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Friday, August 07, 2009

 

Friday Speak Out: Got Blog?, Guest Post by Pat Wahler

Got Blog?

by Pat Wahler

For a long time I resisted the idea of launching a blog. After all, I’d only started to dabble in creative writing a few years ago. How in the world could a beginner like me entertain others? Besides, I’m a tech-know-not. Setting up a blog certainly must require expertise that I did not possess.

But soon after a writer friend launched her blog, I decided to explore the concept by visiting Blogspot.com. The step by step instructions demonstrated that even I, the most inept of computer users, could publish a pretty darn professional looking blog. Best of all, the site didn’t charge a dime to participate, so why not? My favorite topic, animals, seemed the perfect platform for me, so on November 15, 2008, I launched Critter Alley into the seemingly infinite blogmosphere. Here are a few things I’ve learned since.

Blogging is a wonderful writing exercise. I don’t journal, but now practice the discipline of producing an interesting (I hope!) critter-related story each weekday. The thought of writing for others gives me incentive, and knowing that literally anyone in the world might read my words is an empowering feeling. And since daily stories require material aplenty, I’ve learned to observe life a new way, from a writer’s point of view.

When you report factual information, research is critical. People will be quick to let you know if something you’ve written isn’t quite right. For example, when I blogged about Jim the Wonder Dog, a reader emailed me. He claimed that Jim should have been described as a setter, not a spaniel. I verified his comment and made the correction. Although locating reliable sources and supporting material without violating copyright protection can be a challenge, it’s a habit worth acquiring for your next writing project.

Most of us don’t have publicists. Writers must market themselves. Getting your name out for others to see can only help when the time comes to sell that first novel. After posting a favorable review on a critter related book, I emailed the author to let him know. He not only mentioned my review on his blog, but posted a link to mine. Pretty cool stuff for a novice like me!

Perhaps one of the best things about regular blog posting is witnessing the evolution of your own work. Successful authors preach over and over that the best way to improve skills is to write consistently. My commitment to Critter Alley forces me to write daily. At best, my work turns out to be something noteworthy or thought provoking. On a not so great day, I’ve written coherent sentences with a beginning, middle, and end. Both help make me a better writer.

In short, anyone who expends the effort to blog will learn from it. If you’re a writer and haven’t taken the leap yet, don’t make more excuses. Get yourself to that keyboard and create your opus.

What have you got to lose?


Pat Wahler is a multi-published freelance writer. She lives with her husband, dog, and cat in Missouri where it is not unknown for them to entertain a guest critter…or two…or three. She writes about all things animal on her blog, Critter Alley. http://critteralley.blogspot.com/

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Analisa said...

I felt the same way. I stumbled into blogging becasue it was the way I kept up with a friend who had one and lived far away. I was just trying to leave a comment and a few moments later I had set up my own blog. I said why not? I have met some great folks and really enjoy reading and learning from others.

Great post!!!

7:30 AM  
Blogger irishoma said...

Hi Pat,
Great post! I LOVE your blog. You always have such interesting posts.
Keep on blogging!
Donna

2:07 PM  
Blogger Sally Ferguson said...

Ah yes, it's nice to have days when something coherant shows up on paper! Blogging is good discipline and helps the thoughts connect!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I always look forward to reading your blog, Pat. It's entertaining as well as educational. Learning something new everyday is a MUST for writers everywhere!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Pat,
And some people are really being "discovered" due to their blogs. Great post. I love blogging.
Margo :)

8:23 AM  

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