Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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9 Traits of a ‘Real’ Blogger Part 2 of 2

“If you’re a writer, you’re never retired by someone else.  You not only keep going, but the very art of writing helps keep you alive.”

– Sol Stein

Picking up from our last discussion (click here for a quick review), we’re talking about what it takes to be a “real” blogger or writer. (I’m using “writer” and blogger” interchangeably.)

9 select traits of a real writer/blogger include:

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5 Signs That You’re a ‘Real’ Blogger – Part 1 of 2

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“Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment you bag something big… you think, This one is a keeper. This is a trophy brought back from the future realm, the kingdom of perpetual glistening night where we know ourselves absolutely. This one goes on the wall.”

– Kate Braverman, American novelist, short story writer

Solitude and Single-Mindedness

Blogging and writing are hard work. Think hauling a 40,000-lb. logging truck with your teeth. Scaling Mount Everest. Or childbirth. Laboring to bring forth a full-formed, intelligible post with value-added for your readers is a creative endeavor unlike any other.

Because of the amount of blood, sweat, tears and patience required to write and blog well, few undertake it for the long run.

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3 Blogging Truths Nobody Tells You

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Ever wish someone had told you how to get from Point A to Point B as a blogger? What to do and what to avoid? What works and what’s a waste of time?

I wish someone had told me some things when I first started blogging – shortly after the discovery of fire. After many, many fits and starts and enough mistakes and mis-steps to choke a camel, I’ve learned some essential blogging truths. Here are three:

Truth #1

Sometimes you don’t feel like writing. I can spend a whole afternoon puttering around doing absolutely nothing. Just to avoid writing. (This never lasts. I just threw it in to see if you’re paying attention.)

But sometimes the mere notion of sitting down and banging out something brilliant is as appealing as a slug. Like: I haven’t even started writing yet, and I’m already exhausted. 

Sometimes writing is as attractive as a root canal sans Novocain. Or my mother in law. (Wait. Did I say that out loud?)

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The #1 Reason No One is Reading Your Blog & What To Do About It

Are you cranking out luminescent strokes of blogging brilliance only to have no one notice? Tired of blogging your fingers off only to have your posts disappear into a black hole?

Do you feel like:

  • Why bother?
  • Is this blogging thing really worth it?
  • What’s the point in trying so hard if no one ever reads or reacts to my content?
  • Maybe it’s time to throw in the towel.

Here’s Help

Don’t toss that towel. Cuz help is on the way.

In this brief video, Cristian Mihai of The Art of the Blogging explains why no one is reading your blog and what you can do about it. Hint: It comes down to two words. Do you know what they are?

Cristian explains here. Give it six-ish minutes. You’ll learn a lot. I did.

 

See?

Related: How to Stop Being “The Invisible Blogger”

What did you learn? How will you apply Christian’s insights today?


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How Spinach Can Make You A Better Blogger

Ever come back from lunch with a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth? You didn’t know anything about it. For hours. Just greeted everyone with your dental greenery. Because : 1) You didn’t check, or 2) No one said anything.

That can happen in the blogging world, too. Example? This recent conversation between Mom and Kimber the Wonder Dog:

Kimber: Mom! Mom! You gotta optimize us!

Mom: Don’t bother me now, Kimmi. I’m writing.

Kimber: Mom! Mom! You gottta find a responsive theme and layout for our blog so we’re mobile friendly!

Mom: Kimmi. Can you give it a rest already?

Kimber: Mom! Mom…!

Kimber Continues:

It’s tough being brilliant all the time. But somebody’s gotta do it.

Well, I try to go easy on Mom. After all, she still remembers typewriters and carbon paper. White-out and 8-track cassettes. (I’m pretty sure she was on a first name basis with that Abe Lincoln guy. Don’t tell anyone, okay?)

As I was saying, I try to go easy on Mom. About the time she got the hang of desk top computers, they came out with those mobile device doo-hickeys. Then she had to figure those out, too.

So I wasn’t going to push her too hard on optimizing her site for mobile. Or switching to a responsive theme for the blog. Every time I brought it up, Mom said:

 

Go lie down, Kimber. There’s a good girl.”

So annoying.

Eureka!

Then Mom had a Eureka! Moment. (About time.) “Kim,” says Mom. “I’ve been doing this blog thing all wrong!”

Duh.

That was the day Mom finally figured out that her blog had to be “mobile friendly.” It wasn’t. So she made some changes.

Can you see? Can you see? Can you tell the difference? Huh? Huh? Huh?

If she’d only listened to me sooner. But you know how moms are.

Anyway, this is what one of us learned:

  1. Writing for the internet is different than writing for print
  2. A good print writer does not necessarily a good blogger make
  3. Desktop computers aren’t the primary way most people access the internet anymore. They’re using mobile devices more and more. So make sure your blog is optimized for mobile. If you don’t, you’re likely to get left in the dust.

Remember the spinach-in-the-teeth thing? Mom also learned that some of the Biggest Blogging Mistakes Ever include:

  • Thinking you know it all
  • Being unwilling to change or adapt for new platforms and audiences
  • Assuming that providing brilliant content alone will catapult you into the blogger “A List”

The truth is, reading on-line and reading print are two different critters. They require two different approaches. Mom used to think that because she’s a multi-published author, she could easily turn and pivot into blogging.

Ha!

A Whole New Approach

She had to learn a whole new approach for a whole new platform, including:

  • Brief, pithy sentences
  • Eye-catching graphics
  • Bullet points
  • Short paragraphs
  • Make sure your blog is Mobile Friendly. (Find out how to do that here.)

Mom didn’t know about that last one until someone finally told her. Like getting rid of that pesky bit of spinach stuck between your teeth, sometimes you don’t know what’s wrong until someone points it out. So hurray for spinach!

Go lie down, Mom. There’s a good girl.

One last thing. What’s a “typewriter”? (Askin’ for a friend.)

XXOO,

Kimber

  


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Is This Blogging Thing Going to Work?

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Are you a newbie blogger struggling to find your voice? Have you been blogging for awhile and are discouraged? Wondering if it’s worth the effort?

 

Have you asked yourself:

  • Am I wasting my time?
  • Does anybody care?
  • Is anyone listening?
  • How come I don’t have more readers?
  • Do I have what it takes to be a “successful blogger”? (Whatever that means.)
  • Is this going to work?

 

These questions aren’t about education level or computer skills. Prior knowledge or experience or anything like that.

 

Nope. If someone’s asking if they have what it takes to be a “successful blogger,” what they’re really asking is:

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My Biggest Blogging Mistake – And How You Can Avoid It (Part 1 of 2)

 

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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My Biggest Blogging Mistake – And How You Can Avoid It (Part 2 of 2)

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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