Monday, May 2, 2016

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined has a great Question of the Month for us.



Michael wants to know, “If a friend came to you looking for advice on starting a blog, what three pieces of advice would you give them?”

 That's a great question, Michael. Here's my advice:

1. Allow your blog to evolve to suit your needs and the needs of your followers.

My blog began in December, 2009, as Dumped First Wife. What if I were still complaining about my ex-husband and exploring my divorce? It was good therapy for me at the time, but it would be old by now. Next, my blog became WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME. Lola was the character, or persona, who wrote the posts. She was pretty sassy. A persona more similar to me took over: Janie Junebug. When I realized how many bloggers wrote books, my blog became Janie Junebug Righting & Editing because writers are hungry for tips on grammar and publishing.

What will my blog be called in two years? I don't know, but I'm open to change.

2. Write as clearly as you can, but feel free to be creative.

In spite of my grammar-obsessed self, I don't think your blog has to follow every writing rule. It's fine to write the way you talk. Be casual and conversational if that's your style. What's important is that your followers understand what you mean. Make an effort to avoid distracting errors, such as misspelled words or using "should of" when you mean "should have."

I make missteaks, too. Perfection doesn't have to be the goal. Clarity does. What good is writing if people don't understand what you mean?

3. If you take some time off from blogging or decide to stop blogging, then please let us know.

Before long, New Blogger, you will have loyal, devoted followers. Abandon them, and they'll worry about you. I don't know how many bloggers I've followed who have simply disappeared. We don't know if those bloggers are okay.

I take regular blog breaks. I try to post a message if I'm sick and need time to recover, or if I'm editing a book and don't have time to blog. Usually, when I say I can't blog because I'm tired of it, then suddenly, I'm in the mood to blog. I use reverse psychology on myself.

Well, all righty then, Michael and company. I hope you like my three pieces of advice. This is a bloghop, so you can sign up to join us, and I hope you'll visit other participants.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Participants in the Question of the Month:



22.

43 comments:

  1. This is very fine advice. A self-exploration blog can be very engaging for a while, but then after a while I just want to say "find yourself already!" I've followed some like this where eventually it all gets sadly repetitive if there is no personal growth. If that kind of blog doesn't evolve like yours did I either drift away from it or more often I find that the blogger just stops posting after a while and I'm left wondering if they killed theirself or solved all their problems or what. It's like getting really into a book and then losing it or something before you find out how it ends.

    Anyway I think your advice is spot on.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  2. That third one is fantastic (so are the other two but #3 stood out to me). I didn't notice until now how much I appreciate when you let us know you'll be away for a while. I had another blogging friend that I liked a lot - she wrote a post just saying "Look, I can't keep up with all this blogging stuff anymore. I wish you all the best, goodbye." It was sad, but I really liked knowing what had happened.

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    1. I still wonder about some bloggers who disappeared a couple of years ago.

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  3. Great advice. I think another piece of advice is to not expect people to come flocking to your blog. One needs to advertise and the best way to advertise is to visit other blogs and join blog hops.

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    1. Yes! Very important. To have followers, be a follower.

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  4. I like your first tip on letting your blog evolve. It does change with the times and your own situation. Happy Blogging!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  5. #3 is an important tip that far, far too many people don't follow.

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    1. And I worry about far, far too many people.

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  6. Good advice. I think it's cool how your blog has evolved over the years. I'd have to go back to my old posts to see if I've changed. I think I'm still silly as ever, at least, I hope so.

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    1. Silly is good. I'm not as silly as I used to be. I guess I used up most of my reservoir of silly.

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  7. Great advice. I especially like the part about writing like you talk. :)

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    1. As long as you don't talk like a Florida cracker.

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  8. Letting readers know when you're taking a blogging break is a must. They get bused to seeing posts from you on certain days and could wonder where you are. And great point about letting your blog evolve. My blog will be evolving next year. ;)

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    1. Cool! I look forward to seeing your evolution, Chrys Darwin.

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  9. I think that was absolutely the best advise. I get bored with it sometimes and then I miss it after a few days. I go back and forth with it. Maybe its a mental imbalance or something.

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    1. It's definitely a mental imbalance with me. Everything is a mental imbalance with me.

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  10. Good tips Janie. This was a good question of the month. I need to start getting involved with this blog hop!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michael asks great questions, and he's so darn cute.

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  11. PS: Re: the list of participating bloggers: Novel Brews is no longer blogging. There's a note at the site...

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  12. Great blogging advice! I almost feel like a newbie since I was gone for so long :)

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    1. *Sings* Welcome back. Your dreams were your ticket out.

      I never watched Welcome Back Kotter, but the theme song was a big hit so I remember it.

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  13. I like the idea of letting your blog evolve. I've found there is always something to post about in the world of writing but not all my followers are writers so I also include other stuff which I never did at first. Disappearing bloggers are worrisome.

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    1. I focus more now on grammar, but I still tell stories about crazy things that happen to me, and of course, Penelope and Franklin must have their turns at the computer.

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  14. Wonderful answers.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Thank you. Please kiss thehamish for me.

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  15. I get a kick out of writing the way I talk, which makes very little sense sometimes to people who don't know me. It always amuses me when someone new comes to my blog and they don't realize I say incorrect things on a porpoise. I had someone send me a private e-mail explaining that self-defecating was sh!tting myself, and what I meant to say was self-deprecating (expressing disapproval). I pretty much shat myself right there. I have definitely evolved over the years. And I'm sorry I went AWOL for a while without 'splaining myself.

    -andi

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    1. You're forgiven, and self-defecating is hilarious. It sounds like part of an advertisement for some strange device.

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  16. Good thoughts on this, Janie. Going to take a break soon, but will be sure to let folks know.

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    1. Thank you. I hope you're here on Friday because I'm finally going to answer your question about -ly words.

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  17. I definitely think bloggers should announce when hey're taking a break or shutting down for good, for the very reasons you mention. In fact, on th 15th of this month I'll be in Key West for two weeks, but I'll be back.

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    1. I live in Florida, but I've never been to Key West. Something is wrong here.

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  18. Yes it is terrible when someone we have followed for years suddenly stops writing and we have no idea why, did they decide to stop or did they suddenly die and no one told us.

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  19. I love the last bit of advice! I never know if I said something to push someone away. I tend to take things too personally. I should stop that.

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    1. I think I was responsible for someone ending a blog. I feel terrible about it, and it was a long time ago.

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  20. Great advice! My blog has changed a lot in the past year and I like to do a variety of posts. I also break a few grammar rules on my blog, especially with the use of ellipses for pauses.

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    1. Ellipsis are fine for pauses. That's one of the reasons ellipsis exist.

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  21. This is great advice! I started to showcase my cards and grew from there. I have seen a few just drop off and have no idea what happened and am concerned. I also say...have fun and don't let the fun leave because you feel you haven't commented to everyone etc... Because we understand. It gets busy and we shouldn't feel guilty or stressed but should feel happy when blogging.

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    1. I feel guilty and stressed. I don't visit enough blogs, but I need my sleep. Besides, I have to watch DVDs so I can review them. I need to learn to watch in my sleep.

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  22. Please excuse my lateness, tech issues.
    I love points 1 and 3. I offten leave posts or messages up when I'm taking a break to regroup, but you're right. Some bloggers just disappear and I do worry about them. As for #1, my blog changes all the time, and I usually prepare my readers for each change before it happens.

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