books to Battle Boredom

 

Doctor Zhivago? Gone With the Wind? Jane Eyre?

 

A lot of classic literature has a lot of pages. What interesting, engaging classics can you recommend to help occupy the heart and mind while you’re stuck in doors?

 

Compile a list of long books that are worth the time. (Anything but Proust, or Bleak House, okay? On the latter, you’re better off watching the TV mini-series.)

4. Homeschool Helps and Hints

 

Homeschool blogger? If so, you may be experiencing a huge boost in traffic right now. So carpe diem! Seize the day and crank out some practical dos and don’ts. Where to find good curricula. How to keep kids on task. Setting realistic goals and expectations. (We homeschooled for years. I might jump in.)

 

5. Most Effective Relief Organizations

 

Many people are struggling and turning to relief organizations for help. Do you know a relief organization with a track record of efficacy and ability? Blog about it! Include a donation link and contact info.

 

6. A Little Levity, Please?

 

How ‘bout a roundup of some of the best coronavirus memes that’ll tickle your funny bone? Dispel some of the gloom with a little cheer.

 

7. DIY

 

With some store shelves bare and panic buying spread like wildlife, now might be a good time for a DIY post. Ideas:

 

8. To Soothe the Savage Beast

 

Put together a list of downloadable or other sources for soothing sounds: breakers on a beach, rain on the roof. Bird calls. AC/DC. (Well, okay. Maybe not AC/DC. But you know what I mean.) And how ’bout some golden oldies?

 

9. Cooking and Recipes

 

If this is your jam, your readers are probably looking for easy, comforting meals they can put together from what they have on hand. Whip up some recipes using pantry staples. Include substitute suggestions. Don’t forget kitchen projects to keep the kiddos busy!

 

10. Remember Rover

 

Pets can get stressed out, too. Research and write a post about how to identify and counter stress in your dog. Include creative ways to keep Rover occupied and exercised if you’re stuck in doors.

 

Of course, whatever category you choose depends on your niche and your interests. But writing is therapeutic. It may be “just what the doctor ordered” – not just for you, but for your readers, too!

 

Forget that ticking clock. Get busy blogging instead!

 

Have a blogging idea to add? Holler!

Have you run out of blogging steam? Feel like you’re talking to nobody? Struggling to find your writing voice?

 

Back when I was young and foolish – about 20 minutes ago – I thought the best way to vaunt into the exclusive echelons of “serious writer/blogger” status was to mimic The Best. So I tried sounding like John Steinbeck, Anton Chekov, Charles M. Schulz and company. (Well, okay. Maybe not Chekov.)

 

But every time I sat down to write I’d think, “How would Hemingway or Jane Austen or Charlie Brown approach this?”

 

It was one of the dumbest things I ever tried. (Not counting the time we poured gorilla glue into ‘Steel Neil’s’ football cleats just before the big homecoming game or the time I left Reese’s peanut butter cups inside the tent in the middle of bear country. It was unintentional, honest!)

 

Not the Case

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But that’s not quite the case in the writing/blogging biz.

 

We all have authors we return to again and again, like favorite relatives or another slice of raspberry white chocolate cheesecake with extra hot fudge. Nothing wrong with that. Ditto studying great literature and technique.

But trying to mimic another writer, imitate their rhythm, pacing, or style is like trying to nail jell-o to a tree. It can’t be done and wearing raspberry goo all over your face is just plain silly.

 

Say It Your Way

Let’s face it. You’re one of a kind (you can take that any way you want). No one sees, hears, experience, processes or records life like you do. What you may think is insanely funny, for example, others may see as …. not. (Trust me on this one.)

 

Another writer may describe the proverbial “dark and stormy night” as “dark and stormy.” You may call it “a hundred-year monsoon blowing from the bowels of oblivion in a coal miner’s shaft at midnight during a lunar eclipse.” (But I sincerely hope not.)

 

The bottom line here: Your writing voice in unique. No one else can express what you can. So say it your way.

Besides, relying on someone else’s style or approach is a crutch. It reveals a lack of confidence and imagination. Or skill. Maybe all of the above. It’ll also suck the life out of your own writing style and keep you from finding your own voice.

 

No Short-Cuts

Developing your own unique writing style and voice may seem daunting. That’s because it is. But there are no short-cuts. Part of what makes a great writer great is that they’re willing to stumble and fall and get up again and keep marching. Consider:

 

  • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected by twenty publishers.
  • Commenting on The Diary of Anne Frank, one “genius” sniffed, “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”
  • Book one of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was rejected by a dozen publishers.
  • Ms. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 26 publishers before finally breaking into print. It went on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal.

 

And so on.

Hard Work

Writing is hard work. It requires insight, sensitivity, growth, maturity and discipline. As you grow as a writer, you may collect stacks of rejection letters and unsolicited “critiques” from barely literate peasants who wouldn’t recognize quality writing if it walked up to them on a street and shook hands (trust me on this one, too).

 

Don’t despair.

 

With practice, you’ll learn to sort through the “advice” that’s worth heeding and to smile politely when someone introduces himself as a “writer” because s/he’s invested nearly 19 whole minutes in the craft.

 

It Takes Time

Learning to express yourself on paper and engage an audience takes time. Do you think I became this brilliant overnight?! Not!

So be patient. Keep plugging. Practice. Expand and experiment.

 

If non-fiction has you worn to a crackly crisp, try poetry or an adventure novel or short stories. If you get really, really good at fiction, run for Congress.

 

Whatever you do, be willing to learn and accept constructive advice. As you study, struggle and practice, you’ll build writing muscle. Stamina. Depth. Perspective. Clarity and originality.

 

Learn from your mistakes. Take a class at the local college. Enter some writing contests. Ask a trusted friend or family member to read your work and provide honest feedback

 

There are no short cuts, no “silver bullets” to finding your voice as a writer. The instances in which a body falls out of bed and wakes up in “serious writer” territory occur about as often as the last Ice Age.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Becoming a “serious writer” takes time, experience, training, teachability and a willingness to learn, grow and mature. And practice, practice, and more practice.

 

Power tip: A generous dose of humility doesn’t hurt, either.

 

So, dust off that keyboard, warm up those fingers and get going. You may have to “color outside the box” and exercise some mental muscles you didn’t know you had. But growing your own writing voice is worth it. The best way is the Nike way: Just do it! Like:

 

We write to expose the unexposed. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words – not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues. You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice, and you can’t find your true voice and peer behind the door and report honestly and clearly to us if your parents are reading over your shoulder.  — Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

What’s your biggest challenge in finding your writing voice?

 

Do you know what you’re doing when you’re blogging? Ever wonder if all that time and effort is worth it? You have things to say. Share. Express. But you’re not sure if anyone’s listening?

 

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. I heard that blogging was The Way to develop a sturdy online presence and convert blog readers into book buyers.

 

I’ve been writing professionally since the 1980s. And yes, blogging is writing. But it’s a specific kind of writing.

 

For one thing, no one has the time or the patience to plow through the blogging equivalent of War and Peace. You only have a few seconds to grab a reader’s attention. And keep them reading.

 

So, your content can’t be just good. It has to be great. But what qualifies as great blogging content?

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Whoa! Hold on there, pardner! Before sashaying into today’s post, check out part 1 by clicking here.

That’s okay. I’ll wait.

So. When it comes to blogging mistakes and what not to do, I learned that “A list” bloggers – those with tens of thousands of readers – have one thing in common:

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American culture is inundated with the idea that finding our “passion” is key to happiness and success. But is it?

Staying the course only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction.- Mike Rowe

For example, I spent years trying to pinpoint my passion. I thought pursuing my passion was a key to fulfillment.

Then my passions would change. And I’d pursue something else.

A Light Bulb Moment

It was frustrating. Exhausting. Like trying to nail Jell-o to a tree. Then I realized something. Call it a “light bulb” moment a la Mike Rowe.

Like this.

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Kimber here. The other day Mom was asking me about what I like to read, blog post-wise. What am I, an oracle? Well. I just smiled and said “everything.” Especially if it comes with bacon. And free tummy rubs.

Howdy!

But that got us thinking. What do like to read about here on Pages & Pages?  What do you want to hear about? What are your interests? Your favorite kinds of posts? How can we provide content that makes a difference (even if it’s without bacon)? 

Here’s your chance to chime in. It just takes a min. All responses are confidential. Thanks in advance for participating! Feel free to expound in our Comments.

Are you staring at a blank screen, hoping fresh, engaging post ideas materialize from the ether? Cranking out the same old topics post after post? Running on idea fumes?

Here are 8 easy, on-line blog idea generators to inspire some fresh, original content for your blog:

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