Thursday, August 26, 2010

Optimizing Your Blog (Points 3-5)

In Jeff Bullas’ essay “50 Ways To Optimize Your Blog” here are points 3 to 5:   

3. Customers Pain Points – Write posts that provide solutions for your customers problems
4. Customers successes – Write up a case study about a client’s successful project.
5. What not to do – highlighting where something hasn’t worked (the names shall remain anonymous of course).

Point 3…I don’t write solutions to poetry problems on my blog. Sounds like a good idea, eh? If you want to sell something, you are supposed to tell how the product will really help the buyer. So that it certainly worth thing about.

On the other hand, my website, www., features a monthly poetry contest for kids. I encourage kids to send me samples of their best poetry. They might be the lucky winner. You never know. And in the “recipe” area I offer suggestions on how to write poetry. Some young poets might for that helpful.

Point 4…I haven’t invited other poets to be on my blog and have their say. That’s a good idea too.

Point 5…Highlighting something that doesn’t work? That hasn’t worked for me. LOL.

Okay, more points soon. Please tune in again for the next...  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Blog Or Not To Blog

If your blog isn’t increasing much in readership and traffic, then to blog or not to blog on becomes a nagging question. In other words, is it really worth the time and energy to do so? Certainly authors want to create an expanding audience for their blogs and books. But how does one do that?

The early advice I read on this topic was, “Just write what you want to write on a regular basis, and your audience with grow.” And that’s exactly what I have been doing, but I don’t think that I have been very effective.

So, I read “50 Ways To Optimize Your Blog” by Jeff Bullas. Among other things, he says “Blogging is a journey and as technology develops there will be more ways to optimize your blog. You will also find other keys to keep the blog pumping and energized as you mix with other bloggers both online and offline and hear their stories and hints.”

And he offers 50 suggestions to increase your blog readership and traffic. We’ll take this Optimization Journey in baby steps. Here are the first twi things that a blogger might consider sharing or doing:

1. Industry News – what’s happening this week, this month?
2. Industry Trends – where is the industry going, what are the emerging hot segments?

I have created two specific Googles that help me track down news. One searches for “Children’s Poetry Contests” and the other “Children’s New Poetry Publishers.” Both of them help to keep me informed on those two important topics. You may consider making your own search that fits your writing needs.

I always look forward to my monthly installment of Children’s Book Insider. It’s very informative—a must-read for all children writers.

I am a member of JacketFlap profiles more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. It’s a great way to network.

I am a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is for novices, authors and illustrators interested in writing and illustrating books for children. It’s an international organization hosting important conferences and publications. At another time I will write about the local Rochester organization, RACWI.

All of the above help to inform me about what’s going on in children’s poetry, including industry trends. So, I am doing some things right!

Of course, I can always do more research, and blog more.
What do you do to keep informed about the wonderful world of writing?  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Confession Is Good For The Soul or Blog

Confession is good for the soul, and good for the blog—perhaps! I have nothing to confess personally about J.D. Salinger. I know he’s not doing a lot of writing right now, but I have been waiting for some new stories by him—stories that he agreed could be published after his death.  I wish the lawyers involved would get their acts together. I am looking forward to those stories. 

But I do want to take some time here to applaud Salinger for what he did for me when I was 16-years-old. It changed my life. 

I confess that I wasn’t always a book lover. The book that changed my life was Catcher in the Rye. I couldn’t believe how authentic J. D. Salinger was as a writer. And I read Catcher at the perfect age, the same age as Holden. I wanted to be like Salinger as a writer, and never be a phony. He really turned me on to reading and writing. 

Now that I enjoyed literature I also wanted to teach. I did happily teach for thirty-three years. And, now and then, I actually dream at night about finding my class and teaching again. Then I wake up sad in the morning with no class and no official teaching responsibilities. 

Nevertheless, I try to get into classes and do poetry performances as much as I can. But it’s challenging to work around the I-got-to-teach-for-the-test teachers. They need to realize that teaching about “Egypt” isn’t as important as making poetry connections and establishing rapport with kids that are hungry for words that shed life on their own existence on Planet Earth.  

At the end of my “Tribute” section on my Web site, I have a poem written by a former student, Jay Perrin, that is priceless. What a superb gift from a student on the last day of school! You will find the poem by following this site… 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Truths Along the Road of Life from the Internet


1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats..
 2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
 3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
 4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
 5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food..
 6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair..
 7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
 8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
 9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
The best place to be when you're sad is Grandma's lap.


1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.
 2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
 3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts
 4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday
's nut that held its ground...
 5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
 6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy..


 1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional...
 2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
 3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
 4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
 5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions...
 6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician
 7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.


 1) You believe in Santa Claus.
 2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
 3) You are Santa Claus..
 4) You look like Santa Claus.


 At age 4 success is . . . . Not piddling in your pants.
 At age 12 success is . . . Having friends.
 At age 17 success is . . .Having a driver's license.
 At age 35 success is . . . having money.
 At age 38 success is . . . No seat belt violations.
 At age 50 success is . . . Having money..
 At age 70 success is . .. . Having a drivers license.
 At age 75 success is . ... . Having friends.
 At age 80 success is . . .. Not piddling in your pants.

 Pass this on to someone who could use a laugh.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Beating the Odds

Don't we all like to beat the odds like winning the lottery, even if it's only a few bucks on a scratch off lottery ticket? The following poem is about beating the odds on an more important matter. It was written by a high school student several months back, and it became the Monthly Poetry Winner. I am very fortunate that I do get some wonderful poems written by kids of all ages sent to me each month for my contest. Enjoy the poem...

Beating the Odds

By Anayia Grant

Beautiful bird flying down
a waterfall
Sees his prey on
a rock.
The prey spots him and tries
to run.
But the bird is faster,
he swoops in,
catches prey.
Like my ambitions.
like my dreams.
like the preys scent...
Yet the prey fights,
fights for his life.
Wiggles and wiggles until he
While he descends to the bushes
the bird tries to
catch him.
The prey is not
having it.
He fights and wins.
Like my heart.
Believing I can still be something.
Knowing that i am something,
doing everything i can
So I can beat the odds.
Survive through the negative.
Prosper through the positive.
Be all I can be.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Truth About Writing

The truth about writing, according to Beth Mende is that ...

"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write. 
     The world is not waiting with bated breath for your 
     article or book. Whether or not you get a single word 
     on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin,
 the universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a 
     choice -- your choice."

Yes, it's our choice to write or not. If we do write, we better be passionate about it and gather the courage to do it right, which for many writer means rewriting and rewriting. One famous writer said, " I don't write. I rewrite."

So, believe in your choice, have courage, rewrite and rewrite. Let your willpower create a magical manuscript.  The truth is that you can do it, if you have the willpower and determination to do it. And take William Zinsser's advice:

“Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Proceed with confidence, generating it, if necessary, by pure willpower. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

Linda Sue Park Loves Poetry

Linda Sue Park was featured in the “Living” section of our Sunday newspaper, the “Democrat and Chronicle.” If you still have the paper, it’s worth saving. It’s interesting, informative, and very honest. What will you discover about her? Well, that of course depends on what you already know.

If you know very little about her, you should know that she was the winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal is Linda Sue Park for her book, A Single Shard, published by Clarion Books. Winning that award is like winning a Pulitzer Prize or an Academy Award. I put her in the same category as those winners: simply amazing people who are truly gifted.

A Single Shard is about life in a 12th-century Korean village where a twelve-year old boy, Tree-Ear, learns pottery and comes of age. I am not used to reading historic novels, but I enjoyed this thoroughly researched and lyrically written novel, full of suspense, hurdles, and fascinating imagery. It was a worthy choice for the Newbery Medal.

When I joined Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators, I met Linda Sue Park. She’s an active member of the group, and I wondered what she was really like. I had met other famous people like Jackie Robinson, Art Buckwald, Vincent Price, Bob Costas, Jean Fritz, Steven Kellogg, Buffalo Bob, and Hopalong Cassidy. (And I've written a poem about wanting to meet Charlie Rose that was featured during Poetry Month by poet Jayne Jaudon Ferrer on Your Daily Poem.) So, I hid my awe of her on first sight. It turns out that she is a highly professional writer and very helpful to the members of RACWI, and she loves poetry. Isn’t that how many prolific writers become interested in writing? I know Judy Blume did.

The first piece of writing Linda got published was a haiku in a children's magazine. At the time she was nine years old:
In the green forest 
A sparkling, bright blue pond hides. 
And animals drink.
(Trailblazer magazine, Winter 1969)

She was paid a dollar for the poem. For Christmas, she gave the dollar to her father. Dad framed the check. Linda Sue Park has never outgrown her love for poetry. Even when she writes prose, it is very lyrical in nature.

In the newspaper, it says that Linda once met a boy named Daniel who read A Single Shard 62 times. 

Do I have a story like that?

I once saw a young lady circle all the tables at Rochester Children’s Book Festival for over an hour, and she could only buy one book. She bought Waiting to See the Principal and Other Poems. Now I write poetry with her in mind.

Check out Linda’s website at               
You won't be disappointed. It has a unique style, just like Linda Sue Park.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

NPR’s Gregory Orr

I discovered to my delight the following quote in the poetry quote section of, which is run by poet Jayne Jaudon Ferrer. It’s a great site, rich in the poetry experience. You have to give the poetry that she selects a poetry try—that is, poeTRY. That’s where I found what NPR’s Gregory Orr has to say about reading poetry. What he says is a big reason why I love poetry so much…

Whenever I read a poem that moves me, I know I'm not alone in the world. I feel a connection to the person who wrote it, knowing that he or she has gone through something similar to what I've experienced, or felt something like what I have felt. And their poem gives me hope and courage, because I know that they survived, that their life force was strong enough to turn experience into words and shape it into meaning and then bring it toward me to share. The gift of their poem enters deeply into me and helps me live and believe in living. ~Gregory Orr, from "The Making of Poems," broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered, 2/20/06