So, what is this blog about? I admit that if I look at my list of recent posts, it’s all over the place. I see posts about writing, memoir, flash fiction, personal challenges, social justice themes, politics. In short, I see a recipe for mental fragmentation and confusion. I am grateful for those readers who have stuck with me through my faltering steps on the blogging pathway, but as the time approaches for New Year’s resolutions, it’s clear I need to bring some focus to this site.
As with any endeavor, it is important to learn from the masters. One go-to resource I use is Jane Friedman, whose blog and newsletter helps “authors and publishers make smart decisions in the digital age.” Jane, a Great Courses professor and contributor to Publishers Weekly and other outlets, has created a blog and website brimming with resources for writers, with links to her publications, classes, and related services. It was Jane’s webinar on WordPress that gave me the confidence to move beyond my first Google Blogspot blog, Memoir Crafter.
Through Jane, I have found other outstanding websites. Most recently, I followed a link in her post from October, “What Should Authors Blog About” that took me to writer, traveler, and unconventional living guru Chris Gillebeau’s blogging guide and manifesto, “279 Days to Overnight Success.” According to the statement on the manifesto page, Gillebeau’s blog is for “Bloggers, writers, online artists, and anyone otherwise interested in creating a new career or expanding their influence using social media.” What the manifesto immediately did for me is get me thinking about the purpose of my blog and the possibility of threading the topics that are important to me into one cohesive theme. And if you are just starting out with a blog, his post on how to start one is one of the most succinct I’ve seen.
Another useful resource comes in the way of the bloggers and writers I follow regularly, those, for example, whose blogs support writers through the Literary Citizenship Model that Jane discusses in one of her posts. I follow several that are true to the goal of “celebrating and bringing attention to authors, writing, and books—the things you presumably love and want to support”:
- Writer Unboxed, a superb multi-contributor site of top writers, agents, and editors;
- Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch, a dynamic online writing community that offers writers a safe space to explore their craft through weekly flash fiction challenges;
- Anne Goodwin’s writing website Annethology, and her blog, Annecdotal, where she offers trenchant book reviews of recent fiction incorporating psychological themes; and
- Writer and teacher Mary Carroll Moore’s website and blog “How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book.
Then there are author blogs. Among some I follow are:
- Happiness author Gretchen Rubin;
- Author and gero-futurist Karen Sand’s The Ageless Beat blog;
- Self-help author and speaker Amanda Owen’s website and blog highlighting the messages in her two books, The Power of Receiving and Born to Receive;
- Novelist Ninie Hammond’s Blog for Writers, and
- Author Felicia Sullivan’s mindful living blog, Love. Life. Eat.
And finally, the plethora of writing sites with blogs, such as:
- Author and Writing Coach C. S. Lakin’s Live, Write, Thrive;
- Brian Klems’ blog The Writer’s Dig on the Writers Digest website; and
- For those newer to writing professionally, Joe Bunting’s TheWritePractice.
These are just a handful of course, and I’m sure you all follow well-written blogs on topics other than writing that, despite their unique angles, convey a clearly recognizable theme and fulfill their purpose in giving readers useful and timely information. One blogger I follow that participates in the Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenges is early-childhood-educator Norah Colvin. Norah stays true to her purpose of inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through the use of her original teaching materials. Most recently, she is using her blog to launch Readilearn, a website that offers early childhood teaching resources.
So, it’s back to the drawing board for me. With today’s post, I plan to return to my original purpose and themes in blogging here. Those include topics related to memory and memoir writing; the craft of writing; and Word of the Week, exploring arcane and beautiful words. I’ll explore flash memoir through Charli Mills’s flash fiction challenges. And I’ll weave in two values in my philosophy of life—the pursuit of EXCELLENCE and the importance of HABIT—as they relate to the craft of writing.
If you blog, what have been your experiences in developing your online identity and themes? Have you found ways to incorporate seemingly unrelated topics into your posts without sacrificing focus?