Monday, April 20, 2015

26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 1

Last month, I read Annie Duguid’s post on the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I fell for it. I love challenges!

Every day for the month of April, with the exception of Sundays, I have blogged on the theme, Out of Africa. However, I also hate wasting time, and so I needed a purpose in this challenge, so I wouldn't just spend a lot of time writing posts that a few people would read and enjoy.

So I looked for ways to maximize the content and utilize it in other ways. I've decided to share some of these ideas with you over the next few months. True to the theme of the A to Z Challenge, I’m going to list them in alphabetical order. So here are the first three of 26 reasons to blog. More to follow next month!

1.  A is for Awareness. 
  •  As writers, we’re always hearing of the importance of branding. Blogging gets you out there, sharing your brand, without consciously having to think about it. 
  • As soon as I started the challenge, I became aware that I needed to let others know about my posts. So I advertised them on Social Media. 
  • I write ahead, so that if anything happens one day to make blogging impossible, I won’t fall behind. However, that made me more aware of the need to schedule in advance. Each time I complete a post, I schedule a promotion on Face book, on Twitter (using HootSuite) and on iContact (for those who want to be notified of a new post).
  • So the regular blogging makes others aware of me, as well as making me more aware of them. 

2.  B is for Better Writing. 
  • It is a well-known fact that the road to becoming a writer is to write. Committing to a regular blog disciplines me to keep writing. 
  • Because I have a specific topic, Out of Africa, my search for topics is narrowed. 
  • The idea of choosing titles alphabetically is a great one, as it narrows my search down even more. At the same time, the theme is wide enough to allow for a range of ideas: B could have been the country of Benin, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, or the Baboon, a member of the monkey family.
  • Once I select the topic, I need to write, and get the post finished. Because my goal for this particular series is to share the continent of Africa with those who may never be able to visit, the posts are a little longer than they would normally be—something which I will consider when the month is over. In order to keep up the momentum long term, the posts need to be shorter. 

3.  C is for Challenge. And oh yes, it’s a challenge. 
  • Some letters are easy. Sometimes, the problem is deciding which one of several I could use. I've noticed some writers do in fact list several options, like “L is or Lollipop, Lazy and Luxury.” That may suit the theme of their blogs, but it doesn’t work for mine. 
  • I learned fairly soon that if I wanted to use good images, I needed to chose a topic that had plenty free-for-use images available, or one where I had plenty of my own photographs. 
  • So in choosing the topic to write, I now consider: do I want to use images? If so, how available are they? Some days I have spent as long, if not longer, hunting for photographs as I have done writing the post. Not clever.
How about you? Do you blog regularly? Can you see how any of these points would help you? Do you have any other suggestions that would fall under these three headings? Please leave a comment below. Oh, and here's my A to Z Blog, Out of Africa, if you're interested.

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, which evolved from her Jottings Journal has brought encouragement and inspiration to a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.com where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or Facebook.

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9 comments:

  1. I love sharing series like this with my Google Plus followers. Thanks for the reminder that a couple of my blogs need attention, Shirley!
    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Multi Award-Winning Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers including the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo) and the new paperback release of the second edition of The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor)

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  2. Shirl, what great reasons to blog. I love how you're using an alphabet series to give them!

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    1. Thank you Karen. I found this fun, drawing up 26 reasons in alphabetical order. This is actually a great way to draw up a blogging series, and I intend to use it in the future!

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  3. I am quietly following Out of Africa, Shirley and learning such a lot. What a clever idea to consider using the alphabet motif for your Reasons to Blog series. Looking forward to following them all. :-)

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    1. Thanks Annie. I've been following you as well. I comment whenever I can but sometimes it doesn't go through and I move on. So many blogs. So little time. :-)

      Shirley Corder from
      Out of Africa - Topics from A to Z

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  4. I agree with everyone. What a great series idea! Your points are great--this is a keeper. I'm looking forward to the rest of this terrific series.

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    1. Thank you Linda. I've drafted the entire series and feel enthusiastic. I've learned so much through participating in this A to Z Challenge - including what to avoid when committing to a series!

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  5. Thank you Shirley for your article on A to Z Challenge. I have been cleaning out my files and found several A to Z lists I saved. Just titles not complete.I never thought of using some as blog posts. I've been wanting to revamp my blog. This could be a great direction to go in. This will make writing posts much easier.

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