Tag Archives: Blogging advice

New Year Reflections: The Evolution of a Blogger

Hello everyone!

I think it is good to look back at how far we’ve come. Some of what we see will be embarrassing or painful and some will be funny or heartwarming, but if the reflection is used appropriately (to see how much progress we’ve made and how we can still improve), it can be a very enlightening process.

Since this is my first blog post of 2020, I decided to look back at all of my first posts from 2016 through 2019. (I had to remind myself that looking back was a positive learning experience, not an opportunity to beat myself up for not researching how to blog before I started my blog.)

2016 Tablet Calendar

My first blog post ever (January 10, 2016): First Writing Prompt for 2016

What I learned between 2016 and 2017:

  • I can share articles that I find useful (I don’t always have to generate new content)
  • How to insert header photos and that header photos make my blog posts more visually appealing
  • How to link text

My first blog post for 2017 (January 1, 2017): Writer’s Voice

PhotosWhat I learned between 2017 and 2018:

  • Inserting pictures into my blog posts makes the posts more attractive
  • Breaking a post into sections makes it easier to read
  • How to use tags to increase visibility and readership
  • It is better to publish two quality posts a month than four mediocre posts

My first blog post for 2018 (January 7, 2018): True Confessions of an Amateur Blogger: What Not to Do

What I learned between 2018 and 2019:

  • I am on the right track as a blogger
  • I do not have the time to make conducting and editing video interviews a regular thing

My first blog post for 2019 (January 20, 2019): A New Spin on Things

What I learned between 2019 and 2020:

  • How to insert alternative text into photos
  • How to set up my blog posts so that they automatically share to my writer’s Facebook page
  • I need to plan out my blog posts the same way I plot out a story

I hope all of your reflections give you good insight, and that you are encouraged by your growth!

Happy writing and happy New Year!



True Confessions of an Advancing Writer

Hello everyone!

This year has been one of many ups and downs.  Some really great things have happened to me and my family, but we’ve also had some tragedies.  Overall, I’d say that 2019 has been a good year, but I am ready to welcome 2020.

Something that I learned in 2019 is that life can get crazy really quickly, and that it is important to have a backup plan for when that happens.

ProcrastinationWhen I started blogging back in 2016, I tried to pump out blog posts on a weekly basis, but I didn’t know anything about writing a blog, and the content I produced was terrible.  As I learned what makes a good blog post, I realized that putting out a quality post takes time and isn’t something I can commit to doing every week.  That was when I changed my posting schedule to one blog post every two weeks, which, for the most part, I was faithful in doing…until the 2019 craziness hit.

The MuseWhenever it was a blog post week, I would ask myself what was inspiring me or what I wanted to learn about, and then I’d spend several hours researching, writing, and editing.  That method worked until this year.  When the 2019 craziness hit and I got overwhelmed, I didn’t feel inspired to write and I didn’t have the energy to do research.  As a result, I missed several blog posts and was late with others.  I am not proud of my blogging frequency for 2019, so I asked myself, “What am I going to do so that I post consistently in 2020?”  The answer: Pre-planning.  (I know, I should have been pre-planning all along, but I have always been a procrastinator, and it wasn’t until 2018 that I finally decided to start pre-planning and outlining my books.  I hadn’t gotten around to applying that epiphany to my blog.)

I sat down and wrote out the months of the year.  Then, I looked up holidays, seasonal events, and writers’ birthdays.  Using that as inspiration, I came up with two or three themes that I wanted to cover for each month in 2020.  I look forward to returning to posting regularly and am proud that I found a way that will work for me to meet my blogging goals.

One theme that seems to repeat itself in my life is this: You will never get everything right, but if you learn from your mistakes, you can do better next time.

MistakeIf there is an area in your writing, or in any part of your life, that you are not satisfied with, I would encourage you to honestly evaluate that area to find out what you can do to improve it.  Then, make and implement a plan.  The first plan might fail.  That’s okay.  You’re moving in the right direction.  Keep re-evaluating and trying new things until you find what works for you.  You only fail when you stop trying.

Caveat: Unless a plan bombs so badly that you know there is no way it will ever work, give the plan four to eight weeks of a fair try before you discard it for a new one.  New habits take time to form, so give yourself the time you need.

Happy writing!


True Confessions of an Amateur Blogger: What NOT to Do

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!

As the second anniversary of my writer’s blog approaches (January 10th), I reflect back on what I have learned about blogging over the past two years.

My very first blog post was truly terrible.  At the time, I did not read blogs and had no clue what I was doing.  Everyone said that to be a writer, you needed to have an online presence, so I was going to have one.  I was going to use my blog to show people that I was reliable and professional.  Someone who was devoted to writing.  The only thing my 2016 blog posts showed was that I had no idea how to be a blogger.

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

boring 11 (4)My very first post was published on January 10, 2016.  Its title was so specific, who wouldn’t want to read it?  “First Writing Prompt for 2016.”  No visuals, no tags, no reason to click on it.  And, no one did.  My second blog post, also published on January 10, 2016, was titled “Writing Article for the New Year.”  It did as well as my first post.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.  It might inspire someone to click on your post.

The end of March/beginning of April 2016 was when I started making my titles more interesting.  Still, no one visited my blog.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why no one wanted to read what I wrote.

In October 2016, I started regularly adding images to bodies of my blog posts, still no one outside of my family followed my blog.  And no one ever liked my posts.  It was so depressing.  I would carefully form my blog posts and then, to the best of my knowledge, no one ever read them.  I cannot begin to describe how badly I wanted to stop blogging.  But I didn’t stop.  Instead, I tried to figure out why my blog had been a graveyard for all of 2016.  And there were lots of good reasons.cricket 1From November 2016 through February 2017, I put images in the headers or bodies of my blog posts.  In March 2017, I got frustrated with how time consuming it was and stopped, only to give myself a good kick in the pants in April 2017 and start using images consistently.  In May 2017, I made it my personal goal never to publish a post without having a featured image in the header, and with the exception of “Inspiring Lines” (October 22, 2017), I have met that goal.

“Marketing Children’s Picture Books,” published on February 25, 2017, was the first blog post someone liked, and not just one, but two bloggers liked it.  I was over the moon.

What were some things that I did right in that particular blog post?

–        There was a featured image in the header.

–        The title was clear, but not boring.

–        There were multiple tags.

Tip #4: Use tags.  You have a better chance of coming up in the search engines.

url1Even though “Marketing Children’s Picture Books” got the most positive response I had ever gotten from a blog post, there was something I found visually displeasing about it: the web addresses.

That’s right.  I did not link back to the resources I wanted to share with my readers.  Instead, I stuck the web address into the blog post.  It looked bad.

You might be wondering why I did that if I didn’t like how it looked.  The truth is, I didn’t know how to insert a link, and I didn’t google how to do it.  I didn’t figure out how to insert a link until May 7, 2017 when I published “How to Create a Successful Blog.”

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

I hope this post has given you a good laugh.  If you’re new to blogging or are considering starting a blog, let my mistakes and past blog posts serve as an example of what not to do.

blog 4If you’re where I was at the start of 2017, posting without any followers, likes, or comments, don’t give up.  Getting started takes time, so use it to figure out how to make your blog better and more accessible to your target readership.  You have something worth saying.

Happy writing and happy New Year!


Tip Summary:

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.

Tip #4: Use tags.

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.