Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts

Writing, Reading & Learning

As writers, we are always looking for inspiration, whether we want to revitalize old writing projects or start on new ones.

Last month, on GoalChatLive, I discussed about writing, reading, and learning - and how all three work together - with authors Judy Baker, Guy Morris, and Lisa Niver. Judy Baker is the Book Marketing Mentor, Guy Morris specializes in intelligent action thrillers, and Lisa Niver is author of Brave-ish. The panel shares their writing journey and projects, thoughts on reading, advice for writing, and so much more.

Their Writing Proceses

  • Guy: Begins with the premise, does 2 to 3 years of research, then outlines, writes first draft, edits, edits, edits, does more research, more edits. 
  • Judy: Starts by dictating to get the ideas out, since she edits too much when writing. Also, she uses music and aromas to get in the zone, since the more senses you can involve, the deeper your writing.
  • Lisa: Uses her teaching background and gives herself homework. She seeks inspiration - music, notes, videos - and uses that as resource.     

Writing Goals 

  • Judy: Find something you are grateful for and write about it. It sets you up for a positive mindset … you will be far more productive 
  • Guy: Learn to love to learn. Find out what you want to know and then learn it. 
  • Lisa: Get a book out of the library and start reading it. 
  • Summary: Write for 5 minutes a day, learn for 5 minutes a day, read (or listen to an audiobook) for 5 minutes a day

Watch our conversation.

Final Thoughts 

  • Lisa: Take advantage of the change of season to set goals and make new plans. 
  • Guy: Never let your past define your future. Keep moving forward. You and your writing will get where you want to go. 
  • Judy: Your book marketing is like growing a garden. Plant new seeds every day.
Whether your focus is on fiction or non-fiction writing, look at things differently, so you can breathe new life into your work  

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For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin! 

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How do you reinvigorate your writing? Please share in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; host of  #GoalChatLive aka The DEB Show podcast and Taste Buds with Deb. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Words to Live By


Words to Live By - The Three Gates

Sometimes, you read a quote or adage that makes you want to share it. This is one of them and I thought it's so appropriate for the beginning of a new year.

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, as yourself, “Is it true?”

At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”
~ Sufi Saying

While this really doesn’t have much to do with writing fiction, as an author, it’s a great way to live life.

According to Psychology Today,

“Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength. Kindness is an interpersonal skill.”

Come to think of it, a children’s books on the virtues of kindness, as long as it’s done subtly!

This post was originally published at:


Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!


What Marching Armies Lack

I thought I'd share a little inspiration today.

It comes from an interesting YA novel, a historical fiction/fantasy mash-up where the narrators talk directly to the reader and play really fast and loose with the facts of the history...and science.  It's My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.

Here's the quote I loved, by our bookworm heroine who's bored on a long military march:  

"Armies aren't very good about carrying libraries with them. I can't imagine why. We'd fight so much less if everyone would just sit down and read."  

Ah, how true it is.  So, my fellow writers, keep on writing.  Maybe someday, somewhere, somebody will sit down and read your work instead of engaging in other more unsavory pursuits.  It's a long shot for world peace...but I've always believed in the power or books to open people's minds and change their hearts.  

Do Not Give Up: Seek Inspiration

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
All writers experience it: low times. A low time can rear its ugly head after a particularly painful rejection, a bad case of writer's block, or in my current challenge, a serious case of lack of writing time. At times like these there is only one thing to do: Seek inspiration.

So before you make those New Year's resolutions, spend a little time filling your well with inspiration. Jot down inspirational sayings and thoughts that speak to you—tack them onto your bulletin board and read them periodically throughout the New Year.

Read the Tea Leaves

During a recent visit with one of my daughters, I delighted in sharing a quiet moment with her sipping a cup of tea at the end of the day. Our favorite? Yogi Bedtime Tea (Yogi tea in its many varieties is sold at most major grocery and natural food stores). My daughter would read her saying to me and ask me what mine said, and we would revel in the simple yet profound sayings before taking our first sip.

I keep an envelope with some of my favorite inspirational sayings, many snipped from the strings on my teabags, and am considering using one of the Yogi sayings in the front pages of my WIP book. Enjoy a few from my collection:
  • “Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self.”
  • "Happiness comes from contentment.”
  • “Your intuition is your best friend.”
  • “Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life.”
  • “Let things come to you.”
  • “Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”
  • “I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. “ - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) A saying from a Good Earth teabag.
Inspirational sayings Tacked onto My Bulletin Board
  • “I began to wonder if this was why I’m not afraid of the work it takes to write a novel. For me, writing isn’t work. It’s fun. It’s a creative exploration into my characters, their world, the possible points of view the story could be written in, or the possible scenes that could exist. It’s about exploring how wide and deep and wonderful a story can be, rather than seeing it as a straight shot from beginning to end. It’s not time to work on this revision. It’s time to play with this revision. I’m going to open my manuscript and not work, but play.” -  Ingrid’s Notes
  • A note about Ingrid Sundberg:  I’ve been following Ingrid Sundberg’s blog for years and gain a great deal of inspiration from her. She is the author of the YA novel all we left behind, critiques manuscripts, and has recently begun teaching high school. If you don’t know her, I recommend visiting her blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.
  • “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -  Anton Chekhov, known to be one of the greatest short fiction writers in history.
  • “Art can heal anything and everything. Go and give and give and give. And when you give it all, it comes back to you.” -  Ben Vereen  
  • A note about Ben Vereen: Ben Vereen, an “accomplished and versatile” entertainer has appeared on Broadway, performed many one-man shows in the US and abroad, played Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong, has had many appearances on TV and has accomplished much more. Vereen holds a special place in my heart because of his courage in keeping his terrific attitude after losing his 16-year-old daughter in an auto accident, and suffering critical injuries from three accidents in one day.
  • “You’re dealt a hand of cards. You can choose to play it out—or not. I think the game is worthwhile, I really do.”  Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a spinal cord injury after being thrown from a  horse. 
  • Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. I’m an audiobook fan and became inspired by Cranston’s story and advice in his autobiography audiobook, read by him,:A Life in Parts.
  • "Learning never exhausts the mind," Leonardo daVinci, heard on CNN Fareed Zakaria's GPS show on Sunday morning.
Benefit from Other Writers’ Wisdom
  • “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” - Isabel Allende, the Chilean-American author of The House of the Spirits.
  • “Kill your darlings. Even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King. One of the main inspirations I draw from Stephen King, and there are many, is how he gave up on his first book, Carrie, and threw it in the trash. His wife found it and advised him that it was good—keep going. When he finally finished it, it was rejected 30 times!
  • “Start telling the stories that only you can tell.” - Neil Gaiman, celebrated English author of American Gods, Coraline, and Sandman comics.
  • "Be daring, take on anything. Don't labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind." - Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 40 novels, plays and novellas, and many volumes of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
As you begin the New Year, take heart. Inspiration can be found in likely places, and hidden in places you might least expect. You will feel renewed and ready to best any battle that should come along.

    Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at

    Inspiration is Everwhere!

    I read a lot of blogs about writing, I watch a lot of webinars about book marketing, and I read quite a few newsletters from organizations that support independent authors. I love learning about the industry and catching up on the latest information and tips. But, recently, I opened a newsletter from an organization that I hadn’t read in a while. And I just grinned from ear-to-ear. It was a blog that obviously I had signed up for years ago when I was searching for more positivity in my life.

    We all have those times in our lives where things aren’t going just right and we wonder what it’s all about. I had gone through a divorce a few years earlier and while it was very upsetting to me on a faith level (divorce isn’t acceptable in my religion), I felt liberated. I had been in an abusive relationship and leaving was the best feeling I had ever had. So, that wasn’t my difficult time. No, it was later. I had re-married a wonderful man and had a beautiful daughter and while we had our up’s and down’s, nothing was really “wrong.” But, life just wasn’t turning out the way I had planned. It caused me to question everything. During that time, I had a good friend suggest I keep a Gratitude Journal.

    I don’t know if any of you keep a Gratitude Journal but I can tell you when I started, it was difficult. I mean I only had to write down 5 things I was thankful for and I couldn’t think of one. Okay, maybe my friend who suggested I write the journal but since it was a frustrating exercise, maybe no! Ha! Anyway, even if I wrote I was thankful for air to breathe and that the sun was shining that day, well, that’s what it was. But, pretty soon, I could easily come up with 5 things and sometimes more than 5. And the things I was grateful for became more meaningful too. And surprisingly, I became a much happier person. Okay, maybe not too surprising to those of you reading now, but to me, at that time, I didn’t really think keeping a Gratitude Journal would do too much to help me. And I’m a therapist! I should know better. Ah, helper, help thyself, right?!

    Anyway, back to the main subject of this post which is the blog I stumbled back upon. It struck me as I was reading that day’s post and searching around their site, that my passion is positivity! I hadn’t noticed it before but I love sharing funny videos, memes, and feel good stories on social media. I don’t engage in fighting with people online. I don’t see the point. I love puppies, and kittens, and goats jumping around in sweaters. I love sharing stories where someone helps someone else.

    I had started writing children’s books that had positive character messages in them, but someone recently pointed out that there’s a lot of psychology in my books too. I have really been trying to figure out my niche. I had a Marketing Consultant tell me that I do Character Education. I agree, but I knew I did more than that. This positivity blog helped me realize that my vision is bigger than that. I want to encourage others to focus on the bright side of life. Be grateful. Love and help one another. That is who I am at my core. That is my passion!

    So, inspiration is everywhere. Even in your inbox. What will you discover today that will inspire you?

    Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at and follow her on Facebook at

    How to Get a Writing Win

    We've all had those days, weeks, and months. Nothing is going right. Articles are getting rejected. Clients are being difficult. Inspiration is waning. You're in a rut and your not sure how to get out of it.

    Well, when that happens all you need is a win to set you on the right path. I know, I'm saying this like a "win" is easy. In a way it is. It doesn't need to be a big win. Just something that will boost your confidence and reset your mindset.

    Here's what you can do to get a win:

    1. Define Your Win. Your win can be as simple as writing a review for a friend's book on Amazon or podcast on iTunes, or a recommendation or testimonial. It will make you feel good and your friend ecstatic. 

    You can also complete a task you've been meaning to do, but never seem to find the time. This can mean updating your bio, media, or speaking page on your website or blog; refreshing your LinkedIn profile; or researching a new publication and sending out a pitch or two.

    Do you want a slightly larger win? Write an article or guest post, complete a draft of your work in progress, or outline a new one.

    Choose something that you can easily accomplishing in a short period of time, so you get back on track. Note: this doesn't even have to be a writing win. If you have a small personal goal, like cleaning your office or start exercising, that works too.

    2. Get it Done. Work on your win as soon as you finish reading this post. Not possible? Make an appointment with yourself this week. Don't just schedule time, keep the commitment you made to yourself. And get it done!

    3. Celebrate. Reward yourself for your accomplishment. It can be a small or large treat, or some well-deserved me-time. It's all part of the process of getting yourself out of your head and moving forward onto other things.

    Your "win" is just the first step. Take the enthusiasm and euphoria, and use it to make progress on your other projects. When you approach your other work from that happy place, the positive energy should translate ... and things should go a lot smoother.

    What sort of win will you get this week? Did you accomplish it already? Please share in the comments.

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    Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group

    She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the Guided Goals Podcast.

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

    Books to Movies

    I was pondering the best movies I've seen so far this year, and I realized that they all have a few things in common.  See if you can figure it out:

    Bridge of Spies
    Hidden Figures
    The Zookeeper's Wife
    A United Kingdom

    Things I found in common:
    -All take place in the recent past
    -All are based on true stories
    -All feature some sort of prejudice/segregation/class inequality and the fighting of it
    -All are based on books.

    Yay for books!

    Bridge of Spies is based partly on Strangers on a Bridge by James Donovan.  The part I found most interesting was the ethical dilemmas centering around the rights of a foreign spy during the height of the Cold War.

    Hidden Figures is based on Hidden Figures:  The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians who Helped Win the Space Race by  Margot Lee Shetterly.  I'd never heard about this corps of African-American women in NASA, and we all should have known.

    The Zookeeper's Wife is based on The Zookeeper's Wife; A War Story by Diane Ackerman.  It's not hard to make Poland in WWII emotional, but this does an exceptional job.

    A United Kingdom is based on Colour Bar;  The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation by Susan Williams.  Another story I'd never heard, but a great inspiration in the fight against segregation and inequality.

    Lion is based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose.  It's a unique story I heard about first through an interview with the little boy in the story, now a man.  The movie didn't disappoint.

    So if you're wondering about your next writing project...take some inspiration from these important and enduring themes or from the world around you.

    Melinda Brasher's fiction appears in Nous Electric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and other magazines  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  

    Her newest book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide helps budget travelers plan a trip to majestic Alaska.  Visit her online at

    Thomas Mann Quote

    Just a little inspiration for today:

    Happy writing!

    Being an Arizona girl, Melinda Brasher loves glaciers, streams, whales, bald eagles, and real trees with green leaves.  That's why she's in love with Alaska.  If you want to see a bit of Alaska for yourself, check out her latest book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; A Cruise and Port Guide.  Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.

    Taking inspiration for fiction from non-fiction

    A little stuck in your novel? Looking for a great idea for a short story? Just want to stir up some creative juices?

    Look no further than non-fiction.

    -History books and biographies, obviously, are full of amazing, horrifying, or interesting stories that can provide inspiration for fiction.

    -Good psychology books can help create or flesh out your characters.

    -Science books provide ideas and what-ifs for science fiction, modern day thrillers, etc.

    -What if one of your characters is a specialist in something? Or wants to do something you know little about? You'll need to do research. And all those research books are writing fodder.

    -My favorites, however, are books about animals—their adaptations, instincts, specialized skills, etc.

    My highest-paid fiction sale and the story I'm working on now both grew from seeds of truth I found in animal books. And if you're into science fiction, consider all the bio-mimicry options out there.

    So, what sorts of non-fiction books do you take inspiration from? I'd love to hear in the comments.

    Melinda Brasher's newest book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget, is a guide for people want to explore the beauty of Alaska from the water but who also like to save money for the next adventure.  If you have Amazon Prime, read for free! Or visit her website at 

    The Importance of Imagination

    In case you've never seen the TV show Castle, Richard Castle is a mystery writer and kid at heart, lover of aliens, zombies, conspiracy theories, ninjas, magic, and ancient curses.

    Once, after being rather disparagingly called "reality-challenged," he said,

    "I prefer fantasy-augmented"
                                         --from Castle

    So, if anyone ever disparages your imagination, ignore them.  Or pity them.  Your imagination helps make you a great writer, even if you have no zombies, aliens or conspiracy theories in your work.  And if you ever start to feel stuck, it may be that you haven't been nourishing your imagination enough.  It's like a muscle.  Keep it exercised!

    Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic.  She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books.  Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-KnowingVisit her online at

    More ABCs for the New Writer - F-J

    If you are a new writer and you missed the A-E tips be sure to review them to get you started in your writing career.

    F is for fear. 

    It can be scary to begin a new endeavor. It's normal. But if it paralyzes us to the point of not moving forward, we will never be a successful writer.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    • Are you trying to be perfect? Nothing is perfect. 
    • Are you afraid of rejection? What one publisher rejects, another will accept.
    • Are you afraid of change? Me, too! You have to do it anyway. Watch what happens
    G is for grammar.

    Brush up on your grammar. A poorly written cover letter or query tells all. Be meticulous or else you may find your article or transcript submission passed over.

    Thanks to the internet, grammar help is one click away.This site gives you 10 websites to assist you.

    H is for hook.

    To get your reader's attention and hold it, you've got to hook them with the first sentence.

    Whether you are writing a book, magazine article, or resume - that first sentence is critical.

    Start with a question, use descriptive words, or make the reader curious with some missing details.

    • Do you want to get in shape without going to the gym?
    • Swirling, sparkling snowflakes appeared to fall in slow motion under the yellow glow of the street lamp.
    • The air was thick with rotting garbage. We were afraid to find out what was behind the vine covered door.
    I is for inspiration.

    Sometimes we reach for the stars when there is no place like home.

    What I mean is there is plenty to write about in your own life. You may not be aware of it.

    My daughter is a photographer. When she met with the owner of a wedding site, the conversation revealed what her passion was: photographing children and families. It's not that she couldn't do weddings well, but she never realized what really inspired her and she had been doing it all along.

    What are your experiences? 

    What do you enjoy doing? 

    Start out writing what you know. You will be amazed how effortlessly the words flow!

    It doesn't stop there. In time, your interests will broaden and you will learn more about what interests you. I recently decided to take an online course on resume writing. I had done a few in the past for myself and family and enjoyed doing it. When I first started writing 4 years ago it wasn't in my mind. Recently, a resume job was posted on one of the job boards and it got me thinking. I live in proximity of 4 colleges. Advertising would be a breeze. And oh my goodness I like writing resumes! So, here we go!

    J is for job boards.

    As you work consistently, you are sure to connect with successful writers and authors online. I am thankful for them directing me toward reputable sites. is one of those valuable sites. Here is where you will find some tried and true job boards  to assist you in looking for freelance work.

    Looking at job boards every day is part of a good routine for a successful writing career. I am amazed at the need for writers. It never ends. You are sure to find something you can do. Even if you are not sure, go for it anyway. You will feel accomplished as you regularly apply for jobs.

    Next month we'll look at K - O. Stay tuned!

    Please leave feedback in the comment section if you are a new writer and have tried one of my tips that have helped you.

     Image courtesy of  Naypong at


    After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts

    Randomness to Spark Creativity

    A while back I was playing with an online story idea generator. It puts random things together and gets ideas like this:

    What if Marco Polo fought Lewis Carroll?
    What if Columbus had access to robotics?
    What if Montezuma was indirectly responsible for the Klondike Gold Rush?
    What if the destruction of the Hindenburg involved witch-hunters?

    So I had to laugh when I got to this one:
    What if the fall of Mankind from the Garden of Eden involved forbidden knowledge?

    It reminded me of the theory that a room full of monkeys tapping at keyboards for an infinite time period will eventually type Hamlet.

    As a writer, I'm full of ideas, but sometimes none of them are the right idea for the moment, or they're just not gelling.  When I need inspiration, sometimes the randomness of these generators will spark an idea that my imagination then builds a fire with.  

    You'll find all sorts of generators online: completely random but sometimes intriguing nonsense like above, customizable back-cover blurbs created from information you input, alien world generators, etc.  Obviously, your own imagination should do most of this for you, but taking a few minutes to laugh at the randomness will prime your creative pump if you find you're stuck in a rut.

    Here's Seventh Sanctum's What-if-inator, where I got the above what ifs.

    Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic.  She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books.  Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-KnowingVisit her online at

    26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 3

    Is it possible that writing a blog can improve your health?

    By the time you have read all 26 reasons why writers need to blog, you will know the answer to this question is another


    According to the experts, blogging can help you 

    • emotionally, 
    • mentally, and 
    • physically.

    Let's take a closer look at that statement as we move on to our next four letters in the series.

    8.       H is for Healthy Habits

    • Regular journaling is good for your health. Many psychologists and other health professionals tell how journaling helps you process traumatic and stressful events. It is a means of dealing with emotions and thoughts without having to work through another person.
    • Blogging works the same way. After all, that’s what blogging is—a Web log. It requires a commitment of time, devotion, and discipline, all healthy habits to develop in this crazy lifestyle many of us seem to follow today. 
    • Blogging keep your mind working, and many believe when we write about emotional topics, it increases the effectiveness of our immune systems*. A well-working immune system will keep you physically healthier.
    • We can also write about health topics. These would make an excellent theme for a month of posts. Following a month’s dieting habits might encourage us to be more disciplined ourselves as well as encourage others to follow our examples.
    * Pennebaker, J.W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.
     [Electronic version]. Psychological Science, 8 (3), pp. 162-166.

    9.       I is for Inspiration
    • We need to be inspired so we can create a post that will benefit others. As we write, we need to give thought to those who will read our words. Will this encourage them? Will they be inspired to read more on the topic? Will what we write improve their day? 
    • There are many ways to find inspiration for your next blog post or series, however, one that really makes sense is to look at your blog comments. Remember to ask relevant questions at the end of each post and then see what your readers come up with. If you don’t get enough helpful comments, try going to another blog that is following a similar theme. Read their questions, and then use them as a kicking-off point for your next blog or series. (Don’t copy their answers though!) 
    • A blog post should not attempt to cover a subject. After all, how could I possibly have told everything there is to know about the Serengeti National Park in one post? People have written books on that topic alone. All I wanted to achieve for that post is an article to titillate the senses of my readers. Maybe they will want to read more. Maybe they’ll get a book out of the library or spend their morning on Google. Or maybe one person somewhere in the world will be inspired to add the Serengeti to their bucket list! If you want to cover a topic, then you definitely need to turn it into a series of posts.

    10.     J is for Journal

    • Your blog could become a personal journal. Until recently, I thought this was the most common purpose for a blog. But doing the A-Z challenge I became impressed with the creativity people show in choosing themes they can follow for a month, one alphabet letter at a time. 
    • A Travelblog can cover a journey. One writer was traveling across the States with her husband. She wrote a daily blog on a new place she’d seen, following the letters of the alphabet. What if there wasn’t a suitable town for that letter? She would come up with a creative title. e.g. H is for Horse Statue in City Centre. (My own suggestion as we have one in Port Elizabeth where I live.) Even as I write this, my brother and sister-in-law are preparing for an overland trip to East Africa which will take them four months. They have built a blog for the family and their friends to follow their adventures.
    • Blog a life’s journal. This could be public, or you may choose to make it a Family and Friends Only blog, where people join by invitation only. This could be done chronologically, but if you’re anywhere near my age that could take an awfully long time to write! If I were to do this, I would probably go for an A to Z theme, and choose places or events or people to write about for each letter. 
      • Imagine the surprise I had one day when I learned my 30-year-old son believed he was born in the city where his brother had been born. He had gone through his life believing that was his birthplace. His true place of birth only came out by accident! 
      • Ask yourself, how much do your children know about your life? Do they know your place of birth? Were there unusual circumstances to your birth? In today’s global society more than ever before, families are fragmented, and a Life’s Blog could be a great way to bridge the gap between the generations. 

    11.     K is for Kindle or other e-books

    • Blog a Book: Nina Amir has written a book and has a website devoted to this topic. Once a year during November, at the same time as NaNoWriMo, she encourages other writers to join her in a commitment to write a complete book on their blog. I did this one year, but I didn’t prepare adequately in advance. I plan to do this again, but next time I will spend some time before kick-off choosing 26 (perhaps) chapter headings on the proposed theme. 
      • Each day I will write one chapter of the book and post it on my blog. At the end of the month, provided I have kept to schedule, I will have the draft copy of an e-book
      • The technique to convert the writing into an e-book, or even a pdf book, is straightforward. Numerous books are available to help. Just Google the topic. I did a course with Val Waldeck a couple of years ago, and I felt a real sense of achievement when the book opened beautifully on my Kindle. 
      • I have considered turning Out of Africa into an e-book, but I will have to do it in pdf format as I have used many pictures in this theme. Something to consider for future ideas. 
    • Collect books and information on blogging. Go to Amazon and you will be amazed at the e-Books available on the topic. There is just no reason for us to remain in the cyber-darkness, wishing we could build a blog.
    • Get yourself a Kindle today! If you don't have a Kindle or other e-reader, go to Amazon and download a Kindle app for free. There is one available for your PC, your laptop, most smart-phones and your tablet. 
      • Early in the days of Kindle a friend suggested to me that, although neither of us could afford to buy Kindles especially as we both live in South Africa, we should nevertheless download the app to our computers and start to collect books that came up on special or even free. I followed her advice, and when I eventually received and registered my Kindle, it immediately had all the books I had collected during the preceding year.  

    Have you learned anything new today? Or is there something you would like me to cover in this series? Can you think of ways you can use your blog material in other ways? Share your ideas in a comment below. 


    26 Reasons to blog - part 1: A - C
    26 Reasons to blog - part 2: D - G

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

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

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