Tag Archives: inspiration

I Am Scared to Say It


Every Monday morning I have a date to write. For fear of jinxing it–for we creative types tend to be superstitious types–I am scared to say I am writing again.

Saying it is like making a promise. If I say I am writing, someone is going to hold me to it. The good part is I tend to do what I promise. The bad part is, for eighteen months, I have been incapable of keeping the promise.

Nevertheless, I will say it. Hallelujah. I am writing again. I hope for keeps this time.

The one difference between now and the other attempts is I am enjoying the writing this time. Earlier, my heart wasn’t in it. That change alone buoys me.

So the writing lessons resume for me, and then I will share them with you. As I draw in a deep breath, lift my head, lock my eyes on the sunrise, I will say it again.

I am writing.

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Some Days I Will Have to Settle for a Laugh and 200 Words


I awakened early this morning, about four hours early, before the birds or the sun were up. I read for a while, seeking a jumpstart on my day through inspiration. I got nothing. I ate breakfast, fed the dogs, loaded and ran the dishwasher, loaded and ran the washing machine, dressed for the day. Still nothing.

At this point, I ponder my options.

I have 4,000 words of a 7,000 word story completed. I have half a novel completed. The Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe has started the next anthology, a Christmas themed one this time.  I haven’t started my taxes yet. I can work on any of these projects and be  productive. Yet I can’t muster the energy to start anything.

My shoulder hurts. I am almost three weeks post-surgery. I want to blame my lethargy on the pain, but it would be a ruse. The fact is I am in a funk.

Now what?

Recently I wrote about my Uncle Dick and his family newsletter that he sends out monthly. The new one sits on the ottoman in front of me. I open it and read.

About page two, I chuckle to myself while reading a humorous commentary Uncle Dick has borrowed from the Time Union. Afterwards, I grab the computer and start this post. It’s progress. At least I have written almost 300 words today. And it’s not yet 9 o’clock in the morning. So there’s still hope to get something done and scratched off the to-do list. Right now, I am happy for a belly laugh and 200+ words.

Tips for a Better Blog from Janine Russell


Re-posted from Janine Russell’s blog at http://sitdownatatypewriterandbleed.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/an-amateur-bloggers-tips-for-creating-a-better-than-amateur-blog/

Creating A Better-Than-Amateur Blog

When I surpassed 50 followers, I wrote a post thanking all my readers for listening, and got a lot of feedback. I got asked how I created a blog that 50 people thought was worth reading in just 2 months, so I decided to make this post. (Not that I think my blog is super great or anything. Cause I don’t. I just try to make something that I would want to read.) So here are some ideas that might help take your blog to the next level.

blogger Janine Russell

Actually, I liked that thing I just said. Let’s make that #1.

1. Make a blog you would want to read.

This is your space. You have freedom to make it something that is 100% uniquely you. So don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working for you to make it better. I’ve redone my “About Me” page, which should be quite simple, about 10 times. And I will continue to do so until I’m happy with it. This step will also help you figure out who you are writing for. Knowing your audience will help you write posts that those people will find interesting.

2. Feel what you write.

When I’m creating a post, it usually takes no more than a few minutes to fully formulate it (and maybe you can tell? I hope not.). That’s because I write about things that are important to me, or that I’m passionate about, and it all flows out very naturally. Don’t be afraid to infuse your personality into your style of writing, either. This isn’t a grade 9 essay. If you’re trying to struggle through a post, why are you writing about that topic in particular? Is there something else that really spikes your interest instead?

3. What are you trying to accomplish here?

Come up with an overall theme. It doesn’t have to be too specific. If you are just writing about whatever comes to mind, and sometimes it’s really dull, your readers will be able to tell. Even a very general idea, like “travelling” or “food” or “parenting” will make your blog flow better and keep you focused.  And you don’t want your blog to seem bipolar or schizophrenic in its content. (Metaphorically, of course. I mean don’t try to do everything at once. You might have two very clear themes, which would make two awesome blogs. Putting them together, though, might make your blog seem confusing and overly broad. A blog about schizophrenia would probably be really cool.)

4. Look around for inspiration.

There are so many awesome blogs out there! Check some of them out! And don’t be afraid to like things and leave comments. It’s an easy way to possibly bring traffic into your site as well from people with similar interests. Notice how people are using titles, pictures, videos, menus, categories, etc. and how those things make the blog unique or easy to navigate.

5. Watch your tone.

I was reading one blog where the person was just bitching about things. And as good as it feels to get that stuff off your chest every once in a while, it isn’t too pleasant to read. Reading hate just spikes my blood pressure and gets me all worked up. I do that enough on my own, thanks. So think about how you want your work to come across, and speak accordingly. Swearing too much is also a no-no because it makes you sound rude and uneducated. (But like all rules, there is a time and a place for swearing, depending on what you blog about. If I see a cookie recipe riddled with curse words, I will flip a table.) AND TRY NOT TO YELL. IT IS ALSO VERY UNPLEASANT.

6. Not everything you write will be a goldmine.

I have done a lot of posts where no one liked it, and that whole day just became a big crevice in my stats report. That’s good, though, because now I know what people don’t care to read about, or maybe it was the style of writing that pushed people away. Making mistakes is a good thing because it gives you feedback you can learn from. Even the best writers write terrible things sometimes.

7. Post often.

I follow a lot of blogs, but some of them only get updated once a month or so. And now I’m questioning why I’m following them since they never say anything. Also, after a few hours your posts get pushed down the list and replaced by newer ones, so posting often increases your chances of bringing in new readers. You don’t need to post every day, but if you can make some sort of schedule where you’re posting at least once per week, your readers will hang on to hear what you have to say next.

8. Tag smartly.

I was definitely guilty of not doing this when I first started. Tags are a good thing to help people who would be interested in your blog discover it. Think about what you might search for, though, and use only those tags. For example, if last Wednesday your dog got sick and you had to take it to the hospital, don’t take it “Wednesday, dog, sick, hospital”, but instead using things like “dog lovers, family” etc. No one is looking for posts about Wednesdays.

9. Don’t be afraid to say what you mean.

Some of the best posts I’ve read are about things that people are hesitant to talk about. A little bit of controversy can be a good thing if you’re able to do it respectfully and not attacking people who have conflicting views. It will keep your blog interesting, and make people want to hear what you have to say next. Don’t be afraid to shake things up once in a while.

10. This is not a diary.

Well, actually some might be, but those are the exception. You don’t need to give all the details of everything you’ve ever done,

Mark Your Calendar — Sell An Article


For my science fans, here’s a nugget about a celestial show you may want to watch.

Comet PANSTARRS: March 10 to 24, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS 1 Telescope at Haleakala, Hawaii, is expected to put on its best show during this two-week period. During this time, the comet will also be near its closest approaches to the sun (28 million miles, or 45 million kilometers), and Earth (102 million miles, or 164 million km).
 While Comet PANSTARRS was a very dim and distant object at the time of its discovery, it has brightened steadily since then. It still appears on target to reach at least first magnitude and should be visible low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset. On the evening of March 12, 2013, the comet will be situated 4 degrees to the right of an exceedingly crescent moon.

Why mention this now instead of in March?

Because, for those of you who write for social media like Yahoo news or e-How, now you have a time critical subject to research, write about, and sell! If you are unfamiliar with this market, as easy place to start is ezinearticles.com. Click here for the editorial guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/

Ezinearticles doesn’t pay for articles, but it does offer affiliate marketing. Advertisers link to your articles and you get paid for click throughs. It’s not big or easy money, but it is a place to start to learn the ropes.

Check out Associated Content. It pays for articles outright.

If you are a blogger, get paid to post at Blogger’s Pay Per Post. There are strings attached, but you can earn from $.50 to $10. per assignment piece.

Bukisa is a traffic driven buyer. So you have to write on popular topics to draw a paycheck.  However, Bukisa allows you to re-post material that has been published elsewhere. So using Bukisa can double earnings on non-exclusive material.

This gives you plenty to start your at-home writing career. So start researching that comet heading our way, write an article or two, and sell, sell, sell.

The Right Quote


A lot of space is devoted to quotations on this blog. If the blog is a writer’s blog, why quotes? Gayle King, co-anchor of CBS This Morning and editor-at-large at O said it best:

The right quote can change your mood and change your mind.

— Gayle King

For writers, it is often the mood or state of mind that makes a difference in output. Discipline also plays a role. Even so, after I have disciplined myself to sit at my writing table, writing originates inside my head. The inner mechanisms sometimes require a lubricant to get things moving. A quotation sometimes serves that purpose.

Throw Enough at the Wall. . .


. . . and something will stick.

I used that quotation in yesterday’s response to Rarasaur. Immediately, I knew I had to share a motivational thought with you.

Having several irons in the fire can be a good thing, providing you are continually working to complete the projects. Eventually, you will finish a project, then another, then another. As a writer, this means that you will end up with several salable items.

This tactic only works for folks like me whose brains like to jump from one thing to another to avoid boredom. It won’t work for those who start things, but never finish them. You have to finish the projects. It’s finishing them that brings a pay day.

Rarasaur has a good method. She has a list and a concrete goal for each item listed; for example, creating one idea a day for thirty days for a book project. At the end of a month, she will have thirty possibilities to consider for her next writing project. Of the thirty on her list, one is bound to seize her imagination.

You may want to try the “many irons” approach to see if it works for you. The key to success is devising your own method to complete the projects on your list.