I’m on a much needed vacation, so this week’s posts will be rather random, and somewhat recycled! In fact, this post was originally published June 29, 2016, under the title “Why Authors should blog, take 3, the Vegan.”
One of the things I love most about writing is this blog, and it was a lifesaver to me over the last few months. I have made so many friends though this little place on the internet. Blogging offers me the opportunity to riff for several hundred words on any subject I’m interested in, without interruption. Of course, I’m usually only interested in writing-craft, but this is where I come to discuss it.
Nothing improves your writing chops more than writing every day. Deadlines can be daunting but say what you will about not being able to write under pressure—I think that is when I do my best work.
However, today I don’t feel like writing. I want to discuss food! As many know, I am vegan, but my descent into veganism was (sadly) not motivated by any high moral prohibition against animal cruelty. There is a certain amount of that, but it was always there in the way I purchased food for my family. During the 1980s, much of our meat we raised ourselves, cage free, free range chickens, and sheep raised in traditional farming methods.
However, I have developed an auto-immune variety of arthritis that is triggered by meat and dairy–all forms of it. Whenever I go off my diet (and cheese is the big draw) I pay the price. So, I stay on my vegan diet and I feel good.
I have discovered a wonderful resource for amazing, healthy, vegan food: the internet.
I know! It’s not just for Facebook and online gaming.
There is information out there, and it’s all in blogs. One of the best sites for me is called The Minimalist Baker.
Oh my gosh! That website, and the recipes Dana and John have put together are just amazing. I use more of their recipes as the basis of my own cooking than from any other website or book.
Changing your diet is difficult, because you must change your habits. Sometimes you have to change the flavors you love, and learn to like new ones.
And if you are just starting out and can’t afford to buy cookbooks, the internet offers an incredible wealth of free information, and much of it in the form of blogs by people like me.
I love to eat as much as I love to read, and I could easily talk for hours on either subject. But my point is this—if you are passionate about a particular subject, a blog is a great place to talk about it. It brings together people with similar interests, and for a writer, blogging is crucial, as it gets your name out there. Blogging shows people you can write well, and blogging regularly forces you to be creative.
If you want to know more about getting your own blog up and running, see my post of December 14, 2015, Blogging is Writing Too. That post talks about how to use the default system here at WordPress.
- Keep it down to about 1000 words more or less.
- Use the spellchecker tool to look for obvious errors.
- Write in draft form and don’t publish it right away–come back and read it over again, and make corrections.
- If you use information found elsewhere, quote it and credit the author
- Use images that are either public domain, or that you have the right to use
- Put links to other informative sites in the text
Rule number one: be consistent. I began by blogging once a week on a now defunct site—but my actual posts were more often made only once or twice a month. I dreaded it and didn’t want to do it. My blog stats were in the tank because I wasn’t applying myself to it.
It’s a commitment, and authors are procrastinators, but we can write to deadlines when we must, and it’s good for us. Now I am writing three posts a week on this blog, and at least one post a week for each of several other venues. I spend Sundays putting my blog posts together, which I couldn’t do if I was still raising children, but you only need to blog once a week to keep your content fresh. Writing this post took me about 45 minutes, so that is a small commitment of time.
Writing is a lonely craft, and at times, we deliberately choose to isolate ourselves for several hours a day. But just like a healthy diet and a walk in the fresh air, a change of writing scenery is good for you. This is why I blog–it keeps me connected to other writers.