Saturday, February 06, 2010

 

Why a blogging conference?

Last year, as I started a blog for myself and was hired to blog for someone else, I decided to go to a blogging conference. When I mentioned my intentions, one friends quipped: "Shouldn't a blogging conference be held online? And why, if you are a writer, are you going to a blogging conference? That seems so techy."
I really didn't have an idea of what was in store for me when I did arrive at last year's BlissDom. I mainly selected it because Nashville is closer to my North Carolina than other blogging conferences (Texas, Illinois or California). And the timing fit with my start of my creativity blog and a parenting blog.
What I never expected was how excited I would be to return--so much so that as soon as the dates were announced, I let my husband know not to count on me for this weekend.
Why shouldn't I be trying to go to a writers' conference instead, my friend asked me. I enjoy writers' conferences, but there was an energy at the blogging conference that was infectious. At a gathering of writers who are trying to make a living as writers, sometimes the feeling be less congenial. After all, many of your fellow writers are your competitors for a finite number of editors. Even if they may not pitch one editor, they are certainly going to stand in line for some face time.
In the social media world/blogosphere, bloggers visit and comment on each other's sites. Many become virtual friends and finally meet up at blogging conferences. After last year's conference, I had a renewed focus and energy towards the Web--and I think that helped my writing.
I need some of that again. Now. And it doesn't hurt that they are bringing in Harry Connick Jr. for entertainment.
I'm still looking forward to attending a spring writers' conference. But, for now, I'm going to have a little fun.
Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach, who suspended the search for her copy of Bird-by-Bird to attend this weekend's BlissDom. Besides contributing to AOL's ParentDish, she blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

 

Friday Speak Out: "From Block to Blog (in 0-60 minutes)," Guest Post by Lisa Ricard Claro

From Block to Blog (in 0-60 minutes)

by Lisa Ricard Claro

“Sabbatical from Writing” is the lofty label I plastered on any period of time during which the most imaginative thing I wrote was a grocery list.

I was delusional, of course.

Writer’s block is more akin to a death-hungry dragon that must be slain using words as a fiery sword!

Or. . .you could start a blog. Blogging is a great way to overcome that dragon beast and turns the compulsion to write into a reason to write.

Consider:

• Most blogs have a theme. Choose something about which you are passionate (child rearing, embroidery, Johnny Depp). Writing about something that matters to you makes it easier to banish the block.

• Loyal readers. It doesn’t matter if your first blog followers are your mom and Aunt Gladys. The more you blog the wider your circle of readers will become. Readers = motivation. Really.

• No pressure. You are the boss of your blog. There are no rejection letters. Just write.

Blogging is fun, but it will help you with other important aspects of writing as well. Some things to keep in mind:

• Brevity is a virtue. Keep your posts to 500 words or less. Short posts are, by necessity, sharp and focused.

• Post as if submitting to an editor. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Treating your posts as professional pieces encourages solid editing.

• Commit to frequent posts. This requires discipline, creativity, attention to deadline, and increased readership. And if readers = motivation, then motivation = banished block!

• Internet presence. In this electronic age, an internet presence is not a suggestion but a necessary tool in every writer’s kit. A blog is an easy way to get started.

There are a number of websites that offer easy, free blogging. MSN and Google are two with high visibility. In less than an hour your blog can be up and running. It is this simple: Choose a theme about which you love to write and get started; then send the link to everyone on your email list.

Some contend that blogging is detrimental because it leeches creativity away from other, more important writing pursuits. But if you’re already being burned alive by the block dragon’s fire, you aren’t writing anyway. Blogging may be the jump start you need.

In 1295 Dante Alighieri wrote: “It seemed to me that I had undertaken too lofty a theme for my powers, so much so that I was afraid to enter upon it; and so I remained for several days desiring to write and afraid to begin.”

Seven hundred years later not much has changed. Too bad Dante didn’t have a blog option. But you do. Start now and be ready to write in less than an hour. You will zoom from block to blog in 0 to 60 minutes.

Now go slay that beast.

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Lisa Ricard Claro is a freelance writer whose humor columns and stories have been published on-line, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in anthologies Chicken Soup for Beach Lovers and Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers. (Watch for her story, “Angels Afoot”, in Cup of Comfort for a Better World, due on shelves March 2010.)

For more of Lisa’s writing, please visit her blog, Writing in the Buff: www.writinginthebuff.net.


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Do you want to reach WOW’s audience? We welcome short posts (500 words or less) from writers just like you! You can include your bio, pic, and links to your website/blog for promotion. Our only requirement is that your post be about women and writing. Send your Friday “Speak Out!” post to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

 

Friday Speak Out: Got Blog?, Guest Post by Pat Wahler

Got Blog?

by Pat Wahler

For a long time I resisted the idea of launching a blog. After all, I’d only started to dabble in creative writing a few years ago. How in the world could a beginner like me entertain others? Besides, I’m a tech-know-not. Setting up a blog certainly must require expertise that I did not possess.

But soon after a writer friend launched her blog, I decided to explore the concept by visiting Blogspot.com. The step by step instructions demonstrated that even I, the most inept of computer users, could publish a pretty darn professional looking blog. Best of all, the site didn’t charge a dime to participate, so why not? My favorite topic, animals, seemed the perfect platform for me, so on November 15, 2008, I launched Critter Alley into the seemingly infinite blogmosphere. Here are a few things I’ve learned since.

Blogging is a wonderful writing exercise. I don’t journal, but now practice the discipline of producing an interesting (I hope!) critter-related story each weekday. The thought of writing for others gives me incentive, and knowing that literally anyone in the world might read my words is an empowering feeling. And since daily stories require material aplenty, I’ve learned to observe life a new way, from a writer’s point of view.

When you report factual information, research is critical. People will be quick to let you know if something you’ve written isn’t quite right. For example, when I blogged about Jim the Wonder Dog, a reader emailed me. He claimed that Jim should have been described as a setter, not a spaniel. I verified his comment and made the correction. Although locating reliable sources and supporting material without violating copyright protection can be a challenge, it’s a habit worth acquiring for your next writing project.

Most of us don’t have publicists. Writers must market themselves. Getting your name out for others to see can only help when the time comes to sell that first novel. After posting a favorable review on a critter related book, I emailed the author to let him know. He not only mentioned my review on his blog, but posted a link to mine. Pretty cool stuff for a novice like me!

Perhaps one of the best things about regular blog posting is witnessing the evolution of your own work. Successful authors preach over and over that the best way to improve skills is to write consistently. My commitment to Critter Alley forces me to write daily. At best, my work turns out to be something noteworthy or thought provoking. On a not so great day, I’ve written coherent sentences with a beginning, middle, and end. Both help make me a better writer.

In short, anyone who expends the effort to blog will learn from it. If you’re a writer and haven’t taken the leap yet, don’t make more excuses. Get yourself to that keyboard and create your opus.

What have you got to lose?


Pat Wahler is a multi-published freelance writer. She lives with her husband, dog, and cat in Missouri where it is not unknown for them to entertain a guest critter…or two…or three. She writes about all things animal on her blog, Critter Alley. http://critteralley.blogspot.com/

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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