Alphabet Challenge, Blogs / Life

The Alphabet Challenge

Calling all bloggers, authors, poets, and artist!

Today I am challenging you to engage in The Alphabet Challenge with me!

What is the Alphabet Challenge?

The Alphabet Challenge requires you to focus on one letter of the alphabet every week and to create a blog post concerning that letter. For example, Week One you will need to focus on the letter “A.” For this letter, you can write poetry, flash fiction, or even draw a picture, whatever you choose, as long as it features that specific letter.

For this challenge, I will be posting my response to each letter on every Wednesday of each week. That means that I will be working on completing this challenge from the months of September to December.

However, I do not want to do this alone! I am inviting each of you to join me in this challenge. Every Wednesday when I post my response to the Alphabet Challenge, I encourage YOU to comment a link that leads back to YOUR response to the Alphabet Challenge.

Why should you join the Alphabet Challenge?

  1. Engage in blogging community by leaving links to your response to the Alphabet Challenge and by checking out other bloggers’ links and posts.

  2. Enjoy the challenge of this four-month journey by stretching your writing muscles.

  3. Have a ready to go prompt for a blog post every Wednesday without having to worry about finding an idea

  4. And oh yea, every month, I will be choosing my favorite response to the Alphabet Challenge and sharing it on my blog (bringing more exposure to your blog!)

Happy Writing!

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Credit for this wonderful photo goes to Amador Loureiro https://unsplash.com/@amadorloureiroblanco

©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.

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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.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Market Yourself (The First Step)

Hey Everyone!

Today’s post is specifically geared for YOU: the blogger, author, creative person that you are.

Marketing your work is more than just posting a fancy photo of your book cover or your latest blog post. Marketing is more than just shouting out into the void “look at me!” Good marketing involves hard work and (you guessed it) authentic relationships with your target audience.

Look at it this way: why should anyone want to read what you have to say? Why should anyone pick up your book off the shelf instead of someone else’s? What do you have to offer?

The work that we do is so much different than a regular nine-to-five job because our work is dependent on our audience. That’s why learning how to market our work can be so important and also so scary. A lot of beginning writers and bloggers feel daunted by marketing their work because really, marketing begins with YOU.

If you do not believe in the worth of your blog posts or writing, than why should anyone else? The first step to marketing your work is to learn that you are marketing yourself, your product, your ideas, your thoughts, your experiences, your realities, and your fantasies. So my first bit of advice is this:

Own Your Own Identity

This might be the hardest thing to do, but first you must develop your own online identity, particularly as bloggers and even as authors in today’s technologically-savvy society. This is because most of your promoting will be done online (surprise, surprise). In order for anyone to know you exist, you must first create your presence. When you begin blogging, or creating a website, or even creating facebook/instagram author pages, you need to think about: personality, consistency, frequency, and authenticity.

  1. Personality: Your blog, website, facebook/instagram page should be individualized. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to start with a template provided to you, but eventually, you should begin tweaking and editing your sites to reflect who you are.
  2. Consistency: If you use a specific theme, or profile picture, or cover photo, etc., it should be similar across all of your social media sites. This helps your audience know that your separate sites all belong to you and form harmony instead of dissonance.
  3. Frequency: You cannot create social media sites and then dip out. This is where that hard work comes in. Have confidence in your abilities and blog more regularly as time allows. Your pages will not magically attract a following, you have to get out there and go get it!
  4. Authenticity: In the getting-out-and-go-getting-it, don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t put forward a fake front and don’t lie to get followers. You can only pretend for so long. Be yourself and garner a genuine audience who is actually interested in what you have to give.

That’s a lot for today so I’m going to stop here. In the future, I’ll work to expand on the next steps in your marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear from you on your own experiences. How have YOU promoted your work in the past? Do you find that my four (Personality, Consistency, Frequency, & Authenticity) work in your own promotion avenues?

Happy Writing Everyone! I’ll see you in the comments!

 

©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.

 

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Re-Use Published Posts

Now, before you get all…

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Take a second to hear me out.

It is completely OKAY to re-use old content. You might have noticed lately that I have been re-sharing writing and blogging advice that I posted in the past.

Here’s why:

  • My Blog is Growing! (Which is awesome by the way) And that means that I have new followers.
  • New followers means that I have people currently following my blog and reading my posts who have not seen the old posts.
  • So, I share the old posts for two primary reasons:
    • So that my new followers will have access to writing and blogging tips previously published
    • And that my old followers will be reminded of writing and blogging tips they have previously read.

Not only is this beneficial for my followers, new or vintage, but it is helpful for me as well because it helps fill up my blogging schedule.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You should not, definitely not, spam your blog with old content. Do not repost the same blogs every week or every month in a never ending cycle. Your blog should consist primarily of new content with some old content thrown in.

Here is what I consider the golden ration when I post 10 times every two weeks:

8 new vs. 2 old

(In every two week span I normally re-share 1-2 posts per 10 blogs)

80% of my blogs are new, fresh, and exciting content while 20% is re-sharing previously published content for those who have not seen it or need the reminder.

Also, I hardly ever re-share movie reviews, contest results, etc. because no one needs to hear that twice. I only ever re-share writing tips, blogging tips, and maybe the occasional short story or poem.

What do you think about re-sharing previously posted content?

What is your golden ratio?

©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: Challenge Yourself

Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about blog scheduling, more specifically, how often you should post a week.

I know, I know, I’ve already freaked out half of you and the other half of you are staring at the screen like this:

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Blog scheduling, meaning how often you post on your blog (not to be confused with scheduling your posts ahead of time–which you should do), is going to be different for every individual. Some bloggers post every single day. *Hats off to them*

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Some bloggers only post on the week days, taking weekends off. Other bloggers, like me, only post 3 times a week, some only post once and so on and so forth. Like I said before, blog scheduling is different for every blogger. However, there are some consistencies that every blogger should keep in mind.

  1. If you want to grow your blog, you need to be posting at least once a week. If we only see you once a month, odds are, we won’t remember you all that well. (This may not be true for all circumstances but it’s a general rule).
  2. If you want to maintain followers, you need to be reading and commenting on other blogs the same amount (if not more) than when you are posting your own content.
  3. Lastly, (and what today’s blog is really about), you need to challenge yourself with your scheduling goals.

Blogging is hard, I know, trust me, I completely understand that. I have been blogging for about a year and a half now and some days I feel burnt out, not just in blogging but in everything. However, if you don’t push passed your walls, you will always find yourself blocked by something.

While it is wise to set realistic blogging goals, it is unwise to “settle” in your goals. For instance, if you work two jobs and you’re in school or a parent, it might be a tad unrealistic to say that you are going to blog every single day. So I would suggest that you to set a realistic goal, but not a “settling” goal. What do I mean by a “settling” goal?

Story Time! At the beginning of Fall 2018, I was heading back into the busiest season of the year for me and I had thought long and hard about my blogging schedule in the next coming months. I considered reducing my weekly posts. I knew that every day, or even 5 times a week was unrealistic for my schedule, but I also knew that I did not want to settle and simply pop in once a week. So, I decided that with a little extra effort, I could make 3 posts a week work. (Now, I’ve been about 90% successful in this, which ultimately shows me that I chose the right number. It’s enough posts a week that I am challenged to complete it, but not so challenged that I continuously fail).

So today, I encourage you to take a look at your blogging schedule. Are you being unrealistic, realistic/challenging, or are you just settling?

What do you think? Should we challenge ourselves in our weekly blogging schedule?

Happy Blogging 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.

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).

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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!

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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!

 

Blogs / Life

New Year, New Blogging Schedule

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe that we have officially left 2018 behind and are no fully drawn into 2019?

Now I’m not the kind of person who looks at the New Year as something magical. Nothing really changes at the stroke of midnight. We don’t magically become better people who will hit the gym more and the carbs less. We don’t automatically become best selling authors over night. Our problems don’t just vanish into thin air. Sometimes people look at the New Years Eve/New Year’s midnight as some mystical power to start over. The truth is, it isn’t.

That’s because we can start over at any time. Which is partly the reason why I am posting this on January 2nd instead of January 1st (even though to most my New Year post would make more logical sense to come on New Years Day). New Years Day is not physically magical, it is a mental reminder and that’s what I love about New Years. Perhaps this year will be just as wonderful or as devastating as the last, we can’t know for certain. But what we do know is this:

New Year’s Day represents a fresh start.

For the most part anyway. After all, we are still the same people as we were forty-eight hours ago with the same hopes, dreams, fears, and sins. But we always have a chance to start doing better, to start improving ourselves. This, of course, leads to the idea of New Year’s resolutions.

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Don’t we all, Kirk?

Most of you know all about New Year’s resolutions, I’m sure. And I’m not here to down on them, there’s nothing wrong with setting yourself a goal. The problem with New Year’s resolutions comes when we set impossible goals and then feel like failures when we cannot meet them. So this year, be kinder to yourself and set realistic resolutions.

Here are some of my resolutions for 2019:

  • Be a better, kinder, and more patient professor (and person in general)
  • Finish Planning and Celebrate my Wedding without worrying if it’s “perfect”
  • Finish my book with the same excitement with which I began
    • Sell 100 copies! (Hey, it could happen :D)
  • Visit my Papa and remind him what he means to me.
  • Take advantage of the moments I have with the people I love.
  • Be kinder to myself and stop demanding more than I can give.

I am going to address that last resolution immediately by reducing the amount of blog posts that I demand from myself every week.

Currently, I publish a post every weekday (Monday-Friday), which is five times a week. Beginning immediately, I will be posting every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, which is three times a week.

I believe that by reducing the amount of times I am posting, I will not feel the need to put up sub par work. Instead, this will give me ample time to create posts with detailed content.

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Don’t worry though, I’m not going anywhere! While I plan to only be posting on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, that does not mean that I will only be active on those days. I still plan to pop in and check out as many of your blogs as possible.

Thanks for checking in and reading this blog update, I hope that you all will continue to stop by and check out the new blog posts.

So, what about you? Do you have any New Year Resolutions?

Happy Writing Everyone!

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Reposting Content

Now, before you get all…

Image result for gasp gif

Take a second to hear me out.

It is completely OKAY to re-use old content. You might have noticed lately that I have been re-sharing writing and blogging advice that I posted in the past.

Here’s why:

  • My Blog is Growing! (Which is awesome by the way) And that means that I have new followers.
  • New followers means that I have people currently following my blog and reading my posts who have not seen the old posts.
  • So, I share the old posts for two primary reasons:
    • So that my new followers will have access to writing and blogging tips previously published
    • And that my old followers will be reminded of writing and blogging tips they have previously read.

Not only is this beneficial for my followers, new or vintage, but it is helpful for me as well because it helps fill up my blogging schedule.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You should not, definitely not, spam your blog with old content. Do not repost the same blogs every week or every month in a never ending cycle. Your blog should consist primarily of new content with some old content thrown in.

Here is what I consider the golden ration when I post 10 times every two weeks:

8 new vs. 2 old

(In every two week span I normally re-share 1-2 posts per 10 blogs)

80% of my blogs are new, fresh, and exciting content while 20% is resharing previously published content for those who have not seen it or need the reminder.

Also, I hardly ever re-share movie reviews, contest results, etc. because no one needs to hear that twice. I only ever re-share writing tips, blogging tips, and maybe the occasional short story or poem.

What do you think about re-sharing previously posted content?

What is your golden ratio?

©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.

Blogs / Life, Writing Tips

Crash Course in Blogging 101

To any First Time Bloggers (or any bloggers looking for help on their site or gaining new followers),

When trying to set up your blog and gain followers, do you ever feel like this?

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Creating a new website can be frustrating as you navigate themes and customization options, but it does not have to be.

Finding blogs worth following and gaining followers in return can sometimes feel like the eternal mystery, but it does not have to be.

In my 5-day course, you and I will work together to tackle these enigmas and make your blog something special! In six months, I reached 1,000 followers and let me support that statement with this, “It was not easy and it was a LOT of hard work!”

If you’re willing to work for it, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this 5-day course, we will address blogging issues such as: site identity, the physicality of your blog, blogging schedules, content, how to follow and be followed, and how to thrive in the blogging world. Additionally, I’ll still be around after this course to answer questions that may come your way not only as your Blogging Mentor but as a Blogging Friend.

For my services, I require a one time payment of $40 (approximately $8 a day, which means I’m offering my services for under minimum wage).

Tiffany from BeUTifLee gives the course 5 stars!

I enjoyed the course, learning more than when I started the blog. Kayla Ann is full of knowledge, don’t hesitate to ask any question, big or small. The course is fun, inviting, and creative. It all depends on your motivation and determination. As I always say, Creativity takes courage.

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If you are interested in this 5-day Crash Course in Blogging 101 with me, your go-to Blogging Mentor, head over to my home page. On my menu, you will see a tab that says “HOME.” Click that and in the drop-down menu, click “CONTACT.” Fill out that form to contact me about wanting to participate in this enlightening course.

Due to my schedule, I can only take on one client per week so keep that in mind! I only have a few openings left for this summer so don’t wait! I will get back to you within a few days at the latest with my next availability and further instructions.

I look forward to meeting and assisting new bloggers!

Disclaimer: This 5-day course is really designed for beginning bloggers (although veteran bloggers are welcome to apply for the course as well, though these will be more reminders than new insights).

blogging tips

Blogging Tip: Schedule Ahead of Time

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: 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 say. We sit down at this blank screen and think, “wow I literally have nothing to say.” Indeed, there will be days when you simply cannot write, you can’t think, and you definitely cannot create a blog post. That will happen, so prepare for it and plan ahead!

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

You heard me, Planned Posts.

When you have great days where creativity is flowing, don’t stop after one post and do not (I repeat, do not) post multiple times a day. Instead keep creating and schedule them for in advance. For instance, this is the 7th blog post I have written today on May 31st (even though this post is not scheduled to publish until later in June). I now have my next week or so of blogging post planned out ahead of time so that I am not struggling the night before.

How do I come up with all these blog posts ideas?

Here is my strategy. Whenever I am out and about, or even when I am home, and I have an idea for a blog post, but I don’t have time to write it, I save that idea in my draft section. At times, I have up to 30 drafts just sitting there filled with ideas. So, on my good days, I go through those ideas. Some are no longer good (and never were), some need adjustment, and some I save for later.

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

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

Happy Writing & Blogging 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.