The art of blogging

WISHING: To all you mothers, moms, mums, mimis, mamas, grandmas, grannies, grandmoms, mommies, grandmommies, and all others who have brought new life into our world, thank you! Here’s wishing you a Happy Mothers’ Day!!

Hi everyone,
David as bookends IMAG2753
This week I posted sketches and a brief interview featuring Melanie Hope Greenberg. We met last week when I was a Skype presenter at Larry Dane Brimner’s writers’ workshop in the 2015 series of Highlights Foundations Workshops. The title of my one hour presentation with Q/A was, “To Blog or Not to Blog . . . Some Thoughts.” Larry’s charge to me was to address the idea of maintaining a blog without breaking the time budget.

My webmaster, Kathy Temean, designed my website in 2009 and then added a blog. Although I resisted the idea of blogging, here I am six years later, slogging and blogging away. Over these years I’ve experimented with format, content, and length, but I’ve stuck to my original intention of posting something every day with occasional short breaks for just cause. Counting today, I’ve answered the bell 1,671 times.

The math of that? At one hour per post, the equivalent of about forty 40-hour weeks. At half an hour per post, around twenty 40-hour weeks. Divided by six, somewhere between three and a half to seven 40-hour weeks per year. I told Larry’s workshop attendees that I shoot for half a hour on most days but I can’t always make it and there are numerous occasions when the time stretches much longer. Today’s post is an example of that.

I formatted my presentation as a Q/A session with myself, something from which I might have benefitted six years ago! Here are a few of the questions I asked my six year younger self.

Q: Why on earth would you even think about doing such a thing?
Q: What do you hope to gain from your blog?
Q: Would you invite people to your home without a plan? Guests need to know what to expect when the come to your house, or your blog.
Q: Starting a blog is something like adopting a puppy. Can you spare the time to be a responsible care giver?

I spent quite a bit of my allotted time responding to the second question: What do you hope to gain from your blog? I presented five options:
1) I want to establish a professional site.
2) I want to become better known as a writer.
3) I want to expand my circle of writing friends.
4) I’m friendly and I just want to talk.
5) I have no plan but will figure it out as I go.

One of the members in Larry’s group asked how I would characterize my blog. Another asked if my blog has benefitted me and, if so, in what ways.

I’ll tell you later how I responded, but today I’d rather hear from you. According to my little blog clicker, more than 2,000 people follow my posts. I have no idea how close that is to being accurate. I certainly don’t receive that many visits on a given day and rarely have more than a handful of comments so it’s hard to judge how many people remain aware of what I’m up to on a regular basis.

So I’ll throw out this question and hope that at least a few of you will take a moment to tell me. “How would you describe my site to someone else?”

As for the second question, I don’t sell my own work directly and have only tried one e-book. I find it difficult to relate how or whether my blog has increased my book sales. I hope it has. I think it has. I don’t know that it has. But I have received some speaking engagements as a result of the blog, and they have produced income.

I look forward to hearing your responses. Thank you.

On the other end of Skype

BULLETIN: Sandy Asher’s upcoming play in New York City, WALKING TOWARD AMERICA, has now sold out its first three performances and has fewer than 30 tickets remaining for its fourth. If you have been considering it, now’s the time to order your tickets. My Sandy and I have ours and look forward to combining the excitement of attending Sandy’s play with the other venues that are available in that great city. Here’s the link to guide you as your order your tickets. .

Hi everyone,

It was fun to join Larry Brimner and his workshop attendees on Monday. In browsing through some of the posted pictures I ran across one of me during my Skype visit. From where I sat in my office, I was looking down on the room and could see everyone fairly clearly. I knew that my image was large because in my workshops at The Barn I’ve watched my own Skype guests, J. Patrick Lewis, Renee LaTulippe, Jane Yolen, and Kenn Nesbitt on that wall. Now I’ve seen it both ways.

My thanks to Larry for inviting me and a special thanks to all of you for recommending your favorite blog sites. I compiled the list and provided it as a handout at the workshop. An hour passed quickly.

During Larry Brimner's workshop

Favorite blogs and why

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow I’ll visit Honesdale via Skype to talk to Larry Brimner’s workshop gang about blogging. I have my notes ready but have a favor to ask.

Many of you blog, too, and/or regularly visit BlogSpots that interest you. Would you mind sharing some of your favorites and why you like them? That way I can also provide those who are attending Larry’s workshop with a current list of sites they might want to check out.



Larry Brimner workshop coming up

Hi everyone,

Although I’m not conducting a workshop at Honesdale this year, I’m doing a guest SKYPE appearance during a workshop led by Larry Dane Brimner. Here’s the link:

I’ve agreed to spend an hour or so, including Q/A, to talk about blogging. Requested topics include how to blog without breaking your back doing it and what are the perceived advantages to an author of maintaining a regular blog presence.

I look forward to the afternoon of April 27 when I’ll have the opportunity to greet Larry’s folks right after their lunch. Knowing what I know about the wonderful meals served at The Barn, I hope Larry will turn up the volume to help keep everyone from falling into a food induced coma.

Poetry workshop

Hi everyone,

I’m sitting out this year so there’s only one poetry workshop currently on record hosted by Highlights Foundation at the Barn near Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Dotlich will lead it (April 19-21) and if you’d like more information about that one, here’s a link. .

For those who sign up for Larry Dane Brimner’s workshop, “Capturing the Spotlight: Getting the Gigs 2015” (April 26-29), I’ll be one of Larry’s Skype guests. I accepted his invitation to “spend an hour talking about blogging, blogging without a huge investment of time/effort, and what you perceive as the benefits vis a vis developing a following and getting speaking engagements.” Here’s Larry’s link.