Can I Feature You?

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Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post to check out my reader challenge.

What’s Ahead…

I am so very excited about this Fall and all the things I have planned for How They Blog. More fantastic interviews (by the way, if you haven’t read Jessi Connolly’s social media and writing interview, you REALLY need to go do that. So very good.), a podcast, Coffee Talk Classes (finally!), new pages for the Blog Planning Kit, a Blog Planning Facebook Challenge and more.

Interviewing You?

I want this site to feel more like a round table discussion than a lecture. If you’ve ever been to a blog conference (btw, I’m speaking at Declare in a couple weeks, join me?), you know that some of the most valuable content comes when you’re just having coffee with a group of friends. Everyone shares their best ideas, important but less obvious questions are asked and answers that might not make it into a session are given.

As always, I’ll keep featuring bloggers you know and love and smaller bloggers who have big lessons to share. But I also believe that each one of you have fantastic insights, ideas and tips that can help us all in our blogging journey. Maybe you’re an email guru and always keep an empty inbox, maybe you have a background in marketing or seo and can offer some tips. Maybe you’re an accountant, a grammar specialist (don’t hate me) or a techie.

So be thinking about what you’d like to share. I’ll post the interview submission form here on Wednesday!

An Incredible Opportunity

My goal for this blog isn’t to entertain like some sort of blog version of PEOPLE magazine. My goal is to give you access to successful, wise bloggers and entrepreneurs so that you can truly take your blog to the next level. Think of each post like a coffee date – you, me and the blogger.

I really want to help you learn, so I’ve brought in friends who know a lot more than I do to help you.

You are on a journey and they know how to get there. Use the Blog Planning Kit to determine your destination and use each interview to learn the best way to get there. Be an unintimidated, intentional learner.

I want to challenge you to ASK QUESTIONS. All of the bloggers that have been interviewed so far have made a point to check the comments and answer questions. What a fantastic opportunity. I know it can feel intimidating to ask a question, but this is an extremely valuable opportunity and I don’t want you to miss it. As I tell my son often, bravery doesn’t mean you’re not scared, it just means you do it anyway.

My little writers. One is starting a blog, the other is writing her first ebook.

A coffee date with my little writers. One is starting a blog, the other is writing her first ebook.

My girls have no clue how to start a blog or write an ebook. They can’t spell half the words they want to use. But they are asking questions. Oh, so very many questions. They are learning and growing. They’ll make a ton of mistakes, but the’ll file that wisdom away and do things better each time they try.

Make a running list of questions you would love to ask. Keep a note filled with some of the challenges you face and pose those questions to bloggers here who seem to be on the other side of the challenge.

You have words that people need to hear. You have wisdom that needs to be shared. Let’s get your blogging questions answered so that you can better help each of your readers.

Being a great blogger has more to do with a willingness to step out of our comfort zones, than being great writers.

A Practice Session

Ok, so let’s practice. If you and I were to sit down and have coffee, what question would you ask about blogging, writing, social media, gadgets…anything? Ready? Set? Go.

Click here to ask your question.

Leave a Reply

Comments

  1. Hi Kat – I have a question for you or any of your readers that might have faced the same thing. How do you blog about the challenging things you are facing in your family without making your husband feel like he’s in the wrong? It would be easy to blog if nobody I KNEW was reading it, but talking about what to do when you feel torn between your teen’s wants and your partner’s rules, or how sleep training is hard because of different parenting styles when you know he gets the blog emails… sometimes I let great topics slide because finding the right positive approach eludes me.

    • I’m looking forward to seeing what other say too! It is hard, especially when you know family and friends are reading and you don’t want to hurt your family.

    • Great question Carolyn!

      Honestly, I think you’ve already come up with the perfect solution. Just like you said, “I let great topics slide because finding a positive approach alludes me.”

      I think the same old wisdom that applies to life, applies to blogging, “If I can’t find something nice to say, don’t say anything.”

      I make it a point to only share my mistakes and shortcomings on my blog. Unless, I’ve asked my children or husband (or anyone else), I won’t share the issues or failures of others.

      If there is a challenging situation that I want to write about it, I search until I find a way that *I* can learn and grow and change, then I write abut that.

      My hope is that anyone who ever reads my words online, whether it be strangers or family, will feel encouraged, honored and loved.

      That’s my perspective, anyway. I hope that helps!

      • I try to do the same thing. Just as I wouldn’t criticize my husband when talking to a friend, I don’t criticize him on my blog. I think some people think that paints an unrealistic picture of their life to the online world, but I try to make up for that by being honest about things I struggle with. In the end, our marriages and families are more important than having a great blog post.

    • Carolyn that is a great question! I once had the opportunity to ask Lysa Terkeurst a very similiar question. Her advice was to take the concept you have learned or are struggling with and focus on that part of the story. She suggested changing some of the “characters” a bit or aspects of the situation that would not change the ultimate teaching point so that you can protect the others involved. Whenever I write a post that includes a story about my husband I always have him read it before publishing it. That way he has input & some “ownership” in the lessons learned. There have been times when his feedback has frustrated me but, it leads to more discussion & better communication on our part.

    • Our blog is really just a recap of our daily life so there’s no deep issues discussed there, but when I do share things about my family, they know that I’m blogging it. I always ask my kids if it’s okay for me to post something on my FB if it is concerning them regardless if it is something positive or negative. If anyone feels uncomfortable with something, it will not be shared. It is tricky though if you want to bring something up so that others will know they are not alone, etc.

  2. Great idea to keep a list of questions, I’m going to do it. I just started my blog and I know I’ll have lots to ask. 🙂 Crossing my fingers that I might get to go to Declare. . .
    My questions is – I’m not in love with my blog name. Since I just started I don’t really have a following yet so I don’t think it’s too late to change it. The problem is, I don’t know what to change it too. I feel like From this Kitchen Table might sound too much like it’s a food blog.
    So, do I just got with the name and promote it and if I come up with something better later change it then or just keep brainstorming for a name and when I find something I love start promoting it?
    I’ve really been enjoying your blog! Looking forward to more interview and interaction.

    • Deanna,
      Honestly, I didn’t think of a food blog when I saw the title. I thought of a conversation over coffee at the “kitchen table.”

      My advice would be to just run with what you have. Don’t make it a barrier until it actually is, meaning, when you lose traffic because of the title (which I don’t foresee happening) then worry about it, but don’t let the little things stop or slow you down from actually getting your content and ideas and encouragement out there.

      My motto lately is, “I’d rather do things badly and improve later, than never do them at all.”

      I hope that helps, Deanna!

      • Thanks for your response! It does help a lot – I’ll go for it. 🙂 And I like your motto. I need it in my life too, I tend to get hung up on the details and thinking and never go for anything.

        • Thanks for asking this question Deanna! I’ve only been blogging for about two months and I originally tried a certain niche and then decided it wasn’t what I really have a heart for so I’m switching it up. However, I decided to keep my current blog name and just change my design theme and go from there. Glad I’m not the only one with this issue!

          • I’ve also found myself wrestling with the title! My name is in my blog title (and my domain name). Looking back on that decision, I think I must be the most narcissistic person on the planet. “Seriously, who names a blog after themselves?” I’ll ask myself, the person for who my blog is named.

            But, I’ve found unique ways to change the tag line, for example, that indicate I’m not just a girl on a soapbox but a girl who’d love to strike up a conversation. You’re deffo not the only person who second guesses blog names! (And, personally, I really like the name of your blog!)

            Thanks for bringing up this question!

          • Your welcome, Lisa! 🙂 It is nice to know you’re not the only one. Looking forward to seeing your new design.

            Victoria – ha ha, don’t think it narcissistic to have your name in a blog! Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky just wrote about how she wished she would have used her name.

            Tag line is a good idea. And I’m glad you like my name, I’m feeling a little more confident about it now. Looking forward to checking out your blog!

    • We do a lot of talking around our kitchen table when I was growing up and now with my own family…and we love having friends over and just chatting over a meal or tea/coffee or dessert. We can sit and eat and talk for hours, so I love your blog name. I like what Victoria said about changing the tag line if you change what blog about in the future. Go for it!

      • Thank you for your thoughts, Joyce! I’m glad that is what it makes you think of – it is kind-of what I was hoping it would invoke. I’m going to go for it! 🙂

  3. Greetings!
    I’ve been blogging for a bit over a year, and I just learned about your site and subscribed. There is a huge learning curve to all this and, of course, as an achiever….I want to get it right from the get-go. My question is two fold. One….what is the very best resource (other than Google) a blogger should have available at her fingertips? And two…what is the ONE THING every blogger should DO (and probably doesn’t even know to do)?

    • Diane,
      Best resource:
      Self discipline. Seriously, a blogger who can sit down and write the post she has floating in her head is worth a million bloggers who sit down and get distracted by the Internet and everything else.

      One thing every blogger should do:
      Finish. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just finish that post and share it. Finish that ebook and launch it. Finish that vlog and publish it.

      Any blogger can start something. Great bloggers finish things.

      I’m not sure if those were the sort of answers you were looking for, but they are the best that come to mind. 🙂

  4. Good morning. I feel like you may have answered my questions in your self interview but I do want to know more! How do you connect with other bloggers without seeming like you are self-serving? I don’t know if that makes sense or not. My current blog is new and I’d love to make some connections with other bloggers and am not sure how to go about that. I’m commenting on blogs and trying to converse on twitter. I really just want to feel a sense of community. How do you get started with that? Thanks so much. I read How They Blog faithfully! Thank you for producing such great content.

    • Elle,
      Excellent question! I’d say start by looking for ways to help. If someone asks for a movie recommendation on Twitter, recommend your favorites. If they write a great post, share it. Tell them ways that their words have encouraged you.

      Make it your mission to serve and help others and you will inevitably make some great friends and connections!

      Also, on twitter, find a hashtag you connect with, like #hellomornings or #fmfparty (Is that right? The one for Lisa Jo’s 5 minute Friday.) and dive in there, commenting, sharing and helping.

      Also, if possible, find a conference you can attend, there is no better way to make connections than face to face!

      • Great advice, Kat!! I was totally going to say taking part in a link-up. I love #fmfparty even though I’m a totally crasher and have never actually done a FMF post before, but I have gotten to know some of the ladies just be hanging out with them during that hour or so each Thursday night. #hellomornings is a great place to be every morning too. My HelloMornings group is on Facebook, but I still hop on twitter for a little extra encouragement.

  5. accordingtocarey says:

    When your non-blog life gets overwhelmingly busy, do you let the blog take a back seat for a bit or do you push through and create content the same as always? I’m in a season of extreme busy-ness and feel like I can’t attend to the blog like I would normally. Getting one post out a week is a challenge right now and I feel so terribly guilty.

    • Carey,
      This is actually a question I’m facing right now. Ideally, I would be prepared far in advance so that any current life craziness wouldn’t really affect me because I have prepared content months in advance.

      However, this summer has been RADICALLY different from any other. My kids are now old enough that they stay up really late and I rarely have time to write deep, thoughtful posts. And also, this is the first time I’ve run TWO blogs at the same time.

      As a result, I’ve already used up all the buffer content for Inspired To Action that I’d created before the summer started.

      I’m planning on announcing a 3 week blogging break for ITA starting tomorrow. My thinking is that If my goal is to truly help readers, then I want to give them my best and not just churn out weary content because my blogging schedule says so.

      Once school starts I’ll be able to start podcasting and writing again. Until then, I’ll work on other projects that will help readers and encourage them via social media.

      I hope that I won’t ever have to do this again. I’d like to create enough excellent buffer content that I can endure any season. In the meantime, this was a great lesson for me.

      That was rather long and convoluted, but the short answer is that we must first live life well in order to blog well. And preparation is the best method of perseverance.

      • Kat – Thanks for you honesty. This makes me feel much better! I was going to ask the same thing. This summer has been unusually busy for me because I’ve gone back to work part time AND we are moving. The blog definitely had to take a back seat. In the future, I’d like to build up more “buffer” though. Thanks for the tip!

      • My husband has recently been encouraging me to be a week and a day ahead on posts. This has been so helpful and has made it possible to keep blogging even during a busy time with Baby #5 joining our family. Even if I get a little behind I’m still not writing a post the day I want to publish it.

        We also sat down during a “working date” and scheduled blog posts for the summer. In a few weeks, we’ll look at September and October and plan those out.

        So I would completely agree that preparation is the best way to handle blogging in busy seasons.

        • Allyson,
          Sounds like you have a great husband! That’s wonderful that he’s so supportive. It can make all the difference.

    • accoringtocarey, I haven’t been too consistent lately, but I used to take regular blogging breaks. It allowed me to catch my breath and be IRL a little more, and it also let me spend some time building up the buffer content. The first day of my break, I usually have a scheduled post listing either some of my favorite past posts or past posts that might need a little love that new readers might have missed.

  6. Hi Kat! I’ve heard a lot about joining a mastermind group or some kind of writing/blogging group for support. Any idea how one would go about finding one of these groups?

    • Keri,
      I’d start by connecting with people online via Twitter, blog commenting and Facebook. Find bloggers that you can learn alongside and then just stick your neck out and ask if they want to form a mastermind group. Some might say, no and if they do, email more. I’ve found, in this crazy online world, that often, the best way to find something is to just make it yourself.

      If you want to fast track your connecting, try joining a community like the Influence Network that Jessi Connolly and Hayley Morgan started. It’s a great place to met like minded bloggers.

      • Thanks, Kat! This is a great place to start, and I will hop to it. I appreciate you responding to all of these great questions. 🙂

  7. I have been blogging for over a year now and my husband said, “You need to think of blogging as a hobby.” It really struck a nerve with me. But, then I got to thinking, it is a hobby. Right now, I’m not interested in monetizing, but I do follow my stats. Am I out of touch, should I be solely writing to monetize?

    • Dee Dee,
      You should be writing for whatever reason you WANT to write. What inspires you to write? Write for that reason. If money would be helpful and it’s either blog or get a job you don’t like, then seek to monetize. If you just want to write because you like to write, then do it for that reason.

      I don’t think money should ever be a bottom line reason to blog. Blogging will get old and boring really fast that way.

      What are you goals for your blog? How are those goals related to your life goals? How can your blog help your readers reach their goals. When we know the answers to those questions we have much more direction and purpose for our writing.

      I hope that helps!

  8. Hi Kat,
    Thanks for this awesome site, it has been a HUGE help!

    I’m having trouble figuring out some of the technical aspects of blogging, especially printables. I’ve gotten as far as creating them and saving them as PDF’s but I can’t figure out how to have my readers click a link to have the printable pop up nicely and be ready for them to print it.

    Your Blog Planner Kit is my new best friend, thanks again:)

    • Lisa,
      If you are using wordpress, just upload it via the media upload tab. Then click the “Insert into Post” button and it will include the link. Now, if you think you’ll have a TON of downloads, you might not want to host it on your server. You could use a service like Dropbox or Amazon S3 to host the file and then just include a link to the file in your post.

      Let me know if you have ANY questions!

  9. Where would you focus your social media efforts?
    How do you publish an ebook?
    How do you promote yourself on personal social media without coming off as prideful?
    How specifically do you build community? I know a brave call to action like you just posted is amazing… but what if no one responds? (which happens to me just about everytime I ask for comments except on certain posts-namely newborn photography posts). I also know that commenting over and over and over again on other blogs builds community, but what else can we do?
    What are the best things you can do at a blogging conference (I’m headed to Allume in October) to really soak in learning and network?
    Okay… I think that’s it for today 😉

    • Whew! Those are some huge questions. I’ll do my best to answer them:

      1. Focus your social media efforts on the platform you enjoy the most, otherwise it will be a loathed chore.

      2. Write a bunch of pages of helpful info, save it as a pdf, sign up for e-junkie.com and sell it. (Obviously, there is a bit more too it, but it’s really just about that simple. E-junkie walks you through most of it.) I’ve not published to Kindle, so I can’t offer any advice there.

      3. Don’t view it as promoting yourself, view it as helping others. Write content that solves a problem for readers and then tell them about it.

      4. Keep trying. I’ve endured many, many no-responses. Also, let people get to know you through your posts, be personal. And get to know them. If they know you’ll respond to their comments, they are more likely to comment.

      5. Connect via social media before the conference. Join the hashtag and make friends. Plan meetups at the conference so that it’s more like a reunion and less like a social.

      Let me know if I missed anything. I hope that helps!

      • Thank you, Kat!

        So what if the only social media outlet you enjoy is Pinterest? Ha! Facebook is a necessary evil for the photography side of blogging and I use HootSuite (thanks to this blog!) to schedule those posts, but it’s just a necessary chore at this point. Any tips on making it a bit more exciting?

        • Then focus on Pinterest! It’s a fantastic (and probably perfect) social media platform for a photographer to focus on.

          Is Facebook really necessary? Could you just have an info page and leave it at that? If you focused all your energy (and learning) on Pinterest, I’d venture to guess you would more than make up for a half hearted effort on FB.

          Pinterest offers evergreen referrals to your blog, meaning once something gets shared, if it’s good, it gets shared over and over and over and rarely gets lost. I have content on my other blog that continues to be my most trafficked page because of Pinterest.

          Content gets easily lost in the FB feed. There are some great tips on maximizing Pinterest and especially for a photog, I think you could get some excellent return on your time investment there.

    • If you want to publish an ebook, Mandi Ehman (life.yourway.net) has an awesome 10-week online course going on right now. It just started yesterday (but you can register and start the course whenever you want). It is called From Idea to Ebook. $17 for lifetime access. http://bit.ly/18LygTz

    • I’ve done several Kindle books (they are mainly Kindle versions of the Bible studies I’ve written and one Christmas devotional) and its really pretty simple. I’m a speaker as well, so I have a sweet gal who assists me in my ministry and she’s great at it and knows the whole process well. You can email me at amy@amybrady.com, and I can connect the two of you.

  10. Amanda McCellon says:

    What’s the best way to get exposure? Or expand your readership? For people to find you among the thousands of others?

    • The simple yet-not-so-simple answer is this:

      Be more helpful than everyone else. Know what your readers need and give it to them.

      • I totally agree with you Kat, that helpful and generous bloggers build the best readership. I’ve found it helpful to know where your readers are congregating. Do you get lots of page views from Twitter or Facebook? From an email list? From linkups to other blogs? A practical step could be to find out where it is you will be most helpful and brainstorm ways to be of service in those places.

  11. I have a question about SEO for non-niche (at least, not a niche I can see at the moment) blogs. Ironically, I work for a Web marketing company so I totally get *how* SEO is done, but for my blog I’m not sure what I would optimize for. Does my blog need a specific niche (food, travel, lifestyle, etc.)? Or are there other ways to SEO a ‘thought’ blog?

    • Victoria,
      Honestly, I’ve never given much thought to SEO. I don’t know that I’ve ever targeted a keyword or a post or a picture. I know I should, but I just don’t have time right now. I supposed I’ve “targeted people” instead of keywords.

      I do think niches are important though, whether you’re focusing on seo or readers. People shop at the Dollar store because it’s a dollar. People shop at Walmart because they have almost everything under one roof. People shop at the sports store because they need sports stuff.

      Readers want to know what to expect from your blog and they are more likely to engage if the problem you solve for them is clear.

      Great question! (and, clearly, I need to learn more about seo. I’m sure it would be helpful for this new blog.)

      • Thanks Kat! I’m struggling to find what niche I provide (other than the voice and perspective I bring to my pieces, etc.) As far as SEO is conerned it’s actually good for me to know that you don’t SEO! It seems like lots of your traffic is coming from referrals and word of mouth, which is a wonderfully organic way to find readers. Certainly my method at the moment, but good to see that it actually works!

        Thanks for taking time to answer!

  12. Hi Kat. My question for you is. If you could go back in time and start blogging all over again, what would you do differently

    • I hate to be boring, but I honestly wouldn’t change anything. I’ve learned so much from every failure and success.

      But to be more helpful, I’d say I would have focused on my email list sooner. That is something I’m just now doing. It’s the best way to stay in touch with people instead of just writing content and hoping people stop by the blog.

      Perhaps I would have also monetized sooner. Now, I didn’t monetize until I released The Blog Planning Kit (2 blog, 3 years and 20,000+ readers into my blogging) so I might be an extreme case. I just wanted to be as helpful as possible, so I gave everything away.

      However, I’ve learned that people are much, much, much more likely to take action on something they’ve paid for. And I’ve learned I can create more resources of higher quality when I have an income to offset the cost of designers and such.

      Essentially, I’ve learned that I can serve people better by charging a small amount so that I have more resources and my energy is focused on people truly willing to do what it takes to learn and grow.

      • What do you mean by your email list? Are you referring to just an email feed where your blog posts reach inboxes? Or something entirely different than your blog posts… like a separate email newsletter?

        Also, I appreciate your perspective on monetizing. I’ve wondered about that too. The whole purpose for my blog is to help people (if I happen to make some money great… if not, no problem), but I wondered if people would view advice as more weighty or more of an “authority on the subject” if you charge a little. And if the quality would be (and be viewed as) higher if there was a small charge.

        • Brenners,
          By email list, I mean either encouraging people to sign up for the blog post via email or for a newsletter. I’m not all that great at consistently writing newsletters yet, so for now I’m just encouraging people to sign up for the blog via email.

          I used to encourage people to subscriber to my rss feed, but email is a MUCH more personal way of connecting. On InspiredToAction I have an autoresponder set up so that when people subscribe to the blog to download my Maximize Your Mornings ebook, they automatically receive a series of emails a few days apart that follow up with them on what they learned in the book and whether they have any questions.

          I’ve had so many wonderful conversations with readers start because of that autoresponder series. Like I said, it’s just so much more personal than RSS.

          The other benefit, is that I can technically contact them at my convenience. So if I’m launching a resource that I think might help them, I can send everyone on the entire list a quick, simple, helpful email with some sort of deal for subscribers only and it generates a much better response than if I just posted it on the blog or social media and hope that people see it.

          About the monetizing thing. I think it can go either way. I didn’t monetize anything until the Blog Planning Kit and I’ve been blessed with opportunities to speak at conferences and such. I think it helps to have some sort of ebook, whether it’s free or not, so people can say, “Author of…” to lend a bit more credibility.

          Ironically, I think the place where charging REALLY helps is with the person who buys it. When they have to go through the process of deciding to buy it and parting with their money (no matter how little) it greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll truly take ACTION on the resource, instead of it just sitting in a download folder because it was free.

          Charging, also allows me to hire professionals to make resources better and more useful.

          Great questions!

  13. Deanna, I like your blog name. I was writing on my blog for a year and stopped because I started making more changes than putting out great content. I was focused on making my blog look pretty and adding all the bells and whistles. In the end, I wasted a lot of time. I find that people will follow you because they like your content and you have made an effort to follow them and comment on their blog. It’s been helpful for me to stop blogging for awhile and reflect on how I could do it differently without needing it to be perfect the first time around. Hope that helps.

    • Lisa, Sounds like a great lesson. I like blogs that have a simple look….nice and clean…kinda like this one. 😉 The blog planning kit sounds like something that will help us both to reflect and focus on our blogging goals.

    • Thank you for you words and advice – it does help! I will try to to worry about the bells and whistles – those can come in time and instead put my time into writing and building relationship!

  14. I have so many questions… but, I’ll limit it to one. I’m not new to blogging (I’ve been blogging on and off for several years now). However, most of these blogs (I think I have about seven or eight in all)… have been private / haven’t had a large following by any means (yay for friends and family! 🙂

    At any rate, my question is this: how do you know what to center your blog around? To clarify, do I center my blog around a whole bunch of different topics or try and keep the content based around a niche topic (ie: running, etc)? I’m so sorry if this question has been addressed elsewhere… I guess I’m just wondering if I should narrow my blog’s niche or keep it wide open… and if I am to narrow the scope of my blog’s content, how do I decide?

    • Katie,
      That’s an excellent question. I’d say it depends on your blogging goals. If your blogging as a personal outlet, then write about whatever you enjoy. You’ll soon connect with like minded people.

      If you are blogging to share wisdom and help others, you’ll do that best by clearly defining how you are going to help them – i.e. specify a niche.

      If you do choose a niche, examine your own life and experiences. What do you have to offer? How can you help? What can you share and enjoy sharing about?

      Also, don’t pigeon hole yourself too quickly. Leave your blog open a bit so that you can adjust as you learn more about what you like to write about and what your reader like to learn about.

  15. Question: How do you learn to write faster… or maybe the question is, how do you learn to speed up the process of idea> words+edited image+links> posting> linking on FB, etc? When my blog went public, I was two weeks ahead on posts… All scheduled out like a good blog writer. Now I’m in panic mode… blogging day of. I feel like I never have the option to not write. But it takes me so long to do a complete post from start to finish. Is there something I’m missing? How do you keep up?

    • I think it’s seasonal. Right now I’m about 2 months out with writing 2-3 posts a week (I still have to add pictures to some), but in Februrary through April I was writing the day of and blogging only once maybe twice a week because my litttles kept getting sick and I didn’t yet know where I was going. I’ve learned (through this blog and others) how to capture the ideas and just start writing ahead. But I’ve also learned the value of taking a break. Sure, my readers are going to loose interest if I spend two weeks on writing content ahead for the next month or two (again 2-3 posts a week, not everyday), but I write because I love it. Because I learn from it. Because it’s a calling. I’d rather take the time I need to grow and shape a post than post everyday or even every week. This is Holy Work… and the Spirit needs time to move and grow our words.

    • Brenners, I’m not sure if this will help, because it’s something I need to work on too, but Kat has mentioned “Power Hour,” which has helped me to focus more…basically focusing on the task at hand for an uninterrupted hour. This can be hard and might take effort if you have little ones running around. I know I tend to start writing and then open a tab to look for this and that, and before I realize it, I have 10 tabs open. When I am able to get a Power Hour in (which I need to make sure to schedule more consistently), writing first and then adding in the extras has helped me a lot. I wish was a better photographer, because it seems like it would be easier to take photo of what I’m looking for for a post rather than searching online…kinda like what Kat has for this post above with the pic of her girls.

    • Brenners,
      Honestly, Joyce makes a great point. I write a lot faster when I’m focused and I force myself to a time limit. I have a separate account on my Mac that only has access to writing apps. No email, no social media etc.

      When I need to get something done, I log into that account. I’ve found that, for me, it has less to do with writing faster and more to do with being distracted less.

      I also write faster by writing less. All my posts are pretty short and to the point. That allows me to get the idea across quickly (which is the hard part) and then spend the bulk of my time editing it to my liking.

      Quiet Graces Photography makes a good point as well, that it’s important to allow ourselves some grace depending on the season. Right now on my other blog ITA, which has 99% of my readership, I’m taking a 22 day break before school starts. I can’t blog about being a mom if I’m not taking the time to…be a mom. 🙂 So those breaks allow us to blog authentically and ultimately draw more readers.

  16. Here’s my question. Where is the line between plugging your post & being just flat out annoying. LOL! I feel like I can’t find a happy medium.

    • Tiffany, great question!

    • Tiffany,
      I think the line is, “Am I promoting it to help others or to promote myself?” Meaning, if I’m promoting it because I think I’ve written something that will really, truly help a mom who is tired and discouraged or a blogger who feels like they aren’t qualified, then I’ll promote it unashamedly as long as my main motivation is for the benefit of others and not myself.

      I’ve written some posts that I kind of wrote just to fill a blogging schedule and chose not to promote them at all because I didn’t my motivation was right or that it would truly be worth their time. I’m learning now, that on those days, I probably just don’t need to post what I wrote. Still learning…

      The other thing is that there really is no happy medium. It’s more a land of uncomfortable choices. 🙂

  17. Love that your girls are writing a blog and an ebook. Let her know I’ll be on her launch team. :p My older one wants to write too. Maybe we’ll go through the blog planning kit together. 😉

  18. Hi Kat! Loving the new blog, I’ve learned so much already!
    I have a few questions:
    1- When you take a quote in your blog and put next to it, “Tweet this”, how do you link that quote to Twitter?
    2- Are the add-ons in many of the photo apps worth it? They show amazing examples, but none of the features in the basic versions seem to achieve the same stellar results.
    3- Do you prefer Hoot Suite or Buffer? My main publishing spots are Facebook, Twitter, my blog, Instagram and Pinterest.

    • Amy,
      1. I use a site called ClicktoTweet.com.
      2. I use PicMonkey – the free version – and it works fine for me!
      3. Honestly, I use both. Hootsuite for long term planning and Buffer for short term. I’m not particularly great at Social Media consistency, but I’m working on it.

  19. So man questions….How do you come with topics? Do you plan them out or just wing it? Somehow, I don’t think you wing it. Though I seem to be in a winging phase right now 🙂 Right now I have a free blog through wordpress using whatever templates they have as my background. At what point should I look into purchasing the domain name and my own site? I am also starting to write a book – useful tips for caregivers inspired by a couple of experiences I have had with family members illnesses. I’m not sure how to juggle both by making progress on both. I did buy your blogging kit. I guess I need to make time to focus on each. Where is a good place to find out about legitimate blogging conferences? I love the idea of networking with other bloggers, but not sure where to start looking for such things. Right now I use our desktop and my nexus 7 tablet for notes and such. I have been thinking of getting a laptop to use for my writing and digital scrapbooking. Any recommendations? Lots of questions, but you offered. Thanks so much for all the guidance and inspiration.

    • Kristine,
      One way I come up with topics is to simply take a popular post and brainstorm related ideas. Another way is to just take topics from real life. You can also get great ideas from reading other blogs or asking your readers or friends questions about what sort of answers they are looking for pertaining to your topic.

      Personally, if you’re already set up on WordPress.com, I don’t think you need to worry about your own domain, design and hosting until it’s actually a barrier to your growth. Stick with what is working is my motto. 🙂

      Yes, I think just making time for both is the way to go. When there is a big project I’m working on, I try to blog ahead so that I can then have an entire week or two to simply focus on that one project. Multitasking is a writers worst enemy.

      Declare, Allume, Infuence, Blissdom – those are all great blog conferences. Another way to find them, is to find out where your favorite bloggers are speaking and attend those events.

      I’m a Mac girl, so I love my Macbook Air!

  20. Thanks so much for opening this up!

    My question: How often do you read other blogs and share? I have found that I’m working so much on my own that it’s hard to focus on others. I love encouraging women and reading their stories. Should I take time each day to read, put a limit on it, or just do it when I have time? I don’t want to just promote my own blog and with just starting out there are plenty of things on my to-do list! Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    • Sarah,
      That’s definitely a challenge. I use Feedly to keep up with other blogs and I also will often click over when someone tweets a link. I’m not strict about reading other blogs, it’s mostly when I have time. Some seasons allow for more reading than others. I do try to make it a habit though. I think we can learn so much from others it would be detrimental to focus only on our own writing for too long.

      Also, connecting with other bloggers is one of the best things we can do for our blog, so it’s quite worthwhile to read and comment on other’s writing.

  21. Reading through the comments and replies has been such a help! Thanks Kat for taking the time to answer most of these questions. Many of the questions I had were posted by others. I would ask, 1. How do you extend your reach without overly self-promoting?
    2. With a small budget, what one thing would you invest money in to give your site a more professional look? Thanks!

    • Lindsay,
      1. I would just say, help others. Help them on Twitter, help on their blogs, help on Facebook, help anywhere you can. Answer people’s questions, offer suggestions, encourage and cheer others on. Helping (as long as it is genuine) has the wonderful byproduct of attracting people to you.

      Guest post, comment, join link ups and connect via social media – these are most effective when you have something on your blog that will truly help those who visit. I think a main reason my blog InspiredToAction grew quickly was because I wrote and gave away Maximize Your Mornings. It helped a particular challenge that moms had. I could point people to it and feel as though I was helping them rather than promoting myself.

      2. I’d recommend a super simple and clean site with a bold header. I use the prose theme on the genesis framework which gives the site a clean look, then I just hired a designer to create the logo and I used it as my header. As long as your design is not distracting, and looks clean and simple, I don’t think the actual look of the site makes a huge difference. As they say, “Content is King.”

  22. May be late to respond to this but….just in case you see this….here’s my question:
    I’ve been blogging for 8 months now…like seriously , committed, posting 3 times a week etc. I started the blog as an infertility survivor who hoped to inspire and encourage other women who may be on the same path. I still want to do that but I’ve found I have a bit to say about a lot of things. I have written about marriage/relationships, race , motherhood milestones with my kids and I want to include a bit of our homeschool journey. How do I incorporate more of those things while remaining true to the followers who joined me to talk infertility?

  23. Do you separate your “real life” online life from your blogging online life? And how do you do it? Specifically, I am thinking of FB. I want to interact with the blogging community that I am starting to develop and yet, struggle with doing it as ME, rather than me @ my blog name.
    Maybe it’s more of how do you interact with the emotions that surface when your online life and real life intersect? For me, they are fairly separate now, but as my online blogging life grows, they are starting to join more and more and I am finding a lot of fear and uncertainty surfacing with the idea that my real life peoples will discover this other aspect of me.

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