3 Ways to Engage with Bloggers

You’ve probably heard that a major part of blogging is not only providing interesting content, but also engaging with other bloggers. But if you’re like me, then sometimes interacting can feel like a part-time job. If you’re also like me, then you already have a full-time job where you make money and another job called “parent” and “spouse.” However, I’m sure you recognize that it’s worth it to invest time to those who support your art.

But how?

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#1: Wait for someone to follow, like or comment. I average approximately 30-40 interactions per day. When a WordPress blogger follows, likes or comments, then I read one of their recent posts and do the same. If I’m not already following, then I check out his or her “About” page and browse around. Most of the time, I find something I like, unless it’s a blog about nuclear physics or something. In that case, I read a post, like and comment, and keep it moving. It takes me about two hours a day. You might be wondering where I find two hours a day. The answer is that I don’t watch Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy or the show about the zombies. Instead, I choose to engage with people who genuinely support me and it’s well worth it.

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#2: Keep a Twitter blogger list. Many bloggers link their WordPress sites to Twitter. So one of the first things I do when I first follow them is search for their page, follow, and then add them to my WordPress Blogger list. The list serves as a filter. I spend about twenty minutes checking Twitter each day. One day I may read the first ten writers. Another day, I may read every other person’s. Either way, it helps me to see the people who haven’t followed, liked or commented on my articles. I squeeze in Twitter time while I’m standing in a long line or waiting at a doctor’s office. If you choose to use this method, then also be sure to like, re-tweet, and add hashtags to posts that you want everyone else to see. It’s the name of the Twitter game.

#3: Check my WordPress reader. This is my least favorite. I check my reader once a month. Like many of you, I use the filter “Blogs I follow.” From there, I can catch up on bloggers I’ve added through WordPress, but not email. Other times I search for topics that match my own categories, such as “quotes” or “inspiration.” This ensures that I follow people who will want to engage with similar content. I’ve found quite a few blogs using this system.

I know it’s hard to keep up with FB, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and also WordPress, so I hope these tips help. How do you blog? What do you do to keep up? Please let us know so we can all become more efficient 🙂

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3 Reasons the Blogging Community is better than Social Media

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I’ve been blogging for about three years now. And one thing has become pretty obvious. The blogging community is not only different than social media, but it is also better.

Here’s why:

Bloggers are readers. Most writers are. I’m willing to bet almost anything that no matter how many WordPress bloggers you have, they read what you write. It’s because they find reading enjoyable. It’s also because they want people to read what they’ve written as well. Social media doesn’t always yield readers. There have been times when I’ve commented on a person’s post, only to realize s/he hadn’t fully read the link themselves.

Bloggers reciprocate activity. If you read, like and comment on their words, then they’ll probably read, like and comment on something that you’ve written too. There’s a shared experience that invites empathy. Writers know the painstaking task of finding just the right phrase to convey just the right message. It can take hours! Consequently, if you took the time to write it, then a blogger will take the time to read it. Seemingly, the quick culture of social media, coupled with an imbalance of newsfeed updates from all several hundred of your social media friends and followers makes it difficult to reciprocate reading/liking activity.

Bloggers post thoughtful comments. Similar to number two, your blogger-followers have probably written, deleted and re-written their comments to express like, love and support for your posts. Sure, some only use the “like” button, but more than not, your blogger-followers have sought thoughtful words to communicate their feelings about your content. Social media friends and followers do not always seem to honor the “thoughtful” part of commenting. Whether it’s the use of text/IM language or the more recent and popular posting of memes as communication, social media comments just don’t seem to be as considerate or attentive.

What did I miss? Do you enjoy social media better than the blogosphere?

Comfortable on the Outside and Inside

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The other day I saw a woman struggling in the parking lot. I felt bad for her. How was she was going to make it to the Publix door? I thought about offering her some help. But she wasn’t elderly or disabled. She was wearing, what looked to be like some very uncomfortable, four-inch, purple heels.
“What’s wrong with her?” My husband asked.
“She’s having a hard time, huh?” I replied.

We laughed.

But the more I thought about it, it wasn’t that funny. Why was she wearing those heels? Don’t get me wrong. I’m the last person to criticize heel wearers. I used to teach high school in 2-3 inch wedges most days for ten years. As an elementary school instructional coach, the front office staff would often ask, “Where are you going?” because my shoes didn’t match my environment. My closet is now a mausoleum for years of heel choices. However, if I ever thought I was going to be uncomfortable, then either I didn’t buy them, or I packed a pair of flip-flops or flats.

But I guess the culture has changed a bit.

“You know when women are always looking for a man, it causes them to make some uncomfortable choices,” I thought out loud.

“Nope,” my husband answered, “that’s how they dress at work, married women too, sitting at a desk.”

Seems a bit illogical, I thought. Sitting at a desk, wearing four-inch heels that no one will really see. Even Wendy Williams wears flats and then changes before she goes out for a show.

It’s not just shoes though. It’s liquid leggings. It’s skinny jeans, specifically made for certain body types. I mean, it’s in the description, skinny. It’s exposed muffin tops peeking over the tops of shorts. It’s button up shirts with the second button hanging on for dear life. It’s “wait a minute let me suck in before you take that picture,” so I don’t have physical proof of my discomfort.

Some women look uncomfortable.

There’s a lot of contemporary conversation about being yourself and being comfortable with who you are. But I beg to understand: How can women be comfortable in their own skin when they’re not even comfortable in their own clothes?

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t shoe shaming This is not a sermon about covering up your body.  This is just a suggestion. If your jeans feel better off than on, then maybe you should consider a style that fits your body type.

And by all means, if you can’t make it from the grocery store parking lot to the front door, then maybe you should choose a lower heel. Or at least carry some flats.

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*Honing One’s Craft

Hone (v). refine or perfect something over a period of time

My editor and writing consultant suggested that I start a blog to “hone my craft.” I figured she meant that I needed to sharpen my skills. You know learn creative ways to introduce content, like how to begin posts with definitions. Cause you know those definition introductions can be cute and engaging, but beginning a story this way could also be rather trite. I assumed this was the type of thing she wanted me to refine. Don’t judge. It’s the English teacher in me.

Similarly, a couple of writer friends suggested blogging as a way to sell my book. As it turns out, this is a lot more challenging than one can imagine. Especially because I’m not sure if I should do a hard sell, kwotedor an implicit sell. In a way, this too, includes honing one’s craft, as you have to cleverly use words to self-promote. And I’ve decided I don’t wanna necessarily be that blogger. Well, not all the time.

So I joined a couple of Blogging U classes.

Writing 201: Poetry helped me to hone my innovation. It lasted 14 days and I’d promised myself that I would participate each night and finish each challenge. Haikus, sonnets and acrostics got my left brain flowing. Do you know I even wrote a concrete poem shaped like a house that professed love for my toy poodle? Now, that’s some honing. These challenges helped though. I’ve even considered interspersing poetry throughout another book I’m writing. Equally important, Writing 201 introduced me to the blogging community at large and helped me to gain a bit of blogging confidence.

I figured that if I could do Writing 201, then surely Writing 101 would be just as breezy. I was wrong and I misread the directions. Instead of 14 days, this one lasted 21 days and occurred right at the end of my university’s semester. Still, I honed my niche: creative nonfiction. I practiced telling authentic stories without offending the other people who are involved. This is no easy feat. And I’m not entirely sure I’ve done well with this self-imposed task. But it’s something that I have to do well because I’ve only tipped the iceberg describing the people who have impacted my life, both negatively and positively. Again, all of this helped me wiggle a little farther into the blogging community.

Ultimately, I’m grateful that my editor suggested a blog to hone my craft. I’ve not only learned how to improve my writing, but I’ve also become a part of a group of supportive bloggers who seem to genuinely have one another’s best interests at heart.

*This was written as a part of the Creative Blogger nomination from Marquessa.

The Liebster Award: (drum roll please)

I would like to thank Marquessa from http://marquessamatthews.com/ for my nomination.

This was totally unexpected! But I’m excited to participate.

Here are my 11 nominees from the blogs that I am enjoying now due to the Writing 101 Challenge.
If by chance you have been recently nominated for this award, please pass along the kudos to other deserving bloggers. Some of my nominations might echo yours, but that’s cause they’re so awesome! I’ve chosen people who have been both supportive and who have also pushed me to become better writer (explicitly and implicitly).

My answers from Marquessa’s questions immediately follow and my new questions are last.

http://finkelsteinandsons.com/
https://kmcmcurtis7.wordpress.com/
http://allthatchatter.com/author/tolive4u/

http://prayyior.com/

http://pricelessjoy.co/

http://ishmusing.com/

http://mikestacey.com.au/

http://smileyyearwood.com/

http://idonthavethemap.com/

http://afthead.com/

http://dadojodest.com/

Answers to Marquessa’s questions:

Why did you start your blog? Initially, I started this blog because I wrote a book of quotes and my editor suggested that I blog, “not to sell your book, but to hone your craft.” At first, I thought I don’t have time to “hone my craft,” but I did Writing 201 and then 101 and now I understand exactly what she meant.

Besides your children and/or significant other, what has been your greatest accomplishment in life, big or small? Attaining my PhD is by far the greatest accomplishment in life. And it’s not for the reasons that people might think.I learned so much about life, energy, the law of attraction, patience, control, discipline that I don’t think I would have otherwise. It brought many unexpected lessons.
What is the most exotic destination you have been to or plan on going to?
Puerto Vallarta was pretty exotic. My husband and I went for our honeymoon 19 years ago. A few years back, we took a cruise to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. It wasn’t the same as flying to a destination and hanging out there, but it was pretty exotic, still.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Hmmm…I believe in energy at first feel. I think that you can feel as if you’ve known the person your whole life and that you’re supposed to be together and through that feeling, you fall in love…at first sight.

What is the greatest tip you have learned from another blogger? I have learned…from Marquessa – to take your time to tell a story, whether it be fiction or nonfiction.

If you could be the main character of a book or movie, who would you be? I would be Nina in the movie Love Jones.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? Be yourself chick! 100% of the time, be yourself. Those who like you, will do so because they actually know you and those who don’t, well, it’ll be okay.
What is the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for you?
My goddaughter expresses her gratitude for me all of the time. There are many times when I’ve returned home from work to find a mailed, thank-you card. It is usually completely filled with all of her thank-yous past and present. Every time I receive one, it warms my heart.
What piece of advice did you receive when you were younger, did not believe and now believe to be 100%e true?
“It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” I do believe that people will listen to anyone if their disposition is inviting and they have a bright, sunny smile. I don’t think it’s right, but I do believe that it’s true.

Take-out or home-cooked meal? Depends on the time of year. Holidays…home-cooked meal. Any other day (lol) take-out.

What’s your favorite television show right now? Super Soul Sunday – I’m not particularly religious and it gives me the freedom to believe what I believe without the doctrine associate with it.

OMGosh Marquessa! Thanks again for extending my experience even farther than I would have imagined.

KG’s Questions (first answer that pops into your head and then explain):

  1. Plastic or paper?
  2. Book before movie or movie before book?
  3. Oprah or Ellen?
  4. Writing in public or writing in your home?
  5. Married or single?
  6. Dog or cat?
  7. Healthy lifestyle or who cares?
  8. City or Suburbs?
  9. Limited choice or complete freedom?
  10. Rainy day or snowy day?
  11. Writing on a device or writing by hand?