Infographic posted with permission of copyblogger.
“For many of us, the heart of our home base is our blog. It’s where our best thinking lives, the place where others can comment and interact with us, the nexus of our social network,” says Michael Hyatt in his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.
He goes on to advise would-be bloggers, in eight steps, how to set up or restart a blog. His first step is “Determine a theme.”
Now I’ve been blogging themeless (at my personal blog promptings) for years and it’s been a lot of fun. However, in the last few weeks (actually ever since I started blogging here at my website), I’ve been mulling over whether it’s time to establish a theme, what that should be, and how it would look in blog format.
In a recent Author Media webinar Thomas Umstattd echoed Hyatt’s advice. “Find your niche,” he said. “Don’t copy the competition.” His explanation of a blogging theme in relation to other writing we do was most helpful. He said something like, “Imagine your book is the DVD. Then your blog would be the extras on that DVD—the outtakes, the extra scenes, the interesting facts that never made it into the main feature, the interviews with the actors…”
And so I’ve been asking myself, what is my niche, and what extra features would be on my DVD?
‘Writing’ seems the obvious answer to niche. It’s what I know best. But does the world need yet another writing blog? There are writing blogs galore written by people with a lot more expertise and success than I have.
Another blogging possibility comes to mind as I review what I have written about, and love to write about—the Bible. I have found a lot of inspiration in it. I’ve written a year’s worth of Bible-based devotions for kids. I write daily devotions for adults. In 2012 I published a book of biblical fiction based on the story of the exodus with fictional characters inspired by characters straight from the Bible.
What ties all these writings together is what I am attempting to do in them: BRING THE BIBLE TO LIFE. That is:
1] make the Bible come alive for readers
2] apply Bible teachings and principles to modern life.
Lately I’ve been thinking I could blog about that! In the coming year I’m going to try. In that vein I plan to offer you some of these “DVD extras” in 2013:
- Articles on the history of the Bible and how it came to us. If you’ve wondered how we ever got this collection of 66 books we call the Bible, posts on Bible history might answer some of your questions.
- An exploration of various Bible study methods and helps. If your Bible study feels stale and you’re ready for something new, stay tuned. We just might explore a method or find books and helps that breathe new life into your study.
- An introduction to some of my favourite Bible illustrators from the past. The whole realm of Bible illustration is fascinating. For example, how did/do Bible illustrators know what to dress their characters in? Are they always true to history, or do other factors (like interpretation, symbols, contextualizing the scenes so that contemporary readers can visualize themselves in the picture) play a part?
- Interviews with living authors, translators, illustrators, and others who work closely with the Scripture. Friends of ours are Bible translators. Some of the dilemmas they face as they attempt to put the Bible into the mother tongue of a culture strange to them are fascinating.
- Stories of the Bible’s impact on people’s lives.
- Monthly Bible-inspired writing prompts for fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
- Reviews of books, especially books that bring the Bible to life. In this department I’m going to focus on biblical fiction but I will continue to review other types of books as well.
Of course I’m open to other topics as well. What would help bring the Bible to life for you? I’d love to hear your suggestions (leave them in comments).
If you enjoy the Bible and would like to find out more about this best seller of all time, why don’t you join me? I’ll be updating once or twice a week.
Two little programs that I use regularly have helped me streamline my time online, even as I attempt to stay on-task in the midst of all the noise.
Pocket (getpocket.com – formerly Read It Later) is one. It’s a program that works on any device (phone, tablet or computer). I have installed it on both my desk computer and laptop using Firefox.
The program puts a little pocket-shaped icon in my browser bar. If I find an article that looks interesting but I don’t have time to read it, I simply click on the pocket (which then turns red). It gets saved to a list of links that I access by clicking on a second pocket found at the far right of my browser.
A second great time-saver is Buffer (bufferapp.com). This program lets me schedule tweets. I also installed it on both computers using Firefox.
The free version of Buffer lets me schedule updates to one Twitter, one Facebook, and one LinkedIn account, but it does have some limitations. For example, I’m limited to how many tweets I can schedule; I think it’s 10. However, that’s easily enough to schedule enough tweets for a day or two (I have control over how many times a day I’ll tweet and when).
So gone are the days of inundating my followers with a deluge of tweets within seconds of each other. Now I set aside some time most days to Buffer my twitter stream for the next day, remembering to sprinkle in a few tweets for my book or other writing. I haven’t posted any updates to Facebook or LinkedIn with Buffer but I’m sure it works just as well.
These two handy little programs (plug-ins, apps, whatever they’re called) have helped me take control of my online reading and social media endeavors. Why don’t you give them a try? You might like them too.
(First published on Inscribe Writers Online – September 12, 2012)