As I Was Saying

When I was young I was known as “The Little Talker.”  I never really baby-talked.  From early on I had good enunciation and learning vocabulary came easy to me.  I’d always loved story time and before I could even write I was making up stories of my own.  When the little girls in kindergarten said they wanted to be ballerinas, I said I wanted to be a writer.

Starting a family at the young age of 20 – and having an intense fear of failure – sidetracked me from meeting my writing goals.  Over the years I’ve written my Great American Novel in fits and starts but now I am at a different point in my life.  My beautiful family is my number one priority but I’m making time for the things that I want to accomplish.  I’m more much confident as a writer and I’m learning to silence my inner critic.

In January of this year I created this blog to keep me writing often and to have a platform to share my fiction later on.  I think it’s important to write with your audience in mind, but things changed when I began spending the majority of my “writing time” trying to increase my site stats, get comments, attract followers, and impress other bloggers.

There’s nothing wrong with what I was doing.  After all, writing a blog and not promoting it is like hosting a party and not sending invitations.  It’s the amount of time and energy I spent on the incidentals that’s my problem.  Here is my list of what is meant to be helpful but could end up being hurtful.

TOP 4 USEFUL BLOG PROMOTIONS YOU COULD BE OVER-DOING

1.  Blog Hops. These are great for bringing traffic to your site, plus you will get introduced to some great blogs.  You can also use a blog hop to cure the dreaded writer’s block.  The Then and Now blog hop at Everyday Mommy inspired me to write one of my favorite posts.  I also like Rednesdays at It’s a Very Cherry World! Most participants post their crafts or vintage finds.  I’m one of the few who doesn’t.  I like the challenge of using red to create a weekly blog post.  Recently I wrote about literature (The Red Badge of Courage), music (99 Red Balloons) and a cute Crayola crayons post.

I’ve participated in several blog hops that resulted in me writing a post that had nothing to do with the main themes of my blog, simply so I could join.  Weekend posts at Michelle’s 6 in the City are fun because A) they inspire me to keep taking pictures and B) her vibrant New York City pictures make me long to take that vacation to the Big Apple I’ve always talked about.  But the fact is the readers I want to attract just aren’t interested in the minutia of what I did on Saturday.

2.  Forums. This is a great place to interact with other bloggers and to learn and share information.  And yes, it’s one easy way to drive traffic to your site.  Reading what other people are talking about is good for generating post ideas.  Also, many blog authors now have communities on The Blog Frog.  Sometimes they offer incentives to participants on their forum – the member with the most activity in a certain period of time gets promoted on their blog.  (The Redheaded Riter is one of them – I’m a big fan of her blog and Blog Frog community.)  Contributing to relevant conversations is good but getting carried away and commenting on every mundane discussion is a waste of valuable writing time.

3.  Finding Followers. That’s the goal, right?  Writers want readers.  Who doesn’t like the ego stroke of watching the number of your Facebook fans and subscribers rise?  Just don’t confuse fans/followers with readers.  I’ll be brutally honest: I’m following hundreds of strangers on Twitter, 99% of whose blogs I’ve never visited.  (Haven’t had the opportunity yet.)  I RARELY check for Tweet updates and even then I tend to only look at the ones on top that catch my eye.

4.  Commenting. I APPRECIATE EVERY SINGLE COMMENT ON MY BLOG.  Don’t hate me if I can’t reciprocate.  I try to reply on my own blog but the truth is I secretly fear it’s a waste of time.  People are waaaaay too busy to check back and see if I’ve added a “thank you” or short response to what they wrote.  I will admit, though, that commenting on other people’s blogs is a great way to people to visit your site and leave you a return comment.

♥  ♥  ♥

There are many ways to improve and promote your blog.  The key is not to get sidetracked with all of the “housekeeping” when you’d really rather be writing.  The Secret is in the Sauce has been a tremendous help to me and it’s not too late for you to join their 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge.  You might also want to visit my favorite writing website, Toasted Cheese.  They have an incredible amount of inspiring creative writing prompts and daily exercises.

As for me, I’m going to concentrate on writing original content that’s relatable and sometimes humorous, which is why you visit my blog (I think).  Thanks for listening.

I now return to my regularly scheduled blog.

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