Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Jogging for the Busy Writer

Exercising the Vocabulary: Skill-Tweaking Strategies for Would-Be and Professional Writers

We all get bogged down writing stuff for profit that may or may not be something that's totally in our wheelhouses. Sometimes you just need to do something for yourself. I'd like to invite you writers out there to sign up with Blogspot. This website builder lets you easily build your own weblog. I have six going now. If you want to make a lot of money at blogging, go to Wordpress, but that's not what my Blogspot blogs are for. What I do with them is use them as a personal place for my creative non-commercial stuff and as a dumping place for things I post on forums or on Facebook that I think are particularly erudite and that I hate to just fire off and then forget that I wasted an hour working on that incredibly clever answer to someone's snarky question or comment

Sometimes others' posts and comments can kick you off into a nice essay. So, don't waste it. By creating a humor/philosophy blog, a political blog, a religious blog, a how-to blog (my most popular), a top 10 list blog and a poetry blog, I have a place to put all those bits and bobs I would otherwise waste on mere "comments". Plus, I have a Google Adsense account and have posted their ads on my weblogs. I make a couple of hundred dollars a year off my blogs and the more entries I post, the more money I make on ads. Just make sure to share your new posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus. You'd be surprised how many people will read your stuff that way and get to know you as an author. THEN when your book comes out, they're more likely to invest in a copy AND you've got a place to advertise your new book.

Much of the content I post, I make deliberately "evergreen" except in the political blog. If a post is tied to a subject, an issue or a solution to a problem, people will keep visiting it. One of my most popular blogs ever was one on how to unstick a sticky piano key. I was looking for instructions on how to do it myself and found that no one had ever written one. So I did it and photographed the steps and wrote it up. I've had more thank-you notes on that one blog than you can know. My build-it-yourself canoe rack for pickups is another one that's done well. People send me pictures of the ones they have built and I post them.

Ever so often I post a link to an old blog on Facebook to generate traffic. I've had a couple of my posts go viral without my name on them. One, a skit based on Abbot & Costello's "Who's on First" bit has Lou buying a computer from Bud. You can look it up on Youtube. Several folk have posted comedic versions of the skit "Lou Costello Buys a Computer" on Youtube. I had to really work to get my name credited as the writer. I retained the copyright but still give permission to any acting teacher that wants to use it for teaching kids comedic timing. It's pretty widely used.

Anyway, you'd be surprised where your work may wind up or who may see it. You may not make a lot of money, but who knows? A pet interest of yours, turned into a blog, just may take off like Michelle Malkin's political blog or Brett McKay's "The Art of Manliness".

The sidebar to the right has links to some of my more popular blogs on this and other blog sites I write and manage. There's no telling what bit of your recycling may catch fire on the Interweb, but if it's not put out there, you'll never know.

At the very least, when you pitch face forward into your keyboard, you won't just leave behind a long string of random letters on the screen and a lot of debt. Your kids, your grieving spouse and your inquisitive grandkids will be able to read all your old blogs and see what is in reality, a personal memoir of you that will hang there in cyberspace for who knows how long after you're gone? (so be careful what you write, that is if you don't want your tombstone pushed over by a lot of angry relatives).

- Tom

P.S. I originally wrote this for a writer's forum and then posted it here on my How-to blog. I guess that makes me a literary recycler.
P.P.S  My poetry weblog is the one where I practice my wordcraft. I highly recommend poetry as a writing exercise. Writing poetry is like jogging for the vocabulary. I have in mind a workbook I intend to do on using writing exercises in poetic forms as a way to hone your vocabulary and sentence structure skills to sharpen your communication. If you'd like to check out my poetry blog, here's the link.