Heading Off to Work, Writing on Wednesdays

Review and Resources—Writing

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Developing the habit of writing for an hour as soon as I wake up has become one of the things that I truly look forward to each day. I have had the opportunity to learn so much about various topics, to express myself creatively, and to learn self-discipline.

As I continue to write, there are so many things that I realize would be helpful as I continue this process.

Books about blogging and writing that are currently on my reading list include the following…

 

 

1. 100 Shareable Blog Post Ideas (Easy to Write, Easy to Share) by The Digital Writer and Jonathan Wondrusch

Topics

  • creating an editorial calendar.
  • ideas for effective content
  • sample headlines for blog posts

Other Books by Author

  • How to Write a Sales Letter That Works (Without Wasting Your Time).
  • Writing Online

Author Website—None found

2. 5 Minutes a Day Guide to BLOGGING: How To Create, Promote & Market a Successful Money Generating Blog 

Author—Penny King

Other Books by Author—

  • 5 Minutes a Day Guide to PINTEREST + FREE eBook “ATTRACTING AFFILIATES”: How to Create, Promote & Market a Successful…Nov 19, 2015
  • 5 Minutes A Day Guide To FACEBOOK + FREE eBook “Attracting Affiliates”: How to Create, Promote & Market a Successful…Nov 18, 2015
  • 5 Minutes A Day Guide To BUSINESS, INCOME & SOCIAL MEDIA Box Set: How To Promote, Market & Create Business Using…Jan 9, 2016
  • 5 Minutes a Day Guide to TWITTER + FREE eBook “Attracting Affiliates”: How To Create, Promote & Market a Successful…Dec 21, 2015
  • 5 Minutes A Day Guide to LinkedIn + FREE eBook “Attracting Affiliates”: How To Create, Promote and Market a Successful…Dec 21, 2015

  Author Website-–None Found.

3. Becoming The Perfect Networker… Succeeding One Connection at a Time – Golden Kennector EditionJul 31, 2010by Ken Rochon and Tara Hannon
Topics

  • making connections
  • turning them into relationships that produce income and opportunities
  • being successful in social networking

Authors and Other Books by Authors

Ken Rochon

  • Empowerment & Beyond… A 6-week self study program practicing reflection, wisdom and peaceApr 12, 2013
  • Make Your Connections Count: September 22, 2011

Tara Hannon (illustrator)

  • When Mommy Has Our Baby by Rachel Cedar and Tara Hannon
  • Lion and Rabbit’s Opposite Day by Tara J. Hannon
  • Wings by Belinda Fraley Huesman and Tara J. Hannon
  • Sex Sells But I’M Ugly by Dan Kendrick and Tara Hannon
  • Santa Claus Was Once a Kid Too by Philip H. Scharper and Grace M. Scharper
  • Ada Chewed Some Gum by Thomas Knight and Tara J. Hannon

 Author Website

4.  Breakthrough: The Complete Guide to Growing Your Platform & Blogging Your Way to a Full-Time Income

Author— Adeline Ganley​

Topics

  • Building a viable business
  • Developing a brand strategy
  • Improving your productivity
  •  Increasing traffic
  • Monetizing your platform
  • Writing content to build an audience that is engaged and frequently returns to your website

Other Books by Author

  • Real Ways to Make Money from Home: Start Making Money Now

 AuthorWebsite


5.  Blog To Book: An expert guide to building your blog business and income through ebooks and paperbacks​

Author
—P.R. Newton

Topics

  • growing your blog business and income with ebooks and paperbacks.
  • self-publish a book that will bring value to your current readers, attract new audiences and build your income and blog business.
  • write a book inspired by your blog content

Other Books by Author

  •  Shattered Embrace: An Adoption Tale
  •  And Then My Uterus Fell Out: A memoir on life with pelvic organ prolapse
  •  The Tindou Tablet


Author Website
Steam Powered Family

6.  Blogging: A Practical Guide to Plan Your Blog: Start Your Profitable Home-Based Business with a Successful Blog

Authors—Dale Reardon and Jo Reardon
Topic—planning your blog, obviously

Other Related Products from Authors

  • Blogging: A Practical Guide to Find Your Niche: Start Your Profitable Home-Based Business with a Successful Blog (Create Your Amazing Blog: Your…

 Author WebsiteThe Online Beginners Hub – or ‘The Hub


7.  Blogging For Dummies

Author— Amy Lupold Bair

Topics

  • advertising tools and techniques
  • emerging platforms like Squarespace and Overblog
  • integrating your blog with social media
  •  latest blogging software and utilities
  • search engine optimization
  •  social plug-ins
  • the anatomy of a good blog
  • the tools you need to get started

Author Website— Resourceful Mommy


8.  Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community

Author—Joy Deangdeelert Cho

Topics

  • attracting readers
  • overcoming blogger’s block
  • starting and growing a blog

Other Books by Author

  • Oh Joy! 60 Ways to Create and Give Joy
  • Creative, Inc.

Author Website—Oh Joy

 
9.  How To Start A Profitable Blog: A Guide To Create Content That Rocks, Build Traffic, And Turn Your Blogging Passion Into Profit 

Author

David Lim

Other Books by Author

  • Blogging: How to Write Blog Posts That Go Viral Without Selling Out: Attract a Raving Fan Base, Understand Your…
  • How To Blog For Profit: A Powerful Step-By-Step Guide To Create Passive Income Online And Replace Your Day Job For Life


 

10.  The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users 

Authors

  • Guy Kawasaki
  • Peg Fitzpatrick

Topics

  • building your foundation
  • amassing digital assets
  • optimizing your profile
  • attracting more followers
  • integrating social media and blogging

Other Books by Author

Guy Kawasaki

  • The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
  • Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
  • APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
  • Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition
  • Selling the Dream
  • How to Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit
  • What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us
  • The Macintosh Wa
  • Rules For Revolutionaries
  • Hindsights: The Wisdom and Breakthroughs of Remarkable People
  • Database 101

Author Websites


 

11.  The Blog Post Tool Kit

Author—Gina Luker

Topics

  • creating photography and graphics to grab readers
  • planning posts that get results
  • properly write SEO rich content
  • using social media

Other Books by Author

  • Super Fast Freezer Meals
  • How to Start a Home-based Etsy Business

 

12.  How to Write 37 Different Types of Blog Post

Author—Sarah Arrow

Author Websites
Sarah Arrow

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Heading Off to Work

Be Organized

IMG_4860-1Never think of writing posts as merely scribbling down yet another article just because everyone else does and then hoping that readers other than you actually read it…as if it were another Facebook post…

Think of your blog as a major, nationally-published magazine written by yourself for yourself…you are its most faithful reader…you are its most dependable subscriber…you are the editor-in-chief, writer, photographer, budget analyst, and whatever else you wanna call yourself.

Think of the couch you’re most likely sitting on as a real office…

Think of who you are now, where you would like to be, and how you are going to get there…

 

Even the most researched and best written blog post will be an epic fail… if you are not answering the questions people in your niche are asking… and talking about the right subjects and issues.

So it is important that you take the time to make sure that the blog topics and posts that you are writing actually answer the questions that your target readers may have and provides them with timely, relevant information.

Once you have established your niche and checked out what topics your particular niche are interested in, this is a time to start building your so-called editorial calendar. 

An annual editorial calendar helps keep yourself accountable, if only to yourself, and makes posts more predictable for your audience.

I have started grouping my posts into the following three categories…

  1. Timely Pieces
  2. Rotating Topics
  3. In-Depth Material.

 

Timely Pieces….

Timely pieces are holidays and events that you will probably write about every single year such as…

  • January…New Year’s Day
  • February…Valentine’s Day
  • March…St. Patrick’s Day
  • April…Easter
  • May…Mother’s Day…Memorial Day…Cinco De Mayo
  • June…Father’s Day
  • July…Independence Day.
  • August…Back to School…Labor Day
  • September…Labor Day
  • October…Halloween
  • November… Thanksgiving Day…Black Friday…Veterans Day
  • December…Christmas

2.  Rotating Topics

These are the general topics that you will blog about every single month—those topics that you will never get tired of writing about and that you will never have trouble finding new ideas to write about.

Rotating topics can help you attract a loyal following by setting expectations for readers who will want to return for the next post about this topic.

These are short-term blogs based on topics that usually only take one or two posts to discuss. These topics do not require major “research” or planning.

Here are some ideas as to where/how to come up with these rotating, or short-term, topics…

 

First ask yourself a series of questions and come up with your “Big Idea.”

  • Is your main objective to…entertain and make your readers laugh…inspire your readers…offer advice based on your own past experience and expertise…teach your readers how to do something?
  • What and who inspire me the most?
  • What are your own favorite blogs? Why?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by offering this product or service?
  • What topics am I truly passionate about, not merely interested in?
  • What topics am I truly gifted in and already know a lot about?
  • Who you are now? What exactly are you offering? Is it a particular service or product? Is it tangible or intangible?

 

Based on these questions, come up with your ONE “Big Idea”—that one topic sentence or mission statement that lays the foundation from this point forward, and defines exactly where you ultimately want to position yourself in your niche.

  • Now that you have recognized your “Big Idea” as your “Big Idea,” make a list of potential keywords or topics that can be used as topics for actual posts. Two great places to look at when starting this brainstormed list of  potential topics are your About Me page and your Pinterest boards.

And for those days you find yourself staring at a blank screen, unable to think of any topic whatsoever to talk about, here are several tools that can help you come up with just the right idea for just the right topic for the just the right blog post.

These tools include…

1.  AlltopBrowse through this collection of the best blogs covering hundreds of topics. Check current post titles shown under your topic for inspiration. I looked under the Baking category specifically for muffins and found these articles…Bake or Break—JULY 28, 2016—Coconut Cream Cheese Oat Muffins…Technicolor Kitchen—Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

2.  Blog Title Generator—This tool generates fill-in-the-blank titles about no particular topic at all..not sure how helpful this will be….three of my title ideas were…How to Make Muffins Suck Less…Want to Be Truly Muffin, End Each Day Like This…Weighing The Pros and Cons of Muffins.

3.  Buzzfeed…Buzzfeed covers almost every topic that you can imagine… my search for muffins led me to this article 19 Muffins Worth Getting Out of Bed For and this recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Oil Zucchini Muffins with Caramelized Buckwheat.

4.   BuzzSumo—BuzzSumo allows you to enter a topic and see the top articles about that topic…and how many times those articles have been shared across various social media platforms…such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. My search for muffins came up with 2,278 pages of post in descending order by number of shares…the most shared of these top articles is this recipe for Toddler Muffins from AllRecipes.

5.    Content Forest is another idea generator. Simply type in your keyword for a list of previous posts about your topic…My results for my search for “muffins” began with this recipe for Cornbread Muffins from Scratch.

6. Google Correlate find associations between search trends and the keyword that you want to write about…It also shows which states that keywords is researched most frequently…Muffins are most often linked with “chocolate chips.”…Muffins are most frequently searched for in Maine…and least searched for in the states of Mississippi and Texas…

7.  Google Shopping offers the top stories, top products, and most trending items as far as shopping online.

8.  Google Trends collects data from Google Search, YouTube and Google News and then ranks the most searched for stories. These “top stories” shown as soon as you open the site can be about any topic or category…

  • The Latest Topic
  • Time…minute-by-minute data about your topic from different time periods
  • Location…the popularity of the topic in searches by geography—a certain city, the entire US, a different country, or worldwide
  • Top Related Topics
  • Breakout Related Topics
  • Related Queries…other topics being looked for that are most related to the topic that you are looking for

9. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator—Input three different nouns…get  five blog topic ideas that will get those creative juices flowing…

10.  Pinterest—of course…

11. Portent Title Maker—Honestly not so sure that I like this brainstorming tool…my search for the keyword “muffins” resulted in three simplistic titles that I would never actually use…such as “Why MUFFINS ain’t As Good As They Used To Be”…

12.  SEO Pressor is another Blog Title Generator spookily set up like Portent Title Maker…not so sure how helpful this tool could be either…My search for “muffins” resulted in the following titles…You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth Of Muffins….Five Muffins That Had Gone Way Too Far…10 Ideas To Organize Your Own Muffins…Why Is Muffins Considered Underrated?…How Muffins Is Going To Change Your Business Strategies.

13.  Tweak Your Biz—Think this might be the most useful and interesting generator on this list…My search for “muffins” came back with tons of ideas for blog post titles divided into categories such as List, Best, How-to, Questions, Love, Sex, Celebrities, Secrets, Snarks, Business, Motivation, Problems, and “The Kitchen Sink.”

 

 

3.  In-Depth Material

These are topics that you are truly interested in, actually want to learn as much as possible about, and are willing to spend time doing research on.

The amount of information on these particular topics can be overwhelming and confusing. The following six-step process has become my new best friend whenever I am tryinh to learn more about those “big topics” that I want to explore…

  • a.  Amazon…What markets are popular within your niche?…What are people searching for?…What are the most popular items related to this topic?…What the main companies are that make these products?…What are the best-selling books about this topic?…Who are the most prominent authors writing about this topic?… What can I learn from the table of contents and any other pages that I am able to “look inside”?
  • b.  Prominent Authors…Who are the most featured “experts” on this topic?…Which of these “experts” also have their own websites?… Do any of these authors give book recommendations about your topic on their websites?…Can you find these books on Kobo or some similar app?…Do any particular books about your topic honestly seem worth reading or are most of the books a total waste of time?
  • c.  Magazines…Which magazines are most likely to have published an article about this topic lately?…Now find the search engine for the particular magazine’s website ASAP(ignore everything else)…Now have any of these magazines actually written about this topic lately?
  • d. Websites…Who are the manufacturers of the products that you initially found on Amazon? Which of these manufacturers have their own websites? Which of these manufacturer websites have articles regarding my topic worth bookmarking?…(not just the products themselves…I can analyze that better on Amazon)…Which of these manufacturers have blogs that might be worth following?
  • e.  Now look at trends by using trend forecasters…Google Trends, News Me, NowRelevant, OneRiot for the Social Web, Repinly, Trending Topics on Wikipedia, Trends Buzz, Trendsmap, Trendpedia, What The Trend, and Viral Video Chart can all help you find current information on what people are searching for and popular trends.
  • f.  Keyword research tools, such as Market Samurai, can help you identify whether your content idea is a good one or not, and give you ideas for more related keywords and more potential blog post ideas.
  • g.  Other hlogs related to your topic…Use Alltop, Best of the Web Blog Search, Blog Catalog, and Bloglovin’ to find the blogs that are most likely to have posted about your given topic…bookmark these also..

 

 

Once you have done as much research about a topic that you feel like you need to…or just can’t take it anymore…it’s time to actually start writing.

The first step in writing about long-term topics is to arrange the notes that you’ve collected during research together and figure out what information you will include/not include in your writings.

Two great ways to do this are mind-mapping and outlining.

Benefits of taking the time to “mind map,” outline, or even both include helping you to…

  • decide if you even really wants to write about this topic
  • decide if you really can write an article or series about this topic
  • decide if you needs to wait on writing about this topic
  • keep from going off on some irrelevant tangent
  • plan ahead
  • provide even more value to the reader
  • save time, stress, and worry
  • stay organized and on track

Mind mapping is an educational technique that can help you see how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together into an article…and help every creative mind be even more creative.

Basic mind mapping involves writing a single keyword or main thought in the center of a whiteboard or piece of paper….and then linking associated ideas, words, and concepts around that keyword or main topic as you think of them.

Mind mapping apps currently available include..

Outlining…Almost all of us had to create outlines in high school and college, ifnot even before that…but for a quick reminder…

Choose three main points to focus on about the topic at hand. Dedicate one paragraph per main point….one article per main point if writing a series. Sketch outlines for each of these three sections. Start putting together rough drafts.

 

 

In conclusion, it’s up to you if you actually want to take the time to come up with an editorial calendar or not…this is not the key issue.

The “Big Idea” is that you create a blog that you yourself would follow.

Never post anything that you wouldn’t want to read yourself.

Heading Off to Work

Be Correct

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Okay by this point, you should have written something…anything…

You should also have resources at your disposal about the writing process from so-called “experts.”

Now comes what I actually find to be both the most rewarding and the most challenging part of the writing process—editing what you have written.

 

The amount of editing and revision that you will want to do on whatever you have written will obviously depend on what you have written and who will see what you have written.

But I have learned to look at the revision and editing process much like the zoom-in function on Mapquest…first look at the overall picture, and then zoom into different lenses as needed.

 

So let’s being with the 100% zoom-in lens…

Print out a hard copy of what you have written, and then approach the article as if you were either a reader reading this article for the very first time or a teacher grading a student’s work, not the person who has actually written it.

It is also a good idea to take the time to read the paper out loud, checking for run-on sentences, awkward pauses and transitions, unclear ideas, and other small grammatical and organization issues.

Another good idea would be to have someone else read what you have written and offer feedback. A new reader will be able to help you catch mistakes that you might have overlooked…

Examine the entire article that you have written, asking yourself “big questions” such as…

  • Am I writing this from the right point of view?
  • Am I writing this with the right tone of voice?
  • Do all of the ideas in the article make sense?
  • Do any sections or sentences need to be explained further?
  • Does the article have a specific purpose?
  • Does the article accomplish its intended purpose?
  • Have you made your best points obviously stand out?
  • Is any additional information needed?
  • Is it appropriate for my target audiences?
  • Is it clear?
  • Is it organized?
  • Is there any irrelevant information that should be deleted?
  • What is my “bottom line”?
  • What would you say is the most successful part of your article? Why?

The final step at this 100% level is to make sure that you are completely satisfied with your conclusion.

 

Now zoom down to the 75% Level and examine your paragraphs…

  • Are my paragraphs in the right order?
  • Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence?
  • Does each paragraph have enough evidence to support this topic?
  • Should any of my paragraphs be eliminated completely?

 

Then zoom down to the 50% level and examine your sentences…

  • Do all of my sentences actually make sense?
  • Do all of my sentences move easily from one sentence to the next?
  • Do all of my sentences start with short, simple words and phrases?
  • Do any of my sentences have introductory clauses that are too long?
  • Do any of my sentences seem out of context?

 

…and the 25% Level to look at the specific words…

  • Are any of the words I have used simply “extra” words that I can delete?
  • Are any of the words I have used too vague?
  • Are any of the words I have used actually misused?

 

…and finally the 10% level to look at nitty-gritty details.

  • Commas—Make sure that any sentences with two main clauses are connected with a comma and a conjunction, separated with a semicolon, or rewritten as two sentences.
  • Omitted or repeated words—Read the paper aloud slowly to make sure you haven’t missed or repeated any words.
  • Parallelism-Look through your paper for series of items and make sure these items are in parallel form.
  • Pronouns—Stop at each pronoun. Look for the noun that the pronoun replaces. If you can’t find the noun, insert a noun earlier in the writing or change the pronoun to a noun. If you do find a noun, make sure the noun and pronoun agree in both number and person.
  • Sentence Fragments—Make sure each sentence has a subject and a complete verb. Use “helping verbs” if you need to. Make sure that dependent clauses are not written as complete sentences.
  • Spelling—Move a pencil under each line of text to help you to see each word individually. Do not simply assume that using spell-check will automatically fix every misspelled or misused word in the paper.There is no shame in actually checking with a dictionary.
  • Subject/Verb Agreement—Find the subject and verb that goes with the subject in each sentence. Make sure that if the subject is plural, the verb is also plural.

 

Obviously there’s no reason to edit every single thing that you write to this extreme, but being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I have found that having a series of questions like this helps my ADHD brain to stay focused as I read something that I have already written and read too many times to count already.

Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Aggressive

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First of all, you must be aggressive…and here are a few tips how to be more aggressive regardless of your pursuit…

1.“Do IT first.” Do that one thing that you find yourself dreading to do the most first. Get it over and done with. The earlier you get it done, the less the rest of your day can interfere.

2.  Learning through experience is better than learning by watching other people do whatever it is that you yourself may want to start doing…as far as a struggling writer, that meant reading other people’s blogs and following their social media. You are your own unique person, and write what make you yourself happy. Care less about what other people who are going to see you as you start this new habit are going to think, and more about your own level and feelings.

3.  You can spend way too much time analyzing everything, thinking about getting started online, reading every article and book in sight, and never getting anything done…we could do this with anything—from cooking to running to decorating our house…but with all the available resources out there, you will probably still be trying to figure out where to start twenty years down the road.

4.  Even though you don’t have the perfect plan and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing.

As far as being an “aggressive” writer, the foremost important thing is that you simply write something…

Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or writing in complete sentences…

The important thing at this point is not how you write…but simply that you actually do write something….

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1.Say It…As a writer you should try to write an article that “involves” the reader by…entertaining and making your readers laugh…inspiring your readers… offering advice based on your own past experience and expertise…teaching your readers how to do something or make something.

A few good prompts to now start actually writing include….

  • Few people know that…
  • Few people realize that..
  • I believe that….
  • In response to…
  • In summary…
  • It has been my experience that…
  • Let me tell you a story about…
  • This is important because…

Next decide if you can add any of the following…

  • Charts…(this shows that)…
  • Definitions…(this means that)…
  • Examples…(examples of this include)…
  • Functions…(this does what)…
  • Lists…(including the following)…
  • Parts…(this consists of)…
  • Steps…(this involves)…

Title It...Choosing a title early in the writing process will help keep you focused on both your topic and your purpose. Create a title that identifies what your post is about…

Introduce It....The first paragraph should serve as a brief and simple introduction—what topic you’ll be covering, why it’s important, how the article will help to solve a problem or to answer a question.

Finish It…End with a call to action. Offer encouragement or tips on how to reach whatever goal or challenge you have set forth.

Now that you have written your “something”—whatever it may be—simply walk away…take time for what you have written to resonate in your head for a while…

Decide if what you have written is worth keeping and editing. Trash it if you need to…it’s your piece of work…

Just keep writing!!!