Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog

A lot of teacher-authors read my WordDreams blog. In this monthly column, I share the most popular post from previous months: 

I’ve been blogging for about sixteen years, some professionally (for my tech ed career) and others on topics of interest to me (writing, USNA, and science). That first post–

The Edit Block

(don’t bother to click through. It’s boring)

putting myself on the line, ignoring that I had no hits, wanting to approve comments from spammers because that would look like someone loved me–I thought that was the hard part. The second post was easier and so it went.

But somewhere around the twentieth post–

This is why I teach

more personal, but blocky, not visual, too long, and not about writing.

I figured out I had to do blogging right. No comments–no surprise!–so why was I doing this? It wasn’t to show up, spout off and slink away. There was a lot more I wanted from blogging.

I could have quit–it was getting to be a lot like work–but I enjoyed the camaraderie with like-minded souls. I learned a lot about writing by doing it and could transfer those lessons to others. So I honed my skill.

Do’s and Don’ts

Let me share what I wish I’d known early rather than late so you don’t waste as much time and energy as I did:

  • Keep posts to a five-ten minute read–How? Avoid big blocks of text. People will skip them, and then skip your blog.
  • Only reblog 10% of someone else’s post. If you’re on WordPress and push the ‘reblog’ button (if available), they take care of it for you. But if you copy someone’s post–even if you give them attribution–you blew it. You have to get permission if you are reposting more than 10% of someone’s work. Where was I supposed to learn that?

  • Avoid hot links. What’s a ‘hot link’ you say? That’s when you use a picture on your blog that’s hosted on another server. I don’t do that–I don’t even know how to do it. Let me posit a scenario. You find an image that you like. You drag it to your blog post and drop it. It looks great. What a wonderful shortcut to save-insert-find media you otherwise have to do. That’s a no-no. You just hotlinked that photo from someone else’s server to your blog. It’s not hosted on your blog so you may bring up the post at some later date and find it’s gone. Better: Save the picture to your device (assuming it’s public domain or with the creator’s permission) and upload to your post.

  • It takes a long time to build a blog. Many bloggers start by journaling–chatting about their life. When they get few readers, less comments, and realize they’re talking to an empty room, they give up blogging as another failed experiment on the pathway to success. Blogging is no longer journaling. Now, blogs focus on a theme, their popularity closely tied to the author’s voice and/or resources s/he provides.
  • Do a good job. Readers don’t want to see typos, grammar errors, or a waste of their time. In fact, you have to write-edit-rewrite-submit to get your blog posts ready for the public. Pretty much what your English teacher told you to do in school. When your brain starts throbbing like a hand slammed in a car door–that’s when you realize blogging is a lot like work.
  • Be yourself. Let your voice take over. Like with any storyteller you love, it’s not so much the plot they unfold (there really are only so many plots) as how they deliver it. That’s voice and that’s why readers keep coming back. Humor? Empathy? Pithy? Whatever it is, make it yours and stick to it.

  • Be part of a community. Answer comments on your blog, then visit those who spent the time to comment and chat about their posts. Be interested in them. Help them build their community.
  • Link to other bloggers in your posts and comments. Talk them up or quote something they said. That builds a supportive community.
  • Don’t make all comments and posts about your books, your marketing. People are turned off by a constant stream of self-serving posts and responses. Talk about what the blogger’s post is or their interests.
  • Include headline, subheadings, and images. These break up a longish post (like this one) and keep people reading.
  • Anecdotal posts are better than narrative. People like stories.

  • It’s easier than it sounds. So many of my fellow writers think blogging takes hours a day. It does, but only when you first start, as you’re getting settled. Then, you get into a rhythm.
  • It’s harder than it sounds. You have to pay attention to proper writing skills, be careful to not plagiarize content or media, be a friend to your ebuddies, be constantly and brilliantly inspired, and be a tech genius who can fix all those geeky things that make social media work. Yikes!


For more tips, Problogger–one of my go-to resources–has a slew of great tips on improving your blog.

Now it’s your turn: What do you wish you’d known when you started blogging?

–Image credit Deposit Photos

Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:


Copyright ©2024 worddreams.wordpress.com – All rights reserved.

“The content presented in this blog is the result of my creative imagination and not intended for use, reproduction, or incorporation into any artificial intelligence training or machine learning systems without prior written consent from the author.”

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Author: Jacqui
Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

2 thoughts on “Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog

  1. So much solid advice here, Jacqui. I’m pretty sure you won’t see this comment as for some reason they disappear into the ether. I don’t comment here all the time because of that, but I still try once in a while. I’m sure it’s probably just one of those WordPress mysteries, but I’d hate to think you’re missing a lot of connections with people for this reason.

    1. It is challenging, but it seems as bad with self-hosted as WP hosted. I often wonder if the Gods of Tech are funneling us all into the main SM (FB and X) and away from blogs where conversation can be more robust and personal. I appreciate your comment!

Comments are closed.