7 Things About Writing I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Blogging (With Giveaway!)

Birthday_party_celebration_261267_lSo, this week (yesterday, to be exact) is the seven year anniversary of my blog. Yep, I've been at this game for 7 years! I'm amazed, too, in some ways, and in other ways, not. Because from the minute I started blogging all those years ago I felt comfortable in this medium.  Sure, there have been times when I've lapsed in my posting (though surprisingly not all that often) and times when I was certain I'd never think of another thing to say about writing or the writing life.  But clearly I've recovered from those periods, because, well, here I am.

In my family we celebrate everything, so I think we need a Wordstrumpet birthday celebration, don't you? To that end, I'm giving away a few prizes which you'll have to read to the end to find out about. And in the meantime, I'll share with you what I've learned about writing in the past 7 years–because in many ways I feel I've come into my own as a writer as I've written this blog.  And I'm quite sure the two are not coincidental.

By the way, before we get started, you can read my first blog post here.

Okay, let's get on with it.  Here we go:

7 Things I've Learned About Writing

 1.  Let it Rip.  As mentioned above, blogging has turned out to be a natural medium for me.  Once I get an idea for a post, I rarely am blocked over it.  Most often, I just start writing and let it flow.  And flow it does.  This has spilled over into my other writing, too.  I find it far easier these days to throw words at the page, glumping them out so I can come back and rewrite them later.

2.  Not Everything is Perfect.  I've written over a thousand posts these past seven years and some of them are not that great.  A lot of them are really good, though–or at least I think they are!  When you're writing a lot of words, you are not always going to hit it out of the park and you'll drive yourself crazy if you try.  I'm not advocating you write crap, far from it.  Just loosen up on your standards a bit in order to get the words on the page.  

3.  It's All About Connection.  You guys–my loyal readers–are what keep me going and keep me writing posts.  I love the comments you leave, which always had immeasurably to the topic.  I love connecting with you!  And when you think about it, that's the essence of writing, isn't it?  Writing is a loop.  We put words on the page expecting somebody to read them, which is why we're all so obsessed with publishing.  The popular image of writers is of us in the ivory tower, all alone, writing, but I believe we desperately need connection.

4.  Social Media is Not a Waste of Time.  (And Twitter is about far more than what people ate for lunch.) I've met many people whose friendship I treasure on Twitter and through blogging.  We read and comment on each other's posts, support each other's book launches, and cheer each other on through all kinds of life events.  I've made business connections and hired people through Twitter. And I've even sold some books.  So don't shy away from using social media to build your author platform.  You can read a post I wrote about it here.

5. You've Got to Put Yourself Out There.  This is hard.  At least, I think it is.  You've got to get your work to a certain point and then let it go and let it seek its own place in the world.  Blogging has taught me how to put myself out in the world over and over and over again and bear the response, good or bad.  True story: when I first started my blog I told people about it but then told them not to look at it, because I was too nervous about what they'd think! Truly, I believe that fearing rejection (by our tribe, not agents and publishers)is such a primal response that we often refrain from putting our work in the world.

6.  Authenticity is Key.  This is, of course, closely related to #5.  You've got to put yourself out there as your own authentic self.  Because, you know, everybody else is taken.  

7.  Everything is Related to Writing.  When I started this blog, I had vague ideas of covering writing.  And then, as it developed, I realized I talked a lot about the writing life–how we writers move through our days, how we get inspired or blocked, what happens when we travel or new babies (in my case, grandchildren) come into our lives and suddenly everything changes.  And so I started writing about all of that.  And somewhere along the line, I realized, if you are a writer, the writing life encompasses everything–because everything is related to writing.  Period.

Okay, that's that.  And now onto the part you read all this way for: the presents!  Here they are:

–A signed print copy of my novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.  (Makes a lovely gift if you already have a copy).

–A digital download of my novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.

–A critique of your work–up to 25 pages.

Here's what you must do to enter: leave a comment telling me what you've learned in your writing lately (or over the last 7 years).  I will draw names randomly on Friday, April 4th, and announce the winners that day.

And truly, thank you all for reading and leaving comments and emailing me and supporting me in a million ways.  I treasure each one of you.

Photo by foobean01.

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24 Comments on "7 Things About Writing I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Blogging (With Giveaway!)"

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J.D.
Guest
J.D.

Those are great prizes. I have Emma Jean but she is unsigned. I’m looking forward to when she gets her tatt, probably next year. And the critique, that is a great prize. There will be some lucky winners here. The one thing I learned in my brief and now defunct blogging career: It is not easy. I appreciate that you come here. I enjoy it and I rarely miss a morning. Happy birthday!

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thank you so much, J.D.!  I so appreciate that you loyally read me and I'm happy to claim you as a friend.  Thanks for the blog birthday wishes.

Zan Marie
Guest

Don’t put me in the drawing, Charlotte, since I have EJ and you did a 25 page crit for my recently. (Have I told you lately how much I appreciated that?)

I found you through blogging and I’m glad I did. Not only did I find tons of writing tips, but I’ve found a fast friend. {{{hugs}}} for your anniversary!

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Ahhh, thanks Zan Marie!  I treasure your friendship so much, too–and I love reading your blog.  Thanks for the good thoughts.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

And one more thing–I loved reading your novel!

Walter Ruggieri
Guest

One of the things I keep reminding myself it to be me when I write. It is so easy to slip into another persona when I write and not be authentic. I find that when I just let myself speak, then I write much more authentically. When I do that, more people read and comment on what I write.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Oh boy, do I agree with you on that, Walt.  Sometimes the things I hesitate to blog about are the posts that get the most response.  It's so funny how we hide ourselves–to what end?  Thanks for commenting.

Sandra Pawula
Guest

Happy Birthday to Words Trumpet! Wow, 7 years Charlotte. That’s a lot. I feel like you, blogging is such a natural medium for me. I could write blog posts all week long except for that little thing called paid work. 🙂

I especially love that you can so easily just let it spill out now! That’s such a wonderful ability to have as a writer.

I connected with you through your blog so it’s all very good! I’m so happy to be connected with you.

Matthew F
Guest
Matthew F

The challenge of different writing styles based on the occasion. Writing content, blogs, emails, long form, short form. All have their place, style, tone, etc…

Each present opportunities and challenges.

Matthew F
Guest
Matthew F

Ohh and the learning part deals with:
Knowing when to be concise, knowing when words alone won’t cut it e.g. adding in images, and that writing from my perception doesn’t translate into how something will be perceived.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

And I'm so happy to be connected with you, Sandra!  Sometimes I have to stop myself from blogging to get to my other work, just like you–we both seem to have a natural ease with this format.  So fun!

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

So true, Matthew!  And those of us who make our living writing a variety of things must master all of them.

Don
Guest

We’re just all thankful that you started and keep doing blogging as you, and this blog, are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in writing, so Happy Anniversary and a BILLION THANKS, Charlotte!

PS, Like Zan Marie I’ve been blessed with a sign-copy of Emma Jean and a fantastic critique so I need not be entered, unless, of course, you decide to start giving away new S Class Mercedes or a million bucks???

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Aw, you're so sweet Don, thank you!  And you never know, I just might have a million stashed in my back pocket.  Yeah, stranger things have happened.  

Suzanne
Guest
Suzanne

HBD, Wordstrumpet!! I love your stuff, Charlotte. 💖

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thank you, Suzanne!  (I love yours, too.)

Milli Thornton (@fearofwriting)
Guest

Wow, Charlotte. Seven years. I’m in awe of that. And what a lucky number. Lucky for us, your readers.

I don’t do much blog reading these days. Yours is about the only one I read on something approaching a semi-regular basis. That’s because your topics lure me here, and because I love your writing voice. Among other things, it’s refreshing. I find that truly amazing when you’ve been blogging about writing and the writing life for so long.

Happy Anniversary, lovely blogger. I will raise my wine glass to you this evening. Here’s to seven more good years @Wordstrumpet.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

You're the best, Milli, thank you!  And I'll raise a wine glass right back atcha this evening.  (One of these days it will actually be in person.)  I'm honored that I'm one of the few blogs that you read and so pleased that you keep coming back!

Maureen Lee
Guest

Happy Anniversary, Charlotte! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years, and always look forward to the next post. Your blog posts are consistently inspiring, motivational, and jam-packed with handy tips. You’ve inspired me to get back on the blogging bandwagon, too, something I haven’t done in years.

And, yes, the gifts are quite lovely. 🙂

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thanks for commenting, Maureen!  It's nice to see you here on the blog.  And if I have been in any way inspiring to you, I'm so pleased.  I appreciate you reading me for the last couple of years!

Patty
Guest

Wow! Happy B-Day Charlotte! I can’t remember how I found you and your blog but I’m so glad I did 🙂

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thank you, Patty!  And vice versa to you–so happy we found each other!

Leigh Lauck
Guest
Leigh Lauck
Hi Charlotte! Happy Birthday to the blog (and congratulations to you)! Seven years of regular blogging is quite an accomplishment, and you do it with grace and wit! As I embark on my own blogging experience (and wrapping the old noggin around the author platform journey) I am finding good advice and tremendous encouragement here on your blog. And inspiration, as well. Thank you! I look forward to exploring all seven years worth of wisdom. And fabulous prizes, too? I’d be thrilled to be in the drawing! What have I learned about my writing lately? I’ve learned that sometimes it’s… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Leigh, I am so happy to connect with you via Milli and the 10K site–we are sisters in writing!  Thank you so much for coming here to the blog and I am pleased if you find support and encouragement here for you own journey.  I love what you've learned–that if you trust the story, you are never let down.  So true!!!! And sometimes so hard to remember.  

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