The Seed

It’s not always easy to endure, but may today be different. May the seeds of goodness root themselves in your souls. For without seeds the earth is barren land. Do not worry then if things do not start out as tree stumps, for even it started first as a seed. From there the seed grows roots and they lock and load themselves into position, like protest hands before the face of Civil Disobedience, we shall not be moved. Roots are the key, for once the roots have super glued themselves in good soil a seed gives birth and a tiny plant eventually breaks through. When this happens, we say that a seed has sprouted. And so, today, may your seed sprout. May it become one with the soil in which you’ve planted it, and may it root itself. Understand that it must first start off as a seed. Tiny. Unnoticeable. Fragile. Weak. With my fingers, I can crush a seed. Do not worry then if things shake up a bit. If you trial. If you struggle. If you go unnoticed. If you feel at first small, insignificant, and delicate, for once the tree was. And now, see how it towers above us.

Shortlinks and Pingbacks

Sometimes you’ll have a post you would like to share on a social platform as limited as Twitter where only 140 characters are allowed. Or, you may want to give a link to someone of your blog post but…it hasn’t exactly gone live yet. You can do both by way of using short links.

A short link is a way of providing a link to a post that is shorter than the permalink. Also, like I said, you can use it to send people the link to a post that has not gone live yet. (They won’t see anything until it is live). It is how I give direct links to authors of the Introduce Yourself Interviews on this blog. They can use it to go directly to their post (in case they don’t see it show up in their email or reader or if they are not already following this blog).

To access your shortlink:

After drafting your post be sure you are in the old editor.

Note: It’s easier in the old editor. I have found that if you click on the link icon next to the post headline in the new editor you can copy the link. As seen here:

 

However, it is not a short link. If anyone knows how to get the shortlink while in the new editor, it is appreciated!

So, in the old editor…

Under your headline you will see the permalink to your post or the permanent link to that post.

Right next to it you’ll see Edit….

(…..where you can edit the permalink. This is useful when you change the title to your post which I’ve done sometimes. I noticed changing the headline does not change the permalink. For the permalink to match, you’ll have to edit it. I caution that this should probably not be done if the post has already been shared. For example: I recently published a post to this blog called: “4 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow.” I publish my post midnight my time because I know that while I am sleeping, many of you on the other side of the world is up. That said, by the time I woke up the post was already being reblogged. The problem is that I had five bullet points, not four! I changed the headline to 5 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow. BUT I DIDN’T CHANGE THE PERMALINK. (If you notice, the link still says 4) This is because I don’t want to mess up the reblogs I already got. It would be a shame for someone to go to that link and that 404 message shows up. I am not sure if it will but I would not risk it. If the post has already gone live and you need to change the headline, leave the permalink be just in case).

….I digress (as usual, dang)

Next to edit is Get Shortlink. Click on that and copy and paste your shortlink. It is a shorter link to your post instead of the long permalink.

Note: If there is nothing written in the post, you will not see the shortlink button.

Pingbacks

When someone links to your blog or a post on your blog within their post, you get a comment in your comments section of that link back. That’s a pingback.  It means someone is literally, piggy backing off your post. This gives people a chance to share your post without re-blogging with credit back to the original owner. Google defines it:

  1. an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created.

Sometimes I pingback to my own post. Whenever I place a link to a previous post within my own blog post  it creates a pingback link in the comments section of whatever post I am linking back to. My Introduce yourself feature is the perfect example. Go to the comments section and scroll down. Because I link to the original post from every guest post, you will see them in the comments section.

Screenshot (663)

The first one is my pingback and the others are from others. Either way, they are all in the comments section of the original post. You can click on those links to go to the that post and since people can be notified of new comments (if they check “notify me of new comments” when making one), they can be notified every time a new Introduce Yourself interview is posted because it will link-back like a comment. No Writers Wednesday is the same way. Every time I say to “Click here to learn more about this segment” with a link to that original post, I am creating a new pingback in the comments section of that post. Although this was done by accident (and is always weird since I get a comment from myself) it has turned out to be a good thing. Link juice at its finest.

Pingbacks are also an alternative to re-blogging. While I’d rather reblog, ping-backs can be used to share posts as well.

Google Launches ‘Lynching In America’ Project Exploring Country’s Violent Racial History

“The history of lynching and racial terror in America is the focus of an ambitious new project launched Tuesday by Google, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative.

 

Google has helped create a new interactive site titled “Lynching in America,” which is based on an 80-page publication by the EJI. Its research has been adapted into a powerful visual narrative about the horror and brutality that generations of black Americans have faced.

 

The site consists of audio stories from the descendants of lynching victims, and a documentary short called “Uprooted,” which chronicles the impact of lynching on black families. The project also includes an interactive map that details locations of racial terror lynchings, complete with profiles of the victims and the stories behind their deaths.”

SOURCE: CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING: Google Launches ‘Lynching In America’ Project Exploring Country’s Violent Racial History

And Now for Some BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion

Grab your copy of The House on Candlewick Lane, by Amy Reade for 99cents! I had the honor of reading and reviewing this book myself and I don’t promote anything I don’t like! *Comments disabled here. Please refer to the original post*

Reade and Write

My latest release, The House on Candlewick Lane, is on sale for 99¢ and I’m trying to spread the word far and wide. If you’ve read the book, thank you very much. If you’ve read the book and left a review, you are awesome.

And if you haven’t read the book, this is your chance!!

Here’s a quick summary of the novel:

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up…

View original post 112 more words

Jezebel

She is manipulation like time told backwards

Even the strongest think they’ve escaped her

But she tap dances on their lips

And she impales their language

With their slave master’s mentality

She is Judas

Sticking her hands in the cup of your salvation

She’ll take you

From light

to darkness

From the daylight

to those days of Eve

Tear scriptures from your mouth

like ripped pages

take laws and commandments

and break valleys of dry bones

like abortions

She will tear apart

Decipher

and Willie Lynch your good news

Before you read it

She is death

like the sting of the grave

but silly women are captivated by her

Too desperate for her friendship

to see that she’ll change her name to Peter

before they deny her

And she invests millions in their pain

Create nests in her wounds

Like wasps in the crevices of houses

And her stinger is always ready

To throw lukewarm water on your faith

That Proverbs 31 woman she erases from her memory

Like cancer cells

Begging its maker for freedom

She is death

To their lungs like tonsils

Scratching at the captivity of their throats

And she gives poison to sell

So run along now

And give my warning to the silly women

Loaded down with various sins

Tell them

that she sets no bail

and for the record

her name

is Jezebel

 

Dear New WordPress Bloggers: Get in Position

Note: This can apply to any new blogger but since I use WordPress, I am specifying WordPress bloggers.

New bloggers have approached me for my secret to blogging. I don’t have one. There is no secret to blogging. At least not one that I know of.

Let me start by saying that I never consider the information I give advice. What happens is that the information, (proving helpful to bloggers) is referred to as advice simply because of those who find it useful and valuable and for this I am thankful. As for me, I am just sharing what has worked or is working, my experiences and recommendations but nothing is set in stone.

That said, there’s no step A and step B to how to build up a blog.  I receive decent traffic and new subscribers are coming in daily but understand that this has taken me three years to build. I started out with no likes or comments just like you. I started with little to no traffic just like you. I am no one special.

Recently, many of you have emailed me asking questions based on my blog posts. I find this humbling and I hope this post is helpful to you.

Positioning

If you are wanting to be a successful blogger, writer, business person or anything in life, then you must put yourself in a position to be successful. We know that success is a definition that can mean different things to different people but in context, I assume we all want:

Increased Blog Traffic, Increased Views, Increased Subscribers

Basically, we all want someone to read our work and to care. That is where being in position comes in.

My husband loves gardening. He’s a green thumb. You may assume I am because I’m a woman and you would be wrong. In fact, I am not very “girly” in that sense. I don’t care for pink, I don’t wish to spend three hours shopping and I’m not into gardening. At least not like that. Moshe (hubby) on the other hand, loves to plant. I love it that he does too because we have fresh tomatoes and herbs that I love cooking with. Anyway, he set up a garden on our enclosed back porch. I’m telling you, the man can grow anything (he can even start from a plastic cup). Because of how our back porch is made, he sets pots out to catch the rain water. Rain water as we’ve come to understand, makes plants grow as if they are on steroids. It could be because rain water is clean. That is, water free from chemical additives, such as chlorine or salt. We’ve been getting lots of rain. Here’s our tomato plant:

Tomato Plant after the rain.

It’s almost too big for the small space. This would not have happened if we had not put the buckets in position to catch the fresh water (which is when it grew like crazy).

Being in position is all about being prepared for whatever comes. Having the cup on the table when the water comes, your hands open and stretched out when the football arrives. It’s about being ready to receive what it is that you want.

If you’re not ready to receive then you will not have what it takes to hold onto what you do get or to expand into something greater. Positioning ourselves for success is a challenge because it requires discipline and time. You can be in position for a long time before you see results.

Examples of Positioning

If you are getting traffic to your blog but there’s no follow button, then people will not subscribe to your blog. You cannot receive new subscribers because you are not prepared to receive them. In this instance, it has nothing to do with your writing abilities. It is not about posting as much as you can or speaking as intelligently as you can. This is why blogging is not just writing. Writing is one thing but all of these other elements is blogging. In this instance, you are not increasing your numbers because you are not in a position to increase them. You do not have the one thing that can guarantee followers: a follow button.

When you go into your WP dashboard and add tags to your post, these are not to make it look pretty but they actually serve a purpose. Tags act as keywords that help increase traffic and engagement to your blog. By ignoring adding tags and categories to your post, you are leaving traffic on the table (or if your blog is monetized, money but since my blog is not monetized, I will leave that for someone else to discuss). Having a tagging system is another reason why blogging is not just writing. Writing is writing but to blog successfully there are other things that must be done. These “other things” are things like tags and categories.

If your tagging sucks like mine did in the beginning then you can be losing out on views but don’t go overboard. Personally, twenty and thirty tags to a post are not necessary.

A better system is to remember that tags are like keywords that readers would potentially search for. Think about fifteen that you want to use on your post, with a category acting as a tag so fourteen tags, one category. Of these 15 some of them should be tags that are overly used. Words like Blog, Blogger, WordPress, Writing, and Poetry. These tags are used a lot and can be helpful in people finding your blog.

I will tell you now, I am no SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert at all but I do not believe you have to be. I have read that Tags don’t impact the SEO (meaning its more so keywords used within the post itself), but based on my own search experience I can tell you that it does help improve SEO  when you have multiple articles with relevant content linked by the same tag. For example:

Say you just wrote an amazing piece on “The Best Cheeseburgers Ever.” When someone opens Google and types “Recipes for Ground Beef”, (as I often do that’s why I am using this as an example lol) in this example recipes and ground beef are tags you may have included in your post about “The Best Cheeseburgers Ever”. Searching using these words, I just may find your article if you post a lot about recipes which leads me to your blog and, if I like what I see, I will follow your blog (if there’s a way for me to do so).

Another example is if I’m a reader who wants to scroll through your blog. If you have a search bar, you just made this easy for me. Using the search bar on your blog, I can type in words and the post containing those words will come up. I can easily access that post, read it and possibly share it with others. Just by adding a search bar, you’ve just gotten yourself in position for more views.

A real life example: I wrote a blog post two years ago on voting. Because this past Presidential Election was so different, that post got thousands of Facebook shares and counting. It took two years but the post was in position for the traffic it received (although I couldn’t foresee it). This is why I said it can take a long time to see results but being ready is always worth it.

Mostly, categories and tags allow visitors to easily browse related posts with the primary purpose of augmenting the user experience.

As you can see, content (your writing) is just part of how this works. It wasn’t just your writing alone that led me to your blog but a combination of things.

What I want you to see here is that because you were ready for me, I was capable of following your blog with no problem. You were in a position to receive me.

This same thing can be said of about pages and even the WordPress theme you choose. If your text is hard to read (too bright, too small, too fancy) people won’t want to read what you have to say. Why? Because you have not prepared them.

It is said that we have attention spans of goldfish. One vibration, text, or email alert and our internet addictions lead us elsewhere. In nothing short of seconds someone can forget all about you. For this reason, blogging is more than pushing the publishing button, you also have to be ready to receive the traffic you seek.

If you are a new blogger struggling to receive the kind of traffic you want or are having difficulty navigating the blog in general, I want to help you get into position. If you would like me to take a look at your blog and offer feedback, I have set up a separate mailing list specifically for blogging.

SIGN-UP HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GETTING IN POSITION TO WIN

In the meantime, I have added the links to some of my most helpful blog articles on blogging for those of you new to this blog. I have determined their value based on the feedback they have received so that I know these links are helpful to you. This goes back a couple years so excuse any information that is outdated. I have not gone through them to edit.


Don’t forget to Thunderclap! I am twenty people away (at the time of this writing) from my goal. It’s free and SUPER easy to participate- click THIS LINK and then click “support with Facebook” or “support with Twitter” or “support with Tumblr” or all three if you are feeling obliged. Thanks so much in advance!

Wise Ink: At First Draft: The 6 (Minimum) Steps to Revising Your Manuscript before Submission

 

Image Credit: Ten Tremendous Tips for Editing

Wondering how many revisions you should make before submitting to the professionals? Technically, as many as you want but I found this article most helpful. I love how they break it down into steps so it’s not overly complicated. I also like the idea of self-editing / revising twice then submitting the third draft to betas, and then revising once more after that. I also love the rules for Betas. Check out the post at the link below!

(BTW, it’s not a good idea to publish a 1st draft. A first draft is after you’ve finished writing the story for the first time and it has not been revised or self-edited before being submitted to an editor.)

At First Draft: The 6 (Minimum) Steps to Revising Your Manuscript before Submission