Tag Archives: blogging

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!

Writer’s Block: The Five W’s and the H

We’ve all had writer’s block at one point or another. It’s always a pain and it comes up when you need it to be at bay the most. But why? Why does it do that and who does it affect? I’m taking my own personal views as to why writer’s block comes about and possibly give ways to get rid of it.

Who: This affects you, obviously, but it also affects your target audience, your boss (if you’re working to write a blog, newsletter, email, etc.), and even your peers. If you don’t keep working toward getting your work done, you won’t be able to succeed and work past the block.

What: Your piece of work, whether it be a longer article, a short email, or a book, your work will be affected. If you have a writer’s block, often enough the work that you are trying to get done won’t have nearly the same amount of quality and effort put into it if you didn’t have the block. Though, sometimes, the work may even turn out better because you have to work through the block!

When: Writer’s block can sneak up on you when you least expect, and more often than not, it comes about when you’re on your last few pages of your novel, or on the last few paragraphs of a research paper. Whenever it pops up, it’s a nuisance. It also happens right before a deadline, making your suffering even more unbearable.

Where: Your writing, obviously. This does’t need much explanation.

Why: Writer’s block is like your brain saying, “I know you’re doing a good job, and you’re on a roll, but I need a break right now, so…” And it’s as though your brain conspires against you when you need to get that very important piece of work done before the deadline.

Okay, so I gave a general, broad overview of writer’s block. They’re the five “W’s” that we wonder: “Why does this happen?”

Well, here’s the “how,” a.k.a. what you can do to help get over your writer’s block.

How: 1) Put it down and come back another time. This is seriously one of the easiest things you can do, but probably also one of the most dangerous. If you put it down for a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few days, be sure to come back to it. Don’t just leave it to sit and gather dust!

2) Try a writing exercise. Instead of trying to write what ever you’re working on, grab a separate paper or open a new document and just write the first words that come to mind. One word per line. Just write for five minutes and see what you can come up with. It helps to get your brain muscles working and helps to get your thoughts flowing easier.

Or you can try writing a small blurb for a novel you’ve already read. Add on to the story, change the ending, change the love interest, add a new creature – anything you want! No one’s going to see it, anyway, but this is just a fun way to see what you can create. And who knows? You might even come up with something that you’re working on at the moment.

There are many places online and in hard copy books that you can find where you can find various writing exercises. I recommend “Your First Novel” by Ann Rittenburg and Laura Whitcomb, as one example. I thought that their views and opinions on writing, as well as ways to get published, were useful and easy to understand. (This is mostly for the writing exercises Whitcomb uses throughout many of the chapters, not so much the publishing side of it.)

3) Have someone talk to you about your idea. Yeah, sometimes you don’t want anyone, not even your agent, to know what you’re writing about. But sometimes talking about it and having someone ask questions can open up a whole new door – or onslaught of doors! – for you to consider adding to whatever you’re writing about.

Now these aren’t necessarily the only ways to work through writer’s block. There may be plenty more out there or you might come up with something on your own. Either way, a writing block can be a pain, but if you work through it then you’ll be golden!

Here’s a few other blog posts floating around the Internet that you can check out and see if anything catches your eye:

Just try to keep your chin up! Your writer’s block will be over soon enough (I hope)!

(Just as a small sidenote: I had writer’s block while writing this, starting on January 9th and completing it today, January 14th. Happens to everyone, right?)