Weekend Update

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Yesterday, I was trying to plan this week and nothing fit in the schedule. No wonder, I was trying to get things into the wrong week. In my defense, we did lose an hour thanks to daylight saving time and, after three pandemic years I sincerely thought that we were at the end of March. But, I fixed it and this morning, we were on time and on target.

Megan Cutler has a great post in which she explores the advice that to be a writer, you need to write daily. Well, I am a writer but frankly, life often gets in the way and you have to make choices as there are only so many hours in the day.

I like her advice to try to write every day. This can be for your work in progress, a draft for a blog post, or even a few lines just for you in your journal. I think that too many people still feel obligated to sit behind a desk 24/7 because if they do not, they are not real writers. However, real writers know that writing requires research, exploring, drafting, sorting, mapping out storylines, visiting special places, and a lot more.

Rachel Thompson‘s post seamlessly ties in with this as she tells us about the importance of writing things down. Our brains get kicked into gear by the writing process of your hand picking up a pen and putting words to paper. Your eyes follow your writing and it stimulates your memory retention skills. After I map out my week, using pen and paper, I often know it by heart.

One of the organizational things that has really helped me, is a tracker. It is a piece of simple grid paper. On the left, I write all the tasks. At the top of the paper, I put the month and the days in the month. Here’s an example.

Photography Alice de Sturler

It is easy to set up, can be done with any kind of paper and pen(cil) and, requires no spending. It is the check mark that keeps me going. After a week, I can see where I let things slip, what needs catching up, and if that persists, it is an indication that my schedule might need tweaking. For example, I found last year that I read a lot however, I did not read enough for me. I read my professional journals but it had been ages since I picked up Calvin and Hobbes. Not good!

Last, did you all get the email with the WordPress prompt ‘Bridge’ for the month of March? If you are doing this challenge, let me know. Is monthly prompts the follow-up to bloganuary?

Have a great week and try to write!

Happy Monday!

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

I cannot believe it is March already but here we are, in the second week of the month. During the month of February, I did not add much here but that was intentional. The January daily writing challenges really took up more time than I had anticipated so for now, unless I get the prompts in advance so I can write a few posts at a time instead of waiting for the daily cue, I am not likely to do this type of challenge again.

Which brings me to what Jon Beckett wrote: “Rather than even attempt to write an “almost daily” journal, I am only going to write when I have something to write about.” He is absolutely right. Repeated content is boring like chatting just to talk and cover a silent moment.

Jon also wrote something else that resonates with me: “You might be the most interesting person I’ve ever known, but unless I can find out about you, I’ll never know.”

One of the scariest things to do is to open up to someone and tell them what you really think. It is what stopped me from posting on the web what I thought about some criminal cases because after all, what do I know? I didn’t go to cop school, I went to law school. I don’t canvas the streets but read reports from the safety of my desk. One of my former colleagues at a police department called me their ‘cubicle commander.’ He meant well, he’s a good friend.

Jon is right about posting unique content. Think about it this way: why should you spend time, sometimes hours per week, reading blogs if there isn’t something that makes you lean back in your chair and a smile forms on your face? Or, you frown and start to think more deeply about something.

In short, I am collecting in my WordPress Reader blogs from people who make me think, smile, and challenge me. I want to read about your finest moments. I want to encourage and support you through difficult times. And that means that at times I will fall off my chair laughing or cry above my keyboard. I am here for it.

Hold the calendar

I have been talking with a friend about my content calendar. They thought that I had an elaborate digital system set up to help me write blog posts. I loved seeing their jaw drop when they saw my paper notebook!

Photography AdS

I use a Traveler’s Notebook for lists and short notes. Each insert has its own designation. One of them is my content calendar and it really is just a list of ideas written in there with pen/fountain pen.

Advantage: simple, cheap, no learning curve. Just list whatever idea for blog content pops up in your head.

Disadvantage: you need to pick an idea to write about for a post on a certain date e.g. set the calendar.

Photography AdS

I tried to do what many other bloggers online have written about and that is setting it up a digital calendar for a whole month. Some even go out as far as three months. Every time that I tried that, I deleted the whole thing, and started fresh. Only to delete it again.

Why?

Life gets in the way, breaking news demands another tone of writing, cases finally going to trial take up all my time, and we haven’t even touched upon that precious thing called selfcare e.g. my mental health.

Every time that I see a blog post about content calendars, I check. I can’t help myself, I gotta see what others do and hope they have pictures, not video clips, pictures. And after that, I go back to my lists.

I scan my ideas, pick one, write a draft, and after editing, I post that. A simple check mark denotes that I am done with that idea.

After Bloganuary, I was tired of posting daily. And, as many things can change drastically in a very short period of time, I have decided against setting a posting schedule. I don’t have a posting schedule for my professional website either and it works well. So, I am going to use the same strategy here.

Do you plan your blog posts? If so, digitally or on paper?

Guardian Angels

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Up there in the sky

my guardian angels live

they watch over me.

They give me hope and courage

in moments of need and pain.

 

I look up to them

when the sun warms up my face

I pretend it’s them.

A kiss on my nose or cheek

and a firm kick in the butt!

Promote your blog on Twitter

Many bloggers, especially new ones, are unsure where to place the link to their blog on Twitter. As a result, they keep repeating the same promotional tweets. Repeated self-promotion does not do well with Twitter’s algorithm and that in turn, does not gain you followers or exposure for your blog. So, if you are not sure where to place a link to your blog on Twitter, this post is for you.

On Twitter, you have several options to place a link to your blog.

1: Use you header to your advantage

Your header can be used for great photography but why not combine the photography with a link? Check what I did below. The header is actually the one that I use for this blog. Now pay attention to what I wrote over it: my blog’s name and where to find it.

Art and photography AdS

Take a picture that you like for your header. Then use a simple editor to type your blog’s URL on it. Adjust the colours to make sure that they stand out, write the full link, save the picture, and upload it to Twitter. The recommended dimensions for header images are 1500 x 500 pixels. This is spot number one. Why? People are more inclined to check pictures than reading a bio, no matter how short.

2: Use the website field

In you bio, Twitter has a designated spot for one link so use that for your blog. If you have multiple sites, consider using something like Link Mix. This is spot number two.

3: Use your bio

Twitter gives you 160 characters to write something about yourself and yes, that may include a link, see here. So, proudly state that your are a blogger (use the hashtag #blogger for optimized search results) followed by your site’s link. To save characters, use a link shortener. This is your third spot.

Now onto spot #4.

Twitter has a pinned tweet feature. You write a tweet and pin it to the top of your feed, see here how. It remains there until you replace it. You can use this to promote your latest book or, to add information for which there was no space in your bio. Check the plus sign in the lower right corner, it means you can add another tweet to the original. This is spot #4 to promote your blog.

What you should not do?

Do not immediately send every new follower a direct message (DM) with your links, promotional materials, and worse, requests that they follow you on other social media platforms. DMs are seen as private territory. Most Twitter users have DMs turned off meaning only people they follow can contact them that way. But even then, DMs are not welcome. Why? Abuse and harassment. So, ask someone if it is ok to DM.

I hope that this information helps you to promote your blog on Twitter!