5 Ways Blog Reader Surveys Help Increase Your Blogging Audience

Frontier Fiesta, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Frontier Fiesta, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador


Do you wonder if anyone is reading your blog?


The comment area looks so lonesome, the analytics don’t change a lot. You’re writing good content. At least you think so.

So what’s the problem?

Maybe you need to do a blog survey and find out. Read More

9 Questions Before You Become A Blogging Statistic

'Blog', courtesy of cortege9, Wikimedia Commons

‘Blog’, courtesy of cortege9, Wikimedia Commons

Are you tired of blogging?

I am.

I know that’s sacrilege to admit on your own blog. The stress of moving, illness, and the fact I haven’t posted consistently has me questioning my commitment to blogging.

Am I really getting a return on investment of the time I put into blogging?

Shouldn’t I be focusing on ‘real’ writing?

My blogging journey started almost three years ago. I researched for three months before taking the plunge, thinking about my goals for my blog. I didn’t want to start something new and shiny, to later run out of steam. (I have a tendency to do that.)

I liked sharing and meeting new people. Researching and writing about creativity, blogging, and social media fascinated me. And I loved sharing my write anywhere adventures.

But lately blogging has felt like a burden, a deadline that looms over me and highlights my penchant for procrastination. I’m considering taking a break, or a complete reboot. Should I start over? Will anyone care?

Read More

1920s Corona Typewriter Keys, photo by kristin nador, kristin nador writes anywhere blog

Taking NaNoWriMo Into The Rest Of Your Writing Year

I did it.

I lost. I lost NaNoWriMo.

I’ve had a few weeks since the challenge of writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month ended on November 30th to think about it, and for my first NaNo experience I’m very happy to be a loser.

Yes, you read that right. Why would you be happy about not reaching your goal, you say?

My goal was to write 50,000 words and be a NaNoWriMo winner. I didn’t make it. But here’s what I did do:

  1. I’ve proven that I can write many more words on a daily basis than I thought I could. Before NaNo, 500 words at a sitting was a lot for me, at least psychologically. I’ve stretched my writing muscles and found that they are getting more limber and strong by the day. 1500 words at a sitting is easy for me now, and I will challenge myself to stretch farther. Word count is just a number, and can only stop me if I let it.
  2. I realized having an outline made all the difference for me to stay on task and finish. Yes, I finished! I didn’t make 50,000, but my 33,000 words plus what I had already written before NaNo, and two chapters written after let me finish the first draft of my novella. But I wouldn’t have known where the story was going and when I reached the end without a good outline. I’ve faced the fact I’m just not one of those creative pantsers, I get too easily distracted. But that’s okay. Outlines work for me, help me stay on task as well as discover new ideas along the way. I will continue to work with them in future stories.
  3. I linked arms with friends with the same goals and that went a long way in keeping me accountable and motivated. I made several new writing friends during NaNoWriMo through the NaNo hashtags on Twitter and the NaNo website. It was fun to encourage one another, share frustrations, and challenge each other to word sprints. I realize I can’t always have my writing peeps there to pull me through every rough writing patch, but it affirmed the importance of having friends who can relate to the ups and downs of the writing journey.

How can I take my new-found revelations into 2014 and make NaNoWriMo work for me beyond November? Here’s my plan:

  • Treat my writing like an exercise program. Write daily and write with a word count goal in mind. If I can’t write for a day, get back to it the next day. Can’t stay ‘in shape’ if you don’t work out.
  • Take the time to outline my story ideas. I don’t always have to follow the outline step by step, but it will keep me on track during those times when I’m feeling less than creative.
  • Make a concerted effort to connect with like-minded writers on a regular basis, both in person and in social media. It’s too easy for me (and my natural preference) to hide away in my introvert cocoon, keeping to myself. I won’t be sharing all the gory details of my latest projects (I think that can be dangerous to your project’s integrity, just my personal opinion) but I can connect with others to encourage and be encouraged. I always find inspiration to buckle down and keep going after commiserating with fellow writers.
  • Plan several writing mini-marathons throughout the year. Planning an entire day for nothing but writing, with a word count goal in mind, will help keep the marathon writing aspects of NaNo going.
  • Break it down into mini-mini marathons with word sprints at least once a week. There’s nothing like having a timer in front of you to make you fill that white screen or piece of paper with words.
  • Track my progress. I need to get back to basics and start tracking when I write and how much each day, so I can truly progress. I’ll be doing it ‘old school’ with a pocket calendar, which I was doing before, but had slacked off. Again, just like an exercise program, if you don’t keep track of your stats, you don’t know whether you’re improving, and when you need to ‘add weight’ to push past a plateau.

Need some more inspiration to take NaNoWriMo with you throughout the year? Check out these blog posts:

Three Writing Tips I Learned from NaNoWriMo from Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

I Won NaNo with 20k by Ermiliablog

NaNoWhatNow: Three Tactics For Getting Un-Stuck from Author Kristen Lamb

How did you do with NaNoWriMo this year? What are your plans for 2014 to help you reach your writing goals?

Pinterest Alert: The New Pin Scam To Avoid

shot of Pinterest page, courtesy LIB246, Creative Commons

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Have you added Pinterest to your social media repertoire yet? Addicted?

Pinterest is a fun way to curate the subjects that you enjoy, meet others who love your interests as much as you do, as well as reach out to your target audience as a writer, artist or other creative.

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a social media network that gives you the ability to ‘pin’ images you find around the internet onto virtual ‘boards’, basically a cool digital bulletin board. You can ‘repin’ other users pins as well. Your boards can have any themes, but Pinterest is currently dominated by three groups: fashionistas, foodies, and DIY’ers.

What is Pinterest?

There is a dark wind blowing through the otherwise idyllic Pinterest landscape. As Pinterest has grown in popularity, its popularity with scam artists and malware infections is growing as well. Pins of popular products like Starbucks and Coach that seem legitimate lead to coupon or ‘survey’ sites that collect personal information, which is a classic phishing scheme. Others secretly download malware to your computer. These are ‘pinned’ by unsuspecting Pinterest users from the fake Pinterest accounts and the evil spreads.

I found this out for myself just a few weeks ago. I had a rash of Pinterest peeps start following my account, four and five a day. When I examined the accounts closer, several things were just ‘not right’. The user didn’t have any bio info. Their photo, if they had one, looked like it was a street scene from a newspaper or magazine photo. Their boards were all the same as the other suspect users. Same pins, same board titles. There were a lot of electronic items featured in the pins, some with a promise of great deals if you click on the pin. One pin under the ‘Geek’ board had a photo of a beautiful girl and said “Neat – uploaded with Pinterest Android app. Get it here.” A link followed. Seems perfectly harmless. Only problem? There is no Pinterest app for the Android phone yet.

Mila Kunis: favorite bait of Pinterest scammers

Hazel Delgado from Ft. Smith, AR, Marcia Hicks, Connie Perry, Lynn Reed, Maile Genco, Beverly Campbell, Veronica Graham and Marjorie Thomas: all Pinterest accounts that sound like regular folks, until you take the time to look closer: They all have the same EXACT named boards: these and other fake accounts usually include the boards Geek, Outdoors, Fitness, Home Decor, My Life, Humor, Food, etc. And they all seem to like Mila Kunis. All have Twitter accounts with zero activity or followers. They were scam accounts, following MY ACCOUNT! Without taking the time to check it out, I could have gotten some bad stuff on my computer.

What can you do to protect the Pinterest community, and your own computer, from bad eggs floating around on Pinterest? Here are a few tips:

Take the time to check out a profile who’s following you. Some of the signs it may be a fake account include:

  • The board titled ‘Geek’ in particular has lots of outgoing links on photos that have been pinned.
  • The board and its pins don’t match. Example: A kids’ book pin on a board entitled Cool Electronics. I found this exact thing and it’s label was “uploaded with Pinterest Android app. Click here.” with a link. (I’d love to post all these to show you, but for obvious reasons I won’t)
  • The account has numerous boards with only 1 pin on each board.
  • It has a link in the comment part of the pin (don’t click)
  • A link to an Android Pinterest app? Big red flag.

One other ‘tell’ I discovered after researching these bogus accounts is that if you click on their Twitter social media button under their name, there is zero activity on the account: no photo, no tweets, no followers. The bad guys probably just used the dummy Twitter account to start the Pinterest account.

Pinterest has an easy reporting system. They are working hard to eradicate these scammers and welcome the Pinterest community’s help. When you see a suspect pin, just click on ‘report pin’ and their system will do the rest.

When in doubt, don’t pin, no matter how cute you think those Louboutins look or how bad you want that exact Coach purse. Scammers are like a virus, so don’t spread them!

I know this adds precious time you don’t have to using Pinterest. Don’t be discouraged and run away screaming! Just like Facebook or Twitter, you need to be alert about scammers, phishing and virus/malware possibilities in any social media interaction you have. The main way these scams and viruses happen is through clicking on a link. If you find one, don’t freak out thinking your computer is about to explode or your bank account is being emptied. Just say no to clicking links and you will stay safe. Then report the pin. If all pinners do their part when spotting fakes, we can make Pinterest the fun visual playground it was meant to be.

Want more information about Pinterest scams? 

Looking for Pinterest friends? Follow me here or click on the Follow Me on Pinterest button in my sidebar. I’m dedicated to a spam-free account.🙂 Need an invite? Let me know, I have a few.

Related posts:

Question: Are you a Pinterest Pinner? Will you take the time to spot scammers?

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Start Your Week Off Write: Reflections On Writing Naked

How much of YOU do you reveal in your writing?

Programming Note: Starting this week kristin nador writes anywhere will post on Mondays and Fridays to give me more margin to focus on health issues and my WIP that I’ve been neglecting. Monday posts will focus on writing, creativity and blogging, while Fridays will continue to feature Write Anywhere venues where we check out places to help us step out of the creativity box. Hope you’ll join us. Now back to regular programming.

My apologies for being out of pocket for the last week. Professional bloggers say you should never point out your absence, but…

#1 I’m a writer who blogs, not a professional blogger and #2 I would apologize to my in-person friends so why wouldn’t I apologize to my blog reader friends?🙂

Health and personal issues decided to butt ahead in the line that is my life. It was rather rude of them but there is nothing I can do about it. We all have problems: emotional, physical, financial, relational, creative. The only people without problems are those with a gravestone on top of them, so having problems is good. It means you are alive.

The real issue is how you deal with problems. Juggling, balancing, prioritizing, whichever term you like to use to describe how you make it through a day. If you’re a writer, include balancing your writing in that juggling act of life. I could share the details of my problems, but then does my blog morph into personal therapy? That might be good for me, but what about a writer’s online brand? Once a post is out there in cyberland, it’s there in perpetuity. Will confessional or revelatory blog posts affect how writers are perceived by readers, agents and publishers?

On the other hand, will giving a true portrayal of what happens in a writer’s life help other writers struggling with similar circumstances? I think most of us are more alike than we are different, but we’re afraid to talk about it.  We’re afraid to write naked.

Not as in Victor Hugo, who literally wrote without clothes. Writing naked is being open, being real, going to those places we don’t like to show even ourselves. Some writers write stark naked. Cutting open a vein and bleeding on the page. Anne Lamott is one of many that come to mind. That’s probably why she is so beloved to many writers. Other writers write just as naked but it’s all poured into a multi-layered character.

Creatives seem to be sensitive creatures for whom every event is just that: an event. So the events that make up our lives affect how we come to the page. I think it’s important to be positive. But some days are not positive days. It’s okay to be sad, mad or even self-indulgent. Sometimes reality descends. So is it okay to admit that in print?

Even while we cheer on super-achiever creatives who manage to keep all the plates spinning with a smile and a tweet, we secretly hang our heads in shame because we aren’t really part of that perceived club. We fall into depressive funks. We can’t manage to get the laundry folded for three days. We can’t figure out where we went wrong in that character arc yet. We can’t manage to stick to our blog post schedule. We don’t write 4000 words on our WIP every day. We forget to thaw the chicken for dinner. We sit too long trying to make the words flow and our butts get bigger than our egos. We can’t whip up gourmet dinners after coming home from our very necessary day jobs. We stare at the computer screen and obsess that we write crap.

Will talking about these things rather than all the shiny goals we meet dull the bright carrots of blog statistics, Twitter followers and networking dangling before our social media platforms? I’ve stirred up more questions than answers in this post.

I don’t think I’m very good at writing ‘naked’ but I’m going to keep working on it. This writing naked takes trust, and that’s not always something I offer easily. The best choice is not always the safest choice. Choose to do it afraid.

Check out these thought- provoking posts by ‘naked’ writers:

Question: Do you think it helps or hurts your author brand by revealing personal issues and struggles? Is writing ‘naked’ art or cheap therapy?