Writing Blog Posts With a Goal

A few weeks back I discussed writing blog posts in 300 words or less. For me, keeping posts to that length suits my writing style. Not to mention, in my household, time is of the essence with a one-year-old.

Once you get the length, and by no means does a blogger need to always stick to a specific number of words. Unless of course that’s part of your blog’s character. If you need a few more words, go ahead. A few less, why not? Remember, it’s all about the content.

With content as king, that is where setting a goal for your posts (that sounds funny) is important. What’s the point of your post? What are trying to convey? What and how do you want to say it? The who, what, where, why, and when mantra holds true for blogging.

I’ve found, my original goal can change as I’m actually writing, and that’s fine. But for a busy blogger, setting a goal helps to streamline your writing process. Not to mention, it can alleviate some of the self-imposed stress of producing good content.

I’ll insert my blogging and fatherhood connection here, after all this is a blog about being a dad. Setting a goal saves me time. The more time I save, the more I get to spend with my little one. I’m a believer that parents need to maintain some of their personal interests to maintain their own health. For me, blogging is one such interest.

So before who type, think about your point and what you want to achieve. Let your fingers do the rest. Good luck.

Fiction Or Non-Fiction: That Is The Question!

I recently finished Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. A phenomenal work. Not a light read but one that I couldn’t put down. No fiction in this work of course but definitely makes the reader think.

Yesterday, I started The Key To Rebecca, by Ken Follet. A piece of historical fiction, but fiction nonetheless. Good fiction gets me thinking differently. Fiction opens up a world that readers wouldn’t think of.

Deciding which I prefer, fiction or non-fiction, is not an easy task. Many factors, the author, story, subject, time, my mood, all play a role in deciding what I’m going to read.

So here is the question fellow bloggers: fiction or non-fiction, which do you prefer?

Blogging: Keeping It Short, My Posts That Is

Full-time job, house, and of course being a dad, time is of the essence in everything I do. So how do I keep blogging away? Simple, keep my posts short and sweet.

Keeping a post short doesn’t mean skimping on detail or argument. In fact, quite the opposite. I try to keep my posts to 300 words or less. Let’s face it, attention spans on the internet are not what they used to be. Especially with the advent of social media like Twitter. Being concise in my posts is a goal. I’ll talk about goals and writing posts in a later post.

But for now, I’ve found keeping it short is the way for me to go. Now of course, some stories require longer posts, but I believe the audience that wants to read longer posts will ultimately find what they are looking for. But for purposes of time and telling my point, short is best.

My son doesn’t allow me to complete a post in one sitting all the time. Especially as he becomes more mobile, and I believe he is developing his throwing arm already. There is still hope of his future career as a relief pitcher, I digress.

Writing posts isn’t about length, but about content. Bloggers of all experience levels will tell you content is king. This is a founding “law” of blogging if you will, and is one that will hold true until the Sun goes supernova. Just because a blogger doesn’t have time to write like Charles Dickens, doesn’t mean they can’t produce good, well-written, concise blog posts. Not to mention, honing such skills will help said blogger in many other forms of writing.

So be concise, write well, and enjoy your blog.


Suffer From Blogging Block? Need Blogging Inspiration? Read Other Blogs!

Have you ever experienced blogging block? I have. I’ve been at this blogging thing for a few years with different blogs. There are weeks where the ideas and posts just flow out of me. Then there are the weeks where I struggle even for a title.

Then it dawned on me, just read my reader. This sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we get caught up in everything but the simplest blogging concepts. If one just reads other blogs, what better inspiration than the blogosphere itself?

I find its easy to run out of post ideas or to forget good post ideas. I can’t count the number of times I thought of a post, never wrote it down, and poof….gone forever. So reading other blogs is truly a good way to find inspiration.

If you haven’t added blogs to your reader, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s easy and there are many quality blogs out there. I’m always amazed at the thoughts and quality writing others express daily. Sometimes reading other blogs is almost as good, if not better than a good book.

As a dad with an almost one-year-old, time is truly of the essence. While Little A gives me much material, browsing my reader helps to develop thoughts. I also find excellent tips on blogging and writing which are both crafts in their own right.

So before you frustrate yourself and curse at the screen in front of you, help yourself to end blogging block. Read your reader. Your computer, your kids, and your blood pressure will thank you. And maybe a few readers too!

Sunday Morning Musing: Writing, Parenting, and Why I Shouldn’t Try So Hard

I love to write. I really do. I especially enjoy writing blog posts. But sometimes when I think I’ve written the best post I’ve ever written, turns out to be, well mediocre. Rather disappointing actually. So when I realized I could take a lesson I learned from being a dad and apply it to writing, I was rather surprised.

The other day it dawned on me that maybe I was trying to hard. Maybe I shouldn’t concern myself so much with trying to impress readers as much as just write from the heart. Some of my most successful posts have been the ones that I’ve written somewhat “off the cuff.”

It’s very easy to get bogged down with worrying about SEO, tagging the post correctly, finding appropriate links, and so on. But really, the essence of blogging is sharing stories, ideas, and for me the random experiences of being a dad.

The ironic part is I taught my son how to high-five with mommy and daddy. I didn’t try very hard to do it. I thought, well he’s only ten months, may not work. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it didn’t. So I took a relaxed approach to it. I sat him on my lap, placed my hand a few inches a way, and said “Ok bud, high-five!” The look on my face probably made me appear to be a used car saleman trying to convince someone to ignore the Carfax information. But, within minutes…. his little hand came up and gently slapped mine. He had a look of surprise when I was so happy. But the point was I didn’t try very hard. Of course he looked at me like I was nuts, but hopefully one day he’ll understand my joy.

So as I write this Sunday morning, I find myself just letting my thoughts “flow.” The writer in me fears this post is simply mediocre, and if readers think so, that’s fine. Maybe my theory isn’t entirely correct. The only way to truly find out, is to try. At least I know I’ll get support from my little guy as he high-fives me.

Writing Challenge: Character Development

My intent with this blog is twofold. First, as you can tell, I blog about fatherhood and my experiences as a new dad. Second, this blog is also about my journey as an aspiring writer. I haven’t posted about writing in a while so I thought a writing post was overdue.

Beside blogging, I write poetry, short stories, and I’m working on a book. Not to mention, I’m partnering with a friend to put together a children’s book. Needless to say, this adventure in writing is quickly becoming a third full-time job (fatherhood being number one of course), but, I find it thrilling.

OK, back to the point of my post: character development. The plot needs to be character driven. I continue to struggle with my characters. The main struggle, creating characters with depth but not so much so that the details give everything away right away. I admire authors that can keep readers fixed by slowly allowing the reader to see the complexities of the character, but not immediately.

How do I do this? When I write a short story, character development isn’t much of a problem. I want to develop the character quickly. My struggle is more with my book. I have several characters that drive the plot. However, for example, how do I depict the main character as uncertain about himself without coming right out and saying it? I guess the devil is in the details. As a side note, I’m attempting historical fiction. My story takes place during and shortly after World War II. Family, war, personal redemption, and some baseball all mixed in.

As I continue to develop the plot, I believe that each character will fall into place. The challenge is to remember I’m writing a book, not a 1,500 to 5,000 word short story.

I welcome any suggestions or guidance other writers can provide. What aspects of writing challenge you?

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatileblogger11Once again I find myself truly humbled and floored for being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. A sincere expression of gratitude to the Geeky Book Snob for the nomination. Now the rules state I need to nominate 15 other blogs I follow or recently discovered. Well, I’ll be honest, I don’t follow that many and haven’t had the time to seek out new blogs and new civilizations (had to throw in the Star Trek). So I’ll modify and do my best.

The rules also state I need to tell Geeky Book Snob 7 things about myself. That is a little easier so here goes:

  1. I have an awesome kid that is my hero.
  2. My family inspires me.
  3. I love sports.
  4. I enjoy reading.
  5. Blogging has been a very rewarding experience.
  6. I love history.
  7. Finally, I really don’t know what I’m doing with this blog, but it seems to be working.

Now for the nominations. I’m going to do this in pieces. That means, since I don’t have the requisite 15 right off the bat, I’ll make this an ongoing process. So here is my first nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award:

Brandon Bored, I find this blog inspiring and honest.

Again, thank you Geeky Book Snob. I truly appreciate the recognition. I hope I can continue to entertain.


The Reality Blog Award

reality-blog-award1-e1357511854615I’m truly honored to be nominated for the Reality Blog Award. A sincere thank you to the Undead dad for nominating me. As a blogger, and someone who takes pride in writing his blog, I’m honored and humbled by the award.

Now the business of the Award:

1.) Visit the blog of the person who nominated you, thank them, and acknowledge them on *your* blog.

2.) Answer the five questions listed below and nominate up to 20 bloggers whom you feel deserve recognition.  Visit their blog to let them know.

3.) Cut and paste the award to your wall.

And so, here are the questions and my responses:

If you could change one thing, what would you change?

People’s negative perceptions. Seems to me too many people immediately look at the negative side of things. Take a look at the positive. You may just be surprised at what you find.

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

27. A few things I would like to change I guess and do differently. Not sure if that is the essence of the question, but that is my answer.

What one thing really scares you?

Same answer as the Undead Dad, losing my family.

What is one dream that you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?

To write something others will remember. As long as my wife reminds to do it, yes I will complete it.

If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

My dad. To see life through his eyes and experiences may just clear up a few things…or complicate them more.

And now for my nominations. I started out blogging about baseball and from there I do as others and follow what I like. I’ve taken inspiration in some shape or form from them. The blog you see here, wouldn’t exist otherwise.

The On Deck Circle  

The Minds Cabin

“You Jivin’ Me, Turkey?”

The Ball Caps Blog

Many thanks to all who follow me and read this creation of mine. Definitely read the bloggers above. And again, many thanks to the Undead Dad.