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This and That: Checking in With Wolfe Butler

Hello, readers! It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post about me. So much has been going on that I feel like I need to check in with my audience and give a quick update on everything from building a launch team to growing an ice plant. As a result, I’ve decided to take some time off from my different series.

As usual, Wolfe is trying to go in more directions than are humanly possible (I don’t know why I’m referring to myself in third-person.) If I didn’t, though, I wouldn’t be me.

From hiring editors to killing plants, here’s what’s been going on in Wolfe Butler’s world.

Why You Need a Professional Editor

If you’ve followed me for any time at all, you know that my debut novel, Getting Home, was a labor of love that took me 15 years to complete. I finally self-published it simply so I would stop working on it. My goal was to go back to it at some point so it could be polished to perfection.

A couple reader’s pointed out some small grammar and typo mistakes. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so those mistakes have become an obsession of mine.

I decided not to wait and to dust off the manuscript. I raised the price on Amazon so no one would be interested in buying it for the time being, and I decided to get the help I needed to polish it into the gem I know it can be.

Through a little searching, I was able to find a great editor within just a two-hour drive from where I live. I am working with the wonderful and talented Angela B. Wade. Even though the book was finished, Angela is helping me do a developmental edit. Angela can also be found on Reedsy if you want to work with a great editor.

 

Picture of an edited page

The Bad and the Good

When it comes to getting good and bad news, I always opt for the bad first to get it over with and so I still have something good to look forward to. Angela has helped me to see that there were some serious revisions needed in Getting Home due to plot holes and some confusion from inconsistent point-of-view.

On the positive side, as I work through the entire manuscript again, I’m finding that it’s actually a fairly decent piece of fiction. Yes, I know I shouldn’t say that about my own work, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

After almost seven months of not looking at it, I sat down to read it cover to cover. I was pleased to find some good writing. Yes, there are lots of things to fix, and I’m so thankful to reviewers like Kristy Jo Volchko for their kind reviews in spite of glaring mistakes. However, there is some good writing, so I can’t wait to do a new release for my passion project.

While I am disappointed with myself for putting my work out into the world in an imperfect state, I am so grateful to Angela B. Wade. She is helping me to put the book in order and has pointed out a few flaws that I would never have noticed on my own.

If you are an indie author, I strongly recommend that you consider working with a professional editor like Angela B. Wade. If you feel like a professional is outside of your budget, then, at the very least, find a teacher or other wordsmith in your life that is willing to give your manuscript a once-over before you launch.

You will be surprised at how many mistakes a fresh set of eyes can find.

Why Bloggers Should Include Pinterest Pins in Their Posts

Building a Launch Team

One of the reasons for today’s post is that I am looking to build a launch team. There are two main reasons.

One, as I just mentioned, Getting Home will soon be re-released. I would love some help spreading the word.

Two, my current work-in-progress, Paradise, is also nearly complete for book one. My goal is to have it live on Amazon by mid-October, which means I have a lot of work to do between now and then.

I am coming to each of you to ask for help. In the coming days, I will be creating Facebook groups for each book. Please consider applying to join my launch team. In addition to my eternal gratitude, you will also receive a copy of the book when it goes live.

 

Shuttle launch

What Does a Launch Team Do?

Many of us have done book tours, whether online or in person. Developing a launch team is very similar. All I would ask from you is that you read the advance copy I will send to you and then leave an honest review once the book goes live. It would also be great if you were willing to post about the launch on your blog or social media accounts.

Now, I don’t want to cross any lines, especially with Amazon. If I send you an advanced reader copy (ARC) copy of either book, you are under no obligation to write a final review. I would love it if you would, but would fully understand if you did not. It would be good to include in your review that you received an ARC, but I don’t think it’s a requirement.

Please reach out to me if you have any more questions on launch teams.

You Gotta Have Help

Another huge change I have made in my daily life was adding CrowdFire to help me keep up with my social media accounts. I was spending hours each week on social media, primarily on Twitter and Facebook.

I still spend a fair amount of time on each platform, but CrowdFire has cut out a lot of the I spent posting to separate platforms and keeping up with followers and unfollowers.

CrowdFire has a free option, so you can check it out and see if it is something that will work for you. For me, it has saved me hours each week and worth every penny I paid for the upgrade. It also will help you post and repost blog posts and will post to Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Shopify, Etsy, Vimeo and more.

The biggest way it is saving me time is by helping me add new followers and remove those that have chosen to stop following me or become inactive. It turns out, over the last eight months, I have unknowingly followed a large number of spam accounts.

Those accounts become inactive in time and bloat your numbers when it comes to the accounts you are following. Removing those inactive accounts gives you room to follow new, legitimate accounts.

The best news? It only takes about 10 minutes a day to keep things up to date, and you can do it all from the CrowdFire app right on your phone. Honestly, I do it most mornings before I even get out of bed.

The Versatile Blogger Award – Wolfe Butler’s Take

The World of Self-Publishing

When I self-published in November 2017, I knew nothing about the subject. I thought I had done a lot of research in advance, but the months that have followed have taught me just how little I knew at the time, and how little I still know today.

To help me grow, I have teamed up with a self-publishing group. I will be posting more about this in the near future. The short story is they are teaching me about book design, layout, and effective book promotion. I can’t wait to share everything with you in the coming weeks.

That said, I will also be sharing my updates on how self-publishing is working for me. Hopefully, that will mean lots of success story posts.

 

Ice plant

My Yard Hates Me

Okay, so maybe that statement is a little harsh, but I am really struggling this year, and I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong. I’ve had both pampas grass and knock-out roses die this year. Pampas grass! I didn’t know it could even die.

The Ice Plant I wrote about in Why You Should Drop Back And Punt is still not blooming, though it’s supposed to bloom all summer, and even my impatiens, which are one of my favorite flowers of summer, are barely blooming this year.

The only things I can think of is that we’ve had a lot more rain and a much cooler summer this year than normal. If you have any tips, please let me know.

There’s No Time to Read

Last, I want to comment on my lack of book reviews. With everything going on in my world right now, plus trying to still do some freelance writing, there has been very little time to read. That means that the books I have from talented authors like O.J. Lowe and Caron Allan are being neglected.

While I will eventually (probably not until winter) get to those books, I do want to see more reviews go live on this blog. To that end, I am talking to a few other bloggers and reviewers about posting their reviews on my site. Again, more on this will be coming soon.

If you are interested in writing a guest post book review for my site, please send me a note through the Contact Page link. Also, if you are interested in becoming part of my next launch team, please contact me as well.

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out CrowdFire for social media management. The free version will give you a good idea as to whether it is the right tool for you.

Blogs grow through word of mouth. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.

Wolfe Butler shares what's new with his personal blogger experience. | #blog #blogging #WolfeButler

 

5 Important Things June 2018 Taught Me About Blogging

Hello, readers! I can’t believe that another month is already here. I’m officially starting my eighth month as a new blogger, and June taught me some valuable lessons about blogging.

If you are a new blogger or a veteran, you probably know that June 2018 was a little crazy for a lot of us. Many bloggers that relied on BoardBooster were terrorized by messages from Pinterest about how BoardBooster was not an approved partner. Then, when things didn’t look like they could get worse, BoardBooster shut down completely near the end of the month.

Life is constantly changing, and blogging is no different. Here are the things I learned as part of my blogging experience last month.

 

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post also contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.

 

What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 7

Each month, I publish a post about my real-life experiences as a new blogger. I share the good, the bad, and the sometimes very ugly. In time, I hope to have an amazing success story, but there is a lot of hard work and time that goes into building a blog in the meantime. You can read the previous six posts by clicking this line.

As I stated, June was a rather eventful month for blogging communities. All the blogging Facebook groups and all the chats over at Billionaire Blog Club (BBC) were on fire over the BoardBooster issues, but even in the face of trials, there are always important life lessons to be learned. Here are five of them from June.

 

1. Life is about change

It’s been said that the only constants in life are death and taxes. Everything else changes. That is especially true of blogging. In the seven months I have been a new blogger, things have changed in large and unexpected ways more than a few times.

BoardBooster, if you did not know, was a means of putting blog content on Pinterest. It was super easy to use and created a ton of new traffic for those of us that were using it. Many of us, myself included, were devastated when they couldn’t reach an agreement with Pinterest and were thus forced to close their doors. They will be missed!

But, as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (That’s really an awful expression. Who would ever skin a cat?) Into the rescue stepped Tailwind. Well, actually, Tailwind was there all the time. Their product has many of the same features that BoardBooster had, so a great flock of us made an exodus to Tailwind.

I will devote a future post to Tailwind because I am still only a couple weeks in and just learning my way. However, I am happy to say that my Pinterest traffic did not fall as a result of losing BoardBooster.

June 2018 Pinterest Traffic
June 2018 Pinterest Traffic

This graphic shows my average monthly viewers on Pinterest and average number engaged with my posts.

As you can see, I was just finding my way with BoardBooster at the beginning of June, and my numbers went up dramatically as a result. I stopped using BoardBooster around the 20th. There was a negligible dip for a few days, but then things headed back north. I will keep you posted.

 

2. The best bloggers honor their commitments

You will likely see me write a lot about BBC in the coming months and years. I have rarely been overwhelmingly impressed by a company or person, but Paul Scrivens, or Scrivs as he’s better known, the man behind BBC, really impressed me in June. Within days of BoardBooster’s announcement, Scrivs created and launched a series of detailed training videos about Tailwind for BBC members.

I wrote in detail about BBC in Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6, so I won’t go into a lot here. Billionaire Blog Club is a program you can buy into for a low fee that pays for your membership for life. Once in, you have access to all the new products and training materials as they become available, without ever having to pay again.

The last few days I have been learning about search engine optimization (SEO) and affiliate marketing. BBC has 23 step-by-step training videos about SEO and 22 about affiliate marketing, with more coming soon.

BBC is currently closed for new members, but should open again in the next few weeks. If you would like to see if it would be a good fit for you, I highly recommend the 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s 100% free and will give you a good idea of Scrivs’ writing style, and what things you can hope to learn if you become a member. My membership has already more than paid for itself.

 

3. You gotta have help as a new blogger

Twitter is still my favorite social media platform. However, my Twitter obsession was taking up so much time that I was not properly writing, editing, or formatting new content. I still don’t have a good email list program in place, and there’s two other blog series I’ve been meaning to start for some time now.

There are several products available to help you simplify your social media life. I have fought against the idea, especially after I spent two months on one product and was thoroughly underwhelmed by it.

That said, in June, I stumbled upon CrowdFire. I was very negative going in, but it was free, so I decided to give it a shot.

I’m not going to lie to you. CrowdFire doesn’t do everything I would like it to, and a few things not in the way I would prefer. That said, it does do a lot of things that save a ton of time.

Most important to me, CrowdFire has been unbelievably useful in cleaning up my followers and accounts I’m following. When I started on Twitter last November, I didn’t know much about the platform. As a result, those first months, I followed pretty much everyone I came across.

That process lead me to following hundreds of spam accounts. In just one month, CrowdFire has helped me clean up almost all of them. It also works well with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and seven more platforms.

The free option gives you a lot of functionality. I have no reservations about recommending it. I chose to go the paid route once I saw all the time it could save me, but the free option is definitely worth checking out. Click on CrowdFire to take a look, and help me out in the process.

4. Blogging is a fickle mistress

Every time I think I am finally getting a handle on blogging, something completely blindsides me. My assistant started a blog of his own in March of this year. His blog is Speaking Bipolar, and you should check out his posts on dealing with mental and chronic illnesses. He’s on a mission to get more men especially talking about mental health.

 

June 2018 Blog Stats
June 2018 Blog Stats

 

Well, you would think that since this blog is four months older than his, my traffic should be at least some higher than his.

My June traffic was up. In fact, June for a record-setting month for me.

However, record setting was only 820 total views from 527 visitors, which isn’t terrible for a new blogger. For Speaking Bipolar, he saw nearly 3,000 page views from 2,300 visitors in June. For July, we are comparing our processes to see where I am falling behind.

 

5. Social media is key

As much as I don’t always love the idea, social media is the most important thing for a new blogger. Unless you buy ad space, which is something I am considering for July, the only way to increase traffic is to increase exposure on social media.

The good news, my Twitter account continues to grow rapidly. Using CrowdFire and following their tips has continued to grow my list of quality followers.

Twitters state June 2018
Twitters state June 2018

 

What most excites me the most about Twitter is that my followers are probably 80% bloggers and writers. I seem to be picking up quite a few musicians in recent weeks, but I’m great with that, because I love music almost as much as books. Almost.

I hope to have 10,000 followers by the end of July. That’s not too bad for a new blogger. Sorry, I just had to pat myself on the back for that one.

My other social media accounts are not growing as fast, but that’s because I don’t give them the care they deserve.

 

June 2018 Referrers
June 2018 Referrers

 

The numbers are low, but I’m getting about 12% of my traffic from Facebook, and that’s with doing little more than posting new blog posts to my page and account. Clearly, Facebook is deserving of some TLC even if it’s not my favorite brand.

 

Odds and Ends

 

Am Editing

To finish up today, I want to share with you a few other things. One, I took the plunge in June and connected with a professional editor. I am working with the talented Angela B. Wade who is based just a couple of hours south of me in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you are looking for an editor, I strongly recommend Angela.

She works with authors from everywhere, so don’t be disinclined just because she is from Tennessee. I have learned a lot from her already, and we’ve only been working together for a couple weeks.

Together, we are working on revising Getting Home. I know, I said I was going to let it sit for a while, but it desperately needs a better cover. I decided that if I was going to update the cover, then at the same time I should finish polishing it. Getting Home is my most precious baby, so I’m not sure I will ever be completely done with it.

 

I’ve Learned Series

You may have noticed that I am posting less often in the I’ve Learned series. The reason why is that I have decided to turn it into a book. That was actually my goal from the beginning. So, as far as that series, I’ve been spending more time on editing and revising posts and content than on writing new. Never fear, it will continue to be an ongoing series for as long as I am here.

Working with Angela has taught me so much about how a book should be written, so I am trying to get this one right on the front end. More coming on this topic in the future.

 

Printable Coming Soon!

One of the new series I am working on is a collection of writing tips and techniques. As part of that series, I will be creating printables. The first one, which will be free to everyone, will be on character development. I hope to have it out by the end of July.

 

Take Aways

Tailwind is a great product for scheduling and posting on Pinterest. They are an approved partner, so there should never be any issues with Pinterest. Try the free trial to see if you like it. You can also post to Facebook and Instagram through Tailwind.

Check out Billionaire Blog Club’s 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s free and with no obligation. It will give you a great chance to see if BBC might be something you are interested in down the line.

CrowdFire is a great app for managing Twitter and for posting to Facebook, Instagram, and more. There’s a lot you can do with the free version, so you have nothing to lose by checking it out.

Please show my assistant some love, and visit his blog:  Speaking Bipolar

If you are looking for a talented and professional (not to mention eternally positive and optimistic) editor or freelance writer, contact Angela B. Wade. She would be happy to give you a quote for any of her quality services.

That’s it for my new blogger experience for this month. What’s going on with you? Please share your latest news in the comments below.

Blogs grow primarily be readers sharing their content. Please share this post on social media or by email. I thank you in advance.

Until next time…

 

What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger

 

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6

Pity-Parties and Successes

I’m having quite a lot of difficulty writing this month’s post. As you read last month in Part 5, April was a little of a disappointment. Okay, so that may be a bit of an understatement.

Since I am sharing the real blogging experience with this series, I am going to flat out tell you: April sucked. May was worse.

I let myself get so discouraged by April that I stopped doing even the things that were working. That caused a further decline in numbers. In fact, the numbers are so terrible that I am not even going to share most of them this month.

Much of my time during my May pity-party was spent out in my yard. At least I can say I wasn’t entirely unproductive, though I also won’t be getting a call from Lawn and Garden magazine anytime soon.

My favorite thing about working in the yard is that it gives me lots of time to think. Whether I’m pushing the lawn mower or pulling weeds out of the flower beds, my mind is usually free to think about other things.

Happily, several things became clearer during the process of getting my yard in shape. I started June with new zeal and a better attitude. So, what went wrong? Did anything go right?

Read and follow directions

Read AND Follow Directions

In total, I have spent nearly 88 hours learning about blogging this year. I have faithfully continued to keep using a time tracker, which has both it’s good and bad points. On the good side, I know just how much time I’ve spent getting educated.

Knowledge is power. I have always been one that set out to learn as much as I could about any task I was assigned. My goal was always ultimately to become the expert in that area.

In most of the jobs I’ve had over the years, that process worked well. Typically, over the course of time, I became the go-to person when someone needed to be trained or when unusual questions came up.

Learning is something I am passionate about. If someone has already invented the wheel, then all I should have to do is follow their directions. It doesn’t have to be invented again.

But…

In the corporate world, almost everything I learned for my business was immediately put into practice. It was important to me to be a force for good in improving office efficiency and staff effectiveness.

Somehow, over the last few months, I have misplaced that lesson.

Yes, I spent 88 hours watching webinars and reading blogging tips and advice, but I failed epically when it came to putting that knowledge into proper use.

It was a painful realization that hit me while working in the yard last month. A plant may or may not have been thrown across the yard as a result.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, there is no additional cost to you, but I may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.

 

Billionaire Blog Club

A few months ago, I invested in Billionaire Blog Club (BBC). If you’ve not heard of BBC before, here is a quick rundown.

1. BBC is a blogging course

Becoming a lifetime member of BBC gives you access to all of the books and videos that site owner, Paul Scrivens, AKA Scrivs, has put together. Scrivs is extremely (almost scarily) intelligent and has successfully launched dozens of blogs. I may have lost count, but I think right now he is running 15 and they are all massively successful.

Scrivs started all these blogs to prove that a blog could be successful in any niche. He then shaped that knowledge into a step-by-step video series that covers all of the things he does to take a site from ground zero to major income.

2. BBC is a motivator

In addition to all the courses, Scrivs sends out regular emails. He’s not one to waste his time on salesy material. His emails are written specifically for BBC members. Since when you buy into BBC you become a lifetime member, he’s not selling us anything.

Instead, he concentrates on sharing his knowledge and inspiration. As he learns new things about the blogging world, he passes that information on to the members.

The thing that I find most valuable, though, is the fact that he’s not afraid to be brutally honest. In fact, it was one of his especially strong emails that pushed me out of my pity-party mode and back to work.

In a nutshell, he said that the biggest mistake bloggers make isn’t in not knowing what to do. No, instead, the issue usually comes from not doing what they know they should do.

The email could have been written personally to me, because that is exactly what I’d been doing. I had the plans to build a wheel, but I was spending all my time in my workshop trying to make a wheel without using that information.

3. BBC is a community

The other thing that is amazing, and maybe the most useful part of being a BBC member, is the community you become part of. Through forums available on Slack, all BBC members can freely share inspiration, joys, triumphs and failures (happily not many of these) with each other.

Since everyone is working toward the same goal, conversations are very positive. Everyone is working together so that everyone can succeed.

I’m not one to join in many of the conversations, but keeping up with the questions other members ask and the answers provided has resolved many of the issues I’ve had with my own blog.

It’s very impressive to me that Scrivs makes himself available through the forum almost every day. He does this to make sure that each member is getting the direction that they wanted when they first purchased their membership.

However, even if he is not available, there are always other members online. Many of them are experienced enough that they can answer lots of the questions that come up.

4. BBC is not for everyone

As much as I love BBC, it is not the right program for every blogger. I respond well to the way Scrivs teaches his video courses, and I am determined to be successful, come what way.

It’s also quite an investment. In fact, when membership opens up again in a few days, the purchase price will be $397 US. In my mind, it is well worth that price because the information I have gleaned so far has more than paid for itself.

But it’s a hefty investment, so you should not buy it unless you are very serious about putting in the time and effort that is required to make a blog successful. It’s hard work and takes a lot of time, at least in the beginning.

The good news is that if you think you might be interested, there is a free Blogging Bootcamp available on the top of the main Billionaire Blog Club page. The Bootcamp lets you learn a little more about Scrivs and his teaching style without any obligation.

Note: Scrivs is very real and not afraid to say whatever needs to be said. Personally, I need that type of mentor, but some people might want someone that is going to be all sunshine and rainbows. That’s not Scrivs, though he is awesome and super funny.

Anyway, back to the free Blogging Bootcamp. If you decide to give it a try, you can see what BBC is all about and then make an informed decision on whether you feel the investment is worth it.

Back to May

Wow, I really did not intend to make this a Billionaire Blog Club infomercial. I have learned a lot from BBC, though. It is directly responsible for many of the right decisions I have made along the way.

More happened in May, though, that I want to share.

June 2018 Twitter stats - Tale of a New Blogger Part 6
Stats as of 6/12/2018

One, I will share this number. For whatever reason, I am a little obsessed with Twitter. I’m not entirely sure why it resonates with me so much, but I find myself on the platform several times a day. As a result, I am up to 8,900 followers as of today. If we’re not already connected, be sure to look me up on Twitter and say hello.

I continue to be astounded at how many amazing and talented authors are on Twitter and how encouraging they are to other writers. I mentioned a few of them in Lesson 15 of the I’ve Learned series. There’s not enough room in a post to list everyone that has encouraged or inspired me.

Another win (see, May wasn’t entirely bad), is that my blog continues to gain followers through WordPress. I think I’m at 122 now, which isn’t earthshaking, but very exciting to me.

If you are one of my followers, thank you so much for being here!

Getting Organized

Another win I can count for May involves getting better organized. On another blog I read an article about AirTable. AirTable is a database and spreadsheet hybrid, for lack of a better definition. I intend to devote a future post to detailing just how I am using it.

It has been instrumental in getting me organized, especially in regard to keeping up with my blog posts and posting calendar and with tracking pin activity for Pinterest.

The Pinterest thing is finally starting to come together, mainly because I am actually following the directions. I talk about that a little in my post on why you should include Pinterest pins in your blog posts.

What I love about AirTable, more than Excel or Google Sheets, is the versatility of their system. For instance, I am in the process of making multiple pins for each blog post. Tracking what board or tribe I then place that pin on was getting a bit chaotic.

Not only can I now track pin activity and placement, I can also drag and drop the pin image right into the tracking spreadsheet. This is an image of part of my tracking sheet.

AirTable image

AirTable autosaves every few minutes and can be accessed from any internet connected device, so I always have access to my information and it is always up to date.

The best part? Many of the most valuable features from AirTable are free to use. In fact, I have not paid one penny so far for using it. However, it has done a lot to get me properly organized. At some point I may upgrade. For now, the free features are plenty to get me where I need to go.

If you need to get better organized, I strongly recommend giving it a test spin. Remember, it’s free, so you have nothing to lose.

When Did I Get So Wordy?

In the very early days of starting my blog (like six months is really a long time ago), I read a lot of articles about how the most successful blog posts are 1000-2000 words long or longer. Those numbers scared the life out of me. After all, it took me 15 years to write an 80,000 word novel.

Happily, that fear has quickly gone away. As you can see, one thing I have learned to do is to sit down and knock out a detailed and informative post at well over 2000 words. Woo hoo! Another win!

The other happy benefit is that this ability to sit down and write is carrying over into my other works as well. My science fiction work-in-progress, Paradise, is finally getting the attention it needs, and the story is going in the right direction. I can’t wait to share the coming chapters with all of you over the next several weeks.

Thank you for visiting this blog

It’s All Because of You

I want to close this month by offering a heartfelt thank you to all of you that visit my blog on a regular basis. Every time I see that page view count or follower count increase, my heart jumps a little.

Launching my debut novel in November was scary. I didn’t know if I had any real talent or if my writing would connect with anyone. Many of you are coming back week after week. That means either I actually have a little talent, or y’all just like bad writing. I’m hoping for the first one.

Whatever brings you here, thanks for coming. I hope you keep coming back.

Be sure to think about trying the Billionaire Blog Club Blogging Bootcamp and the AirTable organizer. Both are free and may solve some of the issues you might be facing. If you have any questions on either one, please contact me.

Finally, blogs grow by being shared. If you enjoy the content on this site, please share it on social media and with your friends. It will mean the world to me if you do.

Until next time…

Share in the honest, real experience of a new blogger. This post looks at the wins and losses from the sixth month. | #blog #blogger #bloggingShare in the honest, real experience of a new blogger. This post looks at the wins and losses from the sixth month. | #blog #blogger #blogging

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 2

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 2

In a continuing effort to share my true blogger experience, Part 2 of this series looks at my blog 60 days into the process.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Calendar

It is unbelievable that another whole month has already gone by. I started this blog in November 2017, thinking I had a good grasp on what owning a blog would be like, only to be quickly shaken to the core with the reality that I did not know anything. Not. A. Thing.

Still, I am having a blast and truly enjoying my blogger experience.

More than once in the last few weeks I have been overwhelmed by the ocean of information available about promoting and monetizing a blog. The latter had not been my original intention. I am quickly learning that I will not be able to concentrate on my blog and other writing like I want if I am also having to concern myself with making an income.

Writing will have to become my income source, as it should be, because that has always been my dream.

Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you.


Actual Numbers

As I stated last month, I think it is important to post actual numbers. Most bloggers only start sharing their blogger experience and stats when they are making $500 or more per month.

For many of those blogs, they were six months to two years into their journey before they saw that monthly income. What happened during their earlier months? That is what I am most interested in learning right now and what I plan to share.

Maybe I am doing everything wrong, but I am making progress, and that makes me very excited.

500 Page Views!

Let me start with my blog. Total page views for January 2018 were 612, up from 210 in December 2017. That is a 290% increase! That number will not create, and did not create, any substantial income, but it is an excellent step in the right direction. Total visitors grew at almost the same percentage going from 88 to 260.

My very first blog goal was to hit 500 page views in a month. I am ecstatic to have reached that goal in my third month. My next goal is 5000.

01 2018 Blog Stats

About 70% of my blog traffic is coming from social media.

Promoting yourself on social media takes A LOT of time, or at least it has for me. I started this blog with no real social media background.

In fact, I did not even have Twitter or Facebook accounts before November of last year.

Everything is brand new, and while I am happy with my progress, I still have much to learn.

Read Part 1 of Tale of a New Blogger here.

In the beginning weeks I spent most of my time on Twitter. What excites me most about my Twitter followers is that the majority of my followers are writers and bloggers. They have been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement.

Pinterest is a bit of a different animal, and I am struggling some figuring it out. I am optimistic, though, because even with only six followers, I had over 1000 views and a 10% engagement ratio. My engagement ratio on Twitter tends to hover about 2%.

01 2018 SM Stats

Invest in Your Blog

Investing in yourself is one of the most important things you need to do as part of you blogger experience.

In the past 90 days, I have visited hundreds of blogs and read dozens of ebooks trying to set up best practices that work for me.

One of the items I enjoyed the most in January was a live cast by Ana Savuica, owner of The She Approach.

Ana was incredibly engaging and motivating in her presentation, so much so that I purchased her bundle at the end of the presentation. I cannot recommend it enough.

Ana’s ebooks are well written and full of important and relevant information for growing and monetizing a blog and improving your blogger experience. She has an abundance of valuable free information in all her blog posts.

If you have not already visited her blog, I encourage you to do so today. I am thrilled with what I am learning from her. Click the picture to learn more.

Bundle OFFICIAL POSTER

For February, I am starting something new. One of my biggest struggles has been with time management and trying to schedule how much time should be spent on which activities. I don’t know how much time I have been spending on each task and that is important to know what needs to change.

To help myself focus, I have downloaded a time tracking app on my phone. When I am writing my March post, I will be able to look back and see how much time I have invested into my blog and growing my social media base.

I am tracking things like writing and formatting posts, time spent learning about blogging, and time spent interacting on social media.

Show Me The Money

I have saved the monetary details for last. If you are thinking you can start a blog and quit your traditional job tomorrow, you need to reconsider. While there are some who had quick and substantial success, for most bloggers it is a process of at least six months before they see any real income from their blogs. As you can see from the graphic below, I am going to fall in that category. Still, my blog produced some earnings for January and that is empowering.

01 2018 Earnings Stats

 

It is encouraging to me that you have chosen to come along with me on my blog journey. If you haven’t already, please take the time to connect with me on social media.

I am posting my links below and will be happy to friend or follow you back. I would also love to hear your feedback. Are there questions you would like me to cover next month? Please leave comments below or send me an email through the contact link.

Be sure to take a minute to go visit Ana Savuica’s site, The She Approach. You will find an abundance of great blogger resources to help you improve your blogger experience.

Also, be sure to check out my newly designed Resource Page with essential tools for blogging, being an indie author, and posting on social media.

Until next time…

Connect with Me on Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolfe_butler

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wolfebutlerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/butler.wolfe/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wolfebutler/

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Love for Series Books

One cannot help but reminisce this time of year. The end of the year makes you think of everything that happened and that you did not achieve in the ending year. The new year entices you with endless possibilities. This year I am thinking a lot about books and writing. I made the serious, and somewhat terrifying, step this year of quitting my day job. My goal is for 2018 to be all about growing with my passion and creating new income streams as a result.

Quite unrelated in many respects, I find myself thinking a lot about the books that have shaped me up to this point. I have always been a book lover. The first chapter book I read was Charlotte’s Web. I believe I was in first grade. I cannot remember exactly how old I was. What I do remember vividly is how excited I was to be transformed into a new world and the intoxicating power of words. I sat on my bed missing dinner and whatever my family was watching on television, completely engrossed in the world opening around me.

I was utterly devastated when I finished the book. Everyone knows how it ends, but as a child I was not prepared to deal with such a catastrophe. At the same time, I was overjoyed at the accomplishment of reading such a big book by myself. I ran around the house telling my family what I had done and that I was going to be a writer. I began writing that day and have never stopped.

While Charlotte’s Web was my first, my favorite children’s chapter books were the Chester Cricket and His Friends Series by George Selden and Garth Williams. A profound mentor and teacher read The Cricket in Times Square to my class with the intention of instilling a love for writing and for reading. I do not know if any of the other students were touched, but I was deeply moved. I hated for the story to end. To my great delight, my teacher told us that there were additional books that carried on the story. A sequel book? I had never imagined such a wonderful prospect before.

I read as many of the books as I could find, which was not as easy then in a rural elementary school. My love of reading was cemented. I could not help but envision the wonderful series of books I would ultimately write.

Writing a series has always been my intention. As I grew older, and then older still, I have struggled with focus. Even when I start a story I love, such as when writing Getting Home, I find myself telling only a finite part of the character’s life. I can only tell one story before my mind is off chasing another character. Still, the desire is strong with me to this day. I am rereading the Anne of Green Gables books in an attempt to remind myself why I love series books so much. I also am hoping to teach myself that not every part of a protagonist’s story must have huge, earth altering events. It is good to write about some of the mundane events that provide additional color and substance to the tale.

As you can see from this simple blog post, my mind tends to run in multiple directions at the same time. My intention was to write about The Cricket in Times Square and how that series changed my view of reading and writing. My mind had other ideas and so this wandering post was formed.

All three of the books I have mentioned are excellent. If you have children, I highly recommend all of them. Although I love them all, I must be partial. The Chester Cricket Series is and always will be my favorite.

Did you have a series that you particularly loved or that your children love today? If so, please leave your comments below.

The Cricket in Times Square

Monday Musings: The Best Investment

Monday Musings

Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Happy Monday! Not to start on a down note, but the last week has been especially hard for me. I was still doing a little consulting work for the financial services company I left in December. That filled up all five days of last week. I have set up new Pinterest and Instagram accounts. I am trying to get a freelance writing and virtual assistant business off the ground. I am working on two novels. And I have been reading excessively on everything from blogging tips and SEO to work-at-home business set-up and the two books I am currently reviewing. Silly me, I thought I was going to be less busy when I quit my traditional job.

To turn up the positive, I am excited to talk about one of the investments I made in my business and blog. So far, this is the BEST investment, at least in terms of usefulness and immediate impact. What am I talking about? I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited membership. I must disclose here that I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on any of the links on my blog and make a purchase within 24-hours, I will get a small commission. However, I would be writing this exact post even if I was not an Amazon Associate.

Over the past few weeks I have mentioned how I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Who needs sleep when there is reading to be done? I have visited hundreds of blogs, marketing sites and retailers geared toward bloggers and writers. Yes, at times I can be a little obsessive, but I really do expect my writing and blog to be my only source of income at some point in the near future. It is important to me to have as much wisdom as I can get.

With all these site visits, I found myself getting discouraged. There are a lot of great and well-written sites. Many are aesthetically pleasing with excellent graphic images and engaging narratives. They have given me several ideas for updating this site in the coming weeks. What was discouraging to me, though, was the overwhelming abundance of “Buy Me” links and “Get this FREE with your email subscription.” We all must pay the bills. I do have an email capture on some of my pages and hope to develop a large email following in time. I am not currently selling any products, except for my book, Getting Home, on Amazon. Hence, the need to add affiliate links to keep this blog up and running.

I dove into several of the sites that were most compelling. Some have free information that they send you over the course of days or weeks. I am probably getting 30-40 emails a day now and at this rate will never read them all in my lifetime. Most want you to buy something, and generally from the very first page. I admire that. If someone worked hard on putting together an eBook or report that can help me, I expect them to get paid for their time and effort. However, some of these eBooks, though only 30-100 pages, are $80-$100 or more. Ouch. Did I happen to mention that I am no longer working and have NO INCOME at this point?

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A few of the posts were so well written and the site so attractive that I did purchase a couple of said eBooks. I am getting a lot of good information out of most of the ones I did purchase.

Still, as great as these purchases are, the onslaught of daily emails from each site and the constant, “Now you must buy more if you want the rest of the story,” has really been a sucker punch to me. I started with zero income, spent quite a bit at this point, and now I need to buy more? And with no guarantee that what is in your next eBook is going to benefit me at all?

At the same time that I exploring all these sites, I was corresponding with another writer about writing a review for his fiction book. I noticed it was available through Kindle Unlimited. I decided to go ahead and sign up for the free 30-day trial, so I could get his book instantly and get to work reading it.

A few days later, and by mistake or providence, I am not sure, but I stumbled upon one of the books I had almost purchased from another site. And it was also available on Kindle Unlimited. I clicked on it and started reading it immediately. I then grabbed another and another. To date I have read a number of books, in addition to the one book I signed up for in the first place, and I am still in my 30-day free trial. I am going to list some of my favorites at the end of this post.

Yes, I said free

Now before I start getting negative comments about encouraging my readers to get books through Kindle Unlimited rather than directly from the author blog, let me explain. First, please try to relax. Yes, initially the author of said eBook might get a lower royalty through Amazon. The author only gets paid for the pages of the book that is read. On the plus side, if the reader enjoys the book and gives a positive review, that may move hundreds or thousands of other Amazon customers to try your book. I did not see much for reviews on most of the blogs I visited, and the ones that did have reviews, there was no way to determine if they were legit or written by the blog owner.

It is also my thought process that if I read your book through Kindle and enjoy it, I may be more likely to try another of your books. If I spend too much money on a book with little to no value on your website, well then not only will I not buy any more books, I am also the type of person that will never visit your blog or social media posts again. I did purchase a couple of items that are available through Amazon and directly through a blog. The result? They are the exact same books. Page for page.

I do not intend to list all of the books I have purchased or reviewed here. Some, sad to say, were absolutely awful. They were clearly first-draft books that were thrown up quickly to hopefully produce sales. The layouts were sloppy, the grammar atrocious and the spelling mistakes make it appear that not even a common word processor spellcheck was used. I am furious that I paid blog price for some of these items.

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Another large advantage I am enjoying with Kindle Unlimited is that most of the eBooks I purchased directly from blogs are in PDF format, and several are hard to read productions. The Kindle books are available on all my Kindle connected devices. That means I can add the book and start reading in on my laptop and then later continue reading the same book on my phone or tablet. The Kindle app has a feature that it can automatically sync your progress, so you are always brought back to the right starting point regardless of device. I absolutely love this option.

Again, for the naysayers, I want to reiterate that reading a book through Kindle Unlimited does not hurt the author. The author is paid for each page read by each KU reader. I am much more likely to give your book a chance if I know I don’t have to lay out a bunch of money for something that I might hate.

This whole world of Kindle Unlimited has excited me so much that I have already decided that the eBooks I am currently working on will be available exclusively through Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I do stand to make a higher per purchase profit by selling directly, but that also means I need to set up my site to sell items and accept payment. Likely I will need some sort of merchant account to process payments and that is just one more thing for me to have to manage in a week that is already way too short on hours.

My intention in starting this post was not to write an ad for Amazon. As the words started to flow, though, it became more apparent to me just how much I am enjoying my Kindle Unlimited membership. Oh, and the best part? As I already mentioned, I am still in my first 30-day free trial. That means that so far, I have paid NOTHING for this investment that has brought so much knowledge and wisdom into my life.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope I have not upset anyone. One of my biggest life goals is to help nurture and advance fellow writers and artists. If you feel I have done you a disservice, please feel free to contact me. Or, better yet, if you are happy I have mentioned your book, please post a comment below to let us know you were here.

Click over to Amazon to get your Free Month of Kindle Unlimited. There is so much to learn!

Until next time…

Here are a couple of the books I have enjoyed so far:

Pinnacle    Make Money Blogging

SEO

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 1

As a new blogger, it’s sometimes hard to find your way. Many posts will tell you about an exciting and unbelievable blogger experience. The truth is that most of those posts are unbelievable because they are not true.

This blog is taking a different route. I will be sharing my blogger experience as it happens. The good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully not too much ugly.

Part 1

In October 2017, I decided that it was time to change my life. I had a job that was creating much more stress than it was worth. I was missing leisure time with family and friends due to demands from said job. My overall joy in life was largely lacking.

What was probably an insane decision, I set out to change everything. I dusted off the novel I had been working on periodically over that last fifteen years and set about self-publishing on Amazon. I put a plan in motion to quit my job, to start freelancing and created a blog. This is my blogger experience.

Disclaimer: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission, at no extra cost for you. It’s how I keep the lights on. I only promote products that I use and have benefitted from.

Changing Everything

Let me mention here that I was in the position to quit my job and have no income for a few months. While I hope that this turns into a record-setting journey, I cannot say with certainty that everyone will have the same experience.

I have mentioned before that I thought I was ready to become a blogger and self-published author. As with most things in life, there is a big difference between planning and practicing. Most days I feel like I have done everything wrong. I can see progress, though, and my vision of the future is bright.

Prior to November, I was not a social media person. However, social media is a necessary evil in the world of self-publishing and the lifeblood of promoting a blog.


Diving Into Social Media

Since the beginning of November, I have dove headlong into my blogger experience and social media. I created accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. That alone has been a major learning experience but a necessary part of any blogger experience.

Side note: I have a blog post about why every blog post should include a tall-pin for pinning on Pinterest.

I think I am doing something right as I am up to 4600 Twitter followers. I have 180 likes for my Facebook page, 74 followers on Instagram and 41 followers on my blog.

Those numbers may not seem impressive, but since all of those numbers were zero just two months ago, I am pretty happy with the results.

 

Workplace with notebook on black background

Crunching Numbers

I am a numbers guy. Working in financial services for the last twenty years has put my mind in constant numbers mode. I am constantly thinking of rate of return and tracking progress. Numbers will continue to be an important part of my blogger experience.

Every day I am figuring out things to improve my online presence. I decided to write a post about my progress so you can go along with me on my journey. I intend to update my progress at least once a month.

I am doing this for two reasons.

  1. I want to have a written record of my journey. I could put everything in my personal journal, but why not put it out there for the whole world to see? Hopefully my words will help someone else.
  2. Two, I have read dozens of blogs of how individuals are making thousands of dollars a month from their blogs. I want to believe they are all true, but the skeptic inside me is not sure.

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

What Happened During The First Months?

I am also noticing that most bloggers are not listing their progress until they are 6, 12 or even 24 months in. What happened at the beginning of their journey? I would like to have those numbers so I can see where I compare.

Should I be happy with 4600 Twitter followers or should I have 46,000 at this point? Is 200 page views for the first full month of a blog a good number or sadly lacking? Should I be expecting any income from affiliate marketing?

I did not imagine I would make anything from my blog the first few months. I was not far off. I think I am up to about $5.00 earned from all sources combined for the past 60 days, counting all income sources.

Please note that is earned so I have not even received that amount as of today. If I were to break that down to the hours I have put in, I am making less than $0.01/working hour. At this rate I should be living on the street by summer.

Thank goodness McDonald’s has free wi-fi.

Ultimate Resources for Bloggers and Writers

 

pexels-photo-757457

Building a Foundation

With any building project, a good foundation is the key to success and stability. I would say I am easily putting in 60-80 hours per week. Knowing that things will not stay at this magnitude, I am willing to put in the time and effort now.


About half of my time has been spent on learning, reading advice, watching videos and corresponding with other writers and bloggers. If knowledge is power, I intend to have superhero strength.

Ultimately, my journey is my journey. No two people have the same journey in any endeavor. Even what I will be sharing here will not necessarily be your journey. In any case, let’s take the journey together and see where it takes us.

If you a new to blogging, or maybe not so new, please share one of your blogger experience below.

Please share this post.

 

Lesson 6: … I don’t know much

I’ve learned that I really do not know very much.

Years ago, I read an illustration about our own perceived intelligence. I cannot remember it verbatim, but to briefly paraphrase it said, as teenagers we tend to think that we know everything. In our twenties and thirties, we still think we know most everything but also start to see the need to get some instruction from others. By middle age we realize we only know half the things we need to know. And finally, in old age, we realize that we know nothing or at least very little in the grand scheme of things.

I am not an old man, at least from my perspective. A sixteen or twenty-year-old might view me that way, but I am determined that I am not old. It’s the whole, “Build it and they will come” mentality. If only that worked.

Up until now, I have always considered myself a relatively intelligent man. I keep up with current events and have always been an avid reader. In this digital age, I still prefer to read my news or instruction manuals rather than watch videos. Everyday I make it a point to learn at least one new thing and am always looking for ways to improve myself.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly more obvious that in reality, I know almost nothing. Never has this truth shined brighter than the last couple months of starting a blog and self-publishing a book. All my dear writer friends, why didn’t you warn me? As I read more blogs, interact with more writers and consider their work, I feel overwhelmingly unqualified and outclassed.

I did not just jump into blogging and self-publishing without any guidance or forethought. I read blogging advice for several years before finally committing and starting one of my own. I perused publishing and writing journals for years contemplating publishing options, comparing traditional to self-published routes, whether to get an agent or editor or not. I felt like I had done all my research and was prepared to move forward. Wrong!

Wrong

Jumping into the arena, or fire as it might be, and getting started has revealed a whole world of things I never thought to include in my preparations. There have been hundreds of questions that I did not know to ask. Should you monetize your site? How do you keep a posting schedule? What social media sites should you use? What should you be posting on them? How should you interact with your followers? How often? And on and on and on. In addition, there have been systems and procedures that I did not know to implement and unexpected expenses I was not fully prepared for. Add to the fact that I was still working a full-time day job for the first two months, and it is amazing that I have any hair on the top of my head. Although it has grown noticeably grayer in the last two months.

I had been in my prior career field for 18 years before decided to leave and pursue writing full-time. I was the go-to person for a lot of my colleagues because I had put in the time and was constantly working on learning more and improving myself. To go from a seasoned veteran to a flailing newbie has been a true test of my mettle.

Please do not misunderstand me. This is an amazing experience and a dream come true. I worked so hard for so many years so that in time I could devote myself to my writing passion. Never was I so naïve as to imagine that this would be a seamless and painless transition. Still, to interact with all the amazing writers I have had the pleasure to interact with, has not only made me feel like I am out of my depth, but that I need to get out of that Olympic pool and go back to the kiddie pool. Probably floaties would not be a bad idea while I am at it.

yellow bath duck toy

On the flip side, oneamazing, heart-warming and completely unexpected lesson I am learning is that writers are true kindred spirits. We are all laboring to bring our wordy offspring into this world. It brightens my day to get on social media and see how writers are constantly supporting other writers, supporting me. In the financial world, it was every man for himself. This sense of community and support has been my biggest buoy to keep afloat as the waves of what I don’t know keep crashing over me. My hope is that in a year or two or five that I will be the veteran writer, blogger and self-publisher that is out in the world encouraging others and convincing them to continue forward.

As I tend to do, I have again gotten completely off track. My life lesson learned is that the older I get, the more I recognize just how much I do not know. I am trying to own that and seek guidance from as many sources as I can find. I will never know everything, but tomorrow I will know more than I did today.

Until next time.


Mysterious – a Poem

Mysterious

Mysterious

A presence near
The heart sincere
Goodbye to fear
Home is here

A man a soul
A worthwhile goal
Looks black as coal
Fits the role

The burning fire
A living wire
Children to sire
Deep desire

Behind a veil
The heart will wale
Break free from jail
Meant to fail

Not one but two
And much is due
You thought you knew
If so, who?

 

Author’s Note: We are all more than one person. At the very least we are two: the one we present to the world and the one we are deep inside. Most of us are much more than two as we have a “person” for each part of our life. Family, friend, work, social, parent, strangers… Not everyone sees the same person when they look at us. Indeed, we do not present the same person to each person we meet.

This poem was written in my late teens, early twenties when I was trying to figure out primarily what person I was going to be. I hope you enjoy.

If you enjoyed this poem, please share it with others.

 

A poem about who you really are on the inside. #Poem #Poet #Poetry

Music for Writing

Music for Writing

To say I love music would be an understatement. As a child I spent hours recording songs as they played on the radio. Much of my allowance went to buying cassette tapes. Waves of excitement would wash over me as I hit record every time a new song came on the radio. When I got older I became obsessed with CDs and built a pretty enviable collection. Digital music came along, and my collection was growing exponentially until the option of music subscriptions. With some now, like Amazon’s Music Unlimited, you can listen to pretty much anything you want whenever you want. I buy much less music as a result.

This blog post is not about collecting music. Maybe I will devote another one to that topic later. Rather, I would like to rattle on a little about using music while writing.

Are you a writer? Do you play music while writing? If so, what music do you turn to?

My music tastes are very eclectic, largely decided by the mood I am either in or want to be writing about. If I am dabbling with a bit of romance, Adele or Dido might be my artist of choice. Dealing with confrontation I may turn to something a little angrier. Two of my fallbacks are Linkin Park and the heavier tracks from Evanescence. A mellow passage might turn me to Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan or Enya. Looking to be happy or humorous, I may call on Michael Bublé.

Editing, we all know how painful it can be, typically points me to something without words so I can concentrate fully on butchering my work. My favorites are piano based, but there are many orchestral ones as well. There is a techno old favorite, David Arkenstone’s In the Wake of the Wind, that has been with me for decades. The soundtracks to A Beautiful Mind and Pride and Prejudice are also calming favorites.

I am not stuck in the past as many of the above references might imply. Streaming today’s pop, alternative and country stations frequently create the right mood or desire. Much of today’s music draws me, but a good playlist is like comfy slippers and a well-worn cardigan. Hence, I find myself returning to old friends often.

Perusing my digital playlists, I seem to be drawn to certain themes. Many of the songs in my collection have “home,” “breathe” or “rain” in the title. It remains a puzzle as to what that means. Still, I am fascinated by the fact that I am drawn to songs with similar subjects.

At times, rare as they may occur, I may turn off all music. Sometimes the voices in my head need to speak clearly for me to get through a particularly challenging passage. The silence does not last long. While it helps to focus momentarily, I tend to find myself drifting mentally or inclined to walk off and do other things. The music comes back on and I can (mostly) focus again. Music helps to drown out some of the lesser voices that are not needed in the moment.

Music is an important part of my writing ritual. What rituals are important to you?