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Blogging Advice… ???

How Does Your Blog Measure Up?

As I continue to learn how to juggle blogging with writing, it amazes me how many bloggers are savvy in making sure that their posts get noticed. There’s so much about blogging that I can learn from them, and I’m doing my best to cram more information into this overloaded brain of mine. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can actually retain anything. So many blogs get tons of views, likes, and oh my gosh – even comments. They just rack up on some bogs, while others don’t even get the pitiful sound of crickets chirping. I mean, even if you only hear crickets, at least you know that you’re not completely alone in the blogosphere.

So far, I’ve learned one thing about blogging for sure:

There are Two Types of Bloggers

It seems as though there are two types of bloggers: Those who blog for views, likes, and comments, and those who blog to share original content. At first glance, you may think that a blogger could be one and the same. Actually, no – and I’ll tell you why.

Blogging for Hits

When a person blogs for traffic volume, that is their sole objective. Knowing how to tweek your tags, keywords, etc. will give you an advantage of having more people land on your posts and even interact with you. That’s SEO at its best. But you have to devise the proper “hooks”. Give unsolicited advice (ironically like this post), devising titles that tell you about the “Top 5” of anything, and sharing any sort of “Secret” are surefire indications that the post has been created to reel you in. Or help you. Or both.

Is there anything wrong with this? Not to me. As I mentioned, I’m reading these posts just  like anyone else, hoping to find the golden ticket to mastering a system that I am totally clueless about. These blogs are the ones that actually generate passive income, which is never shabby. Don’t we all want to get paid for the work that we do?

Some days, I worry about traffic. Am I really able to effectively reach my readers, whom I truly value and appreciate? Because I write about “Love and Life” (One Word at a Time), that covers an entire spectrum of topics. This means that it’s difficult for my blog to float above the others, because Google and other search engines don’t really know where to place me, because although I have great content (*ahem*), I’m all over the place.

Welcome to my life, Google.

Blogging to Share

Which brings me to the second type of blogger. These bloggers focus on creating content that satisfies them first. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t keeping their readership in mind, on the contrary; it just means that the blogger is more likely concerned about sharing content that may not be popular, or trending. On the one hand, this can mean great things for the blogger who is concentrating on one specific topic. This ensures that the blogger becomes an expert on one particular subject, and followers can be assured that the blogger knows what’s up.

Then you have bloggers like me. Well, that sentence is inaccurate. I’m a writer who blogs. There is a difference. And for that nuanced reason, I definitely fit into the latter category of bloggers. I share content that I care about, and although I primarily focus on writing, romance, blogging, family, and apparently quilting, I blog about what moves me – which is also exactly the way that I write fiction.

Over time, regardless of which kind of blogger you are, what followers value most is sincerity. We readers can fish out the ones who write from their hearts and those who are vying to get you to just buy their merch. While I want to connect with more of of the world, I’m thankful to connect with you now. As I learn and grow, I want to share with you the things that I’m learning. 😉

If you have any advice, or have an experience to share, let me know!

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Day, USA

Happy Independence Day, or as most of us tend to say these days, Happy 4th of July! I’m probably the most self-censoring writer you’ve come across on a blog, but honestly, I just have zero desire to politicize most of my posts. And because it’s my God-given right to decide not to, I usually don’t. (See what I did there? 😉 )

The 4th of July means a lot of things to us who were born and raised in the good old USA. We’ve grown up celebrating our country, those who serve it, and those who have and continue to defend it since before we could walk. San Diego is very similar to my hometown in the South, and so far, I believe that it’s a lovely place to raise my little one where traditional family values are still considered to be the important glue that holds our communities together. America’s Independence Day is a special day to celebrate not only our military and their (our) families; it’s also important for us to remember our civil servants, too.

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Happy Birthday, America!

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate all of the things that each person associates with being American. We express our gratitude to those who have fought – and continue to fight – for our rights (and often, our wrongs). We express our pride in being unapologetically American. We celebrate the rights that we were born with, inherited privileges that, in all actuality, could still be eroded by the sweep of a pen and a blink of an eye. We are the renegades, the innovators, still rebellious, ever striving to define the indescribable miracleillusion feeling of being free.

But, we’re not the only ones who celebrate this amazing holiday. As you’re likely now aware of my fledgling obsession with fabric, hopefully you can understand what I mean when I say that the very fabric of our society is multifaceted and diverse. No one fits in just one simple pattern. What really impresses me is the fact that there are millions of people in the US who are not (yet) American citizens, but are permanent residents who celebrate this holiday with such reverence and enthusiasm as any proud military family, proud pacifist, proud Republican, proud Democrat, proud Independent does. There are beautiful, wonderful people who have given our country so much, and have earned the privilege of becoming American citizens themselves. They, too, are what makes up our idyllic view of America.

This is one holiday where anyone and everyone is encouraged to celebrate the love of OUR country, embrace OUR shortcomings with humility, and above all, celebrate OUR communities – the backbone of this nation. This year, maybe for just one day, everyone can set aside petty meme-wars, heavy political bias, or snarky hashtags, and just chill with the neighbor down the street. Maybe even give out a free hug or two.

Will I take my own advice? Here’s hoping.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Are You Ready?

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(Also, get ready for my newsletter. Actually, get ready for both. If you already have one, then just get ready for the other.)

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Short Story: Ali & Nick

Nearly a year ago, I posted the beginning of a quick pants short story, and then I completely forgot about it. I rediscovered it during Toddler nap time yesterday, and so I added a little bit more to it. The original posting of the story is here, but for convenience, I’m re-posting the beginning of this short story here as well.

As usual, I invite you to let me know what you think! Comments appreciated.

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Short Story: Ali & Nick

She was the silent type. It would have been an awesome and somewhat mystical trait if she had also been strong, but she wasn’t. Not yet.

For years, Alissa had been perfectly fine flying solo, and after that disastrous train wreck that she’d mistakenly called a relationship with Dax, being alone had been a good thing. She needed to heal; she was determined to remember to love herself before she tried loving anyone else.

Besides, she knew that when the time was right, her feelings and intuition would give her the courage to take action and move forward. Today, Ali knew that the time had come.

Squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath, she held her head high as she advanced upon her target. This guy didn’t know it, but a serendipitous hurricane was heading his way.

***

He felt her presence before he saw her. Nick had already memorized her features from her profile picture, so he took his time before looking up from the glare of his computer screen. He just barely resisted the urge to adjust the frame of his glasses with his thumb. Reviewing facts always calmed his nerves, so he ran through the shortlist of everything he thought he knew about her.

Her name was Ali, she was a junior, and she had long jet black hair (thanks to two $5 dye kits from the store, she’d confessed), and apparently had shapely legs that went on for miles and miles down to impatiently tapping feet that had an at-home, slightly rushed looking pedicure. Well, the last facts had been observations in real time.

Nick cleared his throat and willed his heart to stop beating in his ears like an obnoxious drum. During one of their late-night chats Ali warned him that she was a mess; yet even after he’d confessed his own shortcomings to her, she’d still been willing to show up at this random hipster cafe to actually meet him in person. She’d given him a chance, and he was already half in love with her for that small miracle alone.

He just hoped like hell he wouldn’t blow it.

Ali

I recognized him before I even saw his face. Hunched over a laptop, his back was toward the front entrance of the cafe. Since he was the one who proposed meeting here in the first place, I was a little confused. It had taken all of my strength to gather enough courage to show up in the first place, and now he’s placing me in the position of risking possible humiliation by approaching a complete stranger like I’m desperate or something. Far from it — I know my worth.

The familiar burn of sudden rage churned in my stomach, threatening to erupt in the form of bile. Wait a second, Ali, I reassured myself. It’s Nick. He’s not one of them. Give him a chance. These days, being my own voice of reason was my only saving grace. 

As I stood near the door of the coffee shop, I took a deep breath and weighed my options. He hadn’t turned around, so I could still back away and escape before he even noticed that I had come. We’d both given each other a way out in case either one of us lost our nerve; maybe this was his method. 

Taking advantage of the slightly crowded, yet still cozy coffee shop, I perched on a wooden bar stool and pretended to study the  gigantic menu ahead of me on the left wall. Nick was seated near the back of the shop, apparently in a designated quiet area. A vacant brown pleather seat next to his caught my attention. A sapphire-blue scarf with appliquéd peacock feathers was carefully draped over one of the arms of the well-worn chair, a clear indication that the seat had been reserved for someone. An involuntary gasp escaped from my throat. That was the present that I had made for him after his grandmother died a few months ago. He swore to me up and down that everywhere he went, that scarf went, too. I was certain that he was exaggerating, attempting to flatter me, until now. Even from my safe distance I could see that the scarf truly had been well-worn. I’ll have to make another one for him, I vowed. 

Taking my time, I studied what I could gather of his physique. He definitely had stringy, chestnut brown hair that he had warned me about; it was a bit longer than I personally preferred, but it was his head, so I guessed that he was pleased with the length going slightly past his neck. I had expected him to be a super tall string bean kind of guy, but from what I could tell from my pseudo-hidden position, he seemed to be of average height, about 5’9 or so. His shoulders were more broad than I had anticipated, and a flutter of surprised attraction swirled in my belly. I knew that he worked out because of his older brother, but I have to admit that I hadn’t expected that it would be so, well, obvious. 

The realization that Nick could actually be an attractive guy suddenly made me nervous. I know that this sounds snobbish, but I was kind of expecting him to not be the hottest guy in the world. Actually, the way he described himself, he almost made Quasimodo sound handsome. I knew that he had self-esteem issues — don’t we all — but to a certain extent, when he had described himself in such a negative fashion, I believed him.

His back suddenly straightened, as though a chill had clutched him by the shoulders and pulled him to attention. It was strange; in that very instant, I knew that he had finally sensed my presence. Still, he didn’t turn around; instead, he adjusted his computer screen, obviously relying on its reflection to reveal my actual location to him. Coward. 

Quickly tiring of the Cat and Mouse game, I stood up, straightened my purple and black skirt and blouse, slung my thick braided hair behind me, and walked straight towards him. 

Nick

Oh crap. I knew that I was in trouble the second I heard the barista address Ali as she floated by the counter, beelining in my direction.

“May I help you?” The perky barista practically look ready to jump over the counter and give out free hugs to all customers. Ali barely glanced at her as she maintained her pace.

“No, I can help myself. If I need anything, I’ll let you know, thank you.”

The succinct, clipped tones emanated from a voice that reminded me of indulging in one of Grandma’s honeyed biscuits on a Sunday morning. Sweet, savory, buttery, and hot all at the same time. Who was this woman? And why the hell was she still showing interest in a throwaway like me?

*******************************TBC******************************

I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Be on the lookout for my next installment (sooner rather than later).

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Looking for Guest Bloggers!

I’ve mentioned this time and again, but it’s worth repeating: I’m not a blogger; I’m a writer who blogs. So, it makes sense that I need to spend more time writing than blogging…

Do You Want To Be A Guest Blogger?

While I have the summer break, I’ve been spending more time blogging more frequently than I normally do, but I know that if I’m going to be focusing on completing my next two projects, I’ll be blogging at a less frequent tempo than I’ve been able to do in this month of June. This is why I’m looking for candidates to become a guest blogger on my blog!

 

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This is a great way for me to get to know you on a more personal level, and of course, you’ll have a few more social outlets to share your special message to the world. The criteria are pretty simple to be considered for this obviously unpaid invitation:

  1. Be kind. There’s enough mud-slinging going on in the world. Let’s spread some positivity.
  2. If you write any form of romance and/or women’s literature (Chick Lit), that’s very cool, because that’s right up my alley.
  3. If you have inspirational posts or topics that you’d like to share, that’s cool, too – because that’s also right up my alley.
  4. Send me a PM via Twitter or comment below so that I can check out your blog.

Spread the Word!

If you don’t feel like being a guest blogger right now, feel free to share this post with any of your friends. If you have a pre-existing blog post that you’d like for me to re-blog, I’ll consider that, too.

Let’s help each other out! I look forward to your comments below and PM’s via Twitter.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

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