A Blogging We Will Go

Calling all bloggers- experienced or aspiring! Joined by several seasoned bloggers sharing their secret tips, we discussed the ins and outs of creating a blog.

January 14, 2020

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Audio Transcript


Writers’ Circle – A Blogging We Will Go

Presented by Debbie Worman and Diane O’Neill

January 15, 2020

Debbie W: Good evening and welcome to January's Writer Circle. We're happy that you have joined us and can join us for tonight's topic, which I'm very excited about. Tonight's topic is A-Blogging We Will Go. So that's what we're going to do with no delays. So A Blogging We Will Go. Diane and I thought talking about blogging and what that all entails would be exciting. We reached out to people in December, people who joined Writer's Circle, and asked who would like to talk about their blog posts and their blog sites. We found three very interesting people, and it just so happens their names all begin with A: Ann, Annie and Alice. That doesn't mean the only way you can start a blog is if your name begins with A, but that was just so funny. So Annie Chiappetta... Am I saying your name right, Annie?

Annie C.: It's Chiappetta.

Debbie W: Chiappetta. And I knew I would do that, sorry.

Annie C.: That's okay.

Debbie W: Okay, Annie. And then we have Alice Massa and Ann-

Alice Massa: Right.

Debbie W: Oh, good! I got that one right. And then Ann Harrison-Barnes, who so graciously-

Ann H.: Yay!

Debbie W: Yay... who graciously agreed to talk a little bit about their blogs. So we will have all their blog websites, how you can get to their blogs in the show notes. So we won't always go W-W-W. You won't have to hurry up and write it down or whatever. You will always find resources in the show notes. So just be aware of that so you don't have to be taking down those addresses. So blogging. What is a blog? And that was one of the questions we received in the Survey Monkey questions. What is a blog? So for me, I went back and we're just going to do a little definition here. What is a blog? A blog is an abbreviation for weblog, and it's a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. Oftentimes they're diary-type commentaries. People write their blogs, their own personal posts.

Tonight we're going to talk about with the three guests why they have a blog, what is on their blog, how do they decide to post. We're not going to really get into how to do it, not the mechanics yet. We're going to save that for part two, which will be in February. Tonight we just want to talk with Ann and Annie and Alice about why did you start a blog, how do you post, why as a writer do you think it's important to blog? So I'm going to throw out some questions and do this like a podcast format and have them answer. If you have questions that come to mind, just raise your hand and we'll throw them in. Diane, you do the same.

So I've introduced Ann, Annie and Alice. Why don't we start with each one of you tell us a little bit about yourself and the name of your blog site and why you decided to do a blog. I think most of you have had them for a while. Why did you decide years ago to start a blog? Ann, why don't we start with you?

Ann H.: Okay. As Debbie said, my name is Ann Harrison-Barnes. I am an author. I'm a professional freelance writer and a blogger, and I also run a podcast called Inspirational Journeys. Well, to start the blog, when I first started it almost 10 years ago, I wanted to make money blogging. I saw a job posting somewhere where somebody wanted a person who had a WordPress blog to make money publishing posts to their blog. So I decided to start a WordPress blog thinking, "Okay, I'm going to be able to do this." That didn't happen. A year later, I realized... that wasn't necessarily the why, but what I did realize was that I had so much more potential. So I started writing out my thoughts and musings about spirituality, music and other stuff, and then it just blossomed from there. It turned into writing tips, show notes for the podcast, special book promotions if people wanted me to promote their book but didn't want to be on a podcast. I've done a couple of blog interviews. It's a hodge-podge of different things. So it's a multi-purpose kind of thing.

Debbie W: Okay. Thank you, Ann.

Ann H.: Oh, and before I forget, my website is annwritesinspiration.com.

Debbie W: Okay, great.

Ann H.: That's A-N-N-W-R-I-T-E-S inspiration.com.

Debbie W: Okay. And then once again, we'll have that in our show notes so people can access that. Thank you. If anybody's been on Writer's Circle before, everybody knows Ann has a lot of energy. She has YouTube, a podcast, blogs, you're on Pinterest. So we're going to tap into your energy and see how you can even add blogging to that. So Alice, tell us a little bit about your blog and why you were interested in started in a blog.

Alice Massa: Thank you and Happy New Year and happy writing year to everyone. This is Alice Massa and I'm from Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, here in Milwaukee, is where I spent my last 20 years of teaching; and after retiring from a teaching career, I wanted to write. I had taught writing for many years, and I always told myself while I was grading those stacks of paper into the wee hours of the night and morning that I would someday spend more of my time on writing. And that's how I envisioned my retirement. So indeed, that is what I decided to do. Now while I was teaching full-time at the technical college, I did have a GeoCities website for my students for a number of years, and then eventually, the college required that we have a Blackboard site for our students, and I did that for the final number of years that I was teaching. So obviously, it was just a natural journey for me to go from that work to a blog. So in January, exactly seven years ago, I began my blog and I decided on the name of Word Walk because I have a guide dog. At that time, I had Zoe; now I have Willow.

While I'm walking with my guide dog, because I try to walk about four miles a day, I frequently think about ideas for writing. So Word Walk seemed like a good name for my... So it's Alice13, because I began the blog in 2013, actually January 19th of 2013, alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com. And I know Debbie's going to put that in the show notes, so I won't say that again. But having been a classroom teacher for so many years, I think you'll find many times teachers in the classroom become sometimes thought of as control freaks because we're in control of that classroom, whether we're teaching young people or adults, as I mostly taught. And I suppose I have been guilty of that. I like to be in control of the situation, and I think that's what good teachers and good writers are. So I find that blogging suits that way of my personality. I can be in complete control of what I write and what I post on my blog.

One of my degrees was in journalism, and from the very first course I took, report and newspaper writing, to one of the latter courses... now get this title, how our world has changed... newspaper management and publishing... I'm sure that course is not offered today. But at the time, I thought, "Oh my, if one day I could have my own little small town newspaper." But way back in fifth grade, I did have a little newsletter that I began. I've always been interested in writing. I loved to write as a young child. I continued that through all of my education and also through my teaching. So it just seemed a natural progression for me to begin a blog.

Sometime before we end this evening, I have quick eight little tips for preliminary work that you can do before our February meeting if you are seriously considering a blog. And since I just Brailled these out today, I'm going to also share these with Debbie. So if she wishes, she can put these in her course notes, but I'm thinking about putting them on my blog as well.

Debbie W: Okay, Alice. That's great [crosstalk]. We'll be sure to do that. I think that's great that you did that. I like your enthusiasm for helping everybody learn how to do a blog. So, Annie-

Annie C.: Yes.

Debbie W: ... you want to share your blog site and why you decided to blog, how long you've been doing it, and what your inspiration is?

Annie C.: Sure. My blog is called thought-wheel.com, and I originally started it as a way for me to talk about and share my experiences with my first guide dog. I've been a writer for a long time. I've been writing since I was probably, I don't know, seven... stories, poems, things like that. I've had a lot of thing to share and had been part of a writer's group for a long time. Then this whole blog thing came up, and I was really intrigued by it. That was also around the time I was learning assistive technology, having lost my vision. So all these things worked together to push me towards a blog. My other writing friends, who interestingly enough had vision, were helping me find the right place so that I could find a blog site and a website that was accessible to my assistive technology. So we decided Blogspot was the best place for me.

Back then, blogs were a little different. They would have a website or a server that would control everything and you were just one of many, like the early predecessor to Facebook. So there were some things you could control as a blogger and some things you couldn't. Now it's much more fluid and flexible, and you have a lot more decisions to make about your blog, where you want to put it and domains. But way back in 2008 and 2007, it was a little easier. So I started that and in 2009, I got my first guide dog and the material just seemed to flow out of me. I would blog probably about once a week or so. Then I thought, well, maybe I should put some of my old material on there. So there's some poetry. There's a lot of articles. I put serious thought into what I wanted people to read about me, and it just progressed from there. Since then, I've moved my blog over to WordPress. I have social media and all kinds of things to help support my blogging experience, and I have about 500 followers.

Debbie W: Wow! Good for you. Excellent. Well, from those three speakers there, I already have about a hundred questions I could ask. I've just been jotting notes, and so many things came to mind. But what I want to say is each one of these I've had time... and Diane, you have too, right... to read their blogs. Each one-

Diane O: Is wonderful.

Debbie W: ... is wonderful, just wonderful.

Diane O: Yes.

Debbie W: I'm blown away and really impressed, so congratulations to all of you. The words that came through to me were: Things flow, there's a desire, things worked together, came together, it was a natural progression, I wanted to share. So one of the things to keep in mind for those of you out there who've ever considered starting a blog, some of the best advice that I can give you is something I'm going to give myself: Just get started. Get going. Go for it. My goal this year was to start a journal. I haven't started a journal because I'm a perfectionist, and I haven't started it because I want it to be perfect. That's nonsense. I need to get going. The same way with blogging. So you have to ask yourself these questions in the same way that Ann, Annie and Alice have years ago when they started their blogs. What's my intention? What are my goals? Why do I want to start a blog? What creative energies do I want to use? Really find your niche. What do you want to write about? What's your passion? Abby, I'm going to call on you. You have your hand up. Go ahead, Abby.

Abby: Okay, well, yes, I also have a blog and unfortunately, I'm sorry I missed your call for bloggers in December. My email-

Debbie W: Well, Abby, you should because your name begins with an A, and we're only accepting people who have blogs with the letter A.

Abby: Like I said, I'm sorry I missed your call or otherwise I would have volunteered to be on. But I can still talk about my blog, and then next month, if you want to talk more about it, I can certainly talk more then. I'll leave that up to you, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm here if you need me.

Debbie W: Okay. How about if I leave you unmuted and that if you have things to add, just chime in. Okay?

Abby: Okay, sounds good. Thank you.

Debbie W: I'm lowering your hand but leaving you unmuted, Abby, only because your name begins with an A.

Abby: Okay, thank you.

Debbie W: This is our theme tonight. Okay.

Diane O: And I even thought of Abby when we had our planning meeting too.

Debbie W: Okay. Kevin, your hand is up. You want to go ahead, Kevin?

Kevin: I also have a blog and it's at the very, very beginning stages. I'm probably at the just do it, just start it stage. I forget who said 500 followers, sounds tremendous. So I have fewer than 20 at this point and also fewer than 20 posts. But I also have a journalism degree and started off in journalism and moved on into some other things. I just want to write full-time now as much as I can, and the blog is a big part of it. So I call it the Page Seven Blog, and it would be at www.burtonmedia.org. It is styled as an old-style newspaper column that most of the major newspaper used to have somebody who would write a column about three times a week, something like that. That's how it is designed, but I'm hoping if some of you will follow that that you'll see it change into more of a new-style blog that has more features to it. So I'm really just learning. I know nothing at all about search engine optimization, nothing at all, but I've just got a skill to write and I've got some stuff out there at burtonmedia.org.

Debbie W: Well, Kevin, great for you for getting started. Congratulations, that's the first step. If you want to email me your blog site, we can put it in our show notes, and if you're comfortable with that, people visiting the Hadley website will see those show notes and maybe you'll get some more viewers then. So go ahead. Anybody who would like their blog spot put in the show notes, please email me with your permission to do so. I'd appreciate that. My email address is my last name, W-O-R-M-A-N, @hadley.edu. If you don't have email, just give me a call at the 800-323-4238 Hadley toll-free number. Okay, so let's move forward in our conversation, maybe ask people who we have on as our guests what do you wish you'd known when you first started your blog? What do you wish you'd known way back then in hindsight?

Annie C.: This is Annie. I wish I would have known more about what Kevin just talked about, search engine optimization, what that exactly was, how it would have helped me promote my blog a little better, things like that. I went into it just totally like, "Okay, I'm going to do this. I don't really know much, but I'll figure it out."

Alice Massa: This is Alice, and I wanted to mention earlier that another impetus for my beginning my blog was the international organization of writers with disabilities that is called Behind Our Eyes. And Abby, who was on earlier, is president currently of that organization, Behind Our Eyes. Having been a member of that for a year or two and hearing about the blogs that Abby and another couple of members were working on and posting at that time, they were of great inspiration to me. Then they had one of their meetings focused on blogging, and I began to think, "Well, if they could do it, surely I can try." And so that's what I did. It's just having the idea in your head that other people are doing blogs, and so with your speech program or Braille Access or large print, Zoom Text, whatever you're using, you can do a blog also. And that was of great inspiration to me, and I'm always so thankful to Dion and Abby and other people of our Behind Our Eyes organization for giving me that inspiration and just that feeling that I can also. I just also wanted to mention... Debbie, you had mentioned early about a diary-type blog. Mine is definitely not that. I blog at least once a week on Wednesday evenings. Wednesday is the day that I have for my posting of my blog. In April, National Poetry Month, I did blog many more times than once a week, for example, but most often, it's once a week. I think it is good to have a specific time or time period when one blogs. I think that is helpful to the readers who do want to follow your blog and so forth. I refer to my blog as a literary blog because I really do try to have it edited and proofread extremely well. I try to have it set up as poetry or personal essay or on occasion short stories, but they're all extremely well edited. So mine is not at all a diary.

Debbie W: [crosstalk] I guess I didn't mean a diary as in a dear diary. I meant more in they're dated, usually entries are dated.

Alice Massa: Yes, I always date them.

Annie C.: Like in a journal format.

Debbie W: Yeah, usually entries are dated. I guess that's what I meant by... So thanks for clarifying that. Generally, a blog, it would be in reverse chronological order. You would put your... like today would be January... What is today, people?

Diane O: Fourteenth.

Group: The 14th.

Debbie W: Okay, January 14th. So I would blog tonight, and then tomorrow's blog, January 15th, would be on top of that. January 16th would be on top of that.

Ann H.: But they're all archived.

Debbie W: And then things are archived. So I'm going to bounce off of what people are saying a little bit. I like the fact, Alice, that you termed yours a literary blog. So people can blog about anything. You can blog about parenting. I know somebody had emailed and wanted to start a parenting blog. You can blog about a cancer journey. You can blog about food. Oh, gosh, yes, you can blog about food. I'd read that one if it was chocolate.

Ann H: Well, there's that one by that gal who did all of Julia Child's recipes and blogged about it. What was that called? Julie and Julia. It's actually a true story. I think that was back in 2000... When was that? 2010, 2011, something like that is when that movie came out. [crosstalk] and read the book.

Debbie W: Well, let's talk about why writers blog. Let's talk about why writers blog, why you as writers blog [crosstalk]. Some of the reasons that I've learned that writers blog or why writers should... But one of the reasons why writers blog is to keep your writing disciplined. It really hones your writing. It hones creativity. It focuses on your writing. It can also build your readership a little bit. It helps you write more consistently. It also attracts interest in your writing. So those are all reasons why maybe writers want to write. It builds connections. I think that's what you said, Ann, earlier. It helped you connect to the writing community.

Ann H.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Debbie W: I have a few hands up I want to get to. Diane, your hand is up, so go ahead.

Diane: Yeah, yeah. I just wanted to mention... This is something... I know a lot of writers blog, and it's excellent. But I think one thing we all have to be careful of, if we put something on our blog, that means we may not be able to submit it to a publisher because a lot of publications, they will say if you've previously published, we don't want it, and that includes something on your website or blog. So it's just something to be aware of. It's fine to put something in your blog but with the idea that you're not going to be submitting it elsewhere probably.

Ann H.: Absolutely, yeah.

Diane: So I just wanted to bring that out there because that's important if you do want to submit what you're blogging, what you're writing [crosstalk].

Debbie W: Yeah, that is one of an excellent point that came up in our pre-planning session that you want to remember.

Ann H.: Debbie, can I jump in real quick?

Debbie W: You certainly can.

Ann H.: Because I didn't get a chance to answer the question. One of the things... Well, I will agree with Annie. I wish I had known about search... the search option... Ugh, I can't even talk.

Debbie W: Search engine optimization?

Ann H.: Right, SEO, search engine optimization. Right. I can't even talk. I wish I had known about that. I also wish I had known years ago how to upload photos. I just learned that last year. I mean, I've done it through the WordPress app, but doing it on the site, I finally had somebody help me with that. She wrote instructions as to how to do it, and then since then, I've had to deal with some changes WordPress has gone through, but I figured it out from there. And that's an important thing, too, that I'm hoping we can get to tonight.

Debbie W: Okay. I definitely think we're going to need a part two to this because we have a lot to cover.

Annie: Yes.

Debbie W: Tatiana, your hand is up. I'm going to unmute you. Do you have a question or a comment?

Tatiana: Yes. My question is which one comes first, the blog or the website?

Debbie W: Oh, that's a really good question.

Diane O: Yes, that's a good question.

Abby: When I got married, my husband gave me a website domain and hired someone to manage it for me as a wedding present, and that was even before I'd really thought about doing a blog. Then several years later, I started the blog, but it's always been pretty much separate from my website. But I don't think it matters. If you're not that comfortable with the Web, it might be a good idea to start a blog first, and then once you feel more comfortable with it, then you can move on and try and do a website.

Debbie W: You heard a couple of people mention WordPress, and WordPress is a hosting provider. It's a content management system. So WordPress has wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Wordpress.com and wordpress.org, we've heard people talk about WordPress, and WordPress is a content management system, or a CMS for you techies out there. So WordPress is one of the most popular places to host a blog. Okay? Think of a hosting provider has the land that your house sits on. So you need a hosting provider. WordPress is very accessible. They even have an accessibility blog. I mean, I was on their site quite a bit this week, and we're going to send you some links in the show notes... very, very helpful. And then next month, we're going to talk more about WordPress, but you could also use Blogger. Blogger is another hosting site, Tumblr, wix.com or Squarespace. But the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, without getting into a lot of details, is most people use wordpress.org. It is a self-hosted site where you pick your own domain name. You have a web host account, and you use Bluehost as your hosting provider. And believe me, I'm not an expert, but a lot of the things I read said wordpress.org is the best place for beginners to start. So think of it as, yes, you need the land. You need a hosting provider. So you need something like WordPress. Then you need to build your house, which would be your website. Your website can be your blog. I mean, the website or your blog. And then you need your mailbox, which is your email. You need your address, which is your domain name. So if you think of it in that way, those are the kinds of the things you need to think about. So you can use WordPress, you can use Blogger, you can use Tumblr, you use W-I-X.com or Squarespace; but we're hearing a lot from WordPress, and 37% of blogs on the Internet are WordPress. So do people use WordPress? Is that what people are using?

Annie C.: This is Annie. Yes.

Alice Massa: Wordpress.com. I didn't even know there was a wordpress.org. Does anybody have a wordpress.org? Because [crosstalk]-

Abby: Last year, I started maintaining my own site on wordpress.org. I took a class from Mystic Access on how to start and maintain a website, and a friend of mine, who is also a writer, does web hosting and is hosting me. So, yeah, and my site is a wordpress.org site.

Ann H.: Mine is actually hosted on wordpress.com. Because I don't know all the techie stuff that you would need to know for wordpress.org. I do know that one of our Behind Our Eyes members, his is also on wordpress.org.

Debbie W: Okay, yeah. So-

Annie C.: Yeah, my site is a DreamHost site. This is Annie. Because I have a webmaster that helps me with everything.

Debbie W: Okay, great. So again, I want everybody to remember, everybody that's listening, everybody who's thinking about this, believe me, when I knew we were doing a discussion group on blogging, I panicked. I knew nothing about blogging. And as soon as I started researching this, I thought, "Wow, I can do this." Little old me who's not very tech savvy can do this. So I'm real excited about it.

Alice Massa: And a couple of people here have mentioned about having webmasters and so forth, but I want everybody to know that you can do a simple blog posting on your own as well [crosstalk]. I want everybody to know that the only time that I had assistance was for the initiation of my blog, a couple of hours or less, an hour or two one afternoon seven years ago. I've done everything else myself. I have no usable vision at all.

Debbie W: Yeah, and really, Alice, it's an excellent point and one that I really like, is we have such a diverse group of writers and people at different levels. And again, people do blogs for different reasons. So you have to really ask those core questions I was asking before. What is your intention? Who do you want your audience to be? How do you want to reach them? So if you want a simple blog, yes. If you need a webmaster, yes. If you need more, yes. Find your niche and what's going to work for you because you may need some bells and whistles that somebody else might need. We haven't talked about pro blogging. People sometimes want to get into blogging to make money. I hear there's money to be made. I hear it's not easy. But that's another whole niche. So it's really the intention of the blogger. I'm sure there's a lot of people on tonight who came to listen for different reasons. But I think there are very simple ways to start a blog, and that's what I was excited about. I thought I would need a lot of technical help as well, Alice.

Diane O: For a simple way, when I was talking to Lisa, because we were talking about we'd wait until next time to go into the real nitty-gritty of the technical start-up, she suggested something that I hadn't thought of. There's also microblogging. In other words, if you have a Twitter account or you're on Facebook, you could blog on there if you wanted to just to start out with. In fact, a friend of mine, when she was out of work for a month or two, she blogged every day on Facebook about her experience. So every day there was a different Facebook post about her experience, her feeling, what she was doing, and it was just interesting. So I just wanted to put that out there as another option.

Alice Massa: And I'd like to give just a few things for people to think about who do not yet have a blog, but who are thinking about it before we meet in February. Now, I'm going to add a few things to what Debbie has already mentioned. The why, having a focus for your blog that Debbie mentioned, I think that's what you have to start thinking about first. Something that Annie mentioned, and I hope she'll talk about a little more at our pre-planning meeting, was about whatever you write, be wise, be careful because that is going to be in cyberspace forever.

Annie C.: Oh, yes.

Alice Massa: So think about your focus and what you want to accomplish, whether it's to inform, to persuade, to entertain, no matter what your purpose is or a combination thereof. Then also think about genres. Kevin earlier mentioned to us that he is writing in the form of a newspaper column. I think that's a great idea. I'd like to read Kevin's blog, being an old journalist myself. But think about do you want to have just one style of writing, just one genre? Do you want just personal essay, just poetry, just general essays, or do you want to sometimes have a short story, write about yourself, what you're doing? Decide that. Or do you want to do what I do, which is a variety? Now, Debbie and Ann mentioned moneymaking with a blog. My personal opinion is that when you have a variety, I am pleasing myself as a writer. But I think if you are interested in any hope of making money from your blog, I think it has to be focused in one very specific direction, in one type of writing. Now that's just my opinion, but for me, I'm happier with the variety. My most recent blog was part essay and a poem to start off the New Year. So even within one blog post, I'll sometimes have a variety of writing. So decide on that. You can think of that ahead of time. Then also, as Debbie said, think of the name, that unique name for your blog. Have a list because you're going to find, as I did, that many of those names are already taken. If you're going to work with a sighted reader or an assistant, even think about the password in advance that you want to create. That saves time, and when you have someone helping you out, it's always good to be mindful of that person's time. So the more of these things you can have done in advance, I think you'll be happier and whoever assists you will be happier also. One of the parts of WordPress is to have a profile that's about you and your blog. It's an introduction of yourself and your blog. I'd have that already written. That will help to give you focus as well. If you have that written, then when you initiate your blog, you can post that profile right away. It can also serve as a welcome to your blog. Every blog on WordPress has the opportunity to have a tagline. So you can think before our February meeting about having a tagline for your blog. It's usually one sentence. Again, it's giving focus and purpose to your blog for readers to know what you're doing with this blog.

Debbie W: Alice, what is your tagline?

Alice Massa: Mine is, and I was actually going to say that next: This WordPress site is a Word Walk at the intersection of Alice Avenue and Memory Lane. I thought having that intersection of Alice Avenue and Memory Lane... Much of what I write is about my Italian-American family, history, heritage and about my small town in rural Indiana where I grew up. So I do go down Memory Lane quite a bit on my blog. But I put Alice Avenue there, too, because sometimes there are things about my guide dog and current things that I'm doing as well.

Alice Massa: Okay. One final thing and this was truly the last one on the list. I think before you decide to post, have at least one blog post ready. So, it's your name, the tagline, and the profile, and at least one blog post ready to post. That's it. All of them on my list. Thank you.

Debbie W: Thank you, Alice. Thanks for putting that together for us. I appreciate that. Thanks a lot.

Alice Massa: And I'll provide that for the show notes also.

Debbie W: Great. I have area code 845, ending in 918. I'm going to unmute you. You have a comment or a question?

Cheryl: Hi, it's Cheryl. First of all, thank you, everyone. What I wanted to put out there is that what I have found... I have a website, but I'm a children's author, so I want to have a separate blog and finding the right person to set that up. What I found with Wix is that you can't make a lot of changes to the website through the app or on the iPad, even if you go through Chrome. So WordPress I know is more accessible. Thank you for telling us that those accessible... whatever title you said... So that's where I'm at, just trying-

Debbie W: Yeah, it's WordPress. I may have said that wrong, but WordPress, yeah.

Cheryl: That's what I meant, yeah. Thank you. Yeah, that they're accessible. I just appreciate it and thank you for the... And I think WordPress is more... That's what I'm looking for. People who are using Apple products who have the ability to post pictures to not only their blog posts but make changes to their site using the iPad in particular, and with Wix you can't do that. Okay, thank you.

Debbie W: [crosstalk] Let me throw out a connection here. It's a good place to introduce this. All the discussion groups now at Hadley now have Facebook groups. So some of you who are thinking about blogging and have questions for each other, if you want to go to Hadley's website and join the Writer's Circle Discussion Group, Facebook, and maybe talk more about this... because it sounds like there's a lot of interested people and you want to share your ideas. So that would be one way to do that if you're on Facebook and want to do that. So go to Hadley's Facebook page and you can find all the discussion group Facebook groups.

Ann H.: And you can search for Hadley Writer's Circle to find it-

Annie C.: Yes.

Ann H.: ... on Facebook. That's how I found it.

Debbie W: Okay, great. Thanks. Thanks for adding that. I appreciate that.

Debbie W: Kim, I'm going to unmute you. Kim, go ahead please.

Kim: Hi. I was just wondering if you just want to do a simple blog, do these things cost money?

Debbie W: No.

Ann H.: No.

Annie C.: No.

Debbie W: [crosstalk] wordpress.com is [crosstalk].

Abby: You set it up on wordpress.com and you're good to go. Now, I don't know... When I set mine up on wordpress.com, I had site assistance because I couldn't figure it out. But that was in 2010 [crosstalk].

Debbie W: Let me just say wordpress.com costs a little more than wordpress.org. Both-

Alice Massa: No-

Ann H.: No, actually [crosstalk]. Wordpress.com is free.

Abby: [crosstalk] They are free, but if you set up a website and you need a domain name, you do pay a little bit for that.

Diane O: Yeah, for blogs, the blogs are free.

Cheryl: Oh, okay. Okay. Yeah [crosstalk].

Ann H.: And the app is accessible.

Annie C.: I've been blogging for seven years, and my archives, everything is still there.

Debbie W: To blog is free, but to set up your web page [crosstalk] and your website and your domain name, there is a small fee. I think it's $2.99, two dollars and 99 cents [crosstalk]. Not two hundred... It's two dollars. Okay?

Ann H.: I pay $99 a year.

Debbie W: Yeah. Nicole, your hand is up. I'm going to unmute you.

Nicole: Okay. Well, now I do have a blog. I am self-posting it. The company I'm using is called Hostwinds. So obviously, I have wordpress.org. But my blog... actually, it's a website, but it will have a blog on it that will have YouTube and stuff. So it's an entertainment blog, but my site is abluegroomgalaxy.com.

Debbie W: Yeah. Would you send that, Nicole? If you want me to put that in the show notes, I'd be happy to. So just send it to my email address.

Nicole: Yep. And then I was going to say the thing about wordpress.com is they do put ads on there, and you can't control them.

Debbie W: Yeah, and that's-

Ann H.: You can. Yeah, you can. You can sign up for WordAd... AdWord... So what is it? WordAds? Or you don't have to... Now some of the free ones, I have seen this post is ad-supported. But I actually signed up for WordAds. So you can choose not to do that.

Debbie W: And that's one of the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Org doesn't have the ads. There were a couple of questions that came in through Survey Monkey that I'd like to address. Everybody that gets an email that alerts you to the new discussion groups, there's a link on there that you can ask questions beforehand, and we appreciate that, that you're using that to submit questions ahead of time. Please keep those to topic-related questions. We'd appreciate that. And then other questions, you can always email Diane and myself. One question is are blogs public or private?

Ann H.: Depends on how you set it.

Abby: It depends. Yeah, you can choose to have it private. You can choose to have it public. However you want it, it's your choice.

Debbie W: Yeah, so public goes to everyone, right? And you can find it in a search engine?

Ann H.: As long as you have your posts tagged and categorized.

Debbie W: Okay [crosstalk].

Alice Massa: I do not tag mine. They are found in search engines because I have done research, and my own blogs have come up.

Diane O: Yeah, and it would depend on how you set that up.

Alice Massa: [crosstalk] when I'm doing research and I'm looking for something, and then my own blog that has not been tagged comes up. So they do come up.

Diane O: Yeah, there's certain things. You can hit only these readers, where you just have a private group or specific people you invite to. You can have a hidden blog, which blocks search engines. So again, it's all going to be in your set-up. It's all going to be in your set-up.

Abby: Diane, can I just jump in here for a minute? This is Abby. I used to not categorize and tag. Then when I learned how to do that, I discovered that my posts drew a lot more readers, at least likes, and followers when I started categorizing and tagging my posts.

Ann H.: Mine too.

Abby: And that's why I have [crosstalk] over 500 followers now.

Alice Massa: [crosstalk] true. I just need to clarify the other point. I agree 100% with you, Abby, but I just didn't want people to think they won't come up if you don't have them tagged [crosstalk].

Abby: Well, no, what I'm saying, Alice, is if you want to draw more readers to your blog-

Alice Massa: [crosstalk] for more people to come to your blog, yes.

Abby: ... it's a good idea to categorize. And we can cover that next month, to categorize and tag your posts.

Debbie W: That's a very good topic for next time.

Annie C.: This is Annie. I'd like to add something.

Debbie W: Yeah, we have about eight minutes left.

Annie C.: You all made me think about blogging and Google. If anyone wants to know more about themselves and their presence on the Web, I would recommend that you search for yourself and see what comes up because it's a very eye-opening experience. And as a writer or a presence on the Web, you really should do that [crosstalk].

Debbie W: I have 608, ending in 764, one hand up. I want to get to 608, ending in 764. Go ahead, please.

Susan: Hi. This is Susan. Can you copyright what you put on the Web or put copyrighted stuff on?

Ann H.: Actually, when you... And this is something that I found out through the Library of Congress. Anything you write is automatically copywritten unless you sell the rights or you're writing for somebody else. So anything that's up there is yours.

Diane O: That's what I have heard too.

Annie C.: Yes. And Annie, I'd like to add that if you want... Whatever you put up there, since it's considered a submission and public, so if you're going to submit it to a publisher, you have to be careful because that's considered previously published work.

Debbie W: Okay. Somebody had a question on Survey Monkey about using Blogger, setting up a homepage. Of course, that's a very specific question we can't address tonight. So what we'll talk about next week is probably a lot about WordPress because that seems to be the most accessible. If people have questions they would like us to address next... Did I say next week or next month?

Ann H.: [crosstalk] You said next week, but you meant next month.

Diane O: Everybody knew you meant next month.

Debbie W: You're all going to commit me somewhere after tonight, I think. So next month, February, if you have questions for Diane or myself and for your other Writer's Circle participants, please email Diane or myself. Again my email is Worman@hadley.edu. Diane, what's your email address?

Diane O: It's Diane, D-I-A-N-E, @hadley.edu.

Debbie W: Really appreciate the discussion. I appreciate our four A's... Abby, Alice, Annie and Ann... and everybody else that joined in with their expertise on blogging. And again, this was just a general jump in, see what it is, get excited about it. I love the enthusiasm in the Zoom Room. Again, I apologize for my disconnect at times and my cell phone going off. I apologize for that [crosstalk].

Annie C.: Happens to everybody.

Debbie W: I appreciate your patience with me. I thought it was a good discussion. I learned a lot and, again, I'm really excited about possibly when I get my new computer to maybe start a blog. If you would like your blog site to be posted on the show notes, please do email me, and please do join the Facebook group if you want to connect with your Hadley writer's discussion group peoples. So Diane, do you want to-

Alice Massa: It's been really interesting to hear how many people are here tonight and how many people have blogs [crosstalk] either on the show notes or next month to see the percent of people who are here who actually have blogs.

Debbie W: Yeah. Well, we can do a quick raise your hand. If you have a blog, raise your hand. So four out of 30 and then count all of our guest speakers. So not as many as I would have thought.

Ann H.: Eight of us.

Debbie W: Yeah. Okay, eight out of 30. Okay. Diane, do you want to talk about that writing contest we discussed?

Diane O: Sure. Marilyn sent an email to Hadley asking us to share news about this contest, and it sounds pretty exciting. It's from the National Federation of the Blind Writers' Division. They have an annual youth and adult writing contest. I'm going to read you the email, the questions. It's Shelley Alongi at Queenofbells@outlook.com. But again, that'll be in the show notes and also feel free to call me, too, if you have any questions. I'll have this. But it started on January 1st. The contest closes on April 30th. The adult categories are short fiction, nonfiction, including personal essay and memoir and poetry. There's prizes and let's see... You have to be 18 or older. You don't have to be blind to enter. They only consider unpublished original entries. And considering our topic, listen to this, please do not submit entries that have been published on a website or blog. And fiction and nonfiction can be any mainstream genre and cannot exceed 3,000 words. They accept poetry of any length, and you can submit multiple pieces. I think there is a small fee for submitting. Let's see. No, there isn't. No, there isn't. But you can submit different... And you submit it to, let's see... You have to have a cover letter that goes with it. Yeah, there is a fee. For every short story, it's $15 or $20 for non-members and the fee for nonfiction, same, $15, $20 for non-members. And you email it to, again, Shelley Alongi at Queenofbells@outlook.com.

Debbie W: [crosstalk] Yeah, we'll have all of that on our show notes.

Diane O: It'll be on the show notes, so don't worry if you miss... And if you don't have internet access and you want the information, just give me a call and I'll read it out to you. No problem.

Debbie W: Okay. So again, this is Debbie Worman, and I do appreciate everybody's attendance tonight. I really thought it was an interesting group, and I enjoyed hearing about blogging.

Diane O: I will send you out with the writer prompts. And let me also say thank you to the three A's and Abby. Thanks for all the information. It was great. Okay, prompts. This is from this book I love, Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes by Roberta Allen. Two prompts are, one, write about a risk. Okay? Or write something about something invisible. So either write about a risk or write about something invisible. Happy writing.