My 2015 calendar from the Federation of British Columbia Writers arrived the other day and, from all of Ben Nuttall-Smith’s stunning illustrations, one jumped at me– Pianist. It triggered memories of my beginnings at a keyboard: the Leila-Fletcher-on-staff-Middle-C-approach to the piano, taught by Sister Mary John Hughes and her trusty pointer. Ouch!
Over the years, I worked my way from Fletcher’s C-D-E to Debussy’s Reverie. I never mastered the art of sight-reading (the ability to pick up a piece and play it as you would pick up a book and read it.) Once, when I was a student of music at Mount Allison University, a friend suggested we partner up and plunge into the world of sight-reading, an attempt to conquer the beast. I started, half-heartedly, and fell away from it: for me there was a gaping hole where passion, drive, and above all, confidence should be. My friend persevered and became a long-time professional musician. (Thank you, T: I never did excel in sight-reading but I did learn from watching you gain mastery.) My piano, except for the annual Christmas carol, is now a silent shadow in the hallway of my home.
However, another keyboard has replaced it.
My passion is writing. I dipped my toe in the water seven years ago and I stayed. In that time, I have written three novels, each better than its predecessor, and I have a fourth awaiting editing. I have also penned forty+ short stories, sixty-five blog posts, and a few articles. Apparently, what I could not apply to music–commitment and perseverance– I can apply to writing. Doubt may knock once in a while but I don’t let it in. I just show up and write, daily. My routine: coffee, crossword, computer. Three hour minimum.
In the coming year, whatever your passion, just have at it. If writing is your passion, park yourself at that keyboard and plunk away. One letter, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page… eventually becomes one book.
Just show up and you will create a wonderfully accomplished, well-written new year. One key at a time.
Please subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your email address in the space provided on the right. Many thanks.
Do you put your Twitter handle in the byline of your blog posts?
Some do. Many do not.
Why use a Twitter handle? So people can easily @mention you when tweeting a link to your post. An @mention will show up in your Twitter feed, allowing you to:
know who’s sharing your information;
retweet the tweet; and
A readily-displayed @handle will also ease the job of the person (like me) who wishes to tweet your link. I always try to credit the author, to @mention the author and, if the Twitter handle is missing, I go on a hunting expedition. However, I often scan fifty posts a day and don’t always have time to track down those adorable blue Twitter birds!
If your Twitter Handle is different from your byline, use both: by Your Name @YourTwitterhandle. (On my posts, since my name is in my Twitter handle, I usually just use @AnnieDaylon as my byline.)
Looking forward to getting a handle on all those great posts!
Please subscribe to my blog by including your email in the space reserved on the upper right.
1. Get Started. Don’t wait until you have the exact area of interest or until you have perfected your style. These will come. Choose a topic and go.
2. Keep it Short. Write enough to cover your topic. Stop. I set time limits for reading blog posts (busy!) and, out of respect for other readers, I set word limits for writing them. My writing goal/post? Fewer than 500 words. More to say? Write a sequel!
3. Keep it Simple. Get to the point. Tell your readers what you are going to write about, write about it, and tell them what you have written.
4. Use White Space (or, in my case, blue. 🙂 White space is simply that, the leftover space around the words. White space around content actually draws readers toward content. To create white space, use short paragraphs. Get rid of unnecessary words. Use Point Form.
5. Include a Question to Encourage Readers to Comment. E.g. What are your best blogging tips?
6. Use a Call to Action. Ask people to subscribe or follow.
7. Share, and Ask Others to Share. Use Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, whatever works for you. Make sharing easy for your readers by including Share Buttons. A blog is a tool. It is useless if people don’t know it is there. Share. Share. Share.
8. Use your Twitter Handle in the Byline of your Post. When I read a good post, I share it via Twitter. I schedule my Tweets using Tweetdeck. If I can find the Twitter handle of the author, I add it to the Tweet. Why? If someone at-mentions you (e.g. @AnnieDaylon) it will show up on your Twitter stream; you can favorite it, retweet it, reply to it. Your post will gain more ground.
9. Always Check your Work. I just checked this post and realized that I had 9 tips, not the promised 10. I added this one. 🙂
10. Invest in a Good Resource about Blogging. Try Blog It by Molly Greene. It contains information on everything from Set Up to SEO. It saved me a lot of time and energy. Highly recommend!
If you are on the verge of blogging, as I was a while back, try the above Ten Tips for Beginners.
If you are already a blogger, what tips do you have for beginners?
A FREE Short Story will be yours when you subscribe to my newsletter by including your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right.
The what’s-in-it-for-me philosophy, WIIFM, applies here, but are we all so self-centered? I much prefer another concept, one which I just recently encountered, the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy, WIIFU. The us being both writers and readers.
So, why read Blogs?
To learn about writing structure, style, grammar
To seek inspiration
To connect with like minds
To learn about the business of writing, aka marketing
What do both lists have in common?Value.
Bloggers give knowledge based on study and experience. Readers take knowledge, apply it, and, hopefully, pass it along. Bloggers promote their products; readers often buy those products. The result is a cycle, a supportive community, a collaboration of bloggers and readers and bloggers and bloggers and… you get the idea.
I write blog posts but I also read them. Tons of them. I return to blogs that are helpful. I keep track of new posts on all my favorite blogs—I use Feedly for this purpose—and I share new posts through Twitter and through my own blog.
Yes, the what’s-in-it-for-me concept—WIIFM— is valuable, but the what’s-in-it-for-us philosophy—WIIFU—is priceless.