Posted in Uncategorized

Blog writing – should you do it?

The latest craze on the web seems to be blogging. Should you blog or not? The Macquarie Dictionary explains it this way:

blog(say blog) noun 1. a record of items of interest found on the internet, edited and published as a website with comments and links. 2. a personal diary published on the internet. 3. an online forum. [shortened form of web log] –blogger, noun

It can, of course, be as the dictionary describes it, but if you want to make an impact for you or your book, it needs to be so much more. You need to set up a blog that is effortless to negotiate, easy on the eye, informative, interesting and fun. There are so many now that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.

Your content has to reflect you. It doesn’t have to be like a true diary. Don’t give every little detail. You only need to write about what you want when you want. But, you also need to be careful about your content. If you don’t want to offend anyone you need to be cautious of racism, sexism, swearing, plagiarism etc.

Don’t write anything you are uncomfortable with. If in doubt leave it out. You can write about your family but remember this is a world-wide web. Don’t publish information about where you live or where your children attend school. Keep your private life private. You never know who will be a voyeur in your life. The idea of a blog is to portray who you are but safely.

If you are a writer the natural thing to do would be to write about writing. That’s okay if you want to do so but don’t be limited by that. There are plenty doing just that already. If you’ve seen a magical sunset and it made the start to your day happy – write about that and explain why.

Other suggestions to write about are:

  • A recipe your family loves.
  • The nicest thing anyone ever did for you.
  • An awful moment you’d rather forget (but writing it will help the process).
  • Your faithful dog.
  • The school you went to as a child.
  • Why the smell of baking bread makes you smile.
  • How much you want to make the next diet work.

To create a following, once you find one subject that you’re happiest writing about, write about it regularly. You need to find a niche to keep readers interested.

There’s plenty to write about but what’s the one thing missing from that list? It’s your book, business or product. As often as possible talk about it. Why did you write it, produce it, etc? Where did you find inspiration? What was the process? How long did it take? How does it make you feel to be a published author?

Set up a separate page for your book or product. Explain where to buy it and any other relevant information. You can also make it your avatar instead of a picture of yourself or you can just place it in your text often enough so plenty of people to see it.

Always have your book title or product as a tag (even if it’s not mentioned in every story). Make sure you have a link to where it can be purchased such as or Amazon.

The easiest way to understand blogging is to get started. Most of the blog sites have features that let you choose from design templates that you can add your own photos and information to. They also provide widget to allow other bloggers to subscribe or link to your site plus much more – videos, podcasts etc.

To get people reading your site is on a par with getting people to reading a new book by an unknown author. You need to work at it by reading other blogs and commenting on them. This way they may in turn look at your site. You can also attach your blog to your website and search engines.

I suggest you link it to your Facebook, My Space, Twitter and the like. By printing your blog address on all your stationery, such as business cards, bookmarks, letterheads and invoices, you’ll be putting it out there for people to log on to.

If you publish an article include the blog address in your bi-line. Tell friends and family.

I’ve been using WordPress because it has some terrific, templates and is user-friendly. Setting up is simple and free. There are also Blogger (the official Google blog), MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360 and AOL Journals. A warning though – blogging can be addictive.

I recommend you stop when:

  • It interferes with real paid writing.
  • It stops you meeting deadlines.
  • Your family has forgotten who you are.
  • Your dog goes next door to eat.
  • The grass is so high you can no longer see your fence.
  • Your teenage kids have forgotten how to use MSN because you hog the computer so much.

This was originally posted in the my Zeus blog at :

I have changed a little of the content to suit the layman.I thought it was worth sharing because many people are new to blogs.

Posted in Writing tips

Why writing makes me happy!

It’s not difficult for me to write. It never has been. I’m the type of person that can’t write a letter on one page of stationary – I need more.

In fact when I travelled around Australia in the mid 80s my poor mum and dad would often receive eight page letters. I’m sure I bored them so much they fell asleep before they got through to the last page. How much can you say about 20-somethings partying around the country (and party we did)? – eh Leesa?

Anyway I continue to write because it makes me happy. I enjoy the process from planning it in my head to getting it down on paper and then finally typing it up on my computer (though I’m writing by keyboard at the moment). I like how I can start with just a wisp of an idea and turn it into a story. I love telling stories. So I guess a blog is a perfect extension of that.

This blog, however, is different to my blog because I am free to be me (outside the restraints of a working environment). At Bookszeus I do talk about writing but I also include marketing and publishing and the format is to engage the Zeus writers to fully understand how the industry works and hopefully to encourage others to get published.

Here, frankly I don’t care. I want to rant if I like. I want to pour my heart out and cry if I feel like crying. Believe it or not that is what makes me happy. I want to tell you how I feel about Elephants and why they need help. I want to explain how sad it is to send one of your children to war. I want to gripe about 15-year-old boys. I want to tell you the best ways to relax in a bath. Possibly I’ll bore you as much as those old letters to mum and dad but maybe not.

Writing is part of me. Funnily enough it’s taken a long time to embrace that. Being a writer (if you don’t already have a swag of published novels or non-fiction books to your name) is scoffed at as not a ‘real profession’. To me it’s not even about vocation it’s about being – being a writer.

A favourite photo of Joel and I down Kingscliff Beach, NSW

My husband (long-suffering Bevil, who just tried to get my attention away from the computer by dancing naked in front of me), my children (Kris, my step-son; Joel 18 and Blake 15) even my dog, Boss, know I am a writer – even though they don’t get the reason for my compulsion.

My mum, Valerie, has always encouraged me and my dad did also (when he was alive). They raved about my first little story about ‘The Mouse with the Musical Ears’ (I guess that was in about second class) and I was hooked on the encouragement ever since.

But encouragement aside, writing is a solo endeavour but maybe that’s why I like it so much. I’ve always cherished my OWN time. I wrap myself in my imagination and off I go to the fantasy place of my choice. To me that’s happiness but I have plenty of other ways to be happy and I’ll share them soon.