Monthly Archives: September 2017

BWS 13.09.17 report: What a Blog Needs, with Kerry Clare

kerryclare

A blogger since 2000, Kerry Clare‘s debut novel, Mitzi Bytes, was published in March. In her blog, she writes about books and reading at PickleMeThis.com. At our September event, Kerry shared with us her journey from blog to book and gave some great pointers on what a blog needs to become successful.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog or have already begun the journey, here are Kerry’s thoughts on what a blog needs:

Give your blog space to grow and room to wander

If you’re starting a blog and you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s perfect! The best way to figure out your blog is to write your way towards the answers. Don’t get hung up on perfection—a blog is by nature raw and unpolished. Just keep writing one post after another, and don’t stop.

Write like nobody is reading

This is the easiest rule ever, because so often nobody is reading. It means that you are free to do away with self-consciousness and indulge your own fascinations and preoccupations. This freedom gives you the opportunity to create the kind of authenticity that will engage readers. Remember that metrics, comments and social media responses are fickle things and that you should gauge your success by what you can control—the quality of your ideas, your writing, your storytelling and how they improve over time.

Make sure that your blog delivers a profit

This is not the same as monetizing your blog; although, if you can figure out how to do so without compromising your work, then congratulations! But for the rest of us, it’s important to determine other ways for our work to pay off—Does your blog teach you things? Will it help your writing to improve? Does it challenge you and encourage you to get out into the world? All these questions are useful to help you find a way to make your blog serve you better.

If it’s not working, change it

Blogging should never be a chore. If you’re finding your enthusiasm lagging, if you anticipate writing blog posts with dread, then you need to switch up your routine. Don’t be afraid to change your focus. A blog needs space to grow and room to wander. If you’re finding the journey unsatisfying, then don’t be afraid to quit; blogging is not for everyone, and a blog doesn’t have to be forever.

Don’t blog to get somewhere, blog to be somewhere

From post to post, blogging will inevitably take you places—perhaps out into the world in pursuit of adventures to write about, and, if you’re lucky and keep at it, to professional and creative opportunities. While each of these is an excellent endeavour, the very best reason to blog is to create something artful, creative and interesting. Blogging is about immediacy, noticing what’s going on around you, and being in the moment. Always remember that a blog is a work in progress, just like life.

This year is the eighth anniversary of Brockton Writers Series! We’ll celebrate this milestone at our next event with fun surprises and a new panel of authors to inspire your senses. Guest speaker Heidi Reimer will discuss How to Write a Book in Ten Years and fellow authors Dorothy Ellen Palmer, Jia Quing Wilson-Yang, Puneet Dutt, and Spencer Butt will perform readings. In the following weeks, watch our space for special, anniversary-themed blogs and to learn more about how you can join in the fun!  

Mark your calendars for an event not to be missed on November 8, 2017, 6:30pm, at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St., Toronto!

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BWS 13.09.17: Saidah Vassell

Saidah

Saidah Vassell has loved stories since before she could write. As a child, she often spent her time creating entire worlds for her dolls. Eventually, she and her cousin began writing them down and that is all it took to spark a passion within her for writing.

This week, Saidah shares an excerpt from “Castle of Dreams”, featured in her short story collection, Portable Magic. Journey into her enchanted world at our next event!

Castle of Dreams

There once was a castle said to hold thousands of treasures, it was said that this castle held your deepest and most wonderful desires and if you went inside, you would receive what you’ve dreamed of. Now, legend had it that this castle was in the sky and the only time you could get to it was when the orange moon cast its sacred light on the Heron Lake. Now, the orange moon only came once a year and if you weren’t careful you could miss it entirely, but if you were careful and you caught it at the right moment, you could walk up the moon’s magical rays of light where the castle was only a hop away.

Only one man claims to have ever made it to the castle of dreams and his name is Litharius and he was the town drunk. Of course no one believed him. He was poor and he lived alone in a shack far up on the top of the hill but despite all of this, he still claims he’s had his dream come true.

The story he tells begins long ago, when he was just a young man. Litharius claims to be the son of a duke. He said he lived in riches but he was never happy. He lived in luxury but a smile never met his lips. He lived a life that many a man would envy but yet he never felt any joy. When he heard the tale of the castle of dreams, he vowed that maybe one day he’d make it there and hold his dreams in his arms, if only for a little while.

Years went by. Years filled with riches, suitors, festivals, and more. Filled with everything except for happiness, because the young Litharius’s dream was of something much greater than his world could offer. Every year that passed him by, he looked and waited for the orange moon but whenever it came, he found himself at the wrong lake. Time and time again the lake he found would not take him to the castle in the sky. It was on the night of his father’s death that he found himself at the right lake.

The orange moon cast its light on the right Heron Lake and it sparkled and twinkled up at Litharius. It smiled at him, it beckoned him to walk up the sacred rays to the castle of dreams. At the same time, a messenger pigeon found him to deliver the news of his father’s death. He had a choice, mourn for his father or finally reach the castle, a place he’d been searching for for nearly a decade. In that moment, he chose the castle.

Saidah Vassell visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in our new home, Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church St., Toronto, at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Fathima Cader, Nancy Kay Clark, Drew Hayden Taylor and a special guest talk, “From Blog to Book: A Work in Process”, by Kerry Clare!

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