Lots of you know Eric.
He writes a dad blog called All in a Dad’s Work. He’s a good dude and an Orioles fan. (It could be much worse.) He and I share tons of common friends. He writes a post called Go Ask Your Father, which looks a lot like Go Ask Daddy. He’s a good guy.
(My lawyer says I should ask for a taco for every Go Ask Your Father post he publishes. I like the idea of getting tacos mostly.)
Eric nominated me for a blogger recognition award long ago. When these things happen, I give thanks and disclose my plan to someday – someday – do the challenge, whether it’s posting pics or writing underwater, etc.
Recognition starts with R. That’s where we find ourselves in this A to Z Challenge.
I’m positive Eric will read this and see that as I’m going through the challenge – which involves posts daily for nearly all of April, and that we read five other blogs from writers partaking in the challenge – and will crank out one of his five reads right here.
I wanted to write
My blog started clumsily.
I’d been a sports writer for 10 years and found myself on a non-journalistic path of jobs in call centers and hotel concierge lounges. Still, I wanted to write. I needed to write. So I answered a LinkedIn post to write for a parenthood blog.
Good gravy was I clunky from the start.
I didn’t really know how to write about myself. I’d been trained to write and edit as an impartial observer. To prattle on about myself? Absurd. Who’d want to read the runaway poppycock from a former sportswriter and new dad?
Some people, turns out, like to read stuff like this.
I sloshed my way through initial posts, reading other bloggers’ work and growing accustomed to opening up in posts. I wrote for Modern Parent Online for about a year, before the site went defunct.
I had intell of the coming demise, so I copied and pasted all of my posts into Word docs and went rogue.
Advice for new bloggers
What an exciting time. I’d advise you to take your time at the start. Mull over a name, before you even take a peek at WordPress themes. Play on your given name. (I suggested the blog name Margins of Erin for a friend named – you guessed it – Erin.)
Choose a name, and a tagline – mine: ‘it’s all about fatherhood, futbol, and food.
You don’t have to include everything you’ll ever write about there. Don’t also set up categories in anything but pencil – you’ll find your regular features appear on their own. Your blog will take twists and turns you could never imagine now.
I started my blog with something to set the tone – a post titled “20 Things About Me” – and thought about how I could turn all 20 into posts.
Read. Holy God, read. Read as much as you write. More. Establish a routine, whether to read on the toilet, in car line, during breakfast. Leave comments. You can tell about the time you did something similar, but be sure to acknowledge the host’s work, too.
Write – write your ass off.
Start easy, once a month. Try once a week on for size. Doesn’t feel so intimidating? Good. Establish a schedule. Comment on others’ blogs. Copy and paste comments you leave on other blogs in a Google or Word doc. Use these as post ideas, too.
Blog as an extension of you
Join linkups, and look for free stock images.
Take your own pictures. Choose fonts and colors that represent you, not that fit a trend. Use your own sketches as images. This blog becomes an extension of you. Join a Facebook blogging group with like-minded writers. Contribute.
Try out a few tools, and bookmark the ones that feel best. In my arsenal:
750words.com | Write 750 words daily. Read an analysis of your writing.
Evernote.com | Save anything you can see on the Internet to help you later.
Hemingwayapp.com | This app will show you where you’re too flowery and verbose.
Photopin.com | Tons of free stock images. Or, just shoot your own.
Writing prompts | I found this one from Sheryl Strayed will get you moving.
Email me | Experiencing roadblocks, from ideation to publication? Email me.
Don’t worry about numbers.
Number watching nubs off the great parts of blogging. Blog for a community, for education. For connections and conversation. Find a social media calendar that works for you – and be sure to post as much on others’ blogs and ideas as you do your own.
It makes your feed look gracious and intelligent.
I could go on and on. I have so many specific ideas. I’d love to lead a course on this at a blog conference somewhere. If anyone has a spot for me, I’ll be over here … waiting on tacos from Eric.
My 10 nominees
Aunie, of Aunie Sauce
Beth, of i didn’t have my glasses on …
Beth, of The Beth Next Door
Christine, of I’m Sick and So Are You
Deborah, of Tenemos of the Blessing Light
Jaime, of Jaime Haney
Laura, of Skinny and Single
Steph, of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
Vanessa, of Vanessence
The rest of the A to Z to this point:
A is for Addiction to Devices
C is for Interview with a Cat
D is for Do What I Do and Eat What I Eat
E is for Eight Things I’ve Left Behind
F is for Foods That Bring Me Comfort
H is for Halfway There
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Justification for the Blog Life
K is for 7 Women I’d Sing Karaoke With
M is for Men I Forgot to Be
N is for the New Plan
Q is for Quote Challenge