I joined the A to Z Blogging challenge to jump-start me back into the swing of writing. It definitely did that, and so much more. Here’s just a bit of what I gleaned on my journey:
1. I learned to write even when I didn’t want to. Gasp, I know, shocking! There were some days I was just NOT in the mood to put any words on paper. I did it anyway. Which leads to…
2. I embraced the deadline. My past blogging schedule was ruled by a “whenever I feel like it” mentality. Problem was… life, busyness, family, issues, etc… often rob me of warm and fuzzy feelings which led to an abysmal word count.
3. As I blogged, I was both energized to be making progress and losing steam at the same time. Not unlike a race with the last part being straight uphill. However, in the end, every post was done on deadline (on my time zone) but a few were pretty close to midnight. Some were grueling labor, others flowed but I birthed them all.
4. The further along I got, the less I wanted to give up. I’d tell myself, “precious, you’ve come this far. Don’t quit!”
5. The simple act of blogging according to letters of the alphabet spurred on my creative juices. Who knew? I found myself daydreaming about letters and words throughout the day. Yes, I’m weak minded. S is for Squirrel!
6. Short posts are better. Not just for me – the one writing them. But, for anyone out there in cyberspace who happens to want to read them. Shorter paragraphs and shorter overall length means less is more. When I see blogs with non-stop words and very little white space, my eyes glaze over and I click “next”.
7. Pictures are great. Nothing like a visual to go along with the post. I thoroughly enjoyed the travel blogs where the photos help me put myself on a beach in Bora Bora. This was my blog’s biggest weakness. I had no visual. Unless I am the most fascinating writer in the world, I need to work on this. Yeah, need to work on this.
8. Bullet points or a numbered list (like this one) helps give structure. It’s easier on the eyes to scan bits and pieces. It’s also helpful if there are some pointers or suggestions on a specific topic. It’s a concrete take away.
9. I guess this is pretty self-explanatory, but… say something! Have a point and make it. Don’t just ramble on and on. And on. And on…. That’s all I have to say about that!
10. Consider circularity. Check the beginning and ending. Did I say what I said I was going to say? And tie it up in a bow.
11. Have a killer title. Whether peculiar, funny or informative. It entices people. A good title can draw in more readers. My most hit upon blog post of all time was “A Jalapeno and My Nose”. Followed up by “Ikea, Two Men and The Wrong Size”. Need I say more?
12. Try to post at the same time every day. That brings a sense of expectancy for readers. For me, first thing in the morning (7ish) seemed to produce the highest readership. Maybe I was hitting people before they started their day. Who knows, it just worked.
13. Add a bit of personal. A story. A trip. An experience. But make it a snippet not a lifetime memoir. No one’s life is that fascinating.
In conclusion, there are a myriad of blogs and bloggers out there. Everyone with something different to say. Some you will like and agree with, others not so much. That’s okay. Accept that you also will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Be true to who you are and your own voice. Then write on!