Monday, November 19, 2007

It’s All About Blogging

Mike French, of the blog The View From Here, tagged me with the meme “It’s All About Me.” My first thought was what the heck is there left to say? I’m not that interesting. I’ve been tagged twice before to tell things about myself. Once by Rebecca Camarena of Chitchat and All That, back on October 2nd. And another time by David Bowles of Writing the Westward Sagas on January 2nd of this year.

Luckily, though, I discovered Mike French’s meme is not so much about me (despite its title). It’s really about blogging. Haven’t done a meme yet about blogging, so here goes:
1. How long have you been blogging?

My blog is sixteen months old and this is my three hundred and forty second post. I’m beginning to get the hang of it, although there is a mountain of stuff I haven’t learned, like marketing and stats. I didn’t even have a stat counter on the blog until last week. I had no idea how many people stopped by Straight From Hel. Now I know. It’s interesting, but, well, guess now I have to learn why that’s important.
2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?

For eight years now I’ve produced a free weekly e-newsletter for writers called Doing It Write. Anyone who wants to can sign up and have the newsletter sent to their ebox. I started hearing about blogs and thought I’d give it a try. In 2006, I spoke at the Story Circle Network’s national conference. After my session, I attended another session on Blogging. A friend, Susan Wittig Albert, spoke on the panel. I can’t really say I have a mentor, but Susan would be the closest thing to one. After the panel, she gave me the advice of read, read, read, blogs. She told me to spend several months reading other blogs and deciding if this was what I really wanted to do. Very good advice. Susan was also the one who told me to get a stat counter.

I can’t say there was some huge inspiration for me to start a blog. I just felt I had more to say about writing than I could go in a once-a-week column.
3. Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?

At the moment, I’m just having fun. Making money would be nice, although that’s another thing I’d have to learn about. Clearly, I need a mentor who can teach me that!
4. What 3 things do you struggle with online?

a) I said that learning is fun, but it’s also difficult and time consuming. Just writing a post takes time. And there’s so much to learn.

b) I know I should get involved in the online communities. Part of why I don’t is that, once again, it takes time. But I know that if you want people to visit your blog, you have to build up an online presence. It’s so easy for the day to slip away, though.

c) I would say I work more from the creative side than the technical side. So what the heck am I doing writing a blog, and maintaining my own website as well as the site for a company I’m involved in called Legends In Our Own Minds? The Legends site is very image heavy. When I started working on it, it was only a few pages. Then I did a complete redesign and it has grown to many pages and hundreds of images. At the moment, I’m having a problem with a new page I put up. The images won’t show. I cannot figure out why. Grr. Seriously. I don’t know why they won’t show. I’m going to try to completely reorganize the entire site. But that’s going to take a looong time to do. Did I mention that I struggle with time? And technology.
5. What 3 things do you love about being online?

a) I love getting to meet people. I’ve made some good friends via Doing It Write, my newsletter. And now I’m meeting others through Straight From Hel. It’s exciting when someone writes to say they’ve gotten an agent or have a book coming out. I love when people comment on the blog.

b) Now that I’m blogging every day, I’m keeping up more on news about writing and publishing. Almost every day I check the news to see what’s happening in the book publishing world. If I didn’t have the blog, I wouldn’t be doing that. So, I figure others aren’t doing it either. I love being able to keep others up on what’s going on. They can drop by Straight From Hel rather than do their own search.

c) I like learning new things. Two years ago, I knew nothing about blogging. Learning can be frustrating, but good. I’ve got a lot more to learn – and that’s fun.

Now, because I clearly have a lot to learn about blogging and being on the Internet, I’m tagging three blogs that I think are great and would probably have a lot to tell us about blogging:

Blog Book Tours – This is a beautiful blog. Very clean, inviting and with lots of pictures and images.

The Writing Nag – Not only does this blog have a great title, it also has the technical stuff down -- Google search, a few ads, and lots of other features.

Ginger Simpson’s Blog – Good Lord, this woman not only does images, she animates them! Plus, her name is Ginger. How could I not like her?


  1. Great interview Helen


    I will certainly be dropping by again.

  2. Thank you Mike. And thanks for nudging me to do this. It made me think about blogging and why I do it.

  3. Thanks for tagging me, I think! I guess what I'm supposed to do is answer the questions on my blog and then tag someone else? Can you tell I've never been tagged before? I'm actually quite honored, especially to have someone named Helen "Ginger" say such nice things about my site. So, check out my blog in a day or two and see if I did it right. I'm really quite a ditz these days. :)


  4. You've got it, Ginger. Answer the questions in any way you want (Mike did his via a video -- way beyond my ability!). And then tag a few other bloggers (no set number on how many you tag).

    I will be checking your blog. Can't wait to see what you post.

  5. Thanks for the nice compliment, Ginger. This is one meme I'm glad to do because I've been thinking a lot about the power of blogging. And this time I actually have a few victims... er, I mean um... bloggers to tag. *wink* With blogs I adore and simply must visit on a regular basis. ~ Dani

  6. Ooh, Dani, I can't wait to read your post. And it sounds like it will be fun to visit your "victims."

  7. thanks for the kind words Helen, check out my post back. I enjoyed this meme because I've gotten quite addicted to blogging in the past 6 months. p.s. I love your title too!

  8. Everybody, go read Writing Nag's post on blogging. Very interesting.
    The Writing Nag’s Blogging Post

  9. Finally got mine loaded, too. This was a very thought-provoking meme which is why it took me a bit to get it posted. Thanks, Helen!

  10. I went and read your post. Fun stuff. I'm so envious that you're learning all kinds of new stuff about blogging. What's the name of the blogging newsletter you've subscribed to? I need that. I know squat.


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