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Blog Hopping Tags: writing process blog hops

My topic today deals with the end of the writing process Ė marketing. Since I was asked recently to take part in a blog hop called The Writing Process and my post for it is on my own blog this morning, the blog hop is the marketing technique thatís on my mind.

From the first time I encountered them Iíve been a fan of blog hops. Like many writers I think that it benefits everyone if writers co-operate rather than compete against each other to sell books. Few readers will only dip into one authorís work. They are looking for a steady stream of reading material. So why not find a way to promote your own work and others too?

So what is a blog hop? Itís a chain of posts by different authors on their websites at set intervals. In each post the author mentions the person who tagged her to participate and the person who will follow her. Readers can click the link the author provides to read the post by the previous author and may follow the whole chain back through different blogs if they wish. Then they can read the next one in the series when it is posted.

Blog hops are very flexible. For instance there is no set theme. Some hops ask authors to answer questions about their writing process or what they are currently working on. Or the questions for the post may cover a variety of topics. Hops may be organised by genre or publishing method with only writers from a particular genre or published in a certain way taking part or they may be open to anyone, allowing everyone to join the chain in a giant cyber conga line. †The chain doesnít need to be linear either. Authors may tag as many people as they wish to follow their post. So the hop may fan out to draw in a large number of writers.

Some blog hops are long running and well known with many authors eager to get into the chain. But anyone can start a hop. All you need to do is decide what type of hop you want to kick off, devise some questions and find at least one other person to follow after you and you have set a blog hop in motion. Itís up to those who come after you to keep it going.†

The main reason many authors participate in a blog hop is to promote their work to a wider audience than usual. But there are other benefits as well. Blog hops allow writers to make contact and get to know each other better. Answering the questions for the post may help an author to clarify in her own mind what she is writing. For instance, if one of the hop questions asks what the author is working on currently, it will make her consider the question and formulate a coherent answer. To answer the questions for the blog hop Iím currently involved in I had to decide what genre my current project is and how it differs from others in the same genre. Reaching these decisions will be very beneficial to me as I continue working on the novel.

If you are considering participating in a hop but arenít quite sure whether to do it or not, Iíd say take the plunge. As well as all the benefits it has, itís fun.

I know several of our members have taken part in blog hops. So letís hear from you now. What has been your experience of them? Are you as keen on them as I am? Will we see a Writers Abroad hop next?

† † †

This Week On WA 31st March
Category: Site News
Tags: site news Writers' Abroad

The clocks jumped forward an hour in Britain this weekend to Daylight Savings Time and Iím feeling slightly dazed this morning (no alcohol was involved, honestly!). So Iíll take this gently.

Blog: Chris Nedahl has written a blog post entitled Commitment, inspired by an article, Climbing Your Family Tree, in Writing Magazine. In it she considers how to overcome her reluctance to commit the huge amount of time required to tackle researching her own family and turn it into a story. The post is good inspiration and motivation for those of us hesitating to undertake a big writing project.

Monday Muse: Jo has given us a variety of prompts to work with including a line of dialogue, a plot scenario on the theme of Shame, a first line, five random words and a picture. Thereís lots there to spark the imagination so why not see where your muse takes you?

Bragging Stool: Weíre finishing the month quietly. No one has posted any news this week but I know several people are hard at work on novels that are due to be published soon so I doubt the stool will be empty for long.

April Challenge: This seems to be a good time of year for contests and there are several on our list to choose from, including a couple prestigious ones. Have a peek at the list and get your entries in.

Weíre trying to organise a WA get together this year and we have a thread under Bits and Pieces to discuss the where and when. Everyone get your thinking caps on to see if we can get it organised. Have a good writing week!

I'll never enjoy public speaking - but I do it anyway
Category: Writing

I donít enjoy public speaking and, since I write hoping my work will find its way into print, Iíve never seen the point of reading my stories and poetry to a live audience. But my local writing group in Enniskillen to seems to get involved in lots of public events. Everyone else seems to love the chance to perform. Last month we ran Poets in the Pub for All Ireland Poetry Day (which falls on the same day as National Poetry Day in the UK) and also took part in an arts festival. This week we are hosting Funeral Service NIís launch of their annual poetry contest Ė and the launch is a poetry recital. So I will be on stage again whether I wanted to be or not.

Despite my reluctance to get up in front of an audience Iím beginning to see some benefits to it. I was surprised and pleased last month to hear audiences laughing along with me as I read humorous stories and poems and I felt their genuine appreciation when they applauded Ė and I donít think they applauded with relief that it was over. When I have stories published in magazines I rarely hear comments from anyone who reads them. I donít know what they thought or felt when they finished a story. So it encouraged me to actually hear listeners enjoying my work. It also gave me a sense of the story as a finished piece of work and worth an audienceís time to listen to it. I donít think Iím the only one who repeatedly tweaks stories to that they are never actually finished. By reading a story to an audience it makes me see that story as completed and ready to be out into the world.

Before each performance I have to decide what I will read for it. This means sifting through stories and poems in my files, looking at them critically and choosing material that I feel is Ďgood enoughí. This often forces me to tidy up stories so that they are ready to be made public. Itís good motivation to finish work that might languish almost finished otherwise. ††

Looking at my work critically doesnít stop there. When Iím in front of an audience I hear my work as I read it. I hear sentences that may jar or words that I trip over and I make a mental note to re-check it afterwards. Itís always good to read your work aloud to spot problems and this should be done before you get in front of an audience but once you are on stage and your senses are heightened by adrenaline you are likely to hear your work in a new way. Itís worth looking at what you noticed afterwards.

We may not all have a chance to share our work in public, depending where we live, but, if you do get a chance, I would encourage you to do so. Itís a valuable experience. I doubt I will ever be fond of public speaking but I will keep sharing my stories with audiences when the opportunity arises. †

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