Showing posts with label Guided Goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guided Goals. Show all posts

A Writer's Inventory

As the year winds down, many people - I think writers, especially - recount the things they have not yet accomplished, rather than celebrate what they have done. 

So many things influence your life and productivity that are out of your control. It's really easy to be accelerating toward the end of the year and wonder what you got done, and get frustrated for not doing enough.

I say, don't be so hard on yourself. If you are on track to accomplish all of your annual goals by the end of the year, that's fabulous. If life got in the way a little too much, take an inventory of all you have accomplished. You will see you have done way more than you think.

1. Make a list of all of your wins for the year off the top of your head. This can include articles, promotions, completed works.

2. Now, give it some thought and come up with more. If you get stuck, ask peers and loved ones ... people who have your back. They'll know.

3. Make a list of all the new people you met this year. Be sure to include a memorable, personal detail.

4. Look through your connections on LinkedIn or Facebook to add to your list.

5. Make a list of all the events you attended this year. Make notes about the ones you liked and the ones you did not, so you have a reference for the future.

6. Look through your calendar to add to your list.

7. Make a list of everything you have written in the last year. Stories, articles, posts, novels, screenplays, non-fiction books. You can even include false starts. Be sure to include a note on your progress or where and when something was published.

8. Look through your computer files to add to your list.

9. Make a list of every adventure you had this year - the good and the bad. This is great fodder for fiction and non-fiction in the future.

10. Look through the list of all you accomplished. And be proud. I am sure you've done some amazing things, even if there are not all you set out to do.

Remember, you have six weeks left to check things off your list and get a few more wins. Don't be discouraged that time goes to fast. Be encouraged byy all you accomplished. And set yourself up to succeed even more.


What do you think? What is your favorite win this year? What do you hope to accomplish by the end of 2016? Please share your thoughts in the comments, so we can celebrate your wins and cheer you on. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


Fall Fresh Start: 5 Tips

With fall comes the new school year. That means a clear desk, fresh pencils, and cool new projects. 

I say: Why should kids have all the fun? Whether or not you have kids - or are in school yourself - is not important. The new year means a fresh slate. Take advantage of it.

Here are five things you can do to start the school year off right.

1. Clean your desk. When was the last time you purged extra papers, filed old projects, and saw the bottom of your desk? Take 15 minutes a few days in a row and clear things out. When you clear the clutter, you clear your mind. A fresh start begins with your work space.

2. Get new supplies. You really want some new pens, don't you? Maybe a fresh notebook or two? This is the time of year to replenish your supplies. Take advantage of all the back to school sales. And buy yourself a treat or two too.

3. Review your goals. It's important to review your goals on a regular basis. It's important to look at them daily or at least weekly. How else will you know what you want to achieve to keep it in the forefront of your mind? No judgement. Take out your goals from the beginning of the year. Note what you have done and what has changed. Celebrate wins, and move on from what is no longer relevant.

4. Set new goals. Now that you know what you have and still want to achieve, reset your goals for the rest of the year. Is there a project you've been avoiding? Something new you want to write? Fantastic. Write it down. Put your goals in a place you look at regularly. And set yourself up to achieve them.

5. Create a plan. Make appointments with yourself to work on your writing projects each week. Think of it as your personal class schedule. If you only have time to write once a week, that's fine. Just commit to it and write it down. Put all appointments in your electronic calendar, and when your alarm goes off (think school bell), sit down and write.

Kids are starting a brand new year, and you should too. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve when you clear out the clutter, put yourself on the right path, and follow through.

What do you think? How are you going to prep for a fantastic fall? Share your thoughts and tactics in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


Guest Posts & Interviews: A Plan

One way to highlight your thought-leadership on your blog is by inviting other experts to contribute. You can do this through interviews, as well as guest posts.

The process for both tactics is easy and similar....

1. Decide What you Want. Are you seeking interviews, guest posts, or both? For interviews, will you do them via phone, Skype, or via email? If email, what is the length of the post. Also determine what additional information you want: headshot and book or product image, how many links, and how long of a bio. For guest posts decide on your ideal length, as well as image needs.

2. Make a Wish List of 10 Experts. This should be a few people you know, as well as ones you want to get to know.

3. Get Contact Information. If you do not know all the people on your list persoanlly, see if you can get an intro from a friend or peer. If all else fails, tweet to them or message via their most active social media platform.

4. Write a Standard (but Customizable) Intro Email. Let them know who you are, what you are requesting, and information about your site. Include some sort of personal detail (something you like about them or their blog), so they know it is not a form letter, and request they get back to you if they'd like to move forward.

5. Write a Detailed Request. Have this ready to go for when your expert says, Yes. If you are conducting the interview, decide the details (how much time you need and how you will do it - in person, phone, Skype). If it's an email interview or guest post, give them the word count. Be sure to request images, links, and social profiles, so you can easily share the published posts. And don't forget to give a deadline. It should be at least a week before your publish date.

6. Make a Chart. Create a simple spreadsheet to track your requests, responses, and deadlines.

7. Prep your Post. Decide how you will format these contributor posts for consistency, as well as to make the process easy for you.

8. Publish. When your post is ready, schedule or publish it!

9. Share. Share the post link (with graphic for better exposure) on your social networks. Also, tweet to or tag the contributor, depending on the platform.

10. Thank Your Guests. Send the link to the post in a follow-up email, along with a thank you. You many also want to include sample social posts with a request for your guests to share. This will make sure everyone gets the most benefit out of the opportunity.

Whether you interview experts or invite people to post, it's helpful to have a plan, as well as guidelines for your guests in place. It will save you time and energy, while giving your guests tips to make the most of their exposure on your blog.

What do you think? Do you run expert interviews or guest posts on your blog? What is your process? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


How to Run a Contest on Your Blog

Do you run contents on your blog? Have you considered it?

Contests are a great way to generate content and traffic to your blog, as well as encourage engagement with your community. Plus, it gives you material to share on your social media sites.

A regular contest translates into low-maintenance, ongoing content. For instance, I run a contest every month on my website and community for writers: Write On Online. Anyone who posts goals on the website or Facebook page, throughout the month, is entered to win a book from Michael Wiese Productions, a screenwriting and film publishing company. A winner is chosen at random.

Here are a few easy options of free contests to run on your blog:

Photo Contest: Have entrants share an image, related to a theme or in some way, your business.

Essay Contest: Ask readers submit a story of a defined length on a specific topic.

Sweepstakes: This is the lowest barrier to entry. Your audience members simply need to enter their email address for a chance to win a prize at random. This is another way to add subscribers to your newsletter list.

To create a contest, you must also establish and publish rules, a deadline, judges (if applicable), and prizes ahead of time. Prizes can be as simple as a copy of your latest book or consulting time from your business specialty.

Now, here's the best part. Contest give you automatic blog posts, since you need:

  • Contest launch and rules (you'll also want a standard page on your blog with rules)
  • Deadline reminders (for early-bird and regular deadline, if relevant)
  • Winner announcement and posts

Contests don't have to be complicated, they just need to be representative of your site.

Note: If you do a contest in relation to a social network, check their Terms of Use before posting anything on the platform.

What do you think? Do you run contests on your blog? What kinds of contents to you find most effective? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


5 Ways to Find a New Idea


I previously shared 5 pursuits to inspire creativity, as well as ways to get unstuck. While you can use activity to find inspiration and breathe life into your projects, sometimes what you really need is a new idea.

Whether you are writing blog posts, prose, or long-form fiction or non-fiction, sometimes you need to go back to basics and find a kernel of an idea to get you started.

Here are 5 places to find ideas, as well as how to use them for non-fiction or fiction.

1. Explore Social media. 
See what's up on your favorite social media pages and groups.

Non-Fiction: Check out which newbies are doing what in your field. Then, reach out to some of these up-and-comers, and see if they would be interested in being interviewed This could turn out to be a profile for your blog, an article to pitch, or a feature that includes several people doing interesting things in your field. 

Fiction: Social media is a great place to seek out character traits, including descriptions, hobbies, and even jobs. Sometimes a great character is all you need for a fabulous story.

2. Read Books. Writers should be readers.

Non-Fiction: Write a list post of books to recommend your readers. Lump books together on a certain theme or topic. Start with ideas that interest you, because, if you get excited about a topic, it's likely your readers will too.

Fiction: Pick a page, a paragraph, and a line in a random book on your shelf. Or go to a library and pick something new. That line is the start of your next story or novel. Okay, this may not work for a long-form project, but when you give yourself the mandate to write at least a few pages about any random thing, it will certainly rev up your creativity.

3. Watch Videos. Dive into someone else's world.

Non-Fiction: Take a topic you've always been curious about or find a person who seems interesting, do a search, and watch some videos. Something within this exploration will make a good topic.

Fiction: This is a great place to people-watch (and find character traits) without leaving the comfort of home. Since this is a visual medium, pay close attention to the way people interact. Look at body language and listen for dialects.

4. Have a Conversation. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Or else, strike up a conversation with someone while waiting in line.

Non-Fiction: You never know what you can discover about someone unless you really pay attention when they speak. This person may have a great lead for a post idea ...or this person may be that great idea!

Fiction: Take someone's story and fictionalize it: minimize or exaggerate it! Have fun with this one. 

5. Make a List. Write a list of anything that has ever piqued your curiosity. 

Non-Fiction: Pick something at random to learn and then write about it. If it's a long-term project, write a monthly update on your progress.

Fiction: Challenge yourself to write a story incorporating no fewer than 20 items on the list. Feeling gutsy? Go for 50.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The more you seek them out, you will see that ideas are everywhere.

Where do you go to find ideas, especially when ideas elude you? Share your recommendations in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


5 Pursuits to Inspire Creativity

When was the last time you stepped away from the computer and got creative? If you have to think about it, then it has been too long.

A regular dose of creativity will keep the inspiration flowing, when it's time to put pen to paper.

Here are 5 things you can (that aren't writing) to spark your creativity,

1. Make Art. Draw, sketch, doodle. Paint, papier-mâché, crochet. Design a tree-house. Or build one. Even if you don't consider yourself an artist, step out of your creative comfort zone and make something. As your hands are occupied, allow your mind to wander. You could solve a creative problem or imagine something new.

2. Get Outside. There are plenty of things outside that inspire creativity - you just need to open your eyes and look around. Go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride. Or plant and tend to a garden. Fresh air is invigorating, not to mention healthy. 

3. Go Dancing. There are social, physical, and mental benefits to going out dancing. And I certainly recommend it. However, you can get the latter two without leaving your home. Schedule a daily dance break. Set an alarm, and when it goes off, put on your favorite radio station or song, turn up the volume, and dance.

4. Cook or Bake. Cooking and baking are two of the most creative things you can do. And, as a bonus, you get eat the fruits of your labor. Whether you follow a recipe (which you have to do to some extent when you bake although decorations are up for grabs) or create as you go, remember to have fun.

5. Have an Adventure. Enjoy the creativity of others. Take a field trip to a museum or art gallery, go to a booksigning, or see a show. Support other artists. At least for me, nothing is more inspiring that seeing and appreciating the creative work of others. 

A few months ago, I shared some tips on how to get unstuck when writing. Well, you don't need to find yourself at a loss for words as an excuse to get creative. You can't avoid getting stuck all the time, but you can decrease the likelihood.


Schedule (yes, schedule) time to be creative to remain inspired as much as possible. 

What creative things do you pursue in addition to writing? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


10 Tips for Networking


While a lot of writers prefer to stay behind the keyboard than go out and about, networking is an essential part of developing any business. It's a great way to find potential clients, publications, interview opportunities, and so on. 

Sure, there are numerous places to network online. And you should do those too! However, nothing compares to meeting people and developing relationships the old-fashioned way: IRL (in real life).

Don't just look for events that relate directly to your industry. Find things that relate to your other interests and hobbies, since you are more likely to discover a better cross-section of people with topics open to enthusiastic conversation.

Here are 4 ways to find events:

1. Search Online. Many good events are posted on the web. Make it part of your routine to search Meetup and Eventbrite for fun, local opportunities. 

2. Ask for Recommendations. Post a social media update that you are looking for events in your area and/or on a specific topic. LinkedIn updates will likely get more visibility and response than more cluttered social networks.

3. Go to Booksignings and Workshops. Search the calendar listings for your local bookstore, library, or coworking space. There's an added potential benefit. If you are able to make friends with the speakers/authors, they will likely want to reciprocate and go to your events too.


4. Keep an Eye on Your Friends. See what events your friends post about. Perhaps you could even go together. (Also see the next tip.)

These are 3 ways to meet people once you get there:

1. Bring a Friend. Events are easier when faced as a team. Team up with a wingmen (or wingwomen) when you go out networking and meet people together. You can even take turns finding events.

2. Make a Friend. See that nice-looking person who is standing alone? Go say "hi" and strike up a conversation. Then, go meet more new people as a team. This could be a win-win situation.

3. Volunteer. The best way to meet people at an event is to volunteer. Whether you are doing a check in, standing at the help desk, or assisting in any other way, people have a reason to talk to you and vice versa. This is perfect for shy people who are looking to get out of their comfort zones.

And 3 tips for following up. 

1. Trade Business Cards. Make sure to leave a business card with your new contacts, so you can stay in touch. Get their cards too. When you get home, make notes on the back of their card with any memorable details so you can make follow-up more personal.

2. Connect on Social Media. Within a day of the event send a connection request on LinkedIn or other social network. Be sure to include a note meeting them about the event and/or something that stood out in your conversation. That added touch could make a world of difference.

3. Continue the Conversation. Make a note on your calendar to follow up. If they ask for more info about your business, send it. If they are considering using your services, check in a week or two after the fact. If they have a potential referral for you, ask. These should be friendly (not hard-sell) interactions. The frequency and content will depending on the nature of your developing relationship.

Remember, networking should be fun. You will attract more people if you are having a good time, even if you have to "fake it til you make it."  You never know where a new relationship can lead.

What tips do you have for networking? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


5 Tips for Your Bio


Whatever business you are in - author, marketer, entrepreneur - you need a bio. In a lot of cases, it's someone's first impression of you.

Here are 5 things you need to know about writing your bio.

1. Write Several Bios. Since you use bios in different places, you'll need versions of various lengths. 

  • A mini one (two lines) for your byline and perhaps the first page of your website.
  • A concise bio (one paragraph) to incorporate into query and pitch letters.
  • A short bio (two to three paragraphs) for your blog, website, and/or book cover.
  • A long bio for your media kit or when people want additional information about you.
  • Bonus: A future bio: As a fun exercise, write what you want your bio to read a year from now. A future bio will help you stay focused on your aspirations.Just remember to write it in the present tense and to look at on a regular basis. (Keep it near your goals.)
Sometimes it's easy to start with the shortest bio, and then grow the different versions. I recommend beginning with the two- to three-paragraph bio. Then make the more concise versions, before expanding to the long one.


Note: If you are a multi-hyphenate, you may need alternate sets of bios with different emphases.

2. Start from Scratch. People sometimes get tripped up writing their bio, based on their resume or LinkedIn profile. A bio is not a list, it's a narrative, sharing your accomplishments, experience, and expertise. 

Start by reading a previous bio or resume (as a reminder), and then do a brainstorm draft from scratch. Once you get the words out, feel free to double check and make sure you included everything. Then revise until you are comfortable with it.

3. Write After Networking. The best time to write a bio is after you have been at a networking event. You have likely spent a fair bit of time introducing yourself, so your background will be in easy-recall mode.

4. Ask Friends. Curious about which of your characteristics stand out? Ask your friends and peers. People who know and trust you will offer a unique, unbiased perspective. They will definitely come up with things that didn't occur to you.

5. Review and Revise Regularly. In this fast-paced world, your experience and achievements are constantly changing. Once you settle on a bio (or bios) you like, put it in your schedule review and update it on a regular basis. My recommendation is to add a quarterly reminder to your calendar. 

Bonus: Add Your Headshot. No bio is complete without a photo. Don't just tell people who you are, show them. A visual cue will make you more memorable and recognizable, especially when you meet people in person who you only previously met virtually. It's an awesome feeling when people come up and introduce themselves because they know you from your picture.

When you write any bio, remember to use your own tone and style. It's another way for new people to get to know you through your words.

What tips do you have for writing a bio? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


10 Tips to Achieve Writing Goals in the New Year


It's just over a week into 2016. And, odds are, most people have either set goals and forgotten about them OR forgot to set goals. Regardless, there's still time to set yourself up for success in the new year.

Here are 10 things you can do to set and achieve writing goals in the new year. (Yes, this works for other types of goals, as well...)

1. Write down all of your writing goals for the year. Do you want to write a book, a screenplay, or novel? Would you like to create a certain number of songs, poems ,stories, or articles? Is starting a blog on the horizon? Or do you really need to develop a full-on marketing and social media plan to get your writing out there?

2. Chose two or three projects you want to accomplish by the end of the year.

3. Then on separate pages (one for each project), write down everything you need to do to get each one of them done. Brainstorm benchmarks and tasks in any order. So for a book or a screenplay, each draft might be a benchmark, while each chapter, act, or a certain number of page counts as a task. If your goal is to a book deal, perhaps your first benchmark is to find an agent, and then tasks would include researching agents, networking for recommendations, sending X number of queries a month.

4. Now, prioritize. Determine what more important: Starting a blog or finishing your book? Self-publishing that chap book of poems or finding a publisher for your novel? The reason you want to have more than one project going at one time is it's inevitable at some point (or at many points) you will get stuck. It's nice to have a secondary project to work on if you need to give your mind a break from the primary. Also, when you get moving on one project, it will likely inspire you to propell the other one forward.

5. Determine how much time you have each week to dedicate to your projects, and put appointments in the calendar as the time you work on them.

6. Set deadlines for your primary project. If you want to get a complete draft done by December, how much progress must you make each week and each month? Put the due dates for your benchmarks in your calendar and set reminders to keep you on track.

If you would like, set deadlines for your secondary project(s), as well. But be realistic. It's better to set and exceed realistic goals than to overwhelm yourself. It's common for people to just give up when they feel like they are falling too far behind. And no one wants that.

7. Put your goals in a place you look at every day. Also, create a visual representation of the finished product and display it where you write. For example, tack up the last page of your manuscript with the words "The End" or mock up a book cover. If you have a constant reminder of what you are working toward, you are more likely to achieve it.

8. Track your progress. Remember the appointments you set? Each day, after you complete your writing time, add what you did that day to your calendar. This way, if you ever feel like you are not progressing fast enough, you can look at the time spent and accomplishments and realize you are doing pretty well.

9. Don't give up. If life gets in the way and you get off track, take a second, catch your breath, forgive yourself, and move forward. Things happen. Adjust any deadlines and get back to work. It may take a little longer, but it's all good.

10. Celebrate the small and large wins. When you reach an benchmark, celebrate. When you reach a goal, really celebrate. Treat yourself to something to acknowledge and appreciate all of your hard work.

Remember, achieving goals is a snap if you look at your goals every day, constantly put in the time, and work toward the finish line. You can do it!

Good luck!

Let us know your goals for the year in the comments. You can also post and report on weekly goals on the Write On Online Facebook page.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


10 Goals for Your Blog


The beginning of the year means a clean slate. Even if you fell off the blog-wagon sometime this year, you will be able to start anew in just a few short weeks. Here are 10 goals to set your blog up for success in 2016.

1. Stay on Theme. Most people use blogging to illustrate their expertise. However it’s easy to get off topic and sway from your focus. This year, make a goal to always blog in tune to your mission statement, theme or tag line. Don’t have a tag line? Write one. What short phrase describes your blog? Come up with about 20 ideas and pick the best one. Then, whenever you start to write a blog post, you can ask yourself if it fits your tag. If it does, perfect. If it doesn’t, figure out a way so it’s in-line with your blog or save it for a later writing project.

2. Blog Consistently. Decide on how often you want to post a new blog, and then stay on schedule. Pick one or two days a week. (Note they should be the same day or days.) Then stick to your schedule. Set up an expectation for your audience, so they know what days to come to your blog to read a new post. And don’t let them down.

3. Write Complete Content. All blog posts should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Make sure you adhere to some sort of structure and that your thoughts are complete, so the content you create is valuable and easy to understand. Don’t forget to add a call to action to comment or share at the end of each post.

4. Edit Posts. Nothing gives a hit to your credibility quite like spelling and grammatical errors. Before hitting publish, take a little time to review your posts. Run spell check, read it out loud, read it backwards (that’s a fun trick for finding errors). Or do all of the above. Properly edited posts look professional and are an awesome reflection on you!

5. Add Images. You probably already know that every post should have an image to illustrate your point and draw in readers. If you want, use a site like Canva or PicMonkey to create a custom image with your blog post title. You can use this at the top of your articles and to promote it on social media sites.

6. Categorize and Tag Content. Whenever you create content, put it in the relevant category on your blog – it’s an excellent way to keep your posts organized. Also, add tags (keywords) to make your article easy to find when people search.

7. Keep Ahead of Schedule. Notice I said “ahead of” not “on” schedule, though that’s important too. If you find you have some extra time, write a few blog posts in advance. Try to have articles that are due, ready to go a week in advance. That way you are not constantly struggling to make deadline. Plus, it will help with goal #2: Blog Consistently.

8. Share. Share each post on all your social networks. People can’t read your posts if they do not know about them.

9. Step It Up. You know that big interview you’ve been wanting to purse? Or that article you keep meaning to write, but put off because it’s “so much work”? How about your decision to start a podcast or do video interviews? Well, stop talking about it and start doing it. This is your year. Do what you can to add extra value, multimedia and/or oomph to your blog. You’ve reached goals 1 – 8. You’ve got this. Now, step it up!

10. Enjoy Your Blog. This is something I find myself saying regularly: Everything you work on should be at least a little bit (if not a lot) fun for you. If you are not enjoying the content you write, write something else. You can’t expect your audience to become invested in it … or in you as a writer … if you are not enthusiastic about your material. It’s your blog, you created it for a reason. Have fun with it!

Post your blog link in the comments, so we can all enjoy your writing too! Happy Blogging!

Note: I employed nearly all of these tactics in writing this post. Still working on #7: once a writer on deadline, always a writer on deadline ...

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

She is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


How to Find Time to Write this Season

The holidays are upon us and I know what you’re thinking: “How on earth am I going to get any writing done between now and the end of the year?”

There’s shopping, holiday parties (hosting and attending) and events, and various distractions that seem to only happen in November and December. Here’s a secret. We have lots of pockets of time throughout the day when we could be writing. Use them.

 Here are five places to find time to write during the busy holiday season.

  1. While Waiting. Whether you are waiting to meet someone, for an appointment. Or in line, take out a notebook or start writing down your thoughts on your mobile device. 
  2. In Transit. Voice to text technology has gotten so much better (anyone reading remember when you had to train your voice recognition software?). Verbalize your ideas while en route, just make sure you don’t get over-enthusiastic or distracted. 
  3. During Exercise. Why not also use record your thoughts while working out? Your mind is clear, so you’ll probably come up with some fantastic ideas. 
  4. Get Up Early. Set your alarm to go off 15 to 30 minutes early, and get in some writing before you start your day. Yes, you can also stay up late.
  5. Swap Time. We all need downtime, but just swap just one television episode or 15 minutes of social media time for writing time every other day. When you see your progress, it will be worth it. 

And here are five things to write when only you have a short period of time:

  1. Journal.. Are you happy? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Amused by something you just saw? Write it down. Gather your emotions and observations, and write them down as fuel for future projects. 
  2. Ideas. Similar to journaling, keep a dedicated notebook or computer document for all ideas to use in future writing projects. They don’t even have to be complete thoughts, a list of ideas will serve the same purpose. This is the perfect distraction while waiting in long lines at checkout. 
  3. Blog Post Draft. Perhaps you will not have a complete, ready to go blog post in 15 minutes, but you can certainly write a draft. And then rewrite it on your next 15 minute block of time.
  4. A Pitch. Write a query for a book, article, story, screenplay. 
  5. Your Work in Progress. A few minutes here and there on your work in progress will add up. Granted, more time is better. But even if you add words to your non-fiction book, novel, or screenplay for a few minutes a day, it will stay on top of mind and continue to progress.
  6. Bonus: Edit. Anything. 

Don’t let the busy holiday season keep you  from writing. Use those pockets of time to move forward and keep you happily distracted from the craziness of the season.

* * *
Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

She is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


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