blogging tips

Blogging Tip: When You Miss a Day… Or Two…

A couple days go by and without warning you realize that you have gone several days without posting, you have not created scheduled posts, you have not checked or replied to any of your WordPress notifications, in short, you have abandoned your blog. You want to race to your computer, but the unforeseeable distractions that first kept you from your blog are still there, still demanding your time, you cannot blog, you don’t have the time, and so you go another day without posting, commenting, liking, or replying.

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If this has happened to you, don’t lose hope or feel that your blog is now destined to fail. I believe that every blogger has experienced something similar to the above scenario. I know I did this past week.

For anyone who has noticed by absence (I apologize if that sounds arrogant), you may have wondered why I missed two posts last week and why it took me so much longer than normal to reply to your comments.

First, let me apologize for not responding.

I believe that blogging manners require reciprocal communication and as such, my manners slipped.

Second, let me explain.

As some of you may know from the blog post before this one, “Invisible Illness,” April is IBS awareness month. This is ironic as I had a flare-up last week that landed me in the hospital. Thankfully, I did not remain long and within a  couple of days I was feeling back to myself. However, due to what I missed on my bad days, I spent the next several days playing catch-up. Without my pre-scheduled posts to float me through, as a result, my blog became neglected. However, I am back and I plan to be more on top of my work. Thank you for your understanding.

Third, let me offer you some free blogging advice for what to do when you miss a day . . . or two . . .

  • First, breathe, it is not the end of the world. Yes, it does kind of suck, and yes, you do feel like you have let down your followers, but odds are, they do not feel the same way. In my experience, my followers (my friends) are always understanding and, most likely, yours will be too.
  • Second, get back on the horse. Don’t give up! It may seem like you’ve neglected your blog for too long and you should just let it die a silent death. If you enjoy blogging, in any way, shape, or form, you owe it to yourself to jump back online and give it another go.
  • Third, work harder on creating and maintaining scheduled posts. These scheduled posts have been a life-saver for me in the past and when I miss a day or two, I am reminded how important they are for me when I am simply overwhelmed by life.
  • Fourth, take advantage of whatever time you can get to blog. This advice is why I am currently sitting in a hallway of my college, laptop sitting on my knees and plugged into the wall, desperately trying to get in some blogging time before I need to go and teach. Do the best with what time you have.

Well there you have it guys! Blogging, especially good blogging, is hard work most of the time, but in my experience, it’s most often worth it! I hope this post helps encourage you in your own blogging schedules.

Happy Blogging!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

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blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Plan Ahead

One of the biggest obstacles to blogging (I think) is consistently pushing through posts on a regular basis that contain great content. What I mean by this is it is hard to post every day, or even every other day, and on top of that, it is harder to post great blogs every time.

Let’s be honest, some days we just don’t feel very creative. We’re tired either physically or mentally or both and we just don’t have anything to contribute. We sit down at this blank screen and think, “wow I literally have nothing to say.”

Or worse, you sit down and write something up but then that evil villain known as Self-Doubt crawls into your ear and commands that you erase the entire post because he doesn’t think its good.

First off, tell Self-Doubt to take a hike. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! And so what if you post one blog that isn’t up to your regular standards? Be honest about it at the end of your post and maybe ask for feedback. Ask your followers to help you out, there’s nothing wrong with being human!

Yet, there will be days when you simply cannot write, you can’t think, and you definitely can’t create a blog post. That will happen, so prepare for it and plan ahead!

Part of blogging is spontaneous creativity, the other part is being prepared with planned posts.

You heard me, Planned Posts.

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When you have great days where creativity is flowing, don’t stop after one post and don’t post multiple times a day. Instead keep creating and scheduling them in advance. For instance, this is the third tip I have planned ahead today on March 6. 

Write in advance on your good days so that you don’t need to worry on your bad days.

Happy Writing & Blogging Everyone!

What about you? Do you plan ahead with your blog posts? Do you find it helpful?

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Don’t Feel Like Writing? Visit Your Reader

Do you ever open WordPress, look at that blank screen and think, “This is it. This is the moment when I run out of topics to blog about.”

And in that moment, you begin to panic. Will you ever blog again? Will you be reduced to merely someone who used to blog instead of someone who blogs? What will your followers think? Will they even notice? Should you just shut down your blog?

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Seriously, calm down and stop freaking out.

Yes, you have run out of topics to write about and things to blog about (for now). Just because you are currently stumped does not mean that you will continue to be. However, you cannot stare at a blank screen and force yourself to write (most likely nothing will happen and if you do produce anything, it probably won’t be any good.) So calm down, and allow yourself to accept that you won’t be writing today.

However, do NOT sign off!

Do you want to grow a successful blog? Writing blog posts is only a part of blogging. Another large part of blogging is building your community and engaging with fellow bloggers. Go visit those other blog sites (that you should be following) and maybe even find new blog sites to follow. Click on your “Reader” and type in something that you are interested in. When you can’t write or blog, you should be reading! Reading other blogs:

  • Encourages community.
  • Helps you get to know other bloggers
  • Helps other bloggers get to know you
  • Creates a society of reciprocation

So, get out there and start reading!

Happy Blogging Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: 4 Ways to Attract More Followers

Hello fellow bloggers! Today we’re going to talk about followers, because as much as we all enjoy writing, sometimes blogging can feel like shouting into the void when we receive no response to our latest post. The best part of blogging is the community that comes with gaining and becoming a follower(s).

QUICK HINT: It is just as important to be a good follower as it is to find followers.

Here’s the thing. I do not have an astounding number of followers. I am still a relatively small blog compared to the people who do this for a living. I began this blog on October 8th, 2017 and since then I have gained 2,237 followers (and some really great friends among those numbers). What I have going for me is consistency.

In the past, I was asked, “How did you gain so many followers so quickly?”

Even now as I garner followers at a slower pace, I stick by my four ways to attract followers:

  • Hard work. No seriously, if you really want followers you are going to have to work hard. You cannot just come at it from one angle. Which leads to the next three points.

 

  • Post often. I do not think it is necessary to post every single day, although I applaud those of you who can. However, you should be blogging at least 3 times per week and not only should you be posting something, but it should be something of importance. Your content needs to be clear, interesting, helpful, engaging, etc. When creating a post consider what your intent is. Are you trying to entertain? Be encouraging? Give advice? Call for action? What will your reader gain from reading your post?

 

  • Engage OTHER blogs. This does not mean visiting random blogs and leaving a link to your blog. Do NOT go and spam someone’s blog with “support” and then comment “support back” or “follow back.” It becomes very clear that you are not actually interested in their site at all, you just want followers. Seriously, it’s frustrating and really, just rude. Instead, find blogs that are like yours or that interest you. I search for other blogs that relate to authors, books, writing, etc. Then I engage on the post and comment directly about what the other blogger has posted. I even ask questions. I engage in dialogue about THEIR blog, not mine. Now of course you can eventually bring up your blog if you think the other party would be interested, but don’t go into the conversation solely for your benefit. Go in to learn more about other blogs. Seriously, being a good follower is a key part to gaining followers yourself.

 

  • Engage with your FOLLOWERS. You’ve got followers! Great! Now, if their blogs interest you in the slightest, follow them back! You don’t need to subscribe to instant emails, but maybe just weekly emails or even just follow, but you should be engaging with them still. Just because you reached your goal and achieved your follower doesn’t mean that you move on from them. Be RECIPROCAL. When their posts come up in your “Reader” take some time to go through and like/comment on at least a few. When someone takes the time to comment on your latest post, click their name and check out what they have been up to.

 

  • HARD WORK. Are you understanding the hard part now? Maintaining a blog is hard enough, posting often is difficult, and engaging with new/old blogs is time-consuming. However, in my experience, this is a successful strategy that not only results in more followers, but also helps me to gain new insights from other blogs!

 

What about you? What are your blogging strategies?

Happy Writing & Blogging Everyone! 

Get out there and start engaging!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Leave the Stats Alone

Fun fact: Blogging statistics can drive you crazy!

Today I am addressing new bloggers and veteran bloggers alike. A blog is a lot like a person and just like us, blogs go through their own hills and valleys and these are often physically represented by your statistics (Stats).

Have you ever noticed how your stats seem to climb crazy high some days and other days, there is barely a distinguishable stump? The other day, I received the below notification: my blog was getting more views than normal! Yay! (Right?)

Well, actually, I may have received more views on that day, but I received far less comments than I do on an “average” day. The stats (although positive) revealed nothing about my own personal goals which do not center on visibility, but, rather, on community and interacting with fellow bloggers.

Here is my advice to bloggers (and you can take it or leave it):

Don’t Obsess Over Your Stats.

A lot of bloggers measure their success based on how many people viewed, liked, commented on, or reblogged their posts. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is awesome and encouraging, but if you base the success of your blog on the success of your stats you are going to fail.

Yes, good stats often reflect a good blog, but over-analyzing them can lead to self-doubt, a sense of never being good enough, and inability to post due to a fear that it will not garner enough of a reaction.

Stats are good for information but not as a goal.

Instead, use realistic goals for your blog and determine your purpose. Ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of my blog?
  • What do I want to achieve through my blog?
  • What part about blogging do I enjoy the most?

Instead of focusing on stats, focus on these three things instead for a healthier blogging experience!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Set Up Your Environment for Writing Success

Hello writers! Some of you may already know this, but maybe some of you have never heard this before.

Before you even start writing, you need to set up your environment for writing success!

“Set up your environment?” What do I mean by that?

Here’s the thing, my ideal environment to write in is up in the mountains of Big Bear, sitting on the deck of a two story cabin, the sky blue and the breeze light with birds chirping in the background with a cup of hot tea in my hands. However, as a full time professor, teacher, writer, and fiance, my chances for retreating to the mountains are minimized. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t manipulate my current environment.

 

What I find helpful is setting up a specific space. This space should be somewhere that you often find yourself when you are really ready to write. Maybe it’s your bedroom/dorm room, maybe it’s that coffee shop down the street, maybe it’s outdoors, or maybe it’s on the floor of your kid’s nursery (because you know as soon as you leave, they’ll wake up).

For me, that is my kitchen table. There is plenty of room for me to spread out my laptop, my notebook, my resources, and hey! easy access to food and tea! I don’t have a home office so this table has quickly become my office space. Be inventive with your writing space! Make it your own, make it familiar, and make it encouraging to your writing process.

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But before I can start writing I find that I need music. For me, that means turning on Pandora and clicking on The Hunger Games soundtrack playlist which has already been modified by my thumbs up and down. These familiar songs automatically switch my brain into writing mode.

Music is such a great motivator! Maybe you don’t have a specific playlist that comes to mind. Have you considered playing gaming music (specifically boss level music). If you aren’t sure what this means, in video games there is specific music that comes on when a character faces the ultimate bad-guy; this music has been specifically created to motivate the gamer and keep them engaged. In the same way, if you are having a hard time staying motivated, consider playing music from a popular video game. There are no lyrics to distract you (most likely) and it’s been specifically created to keep the listener activated in their task.

If that’s not your thing, consider playing soothing music in the background or simply your favorite playlist. Whatever you decide, try to keep it consistent. That way, when you hear the familiar music, you will automatically think that it is time to write!

This one might not be applicable to everyone, some of you might prefer to work in complete silence and that is okay! Whatever you do, try to control your environment the best you can. This might not always be possible so the important thing is to keep writing.

*If you enjoyed today’s Writing Tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” category on my home menu!

Write down in the comments how YOU plan to set your environment! 

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by Fear

Originally, I only intended to do five of these posts. As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. I had thought of five:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities

However, my friends and followers had pointed out that there is a sixth reason often responsible for writer’s block that I felt needed to be addressed. This is: FEAR.

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Fear = Small Goals & Courage

adult, black-and-white, bodySometimes we feel that we are defined by that empty, blank page. It stares at us and we stare back at it. For one reason or another, we are paralyzed, unable to commit words to paper. Why? According to both Mia and TShaw, fear is a major factor behind Writer’s Block. Mia says,

I think, why writer’s might suffer from writer’s block: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (yes, that’s a fairly common fear for writers, especially as most are very introverted). Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

Tshaw agreed, stating,

Fear that my writing is a waste of time.

Of course, both of these intelligent women were correct. Fear is a huge problem in a successful writing life! Perhaps it is ironic that the same week I am working on this post, my church spent an entire sermon focusing on courage. (You can read all about it here.)

In order to face our fears we must remember what courage is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite the presence of fear.

If you are feeling fearful, the best thing you can do is act regardless. Now, this is easier said than done which is why I suggest that you focus on small goals rather than large ones. When we fear rejection, or success, or failure, or really anything, the only way to fight that fear is to refuse to give it power. Sure, I could tell you to think positively, but that does not always work.

Truly, the only way to fight your fears successfully is to act in spite of them.

Happy Writing!

There you have it, the top 6 reasons why we suffer from “Writer’s Block” and ways to combat it! I hope you found this series both beneficial and entertaining!

What type of series would you like me to do next?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by Home Responsibilities

As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear***

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Home Responsibilities = Setting Priorities

Brown Shell Egg and Silver Hand Whisk

Are you a parent? Trying to juggle cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids, working, and writing? Are you a college student? Trying to do homework, feed yourself, find a job, tidy up that dorm room (once a semester)? Whoever you are, it is probable that you have more than just one responsibility. The average human does not only work a job, but they maintain some sort of living area (whether that is a dorm, an apartment, or a house.) Many people have children, or siblings, or dorm mates that expect certain things like food and cleanliness. Whatever the reason, there will always be different home responsibilities pulling on your time and reducing your ability to write.

Time to make some priorities:

  • Now, if you are a parent, your children will always come first (and in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that). However, even as a parent, you still have some room to prioritize.
  • Make a list of all the things you need done in that week (or even over the course of three days). This list will usually include: cooking, surface cleaning, laundry, work, dishes, showers or bath time, etc.
  • Schedule out these priorities and while you’re at it, add in writing. For example, you could schedule a weekend like this:
    • Friday – Focus on the Family Night with Dinner, Dishes, and Games
    • Saturday – Wake up Early before kids to Write, do laundry throughout the day, put in a load of laundry, be with the kids
    • Sunday – Wake up before kids to write, Church, set aside time to shower and bathe the kids, finish hanging laundry, prep for Monday’s lunches

Overall, the best way to work around multiple responsibilities is to intentionally prioritize and schedule what it is you want done and when you want it accomplished.

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by a Lack of Creativity

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The five primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear*** (Added later due to comments on original post)

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Lack of Creativity = Finding Inspiration

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Are you feeling all dried up? Your metaphorical well of creativity is empty with only sand at the bottom and walls that echo and mock your best efforts? What you need is a high dose of inspiration! Luckily, inspiration can be found in a myriad of places.

  • The best place for an author to find inspiration is in reading. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, especially when an author is feeling low on personal creativity. Go reread that series that first inspired you to write. Find something that you aspire to.
  • If reading isn’t doing it for you, I suggest looking at Fan Art. Now, I know some of you are probably shaking your heads and thinking about clicking elsewhere, but hear me out. Fan Art is some of the highest praise out there. People love a series so much that they take hours to create art celebrating that series. Whenever I look at fan art, it motivates me to write something that someone will consider worthy of fan art.
  • Still can’t write? Start writing down in a journal what happened to you this week. Yes, I know this can be a bit tedious, but take some time to write down the most interesting thing or whatever you can remember. This will get you writing (even if it’s not very good). Then try to turn that writing into a minimalist poem with only a few words per line and no complete sentences. This exercise will at least help get your brain back into writing mode.

Writing is not always easy, and tapping into a truly creative vein can be as difficult as producing diamonds, but the effort is always worth it.

Happy Writing Everyone!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by the “Day Job”

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work (that “Day Job”)
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear***

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Work = Journal

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Hey there Workaholics! (You know who you are). Are you finding it difficult to write when you are working over 60 hours a week? Of course you are! Because working that much is insane. However, if you are unwilling to lower the hours you work, I think I still might have a handy tip for you. (This tip works even for those who are not workaholics but rather, have to work that “day job” to support their writing career).

  • Keep a Journal. This does not have to be some fancy thing with multi-colored pens (although those are fun too). It can be as simple as a five inch spiral notebook and a number 2 pencil.
  • By keeping a small journal on you (in your pocket, in your purse, in your laptop bag, whatever, as long as it’s within reach) you can immediately use it when inspiration strikes.
  • Maybe you won’t have a lot of time (see post on lack of time), but with a journal, you can catch a minute here and a minute there to jot down your ideas before they slip away.

Eventually, you will need to also address the lack of time issue (but that is another post that you can check out here). Working is important, supporting yourself is crucial, but don’t let your work strangle your creativity. Find ways to circumvent your circumstances.

Happy Writing Everyone!

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©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.