Category Archives: Writing

Creative Juice #230

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Creative Juice #230

Twelve tantalizing articles to spark your imagination this weekend.

Creative Juice #227

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Creative Juice #227

Topics serious and entertaining:

Video of the Week #290: Following a Dream

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If you are a creative person, you should watch this.

Creative Juice #226

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Creative Juice #226

It’s the beginning of a new era. Hallelujah!

In the Meme Time: Raw Materials at the Ready

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Guest Post: 9 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid–and the Easy Fixes, by Web Design Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.

Blogging is a smart way for writers to grow their audience. But just because you can write a great short story, poem, or novel doesn’t mean you’ll also be a natural at writing and maintaining an interesting blog. The experts at Web Design Relief know that new bloggers as well as those who have been blogging for a while can make some common mistakes. Here are the 9 biggest blogging mistakes to avoid, along with the easy fixes!

Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Posting Only For Yourself

Your blog is not a diary! While it’s important to enjoy what you write about, your posts must be geared toward a wider audience. Talk about what your audience wants to know—not just what you want to tell them. Your content should be user-focused and educate, instruct, or entertain so visitors will want to return again and again to read your latest blog entry.

Constant Repetition

Your blog posts should make a point. It’s important that they have a point. One thing your post should definitely include is a main point. Do you see how annoying this is to read? While some repetition helps with SEO, don’t get carried away. Be sure to have something meaningful to say without reiterating the same information over and over again and again. The same goes for your blog topics—posts offering a range of topics will be more interesting than fifty-three posts about what to name a particular character.

If you search for your blog topic on the Internet and find thousands of similar blog posts, you might want to consider writing about something else—or choose a new angle for familiar content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but try to keep your content fresh. If you need some inspiration, check out these forty blog post ideas.

Not Professional Looking

The writing for your blog articles should be conversational and casual, not stiff and formal. But that doesn’t mean you can skip formatting your posts! Your blog style should be professional and consistent. For example, if you title your posts, make sure you title ALL of your posts. Similarly, you should use the same design theme for each post.

Incorrect Length

You shouldn’t try to write a 50,000-word novel on your blog, because no one wants to read an overly long post. But your post shouldn’t be just three or four sentences, either—put something so brief on social media instead! A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 500 to 1,000 words per blog article.

Wrong Font Choices

Your font and the size of the typeface you use can make or break the readability of your blog post. If your text is too small, readers will have to zoom in to see your post. Likewise, using overly large text or fonts will have your visitors scrolling excessively or trying to shrink your posts. Choose a text size that visitors can read without adjusting—12 point often works well.

Avoid fonts that are too decorative, and don’t make your text the same or nearly the same color as your background. You can’t go wrong using Times New Roman or Calibri in black on a white background.

Posting Inconsistently

Whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day, choose a schedule that works for you—and stick to it. If you post every day for a week, then skip two weeks and post once, then don’t post anything for a month, your followers won’t know when to return to read your next installment. Being inconsistent when posting is one of the main ways that blogs lose readers. Use a calendar to plan your posts in advance.

Inaccurate Information

The only thing worse than a “this is old news” blog post is one that’s littered with incorrect information. Unless you are an expert on your topic, you should research your blog articles and include links and references for your readers. Your blog posts are more worthwhile to your audience when based on data that supports your claims. If you post inaccurate information, you risk damaging your credibility with your followers.

Being Unresponsive

When a reader comments on your blog, they’re often hoping to receive a response. When you don’t take the time to interact with your followers and respond to their comments, it limits all future engagement from your audience. Fans who get a response will feel a personal connection with you and your blog and are more likely to return.

If you’re not getting any comments, here are some tips on how to get people to comment on your blog.

Not Proofreading

Your blog article isn’t a casual throwaway piece—it’s an important way to build your audience and connect with your fans. Make sure your blog posts are proofread and edited just as thoroughly as your short stories, essays, poetry, or book. A post filled with typos and poor grammar will reflect poorly on your writing as a whole. A sloppy post will lose readers and leave any visiting literary agents or editors unimpressed.

Blogging can be a fantastic marketing tool and a way to stretch your creative muscles. Avoiding these common blogging mistakes will help you grow a larger audience and effectively engage your readers.

Question: Which blogging mistake do you see most often on blogs?

Creative Juice #223

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Creative Juice #223

Happy New Year! (May it be better than last year. Please, God. Amen.)

Creative Juice #219

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Creative Juice #219

It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas. I put a new Christmas bedspread and pillow shams on our bed.

  • Awesome photographs of nature’s power.
  • For the musicians and the music teachers: young composers get to hear their works performed by the New York Philharmonic.
  • Beautiful zentangles.
  • Ways to beat writer’s block.
  • For the writers: flabby characters? Put them through some exercises.
  • Have you taken your Christmas card picture yet?
  • Ways to use your books to decorate for Christmas. (I am seriously thinking of turning my TBR pile into a tree. The books are already stacked on the floor…)
  • In case you need to laugh, here’s a story about what to do when your husband says you can’t buy any more towels.
  • Some ingenious Christmas tree tools.
  • We all know what we should be doing in order to live our best lives. Read this to get it all in one place.
  • Interview with illustrator Jim Starr.
  • Christmas movies to stream.

Creative Juice #218

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Creative Juice #218

Turkey sandwich, anyone?

  • Rust is beautiful.
  • Who knew squirrels were so photogenic?
  • Artist turns very plain buildings into works of art with her wildflower murals.
  • Beautiful zentangles.
  • Ten things every writer needs.
  • Incredibly detailed drawings.
  • If you’re as old as me, perhaps you’re discouraged that the ideal of the American dream that we grew up with has degenerated into nightmare capitalism, where the rich grow richer and everyone else grows poorer. It’s time for a reset. I am so looking forward to reading this new book and hopeful for a new direction for our country and the world.
  • Monoprinting tutorial. I’ve never done this. I would have to buy supplies. Maybe I will someday. Or I could request this stuff from Santa. . .
  • Where do quilters get their ideas?
  • If you love Zentangle, you might like this Instagram page.
  • Sketching around the ‘hood.
  • Something for the Post-Pandemic Bucket List (see ARHtistic License tomorrow for more): a trip to Singapore, even if you don’t leave the Jewel Changi Airport.

Writing Christmas Fiction

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Since my children were small, there’s been a basket in the corner of our living room filled with Christmas books. Some are children’s books, some are grownups’, some are fiction, some are non-fiction. They’ve been collected over decades, and I reread a few every year. I’ve even reviewed a few of my favorites.

I’ve always wanted to write a Christmas story of my own. About a year ago I came up with an idea of a retelling of a classic Christmas tale—and that’s all I’m going to tell you about it, because I’m working hard at finishing it, and I’d really be bummed if you took my idea and did a better and quicker job of it than me.

Writing Christmas books is much like writing any other kind of book, but with a few slight differences. The same expectations for all fiction also apply to Christmas fiction: a vivid setting, a conflict, a main character who grows through time; a beginning, middle, and end; an arc with escalating action that leads to a satisfying conclusion. Christmas fiction also needs to evoke the feelings of the holidays, awakening associations through the senses: the twinkling lights, the smell of pine, the flavor of gingerbread, the sound of jingle bells. Christmas stories can be shorter than other novels, like 50,000 to 65,000 words rather than 90,000 to 300,000.

Christmas books generally sell from October through December. New Christmas books typically appear on shelves the first Tuesday in October. If you self-publish, you’ll want to launch in early October as well. Your book will languish from January through September, but you’ll be wise to self-promote it again starting each October.

Are you thinking of writing a Christmas book of your own? These articles may help you: