Monday, 1 August 2016

A Blog like No Other


History repeats itself. Last year at our annual Writer’s Conference I spoke on SPEAKING.
Today on CWD/ACW, I am blogging on BLOGGING.
What would you say is next? Should I read a book on READING?

The helpful aspect about speaking on speaking was that the material I used to prepare my talk helped me perform my workshop better. So perhaps my research into blogging will help me write a readable blog? My little offering today is for those who are considering the pros and cons of blogging on your writing journey and would like a whiff of its perfume in order to be convinced of its lasting fragrance.
4 ½ years ago, I began my belated blessed blogging journey with a few bumbling baby steps forward. I have now written 220 blogs to date. I must confess though that I came kicking and screaming into it. You see, I couldn’t see the point of adding my mite to the surplus of blogs out there. Who would read them? Google tells me that in 2013 there were 152 million blogs in the world. Not a small number. A publisher friend finally convinced me that I should dive in. Surprisingly enough, once I jumped in (with a mighty splash), you couldn’t get me out of the blogging pool. The lake was cool and refreshing, and I am still being invigorated by its healing waters.
So what is a Blog? A Blog is short for "Web Log" later turned into "Weblog" and finally the simple four letter word: "Blog". As recently as 1999, there were supposedly only 23 blogs on the Internet. The reason for there being so few was that 17 years ago, bloggers needed to be web designers who created everything from scratch. Thankfully, times have changed and we have easy access to free blogging hosts in the 21st century world. So what’s your excuse to not blogging? None!

But let me add that as a Christian writer, you will of course need to ascertain if it’s right for you at this point of your writing journey. “The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” Ron Dawson.
How does a blog help an Author/Writer/Would be Writer?
1. It helps build your platform
2. It gives credibility to your writing
3. It helps develop publicity for your writing
4. It can promote your work
5. It helps you develop a fan base
6. It helps you keep in touch with your readers
7. It helps agents and publishers take you seriously
8. It keeps you writing regularly
9. It serves your readership with bite-sized flavourful chunks of your writing
10. It connects you to the world—writing can often be a lonely occupation

Some Important aspects to work out before you begin:
1. Name of your website/blog site—think hard. Think well. Let it stand out.
2. A page about yourself—allow your readers get to know you
3. Frequency of blog – daily/3 times a week/weekly/fortnightly/monthly/other
4. Subject matter – what would you like to focus on?
5. Make it readable – not only in content but also in presentation

Are pictures necessary? I’d say they are not essential but having at least one picture in your blog would add to it. I've done a little research and uncovered some sites with free pictures with no copyright issues attached, but please ensure you read the ‘terms of use’ before you download them.
Free Pictures for you: Please click on the links below to find them.
Dreamstime

Gratisography

New Old Stock

Free Nature Stock

Function

What hosts are available? There are plenty of free hosting blog builders that will help you create your blog or website from scratch and with ease. I used Webnode.com and have been more than satisfied with their services—it hasn’t cost me a cent. Other sites like Blogger.com, Wordpress.com, SimpleSite.com, Tumblr.com, and Wix.com are used widely as you may know. If you would like to use your own domain name, you will need to pay for it. Here’s a useful site which shares information on blog hosts: Web Hosting Free Reviews

What kinds of Writer Blogs are out there? There are blogs that teach the writer’s craft, those that talk of the writer’s life, others that write about current issues, some which share their experiences, others that write how-to articles, some which focus on book reviews and more. Fiction writers may share snippets of their stories to hook their readers or even serialise their work through a regular blog. When I started blogging, what a blessing it was to discover that God made it part of my ministry. It was a gift from Him, and has grown me and shaped me as a writer. But we are unique beings—called by God to different tasks. So follow His heart for yourself, not for anyone else. Your blog and mine will be vastly different. And that’s exactly how it should be.

A few Good Blogging Practices:
1. Determine the length of your blog. 300 – 600 words is a good number.
2. Images will add to the blog—use them.
3. Ask a question at the end or lead them to take action
4. Make it easy for others to share—make it public on Facebook
5. Link up with other writers’ blogs
6. Create a free email newsletter
7. Invite other writers to write guest blogs on your site—a good way of joining hands (and words) with other writers!

I hope I've whet your writerly appetite as you consider if blogging is something beneficial to you as a writer. Everything we do as Christian writers must be in response to a call from God. Is He calling you to start one? There are many of us bloggers on CWD and ACW who will be glad to give you a hand. So if you believe God is calling you to it, do jump right in. And may your expedition be God-breathed, exhilarating and take you to exotic places.
If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.” – David Brin

“Writing is its own reward.” – Henry Miller

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” – Barbara Kingsolver


Anusha Atukorala is a writer and speaker with music in her heart and a message to proclaim. The abundant love of a faithful God is her theme song. God’s call to writing in 2007 led Anusha on a Grand Adventure which continues to surprise and thrill her. Anusha loves to build the body of Christ and to encourage others through the written and spoken word.


Her first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is comprised of 75 little God stories. She has twelve short stories published in Anthologies and lots more in the pipeline. Do drop in to say G’day at her website Dancing in the Rain. She’d love to meet you.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you, Anusha--an excellent, helpful blog about blogging! I also love blogging and have found it so useful in most of the ways you mention, but I also write my own personal blog simply as a ministry. I think would still continue doing it whether I was actively writing and promoting another book or not. I'm up to personal blog Number 369 and still going. I feel privileged to share different little insights from God's word and in other ways with my readers and love to hear how the blog has blessed them in some way, as I'm sure you do too.

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    1. Thank you Jo-Anne. Great to hear you too love blogging. I have been blessed by your blog so thank you. Mine too is a ministry and what a blessing it is to me personally. Like you I too share little insights from our Father and yes, it's heartwarming when we hear how our words have encouraged another. Wow - personaly blog 369? That's wonderful. Here's to your blogging journey Jo-Anne - may you continue to impact many readers and may God touch lives through our blogs.

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  2. Thanks for all of those pointers, Anusha. You've been such a faithful blogger and I know you've blessed so many with your beautiful words, including me.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond Nola. Thanks too for your very encouraging words which bless me. Thank YOU for your wonderfully instructive blogs for us writers which have taught me so much!

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  3. Thanks Anusha - some great pointers. 220 blogposts is an impressive total.

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    1. Many thanks Jenny. Jo-Anne tells me that she's done 369 to date! Wow! And I know Susan Barnes has been blogging for a very long time so no doubt her total is even more. I'm working towards creating a book out of my blogs so that is exciting too. Hoping it will lead somewhere! :)

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  4. Some great tips here Anusha. I, too, have been so blessed by following your blog. I look forward to reading it whenever it's posted. Yours and others I try to follow are a great start to my week - I'm on the reception desk at my church all day - and it is usually very quiet until after lunch on a Monday - so I have my iPad with me checking and answering/commenting FB and emails. 😊😊

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    1. Thanks so much Lesley for being one of my faithful readers. You bless me so much! I'm glad for those quiet moments at your reception desk that permits you to read my blog and others. Glad your iPad travels with you! :) Thank you for your encouragement on my writing journey Lesley. You are a trooper!

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  5. I recently picked up a short book of "hot tips" for writers. One of the tips was to "cut your teeth on Letters to the Editor". I suspect blogging has the same benefit.

    Congratulations on your 220 blog posts - may there be many more :)

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    1. Thanks Iola. I can understand the wisdom of cutting ones teeth on 'Letters to the Editor'. Yes, blogging's got to be a good pathway into writing. Many thanks for your warm words Iola. Bless you. :)

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  6. Anusha, excellent post! I enjoy blogging, but I don't blog as often as I used to due to time constraints and a need to focus on other priorities. Thanks for sharing your love for blogging with us :)

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  7. Thanks Narelle. So glad you liked it. I can fully understand your focus since you have been doing some prolific writing and producing so many books. Good on you. Great to hear that you like blogging too. :)

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