Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Bird

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

Turkey Tree
Thanksgiving is here - you can tell by the Christmas decorations and music everywhere! The main Thanksgiving decoration, though, is the turkey. From the golden-brown skin on the table to the slender wishbone on the kitchen windowsill, we revel in the turkey, even if we don't care that much for eating it.

Although the turkey was not Benjamin Franklin's first nor his official recommendation for the symbol on the Great Seal (these were the rattlesnake and a scene of Moses and Pharaoh, respectively), he had this to say about the turkey:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Common Blogging Mistakes

By Laurie Epps

My mentor, Edie Melson, has written a fabulous book that simplifies was does, and doesn't work with social media and blogging.

A public speaker, and author Edie speaks all over the country recognized as an authority about social media.

So follow along with me in Edie's book: Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Every week, we'll uncover a new chapter to have you on your way.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Writing Challenges

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

One way to focus on your writing practice is to participate in a challenge. Most are familiar with NaNoWriMo, in which the participants try to write 50,000 words (the length of a short novel) during the month of November. But some write to write something shorter - like poetry. What challenges are out there for them?

For those looking to do something short and sweet, there's NaHaiWriMo, a month with daily challenges in writing haiku. As in all of these challenges, you are provided with a topic each day, and you try to write your best haiku about that topic.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Editing Your Blog Posts

By Laurie Epps

The hardest thing for any of us to do as writers is to edit our own writing. 

There are a lot of reasons for this: including we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again, but we also sometimes are too close to our writing and can't see the mistakes anymore.

Today, let my reflections guide you with my mentor's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Edie Melson is well respected as a social media expert, so let's get started, shall we?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Words of Thanks

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

November has been a month of thankfulness in the United States since the Civil War. Since right from the beginning, Thanksgiving has been associated with war. So it is fitting that we offer thanks early in the month for our veterans - those who have fought for us, and returned to model their sacrifice in their civilian lives or their continued service.

We give thanks for them, and we give them thanks. Unfortunately, it is often all we can give those who have given themselves wholly for us. Let’s use what we’ve been given - words - to participate in some way in the gift these warriors have given to us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How Often Should I Blog?

By Laurie Epps

Social Media Expert, mentor, and friend, Edie Melson is a forerunner in the industry teaching us what we all need to know about blogging and the basics of social media with her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. So follow along with me, and I break it down for you. For more detailed information, feel free to ask a question in the comments section, or simply follow along with the text.

Today's topic is near and dear to my heart, so I'm going to break from my traditional form a little, and add my own story. I'm sure Edie will approve!

When I started as an intern with Edie near New Years this year, I was also taking Multi-Media in college. Our professor wanted us to break into teams and create a blog or website. Naturally, the kids didn't want to be on the web with a lady old enough to be their mom....

We were instructed to blog every day, and that just didn't work for me. Not only did the professor shoot down every good idea I had, but on top of homework, being an intern, and a single mother daily blogging just wasn't feasible. 

Almost as if it were scripted, it didn't work out, and Edie tell us why:

  • Daily blogging doesn't work for most people because your readers can't read every day, especially when you're new and they don't know why or what they're reading.
  • Daily blogging causes burnout for the writer. This definitely happened to me, so be careful, it could happen to you too. Edie points out that this is because it's in addition to our regular writing.
  • Posts are generally of a better quality when they're spaced further apart. You give yourself time to reflect and proofread your work this way. 

What dictates your blogging schedule?

  • Your personality. If you get easily discouraged, don't overwhelm yourself with unrealistic expectations, and just blog once a week. I wouldn't have believed this a year ago, but I can say, my own experience says that this is true. I'm just now hitting the demographics my professor was looking for, and it truly started with my once a week poetry column.
  • Your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your blog? Are you trying to connect with readers? Or perhaps you're developing a platform or network of people. The answer to this question can shape how often you should blog.
  • Your lifestyle. Truthfully, I really set out wanting to make my professor happy, and blog every day, but for me that just wasn't realistic. With my drumroll of titles including single mom, full-time student, and editorial intern that just didn't fit on my to-do list. It was too cumbersome. For me, it was just too much.
  • Edie reminds us that the key here is to be flexible. I would add to that to be patient with yourself, your writing, and your readers. It takes time to develop a platform and you need to find what works for you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Internet

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy
The Original Internet Explorer Logo

We all have a love\hate relationship with the internet. We can’t imagine life without it, unless it’s when we’re telling our kids how bad we had it back in the good old days. I don’t know about you, but I rarely pick up pen and paper anymore, or read a book that isn’t formatted for screen. Virtually all of my writing is done and distributed by bits and bytes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How to Find Ideas for Blog Posts

By Laurie Epps

My mentor Edie Melson wrote a book about Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers, to follow along with the book, click here. 

Every week, we'll go through her book, chapter by chapter. 

So get ready, we're going to learn some techniques for starting up your blog. (Or re-inventing your old blog.)

The Swan House in Atlanta

By Laurie Bower Epps Many don't know that I'm really from Atlanta. Somehow, as I've gotten older, it just seems to be natura...