By Chanda Temple
Today kicks off Blog Like Crazy, a national initiative to push folks to blog for 30 days straight in November.
Tough challenge, but I’m up for it.
As I write my first entry for November, I’m sitting in the Church Street Coffee & Books shop with nine other women determined to do the same thing. We are all inspired by Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of Birmingham’s See Jane Write. She issued the challenge during a workshop today to encourage us to be bold and go for it.
“Blogging is hard. Even though everyone does it, not everyone does it well,” says Bowser. “It takes a lot of work and you need inspiration to keep going.”
For 45 minutes, Bowser shares tips on how to become a better blogger. She then tells us to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We have three hours to bang out what we can as we start our #bloglikecrazy journey. The women here are ready and explain why they’re here.
Says Jennifer Dome King of http://www.stellarfashionandfitness.com: “I guess I wanted to feel like I was rededicating myself to my blog and the goals that I have for it. So I felt like it was a good time for me to give myself permission to focus on my blog,” .
Says Darlene Millender of http://www.thebirminghambuff.com: “This is a kick start to focus on blogging again. I haven’t written articles since the spring. I think this is what I needed. I’ve gotten some great tips.”
Here are some of Bowser’s tips.
1) Writing is a practice
You must write daily to get good at it. Think of a beginner runner. She doesn’t wake up and run a marathon. It takes time to train to get to that level. The same goes for blogging. Practice makes perfect.
2) Writing will show that you do have time to write
Stop telling yourself you don’t have time to write. You make time for what you want to do such as shopping, spending time on social media, etc. Blogging should be viewed the same way. There are no excuses. Make the commitment today.
3) Stop listening to those who say, “Write only when you feel inspired.”
Runners don’t wake up and say, “I run when I feel like it.” They run because it’s in them. Let writing be the same way. You will come to love it.
4) Keep blog posts short
Ideal blog posts are between 500 to 700 words. Anything longer and you’ll lose your audience. If it’s shorter, that’s cool, too. If you find yourself going over 1,000 words, you may want to consider breaking the story into a series. But again, look at the subject. If it’s a good narrative that can’t survive being broken into a series, try telling it in the long format. But don’t make that a habit.
5) Entries can be something other than just words
Blog posts can be videos, a paragraph, a collection of photos, a list or whatever you want.
During a writing break today, the coffee shop’s Break-Up Cookie was all the rage.
“This is the best cookie I’ve ever had,” says Kelly Creel of http://www.inspirefitnessbirmingham.com/blog. “It’s an inch thick and gooey. The perfect cookie.” (Secret: Creel believes the cookie gave her “special” powers to keep her blog post below 630 words. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!)
So how long would it take to work off the chocolate chip cookie, which is topped with sea salt and is probably 350 calories? Creel, a personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur, estimates maybe a 60-minute spin class.
But you who says blogging doesn’t sometimes come with calories? That’s part of the fun, right?
Want more of Bowser’s blogging tips? Check back on Nov. 2 for Part 2.
Chanda Temple is a former reporter now working in public relations. She blogs about being better in business and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.