Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blogging about Blogging

Today, I conducted a blogging workshop for some of the Lake Writers. Sally Roseveare, whose blog is Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer, was there to help out and take pictures.


Fortunately, the meeting room at the Westlake Library has a "smart board" so everyone could see could see what I accessed on the computer. Two of the workshop attendees had blogs but hadn't used them for awhile; others were completely new to blogging. Everybody was involved and several asked really good questions.

Here's one of the handouts I provided:

Blogging: The What, Why, and How
by Becky Mushko

What is a blog? A blog is an on-line journal—your private selective diary that you’ve opened to the world.

Why blog?

  • A blog is your column—a sample of how well you write.
  • A blog provides a platform for a writer.
  • A blog connects you with like-minded people.
  • A blog promotes your books/freelance writing/etc. without being blatant.
  • A blog is personally satisfying—sometimes even fun.

A website, a blog, and social media are all part of a writer’s platform. All make people aware that you’re a writer and help promote your books. Some agents Google potential clients to see what kind of a web presence they have, so it’s a good idea to update your blog at regular intervals.

How do I get people to read my blog?


On your website, post a link on your website. When you update your blog, post the link on your Facebook page. Ditto for Twitter, if you tweet. If your blog URL is on your business cards, people can easily find your blog. Add comment on other blogs you read. Anyone reading the comments will be able to click your signature and access your blogger profile.

What blog should I use?
I use Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) because Blogger is owned by Google. This makes your blog easily show up in Google searches.

Others blog providers such as Wordpress and Typepad might also interest you.

How do I set up a blog? Go to http://www.blogger.com/start. Under “Learn More” on the right, click the link to take the tour and the link to watch the video tutorial. There are also many tutorials posted on YouTube. A good one is “Create a Blog: The 5 Minute Blog” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXiJ6jY3qB4, but you can search for others.

If I start a blog to promote my writing, should I write about writing? Writing about your own writing is boring unless you’re a famous author and maybe even then. Write about your life and what you do. Write about your interests. Write the kind of stuff you’d like to read on someone else’s blog. If you were writing a newspaper column, what would you write about? That’s what you’ll blog about. But, yeah, once in a while you can write about your writing. . . .

One writing-related topic you might blog about is books you’ve read and liked. Put a link to the book’s Amazon page and to the author’s website.. If anyone Googles that book title, your blog will show up on the search—and the author might be grateful for the plug. If you didn’t like a book, best not mention it on your blog.

You might also blog about your hobbies, places you’ve been, interesting things you’ve done, etc. The theme of my”Peevish Pen” blog (http://peevishpen.blogspot.com) is “ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement—and sometimes a border collie. And maybe cats.” That pretty much covers everything I blog about.

What interesting things might happen if I blog? Here are a few that happened to me:


How long does it take to get a blog started? Getting started as a blogger takes a couple of hours to get the hang of what all the blogging features are, to become comfortable with how things work, and to learn which icon does what. But it isn’t really difficult. After a day or two, you’ll be posting your entries in minutes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin setting up your blog:

  • Have several possible URLs in mind in case your first choice is taken.
  • Your blog's title doesn't have to match its URL, but it's good if it does.
  • Decide on your theme/purpose before setting up a blog.
  • Decide on your blog’s look. Blogger offers several templates.
  • Keep your blog simple. Don’t add music (unless you’re a musician), special effects, or anything else that detracts from your message. Don’t use lots of tags—maybe one or two. Too many look tacky and unprofessional.
  • The first few times you post, you might want to write your blog entries in advance so you can copy and paste.
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Blogs by Lake Writers are at  http://lakewriters.webs.com/blogs.htm. Soon it won't be long until the guys in the picture below have blogs, too.



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9 Comments:

Blogger Snappy Di said...

Nice post! I'm sure this was helpful to those there listening and watching your presentation, Becky!

DI

7:31 AM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Those are great blogging tips! Thanks for sharing them.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Your handout is very informative. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the workshop.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Cast Your Net said...

Thanks Becky. Informative. Why does the picture only show guys over sixty?

If the shoe fits....wear it.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

I don't think there was anyone under sixty there.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I never heard of blogs till you told me about them at one of the first writer meetings I attended. I love my blog!

11:27 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

I love your blog, too, Debi.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Farrar Richardson said...

Hi Becky,

Just by chance, I stumbled on this post of yours, where you mentioned me.

I came around after all this time to thank you belatedly for the copy of Patches on the Same Quilt, which I really enjoyed. I'll write more about that later, but Blogger doesn't seem to like long comments. I just lost one when I tried to preview it.

I also wanted to mention my new book blog, henrybrownrichardson.posterous.com
I might actually finish that book pretty soon.

On the subject of blogs, I'd recommend the posterous.com site to your followers. One post there will repost automatically to Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and just about any other blogging engine.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Thanks, Farrar, I"ll look into it.

10:06 AM  

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