Well-Written Wednesday: Tips on Writing a Giveaway Post

(New here? For more information regarding growing your blog revenue and the goals of “Well-Written Wednesday”, see here.) Today’s tips on writing come from a post by Jayne. Jayne writes the blog The Naptown Organizer. She is a wife, mama of a toddler, speech language pathologist, blogger, and soon to be mama of two in December.  Jayne blogs about her trek as a crunchy mama through parenting, any and everything granola, and a life more organized. Jayne also blogs for TheBump.com and Milan Maternity.

The giveaway post is a difficult one to write. You typically already have an engaged audience, but making these posts interesting, informative and fun is more challenging than you would think. Jayne’s done a great job with this one. If you’re interested in participating in this giveaway, you can actually still enter by going here.

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Boba Carrier Review & Giveaway!

You all know by now that I LOVE babywearing.

It is such a simple and easy way to keep your kiddo right where they need to be, up close and snuggled into you!  One of my favorite babywearing options is a soft structured carrier, or what I tend to call a pack carrier- because they honestly remind me of a backpack.

I’ve talked before about how we own an Ergo baby carrier as well as several other non-soft structured carriers in our household.  One of the main reasons I love a soft structured carrier is because you can wear it for long periods of time without feeling sore or uncomfortable, and with all the snaps and straps, you know that your child is tucked in tightly to you and very secure.

I recently was given the opportunity to score a Boba Baby Carrier 3G and test it out to share with my readers, and I am so happy I did!  Since my other soft structured carrier option at this time is the Ergo, I’ll focus my review on a comparison of the two products.

But first, here are a few pictures of little man and I enjoying our Boba 3G at the zoo!

(You’ll notice in these pictures that he is riding a little bit low- with his legs a little bit more straight and less ‘frogged’ than I would have liked- mainly due to the fact that I am almost 30 weeks pregnant.  I’ll talk a little bit later in the review about how I could have fixed this, and now do fix this easily, with the provided accessories that came with the carrier.)

Image: Jayne's tips on writing

Image: Tips on Writing from Jayne
Carrier pictured in Soho fleece.

 

There are many, many reasons why I love our new Boba 3G, the first being that the print is ridiculously cute.  Besides the, “OMG the cute is overwhelming me!”, moment I had when I opened the package, there are tons of logical reasons why I’ll choose this carrier over the Ergo.

To start, I am obviously pretty pregnant, and will be wearing a little squishy babe in just a few short months.  To be able to wear new baby girl in the Ergo carrier (by itself- carrying babes from 12-45 lbs), I’d need to buy an additional infant insert for $25 (in addition to the carrier cost) to fit a 7-12lb baby.  The Boba 3G comes ready to wear a babe 7-45 lbs with no other accessories required.  Based on the instruction manual that comes with the Boba 3G, by simply folding over a part of the carrier, you create a higher rise and can wear little babe right up where they are babywearing safe and kissably close to you.

Another feature I loved was all the pockets and gadgets the Boba 3G came with, standard.  Our Ergo carrier has two pockets on the front of the carrier- one to hold the hood to cover baby’s head & one zippered area for keys/wallet/etc.  The Boba not only also comes with a napping hood and pockets (although these are placed in the waistband), but it comes with my favorite feature- a purse strap holder.  With the Boba, you are able to snap your purse or diaper bag strap onto the shoulder strap, so you’re not constantly fussing with it falling off of your shoulder while wearing your little.  This is a design feature that I really, really enjoy.

Jayne's Tips on Writing Image 3As I mentioned above, little man rides a bit low while I’m pregnant because the waist strap has to sit under my baby belly, and this caused him to have a straighter leg and less ‘seated’ position than I would have liked in these pictures with the Boba.  I typically have the same problem with our Ergo babywearing while pregnant.  However- with the Boba- I’m able to quickly remedy that by attaching the included (read: no extra charge) foot straps onto the waistband.  These put little man’s hips, legs, and spine into a healthier and more natural position.   These foot straps are not available on the Ergo carrier.

One of the last reasons that I really, really enjoy the Boba carrier is how easy it is to adjust.  While the Ergo is also easy to adjust, the Boba is more customizable.  For example, in the picture below you can see that the shoulder strap adjusts both on the portion of the strap closest to the seat of the carrier as well as the end of the strap.  I’ve heard this is great for nursing, although I’ve not personally nursed little man in this carrier.

Adjustable strap Tips on Writing image

The chest strap adjustment is also much easier in the Boba.  The Boba’s chest strap almost slides up and down a track easily, but still stays put where you want it, while the Ergo’s chest strap requires you to slide a buckle over an additional strap up and down (kind of like you adjust your bra straps) that while it works, and is easy, isn’t as easy as the Boba.

I also find, as you can see in the picture below, that the Boba straps tend to be just a bit more curved at the level of the shoulder, and are just a bit more comfortable.  Although, that is a personal preference on wear, and you may find you it feels differently based on your body style.

Adjusting the strap 2 Tips on Writing Image

Overall, if you couldn’t tell already, I LOVE our new Boba 3G Baby Carrier.

And, because I love it so much, and the Boba Family team is so awesome, we’re going to give a carrier to you!  The winner of this giveaway is going to get to pick not only what carrier you’d like from Boba (a Boba Air, a Boba Wrap, or a Boba Carrier like I reviewed above), but you also get to choose what color or print carrier you’d like to win as well!

 

 

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5 Reasons this editor thinks we can take tips on writing from Jayne:

  1. Her introduction relates to her blog and the topics that she typically covers. This could be any other post in her blog.
  2. She combines the review and giveaway. The review is great motivation to enter the giveaway.
  3. She compares the product she’s reviewing to another product. This way, readers who may be familiar with the other product.
  4. She uses Rafflecopter. There are several other ways to get entries, but rafflecopter really makes it easy for both blogger and readers.
  5. She includes several pictures, including pictures of her using the product, pictures from the manufacturer, pictures from different angles, etc. She makes great use of images.

For more “Well-Written Wednesday” posts and associated tips on writing, “like” our Facebook page.

 

 

Book Suggestions: Divorce and “A Surrey State of Affairs” by Ceri Radford

Book Suggestions | A Surrey State of Affairs

I was almost an idiot about “A Surrey State of Affairs” by Ceri Radford. I almost didn’t finish it. At about 30 pages in, I decided it was going to be too…”fluffy”. I was tired of the idea of reading a story through letters, and I wasn’t immediately interested in (main character) Constance’s life.

I’m so glad I finished it! The idea that Constance was writing a blog (rather than letters) really did make a difference. Ceri’s commentary on modern social attitudes towards marriage was refreshing. I am not a marriage expert, but the divorce rate for military marriages is even higher than the divorce rate for the general population – which is already about 40% for first marriages (worse for second and third marriages). My husband (a member of the military) and I have had to be very proactive to protect our marriage.

Our modern mindset toward marriage is that our partner should be everything for us. We think that Disney is an expert on love, that love should be perfect, that our partner should be “perfect” for us. We forget that if either partner isn’t getting what we need, we can…ya know…work on it. I think we also forget that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. A new marriage or relationship will bring it’s own problems. We forget that being alone is more painful than being annoyed. Perhaps we also don’t choose wisely.

Maybe the high divorce rate has nothing to do with any of these things. Certainly not every divorce has to do with these things. I have witnessed the heartbreak of divorces for fickle reasons, and the healing of divorces for good reasons.

Nevertheless, I like that Ceri’s characters don’t fall prey to the easy way out. Constance and her husband recognize that 30 years together is worth something. They realize that history together is a great foundation for a future together, that two people who want to work on it can make it work. I daresay, I felt stronger for the trials of my own marriage when I finished “A Surrey State of Affairs” by Ceri Radford.

About the Author:
I read this book on the recommendation of Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Two short years ago, Ceri Radford was a journalist, writing television reviews and cultural features, including the bookworm’s review of a Kindle. This is her first novel, which was published in the U.K. in 2011 and in the U.S. in 2012. She went to Cambridge and currently lives in France. You can follow her on Twitter.

Discussion Questions:

1. Did you appreciate Constance early-on? If not, what was the turning point?

2. Did you think Constance was truly naive about her husband or did you think she was lying to herself?

Well-Written Wednesday: Featuring Bridgette Gallagher (Tips on Writing)

 

Bridgette's Tips on Writing image(New here? For more information about growing your blog and the goals of Well-Written Wednesday, see here.)

This week’s tips on writing come from a post written by Bridgette Gallagher. Bridgette is an English Teacher by day and Mommy by night. Shortcut Girl is her meditations of making life easier, one shortcut at a time. She lives in an old fixer upper in Saratoga Springs, NY where she is Mom to Parker, 2 and Celia, 1. She writes the blog Shortcut Girl where she posts primarily rants and raves, tips for looking good, and insightful pieces on parenting.

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Bridgette's tips on writing image

It’s a big belly, just not a twin belly.

“The character of a man is known from his conversations.”

Menander Greek comic dramatist (342 BC – 292 BC)   

 

Words, words, words.

I recently wrote a post about judgy Mom-ness, regarding words that we carry in our heads that strike down other mothers. Words that articulate bad thoughts. Words that are powerful. Superpower words.

On any blog out there,(especially the Mommy blogs), you can find “Ten Things You Should Never Say to __________.”

Mothers of adopted children,  mothers with handicapped children, pregnant women, nursing women, non nursing women, Moms who used IVF, Working Moms, Single Moms, Lesbian Moms, Divorced Moms, Moms who never lost their baby weight, Moms Who drink diet Pepsi during pregnancy, Moms who have redheaded children and are blonde. You get the idea.

I was asked several times if I was carrying twins during both of my pregnancies. I have been asked if I was pregnant when I indeed wasn’t. I have cried about the words people say because, well, words are powerful things. They bring us together, divide us, pigeon hole us and call forth a myriad of emotions that none of us are so psyched to be feeling.

Words help us cope, connect and especially for us bloggers, help us to clean out the vat of _______ we are feeling that day. Words define our emotions, our inner workings, our most meditative thoughts, our happy, our sad, our melancholy, our angry. Words are as much a part of us as the way we look and the people we make.

We saw this even in the news this week. Words, even with innocent intention and based in fact can be terribly destructive. Words hurt. And, for some reason, as women, we hear more words (and therefore hurt more at times) than I think any man has ever. There is no other way to explain how my mother can recall what I said to her when I was a sixteen year old know-it-all-brat but my husband doesn’t recall what was in my poem to him on the day we married.

Women bear words like crosses. “Can you believe she said _____?” Whoever said talk is cheap was clearly not talking about women.

When I started writing this post, I thought I would discuss how we complain too much on Facebook. People take to social media sometimes to vent their annoyances at a toddler, a husband, a co-worker, a fellow driver, a checkout girl. We put together words in an effort to assuage our feelings of “did that just really happen?”

And sometimes it’s funny. Okay, sometimes it’s hilarious. But sometimes when I read it three days later, I think, “is that really what I want people to think of me/my husband/my kid/my job?” Or more importantly, is that really what I want to think about myself? (The answer: No).

We keep baby books, vacation journals, web albums, scrapbooks, slides shows, YouTube videos and real live photographs to preserve what we think are the best memories of our life. However, if you we’re to look at a person’s digital footprint, you might think otherwise. The pokes at the husband, job, in-laws, kids are still there, in a nice organized fashion with dates and times stamped right on it. Proof of the fact you had a crap day, felt sorry for yourself and posted a status that was not exactly pleasant.

And those words will be the stupid words that you and everyone else remember because of the rotten feelings attached to them. Those are the words that will make people say, “Did you see what ________ posted about her daughter’s Science project? What a ______!”

Words cycle. We spit them out in anger, in frustration, in happiness and excitement and somehow they come right back to us. And if they don’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy, (Mommy, you’re the BESTEST!”) they teach us a little more about ourselves.

So listen to your words. Be they kind or thoughtless, beautiful or ugly. You are sure to hear a very faint description of yourself amongst them. And don’t worry, that description can be revised and reworked- rephrased and reworded- as we continue to choose better words to give to ourselves and to others.

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5 Reasons this editor thinks we can take tips on writing from this post:

  1. I like the lead paragraph(s). It’s attention getting and has rhythm.
  2. The featured image, which is her own, connects to the introduction while the quote connects with her conclusion. This is a nice way to tie it all together.
  3. Know your audience. Those Top Ten lists – we all love them, don’t we?
  4. She uses ^this to link to relevant posts. You don’t want too terribly many links going away from your blog but these ones are respectable and relevant. She also links to her own blog within this post.
  5. She uses alliteration in a nice, not cheesy or cliche, way: “That description can be revised and reworked – rephrased and reworded – as we continue to choose better words to give to ourselves and others.”

If you’re interested in more “Well-Written Wednesday” blog posts and associated tips on writing, “like” our Facebook page.

Well-Written Wednesday: Featuring Jamie Wright (Tips on Writing)

jamie wright's tips on writing image



(New here? For more information regarding growing your blog revenue and the goals of Well-Written Wednesday, see here.)  This week’s tips on writing come from Jamie Wright of The Very Worst Missionary. Because she has articulated it so exceptionally well, I’m going to send you here to find out more about her.

 

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Welp. Yesterday was my birthday. Again*sigh*

The years seem to be going faster, don’t they?

I don’t know how that works, but let me assure you; it’s a thing. As you age, time passes more quickly, gravity actually gets heavier, and your bladder shrinks to the size of a peanut. Before you know it, you wake up one morning and you’re thirty-effing-seven, droopy all over, and living your whole life on the brink of wetting yourself. I’m sorry. That’s just how it is. There’s nothing you can do about it…. unless you have lots and lots of money… Ok. So there’s nothing I can do about it.

Oh! And – as if being wrinkly, damp, and nearly dead isn’t insulting enough – people keep calling me “Ma’am”. What the hell, you guys?! Ma’am??? Psssshhh! How rude is that?! They might as well be calling me “you old bag”.   “Thank you for shopping at Safeway, you old bag!” When the Starbucks barista says “Here you go, Ma’am”, she’s lucky I don’t throw my steaming latte right in her wrinkle-free face. I just cannot abide by being told so politely that I’m old and haggard.

So I have a furrowed brow and flesh like an old paper sack. So what?! This face, this hot mess, this puckered mug - this is a freaking badge of honor.

My face tells the story of an incredible life. It’s like a diary, a journal I’ve kept since the day I was born. My face can tell you everything about me…but you’ll have to read between the lines.

If you can read between the lines, you’ll see me squinting into the sun. This is what eyes look like after they’ve watched a ball of fire rise over the Caribbean and set over the Pacific, burn the morning mist off the Grand Canyon and slink off to hide behind the Sierras. I’ve stood in the shadow of pine trees and palm trees and giant oaks, dripping with moss, while the rays of the sun etched these lines around my eyes, themselves like little sunbursts, to remind me of the places I’ve been. These wrinkles are a road map, plain and simple, to a world that has moved me and shaped me.

Read between the lines and you’ll practically hear the sound of laughter. In the lines around my lips you’ll see a gazillion words have slipped by, good ones and bad ones and all the ones in between. The upturned corners of my mouth tell their own tales, in Spanish, while whispered prayers and belted-out love songs, mercy and judgement, truth and lies, condemnation and grace, all weave into the fabric of my face. It’s all there – plus a divot in my bottom lip, chewed away by years of worry. These are the deep creases and soft folds of a mouth that speaks its mind, tells stories, shares from the heart, and pouts mightily when it doesn’t get its way. But around these parts, the smile line reigns supreme, laughter is king, funny trumps all – so says the valley that separates my cheek from my nose. This mouth betrays my 37 years. It looks 40. I just know it.

If you read between the lines, you’ll find this heavily furrowed brow is the mark of a marriage fought and died for. It’s the deepest line on my face, for good reason; To die to yourself is the hardest and greatest of life’s lessons – and selfishness deserves a gravestone. I carry mine right between my eyes. It’s not a wrinkle, it’s a scar, a reminder of my own woundedness. And it makes me look pissed, but I’m not. When people ask me what’s wrong (And they do. All the time.), I want to say, “Nothing. This is just what happens when your internal battle leaks onto your face.”

If you’ll read between the lines, you’ll see how these rolling waves across my forehead are the flagship of motherhood; each wavy line dug in by the surprises brought by maternity. “How did you pee that far?” “Who poured honey on the dog?” “Why is the toaster in the dryer?” I know it’s not ok to scream “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!” twenty times a day, so my creased and wrinkled forehead says it for me. This raised eyebrow conveys a myriad of emotions, all useful in propelling boys toward manhood. I’m confident that of all the good reasons I’ve given them, this cocked brow will surely be the thing that sends my kids to therapy. …Yes. It’s that good.

Tips on writing from Jamie Wright image
If you read between the lines, you’ll see I’m 37.

Older than Jesus.

And I’m okay with it.

This shrunken face, and tiny bladder, and droopy everything are just part of life. This is my body, broken for… just kidding. But when I think about what it would take to make it to 37 wrinkle free, I can see that I would have forsaken all of the things that have made my life great.

So here’s to another year, well lived under the sun! Here’s to the trials that shuffle our brows and scrunch up our noses! Here’s to the joys that get us grinning from ear to ear and laughing til our cheeks hurts! Here’s to life! And here’s to owning our old and haggard faces!!!

Happy Birthday to me. I’m old-ish and I’m pretty much cool with it.

But. If you call me “Ma’am”, I might offer you three fingers, and ask you to read between the lines.

….     ….     …..

How old are you? What can your lines tell us? 

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5 Reasons this editor thinks we can take tips on writing from this post:

  1. She uses bold type to add interest and emphasis where she needs it. This type (no pun intended) of variety is more important when your readers will be looking at a computer screen.
  2. She carried “reading between the lines” through her post, making it cohesive and entertaining.
  3. She uses her last bolded sentence as the cherry on top of this post – a humorous, simple way to bring it all together. 
  4. Her veiled thoughts about the necessity of selflessness in maintaining a Godly marriage are really only detected on a subconscious level, but leave a lasting impression.
  5. In 937 words, one image, and nothing dull, she conveys more than one life lesson. 

If you’re interested in more “Well-Written Wednesday” blog posts and associated tips on writing, “like” our Facebook page.

Your Favorite Bloggers on Using Twitter

There was a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek a few weeks ago about our favorite brand actors. Remember the Dell Dude? He and his comrades in one-brand commercial acting have found themselves out of acting work once their brand is through with them. While some of the actors interviewed indicated that they’d moved on to other careers, our favorite Dell lover is unemployed entirely. These actors throw themselves into one brand, and we (the viewers in the American public) can no longer take them seriously in any other role.

I’ve done this with Twitter. I see that little bird as being a publicity tool, much like a Facebook business page. After several interviews with successful Twitter users, I’ve realized that Twitter is actually well suited for a role more similar to LinkedIn. Amber Dusick at Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures  had this to say:

The biggest benefit I’ve found through twitter is “meeting” people and having actual exchanges back and forth with them. I’ve heard it said before that Twitter is where you’ll hang out with colleagues while Facebook is where you hang out with your readers. I can see some truth in that. I’ve made connections on Twitter that have led to other things. Collaborations, friendships, interviews, mentions on blogs, etc. As far as directing traffic, it doesn’t convert nearly as well as Facebook does for me so I don’t rely on it in that way. It is more of a fun social thing where I can casually talk to people.

Jayne at The Naptown Organizer agreed:

I have found that Twitter tends to be, as mentioned above, an extremely helpful resource for interacting with other bloggers.  I’ve participated in several “Twitter parties” between blogs in my category and directed towards similar readers.  During those parties, most often the host will direct questions and encourage conversation between bloggers on how they are developing their blog and their brand.  I’ve discovered many new blogs from Twitter and have completed many ‘ad swaps’ or been able to guest post with these other bloggers or on their sites.

twitter pie chart

If you start a Twitter account and need help getting started, these quick and dirty tips for using your new Twitter account might help. Jayne said that what helped her “immensely [was] following OTHER blogs on twitter, to see what posts they are making.”

“The main learning curve with Twitter is that you just have to jump in and start talking to people. It is a million conversations between millions of people. At all times. It can be daunting at first and feels like you are speaking to nobody. Because at first, you are. But you follow a few people and they follow you back and you’ll suddenly feel like you are a part of it.” – Amber Dusick

 

If worse comes to worst, and you feel like a failure at Twitter, you’re in good company. Amber wrote a post about it called “Why Being a Mom Makes Me Suck At Twitter“.

 

Good luck and Happy Tweeting!

 

 

Book Suggestions: “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks

Caleb's Book Suggestions Image

Caleb’s Crossing is a historical novel based around the story of the first Native American to attend Harvard University. Coming on the tail of the Expecting Adam Review, I am completely disillusioned now about Harvard University, but that’s neither here nor there.

The story is actually told from the point of view of Bethia, an instantly adorable character whose selfless and self-deprecating nature is as endearing as her ability to love in a deep and uncomplicated way. Bethia becomes like a sister to Caleb, and I think any reader would wish her for their own sister. Maybe that’s just me…she does remind me a bit of my little sister.

Bethia is perpetually unassuming. I am left to my own devices to internally chide Bethia’s grandfather and brother for essentially selling her as a slave, because Bethia really has very little criticism to vocalize (internally or otherwise). The only person who doesn’t get a pretty big break from Bethia is herself.

I’ve enthusiastically added this to my list of book suggestions for writers because I absolutely love Geraldine’s writing style in this book. Her use of historically appropriate words and phrases is impeccable and really drew me in. I am incredibly envious of her ability to do that, but it’s not just talent. Her work would have taken hours and hours of research. This fits Geraldine, however, having started her career as a journalist. Geraldine actually has a Masters in journalism from Columbia University in New York.

About the Author:
She was born in Australia but became an American citizen in 2002. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her book March, which is based on the character of the father in Little Women and centers around the Civil War. Check her out. Even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, you’ll be enamored with her style.

Discussion Questions:
1. Bethia’s reference to the fact that all of the first students at Harvard to perished young is true. What do you think caused this?
2. Prejudices are a timeless problem. How are you fighting your own prejudices?

Well-Written Wednesday: “Growing Your Blog” from Melissa at Growing Up Geeky

Geeky Tips on Writing image

For information on how to improve your blog revenue and the goals of Well-Written Wednesday, check here. This week’s tips on writing come from Melissa, a type-A former mathlete who is married to an oboe and video game playing organic chemist. She is the mother of two little girls and she blogs at Growing up Geeky, where she prefaces her stories on parenting with the idea that “when it comes to being cool, [her] kids won’t have a prayer”. Melissa’s blog is currently #2 on Top Baby Blogs, but last week she was #1. If you like this post, vote for her
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You asked! Tips on growing your blog

I often get e-mails from readers or have friends ask for tips or suggestions. By no means am I a blogging expert, but there are a number of things I have stumbled upon or tried over the last year that are easy and have been good for my blog. A few weeks ago I  posted part 1 – technical tips, and this is part 2: general tips on growing your blog. This is what I get asked about most often :)
Comment on other blogs. Are there a number of blogs that you read on a regular basis? Comment on them often! It’s a great way to connect with the authors of those blogs, and often they (or the many other people reading their blogs) will click on your comment and jump to your blog! This is why I really like the Intense Debate commenting platform, despite its having a number of {ongoing} technical difficulties. When I receive your comments, I often click to go to your most recent post. It’s important, though, to leave meaningful comments. Please avoid “following you, follow me back!” These sorts of comments make many bloggers – myself included - feel cheap and dirty. I polled some of my blogging friends and the general consensus was that a comment like that will probably make someone less likely to visit your blog.
Blog for you. Don’t start your blog with the intention of becoming blog-famous or making money. It {most often} is transparent, and won’t get you very far. Blog because you want to document your life (and/or your child’s), to keep family and friends updated, or just cause you enjoy it! I started writing to vent my frustrations while trying to conceive Carina, and then it became my pregnancy journal and virtual baby book. I love that 20+ years from now Carina will be able to look back {hopefully not with horror} and see what her daily life was like as a child. Remember: whether you have a handful of readers or thousands, your blog is important to someone. Staying true to yourself and what you want to write about is something of which to be proud.
Join Twitter. I know, I know, this one can be scary. I {very} begrudgingly joined Twitter last Spring and honestly thought it was stupid for a few weeks afterwards. Now? I have made so many amazing friends and connections. I truly think it is a must for anyone who is interested in growing their blog. It gives you the opportunity to interact with readers, other bloggers, and even companies in a way that blog commenting and other means of communication really can’t. Plus? Twitter has saved me a ton of money. Make sure to put your blog link in your bio, as well!
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Twitter can be THIS much fun. I promise.
Avoid blog envy. I know that many of us have been there. You might see someone who has better numbers, sponsors, and/or writing and it makes you feel bad about yourself, if only for a moment. It can be hard, but try not to get caught up in what other people are blogging about or trying to make your blog like someone else’s. Focus on making your blog your own, and accentuating what makes it unique!

Swap ads/buttons. Find a couple other bloggers who are also interested in growing their blogs and swap your button with them! You put theirs on your sidebar, and they do the same with yours. This is a great {free} way to reach a larger audience. Everyone wins! Before I started accepting paid sponsors, all of the buttons I displayed were from swaps with friends of mine. I still reserve a couple of my ad spots for swaps each month because I enjoy doing it so much.
Have any other questions for me, or tips you’d like to share?
P.S. I think it’s hilarious that Blogger’s spell check thinks that “bloggers” isn’t a real word. Nice.
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5 reasons this editor thinks we can take tips on writing from this post:

  1. Great choice of font and color. Black on white, right? It’s more rare than you would think. Dark brown and grey look nice, but black on white makes easy, easy, readability, folks!
  2. Her use of headings to introduce topics and visually break up the post also helps readability. 
  3. Internal links. She has (count them) 4 links to other relevant posts within her blog. Even if no reader follows those links, it’s great for her SEO. If readers do follow them, it’s great for her stats.
  4. Her P.S. at the end is cute and adds personality. Even though she’s writing about a straight-forward, non-fictiony (Yes, it’s a word. I’m the editor, here.) topic, her post is filled with personality.
  5. Length. See how she split this topic in to two posts? Fantastic!

If you’re interested in more “Well-Written Wednesday” blog posts and associated tips on writing, “like” our facebook page

Well-Written Wednesday: “Revision Fatigue” by Nathan Bransford (Tips on Writing)

Nathan Tips on Writing

For information on how to improve your blog revenue and the goals of Well-Written Wednesday, check here. Today’s post is from Nathan Bransford, the author of the Jacob Wonderbar books. Remember a few months ago when I was looking for a boy alternative for the Romona Quimby books? I found the answer in Nathan’s Jacob Wonderbar – wholesome, adventurous, and fun. Nathan was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd. and is now the social media manager at CNET. He also writes one of my favorite blog series called “This Week in Books” which has provided me with inspiration for 90% of the conversations I’ve had with authors and editors in the last year._______________________________________________________________________________


Author Jennifer Hubbard wrote recently about one of the most difficult parts of writing a novel:

There comes a point in the writing of every book where I become sick of the book.

Actually, that’s a lie. There’s usually more than one such point per book, and they usually come near the end of a round of revisions. Come to think of it, it happened with my short stories, too. That’s how I knew I was done: when I could think of nothing else to do to the story, and I had been through every word of it so many times that the words were in danger of stale meaninglessness.

I’ve experienced this myself. There comes a point when you think the book is a colossal, irredeemable mess and you can’t for the life of you figure out if it’s actually any good or not.

The best way to deal with revision fatigue is to trust in your heart that it’s a very useful and necessary feeling: what better time to turn a critical eye on your book than when you think it is an affront to humanity?

The good news is, as Jennifer says, it means you’re almost done (at least for now). The danger is getting discouraged by your fatigue and just calling your work finished and turning it in before you’ve given yourself some time to utilize that fatigue. It can be demoralizing, after all that time and effort, to revisit your work and be unsure of what it was all for.

Just know that the feeling will pass and instead let yourself simmer in it for a while. Power through and keep working. You’ll be glad you did later.

What about you? Do you experience revision fatigue? And how do you deal with it?

Art: First World War US propaganda poster by James Montgomery Flag

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5 reasons the editor thinks we can take tips on writing from this post:


  1. The image is appropriate, used legally, and cited with a reference. Remember, you can get sued if you use an image that isn’t your own
  2. Appropriate length. I mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again. I strongly encourage you to keep your posts to no longer than 2000 words. 1000-1500 is better, shorter is great. I would rather your 1500 word post be two 750 word posts. If you leave your writer wanting more at the end of your 750 word post, he’ll be back for the second post. If you bore him halfway through your 1500 word post, he won’t be back.
  3. He asks a question at the end of his post to encourage readers to contribute. Don’t expect your readers to know you want their comments. 
  4. He indented his quote. I promise, this helps your readability. If you have a long quote, please remember to do this. 
  5. Okay, okay, I admit the content was a huge factor in choosing this post. At least a few of you need to be prepared for this in the coming months. As Nathan wrote, “[give] yourself time to utilize that fatigue.”

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Book Suggestions: A Few Children’s Books for Election Time

Books Suggestions Image | Scrambled

The book suggestions here are great fits for election time. They were chosen because they are clever and fun for parents to read, and can start conversations about government for young ones, but also makes light of the process. When we adults are up to our ears in election coverage, Duck for President and The Scrambled States of America give us the opportunity to lighten up and  remember to be thankful for our freedoms and the relatively benign flaws in our political process.
The Scrambled States of America and The Scrambled States of America: Talent Show were written by Laurie Keller. In the original, while enjoying their morning cup of joe, the states decide to have a party. In the second, Georgia gets stage fright when they organize a talent show. Both books are a great introduction to states with mild political humor. My son started recognizing states by their shape, which frankly, I can’t do. I kept getting distracted while reading because of the witty side notes, but my boy didn’t mind because the illustrations are fantastic. Their author, Laurie Keller, is also their illustrator. She lives in Michigan and is clearly multi-talented. These books are only a few of the many award-winning books she’s authored and illustrated. This is supposed to be for ages 7 and up, but my 2.5 year old liked it, so I think this one is great for kids of all ages!

My other election time book suggestion is Duck for President. In this one, the farm animals are fed up with their chores and decide to organize an election to overthrow the farmer’s control. Duck for President is actually not author Doreen Cronin’s most popular book, but it is by far my favorite. Click, Clack, Moo was her first children’s book, but it was only rejected by publishers for 5 years before it was finally picked up and became massively popular. Doreen actually went to law school and was practicing law when she got the call from Little Simon to publish it. She is now a full-time writer of stories that children enjoy hearing and parents enjoy reading. I highly recommend this one for ages preschool to second grade.

Discussion Questions: 
1. Do you think it would be fun to be in charge of a farm?
2. What state do you live in? What shape is your state?

Do you talk to your children about politics?

 

Well-Written Wednesday: Mrs. Fringe (Tips on Writing)

For information on how to improve your blog revenue and the goals of Well-Written Wednesday, check hereThe following post was syndicated from a blog written by MrsFringe. She lives in Manhattan with her husband–Husband, three kiddos–Man Child, Nerd Child, and Flower Child, two dogs–Big Senile Dog and Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, and the ever changing live stock in her reef tank.  In between her glamorous life of walking dogs and navigating the cutthroat world of school admissions in NY, she works on her writing and blogging about the world of broke parenting and reefing in NY. She was featured on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed”. 
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“That lady has a biiiiiig belly.”

If you’re a parent, this is a familiar moment. In the elevator, sixteen years ago, no mistaking it was heard by the “lady” in question. Children make observations. Out loud. Sometimes, really loud. I have a friend who used to call these moments “beyond embarrassing.” True, but these are also necessary, so we can teach our children about courtesy, manners, and develop their filters.

Tips on Writing | Lady Victoria Marjorie Harriet Manners (1883–1...

Lady Victoria Marjorie Harriet Manners (1883–1946), wife of Charles Paget, 6th Marquess of Anglesey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am no Miss Manners, nor do I long for the days of yesteryear when everyone filtered everything and a mention of indigestion caused a nervous titter among those seated at the dinner table. But basic courtesy, stopping to think about how a comment might be received before letting it pass your lips–or fingers, I’m all for it.
I’m pretty sure each generation tweaks what they consider appropriate in polite company. Ok. I’m a product of my generation; I love jeans, casual conversations, political debates, no holds barred comics, and colorful language.  I’m also pretty sure I could raise my blood pressure and feel myself turn bright red if I began to catalogue all the times I’ve put my foot in my mouth. I don’t see these things as the antithesis to courtesy and civility.
But Houston, I do believe we, as a generation, have a problem.
rocket crash

rocket crash (Photo credit: shellorz)
There seems to be a collective loss of our filter. Keyboard warriors are running amok on our internet forums, Facebook, and the comment section of every cyberboard I visit.
The internet has become a huge part of how we connect and communicate with each other.  As I’ve said previously, I love the internet, the ways it has opened my mind and my world, the friends it has brought me. I think it’s made me a more thoughtful person. Maybe because I’m a writer, but the need to think about how each comment will be read and interpreted has been front and center in my mind from the very first forum I participated in. Am I always successful at making myself understood, and avoiding bruised feelings? No, but I try, and I’m aware. Emoticons are helpful, but they don’t take the place of real life facial expressions, body language, and tonal inflections.
Yesterday, I was following a political discussion on Facebook. We all know those can get acrimonious. But this discussion turned a bit frightening. A not so vague threat was made.  This is an extreme example, but not uncommon enough, either. In this day and age, predatory behavior  feels more threatening than ever, because the magical internets can make someone three thousand miles away uncomfortably close, and bring them to your door with a few clicks. Not just figuratively, but literally, because it’s all to easy for someone with malicious intentions to find out where you live,work, etc. Without hesitation, this conversation, and this person, raised the hairs on my neck more than the the guy I saw growling to himself as he systematically rooted through the garbage bags when I was walking the beasts last night.
Google, and you’ll find countless quotes on civility, manners, basic courtesies, and the importance of these to a successful society. My question is this; am I just old, noting a societal shift into more casual behaviors and speech patterns becoming acceptable, thinking this represents more than it does? Or are we truly losing our filter, losing our ability to care about someone else’s feelings more than our own need to project our opinions and thoughts?
Chicken Little (2005 film)
                                          Chicken Little (2005 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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5 reasons the editor thinks we can take tips on writing from this well-written post:

  1. I’m a sucker for the correct usage of a semi-colon. Just saying.
  2. She invites her readers to contribute at the end of her post, but in a very thoughtful and subtle way.
  3. She also uses her conclusion to subtly relate back to her introduction.
  4. Each paragraph ends in a strong way, instead of fading. Consider the last sentences of each paragraph. They’re almost one-liners, aren’t they?
  5. She uses multiple (credited) images and they are unexpected  accents to the subject.

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