Tag Archives: blog

Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.

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Blogging vs Vlogging

We all know what blogging is – heck, what is it that I’m doing right here?

But what about vlogging? Have you heard the term before? Essentially it’s blogging but in video form. Some vlogs are really short, just the span of a minute or a few, or really long, over fifteen minutes.

Blogging holds a special place in many people’s hearts because of the fact that it’s been around for so long and they might be bloggers themselves.

Vlogging is relatively new, especially in the last few years since YouTube came into being. Many people vlog about whatever is their heart’s desire, just like blogging. Some vlog about health and fitness, others vlog about books, while others vlog about personal daily lives. It really all depends on the individual.

A great example of a popular vlog community is the vlogbrothers, which the two main “hosts” of the vlog are author John Green and his brother, Hank. They post funny, witty, serious, historical, interesting videos and call their community audience “nerdfighters.” They’re engaging and oftentimes positive, making them successful at vlogging.

Blogging, on the other hand, is more about the written word and how you can grab people’s attention through that. Blogging, like vlogging, can come in many forms from informational, to fun, to personal, and beyond.

I personally have two active blogs, this one and a new one I just started after I began book vlogging called Reader Rayna. I find it to be a great way to get my own personal thoughts and opinions on something that I’m passionate about out there, plus it’s much easier for me to get my words out in writing than verbally.

So, here are some pros and cons to vlogging:

  • Pro: You’re able to be more interactive and silly on camera if you choose to be.
  • Con: Some people might not understand your humor.
  • Pro: You can talk about whatever you please as long as it’s within YouTube’s ToS guidelines.
  • Con: Some people might not appreciate what you have to say, therefore “disliking” your video or saying hurtful/mean things in the comments.
  • Pro: Many people are doing it, so it’s always good to be able to do some research and get ideas for how you want to run your own vlog.
  • Con: Plagiarism can still happen via camera, so you have to make sure you really make your vlogs your own.

And here are some pros and cons about blogging:

  • Pro: You’re able to get your thoughts and opinions out to a large audience, like vlogging.
  • Con: Some people might not be interested because your topic might be too similar to others, or yours might not have the same “spark” as other blogs.
  • Pro: Many people are doing it, so you can always do some research and get ideas for how you want to run your own blog.
  • Con: Plagiarism can happen, so you have to be careful of what you put out there.

The lists can go on and on, but those are some of the major pros and cons for both blogging and vlogging. It really all depends on how you want to reach your audience and how you want to express yourself, whether that be through words, camera, or both. Take the time to consider each and do some research ahead of time to see which would be better suited for you.

Here’s the link to my own vlog: Reader Rayna vlog

 

What about you? Do you have a personal preference as to how you blog/vlog? Which do you prefer and recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Preparing a Blog Post

You’re probably wondering why I’m doing a post on blog posting, but I figured this could be a good guide for beginners and oldies alike as there are many different ways to make blog posts looking their best.

Each post can have its own identifiers and styles, this is just my own personal preference.

When blogging you should think about some very important things: word count, if you want to use headlines, bullet points, color, etc. Each of these entities make a blog post look unique and different and can help make them stand out from the rest.

I often use bullet points in my own posts because…

  • They look sleek.
  • They keep everything organized.
  • It looks pleasing to the eye because it breaks up chunks of paragraphs.

You also have to know when to use bullet points or numbers because if you’re constantly using them in sequence you should have a logical reason for doing so. It may confuse your reader if you include too many bullets or numbers in a single post.

Which brings me to word count. Word count for blog posts is a personal preference that’s entirely up to you, but as a rule of thumb you want to keep blog posts short and to the point because it’s been proven time and again through studies and statistics that the longer the blog post is, the better results you get in search engines, but the attention span of the average reader is about the equivalent of a goldfish. Ouch. But it’s true: the longer the post, the less likely you are to have someone read all the information, but the shorter the post the more likely you are to have missed something.

In reality, though, it’s entirely up to you. Whether you write 200 words or 2,000, word count for a post is entirely up to you as long as you get your point across.

Headlines

Headings are great ways to separate important sections of your  blog post for easy searching for your reader and even for you! If you use headings, make sure you choose a style that’s appropriate for your post and be consistent throughout. If you use different types of headings throughout your post it can confuse the reader into thinking one section is way more important than another.

Using color in your posts is entirely up to you. Some templates that you can choose for your blog give you automatic color swatches to choose from for your posts while others may just give you the traditional black and white, but if you do choose a color, be sure to use ones that people can read that aren’t going to blind them.

Also, don’t make a rainbow out of your words. It’s distracting and annoying, so be sure that when you do use color that it’s deliberate and serves a purpose.

Underlining in blog posts is usually to signify that there’s a link in that area. Sometimes if you do underline a word, though, it might confuse the reader into thinking there’s a link – don’t worry, though, as it won’t be clickable. Keep any type of formatting to either bold or italics so that when you do link something that there is no confusion.

Finally, when you format a post, be sure to keep it either all to the left or all to the right. As a general rule of thumb you want to keep your paragraphs all aligned to the left as that’s how the majority of the world reads (left to right), but if you are using it for a specific purpose, aligning your paragraphs to the right are entirely okay.

When preparing a blog post, there are many things to consider, but it’s always entirely up to you on how you utilize the tools given to you and how efficiently you use them. Be sure to do some research ahead of time if you’re a new blogger – it may help you in the long run!

Mini-Series Part 4: Audience

First, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts the past few weeks – life had had a strong hold on me and I had no hope of escape.

Second, welcome to the last segment in my mini-series on building a story: audience!

Previously I had talked about character, setting, and content development, but today I’m going to talk about audience and the importance of writing for your audience. I have personally gained the knowledge about writing for audience in various classes I’ve taken here at my university, so it would be near impossible to cite any and all sources I’ve come across over the years.

Anyway, audience is probably the most important aspect of writing a story besides the actual writing portion of it! Why? Well, you want to be able to tailor your story to a certain audience before you decide to get it published – if you get it published.

Do you want to write for children or teens? Fiction or fantasy? Biographical or historical? There are many, many genres of writing out there and each story is tailored specifically to that genre. So before you think about writing your story in its entirety, try to think about who you want to write it for: who your target audience is.

Here’s a few tips I’ve gained over the years:

Don’t think vague; get specific! You don’t want to think too broadly on this one. Yes, some stories can span a multitude of genres, but think about the specific audience you want to write for: college students? Children between the ages of 8 and 12? Adults who like specifically romance?

Don’t expect to please everyone. Seriously, don’t get your hopes up. There is always going to be someone who isn’t happy with what you’ve written, but that doesn’t mean you should give up trying your best at what you’ve got! In fact, it should encourage you to try even harder!

Research other novels, authors, publishers, etc. before you get too far into your story. If you get an idea for how people are writing and what publishers are looking for you’ll be able to tailor your story even further to better suit the needs of who you want to publish with.

Ask family and/or friends who are around the age or group you are looking to write for to read what you’ve written and how you can make changes. Your family may try to be nice in saying your story is good, but if you know that something’s lacking you should stick your foot down and ask for any and all honest opinions and critiques. It is better to get a sense of whether or not your story is working for the audience you were initially writing for or not from someone who cares about you before giving it to someone who might just toss it out upon first glance.

Though these are just a few examples of why you should consider your audience for your story. It will help to make your story that much better and you’ll be able to put more into the story than not.

There are plenty of resources out there for you to consider when writing a story, but just try to also come up with your own as you go. You’ll get the hang of it as you go. You can use these tips for both story writing and blog writing.

Blog writing and story writing are two different things, though, so though I didn’t focus on blog writing this time around I will do my best to do a future mini-series that is dedicated to blog writing.

I hope you enjoyed my first mini-series. I still have a lot more to learn when it comes to doing these kinds of things (mini-series and advice giving), but I hope that I’ve done just that in my mini-series!

If any of you has any advice or tips for me on how you write a story or blogging or anything, leave a comment!