The second part of the post (how to make the most of online communities) was also giving me trouble because who am I to tell you all how to make the most of your blogging/tweeting/web-surfing? I'm basically a newbie at it myself. I mean, I've only had this blog for six months and I joined twitter even more recently.
I started blogging back in 2007 with two blogs: one for knitting and one for writing. Both were terrible, or at the very least, seriously unfocused. I had no idea how blogging "worked" and what the "rules" were (mostly because I spent all my time writing and very little time reading other blogs). I just wrote about whatever came to mind on that day and since my mind was often empty, I didn't post very often. I mean, for crying out loud, I had more pictures of my cats on those blogs than I had of stuff relevant to my actual posts.
So I put those blogs out of their misery.
Then in grad school, I decided to give the blog thing another go with swimagainstthegrain.blogspot.com It still exists… I left it up, because some of the posts are not terrible. Early one Sunday morning, I started doodling in my notebook and before I knew it, I had drawn this little guy.
I kept doodling and by the time my hubby woke up, I had pages and pages of iggi scattered across the office floor and I had transferred the image to the computer. It was at that moment that I realized iggi was my "brand" and I needed to adapt my blog accordingly. So I rebooted my blog, moving from the old url to this one and iggi and I have been a team ever since.
Along the way, I've found a series of really useful resources that have helped me figure out the big scary world of the internets.
- inkygirl's Writer's Guide to Twitter taught me everything I know about tweeting, twitter chats and twitter etiquette. She also has a list of twitter chats relating to writing.
- Adventure in Children's Publishing does a recap every week of Best Articles for Writers every Friday. It's organized according to category so it's easy to find topics you're looking for.
- Jody Hedlund's blog is chock-full of useful posts about writing, blogging and social networking. Here are just a few of the goodies you'll find on her blog: Learning How to Use Social Media Effectively and How Important is Blogging for Unpublished Writers?
- Elana Johnson just wrote a great post on Monday about building a blog audience: Blogging Trifecta Explosion!
- And no list of online resources would be complete without the fabulous group of writers that brought us WriteOnCon! Though I was in Ireland during the conference, I have browsed through some of the recaps and I'm continually amazed at all the wealth of information that's there.
- Don't forget also to look up professional writer organizations. I found this list of Writers Associations that looks to be pretty good. At the very least, it can serve as a jumping off point.
Long-term Goals: if you don't already have Google Reader (or something like it), set it up and start connecting with different blogs. If you've been resisting Twitter, consider setting up an account, even if all you do at first is follow tweets.
Today's Task: Since we're talking about community, today we're doing a group project! Please share in the comments which online communities or resources you visit and tell us why you find them especially useful. If we all pitch in together and give one or two unique answers, we can collectively put together a comprehensive list of online communities and resources. Later in the month, I'll go back through the comments, add some more links and put together a user-friendly Resources list to post at the end of DIY MFA.