Monthly Archives: February 2013

Writing to Be Heard: Some Lessons Learned

I went to a Meetup Workshop last night in Palo Alto to learn more about getting my blog going and read. I’ve been busy this last month or so trying to figure out how to make my writer’s dream come true.  Bill Belew, a blogging mega success, has a different dream than I do but I still learned a lot when he let us in on a few of his secrets.

Bill focuses on blog traffic and his numbers are amazing. Thousands of people visit his blogs every hour and he is able to use this traffic to sell enough advertising to pay his mortgage in the expensive Silicon Valley in California.

I’m not sure yet about how I want to finance my writer’s dream; to me the biggest perceived conflict is between focusing on art or commerce. But I really need to better integrate the two in order to live with the freedom I want.

Building blog traffic is one way of exploring and opening up the possibilities of this merger.

Here are Bill’s main points on how to build traffic and your search engine ranking so people find you and your blog:

  • Quantity – If you want to get to the top of the page when people search for your topic, you have to write more posts than similar bloggers do.
  • Quality – You have to write to please the reader but work on search engine optimization. This has to be balanced.
  • Consistency – You need to post regularly.
  • Longevity – You won’t be an overnight success  You need to keep writing even when growth is slow. Most people quit before they see this growth.

In the next couple of posts I’ll be exploring these ideas and looking at how I can use them in growing my writing life.

What is your dream? How do you balance commerce and life? Have you found a comfortable fit between the two?


Lunar New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve in much of the world today and I’m getting ready to celebrate here in California. I haven’t celebrated this holiday much since Hoat died. He always used to whirl through the house on this day; cleaning, preparing the meal, putting flowers in vases, getting the incense ready, cooking the chicken and the sticky rice. He had everything ready by midnight, when he put the food and flowers on the cold porch to lure out all the bad spirits and feelings that had settled in with us during the year. The smell of the food and incense would attract the good spirits in the neighborhood and they were invited when we brought the food back in. Then we would feast. I know he missed his native Vietnam and the family he gave up to be with us. I love ritual and this particular holiday is one of my favorites.

It’s been nearly eight years since he died and in recent years I’ve let the holiday go by without much notice. This year I’m getting ready to meet our daughter MaiLynn in Vietnam and all things Vietnamese are interesting me again. Mai is already there, celebrating with the friends she’s met on her journey to discover what being half Vietnamese means to her. This holiday, I hope, is bringing her closer to an answer. I’m traveling some of this journey with her.

New Years Decorations in Hanoi

New Years Decorations in Hanoi

So, in a house I share with a Jew, an atheist and a non-practicing Catholic, I’ll be doing the ritual tonight. I’ll be cleaning my room, making a meal for the spirits and staying up late to honor memory and the journey forward.

Happy New Year!

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