Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts tagged blogging

High Desert Food Bloggers’ Traffic Generating Experiment

Traffic Generating Experiment VS

Community blogging comes alive when fellow bloggers connect to promote interests and events in the area in which they reside – and, yes, when they promote their blogs. What are the benefits of promoting a blog? Drive traffic to your blog, convert that traffic into leads, and make money blogging, to name a few benefits. Two High Desert bloggers joined efforts to promote their food blogs, and

Cookie Cutter Breakfasts

Egg Valentine Blog Post by

Fudge Hearts

Fudge Hearts Valentine Blog Post by

Both blogs are fairly new, and the bloggers decided to participate in a month-long experiment by scheduling regular quality content. You can learn more
about the experiment READ MORE »

The Traffic Generating Experiment–Blog vs Blog versus in a traffic generating contestAnyone who has ever started a blog knows that one of the biggest challenges is getting traffic to your blog, and traffic is essential if one hopes to monetize their blog.  There are various recommendations on the web regarding how best to draw traffic to a blog, and after reading through several of these, it’s easy for a new blogger to feel overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting information.

A few years ago, I listened to Bill Belew speak at the HDCWC meeting in Apple Valley.  At that time, he recommended multiple short posts (100-150 words long) per day to generate traffic.  He shares similar information regarding the success of mutiple short posts per day at Search Engine Journal.   Another site suggests longer posts (300-350 words) two or three times per week are best, and one claims that Google considers posts of less than 200 words to be “thin content”.  Another site recommends a combination of regularly scheduled  quality content on your own site paired with guest posts on a blog that has more traffic than your own. There are sites that list specifically how long a tweet, facebook comment, and a blog post should be in order to be most effective.  These list the best  content length for a blog post at 1600 words.  When you’re looking for a definitive answer, all of this seemingly conflicting information can be very confusing.

Even regarding the topic of page rank, there is disagreement.  There are those who say it’s vital to get traffic to your site, but is it really? READ MORE »

How the Entrepreneur Can Learn How to Blog

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to learn how to blog?

High Desert Bloggers, Route 66 Molly Brown's

High Desert Bloggers at Molly Brown’s on National Trails Highway

Starting a small business can easily become overwhelming with lists of priorities and important tasks to keep up with. Add learning a blog to that list, and it will be put under the if-I-ever-get-to-it section. The High Desert has blogging and entrepreneur groups that are motivating to beginning and pro-bloggers. Whether new or experienced, all bloggers need motivation. Look online for a group like these to get you motivated. If there isn’t one, start one. Need help starting a group? Visit or for ideas.

Networking with a like-minded individual is motivating and encouraging. That’s why groups like High Desert Bloggers and High Desert Entrepreneurs meet. High Desert’s Small Business Development Center is another wonderful help to the entrepreneur starting out.

Blogging workshops are also taught by bloggers. Meetups are scheduled monthly to give bloggers a boost of inspiration and motivation and are usually free. Occasionally, however, paid workshops are offered. The workshop entry fees are reasonable.

Scheduled from August through October are poetry and entrepreneur workshops in the High Desert. Kicking off the poetry workshops, will host a poetry contest this month. Contact us for more information, and check our blog daily as the contest will soon be posted. Also visit our Events Page for upcoming blogging, entrepreneur, and community events.

I’m so happy to have you visit our blog and hope that you will take a moment to leave us a comment. Let us know what blogging and entrepreneur information you are in need of. If you have a community event coming up, do let us know so that we can publish it on our blog.

Enjoy your summer!

High Desert Bloggers Meetup






Is There No Integrity Among Bloggers?

file0001462552138The topic of this post has been rolling around in my mind for at least the last six months.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am a French lingerie model.  I am 5 feet 11 inches tall, and I weigh 120 pounds.  Because of my success as a model, I am independently wealthy, and I spend about six months of the year living on my Lürssen yacht.  For those of you who know me and are wondering what the &$@# I’m talking about, everything I just said was all a lie.  Of course, since it’s on the internet, it must be true.  Actually, I need to make a correction.  I should say that all of it was a lie except for the part about the topic of the post rolling around the back of my mind for the last six months.

It all started with the Daddy Long Legs who was hanging out on some equipment where I work.  I was vanquishing him with my hands because I had been raised to believe that they were beneficial spiders that would kill poisonous spiders and eat them.  In other words, Daddy Long Legs was a friend.    A co-worker immediately began freaking out because she believed that these spiders were poisonous.  I am by no means a spider expert, but I was certain that my mother would have mentioned to me the fact that they were poisonous if that were the case.  She treated black widows and brown recluse spiders in a very different way than she treated the daddy long legs.  I questioned my co-worker further and she stated that they were poisonous but that they couldn’t bite because of the position of their mouths.  If that was the case, I wondered why she was so freaked out.  Regardless, her opinion about the spider didn’t seem right to me.

When I got home, I did an internet search and discovered the following.  There were a bunch of blogs that solemnly proclaimed her opinion as  fact and to be true.  Some even stated that the venom of the daddy long legs spider was more toxic than the black widow.  When I went to University of California at Riverside’s website, though, I discovered the following.

  1. My mother was correct.  Daddy long legs is not poisonous.  He will eat other spiders and other bugs.
  2. My c0-worker was wrong.  Daddy long legs can bite.  His mouth is in the same position as the brown recluse and we have all heard that Mr. Brown Recluse is certainly capable of biting.  In fact. the bite of the Brown Recluse has been shown to result in tissue death which can result in serious infection.
  3. Some bloggers post anything they want on their websites without regard to the accuracy of the information they present.
  4. There are people like that girl from the State Farm commercial who believe that if it’s on the internet it must be true.

If you don’t believe me or the university, try the MythBusters segment that you can view by clicking here.  (If it’s on TV, it’s true, right?)

So, while I continued to ponder a post complaining about the lack of blog-tegrity (integrity among bloggers to ensure, at least, that their information is correct), life continued.  It was something that my son showed me on his Facebook page that finally spurred me into action.  What he presented to me was a link to the following headline:

HOBBY LOBBY STONES GAY EMPLOYEE TO DEATH.  (Click here to follow the link to the original article.)

As I read this article two things occurred to me.  There was no way this story was true, and it was going to go viral.  It did.  Within a day or two of publication, this article was spreading like wild fire.  Suddenly, many bloggers were weighing in with their opinion.  There were several blogs and internet sites that jumped onto the Hobby Lobby and Christian Bashing bandwagon.  I would link to the specific posts on these sites, but after reported that it was a false claim, many of these posts disappeared.    I was particulary horrified by the post that ranted about what people would say if it was a company owned by Muslims who started forcing their religious views on employees and executing women who didn’t wear hijabs or burqas.  Alas, the post is no more, so I can’t link to it.  All I get when I go there is a page not found message.

I am certain that there are many bloggers out there thanking God for the Move to Trash button on their blog sites.  Unlike the “famously incorrect Dewey Defeats Truman banner headline” published by the Chicago Tribune back in the glory days of print newspapers, bloggers can just erase those embarrassing mistakes.  Maybe that’s why no one bothers to ensure that their posts are accurate.  As I write this, there are still a few comment boards on sites and some Facebook comments that you can find, but largely, the moral outrage over the stoning death of the fictitious Hobby Lobby employee has dwindled.

There is no specific code of ethics for bloggers.  Journalistic integrity includes the expectation “that the journalist will  be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources.”   They also publish corrections when errors are made.  They don’t just move the whole thing to the trash and pretend it didn’t happen.  Perhaps, we, as bloggers,  need to establish our own code of ethics and standards of conduct.  Maybe someone already has, and no one bothers to adhere to it.

As bloggers, I believe that we have a certain amount of moral responsibility.  The things that we report should be as accurate as possible.  When I read that article with my outraged son, I did the following research before I allowed myself to become upset.  I checked to see if  Hobby Lobby had any stores in Arkansas.  I discovered that there were at least 7.  I checked to make sure that homicide was against the law in Arkansas, and I found out that it was.  I checked to see which, if any, of the stores were located in Wilson county, and discovered that there was no Wilson county in Arkansas.  Hmmm….I found two problems with the story–no one was arrested for homicide, and there was no Wilson county.     I was convinced that the story was a lie, but my son required further proof.  (He is young and not nearly as cynical as I am.)

I found the proof he needed on the same site as the original article.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, past all the comments, and whatever else there is, you will find a link that says ‘About”.  If you click on that link, you will find the following.

The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media. It is accessible from over 190 countries worldwide – now including South Sudan.

Our mission is to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence – which presses forward.

Q. Are your news stories real?

A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world

Everyone, calm down.  Put down the picket signs.  Cancel the boycott.   Hobby Lobby did NOT stone an employee to death.  What is my point in this post?  If you are a blogger, before you promote the spread of outrage based on fiction, check your facts.  Know your sources, and please, have some integrity.  Do your homework, and make sure you’re posting accurate information.  Don’t spread baseless rumors.  Granted, a controversial post can be good for boosting traffic and stimulating comments, but I believe that we should be providing information to help and enlighten people.  I don’t believe that my job as a blogger is to enrage people.  If you’re going to post satirical fiction, make sure it’s clear to your readers that’s what you do.  When you get an idea from someone else, give them credit with a link back to their site.  There’s enough web traffic to share.

 **Patti  can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

Physical Activity for Bloggers

High Desert Bloggers (HDB) Meetup group has been promoting get-away-from-the-computer activities for its bloggers. Group members blog about various topics on their personal blogs then meet at least once monthly to discuss blogging.

The HDB group ventures out to areas and places of the community. The last meetup was held at the Pioneer Museum in Lucerne Valley. President Rusty LaGrange showed bloggers and other visitors the variety of planting tools and equipment used in the high desert back in the day.

Rusty at Pioneer Museum

Rusty at Pioneer Museum














photo (36) photo (35)











Bloggers are concerned about what will increase their readership and how to make money blogging, but are they concerned about how blogging for hours without getting up can affect their health? Physical activity is an important factor for a blogger to include in the daily routine of blogging.

It’s easy to sit for hours at a computer and forget to get up to stretch or exercise. One of my blogger friends sets her alarm to schedule time away from the computer – and eats a certain amount of M&M’s. If you’re extra nutrition-conscious, you might consider trying the dark chocolate ones.

You can start your own free physical activity program – right in your own yard. Why pay for a gym membership when you can garden and reap the benefits of natural Vitamin D from the sun? Pulling weeds, digging in dirt, and planting and watering flowers are considered moderate-to-intense physical activity for adults and children.

What type of fitness plan do you work into your blogging schedule?





Write 50,000 Words in November

Encyclopedias by morgueHave you been planning to write a book? Accept the writing challenge to get that book written next month. Fellow bloggers Zia, Patti, and Donna from and I set blogging and writing goals today. How? By writing down the goals.

Zia and I started the morning at Starbucks to discuss our plans for next month’s WNFIN and NaNoWriMo. Zia is organized. She has already written a mind map and a Table of Contents for her November-planned book of 50,000 words. I have begun mind mapping my ideas for next month’s nonfiction challenge, however. November 1st at 12:01 a.m. will be the official starting time to begin the actual writing. Only planning is allowed before then.

What is the difference between WNFIN and NaNoWriMo? WNFIN is nonfiction. NaNoWriMo is fiction. Both projects promote writing a 50,000-word novel or work of nonfiction in 30 days. Type it and submit it by the deadline, November 30th.

Scheduled after this morning’s meeting with Zia was my book signing. Alyssa Penman from RelyLocal interviewed me for Phantom Seven. The interview was followed by a blogging workshop about setting up a blog and utilizing social media.

Blogging workshops motivate bloggers to accomplish their goals. Again, that happens by writing down the goals.

Recently, I heard a writer speak to a writers group. She actually discouraged the writers from blogging. I was cringing, silently screaming, No. I think that speaker has never met blogger and writer Nina Amir, a pro at writing and speaking about blogging goals and making them happen. That’s why Nina Amir is successful at blogging and makes money with blogging.

Why the mention of Nina? She started WNFIN in October 2007 because she wondered what nonfiction writers were supposed to be writing about in November. If you decide to write a nonfiction work, submit it to WNFIN.

Prefer to write fiction? Join the thousands of participants who will choose to write a novel on the NaNoWriMo website (which began in 1999).

Now prepare for your own November writing goal. Remember, write it down. Schedule it on your smartphone or tablets. Or, use the old-fashioned way – grab a pen and some paper and start writing.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

Pumpkins for autumn comfort food

Pumpkins for autumn comfort food

Congratulations to Desiree who won the Starbucks $10 gift card from! The contest ended at 6:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, September 21st. Desiree shared her favorite Pumpkin Bar recipe that a family member makes every year.  It’s a specific pumpkin bar recipe by Betty Crocker called Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.

My favorite season is fall. I love the crisp air, comfort foods, holidays, and the seasons’s colors. Pumpkin falls within the comfort foods and holidays categories, and I wanted to introduce the fall season at with a pumpkin recipe contest. It’s a joy to offer the $10 Starbucks card to our reader Desiree. Thank you, Desiree, for following our blog.

If you follow this blog, you know that there is another contest happening – a writers contest. The great thing about it is that cash prizes will be given to first and second place winners, and a Starbucks gift card will be given to the third place winner. To enter the writing contest, write a nonfiction article of 500-1000 words about autumn and submit it to The contest rules and directions can be found on our Contests and Giveaways page. There is a small fee of $10 per entry, and three entries per person are allowed. Other than the top three winners, honorable mentions will also be included. All who enter will have a good chance of winning or at least possibility of publication (see more about this on the Contests and Giveaways page listed above).

Perhaps you can’t afford to enter more than once when there is a fee for writing entries in contests. Consider entering a writing contest three or four times a year. Submit articles to writing contests, magazines, and writing websites like and (Hint: new contests that are offered on sites may not be widely known yet – good way to become a winner!)

Look for other contests on the Internet. One I like that I discovered today is the Sun Photo Contest. The prize is an Almanac suncatcher.

Keep writing. Submit your articles. Offer to write guest blog posts. Continue to enter contests. Your article or blog post could be the next one chosen. You could be the next winner.

To Blog or Not to Blog

High Desert Bloggers group

High Desert Bloggers Meetup

Should every artist, author, entrepreneur, and work-at-home mom or dad have a blog? Since beginning this blog network  in the High Desert of southern California, I could easily give you my own opinion. However, let’s see what others have to say concerning the “to blog or not to blog” enigma. 

Ruth Ann Nordin with the Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, an excellent blog on writing, publishing, and book promotion, doesn’t believe you need a blog. She gives three reasons: it’s time consuming, she believes most readers don’t read blogs, and it takes a long time to build a following. Nordin gives good advice for authors and writers who are considering blogging. I do agree with her that blogging takes time. Maybe the author’s audience are not her/his readers. However, an author can direct blog posts to those who do read them. Not receiving much traffic or comments on your blog? Consider using Attracta, the world’s leading Search Engine Optimization service that can help your website attract more relevant traffic.

Randy Susan Meyers from The Review Review asks the question, “Should you blog if you’re an author?” Meyers’ answer: “Yes. If you have something to say.” Meyers lists several writer blogs you can learn from.

Dr. Susan Giurleo, a psychologist, did an online marketing experiment for her therapy practice. Her article on to blog or not to blog is encouraging for those who don’t have the time or inclination to blog regularly.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad and are interested in working at home and blogging, Caron Beesley shares information on how to start a home-based business. She is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Also helpful is an SBA article on how to start a business blog.

All of the above bloggers and authors offer helpful advice on writing and blogging. If you benefit by reading their articles, I’m sure they will appreciate you leaving them a comment on their blogs.

My opinion? Every author should have a blog. Entrepreneurs should have a blog. Artists usually don’t like writing. Their world is art, not writing. But they can join an artist blog network.  If an individual doesn’t like computers and hates blogging, that’s okay. There is a solution to bloggers who need a blog but don’t want to do the blogging or don’t have time: invite guest bloggers or set aside one day each week to write blog posts and schedule them. I say – blog.


Add Blogging to Your Writing Craft

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia









The craft of writing covers several genres. Is blogging considered one of those genres?

Genre Styles

Each genre includes multifaceted styles. Take poetry for instance. Listening to Poet Mary Langer Thompson speak to High Desert California Writers Club in Apple Valley, CA yesterday made me aware of a particular fact about types of poetry and the people who create the craft. One style rhymes. Another doesn’t. Some poets create lines quickly. Other poets fall into the gotta-think-it-out category (I’m one of those).

After Mary talked about renowned artists and their histories, she distributed art cards with various paintings to the group of writers. Several (the quick group) read poems they had written in yesterday’s class. I was impressed by the quick group at how they could craft such poetry that portrayed specific messages from the poets to the audience.


Perception is interesting. When you first observe a painting, you see one thing. Wait a day or two or until an object catches your eye, and your perception will change.

Purple Iris

Purple Iris from My Spring Garden











What I saw on the art card that was handed to me while Mary was teaching our writers’ group was a field of many blue irises, one white iris, green stems, a fiery bed of desert dirt – and gold California poppies. Anyone else might have seen gold irises. But in my own garden I recently pulled up a bed of blue irises because the aphids (and probably cats walking through) destroyed them. They had turned ugly, and I wanted to be rid of them. On the other side of the garden now there is a large patch of vibrant California poppies.

California Poppies with Raindrops

California Poppies with Raindrops










While I’m typing this blog post at a Starbucks, I’m looking outside at a bunch of gold irises in a rock bed. Ah! The art card. Blue irises. A single white iris. GOLD IRISES. Why couldn’t I see that yesterday? Two reasons. One, the gold irises were in the back of the iris field. Two, the gold flowers looked smaller than the blue and white irises. Mostly, though, I could envision those gorgeous California poppies. Later I looked on the back of the little card. Irises. Yes, the gold ones were irises. Reality has a way of changing how we perceive things.

The Craft of Blogging

Is blogging considered a genre in the craft of writing? Absolutely! Like poetry, there are different blogging styles. Let’s name a few.

  • Conversational
  • Informative
  • Political
  • Art blogs
  • Music blogs
  • Lifestyle blogging
  • Brand blogging
  • Review blogging

Which style of blogging do you prefer? I invite your comments. You may think of another blogging style not mentioned in the above list.

If you are a writer, incorporate the craft of blogging into your genres. The art of writing has been accomplished with pencils, pens, manual and electric typewriters, wordprocessors, computers, and digital writing devices. Can’t part with your old manual typewriter or feather pen and quill? That’s okay. There’s an art to them as well. Keep the old, but learn the new. Connect the dots from old to new. Blog about your talents of typing 50 words a minute on your old-faithful manual typewriter. Add another blog post on feather pen and quill history of writing.

Writing is a craft that never gets old.

The Turf Wars Between Bloggers and Journalists…Who’s Winning?

Computer and Keyboard by mantasmagorical at morgueFileYesterday, my mom tried to convince me to hop a plane to Oklahoma in order to blog on the recent tornado’s devastating aftermath there. According to her, traditional news outlets weren’t doing justice to the coverage and a real writer (her words, not mine) was needed to get the job done right. After assuring her that there were plenty of bloggers, vloggers and other citizen journalists already on the ground– not to mention a slew of local news organizations doing a great job in Oklahoma, she accepted that I had enough work to do here without flying out to find more. Still, her sentiments made me think twice about the bazillion conversations I’ve heard over the years about turf wars brewing between bloggers and journalists.

“We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Ideas About Media to Bring You a Fresh Idea Known as Blogging!”

Ever since blogging began to gain momentum toward the end of the 20th century, people have had opinions about whether or not bloggers should share the same level of respect as journalists. Both report news and events; both have their works electronically published and both can earn a living by properly applying their skills. While most journalists have studied hard and paid good money for college degrees that underscore their talents and discipline, there’s no age, experience or educational prerequisite for blogging. Though many bloggers do have college degrees (some even have journalism degrees), it’s understandable that trained journalists would not want to share media recognition with someone who hasn’t paid their proverbial dues to the media industries in terms of education and job experience.

Weekend Newspaper by gracey at morgueFileBlogging the News

Increasingly, bloggers are being recognized for their efforts, however. Often they are granted the same type of special media access typically reserved for trained journalists and blogs are often the go-to source for live breaking news, such as what was seen during the Arab Spring. In many minds, the attention paid to bloggers on the ground, especially in places where traditional journalists are stifled, serves in further blurring the lines between what is authentic journalism and what is not.

Blogging From the Bottom Of the Barrel

As a blogger and a fan of reality television, I was intrigued by the unfolding of a similar conversation about blogging vs. journalism in recent episodes of VH1’s Gossip Game series. While the show highlights the challenges of seven women working in various facets of urban media– namely magazine publishing, radio broadcasting, journalism and blogging– a lot of infighting took place between the women over who is and who isn’t a journalist. Debate also ensued regarding the perceptions of many that bloggers are not only NOT on the same level as journalists and other media professionals, but are at the bottom of the barrel in any conversation involving public media.

Two Journalists, Two Perspectives, One Medium

It was quite enlightening to watch the arguments between Jas Fly and Sharon Carpenter, two formally trained journalists on the show. Having been in the industry for a number of years and having worked for several mainstream news brands such as CBS and the BBC, Sharon Carpenter quite early made it a point to distinguish herself as a true journalist. Jas Fly, a freelance journalist with fewer years on the circuit than Sharon didn’t seem to have a problem with this until she felt Sharon made an attempt to downplay her status as a journalist since Jas’ work has largely appeared online. In one discussion, in particular, Jas commented that while Sharon may have more years and hardcore news credentials under her designer belt (all of the girls are fashionably fabulous on the show), the fact is that, today, both women currently work in online media. Sharon Carpenter is employed by the urban entertainment website Global Grind which Jas Fly was quick to point out as existing on a very leveled playing field with many of the websites that she freelances for.

Shade Tree Journalists?

The two bloggers on the show, Vivian and Ms. Drama, also received a bit of shade from a couple of the other cast members. An argument was even made (and dismantled) that the demarcation between the two careers is that journalists perform considerable fact-checking before reporting a story where it was falsely assumed that bloggers do not. Repeatedly, on the show and in real life, however, it has been proven that journalists are not always the most thorough fact-checkers and that some bloggers actually are.

Continued Debate

Following the on-air sparring matches between women intent on garnering respect for their career choices, others in the media industry chimed in with their opinions on Twitter and throughout the blogosphere. A number of interesting thoughts were shared with many pointing out that radio, television and print journalists often rely on bloggers to get information that mainstream professionals simply don’t have access to (such as what is often seen in civil uprisings around the world), as well as juicy tidbits from those who have behind-the-scene-off-the-record access to celebrity gossip and other inside information.

Certainly, every blogger cannot automatically be considered a journalist. I mean, blogging runs the gamut from sites that exist for work at home moms to those that help authors sell books to those that highlight special writing and editing services. I imagine that there are as many hardcore news blogs on the web as there are those dedicated to cute cats. Of those that are fact-based, hard-hitting information blogs, however, I am left to wonder…

Is Citizen Journalism Real Journalism, After All?

So what do you think, dear readers? Is there a clear line between journalism and blogging? Should there be? Should journalists and bloggers be afforded the same respect? Tell us your thoughts in the space provided below.

Current Events


Oh and One Last Thing!

Don’t forget to check the High Desert Bloggers out this weekend at the San Bernardino County Fair where we’ll be live-blogging and answering all of your questions about starting a blog for business promotion or personal joy. RelyLocal has invited us to be at their table right at the Fair’s main entrance so you can’t miss us. Come on out and say hello and also find out about the incredible shop local movement underway here in the High Desert.

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