Pushing My Friend into the Blogging Deep End

I’ve been blogging for over 3 years.  My blog is not exactly a third child but it is an integral part of my life.  I feel responsible to it and I feel grateful to it.  It has taken my life in directions I never could have imagined (The White House!) and introduced me to people who have become cornerstones of my professional and personal life (The Blogging Angels!).  But, most of all, it has made me a social media evangelist.  I am constantly thinking about the blogs everyone I know should be writing.  I can’t help it.  I am convinced that everyone has a great story, interesting insight or just something “expert” enough to share.  So I was thrilled when one of my closest friends, Shari, sheepishly revealed to me that she wanted to start a blog.  Well, I think first she wanted a big ol’ website but I convinced her that she had an amazing story behind her idea.  A story that needed to unfold slowly, organically and with her voice at the center – a blog.

Her gorgeous blog, My Judy the Foodie, debuted last week.  This is not your normal food blog and not your normal mom blog.  This is a blog about a daughter (Shari) finding, honoring and remembering her mom (Judy) by cooking the recipes her mom collected all her life.  This is a blog about a non-cook (and trust me when I tell you she REALLY never cooked) learning to love the craft and the process and slowly gaining confidence with every dish.  And this is a blog by a woman who is still figuring out who she is by reinventing and revisiting the recipes and memories that brought her to this point.

Sounds good right?  Click on over and check out My Judy the Foodie out for yourself!

Getting Your Share of Blogging Dollars

Money, money, money – there is no escape from the discussion lately about women bloggers (and mom bloggers specifically) and what/if they’re getting paid.  Though thankfully the talk seems to have moved from IF to WHAT more often than before.  I was inspired this week by a survey request from Kim Moldofsky of Mom Impact and Hormone-Colored Days that asked for all sorts of payment information from bloggers in order for her to gather information to be used in an upcoming panel at Blissdom later this week.  We often talk about compensation in general, nebulous ways – not wanting to attach a dollar amount to ourselves publicly but also not sure if that dollar amount measures up to what others in the industry are getting.

This week I have takes on this topic.  My first is my latest piece at Mom Blog Magazine, Someone’s Getting Paid- Why Aren’t You, where I actually give dollar ranges for various assignments.  I can’t wait to see the comments and if any bloggers out there will chime in on the amounts I cited and dispute or affirm them.  My second go around at compensation (and where we name names about who is NOT treating bloggers right) is on my weekly podcast, The Blogging Angels.  We had an amazing guest this week in Nicole Feliciano of Mom Trends.  If you haven’t checked out her site you must.  Continue reading

Quora – What’s It Good For?

Over on Mom Blog Magazine today I’m talking all about the latest online info resource Quora.  I list the pros and cons from a blogger’s point of view – along with a giant warning to information junkies like myself.

Check it out and let me know if you’re using Quora and why.

Should You Care About Quora?.

IOU – or Maybe Not. Figuring out the Blogger-Brand Relationship

 

New York City Serenade

Image by joiseyshowaa via Flickr

 

Bloggers in New York City are lucky.  There is no other way to say it.  Events are easy to come by because all of the brands are well represented in NYC and their PR people are great at throwing parties, lunches, breakfasts, outings and round tables that they like to fill with bloggers – particularly mom bloggers.  Add to that the TV shows that film here – Martha Stewart, Nate Berkus, The View, The Today Show, etc. and you get a lot of media opportunities not afforded to your average blogger.  Add this to all of the PR pitches for giveaways, sponsored posts and product reviews and you can stack your blog with nothing but posts about events and swag.

But what if you don’t want to write about it?  What do you owe a brand when you attend an event?  Do you have to be brand loyal if you’re an unpaid “ambassador?”  The Blogging Angels tackle these issues head on this week.  And not surprisingly don’t all feel the same way about these issues.  Listen in or subscribe on iTunes and let us know what you think!

Blogging is Hard.

Really it is.  For the past two weeks my real life has kicked my ass and I’ve watched as day after day my computer has functioned as a giant Twitter stream and email board.  My writing, my real honest to goodness writing has taken a backseat to the whirlwind that swept through the month of September.  It’s not that I haven’t been going to fabulous events or seeing friends or thankfully recording podcasts it’s just that my writing groove is hopelessly out of sync.

For a writer this state of non-writing is like being in a haze.  I know my days are packed with important tasks, meetings and obligations but without real focused writing time I tend to feel untethered.  What I’ve realized is that this new school year requires an entirely new schedule not just for my daughters but for me too.  What I’ve also come to realize is that as I’ve piled on new projects and responsibilities I haven’t given up or delegated anything old so by default it’s my writing that has suffered.  This is not OK.

I know I’m not alone in my stack of posts in draft mode, the events I attended that I still haven’t written about and the running mental conversations babbling through my brain at all times that I’m sure I will write down just as soon as I can.  This is why blogging is hard.  Maybe the hardest kind of writing I’ve ever done.  Once you are established there is an expectation – from loyal readers and subscribers, from PR people who invited you to events and from your own nagging inner voice – that you must produce on a regular basis.  I suppose for people who blog their everyday life or who can shoot out a quick 150 words this is no biggie.  But for me, a girl who constantly edits, rewrites, is never happy with the final product and instantly wants to make another change the moment I hit “publish” the act of blogging is constantly stressful.

When I wrote fiction and screenplays (a lifetime ago) there was a different kind of investment in my writing time.  There was a big picture I could feel my way through with an endpoint in mind.  I loved spending time in whatever world was being created on the page, following characters, crafting dialog – telling a story so far outside myself.  Having that final “THE END” was both mystifying and exhilarating.  In contrast,  a blog has no end.   Every post leads to another.  The characters?  They are real.  And the world?  Well it’s not terribly escapist for me the writer.

So while I love my blog – and I really do – I have realized that every once in while I need a break:  A blog-cation.  As from any hiatus I have to hope I come back recharged and with a new perspective in the blogosphere.   Or maybe I need a Twitter-cation instead – ’cause Twitter?  That’s disgustingly easy.

Stop Copying Me! Plagiarism, Scraping & Other Unwanted Forms of Flattery

Yes, in this week’s Blogging Angels podcast I actually admit to cheating in High School by handing in my boyfriend’s report on Crime and Punishment the year after he had handed in the very same paper.  In my defense I had read the book in 9th grade and so in a little sociology experiment decided to see if my teacher truly did favor the boys over the girls by handing in the paper that had earned my boyfriend a 100%.   I got a 94%.  I proved my hypothesis!  And felt justified as only a jaded teenager can.  (but I’ll be writing more about my lame high school later this week …)    Why did this come up in this week’s podcast?  Because we are dishing the dirt on plagiarism on the web, blog stealing and other forms of copying that plague bloggers in this vast virtual world.  How can you protect yourself?  What is the value of online writing?  And is Dr. Roehmer still allowed to teach AP English?  OK, that last one is really just my mind bending question.

Tune in to get the answers on the Blogging Angels or listen up on itunes.  Plus check out who got golden halos this week and the other links that can help keep your work safe.

How Does a Blogger Get Compensated? Let Us Count the Ways…

It’s the Blogging Angels second podcast and we’re talking about the one thing that gets bloggers all worked up – what qualifies as getting paid?  Do you work for stuff?  What do you owe a company that gives you product unsolicited?  Can you write an unbiased review when the product was given to you for free and is yours to keep?  If you’re “guest posting” for free on someone else’s site are you a sucker or are you building your brand?

Listen in to where the four of us fall in this debate and join in the conversation on our blog.  We’re also asking listeners for their sign off suggestions!  We need a way to sign off that will be as memorable as Walter Cronkite’s “And that’s the way it is” but with a dash of Charo’s “cuchi, cuchi.” (seriously, watch that Charo clip!)  Shouldn’t be too hard for all of you witty and funny readers and listeners out there!

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