I’m Up A Creek Without A Paddle…Can You Assist?

Image of a paddleSorry!

I really tried to come up with an idea for this post but I’m totally stuck!

Every blogger knows that feeling.  Especially new bloggers.

Can you help us out by sharing your secrets?

  1. Where do you get your ideas for blog posts from?
  2. What are your thoughts on how often a blogger should write posts?  And why?
  3. What are your tips for maintaining a consistent blogging routine? What works well for you?
  4. What other advice would you give to new bloggers?

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Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

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28 Responses

  1. AtomiClint says:

    I’ve discovered that if I don’t blog about an idea *right then*, I forget about the idea or the inspiration for it. I’m much more spontaneous now.

    I don’t think it matters how often you post to your blog. Like with Twitter, people tend to follow several or many bloggers, and they’ll see your stuff in the stream of their day, however that occurs.

    Happy writing!

  2. 3media says:

    I trawl news sources related to my topic and usually re-write an article or if time is an issue provide a link back to the source of the article.

    Integrity is everything although in a world where we seem ever stuck for time a link back should be a last resort and you should really be taking the time to write it in your own words.

  3. nlowell says:

    1. Where do you get your ideas for blog posts from?

    usually from other posts. I think it was Will Richardson who said “If I don’t have anything to write about, it means I haven’t read enough.”

    2. What are your thoughts on how often a blogger should write posts? And why?

    depends on the blogger. what do they want to accomplish? what’s the purpose of the writing? do they have a purpose? is it a “write to see what I think” blog or is it a “i want to tell you something new today” blog?

    3. What are your tips for maintaining a consistent blogging routine? What works well for you?

    staying in touch with my RSS feeds. I have a hard time running thru them without finding something to write about. I’ve been neglecting it lately .. I should go say hi.

    4. What other advice would you give to new bloggers?

    read. read. read. write. repeat as often as you need to.

    only you know how often you need to, so don’t worry about what other people think. it’s your blog.

  4. ciaraandemily says:

    Did you actually just post a blog about not knowing what to post a blog about?

  5. These are great questions constantly nagging me.
    I am constantly evaluating my thoughts for their “bloggworthyness”, sometimes make quick lists of things I want to talk about.
    But then comes Google Reader and the torrent of brilliant posts in my RSS reader and I want to write about them all.
    Recently I have started concentrating on certain aspects of my activities and try to limit my blogposts to those topics.
    Yesterday I learnt about the #bwtopic (blog-worthy-topic) hashtag on Twitter where you can find brilliant ideas to elaborate on.
    I am still finding my blogging personality and I am learning a lot from and enjoying the process. I like my drafts on edublog, they never become posts but they are an integral part of creating something that I actually post – I enjoy re-reading and deleting them.
    Looking the the most banal aspect of one’s life and considering it’s value for sharing is a great way to make us slow down and appreciate a small things in life.
    In my opinion, success in the blogosphere depends on participation. The more you participate, the more you interact the more you can identify your part and the place of your opinion.
    #edchat, #eci831 #E-TechersAcademy and the whole PLN on Twitter is a constant source of thought and cooperation.
    An openness to your ideas even the most fundamental principles being challenged and put to the test is a great way to make you sit down and write that post. Then let others know about it and react to it. You will never have trouble finding topics.

  6. challe71 says:

    Help! I need to ask questions and am not sure where to post them, but need answers asap.

    I am a teacher who has tried to set up a group site at http://www.challenge71.edublogs.org and attempting to attach student blogs to the group blog. I have read Sue Waters posts on how to set this up using a group e-mail and thought I’d followed the instructions properly. Now that I’ve set up the group e-mail and added the students as users using the + method on my e-mail I wanted to get them started with their own personal blogs. I have 75 students in one day a week pull out programs and when I tried to have them login using the user names I’d created for them they can only get into the group blog. When I’ve tried to help them create a new personal blog it suggests that their user name is already used. I need some help please as I’m on a tight timeline. Students are keen to get underway.
    Thanks,
    Jocelyn Bystrom

  7. Gail P says:

    I know you’re serious here so let’s see.
    1. How about something on the career change you made and how each of us is constantly in a state of change whether we realize it or not.
    2. How about the tools you find most useful for blogging while on the go. Do you have an iPhone? a notebook? a laptop?
    3. How about something on the blogging/commenting challenges, something along the lines of their impact on both sides of the blogging experience.
    4. How about the satisfaction you must feel. We haven’t heard much on that, especially since you are self-effacing in that area.
    5. How about your PLN stars, you know, the ones you go to ALL THE TIME! and why.
    6. Oh! and how about a peek into your archives!
    How about a stroll down this “memory lane.” In it Kathryn Greenhill talks about your very question.

    I’m sure youve covered these things on one blog or another but many folks are new to the whole Sue Waters phenomenon.

  8. 1. Ideas for blog posts? I read a lot. If an idea occurs to me, I put it into my ideas folder. I have Google alerts out for my areas of interest (children’s literacy and literature, internet resources useful to parents and teachers), and one will often prompt a response in me which I develop into a blog post. Sometimes people actually write to me with a problem, and I respond. I am always finding web treasures, so i often do a round up post about those. I also try to write content that is slightly new and different eg recent posts on literacy in the playground which riffed on chants and rhymes.

    2. How often to post? From the collective wisdom of websperts, I’ve gathered my blog will reach more people if I post regularly. I try to post every second day.

    3. What works for me? Regular routine for me is discipline – publish a post every second day. Just do it. I write as many as possible ahead of time, so I have a blog post buffer. I am not currently teaching, and I am a writer, so in many ways it’s so much easier for me than for someone working full time.

    4. Advice? Find your passion. I truly love kidlit and encouraging kids to read, write, communicate with creativity. I am fascinated by technology and its opportunities for kids. Apparently my posts reflect this, and it certainly makes it easier to cope with the time I spend on my computer. I think after that, it’s a matter of finding balance. Find the experts who make sense and follow them, allow them to help you. Do the networking, the traffic tricks, the web 2.0 stuff, but remember when all is said and done, it’s only a blog.

  9. Sue Waters says:

    @AtomiClint I’m definitely more like you that I’m better to blog about it immediately or I forget. Unfortunately work commitments often get between writing the post :(

    @3media Can you give a link to where you write about news related topics as I would love to check out? Most of my blogging is educational so always keen to look at different approaches.

    @nlowell Totally agreed. I notice I struggle more when I read and comment less. I’ve been really good with my RSS reader this week (until today — I might also need to say hi)

    @ciaraandemily “Did you actually just post a blog about not knowing what to post a blog about?” — I laughed so much when I read your comment and the answer is YES.

    But the more important question is “Why would a blogger write a post on not knowing what to blog about?” Totally waiting to hear all those answers :)

    @Tamas Lorinez I think most of us struggle to varying degrees on our blogworthyness. I know I have enough times through out my blogging journeys — and yet it can lead us to places we would never have thought we would have ended up.

    Thanks for sharing the hashtag #bwtopic what a great idea for blog fodder.

    @Gail Wow that is a great list of ideas I could blog about. I suppose on big question I have is which blog would I post it on and why? Lets be honest you don’t see much of my personality on The Edublogger — do people want to know more about how I am on The Edublogger or is that more important to write about on my personal blog?

    Yes you are right I don’t talk about the satisfaction or some of the cool stuff I get involved with. Do people want to hear about that? I always try to down play what I do — and where possible invite others to help out so that others get recognised for the great work they do.

    Boy good question regarding PLN stars — I’m sure people would like to know those :) And Kathryn Greenhill is brilliant — that is an amazing podcast full of advice.

    @Susan The Book Chook Is your ideas folder in a physical location? Definitely high blogging frequency increases readership but downside is it reduces community interaction. Ultimately it is about what you are trying to achieve. Every second day is a good balance.

    Do you have set days when you write? And does that help you?

  10. Ken Allan says:

    Kia ora e Sue!

    I’ve never had any trouble thinking up ideas for a blog post. The problem is writing a post that’s relevant to the sort of things usually found on my blog, if you catch my smoke.

    Often I have ideas that come to nothing simply because they don’t fit with what I imagine my blog is supposed to be about. And here’s where I believe an answer may be in the wings: that of having more than one blog. I have two blogs, but one is simply a filter for the other which means it’s not really that different.

    But I also wonder if I had another blog that was completely different if it would mean that my focus would become diffuse. It’s well known in some areas of art that by placing constraints, creativity works overtime to break out, and so manifests itself in the emergence of new ideas.

    Catchya later

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Ken Allan, you know what my answer will be on this as I think we have discussed it several times. If you can blog it all on the same blog it does make your life so much easier.

      As a person who has so many blogs plus several WordPress MU sites — I think I’m definitely qualified to give that advice.

      PS yes I’ve noticed you are being lead astray in Second Life and wondering if I need to organise to rescue you?

      • Ken Allan says:

        @Sue Waters – Kia ora!

        “Led astray”? No, I don’t think so :-) . But I have learnt a lot if that’s what you mean. Today I attended a seminar on ISTE Island on taking photographs in SL.

        More fodder for a blog post. So y’see, I haven’t really been led astray at all. It’s not as if I’ve stopped blogging or commenting on blogs either. I’ve just found a whole raft of new things to write posts about.

        I thought that was what your post was all about. :-)

        Catchya
        later

  11. ccohen says:

    This probably isn’t the place to post this, but couldn’t really figure out easily how to contact you guys. The email you (Edublogs) sent out recently that started with this line:
    “This is the first of a
    few emails we’ll send you this week, and possibly the most useful too!”

    That email was sent to me almost 100 times. Yeah, my inbox is a little full. Might want to figure out what happened there.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @ccohen, oops I immediately contacted and dealt with this by email with you but didn’t respond here.

      Thanks again for both letting me know and providing all the information so I can sort it out. And leaving this comment here so others know I do follow up on these types of matters immediately.

  12. Robert Gisel says:

    1. Where do you get your ideas for blog posts from?

    Ideas? I thunk ‘em up. Seriously, when I get ideas I write these in a leather bound note book I keep for writing, so I haven’t lost them when it comes time to post. Maybe it’s just the bright idea of something I want to say, some unique viewpoint I have I jot down in brief. Or I might pen the whole post until I can get time on the computer. That’s for my blogs like WhoWouldWrite.blogspot.com or articles in OnceAnAlaskan.blogspot.com. The others as well, like when I’ve been curious about something and I get into research on it. Then I say what has been possibly overlooked by other researchers.

    Two of my blogs, FavoringLife.blogspot.com and RightsFreedomsandRights.blogspot.com, are very much prompted by data I get from news feeds I subscribe to. It is a matter of putting the information together from research to present a new assessment of what is really going on. You can see these are social or political reform platforms so current events go with the territory, and of course, plenty of ideas.

    It’s a real good exercise sometimes just to set a task like, write something humorous, or a short Christmas story with all the elements inside 500 words. This is very much my blog WhoWouldWrite.blogspot.com.

    2. What are your thoughts on how often a blogger should write posts? And why?

    There’s lot of advice bantered about on regular posts, so your readers know when to look. For that it doesn’t matter too much the frequency, once a week or daily, as long as it happens when you say it will. I don’t do that though, go to the blogs I want to watch, knowing the day they will be posted. The RSS Feeds from the blogs I follow come to my inbox and if the title appeals to me I read it. Mine I simply send out when they are written as I am not at all consistent to schedule of posting, but I don’t announce one either. That works for me right now with too many blogs going (seven) and sparse time to fill them.

    Fishing for comments and feedback from your audience it probably makes more sense to get a regular rhythm going.

    3. What are your tips for maintaining a consistent blogging routine? What works well for you?

    If I followed my own (and well established blogger’s) advice I’d post to one of my 7 blogs each day, cycling through them. To follow Chris Guillebeau’s ebook
    “276 Days to Overnight Success” I will have to stiffen up and be consistant like that. Maybe I will commit to one post on each blog within a two week time frame, then tighten it up as I get faster at it or free up more time for blogging. Not being full time at blogging I adapt.

    4. What other advice would you give to new bloggers?

    Write. Give it your best shot, but just write. Make your post represent your skills, creativity and craftsmanship as best you can. Make it professional and don’t skip out on spell and grammar checking. You just get better with quantity and learning as you go. After a bit you have a better idea of what the blog means and says and the site morphs into the statement you want to make.

    Content develops. What your blog will settle down to be, your branding, these develop by cranking out quantity. Starting out it was obvious I needed to get at least 10 (not duplicative) posts on each blog I was actively working. This, because I was considering (then) selling ad space on my blogs and that was the rules of most of the buyers.

    It depends on what you are seeking from your blog. I needed to build a track record of writing. If you ever want to publish a book a publisher will ask, what is your web site.

    Whatever your goals for the blogging, have fun writing from your heart. You. What you want to say. You are unique. Your observations of life can be quite different from anyone else.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Robert Gisel, thanks for sharing how you come up with ideas for blog posts.

      As you have 7 blogs I know others like Ken Allen would love to hear more about it. e.g. How do you find managing all these different blogs? Are they focused at different audiences? How you make decisions on what you post on each blog?

      • @Sue Waters,

        Good questions.

        I’m doomed or blessed to “multifaceted individual” so I covet numerous interests. I am working on the possibility of one site that compartments all my blogs in a way that selective interest can go to that area of the site. It would have a lot to do with the title of the blog, and/or subtitles leading to the various niches. It would have to be brilliant.

        Has someone successfully done this? Advices from successful bloggers usually say it is likely to lose readers, being too diverse. The jury is still out on that one. It’s time to survey and see what my readers say. I might be surprised.

        The other thing is that I don’t hide behind an anonymous user name so my blogs are identified with the real me. Its my legacy.

        Seems my following has different interests. I use Facebook to announce my posts and those interested will follow to the posts that interest. I still target the same overall group but don’t expect all my readers to want to read everything I write. This silly thing I wrote on Single Socks on WhoWouldWrite.blogspot.com pulled in the most emails, so go figure.

        When I think of something I want to illustrate it fits into one or another of my blogs. As that is random it is imperative to keep up my ideas book so I can write to a given blog. “Now I need to write something for [ ], what will I write?”

        Works for me.

        • Sue Waters says:

          @Robert L Gisel, some of my more quirky posts are definitely more popular. So your series of blogs has me still intrigued.

          Can you share with us the types of topics that you post about on each blog?

          • @Sue Waters,

            Boy, that’s a loaded question!

            Each of my blogs all turned out to be so different, but as they are all on Blogger I can go to any of them all will through the dashboard. Very handy!

            Somehow I started with OnceAnAlaskan, just telling what it was like to grow up as a youth in Alaska with a dad who was a genuine Bush Pilot. At first I was just testing my ability to tell stories as a writer. Telling about the later adventure of my brother being the back-up rifle for a bow hunter after bears was just to see if I could convey the excitement of that hunt. Later I toyed with more contemporary things, like what if you wanted to go there, my advices. When I found an article of a schoolhood friend who Prius was visited – inside – by a bear it seemed appropriate to throw out a little humor. Really though, the blog is about my experiences in a very novel locale – something others are curious about, things a little off the beaten path.

            In WhoWouldWrite I started talking about blogging, my reflections on it. There’s so many other bloggers covering that niche it seemed I needed a different direction. I started to play. I took a tongue in cheek swing at Darren Rowse the PROBLOGGER, testing out something HE wrote in one of his blogs. Then there’s my Blogger’s Dictionary for Un-Bloggers: could I be funny? Turned out to be hilarious fun. It seems here I’m mostly testing myself as a writer and observing how my communications come across. In doing so it turns out to be rather entertaining to others.

            You know, if you ever want to stretch out and be published the blogging platform is a place to lay down samples of your writing that a potential publisher will want to see.

            The 24 Qualities That Geniuses Have in Common was just fascinating to me. Feeling I had something to add to the subject, I just starting looking at content I could forward that would be downright helpful that others could to be more genius.

            There’s a theme, and thus there is content. I get socially serious in FavoringLife and RightsFreedomsandRights but the crux of it is:

            Theme – something you are passionate about, and

            Content – bring something of yourself to the subject.

            My blogs have been evolving on an interesting facet: people want to be involved and relate, whether it be in commenting, intellectual stimulation, emotional response or maybe just have a laugh.

            Whatever you do, trust me, boring is out!

  13. kycol says:

    I can’t remember how I stumbled across your blog. I know that I was listening to a podcast for eLearning Insights which I must have downloaded on iTunes at some stage. Anyway I am so glad I did becuase this is just the type of blog and content I was looking for.

    I am a single mother of two, currently working in a library, running my own dance business and studying my Bachelor of IT (all part-time). I am very interested in Instructional Design, Web Design/Development, Usability and Training (adult education and eLeanring). I am finding your posts very interesting and they have given me the inspiration to start blogging for myself.

    My blog “pure enlightenment” is not about one topic in particular but rather a collection of my thoughts, ideas, questions, musings and I use it to help me learn. I do not blog for an organisation or for a particualr casue (yet), my blog is more of a reflection. I would always go to bed at night with a head full of thoughnts but I have now started putting these into my blog and I am then happy in myself that I have recorded my thoughts or ideas for further investigation at a later date. So I don’t have a regular routine yet or a topic to blog about, nor do I have a lot of my own opinions to place into my blog yet. However if I take excerts about information, topics, subjects I want to know about I make sure to link back to the source and acknowledge that source, the referencing style I am still playing with.

    I am finding your blog and the Edublog very interesting and proving me with lots of food for thought and I have decided to really give blogging and other web 2.0 tools a go. Hopefully the skills I learn will help me when I become more qualitfied to teach or become an Instructinal Designer, web designer/developer or who knows what!

    Thanks Sue from Kylie Cole

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Kylie, glad that my posts have inspired you to blog yourself. I can assure you that blogging will definitely help you career wise. I’ve seen lots of people get their jobs as a result of their blogging.

  14. Jess says:

    Thanks for the comment on my blog.
    Yes it is normal when the power goes off that our water goes off. i think its because we are on tank water and buy our own not get it from the council. but its very hard to have a shower or anything to do with water when you dont have it.
    -Jess

  15. honorskid says:

    Dear Sue,

    I have a great post that i have cooked up on my blog page about Ugandan children. This is a great subject to blog about because so many people do not know anything about the constant disapperaing and murdering of the ugandan children. This would be a big help to the ugandan children if you would start a blog about them. My blog is not big enough. I am not as widely known as you and i would be honored if you started a blog about them. If you would comment back on my blog to let me know if you think its a good idea or not that would be amazing.
    Sincerely Honorskid

  16. yksimonis says:

    Hi -
    I’m brand new at blogging. I set up a blog for my students to recommend books to each other. Our students do not have their own email accounts so I set up a user name that they can all use and created a gmail account for the class.

    1) Today, they all sent drafts for me to approve. I could not figure out how to post them. Help!

    2) Tonight, when I got home, I logged on to our blog and all of their drafts are gone. Anyone know what happened to them?

    3) I have also noticed that I cannot change the user I am logged in as. I logged out of my administrator user name and tried to login as a student user and it kept defaulting back to my administrator user. Can’t I switch between them?

    4) I believe that the students may have been in on the administrative login today because they said they could see the drafts before I had approved them and posted them. What gives?

    Thanks for you help.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @yksimonis, Can you give me the blog URL where they were writing the drafts so that I can check it for you?

      Re-Username try going to Edublogs homepage and logging out there – http://edublogs.org/

      • yksimonis says:

        @Sue Waters,

        Hi Sue -

        When I logged on at school today, I can logon and off to different users. I was also able to see the drafts that had been submitted.

        The remaining problems are:

        1) I do not know how to authorize the posts.

        2) I cannot logoff and logon to a different user on my home computer. It seems to be working fine from school.

        Thanks for the help.

        Yemia

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