What I Learned From a Year of Blogging

February is my blogging anniversary month.  Yay me!!

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been one year.  It feels like it’s been sooo much longer.  Over the course of the year, I’ve tried to accomplish many things, and I’ve learned a lot through my blogging experiences.  I’d like to share what I’ve learned with all of you.

You Need To Be Determined

i-am-a-writer

If you aren’t determined to accomplish your goals, nothing will ever happen.  Seriously.  Even in the blogosphere, nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter.  This is just a truth that is inescapable.  You have to work hard if you want to see results.

For example, I always want more followers.  I mean, who doesn’t?  Of course, with me, things are a little different.  I’m writing a book series, and I would love to have a multitude of adoring fans.  When I first started blogging, I thought that everyone would LOVE my ideas.  They would LOVE the fact that I’m a teenager who has some great writing skills.

Well, I was wrong.  Because everybody else was trying to promote their own ideas.  And there are lots of other teen writers out there.  I wasn’t special.

At least, to everybody else, I wasn’t special.  I knew that I DID have something special to offer everyone; the problem became, “How do I prove it to them?”

You need to be determined if you want to blog.  People think that blogging is easy, or that anyone can do it and be successful.  Well, anyone can!  But only if you are willing to persevere and fight to have your voice heard.  Let’s face it, there’s a lot of competition!

Build a Community

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In spite of the fact that there is a lot of competition (and there is!), it’s important that you build a community of loyal followers.  The relationship needs to be a two-way street though.  You have to be willing to be a follower of OTHERS.  Being present in the blogosphere is important, but it doesn’t mean being selfish and only thinking about you.  Don’t just blog about your personal endeavors; in fact, don’t just blog.  Read.  Allow yourself to become interested in what other people are doing.

This kind of attitude will help diffuse the feeling of competition.  Overall, I’d say that this kind of friendly support is called NETWORKING.  And, if you’re trying to promote ANYTHING, networking is extremely important!!!

Read other peoples’ posts.  Comment.  Share.  Get to know the bloggers around you.  Believe me, it’s worth your time!

Find Your Niche

anime friendship

This can be difficult, depending on what you write about.  I used to write about anime, and, although there is a growing presence of anime-bloggers, I just couldn’t fit in to this group.  My series, Elithius, used to be anime-esque, so I thought finding an anime audience was a good idea.  But there really just isn’t a large enough audience of people who like to watch anime and read books at the same time!

So I made my books more literary, more fantasy-esque, and took away some of the anime-feel.  Then I started searching for people who were interested in fantasy and sci-fi.

Bingo.

I found my niche in this area of the blogosphere.  It wasn’t too hard to find people who were interested in fantasy and sci-fi, all you have to do is search for tags or categories under those names.  But finding people who were equally interested in MY blog?  That was harder.  But it was worth the search.

Blogging, networking, and building a community is so much more rewarding when you are surrounded by supportive, like-minded writers!

Learn From Other Bloggers

Sig and Armstrong

This relates to being determined.  You have to be willing to learn what styles of writing attract or keep people’s attention.  You have to learn what works and what doesn’t.  The best way to do this is to go follow some really popular blogs.  Observe their techniques, and try to emulate them.  Lots of bloggers out there (like yours truly) blog about blogging, and these are great blogs to follow.

Don’t be stubborn and try to “do your own thing”.  Believe me, this rarely works.  The truth is, there are systems and methods for how to post regularly, find time to read and socialize, and still get enough sleep.  And these systems and methods work.  You don’t have to waste time trying to create your own.

Find the flow and go with it.  This will help you to be successful.


Overall, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished through blogging.  But there’s still a lot more work to be done.  Guess I’d better keep at it!  Thanks for being great followers!


What do you think?  What have you learned since you began blogging?

 

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Why You Should Proofread Your Writing

Have you ever found yourself reading something totally awesome, only to become distracted by a silly flaw in the writing?  It can be some poor punctuation (or lack thereof), a run-on sentence, a misspelled word, etc.  In spite of how any writer can make these simple mistakes, it’s hard (at least for me) to not immediately write someone off as an amateur.

Maybe that’s rude of me.  The thing is, if you’re looking to become a successful author (like yours truly), an editor will judge you exactly the same way!

Well, say you aren’t trying to become a successful author.  Neglecting to proofread is still a bad habit, and it still makes for poor writing.  Do you WANT to be written off as a “bad writer”?  Of course not!

Don’t Be Lazy

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Like I said, most of the mistakes that we make when we write without editing are simple, easy-fix mistakes…which means that the amount of effort to find and correct these mistakes is small.  This isn’t rocket science.

“I told, him, that he was wrong”

I see stuff like this all the time.  Is it that hard to spot the error?  Nope.  Is it that hard to fix it?  Uh, nope!   Remove those commas!

The truth is, not proofreading your work is an example of LAZY writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m lazy too.  Sometimes I’ll be in a hurry.  Or sometimes I’m so confident that my writing is PERFECT, and proofreading is unnecessary.

*rolls eyes* As if THAT mentality is going to get me anywhere.

Can’t Focus?

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Some people complain and say that they can’t focus.  They read everything over too quickly and they’ll miss something like this:

“He was going to zoo”

Mentally, a lot of us will insert the word “the” before “zoo”.  We know “the” is supposed to be there.  If we’re flying through a paragraph, it’s easy to miss something like that.  Does this excuse that this sentence is still wrong?  Unfortunately, no.

Discipline yourself.  Take a deep breath and read things SLOWLY.  A great way to proofread your work is to read it out loud.  My brother suggested this to me a while back, and it really works!  It’s a lot harder to mentally add words that should be there when you are orally reading something.

An Editor Can Do This For Me

tired squidward

This is another example of lazy writing…only there would appear to be a loop-hole.  We think we can escape proofreading if we have an editor.

Well, when you become Stephen King, you can do that.  Forget editing, you can hire someone to proofread your work.

Are you Stephen King?  I thought not.  So you’d better proofread 🙂

You’ll never become a better writer if you neglect the tedious process of editing your own work.  You’ll never become good at spotting your own flaws, which is something that we all need to learn to do.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes editing is a straight up pain in the butt.

So get to the point where you can love editing!  Where you can love crafting a beautiful, perfect sentence, and everything flows together in a way that is totally of your creation!

If you don’t give the effort to proofread, why will an editor?  If you love your writing, you’ll edit.  You’ll critique yourself.  You’ll make it better on your own.

Don’t wait for an editor.  Proofread.  (And do us all a favor) 😉


What do you think?

I Must Believe

stressed-out-writer

The power of the mind is incredible.  The power of our own emotions, our own imagination, is incredible.  We take in so much information around us; ever since we were fetuses, ever since we were babies, we were able to process information.  And we continue to do this constantly.

The mind is incredibly powerful…so it’s not surprising that your mind can turn against you.

Sometimes we learn things from our surroundings.  We process things without needing to think about it.  I can see the doorway ahead of me, therefore I head there, and not into the wall.

However, sometimes things happen in which we do sit down and ponder “What just happened?  What does this mean?”  And that’s when our mind really becomes powerful.

Because we can influence ourselves, depending on the circumstances or the information we have…or the information we think we have.  And the more powerful our mind grows, the more we start to analyze and think about what’s wrong…what’s wrong with ourselves, what’s wrong with this situation, or this event, or that person.

And it so happens that, because our mind is so powerful, but our spirits are weak…we start to doubt.

We doubt ourselves.  We doubt the people around us.  We don’t even dare to hope, that’s how much we doubt.

Are you powerful enough to overcome your own mind?

Your mind is telling you to doubt.  You can’t do it.  You’ll never make it.  You’re not good enough.  The world won’t let you.  God won’t let you.  This is what your mind is constantly telling you, because you’re so smart, because this is how you processed the information, or how you interpreted the happenings of this or that event.

But are you willing to be stronger than your own mind…and BELIEVE?

Are you willing to have faith?  Are you willing to care, even when your mind says it’s stupid?

The mind is strong.  So make your spirit stronger.  Have faith.  It is a quality that all writers must have.


What do you think?

Cover Description!!

elithius-cover-official

As I mentioned yesterday, the cover of my first book has finally been finished!

Credits

All credit goes to Elizabeth M., who happens to run a blog over at https://lilyorphaned.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth, as is evident by the image above, is an excellent artist.  She’s just beginning her career as a cover/character/anything-you-want designer.  Aside from being skilled and disciplined, Elizabeth is EXTREMELY patient.  She knows how to listen and take corrections (or enforce her own).  I don’t know if she’s quite ready to receive a torrent of requests right now, but if you ever want a cover for your book, or if you would like your book to be illustrated (she does children’s books, too!) I would highly recommend her!  You can contact her here: lilyorphaned@gmail.com

Right, on to the description!

Description

I would ask you to take another good look at the cover.  Notice the light as it falls through the trees, look at the thick, luscious grass.  The picture perfectly captures the feel of the Golden Lands.  It’s pretty.  It’s peaceful.  It’s even magical.  Come on, let’s be honest, you could fall in love in this place!  Or maybe you could die peacefully here.  Or maybe, this is what heaven looks like after you die!

That’s how the Golden Lands is supposed to feel.

So…why is there a determined, angry-looking kid standing there with a sword?

That kid is John Hedekira, the main character of Elithius.  Other than looking like a boss, he’s not really doing anything.  But what’s the point of a book cover?  It’s to make you feel or understand something about the story.  How does John make you feel?  What do you think his appearance is saying about the story?

Maybe…he’s angry about something.  Maybe he has a sword because things actually aren’t as great in the Golden Lands as we would think.

That sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?  Nothing is ever quite as perfect as it seems.  The world might look beautiful and wonderful, but oftentimes, it’s not a wonderful place.

What makes the Golden Land a not-so-nice place?

“Well, start reading the book and you’ll find out!”

And that’s the point of the book cover 😉


Thanks for all the support!  Hope you guys are excited!  Once again, great job Elizabeth!

*KERSH* Houston, We Have a Cover!

Remember when I said that I would be reforming some things with my series?  A lot of things were going to get changed, like:

The name–changed from The Golden Lands to Elithius

The size–the books are going to be longer now

And last, but certainly not least—the covers!

And at long last, the first cover is finished!  I really hope you like it!

elithius-cover-official
Copyright 2017…be nice

An in-depth description of the cover is on its way!


I’m getting closer to republishing the series!  Thanks for all the support!

Well, what do you think of it?

eBooks or Print? Which Do You Prefer?

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eBooks…

Which one do you prefer?  eBooks are obviously WAY easier to obtain.  If I’m not really sure if I’ll like a book, I’ll buy the eBook version so that it doesn’t have to take up space in my house.  eBooks are also just way more convenient, since you can buy them in the comfort of your home, and you don’t have to wait for them to get delivered to you.

That being said, I think many people are still in love with holding and looking at a PHYSICAL book…or at least I am.  This generation still isn’t internet/technologically friendly enough to respect reading on a computer, tablet, etc.  I’ve never really minded reading books on my devices, but there’s something special about reading a book in print.

Image result for picture of someone reading a book
…or print?

For instance, I think it’s easier to be proud of a physical book that you’re reading; you can take it anywhere and look like an intellectual boss (if that exists)!  I also think that, for promotional reasons, having books in print is better, because other people can actually SEE that you’re reading a book written by so-and-so.  If you’re just reading an eBook on your phone or tablet, it’s harder for people to see that and become aroused by what you’re reading.

Which one do you guys prefer though?  As an author, hearing what you have to say is important to me! eBooks are convenient, print is classy.  Any thoughts?

Blogging Vices

I know we’ve already talked about this before, but this is an important topic, and I think we should discuss it in depth.

Blogging Vices are no-no’s, things that we shouldn’t do in the blogosphere and which will ultimately lead to our failure.  These vices disrupt the atmosphere of blogging, and make it something unhealthy.

So, what are these blogging vices?

1. A consumerist attitude

 

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The image is not mine

Ever run into that person in the blogosphere who seems like they can’t stop trying to GET something from you?  They continuously reappear in your blogging circle (come on, everybody has one) and seem as if they are spamming everyone for attention?

Look, I get.  We are all trying to accomplish something through blogging.

Maybe we want popularity, just for the sake of popularity.  Maybe we want popularity for a book or another form of art.  Maybe blogging is directly related to our job–it’s a business for us.

I get it.  We all want attention, we all have something to prove.

Which means that if we all act like consumers, no one will get anywhere.

In order to gain, you have to give.  It’s a simple rule of life–not really a rule, to be honest.  More or less UNFORTUNATELY, life doesn’t always work like that.  Sometimes we gain without having to give (yay!)…and sometimes we give without gaining anything (awww…).

But the point is, in order to have a healthy blogging atmosphere that benefits EVERYONE (including ourselves), we have to be willing to give, not just gain.  If we have an attitude where we are only looking out for ourselves, we aren’t going to gain any loyal followers, we aren’t going to acquire massive audiences.  Because all we ever cared about was ME. ME. ME.

2. ONLY blogging about your personal endeavors

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This is a personal pet-peeve of mine.  I see these bloggers who have a decent following (1,000+) and all they ever do is blog about their personal endeavors.  Their posts read something like this:

“Update on my story, (insert title here)!  Check it out!”

“Guess what!  My story is now FREE for a limited time only”

or,

“Part 17 of my blogging series, check out the other chapters here!”

And they NEVER.  BLOG.  ABOUT.  ANYTHING.  ELSE.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that you’re here to promote something.  I’m writing a book, and will I use this blog to promote it?   YES.  But if I allow my book to become the focus, if I make my blog all about ME, will anyone care?  No.

Because no one likes a selfish, self-promoting jerk.

In regards to this vice, there needs to be a healthy balance.  To be honest, it’s less of an “equal” balance; I would advise that you blog about things that other people can actually care about. Write posts that appeal to OTHER people, not just to yourself and your super loyal followers.

It’s a simple truth: if you blog about things that appeal to other people, if you make them interested in your blog for THEIR sake (not yours), they will eventually be interested in your own writing endeavors.

But in order to gain their attention, you have to be willing to GIVE something to them.  (And no, I don’t mean your free book!)

3. Spam bloggers

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the image is not mine

I remember when a random blogger re-blogged a post of mine.  It was the first time I got a re-blog, and I was ecstatic.  I decided that I would reward that person by following their blog.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I had made a mistake.

This person re-blogged about twenty posts a day.  No joke.   There are these people on the blogosphere who act more like Spam than human, and it drives me crazy.  I can’t concentrate on my newsfeed with all of their stuff clogging up my Reader.

Don’t be a spam blogger.  If you write often, that’s great!  I think that’s a good habit.  But don’t SPAM people.  Believe me, it will have a negative effect, not a positive one.


So, these are some vices I would advise you to avoid!

What do you think?  What are some vices that bug you?