Tag Archives: writing

How to build a following


I was reading through my feed on LinkedIn today, and came across the following. I thought it had some really good advice on how to build and maintain a following, and thought it worth sharing here…


i know that some of these work really well, because they’ve worked for me in the past. I just need to start doing them again!



Playing with words and numbers

He was trying to write a story with only fifty words. He was stuck for a subject, and couldn’t figure out what to write. He thought long and hard, stared at the blank page in front of him. Then, inspiration came to him. This is what he wrote. The end.

Setting the scene

I spent a portion of my lunch break today sitting outside the office, just watching the world go by.

At the time, the sky was overcast with sunny spells.  There were some patches of blue amongst the clouds, which seemed to transform from grey to white and back in a random jumble.

The air was full of “fairies”, the heads of dandelions and thistles, floating on the wind.  They get everywhere, even invading the office when the door is opened, and as it was quite warm the windows were open too – and in they came.

I should start by saying that my office today was on a small business park, one of several single story buildings set between a little man made pond and a field full of solar panels, surrounded by thistles and other flowering plants.  The business park can only be reached by driving down a narrow, single track road with passing places, and there is no passing traffic.  The buildings are surrounded by block paved car parks, and on some days they are right under the glide path of planes coming in to the nearby airport: not today though.

The pond is a murky green colour, and there are lots of lily pads which are a waxy dark green gathered at the far end. Dark shapes of fish, at least a foot long, can be seen just below the surface, and every so often the dorsal fin, tail and part of the back of one or more pushes out from the water and into the air.  There are reeds around the fringes, and other tall, slim, once purple flowered plants abound too.  Many of the plants in the area have finished flowering and their heads are dying.  I’m not very good at identifying plants: I should learn about them really.

Surprisingly, there were very few birds, butterflies or insects to be seen.  However, I was delighted to see a red kite soaring over some of the other buildings.  There are a couple of farms nearby so I’m guessing that the raptor was looking for rats and other small animals which live in and around farms: preferably dead ones.  It’s lovely to see red kites up close: their colours and grace are impressive, and given that until about 30 years ago they were practically extinct in England it’s encouraging to see that their numbers are on the increase and they can be found all around the office now.

As mentioned, there is no passing traffic, and as our offices are at the end of the business park, no-one other than my colleagues park there.  No-one arrived, and no-one left, as I sat and relaxed, just watching the world go by.  A very peaceful interlude in a busy day.

Coffee anyone?


If we were having coffee right now, I’d be pretty disappointed with myself.  You see, I’ve given up caffeine for August, so I’d have relented after less than a fortnight. I had pretty bad headaches last week, as the caffeine left my system, but other than that it’s been reasonably easy – easier than I expected to be honest!  I gave up alcohol for January, which was easy because I’m not addicted to it: I suspect I am / was slightly addicted to caffeine.

If we were having coffee right now, it would be touch and go whether I’d sleep tonight. It’s nearly bed time, and I know that a coffee just before bed doesn’t help one relax.  So why do people often finish off their meal on a night out with an espresso?

If we were having coffee right now, I’d be the easiest person to make it for.  Coffee. Hot water. Stir. Done!

When not Writing I…

…spend a lot of my time writing!


My work means that I spend a lot of time on a keyboard, whether it’s in answering emails, writing documentation, reviewing someone else’s documents or other things like that.  I’m not a full time Writer, and what I do on this blog is entirely for my pleasure. I find it a way of managing my thoughts, of making order out of the myriad of things going on in my head, and in some cases even making sense of the world around me.  I don’t believe I’ll ever be a published author (because I don’t think I’ll ever try), and I’m never sure how many people actually read my blog anyway.

So, when I’m not writing for work, or Writing for pleasure, how do I fill the time and why?  Family takes up a lot of time, and I love spending my days and nights with them.  We like to go on day trips, road trips, afternoons out, to all sorts of places and for a number of different activities.  Dee and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in bookshops, and are continually seeking out interesting volumes on a wide range of topics, though rarely fiction.  That’s because one of our other favourite pastimes is reading: we’ve always got several books on the go at once.

Other than those, my main distraction is generally music, whether listening to it or playing bass. That and walking I find helps clear my mind, to simply be, and they help me to return to every day life refreshed and full of new ideas.

If I had extra time, would I write more?  I don’t think so.  I enjoy the time I spend writing my blog articles, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs, but I think if I had more time I’d find other ways of spending it.  My diverse ideas are finite and I wouldn’t want to get to the end of them too soon!  I’d like to spend that extra time becoming more adept at mindful meditation, and practicing mindfulness.  I’d like to be more thoughtful – or at least, less thoughtless. I’d probably try to complete a Tai Chi course we’ve been signed up for for ages, and I’d like to try yoga, though as a tall 50 year old slightly overweight bloke with very little flexibility, I think it would take me years even to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees!

Space for writing

I suppose that one of the key things for any writer is having a space where they feel comfortable and inspired, even before they put pen to paper, typewriter key to ribbon or characters on a screen.

I don’t really have a favourite spot.  Just now I’m sitting in a large conservatory as dusk is falling, with fig trees, rose bushes and rubber palms growing inside, and ferns, bracken and sculptured gardens outside.

Just this week I’ve written while sitting in bed, while sitting on the sofa, perched at the dining table and crammed on a commuter train.  In an ideal world, I think I’d like a desk facing a window, with mountains and lakes, but then I’d probably be too entranced in the beauty of the scene to want to do anything other than just sit and be.

I don’t tend to write for long – probably 20 – 30 minutes on any one topic – but as this is a hobby, a way of stimulating my mind, I don’t see that as a problem.  If I wasn’t writing I’d try to spend the time reading, rather than looking at one or more electronic devices.

But here’s the thing, and most writers and bloggers probably struggle with it – what should we write about.  Is there anything you’d like to see me comment on?  Are there any topics you’ve read that you’d like to know more about?  If so, please head over to my Contact page and drop me a line. I’ll do my best to write about each and every suggestion.

Why write?


I started writing this blog because I was going through a lot of changes in my life and I found it a really good way to organise my thoughts, to get them out in the open and to work out how I really felt about things.  Then a strange thing happened: I stopped writing as a kind of therapy for myself, and I started writing because I missed not writing, if that makes sense.

I found that as every day went by, I had thoughts or opinions about single events, about the news, about everyday acts – and I wanted to share them.  I suppose that you could say that it’s all a bit “hey, look at me”, but at the same time I’ve been reading other people’s blogs, and they’re awesome.  I look at what other people write and wish I could be as interesting, as innovative, as creative, but do you know what? The more I write I find that the better at it I get.  It’s a bit like the quote from the golfer, Ben Hogan, when someone commented how lucky he was, and he replied “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

The more I practice the luckier I get…

I find that the more I write, the more I want to write and the better (in my opinion) I get at it.  I did one of the WordPress Blogging 101 courses, then things kind of took on a momentum of their own.  I had decided this year to write a post a day, but unfortunately that fell through as events in life got in the way and I didn’t want to write about them: maybe someday I will.