Friday, September 28, 2012

Pish Posh Challenge - Week 4

We have entered into the fourth week of the Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge. Which means we are half way there. The other people participating are tackling a number of challenges. Some have weight loss goals. One is trying to quit smoking. Some are trying to reduce stress. My challenge was a writing challenge. I decided to try to improve my writing by doing it more often and since I publicly declared that I would post five times per week, I had to do it.

I never actually threw my computer.
This is the end of the fourth week and I have kept up the pace so far. However, it has been much more difficult this week than the first three. A frantically busy schedule and extra stress restricted both my time and creativity. I had several nights when I just didn't want to write and dreaded picking up my laptop, but this is why I entered the challenge. Having stated that I would do this and posting it on Pish Posh's blog gave me the extra incentive needed to get it done.

Here are my posts for the past week. Click the links to read the posts.  

Monday
I'm Ready To Move
I wrote about the kids in my neighborhood that want my attention so bad, they come into my house if I don't keep the doors locked.

Tuesday
I Am Now A Neighborhood Threat
I had a run in with the local police department.

Wednesday
Can I Trade This Month For Another One?
My pouty post for the week. I was having a bad day and had nothing else to write about. So I poured it out into my blog.

Thursday
A New Day
After one day of feeling sorry for myself, I felt much better and the sun began to shine again.


I haven't put the care into my blog as some people have, but I am so grateful that I started doing this two years ago. I love my blog and kind of consider it my baby. I love crafting the words and deciding what I will be writing about next. I have also learned a lot since I started. Here are some of my tips for beginning bloggers.

  1. Find your own voice. You have a way you tell a story and that is the way it should be told. Don't try to copy someone else's style. It always comes out forced and doesn't sound genuine. Since your stories are your own, tell them your way.

  2. Visit other blogs. There is a variety of reasons for this. Other blogs can inspire your own writing. Plus, there are wonderful people out there who are sharing their lives and talents with the world.

  3. Leave comments on other blogs. This not only let's the person know you appreciate what they wrote, but it starts a dialogue. Ask the author a question. Offer an opposing viewpoint (politely). Expand on the idea being presented. Leaving these comments also leaves a trail on the internet back to your blog. My traffic increased greatly when I started making an appearance on other sites.

  4. Respond to comments left on your posts. This helps to keep the dialogue going, shows your readers that you appreciate their visit and is a step toward forming friendships. I have several people who I have never met that I consider to be friends. I regularly show up at their blog or they come to mine. Often, it's both. I have a few dozen people who I am determined to meet at some point.

  5. Turn off that stupid CAPTCHA.
    I hate that thing. It is so frustrating to have to punch in a code after leaving a comment. Some of them are almost impossible to read and I have lost my comment on many occasions when I typed in the wrong code. After a few failed attempts, I generally just move on. Leaving a comment should be easy. You shouldn't have to strain your eyes to make out warped letters.

  6. Participate in writing groups. This will introduce you to other writers and helps them to get to know you and your writing as well. Several good ones are Studio 30 Plus, Write on Edge and Dude Write. These groups along with many others sometimes offer writing prompts to challenge yourself.

  7. Be willing to get a little personal. I am not suggesting that there shouldn't be any discretion, but it's OK to be real. No one wants to read about someone who whines all the time, but it is acceptable to talk about some of your struggles. It is especially helpful once you've gained a loyal audience who is more than happy to leave encouraging comments. Plus, your readers will be happy to get to know you a little better as a real person.

  8. Proofread and edit before posting.
    Mistakes happen sometimes. Misspelled words and bad sentence structure will occasionally find their way in. (Note the dangling participle in the previous sentence.)  Occasional errors are fine and hardly even noticeable, but when there are several spelling mistakes in a single paragraph, it distracts from the writing. 
This is a not a definitive list by any means. No research has gone into coming to these conclusions. It is just a compilation of some of the things I have come to learn since I started this blog. I will surely put this list into practice as I tackle the last four weeks of the challenge.

20 comments:

  1. Congrats on making it halfway through the challenge. Are you going to try to keep this up after the challenge is over?

    I really need to work on #8. I almost never remember to proofread or edit before I post. I know that and I remind myself of that at least once a week, but then I completely forget when it's time to actually post.

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    1. I usually give it a run through and then post it. Then I read it a few more time to see if I missed anything. I have even fixed things weeks after it went up.

      I will try to keep up a steady writing schedule, but seriously doubt that it will continue to be 5 times a week.

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  2. You provide some excellent blogging advice and I try my best to follow the example you've set. I just know you will be successful at your eight week challenge.

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    1. Thank you. Now that I am halfway, I'm pretty confident I will make it.

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  3. I am so not good with the rules. In fact, sometimes I purposefully butcher a sentence out of sheer rebellion.

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    1. It works when you do it. Especially when you are trying to capture the speech of your kids.

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  4. I have gotten a bit sloven in my editing lately. I just posted about my noticing this yesterday. Good points, and congrats on keeping with the challenge!

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    1. Thank you. I have non edited ones get by every now and then. I just try not to make it the norm.

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  5. Great job sticking to your goal! I think that's the hardest part - going ahead and doing it anyway when you don't want to. I'm enjoying getting to know your blog!

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    1. Thank you. I love knowing that people read it.

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  6. Oh my freaking god about the CAPTCHA - thanks for mentioning that! I get crazed when trying to comment on those blogs. I've turned off moderation and have a spam filter on my blog that does a good job of catching anything.

    I'm quite inspired by your success with the challenge, Brett. My smoking cessation isn't quite as successful, but I know it's definitely no more difficult than regular quality writing. You're doing great!

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    1. Thank you. I don't think my goals are as difficult to accomplish as many of the other being sought after, but it was personal to me.

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  7. Solid advice! That list of tips on "How to Write Good" was great. Speaking of which - I would add one more thing to that list of tips you have:

    9. Use pictures!
    Visual aids are great; they engage additional parts of the brain and can really highlight your posts if well-selected. You don't have to have a picture in every single post, but don't underestimate their potential!

    (I like the pictures you choose for your entries. They're often quite funny, and always add to the posts without distracting from them.)

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    1. Thank you, yes. Pictures help break up the text and add to the reading.

      I try to choose my pictures carefully.

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  8. You had some great posts this week, even amidst your stress. I loved the neighbor kids post :)

    I wish your tips for new bloggers had been out when I started. It's a huge learning curve, for sure. I am definitely obsessive about proof reading, though. I, like you, read my post several times even after I've posted it, looking for errors. I get so sick of my own words by the time I'm done that I never, ever want to read that post again!

    Great job this week :)

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    1. Thank you. I am in much better spirits already and hope to see an increase in the quality of my posts this week.

      The proofreading is very important to me. I hate having typos in my posts.

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  9. This is really brilliant! I think you should spread this one around as a mini guide for beginning bloggers :) Or even write a short manual, how-to in your own funny voice of how to be a good blogger - how to build blogging community, join up in link-ups and blog hops, and also just how to focus on being a good writer, and to keep going even when you're busy. I'd love to see you write this!

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    1. Thank you. That could be fun. I'll try this again and spend more time working on it.

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  10. So great that you powered through the week and met your goal, and loved the super-awesome blogger guide.. bravo! It is so true about getting involved in the 'community', to make your presence known. And the writing forums were a huge help in networking (it's how I met Pish Posh) you are so right! Nicely done, Brett.

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    1. Thank you. I wandered aimlessly for over a year before I started doing these things. It made all the difference.

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