Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Increase Blog Traffic: Part 1

Traffic, train style.
When writing SOI in the early days, I remember my sole mission was to attract readers. I had carried on a fun blog with a few friends called Super Hyper Human Beings, for a few years that kept the three of us connected and laughing. It was great, but I wanted to try something solo.

I started off with a blog about my life and my beliefs called A Day in the Sun. Haha, get it? Sunny, sun. Anyways, that blog (and another) has since gone out the window in favour of this one. Since the beginning of SOI back in 2011 I have learned a few things about attracting readers. I've been meaning to write up a post on the few blog traffic nuggets that I have learned, and the day has finally come! Without further adieu, the first part of a list of ways to improve traffic on your blog:

1. Be present in the blog-o-sphere
a) Make intelligent comments on other people's blogs that relate to the content.
Don't use comments simply for self promotion. I usually don't put a link to my blog in the comment. Personally, I find that a little presumptuous, unless the blogger asks for it in the post.

b) Follow other people's blogs
Don't feel obligated to follow someone's blog just because they've followed yours. I only follow blogs that I'm genuinely interested in, because I don't want to litter up my notification  box with stuff I don't really want to read.

c) Get involved with linkies and different contests
It's okay to say no to some of these. It's better to do a good job on one, than a bad job on two.

The power of getting your name (and thus a link to your blogger profile) out into the blog-o-sphere depends on people's curiosity. If they click through to see who you are,whether they see it in a linky, comment or as a follower, then they will find your blog on your profile. I am super curious so anytime someone comments or follows, that I haven't seen before, I always click through to check them and their blog out. I also check out people who have commented on other blogs that I read, if they have made a really profound comment. I've attracted most of my followers by simply getting my name out there.

Stay tuned for the next post on attracting blog traffic! I had intended to condense it all into one post, but as usual I rambled more then I intended, so this topic will be continued. As always, comment if you have any further thoughts on attracting traffic to your blog and let me know how you found SOI.

What I'm reading: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
What I'm listening to: New Orleans Christmas album
What I'm watching: too much Youtube! In particular, Paint



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free Writing: A Tip

You've probably heard this term before, but if you haven't...

Free Writing (according to Sunny Smith): the act of writing without inhibitions and/or without a solid purpose in mind. Writing words as they come to mind.

There are two parts of free writing in my mind.
1. Writing without inhibitions. Turning off your inner editor
2. Writing without a plot, just whatever comes to mind.

Some people swear by the second part of free writing, and think it is the end all be all of writing. They believe their best work comes from free writing. Think the "pantser" method of writing a story. Do I think my best writing comes from writing a story with plot that's made up as I go, with no real direction? Probably not.
For me, I find that writing without a clear purpose in mind, just ends up being more work in the long run.

However, I can't deny the value in first definition of free writing -in the sense of writing without inhibitions- especially when it comes to breaking a writer's block. After all, you can't edit a blank page.

The tip that I wanted to mention today goes with that first definition of free writing: writing without inhibitions. I believe I read it in some writing magazine (probably Writer's Digest). The tip is this: if you are having trouble writing, cover your screen with a towel or book and start typing your story. Just write and allow yourself to be terrible without looking at the screen.

I gave this method a try before I wrote up this post and found it oddly freeing. There was spelling mistakes and words that ran together, but it didn't really matter. The content was there and ready to be edited when I got to that stage.

So if you're feeling "blocked", try out this method and see if it works for you. Even if you just do it for a few minutes, it will get you in the free writing mood that will ultimately get you further with your story then trying to perfect everything the first time around.
Have you got any free writing methods? Did you try out this one? Let me know in the comments.

What I'm Reading: Rebel Hearts by Moira Young
What I'm Listening to: Josh Garrels
What I'm Watching: Arrow

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to Format a Manuscript: A Video

I am no where near the submitting stage, but I've always been curious about formatting my manuscript and the such. You can imagine that I was quite interested when found this video over at Go Teen Writers (you can find their link on my inspiration board) about just that. I thought you all might enjoy as well.



Did you learn differently? Find this helpful? Let me know in the comments!

What I'm Reading: The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
What I'm listening to: The Fray
What I'm watching: Downton Abbey season 3!!!!!!
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