How God Comments on a Blog Post

rockpilecontemplationI don’t expect much when I hit publish on a blog post. I know there’s a lot to read on the Internet and my writing takes a little longer to dig into than most. I’m just about as slow in writing social media posts as I am with posting pieces on the blog, so getting my work in front of a wider readership has never really been a natural thing for me. And so, when I finish a new piece and hit the button to send it into the ether, I usually look for a comment from my mom and maybe a friend or two (Thank you to those who chime in!). And that’s that.

But with this Stacking Stones post, I’ve been chatting back and forth with another commenter about the theme of rocks, remembrance and cathedrals of stone. Continue reading

Writing Small While the Kids Are Small {A 2013 Retrospective}

writingsmall It had been three and a half years since I’d had a baby. I’d forgotten how my words would forget me, at least the written kind. They seemed to go down the drain with the dishwater or get lodged in the cushions of the couch where I sat for hours a day nursing the new addition.

One month I was full-throttle writing and interacting, posting daily in the Take Heart series, and the next month I barely existed on the Internet. In real life, I toggled between the cradling and fixing lunch and playing dollhouse and listening to the first grader read, three kids on three different schedules with lots of good things happening but virtually no time for documenting it.

Maybe I’d have a phrase or idea sweep across my mind, but the computer often seemed out of reach. It has happened to writers with much more on their resumés than I have on mine. When I read the preface to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, I was puzzled to find that although she’d published seven novels, Winifred Watson had left off writing when Continue reading

If the Tee Fits: The (in)RL Beach House Is Back Again

I hadn’t payed much attention to what I was wearing yesterday morning. I had rolled out of bed in my pajamas and stayed in them after sending my son off to school. But when I opened my browser to enter my details in little boxes for the second go ‘round of (in)courage’s worldwide meet-up, I looked down and noticed the letters sticking out in 3D over my expanding belly. Screen print stretched on the comfiest of cotton and lycra with the word (in)RL.

I’ve loved the (in)courage community since I first found my way there through Ann Voskamp’s blog. All of these likeminded women full of creativity and wisdom, I saw them gather together at the beach house for their (in)courage writers’ retreat. When I first saw those pictures and read their reflections, I was writing alone…no one to bounce ideas off of, no venue for sharing, no one near who fully resonated with my attraction to expressing ideas in the written word.

Then, I got invited to the beach house…or, rather, the beach house came to me. I went to (in)RL last year knowing one college friend out of a whole table full of women. But the introductions that day spring-boarded relationships that made my online life feel less virtual and more 3D, like the letters on my tee turned materni-tee, like the (in)courage ladies at the beach house talking out loud over the sound of waves, showing emotion in facial expressions instead of emoticons.

Since that meet-up last April, several of us local bloggers have continued to meet at cafes or schedule summer play dates with the kids in tow. We have helped each other roll out of bed in the morning, encouragement that I desperately needed when exhaustion and morning sickness tried to keep my eyes closed past the alarm clock this fall. We attended Influence together and widened our circle to new locals. And this winter, I’ve pulled up a chair to the lovely classics book club I kept hearing so much about.

Now, when we see each other on-line, we know the voice behind the words, the face behind the avatar.

Things look a little different for me this spring than the last. This expanding belly means I’m trading one happy event for another. Our third little one is scheduled to arrive the very week of the Wiley family’s annual trip down to Ft. Myers, the beach tradition Grandpa and Grandma Wiley started back in 1957.

While we’ll miss being part of the yearly fun in the sun in early April, I will be happily sidetracked with the warmth of a baby girl curled on my chest. And then a few weeks later, I’ll be taking her along to the “beach house” all the same. Thanks, (in)courage, for bringing it back in all it’s casual comfiness. I’ve grown a bit since last year, but the (in)RL T-shirt still fits.

{Did you take part in (in)RL last year? What was your experience like? Register here to take part in your own local (in)RL experience.}

Don’t want to miss a post? Get Message in a Mason Jar in your email box or blog reader! Just enter your email address in the sidebar on the homepage and click the follow button or enter http://messageinamasonjar.com/feed/ in your reader.

A Blog that Blossoms…plus an exciting giveaway! {Preserve Your Story ~ Day 24}

{The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your enthusiastic response. Results announced midday on Friday, November 30 here.}

After blogging quietly for myself and my family for five years, I started Message in a Mason Jar last November with the intention of interacting more in blogging world (where I was already an avid reader) and to grow a readership in order to give myself incentive to write more consistently. The more I do this, the less shy I get about hitting the publish button or sharing my links on social media.

When I share, I partake in this big interconnected community. And sometimes I’m blessed to see those connections materialize in real life. I’d followed Hayley Morgan at The Tiny Twig for several months by the time I found myself sitting next to her at the (in)RL meet-up last spring. In person, Hayley showed up as the same cheerful “more passion, less fuss” lady I’d come to know from her blog. She’s an idea person and a make things happen person…a rare, refreshing mix.

Since re-launching her blog two years ago, she has grown her readership to reach tens of thousands of women each month, dreamed up and rolled out the Influence Conference and the Influence Network, and is even slated as one of Tsh Oxenreider’s regular hosts on the popular Simple Mom podcast. As Hayley releases her second eBook, The No Brainer Blog, I’ve asked her to share in our Preserve Your Story series about how her blog led her to do an eBook and how the eBook in turn affects the success of her blog. Meet Hayley….

 

Writing The No Brainer Wardrobe was a turning point for my online life. It took Tiny Twig from a fun hobby to a very viable business. It was the best strategic decision I’ve made so far. Prior to writing for 31 days about having a No Brainer Wardrobe, I hadn’t ever thought about directly monetizing any written content. But, when I saw the immense growth and incredible traffic Tiny Twig experienced during the month of writing about the No Brainer Wardrobe–I knew it could be a highly sellable product.

I had two things that were important to me when writing the eBook. First, I didn’t want to pull content down from my blog–the comments were invaluable and I felt kind of sleazy removing the content people had already engaged with to repackage it for profit. Second, I wanted to explore the subject more thoroughly than I could in scattered and fragmented 300-600 word posts. So, instead of just repackaging content, I used the posts I had written as jumping off points and more deeply explored the information.

When speaking to my writerly/author friends, we’ve discussed the books that do better in the digital format and what books are great as traditionally published projects. After a lot of these conversations and my other observations, I’ve come to the conclusion that an eBook would do best to solve a tangible problem the reader might have. I’m saving my “manifesto” type words for a possible-someday-maybe traditionally published book. If I pour my heart out, I want to smell the pages and see the book on the shelf. If a book I’m consuming wrecks my heart, I want to dog ear the pages and slide it onto my bedside table as my eyes sag shut.

Here are some great reasons I see to write an eBook:

  • To make passive income. You write the book once, do a lot of marketing on the front end, and then hopefully the book continues to perform well with little effort.
  • To give away as a perk for joining your mailing list. Your email list is highly valuable and an eBook is a great incentive to get people to give your newsletter a try.
  • To explore an idea further than the blogging format allows.

I’m still experimenting a lot with what works and what doesn’t work so well as far as eBooks are concerned. I’m not sure anyone has a definite handle on how to make it work perfectly just yet, but the digital format is certainly changing the face of publishing. I’d love to speak with you further about eBooks, either through a class on the upcoming Influence Network or through a personal consulting session (email me through my site to set something up…or enter to win the giveaway below!).

—————————

Hayley Morgan wrote newly released eBook The No Brainer Blog. The eBook helps women cast a vision, define their voice, and refine their blog space to ultimately propel their blog to be successful on their terms.

Hayley also writes at The Tiny Twig, a lifestyle blog inspiring women to create lives of more passion and less fuss. She recently hosted The Influence Conference and is launching The Influence Network in January 2013. You can follow her on Twitter, “like” her Facebook page, or follow her days on Instagram for the latest updates, resources she loves, and a peek into her life with 3 (almost 4!) boys.

The Giveaway:

Here’s the exciting part! In celebration of Hayley’s ebook release and my 1-year blog anniversary, Hayley and I are teaming up with an exclusive opportunity for Message in a Mason Jar readers….

~Our FIRST WINNER will receive a copy of the brand new No Brainer Blog ebook.

~As if that weren’t enough, our SECOND WINNER will receive:

  1. a copy of the eBook
  2. a personalized 45-minute strategy session on Google Chat with Hayley and me
  3. follow-up contact in which I’ll collaborate with you based on the strategy session to either workshop the writing in one of your posts (or even brainstorm your own ebook outline) OR design a blog header to get you going with a fresh look that communicates who you are as a blogger.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect and collaborate through this giveaway. Happy Black Friday to you!

Five Ways to Win (enter by 12 midnight on Thursday, November 29, using separate comments for each entry):

  1. Required Entry: Follow Message in a Mason Jar via email or RSS feed (see homepage sidebar) and say so in a comment below.
  2. Extra Entry: Follow both Message in a Mason Jar and The Tiny Twig on Facebook and re-comment here.
  3. Extra Entry: Tweet about this post using my Twitter handle, @darcywileywords, then re-comment here.
  4. Extra Entry: Pin this post on Pinterest and re-comment here.
  5. Extra Entry: Share this post on Facebook and re-comment here.

Or buy the The No Brainer Blog eBook now and get started on helping your blog to blossom!

This is Day 24 of my series 31 Days ~ Preserve Your Story, linking up with The Nester’s annual 31 Days of Change. (This post contains affiliate links.)