6.13.2016

Need writing motivation? Put your money where your goals are with a challenge group!

Do you have trouble sticking with your writing goals — or even starting at all? Try throwing some money at the problem by starting a writing challenge accountability group.

Set writing goals together, and pay in money that you'll forfeit if you don't hit your target — or win off each other if you do!1


How to start your own writing challenge group:

  1. Get a group of friends together who are writers — Facebook groups work well for this.
     
  2. Decide on a challenge length. It could be one week or one month or some other length.
     
  3. Choose the amount of money you'll ante up. About $20 US seems right to motivate but not impoverish.
     
  4. Someone is in charge of holding the kitty and being the challenge cheerleader. Everyone pays in, usually through PayPal.
     
  5. You each publicly set a challenge goal and then check in and cheer each other on every day.
     
  6. By the end of the challenge, you each declare whether you met or missed your goal. The honor system prevails.
     
  7. Losers forfeit their money. Winners get their money back plus a share of the losers' money.
     

For instance, assuming a $20 buy-in from 6 participants, if two fail, the other four collect back $30 each. A nice little prize for completing your writing goal!

And even if you fail, you got to work on your writing and you're several steps closer to your goal than you were before, so despite the loss of funds, it's still not really losing!

Some tips on starting your own writing challenge group:

6.09.2016

Why blogging is dead (and why it is not)

I began blogging eight and a half years ago, and I feel like I no longer even recognize the landscape. Having spoken with many fellow bloggers, I know I'm not alone in feeling disconnected and like maybe blogging as we knew it has played out.

Here are the reasons why we (and perhaps you) feel that way, and at the end, the ways blogging is continuing on into the future — altered but still alive.



WHY OLD-SCHOOL BLOGGING IS DEAD

We used to blog for community — now we blog for search engines.


I remember when I got my first commenters on my blog and how thrilling it was. I joined blogging carnivals, posted others' blog buttons, and chatted with authors and readers on Twitter.

I came to know my audience from their commenting and sharing, and they were real people to me. I could put names to many of them.

The change isn't just the audience growing larger, it's that it's grown quieter. The community (mine, at least) has dissipated. Comments and shares have moved to social media and, often, behind my back (not in a bad way, just in a private way).

I check my analytics and see: People are still reading. But they're not necessarily interested in ME. No, I don't blame them (I'm not that narcissistic), but it's a sign that they're not dedicated followers of my blog but rather searchers who've stumbled on a single post of interest to them and then backed away once the information was secured. These readers aren't watching my children grow up or asking my opinion on things. My folksy, homey posts go virtually unseen. Instead, most visitors come to read a few evergreen fact posts: DIYs mostly. I'm not bitter, and I welcome any readers, but it's a sign of the change.

Commenting has moved to social media.


And specifically to Facebook, where it is now incredibly hard for a blogger to get posts seen without paying advertising money, and sometimes even with. I don't bother much anymore with posting links on Facebook, because the views are abysmal (1-10% of my followers, if I'm lucky). If it's something very important to me, I'll occasionally pay to promote it. I've mostly stopped sharing other people's fine links on Facebook, even though I used to love doing so, because no one will see them, and it just hurts my overall page metrics, making it even less likely within the Facebook algorithm that my posts will be seen in the future.

People definitely do a lot of their link reading on Facebook, so this seems counterintuitive. If so many people are reading shared links on Facebook, then surely sharing links on Facebook still works? But it doesn't for most links, only for a (relatively) few viral ones, usually from big-name news sources or very lucky bloggers. (I've had a post or two go viral on Facebook, and it's always been a surprise.) Unless a link gets a lot of traction immediately, Facebook buries it in the feed, so bloggers can no longer rely on their business pages to drum up traffic.

5.15.2016

Last day to get my parenting ebooks on sale!



Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

A gentle reminder that the deep discount on my three parenting ebooks will be over tomorrow. The countdown is on!

Right now they're at these prices:


On May 16, they'll revert to their list prices, so save now while you can!

I'll include a summary and reviews below so you can learn what people think of them!

5.09.2016

Get my parenting ebooks for only 99 cents each — hurry!



Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I've enrolled all my parenting ebooks into a special promotion at Amazon called Kindle Countdown Deals. Starting today, each one is available starting at only $0.99 for a limited time. You can see the time left on the countdown timer. For the next week, each will gradually rise back to list price, so grab them at a discounted price while you can!

Here's where to find them:

Run, run, run, and get the discounted prices! Unless you want to learn more about each of them first — in which case, read on.

4.27.2016

28 blogging tasks you can do from your phone

Do you spend more time near your smartphone than your computer? You can still get plenty of work done on your blog when you're on the go with these mobile-friendly tasks!

If you're anything like me — juggling paying work, parenting, home life, errands, fitness — you might find limited time to sit down at an actual desk to blog or work on your blog-related tasks. So here's a roundup of plenty of things you can do while you're on your smartphone or tablet.

A few of these links are affiliate links, but most are just free apps. I use what I recommend.


  1. Draft a blogpost.

    If you're a minimalist blogger (mostly plain text), you might be able to post from your smartphone using one of the blogging apps (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr on Android & iOS), using email uploads (Blogger, WordPress.com, self-hosted WordPress), or navigating to the site on mobile.

    For me, I find the apps and mobile experience inadequate for all the images and coding and customization I love to cram into my posts, so I prefer to finalize things on desktop. BUT, I can absolutely WRITE a blogpost draft while I'm out. I just prefer to do it in email. I use Gmail's Inbox app and like that it saves my drafts well. I just pop my own address into the to field, make the subject line my title, and then Swype away in the text field. I'm Swyping this right now, matter of fact. I'd like to experiment, once I figure out the best headset, with dictating blogposts while I walk, using Dragon Dictation, the native Google voice-recognition on my phone, or another speech-to-text capability. (Here's how one person does this via Evernote.)

     
  2. Edit your drafts.

    If you have a blogpost draft you want to edit, email it to yourself or upload it to Google Docs and use the Google Drive app (Android & iOS) to access it. It has a nice autosave feature, and it will sync with your desktop version of course.

     
  3. Check and reply to email.

    I find being on my phone actually makes this easier, because brevity feels right. Bam. Email done.

     
  4. Read other blogs.

    I use Feedly for my subscriptions now, and I've learned the mobile gesture shortcuts to make the process easy. Save for later articles you want to read in depth or share, or just do it now if you have the concentration time.

     

4.25.2016

Lauren's link love: YA vs. middle grade, commercial vs. literary, writing camp, & Twitter tips

Links to share, collected at @LaurenWaynecom on Twitter:




Like I need an excuse.



A question many of us have:


4.18.2016

Lauren's link love: Making a living as a writer, editing Hemingway-style, & the good of Amazon

Links to share, collected at @LaurenWaynecom on Twitter:




Need an editing app? So did Hemingway, apparently.




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