Blog Squadron – Mission #2: Blogging Ideas and Motivations
Hello and welcome to Blog Squadron Mission 2!
The goal of these missions is to share the experiences of bloggers who write about Star Wars and shed a little light on the writing processes, quirks and routines.
Meet the Blog Squadron!
A few weeks back a call was given by Matt Applebee,@mapplebee7567, via Twitter to gather a group of bloggers, who write about Star Wars, to share our wring processes, quirks and routines. This call was answered by the following Star Wars bloggers:
Matt Applebee: Far, Far Away Radio.com
Jessie Stardust: TatooineDreams.com (Personal Blog, mostly Star Wars flavored) and PassionatelyCasual.com (Star Wars:The Old Republic podcast site.)
Patty Hammond: I currently write for my own EverydayFangirl.com and also for The Future Of The Force, StarWars.com and TheBeardedTrio.com. I have previously wrote for The Cantina Cast and The Detroit News Geek Watch Blog.
Bryan: I’ve posted on a few blogs along the way, but I’m exclusively on hyperspacepodblast.com nowadays.
Sophie: My personal blog is outerrimreviews.wordpress.com, here I am chronicling my journey through the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I also write articles for farfarawayradio.com
Johnamarie Macias: TheWookieeGunner.com
Saf: I write sporadically for ToscheStation.net, MakingStarWars.net, and TheWookieeGunner.com. I also write about Star Wars on my own site, NotSafForWork.com.
Together we formed the Blog Squadron with the mission to help those in the Star Wars fan community get to know us better, understand our blogging process and to give advice to anyone who wishes to join us!
In today’s mission, the Blog Squadron sheds a little light on how we come up with ideas to write about, what motivates us to write and how often!
How do you come up with ideas to blog about?
Matt: Besides the times when a new movie comes out, I’m given complete autonomy in terms of what I write about. I usually come up with ideas while my daughter is in her gymnastics class. As she’s trying to have fun, and I’m trying to ignore the hyper intense parents, I write down all kinds of ideas in a little journal. As far as the topics, I just try to write about either random thoughts I’ve had about Star Wars while driving, conversations/debates my wife and I have had, or fan debates on social media. Those are generally my favorites because I like to see if I can present both sides and try to broker some kind of peace.
Stardust: Coming up with ideas is the easy part! My difficulty is finding the discipline to work with those ideas to make a blog entry. Many of my articles spring forth from what I am seeing in Star Wars news, SWTOR updates, and social media. I read a fair amount of Star Wars books and each one of them opens up so many questions and reasons to talk about my favorite galaxy.
Patty: Some ideas just come to me, others ideas come in the course of watching the films or TV shows, reading the novels or comics, remembering something that happened in the past or by interacting with other fans through social media.
Bryan: Oh this would be a long list, but most of them come from thinking about Star Wars while: running, in the shower, commuting, or discussing Star Wars via Twitter or in person with other fans. To be honest, most of what I blog about now is actually more of a play-by-play of the comics, but I still use the same process to come up with podcast ideas…which are kind of stream of consciousness audio blogs…or something…
Sophie: I have a combination of muses. Sometimes I just get a flash of inspiration and think ‘I must write this down now!’ regardless of where I am or what I am doing! Other times, I’ll find I’m spending several days obsessing about certain themes and characters which I start to jot down notes on and slowly an article is born.
Johnamarie: When it comes to my site, I focus mostly on the animation side of Star Wars, so I think about things that I personally would like to read. That’s how I came up with a Star Wars Rebels roundup because so much news was being distributed, but there wasn’t a system in place to catch it all. I also read other blogs to get my creative juices flowing. Sifting through Twitter and Star Wars themed forums also have a way of giving me ideas. For example, my article about mother-daughter relationships in Star Wars was inspired by a Twitter conversation. I took that and made it into an opinion piece, while also finding a few sources here and there to support my concerns. Inspiration is all around you. You just have to keep your eyes open and ask yourself, “Could I write about that?”
Saf: This is actually something I get asked about a lot, and it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I generally block out a day or two at the start of the month and spend the entirety of those days brainstorming for creative projects. I write down a list of any little thing I might have some interest in writing about, then extrapolate on those things until I have a page filled with different ideas that might be fun to cover. I’ll also often make polls on Twitter or Patreon to see what people are most keen to read from that point. I find that if I don’t make time to plan these things out, I hit a wall when I go, “What should I write about this month?”
How often do you blog about Star Wars? What factors/motivations help you decide when to write (deadlines, personal or otherwise, being “first” with a scoop, reviews, etc.)?
Matt: I generally blog about every other week mostly because that’s what I told the fine folks at Far, Far Away that I’d do. If I’ve particularly inspired, sometimes I’ll even get two out in a week, and other times I’ll get less. I’m really blessed with the amount of trust and freedom that the whole gang at Far, Far Away affords me.
Stardust: If inconsistency were a virtue, I’d be a saint. I tend to post in fits and starts; long periods of nothing followed by three pieces in ten days. When my blog had its second anniversary last month, that helped renew a spirit within me to write more consistently. Fear of commitment keeps me from quantifying that but I have been thinking about blogging a lot, which surely has to be the first step, right? Unless it is SWTOR-game related, I will never try to scoop on Star Wars stuff, there are a lot of people who have the connections and experience to do that, and I will leave that fun to them. (I am positioned to occasionally scoop on SWTOR due to my participation in an Influencer program with BioWare.)
Patty: I do not have a set schedule. Sometimes I can write everyday, other times it is once or twice a week, other times an opportunity may come up and I write something out of the blue. It really depends on what is going on and how much real life distracts me.
Bryan: I started out as mostly sporadic, then changed to a weekly format, and now I’m back to being extremely sporadic with “regular” blog posts while quite regular with my aforementioned comic posts. I liked having a weekly “deadline,” so to speak, when I was writing for another blog – it forced me to write rather than allow myself to be lazy about it (which I sort of do now, though I tell myself it’s because of the podcast…which it sort of is). If I were starting a new blog today, I think I’d go with a bi-weekly deadline for myself to ensure that I didn’t get too lax in posting, but also didn’t burn myself out too soon.
Sophie: I aim to upload a post to Outer Rim Reviews every other week (I need to have the time to actually read the books I am going to write about!) and usually aim to be about four books ahead of the posts. Far Far Away Radio is generally also every other week so I spend alternate weeks on each blog. Having this structure helps a lot to keep me motivated and because, for me, it is a realistic target I don’t crumble under the pressure of getting posts written. It’s definitely important to set yourself achievable goals because, at the end of the day, if it’s not your full time job then blogging should be something you do for fun – it certainly shouldn’t create stress!
Johnamarie: On a good week, I update the site a few times. On a not-so-good week, I update it only once. To be honest, though, it comes down to “I update when I get the chance.” TWG is my hobby, so even though I would like to keep it updated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I have a daytime job to focus on and other responsibilities outside of that. As for what motivates me, I’ve never been the “first” kind of person. For example, if news breaks, I don’t rush to the computer to post about it on my site. I take my time. Sometimes, I write about it a few days after the fact. Part of it is because I’m busy doing other things or I’m too tired when I get home, and the other part is that I like to think about what I’m writing. I like to provide a thoughtful and unique perspective and not just regurgitate what I see.
Saf: I definitely write about Star Wars a lot less than I used to—though not because I don’t want to! It’s just hard to find the time to write about things for fun when my fulltime job is also writing. These days I most often write reviews for new books, and sometimes opinion pieces on storytelling or diversity. I try to aim for at least once a month, but I’m failing a little at that right now because of life. Deadlines are my biggest motivators though, so I much prefer it when one of my siterunners tells me “I need this by this time” instead of being more lax with me. I’m definitely not a scoops kinda person though. I prefer in-depth discussions or features when I can, which is why I post about Star Wars way less frequently than others might.
As mentioned before, the goal of these missions is to share our experiences and shed a little light on our writing processes, quirks, and routines. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to visit the other #BlogSquadron Mission posts, continuing with Sophie’s post at Far, Far Away Radio.com on 09/29. We also want you to let us know what you think by commenting here or by interacting with us via Twitter using the hashtag #BlogSquadron!
A to Z Blog Challenge Topic: Reflections
When I signed up for the A to Z Blog Challenge sign up list, at the end of March, there were over 1,100 blogs signed up for the challenge. I was not even sure if I would be able to meet this challenge, especially with so many other bloggers involved. However, as I mentioned in my first post about the Challenge, I decided to try and meet this challenge. Even though there were few bumps, I was able to meet the challenge and succeed in completing it. Therefore, I can now say that I survived the 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge and proudly display the badge shown below!
As I think back to the beginning of this challenge, I thought that this would be good for me to complete for three important reasons.
- 1) To gain new followers
- 2) To force myself to be better disciplined with my blog posts
- 3) To find new blogs and begin to follow them
In reference to the first, I did gain some new followers during this challenge. I went from less than 10 followers before the Challenge to over 20 followers by the end of the Challenge. This means that I doubled my following during the challenge. Therefore, I believe this part of the A to Z Blog Challenge was indeed successful.
In reference to the second, I was able to post a topic for every letter and on the he assigned day. However, I am not sure if my blog posts were better disciplined or not. For example, many of these posts were not written ahead of time or pre scheduled. This means that some of the days, even though I made a list of topics at the start of the challenge, I kept changing my mind and would still be writing the blog post just a few minutes before it needed to be posted at the end of the day. In addition, many of the posts were not proofread properly before posting and needed revisions after they went live. Therefore, I believe this was partially successful and I need to do a better job in the future.
In reference to the third, I tried to visit all the blog sites or posts that had topics of interest to me during this challenge. I visited quite a bit of sites and viewed many of the posts through the A to Z Challenge Daily. Therefore, I started following the following blog sites due to viewing their post topics during this challenge:
- Geek Girl’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Star Trek Sci-Fi Blog
- Closet Geek Gurl
- Strands of Pattern
- Princess of Procrastination
- Bookish Geek
- Blog of Author, Linda R Young
- Blog of Author, Barbara White Daillle
- Blog of Author, D Renee Bagby
- Blog of Author, Willa Blair
- Blog of Author, Rinelle Grey
Speaking of Rinelle Grey, it was through her blog post about what she was doing in April that I was made aware of the A to Z Blog Challenge. Therefore, I would not have even know about this challenge if it was not for her. In addition, she nominated me for a Liebster blogging award through our Twitter conversations during the challenge. Working on that post was a lot of work, but well worth it. I was able to even include it as one of my Challenge posts as well!
On a related note, it was these conversations with Rinelle on Twitter throughout the A to Z Challenge that kept me motivated to continue even when I kept changing my mind on topics. I believe it was these conversations that ended up being the greatest benefit I received during this Challenge. I had not considered this as a benefit of the A to Z Challenge, when I first signed up. However, I am glad that it did become one! Therefore, I owe a lot to Rinelle for keeping me motivated and helping me stay focused during this challenge! So Rinelle, THANK YOU very much!
Finally, I wanted to thank everyone who read my posts during this challenge. I hope you were entertained by the topics I chose and what I wrote about the topics. In addition, I also hope that I met with your expectations and would come visit my blog again soon. Therefore, I hope that you, like me, have found that the A to Z Blog Challenge gave you as many benefits.
This post along with other posts, like this, from those that participated in the challenge can be found on the 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge reflections “linky” list.
A-Z Blogging Challenge Topic: Nominations for the Liebster Blogging Award
I wanted to congratulate author Rinelle Grey for her Liebster Blogging Award nomination. The purpose of the Liebster Blogging Award is to give new bloggers a chance to gain new followers and to give more information to the blogger that nominated them.
Rules of the Liebster Blogging Award
The nominees should do the following if they accept their nomination:
1) Thank the blogger that nominated you
2) Give 11 random facts about themselves
3) Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you for the award
4) Nominate up to 11 bloggers with around 200 followers and post links to their blogs
5) Ask 11 questions that those nominated can answer
6) Post about the award and nomination on your blog and Social Media sites
7) Inform the selected nominees of their nomination
And as part of her acceptance, I was one of the bloggers she nominated. Therefore, thank you Rinelle, I am honored to accept the nomination!
Here are 11 Random Facts about Me:
1) I saw Star Wars back in 1977 and thought the trash compactor scene was scary
2) Spent most of my childhood going back and forth to the local Children’s hospital
3) Have lived in the same house for over 15 years
4) Have been to Walt Disney World almost every year for the last 10 years
5) Have a vast Disney’s Beauty & The Beast collection
6) Have a cat that gets scared at every noise, especially when someone is at the front door
7) Have online friends in England & Australia
8) Watched Robotech at 6:30am back when it was first syndicated
9) Played Yu-Gi-Oh with my nephew, when he was younger
10) Have a replica of Anakin’s (also Luke’s) Lightsaber
11) Have contributed to other online sites and blogs with content for the last 10 years!
Here are the 11 questions to the nominees from Rinelle Grey:
1) What pets do you have?
2) What’s your favourite food?
3) Do you prefer sunrise or sunset?
I did not prefer one or the other until I saw the sun rising over an ocean. If that is the view, then I would prefer a sunrise.
4) If someone gave you $1000, what shop would you hit first?
5) Who is the most important person/people in you life?
All my family and friends are important to me!
6) What is your biggest personal achievement?
Having something that I had written appear in a printed publication.
7) Do you have a goal for this year? If so, what is it?
I have a goal of posting a blog article everyday until the end of the year.
8) What’s your favourite computer game?
My favorite game is Final Fantasy IV! I have played all versions of this game even the original on NES, when it was named Final Fantasy II.
9) What sort of camera do you use?
Sony Cybershot that I bought over 5 years ago
10) What’s your favourite YouTube video?
I do not watch content on YouTube much. Therefore, I do not have a favorite at this time.
11) If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to meet George Lucas just to tell him how much his works have influenced my life.
Now, here are the 11 questions for my nominees to answer:
1) How long have you been blogging (include any blogging contributions you may have done for someone else’s blog)?
2) What drew you to the topic or topics you blog about?
3) If you wanted to change something about the world, what would it be?
4) Who inspires you the most?
5) What is your favorite TV show from when you were younger?
6) Do you like anime? If so, which is your favorite?
7) Do you collect? If so, then what is your favorite piece from that collection?
8) What part of the world do you want to visit that you have not yet?
9) What is your favorite artist (can be music or other medium)?
10) What book genre do you like the most?
11) Can you cook or bake?
Finally, my nominees for the Liebster Blogging Award are (drum roll please):
1) Clement’s Game by Rachel Reddick and Michael Busch
2) Fangirl Next Door by TeresaD2
3) Fangirls of the Force by Lillian Skye
4) The Geek Next Door by Author Kiri Callaghan
5) California Historical Landmarks by JawaJames
6) Sarcasmia by Mia
7) Sci-Fi Romance Brigade by a group of Volunteers
8) Two Geek Girls Review Books by Helen and Hope
Congrats to all my Liebster Blogging Award nominees and enjoy your turn at accepting the nomination like I did!
Since tomorrow is the beginning of the A-Z Blog Challenge, I took a page from the Co-Hosts and decided to answer the same 10 questions that they did to introduce themselves.
1.”Where do you hail from?”
–United States of America or USA for short
2.”When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse Code?”
–Actually, on my iPad or on my laptop depending on how long the post is or the amount of media I am adding!
3.”Where do you go to “Get away from it all”?”
–Walt Disney World
4. “Would you rather have your own personal sailing ship or spaceship? What would you name your ship?”
–Spaceship, of course, and it would be named for the fandom I liked the best at the time I acquired it!
5. “Name a book that didn’t meet your expectations.”
–The Twilight books!
6. “What makes life worth living?”
–The people around me!
7. “Do you know how to ‘Gangnam Style?'”
–Not at all!
8.”What items could you typically have in your pockets?”
9.”Cake or Pie?”
–Both! Depending on what is available.
10.”Coke or Pepsi?”
–Used to be a daily Pepsi drinker, but now I drink Lipton Ice Tea!
Now you know a little bit more about me before the A to Z Blog Challenge begins!
I am a new blog poster and want to say hi to anyone who finds this blog.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Patty and I am a self proclaimed fan girl and I like to talk and engage in my fandom everyday. Therefore, I chose to name my blog to be Everyday Fangirl for this reason.
I am into a lot of different interests and fandoms including Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Anime, Disney and other Animation, Romance stories and many others. Therefore, my blog posts will be about anything and everything related to my fandom!! So prepare for my adventure of the everyday fan girl!