counter on blogger

Pickle Me This

April 8, 2020

What’s Your Blogging Challenge?

Looking for a diversion? How about a quiz? In which I nail your biggest challenge in blogging, and give suggestions for how to overcome that challenge and achieve your blogging goals.

PS Want to be part of Blog School event in June?

January 14, 2020

Back to the Blog: One Year Later

I’m certainly no Faith Popcorn, but I think I called it. Almost exactly a year ago, as part of my 2019 intention to conduct myself with more audacity, I declared The Back to the Blog Movement. Was I not blogging because the world no longer made any sense, or had the world stopped making sense because I wasn’t blogging? And as the near year began, I decided perhaps it was the latter, and embarked on a reset and rediscovery of the blog and its myriad possibilities.

And I wasn’t alone, because because my Back to the Blog post got tons of responses, brought new readers and blogs to my attention, and—in the true tradition of old-school blogging—inspired a handful of other writers’ blog posts, including Meli-Mello (my blogging friend of more than a decade!), Rebecca Rosenblum, Shawna Lemay, and my fave swimming blog.

As the year went on, the movement picked up steam, as CanLit blogging pioneer Bookninja returned to blogging, and Steven Beattie resurrected his blog That Shakespearean Rag, and (tongue in cheek, of course) we all know that it’s when men start doing things that people begin to pay attention. (I find blogging and gender fascinating. Of course, it’s impossible to talk about blogging in general terms, because blogs can be infinite different things, and a gendered lens only makes it more so. I once read an entire book about the history of blogging that didn’t have a single woman in it [nary a mommy blogger, nor a knitter, even!] save for the one woman founder of Blogger, who only appeared in the book while running out of a meeting in tears.)

It was good to have these book blogging stalwarts back, and to have connected with other bloggers too throughout the year so that my own blog-reader got longer. I also started a weekly series called Gleanings, in which I went back to the blog in an old-school round-up sense, posting links to the pieces (at blogs and elsewhere) that made the internet a worthwhile place for me to be a reader.

In March I wrote the post “Why Your Own Small Corner of the Internet is Going to Make the World a Better Place”, framing blogging as a way of taking back online spaces, countering the toxicity and meaninglessness of a lot of current internet discourse. “Blogs are important in 2019 because they aren’t underlined by corporate interests, because what parts of them we read aren’t determined by algorithms, because of their focus on language at a moment when politicians are making meaninglessness into an art form, because of their obscurity even and how they give us the freedom to explore off our own beaten track, because they’re not part of an industry that’s flailing, dying, desperate. There’s nothing desperate about a blog. ”

It was the spirit of blogging (and audacity!) that carried into my two big projects of last year, establishing the boutique bookseller Briny Books and my online blogging course Blog School. The idea that small things matter to real people, that little steps can take us somewhere, guided the same DIY ethos that has been inherent in blogging since the beginning. From 20 years (!) of blogging, I have learned that the path is meandering, but it takes us places, and that we get there by putting one good post in front of the other, by simply not stopping. Even when we’re tired. Even when it seems like nobody is reading. Even when the world doesn’t make any sense, but it’s when the world doesn’t make sense that we need blogging most of all.


MAKE THE LEAP is the guided and interactive version of my online course. It’s running throughout February, and it’s an ideal program for writers looking to make the leap to blogging with guidance, feedback, and community engagement. I’m looking forward to spending the month working with a great group of writers, having fun pushing the limits of what blogs can do, and reading and sharing inspiring posts. I hope you’ll join us. Spaces are still available, including one last discount space for students already enrolled in FIND YOUR BLOGGING SPARK.

SIGN UP TODAY!

January 7, 2020

MAKE THE LEAP with Blog School!

In September, I launched BLOG SCHOOL: PICKLE ME THIS, and my first offering was a self-directed blogging course called FIND YOUR BLOGGING SPARK.

Self-directed, I thought, because self-direction permits bloggers to work at their own pace and convenience. A self-directed course, I figured, meets a writer where she’s at.

And it does!

But there are some people looking for a little more direction than the self can provide, who thrive on goals and deadlines, plus the community support essential in getting ‘er done.

And these people have been asking me for a different version of the FIND YOUR BLOGGING SPARK course, an intensive, community-based, guided and interactive version where students can ask questions, get feedback, work to goals, and benefit from community support.
 

And now MAKE YOUR LEAP in February 2020 is here!

What You Need to Know:

  • Course is online (via private website) so that you can study at Blog School from wherever you are
  • Course is interactive, so you can ask creative and technical questions via email and receive feedback on your work
  • Community components will take place on a private Instagram page, so that it’s easy and straightforward to take part   
  • Course enrollment is capped at 10 people so that the group is neither too big or too small, but just right
  • Modules themselves are self-directed so you can take part (with two modules with be completed per week) according to your own schedule
  • Course takes place throughout February 2020 so that you can stay focussed and excited about your project, which you’ll complete with momentum to build on
  • Each module includes a writing exercise to generate ideas for future blog posts
  • Each module features a writing assignment so that you will complete the course having 7 new blog posts published
  • Modules are structured as blog posts so you can get comfortable engaging with the blog format within the course itself
  • Each module comes with optional further reading to inspire you with the work of other bloggers and creative people.

Cost: $300.00 CDN

*Three spaces will be available for $80 for students who are already enrolled in the Find Your Blogging Spark Program.

Sign up for MAKE THE LEAP

September 16, 2019

Gleanings: The BLOG SCHOOL LAUNCH DAY EDITION!

Blog School launches today! Creating it has been my big summer writing project this year, and I’m very excited to finally share what I’ve made. Go here to learn more…

September 12, 2019

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

I made a quiz: What Kind of Blogger Are You?

And okay, to say there are but five kinds of bloggers is definitely reductive, but I give you these five different kinds of bloggers just to demonstrate how divergent people’s different approaches to blogging can be. And to emphasize that these five categories aren’t meant to be the end of the question of “how should I blog?” but instead the beginning of a process of the blogger gaining a broader understanding of their approach to and vision for their blog and then daring to venture forth to make/design/shape a blog that suits one’s own creative purposes and even makes one’s experiences richer.

Project-Adjacent Blogger: Your ideal blog is part of another project that you’re working on—this is great for artists, writers, or entrepreneurs. You use your blog to keep track of your progress, to share interesting ideas and revelations about your work, and to incite interest in your project. (You can also do this kind of blogging on your social media platforms.) Your blog can be easy to maintain because—ideally—your central project delivers you content all the time and it can fit nicely into your schedule. Your blog can also help you maintain your passion, connect with a like-minded audience, and think through problems with whatever it is you’re working on.

A Long-Form Blogger: Brevity is not for you, and Twitter is stupid and exhausting. No, your blog is all about depth and connections and who says that a blog can’t have footnotes! You’re driven to write your posts by genuine passion and curiosity, though you must be careful to pace yourself and not become too overwhelmed by the labour of your blog. You love that the work you’re doing on your blog (deep and thoughtful) runs counter to everything that’s so terrible about the internet. You do remember to break up your posts with images, however, with makes them much more reader-friendly. You might want to think about offering readers the alternative of receiving your posts via email as well, so check out some newsletter platforms.

A News-and-Updates Blogger: Truth: you’re just not that keen on blogging. And that’s okay! But it’s great to have an easily-updatable part of your website and having a blog helps your website’s search engine rankings too. You update your blog when you have news to share or an event to publicize. For you, the blog is a very practical tool.

A Dispatches Bloggers: Your blog is where you report back from the front, whether that front is an exotic locale (maybe you’re a travel blogger!) or from amidst a pile of dirty laundry (maybe you’re a mommy blogger!). Your blog is a way for you to stay connected with people in other places, and deliver the news of how it is where you are. Your posts are usually brief but frequent, and some readers might find them mundane, but those readers are not your readers then. One day you will look back and be very grateful for the record you’ve kept of this time in your life (instead of just posting your story as a Facebook update and sending it out into the ether…).

A Kitchen Sink Blogger: And by “kitchen sink,” of course, we mean “everything but the…” Your blog is an array of your fascinations and your preoccupations—it’s all a bit random, but YOU are the through-line. It’s a bit self-indulgent, but shouldn’t any unpaid labour be just that? This kind of blog is especially interesting (and radical) in a moment where online identifies are supposed to be tidy and streamlined. But not you—you’re keeping the internet interesting. And what an excellent public service that is!

Okay, LESS than one week away now—but there is still time to register for BLOG SCHOOL before the official launch and receive a 15% discount with code *earlybird*.

August 7, 2019

Get Excited and Make Things

Once upon a time, we had a sign on our fridge that said, “Get Excited and Make Things,” and I have no idea where it came from, but apparently the meme originated in a 2009 Will Wheaton blog post, and the sign was stuck on our fridge with a magnet for years. Coming down at some point, but the sentiment lives on, and I think it might have become our family motto, if the enormous piles of stuff on my children’s crafting table are any indication.

But it’s a sentiment I believe in, and one I clung to as I entered 2019 feeling somewhat dispirited, mostly because I didn’t have much to feel excited about. Excitement is my driving force, and I didn’t know what to do with the year that lay ahead, in which no plans and schemes were being hatched, so I decided to make some. I went back to the blog, remember? And I made Briny Books and Blog School (with the help of my husband who built the websites for both—it’s a family motto, remember?), and now my little world is overflowing with things to be excited about, and I’ve got butterflies in my stomach perpetually.

And this is what blogging is all about, right? It’s about making something out of your stories, experiences and ideas, a DIY aesthetic, making the whole thing up as you’re going along and learning as you go. It’s being a blogger that has given me the mindset to take on these new projects this year, figuring it all out as I go along, to not know the outcomes, but to have some faith in the path forward. Let’s see how it all turns out, is the blogger’s approach, which requires attention, curiosity, and a capacity for growing, learning, and—ideally—being excited all the time.

April 26, 2019

Revelations

Remember in January when I was listening to Amanda Laird’s podcast and it changed my life? I’ve been talking for years about turning my blogging workshops into an online course. I’ve wanted to be more deliberate in my blog and my social media platforms. And there was one other absolutely wild fantasy that I’ve had forever and ever…but more about that in a moment…

Remember what I wrote in January, about how marketing was kind of gross…but what if I was really using that idea as a place to hide for fear of failing? If you never try, you’ll never fail, and you’ll never win either, but not failing is a kind of winning—but what if it isn’t?

And it’s not like I don’t know failure. I have two new novels in the bag [or in the drawer; time will tell], another in the clearance bin, and exist in a state of publication limbo, which is why thinking about ways to be more active in my own success was becoming important to me. 2019 began and I had nothing specific to be excited about, which was the very worst thing. I don’t even know how to move forward in that situation…which is why I was very susceptible to the message of that podcast I was listening to in January, a conversation with Amanda Laird and Kelly Diels. I was looking for something, for permission, for inspiration.

Here’s what being a blogger has taught me: absolutely everything about making it up as you go along, figuring it out in pieces, step by step, and always learning, always growing. Trying and failing and trying again.

Blog School is launching in September. (Are you signed up for the mailing list yet??) I’m writing the modules from scratch, and I’m so excited (yay!) and also so happy to be this confident that I have an excellent product to offer.

In terms of my second goal, I really have gone back to the blog, and I’m loving it—and I’m contemplating ideas like selling ads and thinking about how to boost my audience (but not by changing the kind of work I do here) and I’m really excited about all this too.

And finally, the wild dream. A wild dream that I cut down to size so it would fit properly into the life I have and not be overwhelming. A dream that is still in the pilot project phase, and there’s so much learning ahead, and figuring stuff out, but I’ve been happy to have others put faith in this project, which will be bolstered by their expertise (and also by mine!). All will be revealed in the next six weeks or so, but here’s a glimpse of what’s happening in the meantime—or a piece of a logo at least….

I guess this is really happening!! Stay tuned…

Pre-Order my New Novel: Out October 27

Book Cover WAITING FOR A STAR TO FALL

Sign up for Pickle Me This: The Digest

Best of the blog delivered to your inbox each month! The Digest also includes news and updates about my creative projects and opportunities for you to work with me.

New Course Coming in June!

Get My New Free Download: 5 MORE Prompts to Bring Back Your Blogging Spark!

Photo Kerry Clare with her Laptop

My Books

The Doors
Twitter Pinterest Pinterest Good Reads RSS Post