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The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout,…

The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout, or anything else. If you have a post, page, or idea you want to bounce off someone, leave a comment. Your fellow bloggers can then click through and offer input either on your site, or in the comments here (feel free to indicate which you’d prefer).

Read on for the ground rules and to leave a comment . .

  • You’ll get the best feedback if you can be as specific as possible about what you’d like people to respond to or where you’re struggling.
  • Please keep all comments civil and constructive. We’re here to help and support one another, not to beat anyone down.
  • If you haven’t looked at our Commenting Guidelines in a while, now might be a good time.
  • To keep from losing your place in the comment thread while you visit others’ blogs, right-click on a link to open it in a new tab or window.
  • No running on the deck.

Photo by t_a_i_s.

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    1. I’m about to start looking at the content, but I’m not personally keen on the design. I find it very hard to read the dark green text at the top with the black and white background. Just the first thing that struck me.

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    2. I like the way you balance your content with photographs. The copy is the right length, too. I agree with Ainemosh: The background is very difficult. I can’t read your title at all…not enough contrast.

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      1. Hi Jenna, sorry for jumping in midway through someone else’s comment to give you feedback but couldn’t find your request within the masses. I can’t proclaim to know anything about the English premier league, but what I read was sharp, snappy, succinct and knowledgable and so imagine it delivers exactly what it promises for footie fans who aren’t interested in waffle. I like the journalistic feel that your theme adds.

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    3. Content wise, I did find your post on masculinity interesting and I am now following your blog :) It’s just the text/background that I would chance up :)

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    4. I enjoyed reading it dear, and I will certainly follow it. I liked the bits about masculinity and North and South. I am a Northern woman, but since my death, I have only been able to contact the living through my nephew Michael who is a man. Thankfully, he is not too “masculine” to forbid me to use him in this way. He might be a bit too masculine to move down South though, despite the bus fairs being cheaper in London. We both like the idea of breaking away from London along with Scotland to form the Socialist Republic of Northern Britain.
      Keep up the good work on your blog. And keep watching the detectives. Ohh.. Only one criticism. “Inane” only has one n in it dear. And I love the musical bit at the end of each post.

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    5. Overall, I love your blog, especially the “North vs. South” post. (Took me a minute to figure out you’re not on the “left side of the pond” when looking at a map, but when I did, the post made much more sense.)

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    6. My Dear Philly, You do seem to have changed the background and fonts, as I had noticed in the first comment, and the result looks good. As for myself, I find myself too tired, and find that short paragraphs help. Shall get back to You with more later. Regards.

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  1. http://bunehill.com

    I just started a publishing company, Bun E. Hill Publishing, and I’d like to know in the comments on the Community Pool what you all think of the site’s design.

    Our current project is the first book in The Sisters Eternal series, The Sisters Eternal: Ava Faye, which is to debut next month.

    Tell us what you think of the book trailer in the comments section on the site: http://bunehill.com/tse-1-book-trailer/

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    1. At first I was a bit hesitant about how short some your posts are, but after reading a few more I can see that they really work! I also really enjoy your letters. Keep writing!

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    2. The letter idea is unique, and I really admire your consistency. Though I can’t remember the name of the theme, it was a GREAT choice. Most of all, your open-forum-question thing is fantastic and I might just steal it. My only criticism, is that I’d like to see more in each post — we’re here to read. Overall, bravo!

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      1. Thanks!
        I certainly am struggling to make my letters longer… Though I do like breaking up the long posts with the short inspiring quotes I find!
        I could definitely take some tips from you about longer posts! Good on ya!
        One thing would be to update/expand on your about me page :)
        Thanks again!

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      1. Cheers! I made the decision to largely eliminate pictures from my blog; I wanted it to be about the writing.
        I like your thoughts – reminds me of my own blog!

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      1. Thanks, short in what respect? I feel each post is adequate to convey my thoughts. Are you suggesting the posts be longer?
        I read your blog, not really my thing if I’m honest, but is totally related to the post in which you expressed conflict between the pure joy of writing and the results/views; I have been there many times before. In fact, it is why I don’t blog so much these days, I still find joy in writing, but I tend to write in my journal, with a pen. Old skool style.

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    1. This is a really good post, and is just my cup of tea, so I’ll be following for that reason. Two points I’d like to make however, the first is that you should avoid writing big block paragraphs, and the second is that it could be good to try and add a small picture to each post, to make it stand out more. Since the blog is new I would stress the images point! I appreciate all feedback too.

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      1. Thank you so much. I agree with your feedback I will incorporate both those suggestions to my next blog!! :) Thank you for taking the time to read it and to give me the suggestions!!
        I am checking yours out now.

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    1. It’s got some cute moments, but you have to be careful in satire not to sound like you’re ranting. I think it goes on just a tad too long, and you repeat some things that could be removed and make it more streamlined and still interesting/funny.

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      1. Yep, I think you’re right: it’s longer than I meant and I wrote it really out of despair, without planning and without editing the result too much. This is a very helpful comment, thank you for it!

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    2. Hi Mara, I enjoyed it but in areas it became a wee bit “wordy” and you could probably cut through some of that to make it a slightly smoother ride for your readers. It was only around the middle section this seemed to happen and then you reigned it in again. I enjoy opinion pieces and from that point of view, you do demonstrate a clear voice. GOOD WORK! Also like the burnt scroll type effect. Thought this was a apt choice for this blog in particular! x

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      1. Hi, my favourite Glaswegian! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! Your opinion is helping me a lot and you are right: I know I have issues writing sometimes in a too lengthy and unnecessarily complicated manner. Next time I’ll sleep on the post and revise it before publishing to make it more condensed and reader-friendly.

        Also, thanks for liking my blog theme, I’ve mostly had negative responses to it so far, so this comes as a surprise! I love my theme so much that it’s hard to part with it, but I’m thinking I’ll need to change it for a newer theme with more options and customisations :-)

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      2. Yay, thanks. Again, as the administrator it’s hard to actually see how viewers see it if that makes sense? If u see anything weird with configuration your end please let me know. Not very confident in competing with experts as you can see!!!!

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      3. Yep, I see. I noticed nothing wrong on your blog, except the Twitter link. Sometimes I try logging out and browsing my blog as an unlogged user to see how other people really see it — but this has the little disadvantage that then WP doesn’t know it’s you and shows your own hits in your blog stats…

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    1. Twenty-something are popular themes, yet I personally never liked them because they are so uniform and boring. Perhaps changing to a slightly bolder theme would reinforce your content? Besides my rather subjective dislike of the theme, though, I can’t see anything wrong with your blog layout or design!

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      1. Yes, themes :-) There are more than two hundreds of them, so I’m not sure which I’d recommend, what you could do, though, is visiting the Theme Showcase and selecting parameters you want of your new theme — colours, layout, etc. This should help you to find a new theme just to your taste! A link to the theme showcase: http://theme.wordpress.com/

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    2. You can go into your dashboard, click Appearance and then click on Themes. You can sort the themes by free or paid, and then preview each one without committing. It will put your content into the new theme. It’s a good way to see what your content actually looks like in the different themes. I’d recommend that.

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      1. Are you looking at my refereeing blog (the one I have attached to my name) or the blog I posted this morning on Community Pool … my personal blog (totaljenna.wordpress.com). If it’s the referees, it’s actually called “Untitled”

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    3. The best thing, you don’t write it monotonously. It is like reading a poem instead of an article.
      And I have never experienced sunshine like that because here it is too hot, I could hardly comment on what the post reminded me off

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  2. I’ve recently changed my blog layout, and would appreciate feedback. I want it to be a place where people can find out about my published works (I have a static front page), but where I can contribute to the community through my blog. I’d be interested to know if it looks like an ‘authors’ website should, but is also easy to navigate. Any feedback is welcome. I’ve worked hard to develop it over the past couple of months.
    Thanks in advance.
    Mel
    http://www.mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com or http://www.mbarkersimpson.com (either will direct you to the site).

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    1. I think this is a very nice substantive start. I’ve recently learned from Social Media Examiner, that sites have a very short window to get attention. So, I think it is very important to put the word Author right after you name, in big letters. And, quickly tell us what kind of author you are.

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    1. I’m a little confused by the theme, I have to tell you. I can’t tell if this is one post or different ones, or if you just don’t have enough “intro” material in your posts. Maybe it’s just me…

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      1. OH, reblogs. Yes. They do look different in the theme and it can be confusing. I’ve actually stopped reblogging because it messes up my theme. I just do a post and link to things I like.

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  3. I’ve been writing my blog on my experience with dyslexia for just over a month now. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from people (through other social media but little on the blog itself), but I am struggling to work out how best to promote the page and how to bring in new readers. I’ve started trying to create sections of useful links so that it’s more than just my personal rambles and actually helps other people with similar struggles.

    I regularly read, comment, like and follow other blogs on similar topics, but it seems to make very little impact on my reading numbers or followers. Help!

    http://thedyslexicstudent.wordpress.com

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    1. First of all, don’t give up. It’s only been a month. It takes time to build a real following. And, like me, you have a niche blog, so your pool of regular readers is naturally smaller. Just keep doing what you’re doing, focus on building great content, and the readers will come. Don’t worry. :)

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    2. I don’t have a huge amount of followers (though I write more for myself than others so don’t promote myself a huge amount) but from observing others who’s blogs are successful, I’ve found that to make a successful blog you have to write about stuff people are interested in (well duh!) and then show it to the people who will be interested (so many people don’t do that). You said you comment and like blogs on similar topics. A great way to get more people over to your blog is to comment with something like ‘I wrote a post that relates to this post that you might be interested in etc etc’ and then link to your post. Obviously you can only do this if you have a relevant post. I often read the comments on a post I like and if I see a comment like that I will click over to the link. Obviously the more posts you have, the more often you have a relevant post to link to in the comments, but it takes time. The best thing is to focus on content not followers. The content will bring the followers in time.

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      1. Thanks Nikki. I have tried to become more involved with social network pages and users linked to the topic on Facebook, Twitter etc in hope that it will interest some of them. Would linking to your own post on someone elses not be seen as spamming or rude? Or is that something that is fairly common? I don’t think I’m at the stage to have many relevant blog posts at the moment to be able to link, just curious as to if there is an unwritten rule haha.

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      2. The daily post has actually recently discussed this. It depends on the context.
        These two posts are about links in comments:

        https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/stop-plugging/

        https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/good-comment-plugs/

        This post is about generally making good comments:

        https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/perennial-good-comments/

        I think they are all worth a read and are basically the ‘unwritten rules’ but written down :)

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    3. Blogging is exciting, isn’t it? I remember when I first started, I worried myself sick. And, when I finally posted on Sunday, I waited and waited and waited. And…not very much happened.

      Some people seem to have the knack for pulling in zillions of followers, who comment all the time. Sometimes, I wonder if it is because WordPress is all about blogs. Everyone wants to be special. Somehow, a blogger has to stand out in the crowd, and that is not easy. There are a lot of fabulous blogs on here that just take my breath away. I will never be able to compete with them.

      So, I just stopped worrying about being the most popular girl in school, because I’m just not going to be the Prom Queen on WordPress. I came to WordPress to learn to write serious fiction. I’m still recovering from my first finished novel, which…someday…I might rewrite. In the mean time, I post articles about my studies on “how to write”, whether it be concept, or theme, or characterization.

      I count myself lucky a few people share with me. I carry on a regular dialog with them, especially the ones who are struggling through the same things I am.

      Keep writing,

      Silent

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      1. I don’t think it’s really popularity that I am wanting out of it, more that I am looking at the best way to promote it to the right people. I’m going to continue blogging whether it reaches one reader or one hundred readers either way :) I guess I’m just a little baffled that I have had a lot of positive comments from people via Twitter but very little feedback on the actual blog itself. I guess from what other people have said that it will come with time :) Thank you though for your insight, I feel a more confident knowing there are other people who started in a similar way :)

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      2. Twitter and WordPress seem to be far, far different. Twitter is a 127 character, instant feedback world. WordPress’s pace is much, much, much slower. And when the posts appear, they are usually far larger, deeper, and more complex. The mind sets are different. Maybe the entire thought process is different. Thanks, Silent

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  4. I’m having a hard time picking a topic and sticking with it. Anyone want to throw an interesting idea for a topic in my direction? Work better if I have some idea of where to start. Thanks for the help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to figure out what your passion is. If you’re not passionate about your subject, you won’t write regularly. I’ve had to really work until I found what I was passionate about (world soccer referees, of all things), but once I did, the content ideas just flow. It’s easy now. That’s what you want to find.

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    2. Have you tried looking for daily and weekly challenges on WordPress, or out on the net. Maybe you can find some that have interests similar to yours.

      I used prompts like that until I figured out what I wanted out of my blog…to write about what I am learning about the writery craft. Now, I have a huge backlog of topics. I wish I had more time and energy.

      Keep writing,

      Silent

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    1. This is REALLY good. You have serious writing skills and the way you keep your posts short and succinct and yet still prosey is a skill unto itself. I love your point of view and the way you use first person to your advantage. I just love everything about it.

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    1. I love it! And the subject IS my cup of tea. (I write about the referees, and I feel for you guys…never seen Clattenburg – or anyone, really – give that many penalties in one match.) The only thing I would say is that it might need more visual interests. If you could find a theme that supports photos, that would be a good thing. Check out my theme on my blog; the photos do add interest, especially with a subject like football. Keep writing…I love it!

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    2. I think visually you might want to get some pictures or something just to keep the readers eye interested. Obviously difficult if you’re not wanting to breach copyright and don’t get along to games often (I’ll bet it’s blooming expensive getting to Old Trafford week in week out). Again, not my topic (I’m a Liverpool supporter haha), but I think you’re on the right tracks :)

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      1. Ah I think whoever came in after Fergie was going to have it tough. A lot of people grumbled when Liverpool sacked King Kenny and brought in Brendan, but we’re sat second top of the table now he’s been given a little bit of time and support to get a feel for how his team work and for the team to work out how he manages. Think Moyes needs a bit more time to get things back on track.

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    1. This is a really cute post and I can tell it’s well researched. Good job. One nit pick: I sometimes feel that talking about blogging or your blog in a post like this is like the fourth wall in theater; you don’t want to break it. People are on your blog so I think it’s fine to just jump right into the subject without revealing what’s behind the curtain, does that make sense? It’s a great subject, and as a writer, I really enjoyed reading it.

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      1. Thanks for your really encouraging feedback. I think I get what you mean about the 4th wall but I might have to ask you to be more detailed about that, if that’s ok?

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      2. The fourth wall is between the audience and the actors. Once your breach it, the audience loses their “suspension of disbelief” and they remember they’re watching a play. What some bloggers do is talk about the process of blogging or say “I am working on my blog today”… And that’s fine if you’re doing a post about blogging. But if you’re doing a completely different topic, telling me you’re blogging about something (while I’m on your blog) is unnecessary. Does that make sense?

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    2. I really liked your article – very cute and well researched! I would just recommend that you carefully proof read your stuff before posting it as there were a couple of typos here and there (i.e. there was a “can also can also” somewhere in the first half of the article for instance) that I could tell were obviously unintentional but as a big grammar nazi they distracted from the otherwise wonderful read!

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      1. That’s okay! It happens to me all the time as well but what I try to do is write my articles in advance and re-reading them a few hours/day later. Having an extra set of eyes checking out your stuff before publishing articles is always a great idea as well :)
        But I really did enjoy your blog otherwise and think you have a great mix of content in there! :)

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    1. I love the way you serialize this. That is so clever, and something that I think a lot of bloggers should use. It keeps posts from being too long, but also entices readers to come back. Good job.

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    1. To be truthful, I’m not sure there’s something for everyone, but then I may not be your audience (I’m in the center, politically). I do think your blog could use a theme that puts the content more front and center. In this one, there’s a lot of clutter, and not enough “preview” of the text to entice people. I’d love to see you in a “cleaner” theme that showcases your content more.

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    2. Please forgive me if I do not comment on the content. You have many strong, discussion provoking articles. People who disagree with you are going to click out. But, what about the ones who might agree with your, or are curious?

      How do they know what your purpose is? What is your content? How is it organized?

      You might consider a Sticky Post that answers those questions. Remember people will decide in less than ten seconds whether to leave immediately, or linger for a moment.

      Think of your Sticky as a Log Line to a story. Can you answer the purpose of your blog in 27 words or less? After you figure that out, how are you going to show people where articles are, like tabs or pages or something.

      Thank you, Silent

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    1. I really like your blog! You seem to have done everything just right. The theme is easy on the eyes but is very nice, your content is really good, you have images to break up the text, nice work, definitely earned a follow from me! One thing I’d suggest though, make sure you don’t go overboard with the images!

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    2. On the images, it might be better if you could make them a little bigger. You could also try centering them. Right now, having them smaller and right justified “drags” the page to the right and makes the page a bit less scannable. Does that make sense?

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    1. LOVE the “summary” piece. I think that’s such a good conceit for more serious posts like this with a lot of information. That would be good for people to adopt. The only thing I see is the size of the headline. Since I know that’s part of the theme, you’re really going to have to think about your headlines and their length. Longer headlines are going to be really overwhelming. Other than that, I think you’re on the right track.

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      1. Thank you very much, in all honesty, the “summary” part was just a small finishing touch, but I think most of my posts will contain something similar now!
        I know exactly what you mean about the headlines though, a really good point. Thank you Jenna.

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    2. Your blog looks good. The posts are really nice lengths and the actual writing itself is easily to follow and engaging. I really liked the post about self-confidence, and I agree that feeling proud of your achievements is not a bad thing. Why would we aim for something if can’t feel any pride in ourselves for achieving it. What motivation would we have to do things really well?

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      1. That’s exactly the type of thought I wanted to provoke through that post, and I’m extremely happy that you saw that.
        Thank you very much for the compliments, I shall be looking at your blog very shortly.

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    1. Your posts are very long, which I would normally say is a bad thing. In your case, though, I think you’re writing what you need to write. So, I’d focus on scalability. I know you have the asterisks to break up content, but I might go a step forward and add subheads when you moved a new focus. I might also use things like bulleted lists or more photos to give people digestible bites. But your writing is good and I wouldn’t change it.

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    1. I don’t want to shoot you. :) I actually like your blog as it is. The only advice I have is that the second photo on the poems isn’t really necessary (especially when it’s the same as your featured photo). Your featured photos are actually working quite well, and your poems are short enough that you don’t need more visual interest. I think the one photo with each poem would look great and be very readable.

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      1. Thanks Jenna for your wonderful feedback. Actually there is an issue with my chosen theme which pushes me to double post images. The first photo may not appear as I wish to show it…hence the full image at the end. Many thanks again for your positive feedback :-)

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      2. Ohh…yeah. Some things are hard to work with. Maybe look for something different. Although I do love that featured image with your poems…

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  5. I’m trying to find a way to post more often without struggling so much to think of what to write about, or struggling to find the time to write a long post. What do you guys think of regular weekly posts with a set topic such as animal of the week (my blog is all about animals)? nikkiharvey.wordpress.com

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    1. I think setting a topic is a good idea. But I also think it’s easier to think of what to write when you’re really passionate about your subject. Maybe think on what you love, and then write about that – without worrying about potential audiences, etc.

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      1. My problem is kind of that I have too many ideas to write about. I have so many draft posts with just a title and maybe a few bullet points, all of which I’m excited to write about, but sometimes it gets overwhelming trying to decide of what to write but if I had something like ‘every Monday I write something along the lines of….’ I would still love writing it but maybe not be so scatter brained. But from a readers perspective, would this make it seem boring or is it okay when it’s mixed in with other unexpected posts?

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      2. Then I’ll give you my advice to writers: Just write. :) Just pick a post and finish it, and then post it before you have a chance to second chance to talk yourself out of it. Don’t try and overthink it or you’ll never actually write..

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    2. I have set things I do throughout most of the week, from prompts to blog hops. I always leave a day or two open for things that come up and guest posts, but I try to keep the same kind of things on the same days.

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      1. Thanks for the feedback. I’ve just looked at your blog with new eyes and realised that is in fact what you do and I don’t find it boring at all (I found your blog earlier today through tipsy lit and was meaning to go back and have a good look around). Congrats on being the featured post on tipsy lit. It was a really great story :)

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      2. Thank you so much! I keep myself busy during the week, but I’ve found it helps me to stay active in blogging. And I don’t get all fussy with myself when other things come up and I miss something (like that fact that I haven’t posted for Badass Women of History this week at all haha).

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  6. I just opened my personal blog: Total Jenna, to be a place for all my stuff that isn’t in my sports blog. The theme is probably temporary, but I wanted something with visual interest before I got some photos up. Would love some preliminary feedback.

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    1. I like it visually! I think I’d need to see more content before I could really give an opinion. The ‘About’ section needs something in it too haha :) Your sports one looks interesting though. I find myself often grumbling about referees so I will have to check out your blog to get a better idea of what I’m grumbling about ;)

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      1. thanks! Yeah, I literally opened the personal blog this morning, so a lot of the peripheral stuff I just haven’t gotten to yet. It will be where I put my non-sports stuff.

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    2. Looks good so far! Obviously it needs more, but you’re off to a good start! Visually, I like it but will have to see how it works with your content. I look forward to seeing more!

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    3. Congrats on getting a paid gig. I’d be interested in some more information on how to go about that.

      I think that the theme is not my favourite, personally, but I agree it does give visual interest. Maybe you could post more sea pictures, I like the one you have of the coast near you a lot.

      I look forward to a few more posts, but I like what you have now. You write well. Especially look forward to the baking posts that I hope to come.

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      1. Thanks for the feedback! I’ll definitely be posting more stuff soon. I plan to post thoughts about why that story got published very soon.

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