Blogging Basics for the Beginner: How to Get Started

What are the blogging basics? Have you considered blogging but think you might have missed the boat? Want to create a blog but don’t know what to say? Now I am not the person to ask about which website name or provider you might use, but the writing part is definitely in my wheelhouse. What would you say? You might think you have nothing to say, but believe me, you have plenty to say. Here are some issues that might be stopping you, and how to address them.

If you can talk, you can write

My friend Bridget Willard said this to me, and it helped tremendously. You can always use talk to text or some similar speech recognition program (Dragon Naturally is a good one). People like a conversational style anyway. People don’t think they can write, but often they like to talk. If that sounds like you, then just speak and use a program to write your articles.

If you make mistakes

There are a ton of apps and free programs that can help you with your spelling, grammar, or creating an outline. You don’t have to make anything super fancy. For instance, the Grammarly app can help you proof and edit your work. And the Hemingway app can help make your writing more clear and precise. They both have free versions, although you may want to upgrade later if you write a lot.

If you think you don’t have time

Do you have an hour? Then you can write a basic blog post. I’ve written about this previously: How to Write a Perfectly Fine Blog Post in an Hour. And a friend of mine, Randy Clark, writes every day and has written extensively on the subject. I refer to his book How to stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever often. You can find it on his website.

Image by <a href="">StartupStockPhotos</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

Blogging Basics for the Beginner: How to Get Started| Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

If you don’t have images

You can always use your own images for your blog post, but there are lots of free pictures you can use out there. I like Pixabay these days for free images. You can also get a subscription from a service like shutterstock. A good way to find graphics is to search on an abstract word like Creativity, for instance. Try searching different ways for images and make sure to give credit to the image’s creator.

If you don’t know about all the details

Create a good headline. Write 350 words, to begin with (more is better). Add an image. Have two outgoing links and two incoming. If it’s your first blog post, don’t worry about it–you can add the links to your own work later. That’s it.

If you have too much fear

Maybe I should’ve put this paragraph first because for many people it’s really about the terror of writing. The important thing is to get started. And realize that you can always delete and/or rewrite any post you create. You really do have more to say than you think. And people do want to hear your voice. Really.


Organizing Your Social Media So You Can Have a Better Life

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Everyone says you need to know your why before you feel motivated. The reason you want to organize your social media is so you’ll have more time. Hence, you can use that time to have a better life. There are lots of different ways to organize your social media. Here are some suggestions.

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Block out Your Time

I like to check Twitter first thing in the morning. So I group all my Twitter accounts together and do it that way. If you have some task that you can group together, you could do the same thing. Using a block of time, whether it’s 15 minutes or three hours, will make you more efficient. For instance, you could schedule a week’s worth of Facebook posts all at once. See how long that takes and put it right on your calendar. You might like Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled.

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Have Daily Topics

If you struggle with what to post, you could always have a daily topic prepared. Think of five things you would like to post and then attach that to a day of the week. There are already people who post certain things on particular days, and you can use already-existing daily topics, such as #MotivationalMonday or #ThrowbackThursday. I’ve always liked #ThankfulThursday myself. You may be able to create on particular to your business.

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Outline Several Ideas for Your Blog Posts

While you’re writing an article for your blog, try to think of future topics for yourself. It’s good to always have five at least five. That way, you won’t have an excuse when you’re writing and run out of steam. Just jump to the next topic and continue there for the alloted time. You might also like How to Come up With a Year’s Worth of Blog Content.

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Connect the Dots

You don’t have to share the same things across all your social media platforms. If you do, you might want to reshare that content using a different image, a different quote, and at a different time. For example, create something on Twitter with a hashtag that you then share on Facebook without a hashtag and using a different image. Put that same content on LinkedIn, but write a bit more. Experiment and have fun with it!

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What Will You Do with Your Extra Time?

Why, focus on your hobby, of course!



What to Write about When You Have Nothing to Write about

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Here it is 9:00 p.m. the night before your blog post is due, and you haven’t written one word. You need to get up early the next day for a meeting, but no pressure, right? Also, there’s a full-scale pandemic going on that has you more than a little freaked out. What to do? Here are some ideas.

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Go Back and Review

Now’s as good a time as any to reread some of your older writing. There was that whole series on social media and clowns, for instance. That was a fun series. Then there were a bunch where you wrote about Einstein, Tesla, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Social Media Needs. Do any of those have ideas that you could expound upon? Or are the times we’re living in just too somber? Well, you know what they say: one person’s somberness is another person’s circus! Or something like that.

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Do a Best of Post

Here is where you could pick two or three or ten(!) of your favorite posts. For me, I’m going to pick just one. My favorite post is the one I wrote about Twitter lists. Why? I think the language is sharp and concise, and it was a joy to write, even though I edited it a million times. You probably have a favorite post, too. Or maybe a few.

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There might be a post that nobody read and you can’t figure out why. Did you ever pour your heart out writing something and feel that nobody even noticed? That happens sometimes. Could it be the timing? Maybe people were busy with some big event in their lives and didn’t have the time or inclination? Maybe the writing wasn’t up to your usual caliber. Or maybe the images in your post weren’t compelling. Try to see what happened.

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If You’re Really Stuck, Ask a Friend

Reach out and ask a friend what to write. You’d be surprised what your friends know about you. And right now, they’re probably home since they’re all sheltering in place! So there’s that.


How to Become a Better Blogger: Quick and Easy Ways

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Maybe you’ve thought that you want to become a better blogger. You’ve considered blogging, or maybe you’re an occasional blogger. Either way, there are always ways to improve (and I’m no exception). Every day, someone will say something that resonates. Take those tiny lessons from the things that resonate with you, put them into action, and you (or I) will improve for sure.

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Read Other Bloggers

There are so many great blogs out there. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Bridget Willard’s blog: Bridget is the one who encouraged me to blog. Besides that, though, she’s always learning and growing. And she’s a terrific person, too.
  • Randy Clark’s blog. Randy Clark writes a lot, and is the author of How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever (highly recommended!). He’s written three other books that I know of.
  • Mitch Mitchell has been blogging and vlogging for years. He’s entertaining and educational. In fact, Mitch writes about blogging, too!
  • Patricia Phillips of The Aspen Stand, a kind and generous friend.

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Listen to Podcasts

You may also get ideas when you listen to podcasts. Even if the podcasts you listen to aren’t strictly business oriented, you’ll get ideas when you listen. Right now, I’m enjoying Hardcore History, which is a deep dive into the history of World Wars I and II. Dan Carlin is a damn good talker, as one review of his long-form podcasts mentioned. Each episode is hours long, which you think you can’t listen to, but his passion and storytelling make for fascinating listening.

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Write Every Day

If you like to write with other people, you might join a movement, such as NaNoWriteMo, where writers encourage other writers during the month of November. You might also give yourself a deadline, or a specific number of words to write each day, or a dedicated time to write. For me, I work in 15-minute increments, because anyone can do something for 15 minutes, right? Usually that 15 minutes turns into 30 or 45 minutes because the hardest part of writing is just getting started. The important thing is not to wait for inspiration, because you might be waiting forever. You might also like How-to secrets to blogging for your success.

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Blackmail Yourself

Awhile back, there was a guy who suggested blackmailing yourself by giving yourself a deadline. He mentioned giving someone else some money which would go to an unsavory cause if you failed. Now that’s one way to do it, especially if you prefer the stick approach over the carrot approach. Me, I’d rather have a carrot than a stick any day. If anyone else can remember his name, I’d be interested.

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Your Seat in the Seat of the Chair

Putting your seat in the seat of the chair is the number one tip for getting better as a writer. Whatever slogan helps you get there (“Just Do it!” comes to mind) is the one to use. Tenacity and diligence are the two things that will help you improve your writing the most. Unless you have a secret, that is. Do you have a secret for improving your writing?

Content Creation Will Make You Insane If You Let it

Content creation will make you insane if you let it.

Content creation will make you insane if you let it.

So many people have been talking about content creation lately. But do they ever talk about the daily grind of what happens when you have to churn out content on a daily basis? Mostly, content creation is glorified as something easy and simple that anyone can do. How much work goes into the creation of content, though? Like so many things in life, the answer is: it depends.

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Who’s Your Audience?

Your audience is made up of at least two parts: those who actually visit your webiste and read your posts, and the little bots that roam around Google visiting your site. Having new content on a consistent basis helps your site rank higher so that both the people and the bots are satisfied. Of course, your human audience should come first. You don’t want your words to sound like they’re written for bots!

The Problem is Consistency

Coming up with one or two or even ten blog posts isn’t the problem. The problem is sustaining your content creation for months and maybe years. Will you ever get tired of writing? What if no one reads your writing, or you don’t just don’t feel like blogging any more? Will you be able to continue writing even if you don’t want to? If you’re feeling stuck, you might like this article: Content Creation: How to Make Your Writing More Fun! And, once you’ve read that and followed it, you could also share that blog post four (or more) different ways.

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Content Creation: Be a Tortoise, Rather Than a Hare

Creating content for your readers puts you in the camp with the tortoises, not the hares. That is, you need to have steady progress and keep at it. Someone told me something a long time ago, and it stuck: Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair for success. So sit down and write something–anything–even if it’s bad. Write one sentence. Then write another one. See where it takes you.

Wrangle Those Words

Keep at it, even if you don’t feel like it. Because sometimes you’ll change your mind as you start writing. It’s like going to the gym. Put on your gym shoes and get yourself there and fake it if you have to. One thing that helps me write more is to read my words out loud. Try it and let me know how it goes! And don’t go insane in the process.

How to Share a Blog Post Four Different Ways

How to Share a Blog Post Four Different Ways

How to Share a Blog Post Four Different Ways

Everyone talks about working smarter, not harder, but what does that actually mean? If you’ve been wondering about what that looks like, stick around, and you’ll get some ideas.

Your Time is Valuable

Do you really want to sit down and create an entirely new blog post from scratch? No! How, then, can you take the same post and share it all over the place and make it look entirely different? Ah, that’s the secret. For this exercise, I’ll use my own blog post, Content Creation: How to Make Your Writing More Fun. Take a look at the original blog post so you can see what that looks like–that is, with the top image shared. Remember, not everyone is going to read your excellent writing, no matter how great it is. So the original is the first one shared.

Use a Different Image

The image is probably the most important part of your article, even above the title of your blog post. So make it beautiful! Or make it something that will make your audience say “hmm…I wonder what the heck that is!” Maybe that happens when I use my own pictures. I imagine people squinting with puzzled looks on their faces. So rather than rewrite that blog post, I could change the image. Take a look.

Change the Quote When You Reshare

No doubt, you’ll have a few different quotes that you can pluck from your blog post. So choose one or two, put those into quotes, add the title, the link, and a hashtag or two, if needed. Of course, you don’t have to change the hashtag or the shortened link, but you could reach a different audience (at least with different hashtags). And using a customized link does look fancier.

One Post Four Different Ways

One Post Four Different Ways

Customize for Social Media Platforms

The post above was shared on Facebook. It looks similar, but with a different quote, different image, and no hashtags. You could do something similar on LinkedIn. You might want to share the same post but on a different day.

Bonus Idea

Another way to change up a blog post is to write a completely original quote–it’s kind of “meta,” but why not add something about what was happening the day you wrote it? Or some sort of context about the article itself?

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer’s Block

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer's Block

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer’s Block

We’ve all suffered writer’s block at some point, right? Staring at a blank screen or blank page is never easy, and it sometimes happens to everyone. Lately, all the rainy, gray days have been sucking all the fun out of writing. But I know that others in the country have snow and ice (and no power!), so I’m not complaining too much.

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Just Do it!

One of the best quotes I ever heard was about applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair if you want to get something done. That’s generally been my approach, too. By the way, you might like my previous post Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

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Write Something, Even if It’s Bad

My dad used to always say “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” Sometimes thinking back on that advice, I smile, but other times it does seem to help to overcome paralysis. In my family, we didn’t often suffer from paralysis through analysis, but we did have to go back and fix some bad mistakes. Then again, as my friend Adam Fout said, “you can’t edit a blank page.” Go and read his excellent writing. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write something good.

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Turn off the Critical Part of Your Brain

One problem with writing or any creative venture is that your critical sense gets more refined as you move through life. That is, you like good writing and if you don’t do any writing yourself, the gap between what you know is good writing and your own writing grows. It’s difficult to turn off that critical sense. What if what you write isn’t good? What if no one reads it? The what-ifs grow and become louder, so it’s important to turn off that absurd little critic that prevents you from writing.

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Read More

If you’re paying attention while you’re reading, you’ll see some writing that you really like. And even if you read bad writing, you’ll discover what not to do. Sometimes, what not to do is as important as learning what to do. Right now, I’m rereading the Harry Potter books. The stories within the larger story really pull you along. I love stories that paint a picture as the Harry Potter books do. And the movies are good, too. Most of the time, I’d say that the book is better than the movie. This time, I’d say that the Harry Potter films are pretty good, too!

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Join a Writers Group

There are lots of meetups, and if you don’t see one you like, you can start your own! It’s pretty easy to do. You don’t even have to make it an official meetup. You could just ask a few friends to join you at a cafe to do some writing.

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Look over Your Old Writing

If you’re lacking inspiration, look at some of your own writing. What worked? What didn’t? Can you rework an old headline and make it into something more fun, more exciting, more interesting? Sure you can!

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Start with a Good Headline

Speaking of headlines, many people might argue that the headline is the most important part of what you write. If you’ve never considered your headline before, you might like this article What Happens When You Write 25 Headlines Before Choosing One? Yes, that was a fun one to write.

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What’s Your Secret?

How do you overcome writer’s block? Or do you have a secret at all?


How to Come Up With A Years Worth Of Blog Content


How to Come Up With A Years Worth Of Blog Content

How to Come Up With A Years Worth Of Blog Content

You’ve probably heard of those people who have their entire year planned out. They seem so on top of their game, don’t they? It’s not such a difficult thing to do (maybe a bit more difficult if you publish daily, like friend Randy Clark does–check out his Randy’s blog posts). You, too, can be prepared to write at the drop of a hat. For this exercise, I’ll be giving you some real-world examples that you can perhaps translate to your own industry.

idea board photoBrainstorm

Get out a big sheet of paper or a bunch of sticky notes, and write down everything you can think of as fast as you can. Or you could have a friend help you to write while you dictate. You could also use a tape recorder and then later transcribe your ideas. The idea is to get into the creative flow and not stop yourself. You might need a few minutes to get warmed up, but when you do–look out for the onslaught of ideas! Here are some other ways to get topics for your blog: Blogging Beginner? How to Get Ahead of the Game.

city map photoMind Mapping

Mind mapping is where you take an idea and then take all the ideas that are roughly related to that idea. One idea leads you to the next and the next. It’s fun and it’s especially good if you are a visual learner. If you’re the type who likes to use software, here are some software programs you might check out: 11 of the Best Mind Mapping Software to Brainstorm Better Ideas. A few of them are even free!

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Ask Friends

Ask your friends what they’d like to read about. Ask on social media. Call them up or text them. Write down everything they say. You might be surprised. Sometimes your friends may have bad ideas. You can turn those around by doing the opposite of what they say! Just say thank you and move on.sleep photo

Look at Old Posts

What posts have worked for you? What has not worked for you? Are there any old posts that you could rework? Can you rewrite something taking a different approach? For instance, here’s a post of mine that I really liked: For Better Social Media Results, Focus on Engagement. So if I were to follow up on that theme, I could maybe have five different posts, as follows:

  1. How you can engage with people different from yourself?
  2. The many types of engagement there are
  3. Engagement using simple emojis
  4. Engagement for the high-tech crowd
  5. Social media engagement for startups

You get the idea. That’s already five different posts, which if you post once a week is over one month’s worth of posts.

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What is Your Audience Like? What Are Their Pain Points?

If your audience never has time, you could talk about time management. My audience is extremely busy, and that’s why I often write about time management. So I could write these posts for my audience:

  • Time Management for the Startup Crowd
  • Time Management When You Have No Time
  • Timeless Time Management
  • Stop Staring at the Clock
  • Getting More Time for All Those Critical Things You Never Have Time to Do

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Ask Yourself Before Going to Sleep

This is one I’ve been using a lot lately. I ask myself what to write about before going to sleep. By the morning, I have an answer. Make sure you have a way to record your ideas before they slip away.

Lots of people think using a notebook and pen is the best way to get your dreams recorded. But you can also use your phone and maybe record them as you speak.

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How Do You Come up with Ideas?

And are you staying ahead of your blog posts? Leave me a comment! Thank you.


This is How You Make Your Blog Posts Really Shine

This is How You Make Your Blog Posts Really Shine

This is How You Make Your Blog Posts Really Shine

This is How You Make Your Blog Posts Really Shine

I’ve been blogging regularly for a while now. And by “a while,” I mean going on seven years. So I’ve learned a couple of things that might interest you. Some things have changed a little, while other things have remained the same.

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Don’t Stress over Your Writing

I know that’s easier said than done, but really–don’t stress over it. Overthinking can cause a great deal of panic, and make you stop dead in your tracks. You can go deeper with your topic by doing some research, but don’t let lack of time for research stop you from writing. You do want to know who your audience is before you get started, though.

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Keep it Simple

Writing, like walking, is simply taking it one step at a time. Write one sentence. Then write another one. Pretty soon you have a paragraph, then a blog post, then you can compile those into a small book. Then maybe a series. Who knows?

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Come up with a Good Topic

It’s easiest to batch your topic creation. For instance, create a bunch of headlines all at once–I created 52 all at once at the beginning of the year. That way, you’ll always have something to write about. And sometimes the very act of writing shakes loose something in your brain that you didn’t know was there. Did you miss my post from last week, about Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect!

Done is better than perfect, hands down. According to some people, perfectionism is growing and becoming a dangerous epidemic, with more and more college students becoming perfectionists. In fact, in this BBC article about the dangerous downsides of perfectionism, author Amanda Ruggeri states that “Perfectionistic tendencies have been linked to a laundry list of clinical issues: depression and anxiety (even in children), self-harm, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, hoarding, dyspepsia, chronic headaches, and most damning of all, even early mortality and suicide.”

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Add Great Images

If the writing isn’t perfect, images can really help the subject along. You can use free sites for images, such as Pixabay or Canva. Or create your own images with PhotoShop. Or even use your own photos. There really is truth to that old saw about an image and a thousand words.

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Hire Someone

If you really, really need someone to blog for you, then hire someone! You don’t have to do everything yourself!

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What Stops You?

Is there something that holds you back from blogging? Let me know in the comments! And thank you.

Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

Every writer has their own habits, and I know plenty of writers who suffer from writer’s block. Other writers work best under deadline pressure. Most of us are somewhere in between–a little pressure, but not too much.

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Carve out Blocks of Time for Writing

Having at least a half-hour block of time to write undisturbed has always been a great trick for me. Maybe it’s not a secret, though. You may need a certain space, a favorite pad of paper, or absolute silence. But having enough time to write is key. And starting ahead of time before you’re too stressed to write at all has worked for me. Here are some tips from Forbes on How to Manipulate Time with These Powerful 20 Time Management Tips. (See #2.)

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Trick Yourself into Writing

Another best habit for writing is to write for 15-minute chunks. Because you can do anything for 15 minutes, right? Getting started has always been the most difficult part of doing anything for me. Whether it’s a chore around the house or writing, that first 15 minutes is the most painful. And if I think about writing too much, then somehow my mind makes it into an overwhelmingly huge task. Also, if you’re able to gamify your blogging, that’s very helpful, too. Here’s a post about the gamification of social media that you might like.

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Have Five Topics

I learned this idea from Syed Balkhi years ago, and it’s stuck with me. Create five topics so you have no excuse not to write. If you run out of steam, go to the next topic. Here’s the post where I wrote about WordCamp Orange County and Syed Balkhi: WordCamp Orange County 2013. I can’t believe it’s been five years! Anyway, create those topics and don’t let “not having anything to write about” stop you.

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Keep Going and Edit Later

Don’t stop, and don’t think about what you’re doing too much until later. You can always edit. You can add links and images later, too. For now, your job is just to do a brain dump on the topic. You may want to get the high-level topics within your post, but other than that, just write. Add one sentence per topic. Then add two more sentences and take it from there. Soon, you’ll have something that looks like a blog post.

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Make it the Same But Different

When you’re writing, you may think it’s exactly the same as another topic you wrote about, and sometimes it’s very similar. But not everyone is going to read every word you write. Even if you’re writing about the same topic, it’s going to be different. And the images you add will be different, too. For images, I like Pixabay (make sure the images are really free).

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What Are Your Best Habits?

What are your favorite and best habits? What gets you going? Do you need a favorite beverage in a favorite mug? Let me know in the comments! And thank you!


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