Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday Blog Writing – Workshop Tips

October 1, 2020
mandyevebarnett


I hosted a virtual workshop last Saturday for the Words in the Park event. It was fun to utilize Zoom so that participants from far and wide could join me. As the workshop was free, I thought I would share the bare bones of the workshop. Hopefully, it will give you some helpful information in creating a blog of your own.

There are numerous blogging sites but these tips cover the basics for you to start.

The number of blogs available on the internet is mind boggling – every topic you can imagine is covered. Whether factual, diarized, crafting, a myriad of interests or informational, you can find several postings about things you are interested in or want to know about. 

So why should you blog? Or indeed why not!

The first and most important question is – why do you want to blog in the first place.

There is a huge range of reasons to blog but maybe the best idea is to ask yourself if any of the following relate to you.

 1. To create something you are proud of

2. Challenge yourself

3. Strengthen your knowledge on a particular subject

4. Meet others with similar interests

5. Help other people in a specific field or topic

6. Gain confidence

7. To improve your writing ability

8. To learn new skills

Once you decide on starting a blog there are several key elements you need to decide on.

  • Name Your Blog

This may seem easy – however, you need to search what names are already in existence, will the name reflect the topic OR theme you will be writing about. Is it a personal blog, a business blog, or a specific interest blog? Does the blog name read OK when it’s in a domain URL format?

Later you may want to purchase your own domain name so consider how it will look.

  • Define Your Target Audience

For an author, this will be readers in your genre, for business people, it is who wants/needs your services. Will you mentor? Cover aspects of health, travel, personal training, or something else?

  • Tone Of Your Blog

What tone or voice will the writing reflect? Strictly business or more personal/friendly?

  • Reason For Your Blog

Will you be building your brand around your blog name or the other way around? Is the blog part of a website or standalone? What do you want to achieve with your blog? Choose one area you have the most expertise or interest in. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself straight out of the gate. Your passion about the subject will bring about the following benefits:

  1. You’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog to make it shine.
  2. You’re less likely to abandon your blog in the future.
  3. You’re less likely to run out of ideas.
  4. It shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.

Tips for Writing A Blog

 Understand your audience

 Write for yourself first

 Build you

 Love your existing readers/followers/clients

 Focus on building an amazing call-to-action

 Be consistent

 Give away your knowledge

 Be true to your voice

 Give it time

Write catchy headlines

Be Yourself

Keep it short

 Positives to blogging:  

1. You’ll gain confidence.

2. It’s a form of diary.

3. Blogging is great writing experience.

4. There is potential financial gain if that is your future goal.

5. The blogging community is great.

6. It allows potential for self growth.

7. It allows development of technological skills.

8. It gives people a creative outlet.

9. Blogging is the current way to market a business or product.

10. And it creates opportunities. Whether in the form of friendships, financial gain or self-growth.

Key Elements for a Blog Post

Make sure to include images in every post. A block of text is seldom read. (Attention spans are very short). Rule of thumb is to use one every 300 words or so.

Format your blog post – longer text should be divided with headers and sub-headers

Use bulleted and numbered lists

Bold and italicize key points

Use short paragraphs – 3-5 lines to prevent ‘skimming’ by your reader

Stick to a theme

Don’t wing your content. Make a plan and schedule your posts.

I either write several blog posts at a time and then schedule them or create a draft when an idea pops into my head.

Here’s to Serendipity in 2014…

December 31, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Serendipity – definition: when desirable things happen by accident; good fortune; luck

Serendipity_sign

Today marks the last day of my year long commitment to post on my blog every day in 2013. It has been a fantastic journey. I have learnt a great number of ‘new’ words, and in the process realized I can create an article, poem or review from just one word. This fact gives me more confidence in my writing abilities.

Some posts have been harder to create than others, especially when I was on vacation and again when my Mother passed. However, I always felt I had to continue and stay the course. Discovering I could create blog posts ahead of time in draft form and ‘store’ ideas for each word was a real help. If an idea popped into my head as I created the post, I would jot it down and save it for later. Other times the gist just flowed onto the page and was complete before I knew it.

This year I have found new friends and followers, enjoyed conversing with each and every one of you and learnt a good deal about you all.

Thank you for following me – it is much appreciated. As for 2014 – I have plans to create themed posts for three days a week. I hope you will continue to follow me and share my journey, while sharing yours with me.

May 2014 bring you health, wealth, love, peace and a gazillion words!Serendity

Do You Practice Submitting Work..?

September 14, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Apprehension – awareness in advance, or anticipation of adversity or misfortune

When submitting to competitions, it is always with slight apprehension. Is the piece good enough? Does it align to the criteria? After reading past winners is our submission as exceptional?

To lessen the self doubt we can submit pieces just for fun. As I recently did with this short piece to another blogger after she requested her followers pick a prompt for her to write on. You can see her response here:

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-winner-is/

We need to practice in as many ways as we can to boost our confidence. As the old saying goes – Practice Makes Perfect.

Do you submit just or fun? Have you got any tips for novices?

weird-funny-pictures

http://www.funnyphotos.co.za/

There was Humphrey, big, bold and yellow. Weren’t shadows supposed to be black or at least grey? Martin only knew the brightness of the object before him from as long as his memory allowed. As a small child, Martin played for hours with his yellow playmate, making his parents happy that he could entertain himself so well at such an early age. They boasted about his ability until that fateful day.

“Your first day at school, Martin. Are you excited?”

“Yes, very. Humphrey and me will have such fun there.”

“Now, Martin, that’s enough of this Humphrey nonsense. Big boys don’t have invisible playmates, we’ve told you that before.”

“Yes, son you have to be a big boy at school. You want to fit in with all the other children don’t you?”

Martin looked from mother to father to Humphrey in bewilderment. Why wasn’t Humphrey allowed to go to school with him? When Martin protested that Humphrey was real, his parents got mad and forbid him from mentioning his invisible friend again. Tears flowing down his cheeks, Martin ran to his room shouting back as he went that Humphrey wasn’t invisible at all.  In fact he was bright yellow and his parents must be blind if they couldn’t see him.  Martin didn’t get supper that evening.

Now Martin sat on a park bench unable to steady his emotions. He had needed to walk away from Cheryl and Tommy for a few moments. Humphrey had been his dark secret for decades. A constant companion through school and college but never shared with anyone not even Cheryl. They had courted and married without Cheryl ever knowing she was part of a trio.

“Daddy, are you alright? Did I do something bad?”

Tommy’s little face shone up at Martin, an innocent five year old, who saw the world as a fascinating place.

“No, Tommy, you didn’t do anything bad. It’s just that no one else has ever seen Humphrey. I was shocked when you asked him to play with us.”

A shadow fell over father and son. Martin looked up at Cheryl unsure how she would react.  He sighed with relief when he saw her smiling.

“Now your secret is out maybe you can be a more relaxed person, Martin. What do you think?”

“I love you both more than ever before. Come on Humphrey we need to make sandcastles.”

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