The Writers Circle: Helpful Websites

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

With NaNoWriMo less than a week away, thoughts for many people turn to ways to build higher word counts.  But whether you are participating in NaNoWriMo or not, sometimes having help getting motivated to write is a good thing. There are many websites out there that are designed to encourage you to write more words quickly and save the editing for later.  What are some of your favorite sites and tools to help motivate you and increase your writing output?

Let’s discuss this in the comments or on the forums and see what our community thinks.

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The Writers Circle: Remodeling Your Blog

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

How often do you change the look-and-feel of your writing blog? What happens to make you think or know it’s time to update the look, or do you just do so every so often whether it needs it or not? How much time and effort do you put into maintaining the way your blog looks versus how much time you put into providing content for it?

 

Discuss this topic here in the comments or head on over to the forums to start or engage in a more thorough discussion.

27+ Tips I Wish I’d Known About Blogging

blogA while ago, I wrote a post about what I’d wished I’d known before I started blogging. You can read the article here; I’ll summarize the six gold nuggets I share with new bloggers:

  • only reblog 10% of someone else’s post.
  • hot links are bad.
  • it takes a long time to write a post
  • I need to be myself.
  • it’s easier than it sounds.
  • it’s harder than it sounds

I got a lot of responses to that post, with readers sharing what they wish they’d known when they started blogging as well as what they’d learned since. Which one’s resonate with you?

  1. I agonize over pushing the “publish” button.
  2. I needed more tools on how to blog. I wish I’d researched more.
  3. It’s a learning experience.
  4. Keep up a regular schedule of posts. This is the difference between 10 views and 100. Once a week minimally.
  5. I schedule my posts a week in advance, so it fits better with my life.
  6. The first time I blogged, I gave up because I did not know it took time to build a readership.This time, I’m ready.
  7. I like to think of blogging as using your non-dominant hand – it sharpens all facets of my writing brain.
  8. It is hard work, but anything worthwhile is.
  9. I wish I’d set up an email address just for my blog.
  10. Keep personal information private. It’s tempting to hang it all out there, but don’t. Being a digital citizen has rights AND responsibilities; one of those is to protect privacy.
  11. Respond to comments. Engage with your community. Yes, this takes time, but that’s what blogging’s about.
  12. I had no idea how much time I would spend connecting with other bloggers.
  13. Read other blogs and comment.
  14. Blogs cost money if done right. If you don’t use one of the all-in-one-free packages (like WordPress), you need hosting, a domain, problem solving, maintenance help, not to mention SEO guidance.
  15. Your voice is your blog. Don’t be afraid to let it out.
  16. Give lots of credit to others in your posts–especially if you use their material. Linkbacks are easy. Trackbacks bring your blog to the attention of others who might come visit.
  17. Blogging is fun. Make time for it.
  18. Push your blog posts out to your social networks.
  19. Be careful with pictures. If they aren’t in the public domain, you can’t use them without permission. A linkback isn’t sufficient!
  20. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
  21. You’ll want to quit a hundred times as you wait to build readers, gain traction, accomplish your goals. Remind yourself why you started. If that reason hasn’t changed, continue blogging.
  22. Don’t expect to make money blogging. It rarely happens. Do it for other reasons.
  23. Today’s blogging is not yesterday’s journaling. Now, it’s focused, purposeful, and uses correct grammar and spelling.
  24. Work smarter by using tools that are available: editorial calendars, Hootsuite, Twitterdeck, Google Analytics.
  25. I wish I would have done my homework upfront to research the different blogging platforms and educated myself on the pros and cons.
  26. I had no idea about the communities, linkups, sharing and connecting available to help new and experienced bloggers.
  27. Be proud of what you blog about. If you aren’t, change it.

What would you add to this list?


 

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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The Writers Circle: Planning vs. Pantsing

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

Do you plan your pieces out before beginning to write? If you are a planner, what tools do you use to keep track of your outlines or other plans before writing?

Or do you jump right into the blank page and start writing by the seat of your pants? If you are a “pantser”, do you have any tricks or strategies for keeping your story on track?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.

The Writers Circle: Blogs

TWC
One of our goals here at Today’s Author is to help all of the writers among us to do what we love to do: write. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by talking to each other and learning from each other.  Our Writers Circle series is designed to do just that – provide a chance for us to discuss writing, editing and publishing questions.

This week’s topic is:

Do you have a writing-related blog? Is it focused only on your writing, or do you post other types of things to it as well? Is it confusing to readers if you have more than one blog?

Let’s discuss this in the comments and see what our community thinks.