Archive for June, 2006

Promoting your blog

Many bloggers are just happy to occassionally add new posts to their blog. Every couple of days, or perhaps once a week, they write another short blog on their chosen topic. They do nothing more to promote their blog. And then they wonder why no-one is reading their pearls of wisdom.

Sheila Coggins has written a short article listing her Top 10 Tips on Promoting Your Blog: How to Gain and Keep Blog Readers. She includes things like writing quality content, posting regularly and ping backs.

To read the whole article click here.

Getting a Life

I’ve recently read two great articles on the hectic, demanding life of bloggers and writers. The first was Maintaining a Blog/Life Balance written by Darren Rowse. The second was by Wendy Boswell and called How to get things done working inside and outside the home.The issue of scheduling came up in both articles. Finding a balance between writing or blogging and the rest of life is a delicate balancing act. Since starting to blog seriously in March I have found that the pressure to post has sometimes taken a little enjoyment out of the whole process. Yet the challenge is there and is, in itself, enjoyable. I have certainly done far more writing in the last four months than ever before. And that has to be good.
Some of my frustrations – in no particular order:

  • I have been trying to establish myself as a writer of children’s books for over 20 years while at the same time teaching full time (until 2 years ago).
  • I have been trying to get things done around the house – like basic maintenance – that has been neglected for far too many years.
  • The frustration of trying to write full time while ill over the last 2 years. I’m much better now but I sometimes feel I have to make up for lost time.
  • The demands of trying to get serious about blogging – which means less time for traditional print writing projects.
  • The concept of trying to enjoy ‘retirement’ from teaching. I seem busier than ever.
  • The demands of family and friends – often very relaxing and necessary but a distraction from writing.
  • The demands of the community and the various committees I sit on and community groups I am interested in supporting.

That’s enough whingeing.

What to do about it?

Darren’s article has some simple, basic, commonsense suggestions:

…over the last 12 months I’ve met a number of bloggers who have seriously worried me in terms of their blog obsession (”blogsession”).

Creating a healthy blog/life balance is important and for me includes:

  • having days off
  • taking longer vacations
  • having times during the day that are set aside for family
  • setting time aside for exercise
  • prioritizing time for face to face interactions with people
  • developing other hobbies
  • setting limits on how late you’ll stay up and when you’ll go to bed

Great ideas. I know one that has me particularly concerned: “settting aside time for exercise”. I had plenty of exercise last year training for my trek towards Everest in January (read my Travel Blog – click here). I was walking some 2 to 3 hours daily in preparation. On my return I lapsed into old habits and this year I’ve started putting on the weight I lost during my preparation and on the trek.

Health Issues

Add to the lack of exercise is the recent news from my doctor that I am diabetic. We’ve got a good handle on the diet side of things, but the regular exercise I need to lick now. It is too tempting to just stay inside on cold days like we’ve been having in recent weeks.

I think I’ll stop now and go outside and do some gardening.

The Urban Dictionary

I’ve just looked an interesting web site called the Urban Dictionary for the first time. All kinds of very interesting alternative definitions of slang words and expressions in common usage – but not the kind of things one finds in a standard dictionary. It’s a very handy resource.

To access the Urban Dictionary click here.

Professional Blogging Tools

Darren on ProBlogger has posted a very comprehensive list of tools to use to help professional bloggers – 130 of them in fact. Many are applicable for use by ordinary bloggers too. My son does all the techie stuff for my blogs so I don’t have to worry about that side of things. (Onya Sim’)

To read Darren’s post on The A – Z of Professional Blogging click here.

Making mistakes

Writing is an inexact art.

We all make mistakes, errors of judgement and we sometimes follow the wrong path. We may spend too much time on one writing project and neglect a more important one. We may expend enormous amounts of energy on researching a topic when the information was readily available in some other form.

Writing Blogs

Writing blogs is no different, except that there seem to be many more variations on a theme than with writing for the print media. Blogging is a rapidly developing form of writing, and it is different in that the writer is also the publisher. The blogger has to also be the editor, promoter, sales department and fill host of other roles, not the least of which in site manager and resident techie. It can all get a little overwhelming.

Time commitment

Darren on ProBlogger has a link to an interesting article about a blog network owner who shares the mistakes made in running a blog. The first one listed is everyone’s bogey, it seems: Under-estimating the time commitment. Writing a novel takes months and even years; not many people under-estimate the commitment there. But everyone expects a successful blog takes only a few minutes every day or every few days, and it will be on everyone’s blogroll in a few weeks or a month or two.

To read the full article by Mac Slocum at The Independent Publisher click here.