Archive for May, 2006

Writing Success!

Excuse me while I do the “writer’s jig.”

And the “writer’s whoopee!”

Ah… that feels good!

Just opened my mail and there’s an acceptance letter from a publisher. I’ve been drowned in rejection letters in recent times so it’s good to reverse the trend. It’s a short story that I entered in a competition recently and almost reached the “commended” category. The payment is modest but it’s something!

Now to get on with more writing.

Blogging with the Bald Man

I continue to read through the various submissions to Darren Rowse’s group writing project “The Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” on ProBlogger. Today I read the article on Bald Man Blogging.

One of the habits he highlights is to read, read, read.

Read, Read, Read

The mind requires stimulation. I have a collection of 50 or so feeds of personal interest. Plus a couple dozen that are specifically to feed [pun intended] sundry blogs. I also keep track of all the b5media blogs. I’ve got the usual friends and familiar voices in Bloglines, but I also try to include several from outside my box. You never know where an idea might come from. Diversity breeds insight. Conflict creates change. And change is an opportunity to grow. In addition to Bloglines, I have a few books and magazines laying around the house.

Yeah – I have no trouble with the concept. I am a voracious reader and usually have four or five books and up to a dozen magazines that I am currently reading. That all takes time. Time away from writing, time that could be spent blogging. Now I’ve started reading the bogs of others in a big way. The time online just disappears so quickly. Before I know it several hours have gone – and not word written.

Discipline. That’s what I need. A disciplined reading programme to balance my writing.

Anyone got any ideas on how to do this?

Why Should Writers Blog?

Desire M. Hendricks in her blog “A Conservatory of One: Exploring the Writing Craft and Llife” says it so beautifully:

There’s an immediate audience when blogging. Blogging also provides a sense of community via comments and linking. The solitary nature of writing is somewhat diffused by these qualities. Because of these things, I greatly enjoy blogging.

Two questions for my readers
Why do you write?

And if you also blog, why do you blog?

Four Habits of Success

The principles of success seem to have many common denominators. They seem to apply in many different endeavours in life. Applied diligently, they can make a huge difference to our lives, enhancing what we do, making how we do it easier and more meaningful and satisfying. If success comes as the world sees it, like wealth, prestige and fame, then that can be a bonus. If success means doing your best, being satisfied with a job well done and really feeling good about the outcomes, then the intrinsic value of these principles of success are incalculable.

Four Habits of Success

In his blog “Shards of Consciousness: Explorations of Personal Development” Richard Cockrum has written a series of thorough, thought provoking and lucid articles of various aspects of living life to the fullest. The piece of advice in this article that appealed to me as a writer and as a blogger was about staying balanced in life. Juggling all the demands in life is an art form many people fail to achieve. (Sorry – the link to Rick’s site no longer works.)

Stay balanced. Your vocation or avocation, including your blog, isn’t your entire life. You have relationships. You have other areas of life. To keep each of these fresh you need to make sure you spend time and energy on all of them. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have periods of focus only on one thing, but it does mean that these periods of high focus can’t become habitual. No one can effectively do the same thing day after day and hour after hour while expecting quality results.

The Demands of Writing

Writing in all of its forms, whether that be fiction, poetry, blogging, journalism or whatever, demands an intense focus. It is for many a lonely life, sitting at a computer for long hours at a stretch. Richard’s advice to “stay balanced” is very important. At present, my major focus apart from this blog on writing is my blog on birding. If I sit at my computer writing about birds all day it will become stale and unreadable. I need to bring balance to my life and actually get out there in field and watch some real, live birds. My writing then comes alive, not merely academic.

The writing also taps into a passion of mine – watching the beautiful birds we have here in Australia.

And the readers will be able to tell that I am passionate.

And they will return.

Updated November 2013.

Characteristics of an Effective Blogger (and Writer)

On his blog about writing and blogging, with the bizarre name of “Why My Blog Stinks” Steve Remington has submitted an excellent article in the group writing project “The Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers” run by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.

Many of the contributors listed habits that lead to effective blogging. Steve instead has concentrated on the characteristics of the blogger, as distinct from the habits. While aimed at bloggers, this posting also applies to all writers. I’d like to comment on just several that he wrote about.

Good Communicator
Effective bloggers need to be able to convey their message. If you can’t understand a thing from what a blogger wrote then you will probably give up on them. You need to communicate the best you can to your readers. Good communication also comes in the form of contacting other bloggers. You can learn to become a better communicator and this will help convey your messages and it will help you deal with other people around you.

Being a good communicator seems to be a given. It often amazes me, however, how many people who are in the area of communication, whether spoken or written, who seem to lack the fundamentals of good communication.

Keep things understandable.

If the reader cannot understand your blog, novel, short story, poem or whatever, you have lost that reader. This is particularly so in our modern “instant” world; the web generation wants instant information. They are not going to hang around reading 500 words of a garbled introduction. Poor spelling and grammar just adds to the hurry to depart from that mess. Click.

Like to Write
It is difficult to be an effective blogger if you simply don’t like writing. I like writing and if I didn’t, well, I probably wouldn’t be a blogger.

If you like what you do it will show. If you enjoy being a teacher, your students will know. If you love being a doctor, builder, saleswomen or whatever, your clients will know. It shows. It oozes from everything you say and do, your attitude, your speech and your mannerisms.

If you love being a writer, it will show. And you can’t be an effective blogger without loving to write, and love to write heaps. And every day. On all sorts of things.

Like Researching
This is the same as writing. If you don’t like it, then your blog will probably suffer. Part of blogging is researching things. You need to research not only for content, but also to scan your competitors. What are they up to? You also should be researching what your readers are doing. Where are they coming from? Learning the habits of both your competitors and your readers will help you decide what needs to be done to your blog. To determine what to do is actually part of your intuitive skills.

I love the research stage. It takes you on all kinds of interesting journeys. It’s part of the learning process. But a word to the weak: there are so many interesting distractions out there, especially on the internet, that can divert you from your intended path. Remember to get back to writing. Listen to someone who has often strayed from the True Path. Oh, the Perils of Broadband!