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Day 16: 30 Day Blogging Challenge – Halfway

Posted on : 17-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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Wow, suddenly it’s day 16 and I‘ve been blogging consecutively for 15 days! I’m really glad that I took up this challenge and I’m learning a lot from it.

April 2012 Art Challenge Tulips by COLOURED PENCIL magazine Flickr CC

April 2012 Art Challenge Tulips by COLOURED PENCIL magazine Flickr CC

So far I’ve learned:

  • that finding topics can be fun and that it’s important to choose a topic that I feel I can offer some information on
  • that I need to think about keywords more
  • that prioritising time to blog pays off in terms of the pleasure of seeing this blog grow and improving it with new content

This challenge has reminded me how much I do like blogging about my own subject (as opposed to writing blogs for clients) and that it is really pleasing to see the number of blog posts increase substantially. I also love getting emails each day.

Could do better:

  • need to set up that editorial calendar – I can see the benefit of it, but unfortunately it’s been a bit of a frustrating week at work. No excuses, though, should’ve done it!
  • Keep improving SEO. I use All-in-One SEO and I am finding that I understand it better so I can use it more effectively. I may investigate some other options when I have time, though.
  • it would be nice not to be blogging so late at night sometimes, but when you’re running other jobs alongside, better to blog late than not at all.

All these things will help me to blog more effectively and enable my blog posts to be found more easily when the challenge is over. It will also help me to continue writing blog posts more regularly.

What next?

  • I’m in the middle of a series of blog posts on writing a short story and editing it. I intend to continue that
  • Take some of Sarah’s email challenges. This is something I have not been so good at – usually because I already have some content in place
  • Try and be more organised with my blog posts

It’s amazing how fast the first half of this blogging challenge has gone. As I said, it has not been easy: I have had issues at work to contend with and this week the family have been around because of half term. However I am doing my best to keep blogging and I am determined to finish the challenge.

If you are reading this, thinking, ‘Shall I?’ then I would encourage you to sign up for the 30 day blogging challenge. Your blog will thank you for it.

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Day 12: 30 Days of Blogging – Story, Part 2

Posted on : 12-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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Days 11 and 12 of my 30 day blogging journey have been two parts of a story. Through the next day or so, I will then be editing the story. To read the first part of the story, go to day 11.

Cliff erosion by Clare Wilkinson on flickr CCHere is the concluding part:

Story so far:

Janice, the estate agent, is showing Joseph, a potential buyer, round an old house on a hill when he has a funny turn. Janice takes him through to the kitchen to find some water.

He followed her through an interconnecting door and found himself in the kitchen. It was old-fashioned with wooden Quaker doors and a quarry tiled floor, but it had a comforting feeling. Janice perched him on a high stool while she ran the water to find him a drink. He looked out of the patio doors which overlooked the garden. The grass was high and uncut, the garden looked unruly and unkempt. He thought of his ancient petrol mower. That lawn just might be the death of it.

Janice was looking at him with her bright blue eyes. “Feeling better?” she asked.

He nodded but it was unconvincing.

“Forgive me, it’s been a long journey.”

She nodded in return. “ You have family in the area?

“Once I did. They have probably all moved away now. I do have childhood memories of this place – it was the old house on the hill even then…”

Janice nodded once more, not really sure how to respond. She decided to move on. “Shall we look at the other reception room?”

Joseph followed her through and there was no incident. He went upstairs and found the bedrooms made up as though they were expecting a guest. He felt slightly unnerved as though he were being watched. The sun began to dip lower.

The smallest room had obviously been a child’s bedroom. He stopped by the toys, covered with dust and arranged higgledy piggledy on the the shelves. He looked at the book shelf: ‘Little Women’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’, old books with leather binding and that old book smell.

“Would you like to go outside?” asked Janice as they came down the stairs.

Joseph said that he would.

Out in the back wilderness, a crazy paving path led away from the house and disappeared into the undergrowth.

“How far back does it go?” he asked. It was impossible to see the back fence.

“About 100 foot,” answered Janice. She was ready to get back to the office, her feet were killing her and it was definitely time for a cup of coffee. “Is there anything else you would like to see?” she asked politely, praying the answer would be ‘no’.

“I would like one more look round,” answered Joseph. “I will be fine on my own. I will see you in a couple of minutes.”

Muttering under her breath, Janice left the house. Joseph took a deep breath and walked back to the first reception room. It took him a moment to locate the photograph, but suddenly, there it was. Peggy beamed out at him from a faded colour washed photo. She was a lot younger than he remembered, wearing a bright bow in her hair and one of her front teeth was missing. Joseph grabbed a corner of the dresser as his head swam again.

The solid wood pulled him back from the memories. He thought of himself and Peggy running along the beach, shouting with the sheer joy of being alive. He remembered the delight of the warm sun on his back, the sand between his toes, the coldness of the sea when you dared to venture in for the first time.

Other memories crowded in. Peggy, a little older, playing hide and seek among the dunes. It was a game that she had been particularly good at. On this one day, unfortunately she had been too good.

The sand had given way and Peggy had been carried to the bottom of the cliff. Her head had hit a rock. She had been declared dead at the scene. Joseph had met another girl, married and after 30 years of marriage, had recently lost her to cancer. It had reminded him of the loss of his youth and he had come back to remember her.

Joseph sighed and stood up. He headed to the front door where the estate agent was waiting in the car. He had thought of buying the place, doing it up and giving it a new lease of life, but he knew that there were too many ghosts waiting for him in there. As he left, he thought he heard a seagull shout. It sounded like, “Joe! Joe!”

Joseph left and knew that he would never be able to return. He had said goodbye.

You may have had a different idea of how the story ended. Let me know in the comments.

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30 Day Blogging Challenge -Day 1

Posted on : 01-02-2016 | By : admin | In : 30 Blog Writing Challenge

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pen & paper by Dinuraj K on Flickr CCWhen I interviewed Sarah Arrow of Sark e-Media for this blog last year, I was impressed by her 30 day blogging challenge. The idea is to blog for 30 consecutive days – something I have not tried before. I kept coming back to the idea, but the time never seemed right. Now, in February 2016, it does.

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.”

—George Singleton

I have accepted the challenge and so plan to blog daily for the month of February and 2 days into March. Sarah has written a blog post to help you get some ideas together about the kinds of blog posts you can write.I already have some ideas mapped out and I am looking forward to seeing what happens.

My reasons for taking part in the challenge include adding some more posts to this blog, as it can get a bit neglected when I am busy with work or just life. I am also blogging to meet more people online and see what other people are blogging about. I am also hoping to reinvigorate my business and have fun.

I have already joined the Facebook group where you can promote your posts and see what everyone else is writing about. This is an important part of the process and will help me to keep to the challenge. Sarah also sends out daily emails to help you with the challenge.

So come along with me for the journey. If, like me, you fancy a blogging challenge this month, then visit Sarah’s website, Sark e-Media to sign up and for further information.

The first day was OK – the other 29? We shall wait and see.

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Helpful Blog Posts

Posted on : 04-12-2010 | By : admin | In : Blog, Writing Help for Businesses

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I read round the Internet avidly and every so often I come across some really great posts that I consider helpful. I am sharing them here today, knowing that someone else could find them useful too.

Guiletta Nardone wrote a fantastic guest post for Men with Pens about being bold and fearless in our business. In ‘Have You Discovered Your Fearless Why?‘, Guiletta explains her own thoughts process as she came to terms with marketing her design business.

If you are thinking of setting up a Facebook page, then Karen Gunton of Build a Little Biz explains what is and isn’t allowed. The rules can be quite strict regarding marketing using Facebook, so it is worth checking out before you begin. The cans and cannots of Facebook plus some dos and don’ts too is her sum up of previous articles so that the information is all in one place.

As Christmas approaches, the annual dilemma arrives – how to send clients Seasons’ Greetings. PS Jones in her Diary of a Mad Freelancer addresses how she copes with the problem in her post on Keeping in Touch with Freelance Clients with Holiday Cards. Well worth a read.

Jenn Mattern’s post on How to Make Better Decisions About Your Freelance Writing Career could actually apply to any small business owner. Jenn explains the steps you need to take to make your small business a successful small business.

Finally, the community of Enterprise Nation has been going for five years, but this year they have decided they are ripe for change. The community have been switched over to Bitsy where there will be the opportunity to sell your services (for a small fee) and join in the business conversations in both the forums and Twitter. The website has only just launched, but if it is anything like Enterprise Nation was, then it is going to be an invaluable website for small and medium businesses.

What blog articles have you found useful recently? Let me know if you like any of these.

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Helpful Business Blogs

Posted on : 20-09-2010 | By : admin | In : Blog, Writing Help for Businesses

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I haven’t written a ‘helpful blogs’ post for a while, and I’ve been enjoying some new heights of helpfulness since my last one. If you’re running a business, then here are some blogs you may find helpful.

Photo by crystaljingsr on Flickr

I love Enterprise Nation! It has a great forum for asking questions, daily helpful articles and a twitter meet-up every day around the watercooler at 11 am.Particularly if you are a UK business, then do check it out.

I found Enterprise Nation from Startup Donut. Again it has a help forum and is particularly useful for information and help for newly formed businesses.

Karen Gunton’s blog, Build a Little Biz is a new favourite of mine. It is great reading for new business owners, or even those just beginning on the Internet. She writes well for Mum entrepreneurs but her advice would suit anyone looking for more information on running a business online.

Freelance Switch is a great site for web developers and designers, but it also includes writers in the mix. The articles are regularly added and very helpful, it has a great cartoon strip and advertises jobs. Well worth a look.

I have only recently begun following Freelance Folder. It is similar in style to Freelance Switch which is a clean professional look. The articles are just as good with lots of helpful hints and tips for business owners.

Finally, if you are looking for either a creative job or for creative workers, try CrowdSpring. It is a simple website that posts projects for a set amount, allowing simply the best proposal to stand out. There are jobs for graphic or web design or for writers. Check it out if this sounds what you are looking for.

We all have different websites that we regularly visit and enjoy. Recommend your favourites in the comments below.

Photo Link: 3D People and Internet Symbol

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A Quick Style Guide

Posted on : 22-07-2010 | By : admin | In : Blog, Help with Writing

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When you are producing your piece of writing for a client, it is best to be consistent with grammar and spellings, particularly when using headings. Here are some of the most common things to look out for.

Headings

The beginnings of words in a heading should be capitalised unless they are small words such as ‘and’, ‘is’ or ‘of’. It is sometimes helpful to bold the heading to make it stand out from the rest of the text. Make sure that if you decide to do this, that all the headings are capitalised and in bold.

The Main Body of the Text

Start with your opening paragraph which sums up what the article will be about. Keep it short and succinct. It does not need a sub-heading over it – in fact your first sub-heading should be at least one paragraph in.

If you are writing for the web, then keep paragraphs short and to the point. There should be two to three paragraphs underneath each heading and of course they should be relevant!

Consistency, Checking and Counting Words

Photo by Martin Hagberg and used under Creative Commons licence

 

When you are writing your first draft, then just get the ideas down and let them flow. Write until you have finished, Then go back over it and read through. Check for spelling errors (be aware of the differences between American and UK spelling and use one consistently throughout). Also keep an eye out for grammatical problems and check out the word count.

Clients are usually very definite about the amount of words used in a piece of writing, but it is important to write in a focused way on the topic. Beware of fluff or filler. Take out any words that are unnecessary, read your work aloud to check for flow and ensure that your sentences are short and to the point rather than long and wordy. This makes them much easier to read.

End your writing with a strong point or call to action. Revise it again and again until you are happy with it.

Finally when you think your work is done, put it away for at least 24 hours before getting it out and reading it again. The distance is important: it allows you to view your work with fresh eyes and improve it.

Consistency and care is the key to producing strong work which you can be proud of and which is more likely to please your client and bring in more work commissions for you.

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Helpful Blogs

Posted on : 12-06-2010 | By : admin | In : Blog, Finding Freelance Writing Jobs

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Photo by Matsuyuki

The Internet is a great place to be involved in sometimes, especially for writers. No longer do writers have to sit in a solitary place, banging out another article on their keyboard.

Now we can network, share blogs, contact other writers and share details. We can even write a novel in a month!

Contact with other writers is essential so that we can share success and horror stories and help one another. We are no longer restricted to our own locality, but now the world is in our own backyard.

Here are some of the writing blogs that have inspired me. Go check them out and feel free to add some of your own.

http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/ Anne Wayman’s blog which is one of the best ones out there for newbies to read.

http://allfreelancewriting.com/ Jenn Mattern’s blog tells it how it is. She has strong opinions and pulls no punches, but her advice is always sound. Her blog is entertaining and she offers a free e-book – on writing e-books!

http://menwithpens.ca/ Men With Pens show you how it should be done. It’s a great blog with good advice.

http://bloggerillustrated.net/ If you want to understand what SEO, backlinks, and web sites have to do with the writing world, then you could do worse than visit Allyn Hane’s site. He explains it all simply and easily in video.

What websites have you found useful?

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