6.12.13

Learning from the Blogging Experience

CHANGE, WE CAN.  Whatever your endeavour, there'll come a time when you need to change direction and move on. It's the same with blogging.  Once you have achieved a certain milestone and your blogging experience has given you the confidence to step up a gear or two, then maybe it's time to take your blogging to the next level.

On the other hand, consider this a pertinent question: Is it no longer cool to blog? Has blogging become too tedious for you to carry on, or has the passion and determination gone out the window?

Blogging started in a democratic way allowing freedom of expression on a platform open to everyone who knows how to kick-start a blog. For the early birds who caught on to the blogging craze, it was an exciting world of expressing yourself to all and sundry who came to read your blog.

This was the time when those in the know about Internet entrepreneurial ventures developed their blogging skills and moved on to the next level of their blogging experience. From blogs filled with personal ramblings and idiosyncratic musings, they changed gear and moved into the realm of making money online with their blogs or they eased up and become more circumspect in the way they blog.

The ones who made it big-time in their blogging are now sitting pretty as professional bloggers - some running many niche blogs earning residual income albeit with the help of some other bloggers who are being paid to keep these blogs running. Some would like to call them the A-list bloggers and they have garnered a huge following of fans, because like bees, these fans love to gather around the beehives where the honey (or money) pot is supposed to be.

That's not far from the truth, because if A-listers are supposedly great money-makers that's where the fans (or fanboys as dubbed by other bloggers) will like to hang around, hoping a little bit of crumbs here and there might help to "enlighten their blogging experience" and in the process take them to the "next level."

But thankfully not all bloggers are "honeysuckers." Some bloggers do have a mind of their own and they have enough sense to learn from their own experience to understand how things work when it comes to search engines optimization,  getting organic web traffic, internet marketing, keyword targeting and other relevant issues that will help to enhance their knowledge of the world of blogging.

Ebb and flow in blogging

Truth be told, it was generally assumed that it was much easier to reach the top in the early days than it is today. Having come this far, I'm inclined to agree with that assumption. The Internet has evolved in many ways after more than a decade.  There are probably a gadzillion bloggers on this planet today, so it looks like if you fall out on the wayside, there'll be others to replace you.

Just like in business where many retailers gather around in the same vicinity creating a kind of synergy, competition will be keen and it's up to you to have what it takes to outdo your competitors to stay on top of the situation.

In that sense, you can say there's a state of equillibrium in the blogging experience despite the ebb and flow. Nothing changes even when the blogosphere undergoes various changes. So we are where we are. It is how we motivate ourselves from a standstill position to somewhere more rewarding that counts.

Does this mean I'm hanging up my mouse? My answer is an emphatic "No." There's still some blogging streak in me. I'm just going to pace myself, be more focused and not blog like a 'Mad March Hare' you read about in Alice in Wonderland.

Sometimes you learn there's a better way to do things than just following the herd. Stay true to yourself and be focused in what you do. -- Markk

* PhotoCredit: Jasen Miller


31.8.13

Another Brick Wall In Your Mind?

Oh boy, it's getting tough to write a blog post these days!

I guess I've got to start somewhere if I'm going to create another post on this blog, especially when you have to use a keybaord - sorry, keyboard - that keeps playing tricks on the charactres...oops, characters.

This goddamn keyboard is sitting defiantly in front of me, probably laughing (if it can laugh) at my clumsy effort to type...without missing my p's and q's.

If I tried to type fast, a dinger - sorry again, finger - would miss the right key. If you look at the keyboard arrangement, R is next to T and D is next to F, and instead of hitting the A key I would hit an S! Talk about itchy fingers and potholes in the keyboard!

Well, I could become a one-finger typist plodding on at a safe snail pace. But that seems like a retarded idea fit only for turtles and snails.

Okay, enough of this tomfoolery on the keyboard. I can sense the mental brick wall is crumbling. I guess I have warmed up enough to write about...oh well, writer's block which do affect many bloggers.

See, I've gone past six silly little paragraphs to get to here. Now I'm untying the stifling knot in my head. Let me tell you that when you are having a cerebral blockage, don't drop dead, just write away on anything that comes to a clogged mind!

Remember, you're slowly loosening up, your mind's engine is stuttering but soon it'll be purring again like a well-oiled machine. Yes, you have overcome the hardest part of writing - that's getting started.



“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of
the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to
become visible.”
~ Vladimir Nabakov


How to unlock that writer's block?

Writer's block is what many writers dread the most. Famous novelist and adventurer Ernest Hemingway was once asked about the most frightening thing he had ever encountered as a writer and he replied: "A blank sheet of paper." That unquestionably sums up that feeling of angst when it comes to 'putting ink on paper.'

Just imagine you want to write and you are facing a blank PC screen. Would that be as scary as facing a blank sheet of paper?

Today, it's so much easier to use a desktop computer or a laptop rather than an old beat-up typewriter to write.  If you type something you don't like you can always delete the sentence and rewrite it on your computer. You don't waste sheets of paper.

Across the blogging landscape, we have seen bloggers who used to post on a regular basis and then one day they started to slow down. And grinding to a halt. If you have been looking around and visiting some of your friendly neighbourhood blogs you'll notice that there's a long period of inactivity on these blogs.

And the first thing that comes to mind is...writer's block. It's the bane of folks who have overused their mental power and now are suffering from dysfunctional brain cells. Burnout.

For some bloggers (or every blogger and writer at one time or another), the 'brick wall syndrome' is just as much part and parcel of the malady all of us writers have to face sooner or later. Yes, you are encountering a writer's block when you have overstretched yourself and feeling lost for ideas.

How to get your creative juices flowing again? 

Perhaps, some good vintage wine will help you to clear the cobwebs inside there! Or it could be a spontaneous outburst of creativity after a cuppa  hot stimulating java. Maybe, you need to do a quick exercise (warm-ups) or freewrites (silly thing though) as I have done at the beginning of this article.

There's no one fix to get things going, it varies from one writer to another - different folks, different strokes.

Sometimes it's a good idea to take a break, pick up your acoustic guitar and work out a song (okay, not everyone is a guitar freak). But you still can listen to music, take a walk, work on your tai chi or perform some other activities that could get your mojo working.

Usually writers can't get started because they try to concentrate too much on the introduction and that bogs them down.

Don't worry too much - or just don't be too fussy at the beginning - start at any point. Just write away in the middle and by the time you come back to the front, you will have a clearer picture of how the introduction will run.

So there. Just don't feel anxious and frustrated. Throw out those negative feelings, be motivated and inspired by whatever that's cooking on your mind. And right away...write!

Another little trick to start is to work on the title or headline first. You can come up with several titles, decide which one can wow the reader and the rest of your writing will start to flow.  Usually, a good title will sum up the direction you're heading in your article. You can pick up some fine title ideas by studying those blurbs on magazine covers. So head over to your nearest magazine store and browse around for some inspiration.

Let's look at it from another writer's viewpoint about how to unlock that writer's block. Jeffrey Deaver, the bestselling author of thrillers and mysteries and creator of the Lincoln Rhyme series, has this advice: "I've often said that there's no such thing as writer's block; the problem is idea block."

Here's another quote from one of the best-known among the few African-American women science fiction writers, the late Octavia Estelle Butler: "You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence."

Ms Butler (June 22, 1947 - February 24, 2006) won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

Finally, here's a little gem of a tip from the late American author James Thurber who was also noted as a cartoonist and celebrated wit: "Don't get it right, just get it written."

Well, folks, that's how you get around a sticky situation, do all the 'crappy' stuff first, then everything willl fall into place. There won't be another brick on the wall 'cos it's tumbling down and you'll be able to see the light on the other side. Write on! - Markk

Discover The Cure To Writer's Block

The Writer's Block: 786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination   Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within   The Writer's Portable Therapist: 25 Sessions to a Creativity Cure

30.7.13

Cut the Crap, Write Quality Content for Your Blog


After you have spent a couple of years blogging and after you have visited hundreds of blogs, you probably come to this awakening...  Maybe. That you don't have what it takes to be a successful blogger.

So what must you do to measure up at the same level or even better than those bloggers  who are assumed to be doing well as 'successful' bloggers?

But first, what defines a successful blogger? 

Is it someone who's making a bundle of moolah online? Or someone who provides compelling content on his or her blog that attracts a beeline of traffic that never seems to stop?

And for sure if your blog rocks, advertisers will be falling over each other to get their ads onto your site.

The hard truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a 'genius' when it comes to blogging. Most of us are just average type of bloggers who think of it as a kind of hobby with interest that may fall into categories such as entertainment, politics, sports, writing, fashion and what have you.

If you have come this far in blogging and realized you have taken the wrong path, you can always backtrack and go home to do something more rewarding than looking at the computer screen days on end.

Or you can re-orientate your mindset, push the envelope and take on a new persona - give your blog a new lease of life.

By now, you'll know that TIMIDITY does not bring you good dividend. Nobody gets to know you as a blogger because you don't rock and roll with the "jet set".

Sometimes you need to fa*t and stick up your middle finger to create waves. Blow your own horn.

You got to exude a magnetic personality, like a flamboyant and charismatic politician who can sway the crowd with a performance of great elan and sophistication.

Some of the advices that came my way is NOT to be afraid to create and state your opinions. Timidity is an easy path to anonymity. Be bold. Be gung-ho but not to the point of being silly, a nuisance and a threat to mankind.

If your idea of blogging is to reach out to the world, you can't be writing for the consumption of your relatives, neighbours...and your dog and cat. The audience is out there in the World Wide Web.

You got to widen your reach as much as possible, especially in social networks and discover new blogs, not those hackneyed types that never learned to stop their BS posts. There's plenty to be learned where you have never ventured before.

Whoa! All this sounds well and good...up to this point. The truth: Promoting your blog takes more than doing all that's mentioned earlier on.

Every blog needs a readership. But there's no quick-fix or magic formula that will transform your blog into a hotbed of readers overnight unless you're Psy of Gangnum Style fame.

However, here's a simple step you can take to build traffic (quality traffic - not the here today, gone tomorrow kind): Write posts that people will want to read. Simple as that.

Just don't write rubbish.

 -  Markk