Really? That’s what you’re wearing?

Pajama princess how beautiful you are,
Wearing those “hello kitty” pants like a hero,
In your head you must be such a star,
Plodding through Wal-mart eating Jell-O.

You are a princess so why should you care,
What the other shoppers think of you,
Those lowly plebes stopping to stare,
As you regally pass in Crocs of blue.

Another feature that commands respect,
Is the yellow scrunchy that you wear,
Like a royal crown made to protect,
That pile of mess you call your hair.

“Free samples on aisle eight!”
Comes the announcement from up above,
The princess moves, her path is straight,
It’s the chicken wings she loves!

Long live Her Royal Highness! End chapter 1.

DH-

Urban Goats and Suspicious Kangaroos (Interview)

Picture a Swiss maid, complete with bonnet, mountain cottage located in the Alps and a flock of goats she holds near and dear to her heart (think “Heidi” or “The Sound of Music”).

heidi

Now imagine that same Swiss maiden transported to the heart of Melbourne, Australia, steaming cup of coffee in one hand, laptop under her other arm, goats following obediently behind as they cross the street. The drawstrings of her bonnet fly behind her in the wind, and curious kangaroos peer around corners in suspicion that the goats have come to invade the outback and pillage all available foliage.

citygoat

OK, maybe the goats are pushing it a little. My imagination tends to run wild at times. In any regard, this is one way I picture “Momma” when I read her story below. I started following A Momma’s View a few months ago, now I can’t wait to see a notification that she’s posted something new.

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Feeding Chickens in the Land of Dickens (Interview)

Do you ever have one of those days when you just need a pick-me-up?  When I have a day like this, where my coffee just hasn’t been enough to do the trick, I often turn to Mother Hen Diaries. Dorreen Augustine always has that special blend of optimism and wit to catch my attention and perk up my day!

Seriously…she’s funny. It’s what attracted me to her blog initially. With so many blogs that exist to simply be rant sessions, Dorreen’s blog stands out as being a beacon of positivity.

As an American living in the U.K., she has a very interesting perspective on life, one that I find inspirational, and as is the case with many bloggers, Dorreen describes herself much better than I could.  From the About page of Mother Hen Diaries, here is a snippet of what Dorreen has to say about herself:

“First and foremost, I am a Jehovah’s Witness. (Yes, I do knock on doors!) 🙂 I am also a wife, mother, cuddly Nanny, a reader, a thinker, a dreamer and a storyteller, Margarita expert, singer and entertainer, jam maker extraordinaire, serial dieter, and mother to a dozen chickens.”

After following Dorreen’s writing for some time, I was so pleased when she agreed to have a virtual cup of coffee with me to answer my questions for this interview.  Read on for Dorreen’s thoughts and advice around blogging and writing.  It’s good stuff.

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Picking the Nose of a Wicked Witch (Interview)

In this interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney of Highest Form of Whit (thanks for agreeing to the interview Whitney). Let me start by saying…I really don’t know how to best describe Whitney…the words fail me…I’m drawing a blank.

I started to try, but I had to keep erasing what I wrote as I felt I wasn’t doing the description justice. So rather than try and miserably fail (most likely causing Whitney to become enraged to the point of mass destruction), I thought I’d simply let her describe herself– as written on her About page.

 …I’m an amalgamation of the sense of humor of a 12 year-old boy, the sensibilities of an 80 year-old man, and the figure of a woman in her early twenties. Basically, I’m awesome. And so, by default, is this blog (note the sarcasm). I also suffered from untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder for fourteen years, which is a main component behind this blog.

I believe in laughing. I believe in love. And I believe in punching anyone in the face who doesn’t think those two things are great. I also believe in contradictions (or do I?).

See, wasn’t that much better than what I could have written?  I’m sure Whitney is somewhere agreeing as she reads this. 😉 She is clever, has a knack for the craft of writing and she’s funny– all things that I enjoy in a writer.

The other think I like about Whitney and her blog– she is true to herself and as a result she’s built-up a loyal following. Recently I’ve become very interested in bloggers who write transparently– letting followers find them, rather than the other way around.  With over 10,000 followers, she fits this description well! I enjoyed reading her answers; I hope you will as well! When you’re finished, if you’d like to read additional interviews with other bloggers click HERE.

(Full disclosure: Whitney uses enough profanity to singe the hair off the ears of a sailor, so read with your visual “bleepers” on if you are so inclined.)

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What motivated you to start your blog Whitney?

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. One, I had just graduated from college but I was living in LA for an extra semester and I wanted something fun to do. Two, because I haven’t read a lot of mental health comedy anywhere and I kind of saw my opportunity to start a conversation in a different way. Three, because I thought people might want to laugh at all of the dumb things I was scared of when I was a kid. Apparently, people do want to laugh at that, which is really freaking sweet!

How did you “find your voice” in blogging?  Your writing appears to be very natural and shows a lot of your personality– was that something you had to work towards or does it come natural to you?
 I didn’t really work at it at all, to be honest. How my blog reads is how I talk. Except I probably include more “that’s what she saids” in my day-to-day conversation (though I am starting to cut back on that a little bit). I’ve always been super snarky and self-deprecative with a 12 year-old boy’s sense of humor. Why try and be something I’m not?
What one thing do you feel has contributed the most towards growing your follower base?

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Words. That’s all.

If you’re reading this post on WordPress, you are most likely a blogger writing your own blog, right? And although we may be inspired by different things, we do have at least one thing in common– we’re actively writing content that we expect (or at least hope) that others will read.

If not, we’d all be writing in our journals or simply keeping a folder filled with Word documents on our laptops.

Additionally, the web is overflowing with thousands of ways to build a great web site, sell a product or build a following on a blog. Even here on WordPress there are so many workshops and classes that at times I wonder when people find the time to simply write words.

It is for these reasons that the letter (web page) below by Justin Jackson resonated so strongly with me when I read it a few days ago nursing by 2nd cup of java.  And, although I’m sure it’s been republished online many times, it’s so good I couldn’t help but post it again. For the sake of preserving the content, I’m not using block quotes. For the original article posted online click here.


This is a web page.

There’s not much here.

Just words.

And you’re reading them.

We’ve become obsessed with fancy designs, responsive layouts, and scripts that do magical things.

But the most powerful tool on the web is still words.

I wrote these words, and you’re reading them: that’s magical.

I’m in a little city in British Columbia; you’re probably somewhere else. I wrote this early in the morning, June 20th, 2013; you’re probably reading it at a different time. I wrote this on my laptop; you could be reading this on your phone, a tablet or a desktop.

You and I have been able to connect because I wrote this and you’re reading it.That’s the web. Despite our different locations, devices, and time-zones we can connect here, on a simple HTML page.

I wrote this in a text editor. It’s 6KB. I didn’t need a Content Management System, a graphic designer, or a software developer. There’s not much code on this page at all, just simple markup for paragraphs, hierarchy, and emphasis.

I remember teaching my daughter to code HTML when she was 8. The first thing she wrote was a story about a squirrel. She wasn’t “writing HTML”; she was sharing something with the world. She couldn’t believe that she could write a story on our home computer, and then publish it for the world to see. She didn’t really care about HTML, she cared about sharing her stories.

You are still reading.

Think about all the things you could communicate with a simple page like this. If you’re a businessperson, you could sell something. If you’re a teacher, you could teach something. If you’re an artist, you could show something you’ve made. And if your words are good, people will read them.

If you’re a web designer, or a client who is working with one, I’d like to challenge you to think about words first. Instead of starting with a style guide or a Photoshop mockup, start with words on a page.

What do you have to say? If you don’t know, there’s not much use in adding all that other cruft. Just start with one page, with a single focus. Write it and publish it, and then iterate on that. Every time you’re about to add something, ask yourself: does this help me communicate better? Will that additional styling, image, or hyperlink give my audience more understanding? If the answer’s “no”, don’t add it.

At its heart, web design should be about words. Words don’t come after the design is done. Words are the beginning, the core, the focus.

Start with words.

Cheers,
Justin Jackson
@mijustin
On Google+


Thank you Justin for allowing me to post this and for reminding us all of the power of pure, unadulterated…words.

Blogging Hack: Idea Shortcut

For me, blogging is a tale of two emotions. In general I find it very enjoyable of course, however, there are moments when it becomes stressful to keep up with a publishing schedule because of other things I have happening in my life.

That being said, I’m learning a few “shortcuts” that help me reduce these moments of anxiety. In the interest of brevity, I thought I’d share just one of them with you in this post. I hope you find it helpful!

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Sincerely? Just Write It Sincerely (Interview)

For this week’s interview, I’m publishing my notes from my conversation with Terri Webster-Schrandt from Perspectives on…Work, Life and Leisure.

I was anxious to talk to Terri for a few reasons.  Different from other interviews I’ve posted, it wasn’t necessarily the number of followers that drew me to Terri’s blog, but rather her way of writing.  Her posts come across in a very sincere and transparent way that make me feel as though she’s writing with her own voice, being true to herself versus writing with the intention of simply attracting followers, etc.  Personally, I value this in a writer as I find their work much more interesting.

Her journey includes making the decision to change the name of her blog as part of this effort to reflect the nature of her content. I love this willingness to evolve and grow in order to perfect; I hope to do the same.  Her life has been a colorful one thus far, and whether it be her past life teaching in northern California, wind surfing on the weekends or advocating for women’s interests, this same energy and transparency shine through.  Read on for my conversation notes! Continue reading

Sunday in Autumn

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Sipping coffee, watching the snow fall slowly.

Sunday…the first day of the week, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, a time to push the reset button. Autumn…a season of endings, transitioning away from the lively, vibrant sounds and sensations of summer; a slow inching towards what promises to be a cold, still winter.  Sunday in autumn…a fresh start in a season of quiet closure.

Medieval Penguins and Red Velvet Cake (Interview)

IF

What do you get when you combine someone who likes cross stitching, sewing, baking, reading and penguins?  You get Gemma Feltham, of course! As an avid reader myself, I quickly became interested in Gemma’s writing.  That said, although her basis for blogging is reviewing books, it was her thoughts around blogging itself that intrigued me even further.

With over 11,000 followers, Gemma’s If Books Could Blog site is a great example of how your audience will find you when you choose to blog about something you are passionate about.  As you will see below, she started posting as an outlet, but obviously found common ground with many others sharing her love for reading.  In my conversation with her, she was genuinely surprised at the number of followers she has acquired– she simply doesn’t pay attention to it!  (Imagine that…a blogger who doesn’t spend half their day on their ‘Stats’ page!)
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Special Announcement – Exciting New Enhancements

 

exciting-news

1.) Now on Twitter – Our handle is @mybrewsandviews and we’d love for you to follow us!  Just click the “Follow” button in the Twitter section of our homepage.

2.) Now on Facebook – Visit us at http://facebook.com/brewsandviewsblog.  While you’re there give us a “LIKE” if you would!  It’ll help build our self-esteem 🙂

3.) NEW WEEKLY FEATURE – Starting next week, in addition to our regular post each week we’ll be publishing a new interview post with an established, experienced blogger. We’ll be asking questions such as how they’ve grown their audience and what inspired them to start blogging among others.  If you’d like to suggest a fellow blogger, visit the Interviews page to see the instructions.

As always, we’d love your feedback!  In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you on Twitter and Facebook soon.

DH