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Day 30 – 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Final Review

Posted on : 03-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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It’s here – my final blog post of my 30 day blogging challenge! It’s been quite a journey involving late nights, frantic Google searches and lots of cups of tea. Along the way, I’ve made some friends and my blog is definitely better for it.

sparkler by Markus Grossalber on Flickr CC

sparkler by Markus Grossalber on Flickr CC

I began my challenge, hoping that I would be able to find 30 different blogs to post, and I have ended it with so many more ideas on where I want to take my blog and the kinds of subjects I want to post on. I had posted sporadically for a couple of years, struggling to find topics to talk about, now hopefully I will be able to continue blogging once or twice a week. My blogging muscle has grown, just as Sarah predicted it would.

So here are some stats for my final review:

Fastest blog post to write:

Day 25 – 3 Quotes for writers

This took less than half an hour, and felt like a very lazy post, although I do know a website that just seems to create author quotes. I was very short of time that day, though

Most fun to research:

Day 23 – 7 More crazy business ideas

There’s another couple of blog posts in there some time…

My favourite blog post:

Day 21 – Infographics. I had so much fun creating those. I will definitely be making more in the future.

Most visited blog post:

Day 17 – Testimonials about my work (51 impressions)

Day 3 – Five qualities of a freelance writer came a close second with 48. It’s telling that the keywords ‘freelance writer’ are in the second post and I might have got some random traffic because that is a popular keyword.

Most commented on blog post:

Day 28 – Procrastination & the Writer really got a good reaction. People seemed to relate to it well and I got some comments on Facebook too.

Day 29 – 30 Ideas for Blog Posts came a close second. I reckon I’m going to go looking for another 30 ideas at some point! Just to stretch myself.

Most recommended blog post for other Challengers to do:

Day 27 – Five Retro Blog Posts. It was great fun to go through my old blog posts and pick five of the best. I tidied them up, and added new pictures in some cases, but it’s a great way to showcase yourself to people who are just discovering you.

I have had such fun with this challenge. Thanks go to Kevin and Sarah for all their encouragement, emails & stickers! I would hope to come back to this challenge again in about a year for another 30 blog posts because it has been a challenge well worth taking.

If you are reading this in the middle of your own challenge then I would encourage you to keep going, you will gain so much from it.

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Day 29: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – 30 Ways to find Blog Post Ideas

Posted on : 02-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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When I began this challenge, my biggest excuse for not keeping up my blog was that I didn’t know what to write about.

Blogging - what jolly fun by Mike Licht www.notionscapital.com

Blogging – what jolly fun by Mike Licht www.notionscapital.com

On beginning this 30 day blogging challenge, I wrote a quick list of ideas for blog posts so that I would have something to give me ideas when I needed something quickly. I have not often needed it, but it gave me confidence that it was there. As I come to the end of my challenge, I have decided to share this list as a reminder that ideas for blog posts are all around us and that we just have to look for them. Please add your blog post ideas in the comments at the bottom of the page.

  1. News headlines – in the papers or on digital news websites
  2. Facebook posts
  3. Tweets
  4. Pinterest topics
  5. Headlines specific to your topic – Googling your topic and ‘news’ will give you websites that offer news in your subject area
  6. A conversation, overheard or between you & your friends – just don’t get caught listening in!
  7. Questions from blog readers
  8. Solve a problem – either one of your own or one that you have heard about from someone else
  9. Share an experience
  10. Blog review – I love to share some of my favourite websites
  11. Book review
  12. Five best posts of the week/month/year
  13. Discuss a blog post that really struck you – but do say where the post came from and let the author know that you have continued the conversation
  14. Have a bath/shower – really good thinking space, also taking the kids to school
  15. Follow some forums – there are always some really good questions on there on real-life problems
  16. Answer a question on Linked In
  17. Listen to music. What pictures does it conjure up? Or can you just write an album review?
  18. See what other blogs are discussing – do you have your own take on it?
  19. Write a long list post
  20. Decide to do a really long list post and think outside the box for your ideas
  21. Use a TV or film character to discuss your topic – there have been some great blog posts out there using this. My favourite was  the Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words on Copyblogger
  22. Find some famous person quotations to discuss or share
  23. Share a story or poem that you have written
  24. Run a competition
  25. Interview someone in your field. It can be an email interview. People are very happy to be interviewed – particularly if they have a book or product coming out soon
  26. Write about an unusual hobby or skill
  27. Go for a walk and browse a newsagents – see what the magazines are writing about
  28. Write a seasonal post
  29. Write a post about a new start, a New Year or new beginning – what are you going to do differently?
  30. Keep a list of possible blog posts, noting ideas down as they come to you, so that you always have something to work on
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Day 28: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Procrastination & the Writer

Posted on : 01-03-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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I would like to put my name forward for the title of ‘Writer Procrastinator Extraordinaire’ as I think that my talents for procrastination far exceed my talents for writing!

Time by John Morgan on Flickr CC

Time by John Morgan on Flickr CC

Today I have had little bits of time here and there, but no, it’s at 9.47 pm that I decide to start writing my blog post for today! I could have made a start earlier, except that I decided that I needed to ignore my Editorial Calendar and write something new and it would take a bit of time to decide what that theme should be. Now I have, and here we are.

I know that procrastination is not just my problem – as writers, who rely on the workings of our brain to tell us what to write – so often it can be really difficult to focus on what we have to do. There can be 100 other things that we need to get done – the washing up, the washing, the vacuuming – the beauty of working from home can also be its pitfall. We walk past these piles of dirty things and think that we’ll just do this or just do that – and before you know it, it’s time to pick the kids up from school and the time is gone.

Time is neither our friend nor our enemy – it’s just time. We all have the same amount of time and how we choose to use it is up to us. I am mostly finding time in the evenings to get some blogging done, but I am pleased with the way this has turned out. From finding about an hour to an hour and a half each night, I have gained 30 blog posts (well, nearly, but definitely hoping to achieve this) for my blog, I have found some different topics to write on and I have enjoyed checking out other people’s blogs and reading their comments on my own. This challenge has not been undertaken just under my own steam – I have had other people following, commenting and liking my Facebook announcements of my blog posts which has an effect of encouraging me to get my blog posts done and let others know that they are up.

When you start a blog, it is easy to feel that you are posting into a void, sending a message in a tiny bottle into a massive sea and that it is going to be a matter of luck whether anyone sees your message or not. Finding a group of people to join and share – that makes all the difference and it helps to put an end to procrastination. Knowing that there are people out there, willing you on, and that you can urge them on, helps to beat that little voice encouraging you to put things off, that no one will notice because no one is reading it anyway.

So, here I am, late on a Tuesday night, typing up my blog. The motivation has been strong to complete this challenge because I don’t want to fail. More importantly, knowing that the blog will be read and shared has been the motivation that has chased away the procrastination, so although sometimes I have not been able to get around to blogging until late, I have still managed (mostly) to get around to blogging.

If you have stuck with me thus far in my ramblings, here is what I have learned about the writer and procrastination during this blogging challenge:

  1. Find a reason to blog. Have a great book review, story to tell, interview or piece of advice to share. If it’s good enough then you will find the time to write it down even if it’s late at night.
  2. Promote your blog post. Read other relevant blogs and comment on them, tweet about them and share them on Facebook, Google + and anywhere else you want to share. I knew this, but I had learned to put it off until tomorrow – and tomorrow never came. How can anyone read your posts if they don’t know that you have written them? There is no worse thing than crafting a beautiful blog post that no one will read.
  3. Only allow so much procrastination. Find your motivation, the reason to write and do it.
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Day 27: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Five Retro Blog Posts to check out on this Blog

Posted on : 29-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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By the end of this blogging challenge, I will have written 30 blog posts in a little over a month. It ’s not been easy but it’s been worth it. For today’s blog post, I want to highlight some of the posts that have gone before. One thing I have noticed in checking over my previous posts: I am fond of the number 5!

Retro America by Peer Lawther on Flickr CC

Retro America by Peer Lawther on Flickr CC

Five good reasons to maintain your blog

Five Things to Consider before Networking for the First Time

How to Save Your Website

Organising Your Writing

Do you spam? There is another way to promote your website

I hope you enjoy some of these retro posts. Some of them were written in answer to questions while others were just topics that were on my mind at the time. I have to say that I enjoyed going back through my website and finding them again.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it.

Share your favourite own retro blog post in the comments.

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Day 26: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Author Websites Worth Visiting

Posted on : 28-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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These days it is recommended that authors have a website. Some are almost purely bibliographies, lists of their published books, a brief ‘About’ page and some contact details for literary festivals.

Mah Bookshelf by kreezzalee on Flickr CC

Mah Bookshelf by kreezzalee on Flickr CC

Other authors clearly enjoy the process: they add extras like FAQs, podcasts of interviews and reprints of newspaper articles. I really enjoy checking out these websites: they offer the would-be writer so much more than just a book list.

When I find a new author I like, then I love to head over to their website and see what they will be doing next. Here are five author websites that I really like and would recommend that you visit and take a look around.

  1. Philippa Gregory is an historian who writes historical novels including The Other Boleyn Girl. Her website is great for those authors who are looking to write historical novels because she includes fascinating bits of history research on it. To access them, check out the purple tab: News & More.
  2. Michael Morpurgo has a fascinating website, full of tidbits to click on and interesting items. He has an amazing back catalogue of written books, including the now famous ‘War Horse’ and his website is well worth a look.
  3. Joanne Harris has long been one of my favourite writers – I love her books. Her website talks about her job and gives some useful information for someone looking to book an author for a visit.
  4. Julia Donaldson has written about the Gruffalo, the Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom and many others. Her website is great for sheer amount of many different things that she writes. It’s also a very bright and colourful website.
  5. Anthony Horowitz has written the Alex Rider series, and more recently a couple of books based on Sherlock Holmes. His website has some good advice for writers and is very enjoyable to read through. Again, the amount of different projects that he gets involved in is breathtaking. He has written film scripts and TV scripts as well as novels for both teenagers and adults.
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Day 25: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – 3 Quotes for Writers

Posted on : 27-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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There are some really great quotes from writers and here are 3 of my favourites.

Notebook by Kelly Sikkema on Flickr CC

Notebook by Kelly Sikkema on Flickr CC

  1. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Ernest Hemingway

Great quote that hints at the toughness of writing.

2.  The secret of being a writer: not to expect others to value what you’ve done as you value it. Not to expect anyone else to perceive init the emotions you have invested in it. Once this is understood, all will be well. Joyce Carol Dates

Great advice for any writer.

3. You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing. Doris Lessing

So many people say that they want to be writers and yet they never write. Making time for writing can seem like a selfish thing but it’s the only way to become a writer. Write down your story ideas, interesting news headlines and real-life stories. Keep notes on your phone and always try and find time to write.

What is your favourite writer quote and what does it mean to you? Let me know in the comments.

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Day 24: 30 Day Blog Writing Challenge – am I Mobile-Friendly?

Posted on : 26-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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Just a short blog today as the challenge was to check whether my blog would cope with being accessed through a mobile device.

HTC Desire Eye smartphone by Maurizio Pesce on Flickr CC

HTC Desire Eye smartphone by Maurizio Pesce on Flickr CC

I was writing a series of articles for a web developer a few years ago, and this was one of the articles I had to research and write. The overwhelming consensus of opinion when I was researching was that it was important for a website to be mobile (or accessed through a mobile device) and so when I had written the article, I looked into making my own website mobile too.

I am pleased to say that my website is still able to be viewed through a mobile device and that I can leave comments too. Sometimes you can learn a great deal from writing for a client!

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Day 23: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – 7 More Crazy Business Ideas

Posted on : 25-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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When I was digging through my archives, I found my first blog post on Crazy Business Ideas. I thought it would be great to update this article and check out some more crazy business ideas. Who would have thought that some of these ideas would make you money.

Doggles for military working dog by U.S.Army

Doggles for military working dog by U.S.Army

  1. Rent the Chicken

This business is for those people who are not sure whether they are cut out to be farmers or not. They can rent the chickens, feed and coop for a specified time, with the chickens guaranteed to be laying eggs within two days of arriving. There is the option to adopt the chickens if the prospective farmer falls in love with them. This company operates in the US only, although I believe there is also an Australia version!

2.  My Friend smells.com

This company will send scented cologne wipes anonymously from as little as $1.99 to those friends who smell a little stinky. Personally, I still prefer a good old fashioned conversation!

3.  Zombie Experiences

If you have ever wanted to spend your day being chased by zombies, then this is the website for you! This one is based in the UK. Interesting way to make money…

4.  I Do, Now I Don’t

The founder of I Do, Now I Don’t was dumped after a three month engagement. The jeweller he bought the ring from offered him less than half the amount he’d paid for it, so he set up his own website which enables people to sell their jewellery to other users. Simple idea, but a great success.

5. Chewy Jewellery

While she was on maternity leave, Jenny & Steve Mclaughlan had the idea of making a necklace that would be dafe for babies to chew on while they were teething. The concept has now been extended for children with sensory issues such as autism who still need to chew. The product is made to be non-toxic although it comes with a warning that fully developed teeth will eventually bite through the product, so parent supervision is recommended.

6. Doggles

These strange-looking goggles for dogs do have a serious purpose – they can help dogs who have developed eye disease and protect dogs’ eyes from sun damage. The makers of Doggles recommend training your dog to wear them and that they do not wear them indoors. Cool name!

7. WTF Prank Candles

For the person who has everything – or someone you don’t like, these candles begin by smelling sweet and then turn to more foul smells. Would you like a candle that changes from apple pie to dirty fart? How about from fresh forrest pine to skunk? I can’t believe these are selling – but I found the website!

If you enjoyed this article, then please share to social media.

What crazy businesses have you found? Please share in the comments below.

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Day 22: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Third Week Review

Posted on : 25-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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Week 3 and I’m still here. I’m really glad that I took this challenge. Finding time to blog every day has not been easy, but I have managed to do it. Hopefully from here I can finish this challenge.

My public lands summer road trip by Bureau of Land Management Flickr CC

My public lands summer road trip by Bureau of Land Management Flickr CC

This week, I have:

  • continued to edit my story, looking at setting, plot, conflict and resolution, all of which are important parts of a story
  • Rewritten my ‘About’ page
  • Written up some of my testimonials which was quite nice to do
  • worked out how to use infographics and discovered a nice little free program to help me do it
  • finally set up that editorial calendar by adapting Sarah Arrow’s template
  • enjoyed reading and commenting on other blogs also taking part in the 30 day blogging challenge

This week, I am back into the full swing of school, college and work, so free time has been a little more limited. It is not always possible to post every day, but I am determined to have 30 blog posts by the time I have set myself.

This is what I have learned this week:

  • to keep chasing testimonials, because they are very nice to have. In the past, although I have asked for testimonials, clients sometimes forget to send them. I need to try and get them if I can.
  • I liked my ‘About’ page when I read it, but it did need some updating – apparently I last rewrote it about 3 years ago!
  • To keep finding time to blog – even small bits of time can be used productively if you are ready to go and know what you want to write.
  • initiating other calls to action rather than just inviting comments on the blog. I always try to ask a question for others to answer in the comments but asking for a social share was not something I had (embarrassingly) thought of!

Another week, another learning curve! Roll on Week 4!

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Day 21: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Infographics

Posted on : 23-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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This blog has been challenged to make some infographics so I decided to have a go. The infographics package that was recommended was not suitable for me as I don’t have Java, so I have taken a look round to see what other possibilities there are.

I found Daniel Soper who offers a small infographics generator. You just copy and paste some text into the box and click the button to generate the infographic – couldn’t be simpler! I have had fun playing with it and this has been the results.

Here is the infographic for my ‘About’ page:

Free Infographic from http://www.danielsoper.com/wordcloud/

Free Infographic from http://www.danielsoper.com/wordcloud/

I had so much fun that I decided to try another one! Buy one, get one free!

A few years ago, I wrote a post on Crazy Business Ideas so I put that through the word cloud generator too:

http://www.danielsoper.com/wordcloud/

http://www.danielsoper.com/wordcloud/

I think I’m hooked!

If you have enjoyed this post, then please share to social media.

If you have made some great infographics, then let me know about them in the comments below.

 

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