I have just concluded teaching a six-week class–“Writing Compelling Blog Posts” at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland–and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about blogging and writing myself, as we spent six Tuesday nights workshopping each other’s potential blog posts. We were a bit large for a workshop–eighteen strong, when everyone could make it–but we found a way to make it work.
Several of the students have started personal blogs, and I’m proud to introduce you to them here. Several more students are looking to launch ones of their own, and I very much hope they do; their work to date is great. If they follow my advice we will have to wait a bit, however, because I always advise bloggers write for six months without posting. That allows a potential blogger both to find her voice and build up a backlog of posts for when the muse is AWOL.
I strongly encourage you to check out these great blogs by my new friends:
- Dignitary’s Retreat: Chrisanna tells us she is “in the process of re-booting my life.” With raw honesty, she is chronicling a major life change that has brought her back home to Washington, D.C., after many years in Santa Barbara. “My blog’s purpose is simply to record and share some of life’s humorous or thought provoking experiences, which generally spring forth from the most mundane of circumstances,” she shares. I can relate. I encourage students to engage readers in conversation by inviting feedback on insights and reflections, which she does in “10 Things to Ask Yourself When Re-booting Your Life.”
- health2happiness: Health and happiness are not abstract concepts for Cliff. As he shares, they have become very important to him: “I have been in recovery from various people, places, things and assorted chemicals for 23 years.” Cliff’s blog is an eclectic mix of medical information, cultural observation, and personal reflection. I encourage bloggers to watch their word count, and Cliff’s are nice and short. A good example of getting to the point is “‘Illusions’ for Health and Happiness,” in which he recalls the Richard Bach book, then quickly shares this: “Don’t know about you, but I have created some absolutely awesome messes in my time.” I have too, Cliff.
- abitravelblog: “I’m a traveler, a maverick of sorts, and a long-time environmentalist and conservationist. If I had my druthers, I’d be outdoors in nature all the time…. That said, I am a social sort so I’d want to bring my party with me.” Abi brings some nice twists to the travel-blog genre. Her tagline gives a hint of that: “Travels through a Same-Sex Marriage and Around the World.” Her travels go beyond geography, however, to explorations of the self. A quite moving example of this is “A Visit Home–to Pet the Tree, Perhaps,” which has the beauty of a personal essay.
- Fox High Perspective: Bill Fox is a “plane-flying project management and performance improvement consultant for technology companies ready to implement effective, lasting change,” and the author of 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success. With his High Perspective blog, Bill has kicked up the creativity, finding ways to share a bit about project management and himself while anchored around flight. A good example of that is “What I Learned About Performance Improvement from Nearly Crashing an Airplane.” I’d probably learn to what extent I have mastery over my bowels.
- Callie’s Blog: You might try calling Callie Feyen a “mommy blogger,” but that label falls short. Callie is an MFA student, and her love for the craft of writing comes through in her posts. Her adventures with daughters Hadley and Harper are the anchor for many of her posts, and we meet them both in words and in pictures. Callie comes through in her voice, which is sometimes sassy, occasionally vulnerable, and always engaging, as you find with “Beach Reads.”
- Rubin-Hood: Rebecca Rubin is a busy young woman. She works for an IT design firm, Blue Water Media, and writes for its blog. But I’m directing you to her personal blog, which she refers to as “a raspberry-tinted virtual shrine that chronicles the inspirations, adventures and passionate convictions of a tiara-loving zen wanna-be running wild in DC (a.k.a., Moi).” One thing I encourage is a catchy elevator pitch; she’s got one. Rebecca makes use of short posts with inspirational quotes and images, but also will be incorporating short essays on everything from fashion to heartbreak. In “5 tips for being taken seriously at work (especially when you’re young, female, and damn quirky!)” her whimsical voice comes out strong.
FYI, I posted the curriculum for the first night of the six-week class here on this blog. They are “5 Questions to Ask Before You Blog,” and “5 Things to Remember While You Blog.” If you want the materials for the other five classes, then you’ll just have to take my next class!