Blogging 101| Introducing Me and “Three”

Before I introduce myself, let me tell you a story about the number three. It is exactly 3:33 PM as I start writing this. I will publish this before 4:00 so it is within the three o’clock hour. Bear with me for a minute – there is some significance here. Something occurred to me on Monday, when this course actually started. I realized how appropriate it is for me to participate in this session of Blogging 101. You see, this is my third – and I am damned determined – my last attempt to complete it. It’s also appropriate sinc this is also the third anniversary of this blog. That is correct – I started this in February 2012. Here is my very first post. I don’t know if there is any luck or magic or good or bad mojo associated with the number three or “33333,” but if it’s good, I am claiming it.

So bear with me. I have to publish this now to get my three luck, but I also have to take the dog out. More to follow.

Writing Success on WordPress

In my last post, I talked about the “Perfect Reader” from the point of view of the writer. I discussed several things that I believe define you and I as writers, because, truth be told, if you are reading this, you are probably writing something in your own blog – which makes you a writer. Maybe I have read it, maybe I haven’t; maybe I am your “perfect reader” and maybe I’m not. Either way, I applaud you for taking a chance writing and publishing what you wrote. Whether one person read it or one hundred thousand people read it, what does it matter? The most important thing is you wrote it and put it out in your little corner of cyberspace for someone else to read. For what you want is someone to read it. You really want someone to like it, maybe like it a lot, and in doing so, validate your existence as a writer. You might want to get paid for your writing – and in doing so, validate yourself even more as a writer.

I know I do. I would like that very much.

The question is, can you and how do you do it on WordPress? I don’t know if you can or not, but I believe I’ve figured out a couple of things in the nearly three years I have been blogging here. First thing is this: I believe writing your blog here on WordPress.com is probably the best place one can write and get the most exposure for their writing. Certainly it is for a novice writer. But, it is not the perfect place, and here is why.

Unless you are already an established writer with a huge following, your ability to capture readers, especially a lot of readers, is dependent on three things. First: your topic and the quality of the writing about your topic. Let’s face it, nobody is going to read atrocious writing, at least not for very long. Second: your timing and the tags you use must be spot on. Exposure, I believe, is a momentary piece of timing and luck. In other words, you have a very short period of time for readers to view your post and be compelled enough to read it and decide if it merits enough effort to investigate your blog further. Third: I believe anything you post is going to fail the timing and exposure tests unless you have a great, or at least good photo to go along with it. I believe this based on my own experience: To date, I have published 88 posts to this blog. Of those 88, the top three posts with the most “Likes” all included decent photographs. In descending order, they are: Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life | 2, “Super Sport” | Photo Challenge – Letters, and Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life.

So, there you have it – my little three cents worth on how we as writers might, if we are lucky, and we write well enough, and we can either take, borrow or steal a great photo, we might just make it as writers on WordPress…and if we are really, truly, remarkably lucky…we might just get our piece Freshly Pressed.

So go out there and do it. Give it your best shot. And, good luck!

Blogging 101 | Post 4 – To Be a Writer – and a Reader

Blogging 101 Logo

First thing you should know is this. If I really tried, I could get caught up with the assignments for both Blogging 101 and Photo 101. I’m sure I could, but I’m not going to. Sure, I want to be a blogging “Zero to Hero” and a photography “Zero to Hero” in thirty days, but I honestly believe at this point, I am going to do it on my own, of my own accord, according to my own devices, knowing only one or two chords, without benefit of a harpsichord.

So this is my last official (or not) entry for Blogging and Photo 101. According to the assignment, I am to “publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.” I will try to accomplish this goal, but I might stray…which I am sometimes inclined to do – particularly when my real goal is to write something interesting or humorous – to write what my “voice” tells me to write.

There is an old saying – Home is where the heart is. I’m sure this is familiar to many of you. Let me modify it a bit and say – Home is where my wife is. Many years back, when I first started to take writing kinda-sorta seriously, she was my perfect reader. Why? Because I could count on her to read whatever I wrote and give me honest feedback…no matter how little or much it hurt. Criticism, no matter how good the intent, always stings a little bit.

What in the world makes a perfect reader now? Things were easy when my wife was the “perfect reader.” The internet didn’t exist as it does today. WordPress didn’t exist at all, at least not to my knowledge. This was 1984 for God’s sake! To get someone to read something of mine, I actually had to give them pieces of paper with actual writing on them; whether handwritten scrawl or dot-matrix printing (which some of us actually had).

So, the question of a “perfect reader” becomes a question of the writer, perfect or not. How does one define a writer…who is a writer? In today’s modern age of the internet, WordPress, Kindle publishing, on-demand publishing, and a host of other publishing platforms, a writer is anyone who chooses and takes the time to write something. Truth is, it doesn’t even have to be all that original…or all that good.. You no longer need to have an agent and a bunch of “clips” or a “deal” with a magazine or a book publisher. All you need to do is create an account on WordPress, pick a cool theme, and publish your first post…and…Wah Lah!…you are a writer.

But, it wasn’t always like that. Writers today, if they choose not to, no longer need to worry about rejection slips, query letters, the Writer’s Market, or how many words they can churn out to meet a deadline. They might not get paid for what they write, and if they do, it might not be much, but any Tom, Dick, Harry, Sue, Jill or Mary can call themselves, and actually, truly, genuinely be a bonafide writer.

They, (they being you, or me) just need a reader, or two, or ten, or ten thousand. If a writer is going to write, they need…they so desperately want and need someone, anyone, to read what they wrote. They need you…the person who is reading this, or that, or the other thing – to be the “Perfect Reader.”

Are you the “Perfect Reader” that every writer, including me, is looking for? We write to inform you, cajole you, convince you, entertain you, lie to you, and cry out to you. Read this, read me. Love me and need me. Believe me and feed me. Do this and you will be…

My Perfect Reader.