10 Benefits of Having a Blog for Writers

Many writers are struggling. They are struggling with the delicate art of balancing everything with the need to write. Others are struggling with getting words on the page. There are a few writers struggling with getting feedback on some of their writings.  Others are struggling with getting their writing published. I might not know everything, but I know a few things. One thing I know is that having a blog has been very helpful! So, I decided that I will share the top ten reasons why having a blog is super beneficial to anyone! (But more importantly to a writer!)

  1. Improve your writing – This is self-explanatory, but this is one of the biggest reasons to have a blog. Writing is like a muscle that you need to work out. The only way to get better is to write. There really isn’t much else one can say about it.
  2. Expressing yourself – Having a blog allows you to open the door and put yourself out there and allow you to express what you are thinking. No one else knows what you are thinking so it is up to you to open that door.
  3. Strengthen your writing muscles – Similar to what I said before, writing is an art. To get great at it, one needs to practice. One also needs to step out his/her comfort zone and expand his/her tool set. It is like going to the gym and only every working on your arms and you forget about leg day! To become a great well-rounded writer, you need to try different things. Step out of your comfort zone, and you will be amazed by what you will learn.
  4. Practice a different style – This goes hand in hand about trying something different. If you are often someone who liked to write long-winded articles about the food your cat really likes, try to write a 100-word post about you like to eat. Then try to write a top ten about what your dog really likes you. Every time you try something different, you will stretch your writing muscle and learn something new. In no time, you will master different things (and you will new strengths you didn’t know you had and learning things that don’t work so well.)
  5. Sharing your writing with the world – This tends to be the scariest step. You have to be willing to let people into read your writing. For me, this is the scariest thing. But the only way to grow it to expose yourself to the sun. J
  6. Building your audience – For any writer that wants to be published, building a following is now a huge part of getting a contract. Most traditional publishers do not have a HUGE marketing department. That means it falls on you to help your name out there. Already having a following is a great start. These are already people who know your writing and would love to read more. (Note: this does not happen overnight).
  7. Getting instant feedback – Every writer I know loves to get feedback. More often than not, they really love positive feedback. But as writers, we need all kinds of feedback. (Not anything that is mean or trying to discourage the writer.) One way of growing is fixing things that are not working and improving your weaknesses.
  8. Increasing creativity – Having a blog is a wonderful way of creating creativity. Once the ball starts to roll, coming up with things to blog about becomes simple. This is not to be confused with keeping up the blog (that is for a different day). Just brainstorming ideas for blog post tends to create even more blog post ideas! Go ahead and try it.
  9. Connecting with others – This is the fun part of blogging. (Even though I enjoy all parts of blogging). Often times, connecting with other bloggers is the fun part. Talking to others is just fun. You can create friendships and learn new things as well. Connecting with others have so many huge benefits for just your writing and your social life! J
  10. You can see your writing improve over time – This is really an awesome thing. You can look back at your old blog post and see how much you have grown. It’s a bit like a two-sided blade. You can see how far you have come and how you have improved: but, you will also see how unpolished and young your voice was. Just relish in seeing how much you have grown with your writing.

As you have guessed, there is always way more reason why to blog, but for me, these are the top ten reasons why I have a blog. What are you reasons to have a blog? Tell me below! J

Until next time….

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How do you keep track of your word count?

Just in time for NaNoWriMo, I thought that I would start sharing some helpful tips as we lead up to NaNoWriMo.   I am a lover of all things NaNoWriMo and I love to talk about it too!

So I think I will start with ways to keep track of your word count.  There are several way to do this and it is very much a personal style choice.  So here are just a few out of the many, many ways one can track a word count!

I will start off with what I shared in my post about my Writing Corner. I shared about my dry ease white board.  Last time I shared it, all it had was just my word count (in green).  But since then I have added blog posts, NaNoWriMo updates and a few other little things! 🙂  I find this way really helpful for two really big reasons: it’s bright and colorful and it’s visible for all to see!  🙂  It hold me accountable to all who can see the calendar – mainly my husband who tends to remind about my lacking word count!

You can click to enlarge it!

Another way to keep track of your word count is via an online counter.  My most favorite one is StoryToolz. This has a lot to offer from word count meters to random conflict generators.  It’s extremely helpful for anyone from someone who just wants to keep track of his/her word count to someone who is stuck in the mist of writer’s block. Also, did I  mention that it has a widget that you can add to your blog? Like this one?
Click to view daily statistics

Another way to keep track of your word count is on an excel spreed sheet. NaNo-tracking-grid  I have had this one for a little while floating around on my computer.  To be honest, I can’t remember where I got it from.  I did not create this but I find it so helpful that I really want to share it.  It is really great for NaNoWriMo but you really could use it for pretty much all year around!

That seems to my top three ways of keeping track of your word count.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Please share it with a friend!

Until next time…

Writing 101 assignment.

Alright, here is another Writing 101 assignment.  This time this is a ‘one word prompt’.  It boils down to you pick one word (here are the words: treasure, regret, home, love, uncertainty, secret.) and then write about it.  Sounds great?  Well, to me, it is!

I like to time myself when I write.  15 minutes was the magic number this time.  (For my fiction writing I give myself 15 minutes and for my other writings I tend to give myself 10!)  I feel it helps me get the words out.  Not everyone likes that, but for me it works.  One top of that, this will be a sample ‘rough draft’ of my current work in progress.  It’s a little odd, but when I looked at the writing assignment, the next scene for my current project popped into my mind.

The word that popped out to me was Secret.  So I hope you enjoy!

Here is a little back story.  This is a futurist science fiction novel.  The main character is Sam, a redheaded woman with a secret.  She is currently under ‘house arrest’ and is just trying to get something to eat.  **Note:  This is a rough draft of my current project, this is no how perfect.  I just wanted to share a little bit of writing.  I know that it’s not perfect; that what editing is for. (I know grammar is off, descriptions are more tell-y than show-y – that is what the second draft is for! 😀 )  In the meanwhile enjoy!  You are welcome to leave some feedback if you wish, just be polite and nice. Thank you!

Samantha walked into the mess hall and looked around. All conversation had stopped and all eyes were on her. She took a deep breath in and walked over to the counter. Bryant stayed close but didn’t get within two steps closer to her. She froze in her track when she noticed that Haniyyah wasn’t there. It was the younger man who often covered the night shift. Samantha stepped forward and forced a smile.
“I would like to have the basic human survival meal,” she chuckled to herself. It wasn’t the time or place but her words made her laugh.
The young male looked at her with wide eyes. His eyes shifted from her to Bryant standing behind her. “I was told to only produce bread and water for you. Captain orders.” His tone was soft and weak and his words were soft.
Sam nodded her head, “I understand,” she replied. “I’ll take that then.”
“Okay,” he answered. He walked over to the food processor and punched in her order. He walked back to her. “H told me to make sure you were okay?”
“Who is H?” Bryant butted in.
“Oh, she’s just the old lady that is here,” he replied as he gulped. “She’s kinda like a mother to everyone.”
“Hm,” he nodded his head. “Just tell her not to worry about this one.” He moved his eyes toward Sam.
“Just let her know that I am fine,” she said with a high tone of uncertainty. For the first time in her short life, she was feeling nervous and scared. There was a secret going here and somehow she was the center of it. Most of her life she had to hide, keep secrets and distance herself from others. Right now, she couldn’t tell if being different was going to help her or hurt her. It wasn’t directly her she was worried about; she worried about her father, Haniyyah, Nick and the rest of the crew. Was she putting them in danger?
The mess hall doors open and Nick walked in. They locked eyes. With every ouch in her being, she tried to swallow her emotions and become the computer she always had to be.

So, what did you think?  I got about 365 words done in fifteen minutes!   What did you get written!  Share it below!  🙂  Thank you!

Until next time…

Writing Wednesday – Sample

Okay, so I have brought back one of my trademark (well maybe!) blog post series. It’s Writing Wednesday.

A little back story, I started this series a very long time ago. I am a writer and I do a lot of writing. So I thought that I would share a sample each week of some of my writing. That being my school writing, personal writings, old writings or anything that I had put words in a special order to get something across.

On top of just samples of my writings, I am going to post some advice, things I have found and my progress on my current project(s).  Overall, Wednesdays will be all about my writing!

My writing for today will be a raw look at my current project.  It’s RAW!  Means that it had very little editing done to it.  I did go through and check for any spelling or really bad grammar but other than that, very little has been done to it.  Why?  Because I haven’t finished this current project and I don’t know if I am going to have to do a lot of editing to this or what.   But for the moment, I am sharing it with you.  I want you to know that I know it’s a work in progress. Nonetheless, I feel like sharing it with you and I haven’t really shared anything with you guys about my current writing project!   So, here we go!

The ship jerked causing Captain Christophe Shepherd to roll out of his bed and on to the floor. He wasn’t a spring chicken anymore but he wasn’t an old dog. Before he could stand, his second officer barged into his quarters and ordered the lights on.
“Sir,” his first officer spoke as he expended his hand to help the captain , “I’m sorry to have disturbed you, but you are needed on the bridge on the double.” His second officer’s soft blue eyes were tight and focused directly on his captain .
“What the hell is going on?” Christophe demanded as he stood up and reached over for his rob. Christophe had been a starship captain longer that his second officer was out of diapers; never has he been demanded on the bridge in the middle of the night.
“I understand if you are more than upset but,” he paused and rubbed his chin. He was struggling to grow a beard to show his actual age. “I don’t know how to tell you, but… You need to just go on the bridge. I think it might be the only way you’ll believe it.”
“What the hell? Why did the ship jerk? Did we loose navigation? What did we loose?”
“We didn’t loose anything, sir.” He stepped toward the door and pressed the button for the door. “We gained some -” he paused again and just pointed to the door.
“This better be worth it!” he replied as he tied his robe in front of him.
The pair silently traveled down the hallway and into the lift. The lift slowly opened up to the bridge.
The two men slowly walked onto the bridge. They came in through the back door which caused everyone to stop and turn to then. Christophe was not happy about being on the bridge during the night shift without his uniform on. In the very front of the bridge was a large screen that went from the ceiling to the floor and showed Jupiter. Just in front of the screen sat the pilot and the navigator. Between the two seats sat a toddler.
Christophe stepped back, place his hand in the air and looked at his first officer, “Why the hell is there a baby on my bridge?”
“That is what we gained,” he replied. He walked past the work stations on the port side and walked in front of the status station.
“Was no one paying attention to the lift doors?” He walked up to the status station. “Surely someone noticed a child walking up here.”
“No sir,” his second officer replied. “I was right here, checking in with Ensign Frey. I was facing the lift doors.” He looked back to the Ensign at the station. “Then he froze and pointed behind me. Just then, the pilots did the same thing. That is why the ship jerked. We were all startled by,” he paused and looked down to the child, “By the child.”
“Bullshit,” the Captain replied. “A child can not just show up on my bridge.” He leaned onto the main work station on the bridge. It was often nicknamed ‘mother hen’ since it over saw everything in and outside of the ship. “Is there any reports of missing children? Is our numbers off by chance?”
The Ensign looked at the Captain, “No sir; no reports of missing children. We are plus on our numbers.”
The Captain took a deep breath in and looked at his first officer. “It looks human,” he finally said.
The toddler looked over to the second officer and the captain. A large smile formed on the child’s face. It held a purple dog looking stuffed toy tightly in its hands. The toddler was silent. She had reddish hair and deep green eyes. Freckles covered all her exposed skin. The only thing on the child looked like an ancient potato sack with holes for her head and arms.
The lift doors opened and the new ship’s Doctor Hopkins walked on the bridge. “I was notified that I was needed on the bridge.” She walked over to the Captain and smiled at Commander Blackstone. “Is there an emergency?” She looked at Blackstone and noticed when he pointed just behind him. Her eyebrows raised as she looked at the child.
“What do you want us to do with the child?” First officer Blackstone asked.
The Captain sighed. “Take it to the clinic. From there we’ll figure out our next steps.” He looked over to the doctor. “I’ll be down tomorrow to see what you have found out about the child.”
“Do you mind if I assist the doctor?” Commander Blackstone asked as he stepped backwards and squatted toward the child.
“I didn’t realize that you -” Captain Shepherd stopped and looked at Blackstone. A small smirk crept across his face. “You may help the doctor bring the child down but I need to up here. We have an important meeting with the Martixkin. I don’t want you to wear yourself out.”
“Understood sir,” he reached out toward the child. He expected the child to panic but instead the child pulled herself up to her feet and waddled closer to him. “That’s it,” he softly spoke as she stepped toward him. Once she was close enough to him, he picked her up and stood up. The child giggled. Blackstone looked at Shepherd. His eyes were wide and his arms crossed in front of himself. “Are you alright, sir?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” he snapped back, “Just be careful, you don’t know what infections or diseases that child brings.”
Blackstone chuckled, “It’s only a child. I’m sure,” he paused and lifted the child above his head and then back to his side, “I’m sure she isn’t going to hurt you.” He walked around to where Shepherd and Hopkins were standing.
The Doctor smiled at the little girl. “Do you have a name?”
“Sam,” the little girl replied. She reached out to the captain. He immediately leaned backwards away from her reach.
“I think I shall go back to my quarters and try to get a little bit more rest before the day head of us,” he nodded his head and turned to the lift in the back. Just as he turned to leave, he felt a little hand touch the back of his balding head. Christophe quickly turned around and saw the little girl smile at him. Something inside him turned as he smiled back at her and lifted his hand up to her to grab. He looked at Blackstone and looked back at the little girl. “Maybe I’ll bring her down to the clinic. You should stay on the bridge.” He reached out for her and pulled her to him. The captain saw Blackstone’s face and patted him on the shoulder. “You will be able to see Hopkins later.”
“I thought that you were worried about her infecting us…” His sentence stopped as he watched Shepherd and Hopkins head toward the lift.
“With what? She’s a child. I’m sure she’s harmless.” He smiled and tickled her belly button. Her laughter filled the bridge. “Ill bring her down to the clinic and then I’ll go to my quarters to sleep.”
“Never-mind than, sir.” Blackstone smiled and bowed his head. “Sleep well sir.”

Okay, so there is that.  I hope you enjoyed it…  Tell me what you think!  Once I’m done with my project and I start editing, I will post again this little blurb and see if you can spot the differences!  🙂

Until next time!