Daily Archives: July 22, 2015

Day 14 – Blogging 101

Day Fourteen: Extend Your Brand

As soon as you started publishing, you became a brand: you announced to the world, “This is the place on the internet where you come to find XYZ.”

As you define your brand, you build a distinct personality and consistent experience for your readers that reinforces why your blog is worth reading. Think of the sites you love reading. You can probably give a one-sentence description of most of them — that’s their brand. You’ve got one, too (even if you don’t know it yet).

Today’s task: extend your brand with one of the following: a custom site icon, a custom image widget, or a fan page.

Why do this?

  • A consistent look that extends across the internet creates a consistent experience for your readers.
  • It helps you feel like a “serious” blogger, and that means you’ll be more likely to keep it up.

A strong brand is more than a logo, it’s a guarantee. When a reader sees something associated with your brand — a post on your site, a tweet, an email, whatever — they know what to expect, be that a laugh, a great DIY project, a recipe, parenting advice, or whatever else you crazy kids are blogging about. It’s unique to you and creates an emotional connection with readers, and that’s what keeps them coming back.

Nike. Coke. Zappos. Target. You may not use them, but you know what they are and what makes them unique, and you probably have some feelings about them. That’s the power of a strong brand.

You’ve already started defining your brand when you picked a theme and title for your blog, added a header image, added widgets, and played with color and font. Now, take that a step further by choosing one of these options:

  • A custom site icon. A site icon is an avatar for your blog. It appears in readers’ browser address bars when they visit your site (think of the yellow “a” you see in front of amazon.com, or the red “N” for Netflix). Upload one — try a piece of whatever image you’ve chosen as your header, or your initials — for a custom detail that makes a difference. Head to General → Settings in your dashboard; here are all the details.
  • A Facebook Fan Page. A fan page gives you a place to share your blog posts and related content without feeling like you’re spamming friends and family; you can take advantage of Facebook but keep your personal life and blog life separate.Get the down-low on how to start and maintain one.

  • A custom image widget
    . They’re simple to make, and take your theme from typical to tailored. Take a look at how With the Grains uses image widgets with unique drawings to highlight her Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and her regular features, like as “Juice of the Week.” We particularly love the waffle/Instagram mashup. (Mmm, waffles.)Here are some more examples and inspiration.

Need sources for free images? Here are a few of our faves.

Be sure to take advantage of support documents and the support forums today — you may need to stretch yourself and learn something new. And of course, there’s always The Commons.

PicMonkey, which lots of you have already tried for custom headers, is perfect for this project. If graphic design feels beyond you, pick a few related images, slap some text on ‘em, and you’re off.


Lucky for me I already have a fan page on Facebook – click here to check it out.

Day 11 – Blogging 101

Day Eleven: Make a Prompt Personal

Let’s get back to publishing, shall we?

Writing prompts can be a blogger’s best friend: when inspiration is low and fresh ideas few, responding to someone else’s question can do get you out of a slump. There’s no need to treat them as requirement, though; prompts work best when you personalize them to fit your interests and perspective.

Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a blogging prompt.

Why do this?

  • Learning to interpret prompts is an invaluable skill for when writers’ block hits.
  • The best way to become a better blogger is to blog — and prompts force you to do that.

Prompts are not homework, and they’re not mandatory. They’re also flexible: prompts are here to help you, and the best way to make the most out of them is to personalize them. To find the prompt, head to the front page of The Daily Post — you’ll find the prompt in an orange box on the middle-right side of the screen.

Maybe you’ll know what you want to publish as soon as you read the prompt — great! If not, don’t abandon it. Just like you customize your theme to match your tastes and preferences, you can tweak prompts to fit your interests and blog.

Take this (terrible) prompt:

Two plus two equals four: yes or no?

Sure, you could just answer the question. You also could publish a post…

  • About why you love math.
  • Ranting about the technology behind solar calculators.
  • With a few photos of pairs of things.
  • Telling a story about how you met your best friend in 9th-grade algebra.

None of those posts answer the question; all of those posts respond to the prompt.

Today, practice turning a writing prompt into a post that fits seamlessly into your blog. Read today’s prompt, and interpret it. Focus on a particular word. Take a broad-brush view. Use it metaphorically. Find an alternate interpretation.Remember: We don’t want you to write about something that doesn’t fit on your blog. We do want you to think come up with your own take on the prompt, one that fits right in with everything you normally blog about.

You can also take a look at more than one prompt — just above the prompt, you’ll see “Try Another.” Click that to load a new prompt.

If the prompts still aren’t moving you, write about whatever thought popped into your mind when you first read it. Write about why you think the prompt is silly. For more, check out our tips on making prompts your own.

Don’t forget to add a link to the prompt to your post  also called a “pingback“) to have your post listed with all the other responses to the prompt — or just click the “Respond in a new post” button on the prompt post to open a new draft on your blog with the pingback link already inserted. And of course, be sure to use the blogging101 tag.

(When you decide on a prompt to use, click on it and copy the direct link to the prompt and/or bookmark it — the link will come in handy tomorrow.)

We’ll be building on this assignment, so no skipping! Head to The Commons for feedback and support.

Day 12 – Blogging 101

Day Twelve: Increase Your Commenting Confidence

Monday, you published a post using a prompt as a starting point. Today, explore the same prompt through the eyes of of your fellow bloggers. (We weren’t kidding when we told you the link to the prompt would come in handy!)

Today’s task: read six posts written in response to the same prompt, and leave comments on at least two of them.

(Didn’t do the last task yet? No worries: leave two comments anywhere, and write a new post of your own.)

Why do this?

  • Reading others’ takes on a topic you’ve tackled challenges your own thinking (and blogging).
  • It’s easier to enter a conversation when everyone has a shared experience, like responding to the same prompt.

To find other blogger who responded to the same prompt, go back to the prompt page on The Daily Post, scroll down to the list of entries (the grid of blogs), and pick any six that strike your fancy. You might go for those whose titles sound enticing, or decide to click around arbitrarily. Either way, spread the love — don’t just click on the first six links you see!

As you read, ask yourselves: how did the author approach the prompt? How was the post structured? Was there anything particularly creative or original done that you could take inspiration from? Did they interpret it in a way that would have never occurred to your? Reading and finding inspiration in others’ writing is a foolproof way to preempt writer’s block — and it teaches you new ways to re-imagine prompts.

Extra credit: if you have a smartphone or tablet, do your browsing and reading there. The WordPress mobile app is available for Apple and Android.

To comment, note the posts that elicit the strongest reactions from you — is it a post that’s particularly well written, or one that you passionately disagree with? It’s these kinds of posts where it’s easiest to engage the author in a meaningful way. (And remember the basics of commenting etiquette.)

Do you have a few more minutes to spare? Leave more than two comments — especially if you’re enjoying a lively discussion with another blogger! If you feel like posting today, pick the most thoughtful comment you’ve left, and expand it into a blog post. Don’t forget to link back to the original post, and use the blogging101 tag.


I chose 2 to read and one of them made me cry. Very emotional piece.


The Cat Says Meow – prompt for Blogging 101’s Day 11 lesson

The Cat Says Meow

Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.


I am sitting here glaring at the human on the computer. I can’t seem to make her understand what I want. I meow right in her ear and she pushes me away. Why doesn’t she get it? I keep meowing and she keeps pushing me away. Occasionally she will fondle me behind the ears and that feels so good, but that is just to try and distract me from what I really want.

She’s given me water, wet food (I hate that stuff, wish she’d get some better), dry food, (okay if nothing better comes my way), but the one thing I want more than anything else and she won’t give it to me.

Oh wait she’s getting up. She’s heading to the cabinet with my food in it. She reaches in.

My treats, she picked up the treats.

“Do you want some treats Sara?”

Meow and off I go to the cabinet.

Tuesday at Ten { I Find Faith in . . . . }

New Tuesday at Ten logo - 5-21-15

Tuesday at Ten { I Find Faith in . . . . }

Welcome to Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 6 full days to use the “prompt phrase” as a part of your writing.

Each week I post a prompt phrase and you finish the phrase and write how that phrase fits you and your life or your thoughts.

Whether it be just writing a story behind the phrase or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose.

You have 6 days to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you.

Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection! A new Prompt word is posted every Tuesday Morning at 10am, the link up closes at 11pm the night before.

Every Monday evening (the day before the new word is posted) I will choose ONE highlighted writer of the week to be highlighted and shared on the Tuesday at Ten Facebook page for all to see. You will also get an award graphic for that week to post on your blog.

Make sure to visit the Tuesday at Ten Facebook page to view the winner and for daily news!

Remember  – it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being YOU. Have FUN!

Today’s Prompt PHRASE is { I Find Faith In  . . . . .  }


I find faith in God. The newness of my faith as it is renewed after a barren time span. The difference in my thinking and the way I do things.

I find faith in God that he will find my exact path that he wants me to follow. I have been wandering aimlessly. Now he is guiding me in my path to follow.

I find faith in God as my mental anguish is under control right now. God will decide how long it will last. My mind is clearer now.

I find faith in God as my body loses some of the intense pain I was living with. I am thankful for getting some relief. 

Does any of this actually have anything to do with God? I have faith in it! Yes it does! Thank you God for my blessings!


Three Word Wednesday – Haiku


Three Word Wednesday

3WW Week No. 437

As you well know, each week I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.
(And if you want a hint as to when I post three new words, follow me on Twitter @tgabrukiewicz.)

I do invite everyone to check back often to read and comment on other contributions. This is, after all, a community for writers, poets and bloggers who clamor for your feedback. Share with friends. Tweet the love. Let us build this community. 
Metallic, adjective: of, relating to, or resembling metal or metals, (of sound) resembling that produced by metal objects striking each other; sharp and ringing, (of a person’s voice); emanating or as if emanating via an electronic medium, having the sheen or luster of metal; noun: a paint, fiber, fabric, or color with a metallic sheen.
Optimal, adjective: best or most favorable; optimum.
Polished, adjective: shiny as a result of being rubbed, accomplished and skillful, refined, sophisticated, or elegant. 

Written by Tessa Smeigh Copyright 2015

Metallic Objects,
Optimal Sheen and Polished,
Displayed so Freely.

Confessions of a Bookaholic Tag!

Confessions of a Bookaholic Tag!


Thanks to HBHATNAGAR for this nomination. I love books! Standard rules apply.

The questions:

1) Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
Stephen King, Dean Koonts, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich to name a few.

2) Book adaptations to movies or tv series?
Neither, I prefer to read the book.

3) A hyped series that you just couldn’t get yourself to love?
Under The Dome (and I read the book, but couldn’t get into the series)

4) A book or series that you regret not reading?
There’s time yet, I agree with this.

5) A character you wish was real?
Travis Magee (not sure of the spelling right now)

6) Ebooks or real books?
Real books, because with ebooks my mind starts to wander believe it or not.

7) A book/series you regret reading?
“Lord of the Flies”

8) A classic you love?
“Little Women”

9) An all time favorite?
The book from Stephen King – “Under the Dome”

10) A book everyone should read?
“The Grapes of Wrath”

Nominations. I won’t spam your blog asking you that you’ve been selected like some online version of Reader’s Digest sweepstakes, but since most of you do visit my blog regularly, I hope you will read this and I’d like to know your answers to these questions.

1. EmmaC

2. Morgueticia

3. Sassafrass

4. MindLoveMisery

5. sexyachymoody