Blogs / Life

Big Changes Ahead…

The First Day of School Starts Today!

Image result for first day school gif

A month ago, I was all set for taking on the role of Yearbook Adviser. My syllabus and curriculum were ready to go!

A week ago today, I was asked to take on the role of 8th Grade English Teacher. For the past year, I have subbed in this class, prayed for this spot, and I truly felt led by God to this position. There was only one issue. The job was taken and it did not look like there would be an opening any time soon. In fact, as I mentioned above, I was all set to be working in a different position that I had prepped for over the summer.

Instead, due to God’s direction and working in my life, I am the new 8th Grade English Teacher, starting my first day TODAY! As you’re reading this, I’m teaching my very first classes!

When I was asked to take this role, there was no hesitation. I immediately said yes and felt confident in that decision. However, there was a lot of work to be done and even more yet to do. Due to this unforeseen and extremely work-heavy load, I will unfortunately have to be taking a step back from blogging.

What does this mean exactly?

I still plan on continuing my Alphabet Challenge so make sure you are working on your entries! However, my Alphabet Challenge will most likely be my only entirely new posts in the next few months. I do plan on re-posting old blog posts (with some updated content included).

I will not be able to visit as many other blogs as I usually like to do, but I will do my best to continue the rounds as I can.

Please wish me luck in this new venture and if you pray, I appreciate your prayers!

Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” 

Image result for Proverbs 16:9

Advertisements
Blogs / Life

Five Guidelines for Hosting Your Own Blog Party

Hello bloggers!

One week ago today we had our End of Summer Blog Party! It was a ton of fun, thank you to everyone who participated. Blog Parties are always a great way to get more involved in the blogging community, to meet new people, and read some amazing new blogs. I host a blog party about every two to three months in the hopes of encouraging community and reciprocation among bloggers.

Have you ever considered throwing a blog party?

If so, here’s some advice.

While Blog Parties are a huge hit, they can also be a lot of work, and they can often fall flat without the proper motivations and engagement. Just like throwing a party in real life, the host/hostess cannot simply provide an atmosphere, ditch out, and then expect his/her guests to have a good time. As a host/hostess, I suggest you follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Create specific rules and invitations
    • It is not enough to yell “Blog Party” and hope the crowds will come. Set up what a blog party is for first time participants. If you have a specific theme, state it! If there is something you want your guests to answer, ask the question, get the party started! Also, if you have specific rules (as most parties should), be upfront with them right away. For instance, my strictest rule is that no one is allowed to comment “I followed you, please follow back.” I don’t accept the “follow game” at my parties and so I make sure to post that in the instructions.
  2. Turn off comment moderation (at least for the duration of the blog party)
    • Many of you may have different comment restrictions on your blog. Maybe you have to approve every comment every single time, or you only have to approve comments from first time posters. While this may be helpful in other areas of your blog, it is detrimental during blog parties. Bloggers cannot actively engage in the party if they are waiting in the queue to become “approved.” For the duration of the blog party, turn off comment moderation.
  3. Engage with every. single. blogger. Write back (you cannot be a silent host!)
    • If you were hosting a party at home and someone came up to you, introduced themselves, and talked about their favorite hobbies, would you simply turn and walk away without saying a word? NO! (At least, I hope not.) Your guests are your responsibility. It is your job to make sure that the are having a good time. If someone comments, for goodness sakes, be kind and respectful enough to comment back!
    • Ask questions to your guests.
      • Just as you should respond to comments, you should engage by asking questions. What does the blogger like to write about? What are they currently working on? This is all about making friends people and the only way that works is through engagement.
  4. Visit every. single. blog. that comments (show reciprocation).
    • I mentioned earlier that I do not play the follow game. Just because someone follows my blog does not mean that I will automatically follow them back. However, I will visit their blog and check it out (especially if they comment during a blog party)! Again, if someone has been kind enough to drop in to your party, be reciprocal. It will take you 30 seconds at most to click on their blog and look around. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find that you love their blog and want to follow! During blog parties, I follow anywhere from 5 – 20 new blogs.
  5. Kick out the trolls.
    • Last, but not least, sorry to say, the bigger your party, the more likely you are to find that the trolls have escaped the dungeon. Be on the lookout for blogger-trolls who are only there to stir up trouble or garner followship without actively engaging in the community.

Well there you have it, my five stress-free, guaranteed guidelines on how to host your very own blog party. If you host a party soon, I hope to receive an invite!

Happy Blogging Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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.

Blogs / Life

End of Summer Blog Party

Hey Everyone! If you’re anything like me, you might be bummed that summer is coming to a close. What better way to end summer than with a BLOG PARTY?

Related image

For those of you who are not aware what a blog party is let me break it down. Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another.

Here are some simple rules:

  1. First off, everyone is welcome to participate in this Blog Party (even if you do not currently follow me, although I would LOVE it if you did!) -> If you are a new follower of my blog, say hi and let me know that you are new so that I remember to drop by your blog and check you out.
  2. Leave a Comment and a Link! Tell us who you are and what your blog is about. Feel free to leave a link connecting back to your blog’s home page or to your favorite or most recent blog post! (Post this only once please.)
  3. Mix and Mingle! This is where the party begins. I am blessed to have over 2,000 followers and this is a great opportunity for many of my friends to meet each other. You guys are amazing and I think a lot of you would enjoy meeting and following one another.
  4. Remember, you never have to follow anyone just because they follow you. However, it is good manners to always return a page visit for a page visit. Did someone stop by your blog, like or leave a comment? Do the same for them! It only takes a minute.
  5. Don’t forget to REBLOG! Spread the fun by encouraging your own followers to join in the party! This is the best way to attract new bloggers by spreading the word.
  6. Lastly, please do not comment “I just followed your blog, please follow back!” or anything similar. You will be booted from the party. Follow the blogs you honestly like, don’t play the “follow game.”

As we are celebrating the end of summer, feel free to include your favorite summer activity! Mine would definitely be the amount of pool time that I get during the summer months.

What about you?

Image result for end of summer gif

This Blog Party will be held and moderated exclusively August 7th-8th so don’t miss out! Invite your friends and share with your blogging community!

Also, I am feeling that itch again to hold another contest! In the comments below, please let me know which you would prefer:

Flash Fiction Contest

Poetry Contest (Open form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Theme)

Alphabet Contest

Blogs / Life

Getting Married! (and Signing Off)

My fiancee and I began dating in late 2011. I first met him on a blind date that had been set up by our best friends (who were also dating at the time and are now married with their own little girl). When I think back to the night, I remember how I did not even want to go out, and how my best friend forced me to go on the double date. God knows I have a lot to thank her for.

When I first met him in person, he was so shy, he barely said a word to me, preferring to talk to his best friend instead of me. I remember being frustrated and asking my best friend if he remembered that he was going on a date with me and not his best friend. But as the night went on he came out of his shell and I realized he was sweet, funny, a little crazy (driving at least) and immensely kind. One of my favorite things about our first few dates is that he never pressured me to hold hands, to kiss, or anything else. When we had our first kiss it was because I asked him.

He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first love. It only took three months for us to realize that we wanted to get married, but we were still so young. He gave me a promise ring and told me that one day he would marry me.

Well, it’s been seven and a half years since then and I am grateful for every moment: the good times and the hard times. Don’t let this world fool you, true love DOES exist, but it is nothing like the movies. True love is deciding to stay in love every single day. True love requires active participation on both sides. We stay in love with each other because we choose to. I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did yesterday and the day before that.

Now seven and a half years later, I finally get to marry the love of my life. In the next week, I will be married and the weeks following I will be going on my honeymoon. Having waited for this moment for so long, I want to be able to focus on us without any outside distractions. And so, it is an easy decision for me to say that I will be off WordPress until the end of June.

I know that all of my friends and followers will understand my absence and I am grateful for them. During the next month or so that I am gone, I will be reposting my older blog posts. Please feel free to comment, but know that I will not see them or be able to respond to them until the end of June.

Until then . . .

I’m off to get married!

Image result for i'm getting married gif

Blogs / Life

Spring Break Week-Long Blog Party (NOW CLOSED)

***This Blog Party is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who participated! I got to meet a ton of new bloggers this past week and I hope to develop my community even further. Thank you to the wonderful participants who talked with other guests and visited other blogs. These parties only work when we really engage with one another. Until the next party!***

Hey Everyone and Happy Spring Break!

Any other teachers or students out there exhausted by this semester and so grateful for a week off?

Unlike my normal blog parties that only last a weekend, this blog party will be lasting ALL. WEEK. LONG! That’s right! ALL WEEK! I’m hoping to meet some new bloggers and expand my blogging community!

Let’s celebrate Spring Break Week the way true bloggers do!

(Indoors and avoiding direct sunlight).

Image result for spring break baby gif

For those of you who are not aware what a blog party is let me break it down. Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another.

Here are some simple rules:

  1. First off, everyone is welcome to participate in this Blog Party (even if you do not currently follow me, although I would LOVE it if you did!) -> If you are a new follower of my blog, say hi and let me know so that I remember to drop by your blog and check you out.
  2. Leave a Comment and a Link! Say hi and tell us who you are and what your blog is about. Feel free to leave a link connecting back to your blog’s home page or to your favorite or most recent blog post! (Post this only once please.)
  3. Mix and Mingle! This is where the party begins. I am blessed to have nearly 2,000 followers and this is a great opportunity for many of my friends to meet each other. You guys are amazing and I think a lot of you would enjoy meeting and following one another.
  4. Remember, you never have to follow anyone just because they follow you. However, it is good manners to always return a page visit for a page visit. Did someone stop by your blog, like or leave a comment? Do the same for them! It only takes a minute.
  5. Don’t forget to REBLOG! Spread the fun by encouraging your own followers to join in the party! This is the best way to attract new bloggers by spreading the word.
  6. Lastly, please do not comment “I just followed your blog, please follow back!” or anything similar. You will be booted from the party. Follow the blogs you honestly like, don’t play the “follow game.”

As we are celebrating spring break, feel free to share with the group what you plan on doing this Spring Break! Will you be grading papers like me? Will you finally sit down and write that book that you’ve been working on for years? Or will you actually go outside and maybe even hit the beach?

The possibilities are endless!

Image result for olaf summer
Can anyone spot the “blogger” on Spring Break in this picture?

This Blog Party will be held and moderated exclusively March 18th – 22nd so don’t miss out! Invite your friends and share with your blogging community!

 

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.

Poetry

What Makes a “Good” Poem

A couple months back…

After posting my winners of the End of Summer Poetry Contest, I was speaking with another blogger who asked me,

“What makes a poem good?”

Only five words long, five simple words in fact, and yet this is an extremely, insanely complex question according to most poetry “experts.” Two summers ago, I took a poetry-focused graduate college class. During this course, I was assigned and read several articles on what makes “good poetry.” These articles dealt with questions such as:

  • Should poetry be a specific form?
  • Should it rhyme?
  • Should it have certain syllables per line?
  • Should it have a certain amount of lines or stanzas?
  • Is free verse (perhaps the most popular form of poetry) a form of poetry at all?

There are literally hundreds of thousands of questions and opinions circling poetry, particularly on what makes quality poetry. Just type in “What makes poetry good?” and before you know it, you will be sucked down the rabbit hole.

So, before you fall down too deep into that vortex of confusing judgments, I’m going to offer my opinion and break it down into five simple statements:

Good Poetry:

  1. Can be in any form! Every form was invented and new forms can still be invented by involving old forms.
  2. Should use creative (but not obnoxious) diction. Figurative Language is fun!
  3. Should emotionally appeal or relate to the reader.
  4. Can captivate your readers with a story or imagery
  5. Should “Mic Drop” last line; leave your reader with something memorable!

Now, I realize that my opinion is just one of many, so take it or leave it but remember that poetry is always evolving.

What do you think of my five rules?

What would you add or take away from my list?

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.

Blogmas 2018, Contests

Annual Blogmas Contest Closes TODAY

Hey Everyone! Just a reminder that the last date to participate in the Blogmas Contest is on December 20th!

(That’s TODAY!)

I’m looking forward to going through everyone’s posts again and picking my favorite!

Image result for rules gif

Please be sure to read all the rules on the original post: Annual Blogmas Contest.Only those who have followed every rule will be considered.

Participating in Blogmas has been so much fun and I’ve probably spent way too much time online, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Image result for christmas grinch gif

Happy Blogmas Everyone!

Have you read an amazing Blogmas post lately? Nominate it in the comments or encourage that blogger to submit it themselves! But you better hurry, time is running out!

Blogmas 2018

Annual Blogmas Contest!

Yep, I might be insane.

I might not have thought this through.

I have 102 things to do!

But no matter, I want to hear from you!

The Annual Blogmas Contest Starts Today!

 May the best Blogmas Blogger win!

How to enter:

  • Create a blogmas post! Your post must be all about Christmas, see my previous post on “How To Blogmas”
  • Once you have created and published your post, drop your link to that post below in the comments. ALSO, this is important, do NOT just drop the link by itself (it will go directly to my spam), so you must also leave a one-line summary of your blogmas post 😀
  • Check out at least two other blogmas posts and comment beneath their links so I can see that you did so (#community)
  • You can only drop ONE LINK, so if you want to wait until Dec 25th to choose that is alright.
  • Must be subscribed (following) to my page to keep up with contest announcements
  • DECEMBER 20th is the LAST DAY TO DROP YOUR LINK FOR THE CONTEST!

 

Prizes:

  • Holiday Spirit! No really, by posting and reading blogmas posts, you should definitely feel some holiday spirit!
  • I will publish my top three favorite Blogmas posts on my Blog Site. The top blogmas post winner will also be accompanied by a short author bio and link back to the winner of course. I have nearly 2,000 followers so this will be good exposure for your blog!
  • A fun time! Christmas is a happy time and hopefully, through this contest you can meet other bloggers and other bloggers can meet you! I can’t wait to read all the amazing Blogmas posts!

 

Merry Blogmas Everyone!

Image result for merry christmas gif crazy