Wednesday, May 7, 2014

#IWSG for May - What to do with my blog?

I survived (and beat) the challenge of the April A to Z and now, once again, it's the first Wednesday of the month. Time to write about my insecurities and help support my fellow writers.

What to do with my blog?: This month I am actively thinking about where to take my blog. When I started it, I was participating in several weekly flash fiction challenges. Then I did my first A-Z (2012) and very quickly moved into writing my first novels.

That consumed the rest of 2012 and most of 2013 and I found my blog languishing as well as time to follow the blogs of the friends & followers I acquired during the A-Z challenge. Once we got settled here in Ecuador (another little thing that consumed me in 2013), I jumped into this years A-Z. It helped me realize how much I missed writing flash fiction.

Now the conundrum, balancing my writing time between my two blogs with my personal life and my novel writing. Factor in that I would think I need to have more readers of my books (and other writings) following my blog but I'm not sure how to get them.

When I started my first blog back around 2006, it was mostly about selling my house and searching for "my" perfect first RV. I tossed in a few rambling tales and meandering thoughts from time to time. My blog readership was huge, strangers would walk up to me and ask why I hadn't blogged recently. I started with other RVers following me and the rest came from word of mouth. That's what I'd like to get back to...

So my first challenge will be to write in here on a more regular basis, hopefully every Mon-Wed-Fri (keeping it simple). Second challenge will be to write on a more personal basis, about (hopefully) interesting topics to anyone - not just other writers. Third challenge will be to balance this with our increasingly active social life here in Ecuador, our travel plans (in the US and in Ecuador) AND still find time to write (novels, short stories and flash fiction). Oh, and did I mention the writing groups here in Ecuador? Been to two and have a third threatening to start!

Can I do it? How do you keep your blog readership growing? How do you balance it all?

44 comments:

  1. I guess everyone's looking for those extra hours in the day ;) I have a tendency to disappoint someone somewhere but if you want to do all these things then go for it!

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    1. I will figure out a way through this all, first is deciding what to post on this blog and hope I can grow readership that would like to read my books. ;) Thanks for visiting again...I really need to participate in National Flash Fiction day again, too.

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  2. I spend far too much time blogging, but I learn so much from the online writing community I consider it educational. :) A great meme to get involved with on Fridays is Celebrate the Small Things by VikLit (google it, you'll see it on page one). It's a quick and simple post about what you're celebrating this week. The community is active and diverse, so it's a great steady way to get more pals! :)

    You might start writing reviews. Always a great way to fill a slot and to share you'r opinions of things. And you might want to try hunting around for other memes (longterm and short) to get involved with. You could do a writing group update (tell us what you learned. This would be especially great for those - like me - who can't attend them).

    A few ideas. Hope I helped.

    Have a great week .X

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Thank you, Shah. I will check those out. Coming up with something good yet fun for Fridays would be great.

      These were my first attempts at writing groups - the first two were very different, we'll see how the third one goes.

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  3. Finding balance is such a toughie. I admire you and all who completed/survived the A to Z Challenge. What an accomplishment.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. There were days when I thought I'd never make it. Already looking forward to next year!

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  4. Good question that you propose. I am working on starting a new site and splitting my books from other writing, so two blogs (again?) maybe? Ouch...but there's much to do to try and attract the readers and potential buyers of my books, so I think separate sites are the best way to go. My blog worlds have been peaks and valleys, so the view is always changing!

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    1. Hi Dean, thanks for stopping by. On the personal side I had blogs for everything so no one had to deal with things they weren't interested in: our RV travel blog, our Route 66 planning blog (motorcycle trip), our future log cabin blog, even our dog had a blog! When we moved to Ecuador, I merged all those into one blog that will only be used when we are in the US or have major things to announce. So in effect I have two active and one inactive blog. It can be a challenge....and I always was an overachiever! LOL!

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  5. You can't do everything, at least, not all at once. Pace yourself. Don't forget to live in the real world, and believe that what is meant to be WILL happen. Cheers to you for completing the challenge. Keep writing and connecting.
    Play off the Page

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mary. I try to do it all but that means sometimes something suffers. Trying to get better at it!

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  6. Hi Donna! I'm terribly unbalanced! But I loved your post! And I'm going to enjoy reading about you and your writing. I'll have to decide if I want to mention to my husband that you retired to Ecuador. That's one place he has cast a retirement eye on. It is so comforting to read of how others are dealing with the same struggles I am! Good luck as you implement your goals! I'm increasing your blog readership right now!

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    1. Please be sure to check out our Ecuador blog: Retired in Cuenca to learn more. We are having a blast...it's our Great Adventure!

      Ggoing to have fun following you, too!

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  7. I need to be more effective with the time I spend blogging. I don't do it too often, but I spend a lot of time thinking what to write about.
    lucindawhitney.com

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    1. It's always a challenge, isn't it! Thanks for stopping by, Cindy!

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  8. Social media is a necessary evil--especially for us indies. Not to say that it's not fun, but I'd rather be writing...sometimes at least. :P

    Love your post!

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :)
    IWSG #224 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. I have really grown slack on the social media (on the writing side, not so much on the personal side). I have to get back to it and get better at it! Good luck to us both!

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  9. Balance? What is this balance you speak of?

    I know squat about building a blogging network. I pretty much stalk my friends, and then stalk their friends, and then giggle fanatically when I get return comments. I have no niche, but I wouldn't even know where to start with one.

    I think your plan is a good one, and I'm glad you're getting into the writing community where you live. Best of luck with your blogging endeavors!

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    1. Thanks so much, Loni (and thanks for the giggles). It's always a challenge but then anything worthwhile usually is!

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  10. Have to set a certain pace (I think) or we drive ourselves crazy. I think of it in terms of long-distance running (since I did some 5 and 10K races back in the day). If I don't pace myself, I will never reach the finish line. The finish line, in this instance, is any goal we set. :) . So, perhaps, pacing ourselves properly is the way to go. Just another thought. Great post, Donna.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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    1. Pacing is important for sure...I just need to be more "me" and less what I think I need to be! Thanks, Siliva!

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  11. I don't have an answer, but I hear your dilemma! and social life is important too!

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    1. I think most of us deal with this from time to time, but hey, I'm retired! It's supposed to be easy! LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  12. I think your blog should just be a reflection of YOU! What you're interested and what you want to write about :)

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head, Julie, and that is what I used to do so it's what I'm going to strive for in 2014. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Hi Donna, I am finding it difficult to balance it all: blogging, writing my books, teaching and writing for the newspapers. I have reduced my blogging days from two to one and I feel that has helped me manage my time. Find a schedule that works for you.

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    1. Rachna, you are absolutely right. I need to schedule more so I can write less (at least blogs). Hoping my new schedule works! Thanks for the input, it helps.

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  14. I too find it difficult to get and maintain more readers. I've gone through many periods of asking myself what my blog is for and why I'm actually doing this. I think this is a common theme for many personal bloggers. Unless your blog solely promotes your business, or you have a catchy gimmick that quickly gains popularity, it can be difficult to see the value in all the time spent.

    If you do figure out the answers to your questions, please tell me what you've learned! I'm still trying to figure out this whole mess myself. :)

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one...and today I took another look at Google+. EEEK!! So many folks are using it and all I do is send my blog posts to it. Oh well, we'll figure it out eventually. LOL! Thanks, Holli.

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  15. I think everybody does it differently. Some bloggers/writers say that they find Twitter to be more effective as a networking tool... others prefer Facebook.
    I like to connect via blogging. But that's just me. I'm not too savvy when it comes to social media.
    Have you tried out Wattpad? It's a great way to post snippets of your work and gain new readers...
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I love blogging, mainly because it's writing. But I used to have a wonderful core of friends on Twitter. I see them on Facebook now but it's not the same, not as immediate. Then factor in G+ and it's no wonder we struggle. I think I will continue to concentrate on blogging and fiction writing and let the others get the auto-updates. Thanks Michelle, your advise is always good!

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  16. I think you have a great plan. Now, just to stick to i! :)

    Thank you for your support.
    Heather

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    1. LO!L I know...that can be the tough part. Here's hoping!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you'll be back once in a while, Heather.

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  17. I have been feeling sort of stuck with my blog too.
    One thing I did learn from my third A-Z challenge was that I need to start writing and scheduling my blog posts ahead of time.
    I think that will alleviate a lotnof the pressure.
    doreenmcgettigan.com

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    1. Good tip and one that I am trying more and more. For our personal blog about living in Ecuador, many posts are about things we did (and photos I took) so it's more difficult. For this blog, I'm definitely going to try that. Oops, tomorrow is Friday. Better go write! ;)

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  18. My blog is for promoting my writing, as well as the services I offer. it seems to work well as I do book reviews for clients. The AtoZ challenge made me see an increase in followers too.

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    1. Loved your A-Z blog posts...back when I was freelancing (copy editor/writer, website design) I think my blog was more relevant (old blog, now gone). I just have to find the right niche for this one.

      I also think I need to visit more non-writing blogs and comment on them to help grow my audience. I love my writing friends and I learn so much from them but, for the most part, they aren't my target blog audience.

      Thanks for stopping by again!

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  19. To me blogging is part of the writing life. I choose a day once a week to do most of my blogging. The rest of my week I dedicate to my writing life. It works for me. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. I wish I could be that organized and before our move to Ecuador, maybe I could have. Now I have to grab time as I can...LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  20. My blog is a place for writers to come and chat rather than for self-promotion, so I'm not concerned with how many people see it, which is really bad. The only thing I'm certain of is that blogs about writing don't attract book buyers. Research indicates blogging is nearly useless for fiction writers in terms of building readership.The most important thing is to target your audience genre-wise and write posts salient to readers rather than to writers. Posts that focus on book characters, settings, and psychologies rather than on how to write book characters, settings, and psychologies.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. When I first started in 2012, mine was like that, too, and I also blogged daily. Now my life has changed so much and I have much less time so I hope to use it to get more readers (and eventual book buyers). Thanks so much for popping in and commenting! It is appreciated!!

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  21. My blog has been mainly about writing. I've tried to balance that with pic and stuff about Jamaica, but I'm not always successful at sticking with the variety. It's our prerogative to move in whatever direction we want to as long as we're happy with it.

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    1. Don't worry, be happy! That is going to be my mantra now, Joy. ;) Thanks for popping by!

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  22. Hi, Donna,

    You do have so much going on... BUSY... That's awesome. It's good to keep busy. I tried a few different venues at my blog over the years. At first I wanted to feature design posts. I'm an interior designer by trade. But that was fine for a while then it died off.

    Then I introduced a cool segment called Earthly Angels which was highly successful but then I ran out of material because so few bloggers had stories to submit to me.

    Now I just go with the flow. Blog a few times a week and have a steady readership. Has it grown? A bit. Not as much as I'd like, but that's okay an have new friends popping in... LIKE YOURSELF. Thanks for such a kind comment at my blog the other day....

    Just breathe and relax. Blogging should be fun not a chore.

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    1. You are so right, Michael. I love to blog but sometimes it seems to take over and I have so many stories to write. Plus I'm busy enjoying this gorgeous new country I'm now living in. Balance and Be Happy.... ;)

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