April Theme for I Am a Zed Blogger Challenge is: “What is in your essentials toolkit on surviving and staying relevant in our small but growing blogging community?”
Well I’m new to the blogging scene so my toolkit is gonna be a small bag. But just because it’s small doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a lot of tools. Remember Sport Billy? The kid whose bag carried everything that was super small but when introduced to oxygen it would grow. Okay it wasn’t really an introduction to oxygen. I don’t know what I was watching.
Anyway, let’s get down to it. So as you do know I am a poetry and short story blogger. Hoping you’ve read my work before. Toes crossed. So since I started blogging I’ve been been asked the same questions over and over again which I hope to answer today. Some of the questions I get asked are.
- How I find the stories to write? Through life experiences (not mine) and random bathroom scenarios that play in my head. Don’t judge. I see a lot of things around me which inspire me to create a story about it.
- What time I have to write each story? Well I find time. When I’m home. Morning or evening. Find time. That’s what it’s about. Finding time.
- What motivates me? Hmmmm.. My love of writing is something I want others to see. I put my passion in my words – I hope you feel the passion too – so that people get to feel what I felt when I thought of the story. Knowing that someone out there can read the story and be touched from it is inspiring.
So earlier I mentioned passion. And that’s who I am. A passionate person. Everything I put my heart and mind to I must have passion to accomplish it. So I use that to write the stories I do while hoping I survive in the Blogging Jungle.
Basically how does one stay relevant in the community of bloggers not just in Zambia but in Africa? We all have a section where we tend to monopolise to the fullest be it poetry, stories, photography, politics etc but what makes you relevant and interesting. What makes your words worth reading? What do I have in my Sport Billy bag that helps me be remembered by my awesome readers.
I have a lot of words on my mind. I am a walking story teller ticking time bomb. So I need apps on the go for me to survive in the blogging environment. So let’s look at the apps that are in my Sport Billy bag.
Tadaaaaaa dum dum…..
WordPress: I have tried Tumblr, Blogspot and Medium but I found out WordPress suits my needs perfectly. The themes are also amazing. I had an idea of what my blog would look like and I got that done on wordpress. It took me over a week to develop my look. And when I was done I was proud of myself. Plus through WordPress I’ve gotten to find awesome bloggers out there and been inspired too. And the comment section is pure perfection. I have gotten to know my readers through it. WordPress is definitely mwahhhh.
Evernote: Without this app I would a walking mess of paper. Save the trees. This app helps me write on the go. Idea hits I write there and then. Why I love Evernote is because as an app it syncs across many of my gadgets whether it be my laptop or phone. Everything is updated so that I never lose my work ever.
Pinterest: You notice I use all those beautiful pictures on my blog neh. Pinterest is the cause. I have so many pictures to search through but of course using the search engine I find what I am looking for so that the story goes with the image in mind. I’m a visual writer.
Enlight: This is one of the best photography editing apps I have ever come across. Editing comes easy. I can recreate almost anything with this app. I know others have their own but for me Enlight has proven to be worth the pay.
S-Planner: I have reminders to tell me when I am late in handing in a post every week. With the busy schedule I have believe me when I say the reminder is a good thing.
However, even with all those apps, staying relevant is the hardest thing. Making sure your readers actually click on the story and read the whole story, no matter how long is hard. Why should they? What makes your work great? Why take their time? How epic is it? So the question that comes to mind is how do you make them smile or laugh or think?
Content: Two conflicting views exist here. Either you post what you love or you post what people what to read. I believe posting what you love matters. Do you. Be you. And some people will love it and look out for more no matter what. The way you write is sort of a reflection of who you are. So I choose to blog about things that affect me and most people. That’s me. What do you blog about?
Follow other Blogs: To be noticed means noticing others too. Don’t be selfish. Follow other blogs. Read what you see. Word for word. Comment if possible. Communication is key. It shows you took the time to read the story and people don’t forget – I’m assuming you are all good people. They will do the same for you. You share. They share. You both grow.
Consistency: One piece per…….. day? Week? Month? Year? Up to you. I try one post per week. Consistency matters and it’s the hardest thing ever especially when life takes over. But always keep a reminder to keep you on track. My calender helps. I have all my stories listed with posting dates. How do you do it?
Networking: I tend to share my work on Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook because that’s where I have the most diverse of followers. And I’ve actually gotten know some of my followers. Awesomeness. Always remember your piece shouldn’t remain on wordpress unread. It should be shared and re-shared. You never know your story might touch someone’s heart. So do remember to let the world read your work. And it’s through networking I find new stories. All the time. So get networking. Make new friends and write away.
So that’s my toolkit. Small neh. But I hope with time it grows. Maybe into a suitcase. I also hope I get to write more stories with a twist. Yes the weird twists I love so much.
Tell me about your toolkit in the comment section.
Looking forward to chatting with you.
That’s all folks.
From a Zed Blogger.