A post about writing and blogging

It seems a long time since I wrote about writing rather than books or craft. I haven’t been able to meet with any of my writing friends this year due first to my own illness in January and subsequently due to lockdown and then the inadvisability of travelling unnecessarily and meeting in groups.

Instead I have attended some events on Zoom organised by the Association of Christian Writers. I have enjoyed these, learned from them and been able to have short chats with other writers in ‘breakout rooms’. I have also enjoyed informal chats with other ACW members on Zoom. These were set up by a member, who asked for some adult conversation. We have had some fun. Occasionally one or more of the male members of ACW joins us, but often it is like a night out with the girls, but from the comfort of our own homes in geographically diverse places.

I have also co-ordinated the local group’s bimonthly meetings, which we began doing by email and have now added a Zoom session as well. It has been time-consuming, but worthwhile.

The irregularity of some of my blogging activity, especially on Sue’s Words and Pictures is the result of having other demands on my time and little opportunity to visit photogenic places. I am learning how to use the camera on a new mobile phone as I had to upgrade from an old Android version, when too many Apps stopped working.

As if a new phone were not enough of a challenge, WordPress is now trying to force everyone to use the new Block editor. After blogging for more than eight years, I am very familiar with the classic editor. I shall continue to use it as long as possible since it seems far more versatile. This week I prepared a blog post for future publication by creating it with the block editor (there didn’t seem to be any other way!) and then editing it by selecting classic editor from WP Admin. (WP Admin has been hard enough to find for some time, being at the bottom of a menu and requiring some scrolling to find it!)

Blogger has recently introduced a new system, causing confusion to many bloggers. (I use that for my More than Writers’ posts.)

If you blog are you finding all these changes annoying and time-consuming? Or do you like battling through new ways of doing things?


Posting daily to social media – pros and cons

Dave Walker, a cartoonist I follow on Twitter asked creative types about their experiences of posting daily. I replied briefly, but commented that it might merit a blog post. So here it is!

My most recent spell of daily posting was 150 days of #psalmtweets. Yes, there are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament.   The challenge was to post something inspired by each of them. I don’t like to risk failure in a project of this kind. With a project lasting for several months there are likely to be times, when I am away from home or otherwise less likely to be able to access the internet. For this reason (and because I had already finished reading the psalms as part of my daily quiet time) I began about a week in advance. I scheduled my Tweets using Tweetdeck. Cunningly, I did not schedule them for precisely the same time each day. My tweets are also available in a series of posts on this blog.

My next spell of nearly daily blogging will be in April for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge. I began thinking about this in January. I have already prepared some posts. The first week requires daily posting beginning on Easter Sunday (1 April). Subsequent weeks demand six posts a week. The whole project results in a total of 26 letter posts plus one in March for the Theme Reveal and one in May for the Reflections on the Challenge.

I have taken part in this before. The first time I only discovered it in the last week of March if my memory serves me correctly. I began writing my posts and publishing them on the appropriate days. Then I found my stride and did some planning. By the end I was ahead of the game. The following year I knew I was going to be away for a week in April. I didn’t have any way of accessing the internet away from home at that time, so I planned ahead and scheduled the required posts. Any comments would have to wait for replies.

I began planning before Christmas 2015 for April 2016 and managed to post an alphabetical rhyme on Sue’s Trifles as well as a series about flowers and plants on Sue’s Words and Pictures.

Other spells of daily blogging have included Blog Every Day in November and responding to the WordPress writing prompts from the Daily Post

There are only so many hours in a day and even if a writer gets up early and writes before breakfast (as I often have since starting to blog) other things tend to be neglected as energy and enthusiasm are used up.

Too many posts may overwhelm even the most loyal of followers. While I was considering writing this post WordPress published a link on Twitter to one on this topic.

So I know it is possible to post daily, but it is time consuming, especially, when you add in the extra time required to personalise sharing to Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Having a scheme for posting to Twitter is an ideal I only dream about at present. The most effective interactions are joining in with interesting conversations and making a few genuine Twitter friends. For an example of how to use Twitter to the best effect, check out the author, Robert Macfarlane.


How Google+ may help A to Z challenge participants

Google+, Facebook and Twitter are three of the tools available to bloggers (and others) to promote their work.

I learned about Facebook and Twitter before I joined, but Google+ has been a different experience for me. WordPress encourages bloggers to publicise their posts using Google+. Once I had a Google account, I decided to try this. It was quite complicated to set up, but I managed. As a result each of my posts on Sue’s Trifles generates a post (like a Facebook status) on Google+. The only trouble is nobody sees it even though it is publicly visible!  (It also puts your name (from Google+) on your blog in place of your WordPress username, which may be an issue for some people.)

After a while I realised that the way to draw the links on Google+ to anyone’s attention is to join various communities and share the posts with them. The most useful community in this context is the Blogging from A to Z in April Community.

Sharing a post in this way allows the addition of a personalised comment with the post. This makes my use of Google+ similar to the way I already alert people to my new posts on Facebook and Twitter, where I have not activated the WordPress publicise to post automatically.

It is slightly easier to share a link which is already posted on Google+, although I am sure it would be possible to post links manually to Google+, just as I do for Facebook and Twitter.



Do you use Google+?

What are your hints and tips?