To Pin or Not to Pin

This is something I struggle with. I often forget to pin things to Pinterest, even when it’s in my interests to do so.

It’s often said that pinning items on Pinterest attracts more viewers, readers, or customers. It’s also said that pinned articles have a longer shelf life than those that don’t. I haven’t noticed if either of these are true or not.

However, I don’t yet pin consistently. In a time of making changes to what I do and how I do it when it comes to this blog, this is one more thing I’m changing.

Every time I publish a post, I will pin it. Maybe after a while, I will be able to look at my stats and see a difference.

Riddle me this: Do you use Pinterest for your business/blog/writing? Have you noticed a difference when you do vs when you don’t?

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Choosing Pictures for Blog Posts

I thought I would share a little peek behind the scenes and talk about how I choose pictures for blog posts.

First, I start with the topic of the blog post. If it’s a general post, I might just use a picture of me. If it’s about something specific, like this one, I know I need one that’s more relevant.

Second, I will look at the images I already have uploaded to my blog. Sometimes I can reuse one of them. I’ve done that several times. If I don’t find a usable one, I will look in the photo library of pictures I have taken.

If I don’t find a photo I want to use from my files, I have two more options. I can either take a photo or use one from the WordPress library.

It’s easy to get caught up in the image search and spend too much time on it. I’ve actually opted to publish a post without an image if I can’t find one and am short on time. I try not to do that very often, though.

Third, when I have the image in place, I finish the post. I will give it a once-over, set the category and tags, and publish or schedule the post.

That’s a little bit about how I do it things. What about you? Do you always include photos with your blog posts?

January Wrap-Up

Is it just me or was January both the longest and the shortest month ever? I didn’t quite meet all of my goals for the month, but I did pretty good.

My theme for the month was “content.” As in, creating content. To help with this, I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I ended up not completing the challenge, for a variety of reasons. However, I did get more posts up than I usually do in January. That’s a win itself.

Other things I did for January is

  • 5 Days to Increased Creativity challenge
  • 5 Days to Planner Peace challenge
  • Signed up for and started a Tunisian crochet class with Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts.
  • Finished two crocheted shawls.
  • Planned out the next JEN Enterprises Presents title (hybrid planning).

January was a challenging month, but it was ultimately a good one. I’ll have another wrap-up at the end of this month too.

Begin at the Bell

The following is an excerpt from 80 Creativity Tips.

A friend of mine said this before writing exercise we did at the kick-off party flash meeting with a lot for the local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) group.

“Begin at the bell” is actually pretty good advice. When it comes to working on our creative projects, we almost always say we don’t have time.

Make time! Otherwise, it will never get done.

Get a timer. Set it for no less than 15 minutes, preferably 30. If you can, have a bell ring to signal the beginning. If not, start the very second your hand comes off the timer.

Whatever it is you do, then do it. Right. Draw. Paint. Cook. Dance.

Create!

When the timer goes off, you can stop, but not before. Give yourself at least that 15 minutes. If you are going good when the time is up, turn the timer off–or reset it–and keep going.

At the end of your time, step back. Look at what you have done and pat yourself on the back.

This is important: Do not evaluate or critique what you have done. Now is the time for creating, not for editing or judging. There will be time for that later.

Here are some tips for you on your work with a timer:

  • Don’t look at the timer. Turn it away from you. If it’s on your phone, turn the display off or turn your phone over.
  • Don’t stop and wonder how much time you have left, no matter how much you want to know.
  • Time isn’t important except as a way to get started. Unless there is a hurricane or a fire, the amount of time that’s passed isn’t important.
  • If you’re writing or drawing, keep your hand moving. Pause as seldom as possible to work out a hand cramp if you need to. (As a side note, if you’re getting cramps like that, it means you’re holding your pen/pencil/paintbrush/knitting needles/crochet hook too tight and need to loosen your grip.)
  • Focus on what you’re doing. This music or TV on in the background? Tune it out. There are people who said they have to work in complete silence. Those people really get any work done. Distractions are a fact of life, even if it’s just your cat jumping up on the desk. Learn to deal with it.

Remember you’re creative in your life, not separate from it.

New Challenge Starting Thursday

Yes, you read that right. A new challenge, 5 Days to More Creativity, starts Thursday, January 10.

Here’s what’s going on.

You will have a total of five prompts. Post a picture of each prompt on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page using the hashtag #morecreativitychallenge.

Here are the prompts.

1. Carry a notebook at all times.
2. Know what’s in your tool box.
3. Write every day.
4. Give yourself permission.
5. Put your inner critic in jail.

Check back on this blog every day starting Thursday for more information about the day’s prompt.

Meditation for Creativity?

I confess, I’m on the fence on this one. Then again, I’m on the fence about meditation in general.

So why am I talking about meditation, especially as it relates to creativity?

I know some people do benefit from it. I’m not opposed to it. In fact, I have no doubt that if I made it a regular practice, I would benefit from it.

For the times I do meditate, I use Insight Timer. It’s available for both Android and iPhone. It has some meditations directly related to creativity.

What do you think about meditation? Does it help you with your creativity?

What Do I Pay to Get Published?

It’s often an unasked question, implied instead of direct. Many people don’t want to appear crass or rude by talking about something as obscene as money. (Please read that as tongue-in-cheek as it was intended.)

The question is still there, though. “How much do you pay to get published?”

In the early days of the Internet and before, the answer was usually nothing. “Usually” because although vanity presses and self-publishing did exist, it wasn’t as commonplace.

Now, that answer can be very different. There are a lot of things to consider before putting a book out, whether fiction or nonfiction.

An indie author has to consider whether or not they pay for:

  • Editing.
  • Formatting.
  • Cover art.
  • PR/Marketing/Advertising.

Depending on how you do things, it can get quite pricey.

Right now, I publish through KDP, part of Amazon. There is no cost to me unless or until I purchase actual print copies of my books. That’s how I prefer it.

That said, I am exploring other self-publishing options. There’s nothing wrong with Amazon, but you know the saying about don’t keep all your eggs in one basket? I’m too much in one basket. A little diversity in publishing options would be a good thing.

What about you? In what way(s) do you need to diversify?