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How to Write an Awesome Blog

Hello there, everyone! Today we have a guest blogger – Priscilla Chew, who is a communications specialist and lifestyle blogger. I’m very pleased to have her here, and I hope you are, too! If you like her post and want to see more, then go ahead and visit: http://www.prischew.com

priscilla

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Perhaps you are keen to start a blog, but you are not sure of how to go about writing it. Or maybe you’ve have been blogging for some time now, but still feel as though you could do with some advice on how to go about it.

Fret not. Read on for some useful tips on blogging.

Have a Great Title –

With the use of a great title you will be able to attract more readers, so make sure that this is short and snappy – and not too long. The first thing that readers see is the title, so this is a perfect window of opportunity to lure them and get them into reading your post.

Create a Good Lead –

The first paragraph is very important. It should hook your readers and a good lead is like a fishing rod – it will reel them in. It can be the difference to your readers bouncing off the page or staying on it.

 A good lead starts with an interesting focus, and it is well-written, but not lengthy. It essentially reflects the “heart” of what you are writing in the post.

Focus on the Topic –

Be focused on the subject that you are writing about and do not digress and meander everywhere.

It’s better to stick to a few main points, rather than talk about everything under the sun.

If you start digressing, it will confuse your readers and they may lose their train of thought.

Having a focused approach will add more substance to your post – and you may be better able to deliver more specific content.

Avoid Long Blocks of Text –

It is very tiring and even boring to look at long blocks of text, especially on computers and mobile devices. So it is very important to have subheadings and bullet points. Having shorter paragraphs will also help. A contrast of different size fonts or certain key words will also be useful to break up long blocks of text.

Your readers need to be able to easily see what you have written, so avoid long blocks of words to ensure that important points are not missed out.

Images and photos inserted in strategic spots will be good, too.

Use Simple Language –

When you are writing a blog post, you are not writing an academic essay, so use simple language targeted at your readers.

You want to ensure that people can understand and digest your blog post, so simple language goes a long way to attracting readers.

Keep long technical terms, phrases and jargon to more formal writing. A successful blog post needs to have connection with the reader, so do not turn him or her off with complicated writing, unless of course you are writing a technical post.

Have Relevant Content –

The post should be about something which is up to date and relevant to your readers. For example, it is better to blog about current topics and trends, such as the Candy Crush Saga, rather than about the original Angry Birds game – which is now less popular.

The post should also be on something that most of your readers can relate to. For example, if most of them are runners, then it is no point blogging about useless apps. In this case, it is better to talk about topics such as useful training tips and what runners should be eating.

End with a Strong Conclusion –

It is a good idea to end a post with what you want the reader to take away with them. To increase sharing or comments, end an article with a call-to-action.

So for your next blog post, do have a great title, a good lead, and be focused on your topic.

Also, finish off with a strong conclusion to increase engagement of the reader.

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To find out more about Priscilla and see more of her posts, please visit: http://www.prischew.com

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Big post coming next week!

No post yesterday I’m afraid, as I’m currently writing a big article titled To Prologue or Not to Prologue?, focusing on the aspects of the prologue and whether it is truly necessary in stories. So spread the word; share this post on Facebook and Twitter, and this blog will be able to grow, meaning more and better posts!

 

See you all next week!

Two or three updates concerning the blog

First of all, please excuse me for not posting anything for a week or so – my computer has been playing up, so I couldn’t even update my Facebook and Twitter followers. I am writing today’s post on my iPad, so if there are any formatting errors, please forgive me!

Anyway, that’s enough about that; I want to talk to you about a few things that should be happening on the blog within the next few months, if all goes according to plan! So then, here is a fairly detailed list of what will be going on soon:

– I have I indeed noticed the success of the ‘Top 10 Best Websites for Writers’, and I’ve been thinking of doing another list for a good while. However, whether it should be a ‘Best Websites for Writers Part Two’ or a list of something completely new lies in your hands: you faithful readers. So, if anything, and I mean anything, strikes you as being a good subject for a top ten list, such as books, websites, TV shows, films, or whatever you fancy, please write it in the comments section below. Remember, we need to stick together!

– I mentioned on Twitter a good few days ago that an exciting thing might be happening. Well it’s still not definite yet, but soon I’m planning to get an author, or someone similar, to appear for a Writer’s Cabinet interview! I don’t actually have anyone particular in mind yet, hence the reason it’s still far from definite? But again, if you want to recommend someone to appear on the blog, as long as it’s something to do with Writer’s Cabinet, you are very welcome to write your suggestions below. Just remember that this isn’t the New York Times, so no big names please! Then again, reaching a bit higher isn’t a bad idea, so go ahead and write some names. Surprise me…

– Other small issues and minor changes, but a bit too trivial to mention here. Just some good ol’ spring cleaning.

So there you have it. Don’t be shy; give me ideas and names if something pops into your head, and if it’s feasible I’ll do my best to make it happen. Have a good week and see you later!

How to Become a Successful Writer in One Simple Step

Okay, are you ready to find out how you can become a successful writer in one simple step? Well, here goes:

You write.

It may not be an easy step, but it sure is a simple one, and once it has been completed, you have become a successful writer. Seriously. You may not be successful in terms of publication (and I’ve probably disappointed a good few people who have read this title hoping for a quick buck) but you are successful in terms of being a writer. No one can say you aren’t because you are. If someone asks you, “What do you do?” You can confidently reply, “Me? I’m a writer.” Take gratification in that.

And for those of you who really did think being published is easy and this post would help you achieve it, you really need to rethink your plan. You may be a genuinely nice person who is mistaken in what being a writer is. That’s fine – I only just discovered its true meaning a year ago. Being a writer means more than wanting to be published. Of course, nearly every writer wants this, but no one needs it. Writers need to write, just as chefs need to cook and artists need to paint and sketch. There is something within you that simply says, “Write, and I will be happy!”

Better do as she says.

And apparently my blog is helping people release their inner writer. In fact, people are still commenting on posts that I wrote last August (yes, that means you, Thomas Fowler!). And it’s my Top 10 Best Websites for Writers that seems to get the most hits; today alone five people from around the world have bothered to search the internet and click on my post. But why? Why that post?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s because there is a sizeable eagerness to write within today’s society. I mean, let’s face it: younger generations these days can’t seem to write or spell, yet you think you’ve got it, and if you can pass a basic literacy test, that’s only natural. You want to prove yourself, tell the world of your extraordinary capabilities. But what does this mean?

It means that there is more competition to get published than ever before. In this year alone, more than 130 million computers have been sold, and the number of internet users has increased to over 2.5 billion, with more signing up every second. The internet is an easy way to gather knowledge and advice on just about anything…including how to write. Including this very blog. And here comes the worst part.

Roughly 896,000 book titles have been published in this year alone. Now that may not seem so bad, but then you have to realise that this number is just a tiny fraction of the number of manuscripts that are sent to publishers and agents. So why do people continue to write? Why do or I continue to write?

As I said earlier, it’s mainly because we simply want to. For me, no matter whether I was eventually published or not, I would never cease writing. I live off it, feed off it. I can’t get enough of it, and I hope you’re the same, too. I just enjoy creating characters and telling stories, and even if that means only my wife, or my children, or my dog enjoys it, then I would consider it worth the effort. I’m not a parent yet, but if some day I was to become one, I wouldn’t stop trying to write stories for my kids, from the day they were born to the day they left for university. Enjoy must be a part of your life, part of the core of your existence. And let me tell you something: if your zest and enthusiasm comes through in your writing, then you’ve already surpassed many of the authors out there who just want to get rich and famous. And that, my dear friend, is an accomplishment in itself.

With enough work and commitment, one of those 896,000 books could well have your name written on it.

P.S. Yes, I am coming back to stay and writing an article every Wednesday, so you’re very welcome to come back as often as you’d like!

Update on my blog…

Apologies for missing a few days on my blog, but that’s basically what I wanted to talk to you all about. As it’s running up to Christmas, and my next-semester university timetable is quite packed, I’m afraid my blog posts are going to have to change from a strict(ish) schedule to whenever I can. I’m sure I’ll be blogging at least twice a week, but my life after Christmas will probably be very busy, and I can’t promise anything. 😦 However, I will still be blogging, no matter how infrequently! 😀

As for what’s due on the blog in the extremely recent future, I’ll be watching the Hobbit movie tonight, so expect a film review for that in a couple of days. Also there will be a subject that I will be discussing which I heard about in university, and I found it interesting enough to make an article about it, which should also be up on the blog before Christmas, hopefully. And speaking of Christmas, of course I’ll have a post about Christmas! And maybe a quick update on how things are going in my life as well, at least writing wise. 😛

So for now, I shall bid you adieu, but I will be posting quickly after this post, maybe tomorrow or Wednesday. Anyway, that’s enough of my blabbering – see you in a couple of days! 🙂

‘Skyfall’ Film Review

Skyfall

Director/Directors: Sam Mendes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, et al

Rating: 12A (U.K.)/PG-13 (U.S.A.)

Release Date: 2012

Stars: 4.5 (Excellent)

Bond is back, but is he as classy as he used to be? Is this film full of exciting explosions or is it an exploding mess?

James Bond investigates an attack on MI6, but he’s in for a nasty surprise (Bardem). M (Dench) is ruthless in this film, but it’s Bond’s loyalty to M that is tested. Is this an evil too big for Bond to handle?

Daniel Craig has aged a bit, hasn’t he? Changed race, too. And that hat doesn’t look terribly good on him. Is this even Bond? No? Sigh…Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

As always, the opening scene of this movie is brilliant. It revolves around a car chase, a motorbike chase, and an epic hand-to-hand fight on top of a moving train. This is commonplace for an agent such as 007…until he’s shot, of course! The famous opening sequence music video is also brilliant, sung by the popular Adele. Her voice suits the theme perfectly, and this definitely adds to the film.

The acting is great, the better performances being given by Judi Dench and Javier Bardem, although Daniel Craig’s performance is certainly nothing to sneer at. One thing this film did well was balance the old with the new – there is a classic Bond car in the film, but also gadgets that are more ’21st century’, and this was a great addition to the series as a whole. If I’m honest, there really aren’t many negatives to say about this film, especially in terms of entertainment value. There is, however, one part of the film that I deemed a little too unbelievable – a fight under the literally icy water lasts too long for Bond to live, but even so, this is a minor gripe.

As ever, Bond stands out among the heaving crowd of other action/thriller films, and the ‘Britishness’ of it all just enhances the flavour. I may even go as far to say that this is the best Bond film yet, but that’s ultimately a very debatable view. The only way you’ll know whether it’s your favourite is by watching the actual film!

Seriously though, watch it.

9504 words…9504 problems?

First of all, please excuse me for not posting yesterday – the only excuse I have is that I was working on NaNoWriMo. Second of all, I want to talk to you about how many words I’ve done, where I plan to take my characters, and whether I think I’ll finish on time. So here we go.

I’m 9504 words in, as you can see from the title, and it’s a relatively good word-count. I’m certainly on target (10k for today) and everything is going swimmingly. Or is it? I have encountered a few problems, but are they as numerous as my current word-count?

Well, one problem I’m having is how much I drag the plotline out. I could write quite a lot in some scenes, but I’ve also got to strike a balance between realism and excitement – sometimes a book slips into both categories, but I’m not that good a writer yet! Anyway, that’s quite a problem for me, but I’m sure I’ll work it out.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

The second problem I have is the amount of work I have to do besides NaNo (as I write this an essay is due in within a few days, and I haven’t even started), and it is still unclear as to whether other work duties will overtake my writing duties. But again, only time, and work, will tell.Finally, my third problem is that of looking ahead too much. Sometimes I’ll be casually writing and everything is as fine and as cuddly as bunnies and fluffy toys, when something hits me directly in the face (and it isn’t a bunny jumping towards me). No, it’s the realisation that I have to write another 40,000 words. How can I make the plot engaging when I hae that many more words to write, and that being the least? It’s a scary thought when it happens, but as I write more, the scariness factor decreases.

So to wrap it up, do I have 9504 problems? Well the answer is no, no I don’t. NaNo is going pretty well at the moment, and I’m already curious to see where my characters will take me. Now I shall treat you to a short extract of my novel, takn from Chapter One. But before I do, may I just remind you that you can share your work and wordcount in the comments below, or by sharing them via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/writerscabinet). You can also follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/writerscabinet)! See you all next Monday. 😀

 

’30 Days’ Extract (Chapter One)

It didn’t take much time; the labour lasted no longer than ten minutes. As soon as Abraham heard the baby’s cries he walked through the doorway and into one of the rooms, finding a smiling doctor and a very startled naked woman.

            ‘What are you doing here, Abe?’ The new-fangled mother said it kindly, yet there was forcefulness in her voice.

            ‘I was waiting right outside – I just wanted to say congratulations.’ He smiled and cocked his head to one side; being in the labour room was definitely a new experience for him.

            The mother smiled. ‘Thanks, I appreciate it. Just hope I don’t have to go back to work for a couple of weeks. Do you think they’ll let me stay off for that long?’

            It was the doctor standing over the bed that answered. ‘Doubtful; this is the Wardens we’re talking about. And anyway, I need you back here as soon as you can. It’ll be a nightmare being the only doctor here for a while.’

            A short silence began, and Abraham stood there uncomfortably for a few seconds before quickly spluttering, ‘Well, I should be off.’ He gave a little wave to the mother and the tiny baby wrapped up in a blanket, held tightly in here arms. ‘You both take care, now.’ He sidled out of the room and down the cabin’s steps, quickly looking around. Two dark figures were walking towards the square from the right. Abraham clenched himself so tightly that he thought he would collapse.

            Oh no, not today. Not now. She’s so happy…

            Somehow he managed to force his legs to move, and he ran back towards the cabin, bursting into the room again.

                ‘You have to get out of here!’ he gasped, trying to lift the exhausted mother up. He turned to the doctor. ‘We haven’t got long. Is there any way that we can pretend that the baby was dead, or that she had a miscarriage? We have to hide the baby!’ Abraham ran around the room, uselessly opening all the cabinets and drawers. He did not know what he was looking for.

            ‘Hello? It’s been reported that someone was due to have a baby today…’ The voice came from just outside the door.

            Too late.

 

Any feedback/comments would be greatly appreciated! One more quick thing: watch out for my Skyfall review, expected to be posted either today or tomorrow. 🙂

Update on my arguably boring life…

Well hellooo; I didn’t really have much time to prepare a post for all of you lovely people here today, so instead I’m going to give you an update on my life in general. My university degree is going well (Creative Writing), and there are a couple of fairly easy assignments due in the next few weeks. I am enjoying the writing aspect very much, and I’m doing things which are out of my comfort zone – this should hopefully improve my writing. NaNoWriMo begins in eleven days, and I’m still nowhere near finished with my planning, but it doesn’t truly matter, because it’s all part of the fun, right? 🙂 That’s pretty much all that’s interesting in my life right now, which is a little disappointing for you, so here’s a random picture for you all:

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

The point of this photo, and whether it is necessary or not, is extremely debatable. 😛 Hope the remainder of your weekend is great! 😀

 

 

Facebook Page and Twitter

Hi all, just wanted to say that the blog’s Facebook page is now active (http://www.facebook.com/writerscabinet), and will receive regular updates with pictures, motivational quotes, and exclusive content. I’ve also signed up to twitter today (https://twitter.com/writerscabinet), and that will also receive pictures and regular updates, including exclusive content. However, my twitter account will not just be a Writer’s Cabinet account, but it will also be an account which I update with stories from my own life, whether that be writing, university, whatever. So from now on, unless something major has happened in my life, all my personal reports and tales will be posted on my twitter account. Thanks for reading!

Really wanted to share this with my fellow readers…enjoy.