Blogging Makes Me Better | Writing

BloggingGoodness that title makes me sound a little full of myself, doesn’t it? Of course my amazing friend Amanda, who had to figuratively slap me back to reality a time or two (…or more), could probably share some of our daily chats to prove it couldn’t be further from the truth. And it’s because of one of those virtual smacks that I got to thinking, this whole strange blogging journey from the last few years has really changed me…for the better!

Do you dream of becoming a full-time blogger but think your writing skills aren’t up to snuff?

I will be the first to say that I was in those very shoes not long ago. Growing up a math nerd who would rather work a difficult calculus problem than be given a writing prompt, the last thing I wanted to become was a writer. In fact, it took months (or maybe years) after my first blog post before I would call myself a writer. I just couldn’t accept the fact that a girl who was happy with C’s, but celebrated B’s, in English class would ever be good enough to be considered a writer.

And when I created my first blog, which is now lost somewhere in the blogosphere, it wasn’t focused on writing at all. I didn’t care how horribly written the posts were because it was all about my crafting experiences. And we all know that people would rather see pretty pictures of crafts instead of read about them. Especially if the author is horrible at descriptive writing…*shudder* I still have nightmares about that assignment in high school.

So what changed?

I can tell you that I didn’t wake up one day and instantly be a writing genius, but I did have one trick up my sleeve.

Practice makes perfect.

As much as I hate to admit it, there is so much truth to that statement. I didn’t stay up late at night studying. I didn’t meet with a writing coach. I just got behind my keyboard (or grabbed the closest notebook) and wrote. And when I wasn’t writing, I was reading other blogs.

I’m no pro at blogging (although I dream of one day becoming one), so take my tips with a grain of salt. But I will say that I’ve improved leaps and bounds from where I began. We can all learn from others, so here are a few of my tips on improving your writing:

  • Write a little every day. You can work on blog posts or just write in your own personal journal, but whatever you do make sure you write a little every single day. Not only will this help you develop your own writing voice, but you will now have something to compare your future writings with and see how far you’ve come.
  • Read. It might surprise you, but reading can do wonders for your writing. Now blog writing can be very different than book writing, so make sure that you are reading in formats that you want to improve on.
  • Pre-plan your posts. If you want to make sure that you share the best posts you can write, planning is key. Jot down notes. Outline. Mind map. Whatever method works best for you, do it! Not only will it help keep your posts on point, but it could save you some precious time when you actually sit down to type.
  • Sit, then edit. If you are going to edit your own writing, make sure you take a few hours/days break before doing so. We know what we mean to say, so sometimes we can look at something that is pretty much nonsense and process it as what we actually meant to say. I’ve seen it numerous times as I proofread my dad’s books.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I still have a long way to go before I will be completely happy with my writing. But practicing these tips each time I work on a post is helping me get one step closer with every word.

Moral of the story?

Even math nerds can write, with a little practice.

If you dream of becoming a blogger but feel you lack the skills, then practice! Heck, it’s true for just about anything you dream of being or doing. We live in a time where a degree isn’t always required for that dream job, if you take the time to practice.

What’s on your list of things to start practicing?

How has blogging made you better?

Web Wonders | While I Was Away

web wonders

I bet you are curious what I’ve been doing while I was away. It’s only natural, nosy neighbor (I kid!). I find myself doing the same thing when one of my favorite bloggers or friends has disappeared from the internet for a few days/weeks (or in my case, months). Well, let’s see. I’ve been slaving away at the zombie job, fighting sickness, daydreaming about new careers, playing video games and my usual browsing of the web.

And while I don’t have any groundbreaking news to share with you about my break, I have found quite a few interesting things during my reading and searches.

  • A fairly new dream of mine is to become a partnered/sponsored live streamer on TwitchTV. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to play video games with their friends?! It’s almost as great as my other dream career of being a professional puppy snuggler. But if you learn anything about putting yourself out there online, it’s that you must have a thick skin because the trolls are out there. It’s easier for some people than others, but here are a few tips to help you learn to not care what others think.
  • I’m not the most fashionable of nerds, but I’ve become extremely interested in discovering what my personal style is. It’s been a bit like a college student in the past, but I’m interested in shedding the hoodies and jeans for something a little more fun…without breaking our already broken bank account. If you are looking at sprucing up your wardrobe without breaking the bank, check out these tips!
  • We’ve been in the process of a room switcharoo the past few weeks. What was my crafting oasis is now the office, and vice versa. You know what that means? New ideas for decor and organization! Two of my favorites? This and that.
  • I’m a tiny bit addicted to making ‘to do’ lists. And maybe even more addicted finding apps, planners and sites to help me do that. In one of my latest searches, I came across the perfect one for gamers that turns your ‘to list’ into a questing adventure: Habit RPG.

And now it’s your turn!

What have you been up to while I was away?

What has been your favorite web wonder this week?

My Crafty Mess | Hats in Progress

messy wip
If I had to pick a single type of project that I’m most addicted to, which picking just one for me is incredibly difficult, I would have to vote for hats. And with so many different styles, colors, or stitch patterns to choose from, I never get tired of whipping a new one up. I guess it’s a good thing that I have so many hat addicts in my life, otherwise I would have too many hats. Wait, is there such a thing as too many hats?

Hats in Progress?

With the sudden interest in live streaming by pretty much everyone in our gaming crew, there has also been an equal amount of interest in fun hats. I have a few I want to make myself (goodness, I really need to work on paring down that queue), like this Gir beanie. So it should be no surprise that my current project on the hooks is a crochet knight hat for my gaming buddy Veskah. You know what I’m talking about, right? I’m sure you’ve seen many variations of these on Etsy or your Facebook feed. 

Even better, I’m testing my design skills with this project.I’m still in the early stages with this project, and often find myself battling my perfectionist tendencies when it comes to the design while I work process.

With all this hat talk, I bet you want to see what all I’ve got done, so here you go:

mullet + facepiece

Please tell me I’m not the only one giggling while looking at that mess. Anyone else see a mullet hat next to that mess of tangled blue & black skeins? I promise you that it will look way cooler when I’m done! And then I hope to have a very happy, goofy giant friend who is ready to stream in style.

Tell me about your favorite ‘fun’ hat.

What projects are you currently working on?

Want to watch us in action? Until I get my streaming setup complete, you can find our gaming crew streaming here. And occassionally I make random appearances on Veskah‘s & Freak4Geek‘s channels, too!

Let’s Enhance Our Blogging Experience

If you look at this blog’s feed, you might realize it’s been over a month since I shared anything at all with you guys. My inability to say no, especially to family, has created an overwhelming amount of disorganization because there just simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. I bet some of you know the feeling.

Enough is enough!

While I would love to be able to call it quits at the zombie job, that’s just not possible right now, but something has got to give. One thing that I simply won’t give up is this blog! It’s my voice & my safe haven. However, since good old Father Time isn’t adding any more hours to our days, that means it’s time to get better organized with blogging too. And maybe spend a little quality time with my newish blog planner (a little DIY + a wonderful kit* I bought). But a planner and all my favorite pens aren’t enough to get things going, which is where you come in.

I recently listened to a podcast from HowTheyBlog.com about Mastermind Groups. I’ve heard many inspirational bloggers mention their mastermind groups before, but I had always thought I wasn’t the right kind of blogger for something like that. And then I listened to the podcast & realized that’s just crazy talk. All bloggers can benefit from the mastermind experience, because blogging is all about the connections we make! 

Where do you come in?

mastermind blogInstead of sitting here, twiddling my thumbs until I get asked to join the perfect mastermind group, I’ve decided that it’s time to get off my butt and initiate something for once in my life. It doesn’t matter what style of blog you have, if you have a desire to join a mastermind group then read on.

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Gaming | The Mims Beginning

I’ve been a gamer for what seems like an eternity. Don’t believe me? My gaming addiction started with the Atari 2600 & hours of Breakout or Kaboom in my room! And while I will always have a very special place in my heart for the Mario Bros., I’m finding a new weakness for indie games. In fact, if you looked at my recently played list of games you would find a majority of them are by newer indie game developers. A few favorites? Starbound & Towerfall.

And my friend Gillian knows me so well that she came across a new indie game crowdfunding campaign a few weeks ago & shared it with me, which you can now download the beta to test out for yourself.

The Mims Beginning by Squatting Penguins

The Mims Beginning

I’ve recently been trying to branch out from my normal game genres of MMOs, MOBAs & puzzle games.  So when I found out that this adorable alien game was a real time strategy game I knew I had to give it a shot. So I contacted the awesome guys of Squatting Penguins about a chance to test out there game.

My experience with RTS games is definitely limited, with just a few random Warcraft 3 LAN matches under my belt, so transitioning from a night of Smite matches to something like this is definitely an adjustment. And while these games are not my forte, I have to say that I absolutely love winding down a hectic day of battles with some time spent with adorable little aliens.

Who is this game for? After my few hours of play I would have to say just about everyone, young & old, would be able to enjoy this game. It has a simple tutorial to get you acquainted with everything before you are set free to achieve some goals on your own.

What do you do? Basically you play god to a shipwrecked crew of adorable aliens. Helping them to make a settlement & survive attacks from the enemies + pests that are attracted to your smell. Strategy is everything with this game.

When can you do it? Any time. It saves your progress when you complete specific goals. You can even go back & repeat missions if you aren’t satisfied with your results.

Why do I love it? I’m a sucker for cute, & cute aliens are a double whammy for me. Plus I enjoy games that make you think. Why do you think I like to sit around for hours working through my logic problem book stash?

So if you are looking for another game to give a go, check it out. You can support their development with the Indiegogo campaign. And be sure to keep an eye on Steam, because they were just greenlighted for a Steam release recently.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this review. I was merely granted early access to the beta to share my honest opinion with everyone & wanted to show my support for indie game developers.