Blogging Bucket List

tin_bucket_ice_bucket2For a long time, I've been afraid to write a bucket list for blogging. I have a list of publications I want a byline in, but I've been subconsciously viewing my blog as a very personal project. Though its an active sample of my writing, assigning goals for its use holds me accountable and almost takes it out of my personal control. Today, though, I'm taking the leap into commitment to my blog. I've started cross posting each cocktail history blog post to and to The Southern Coterie, so in some ways it's already gotten serious.

  • Marketing. Leveraging my blog to connect with new writing markets and clients will expand the possibilities for my writing career. It should also help me to overcome my aversion to writing about myself and pitching my services.
  • Traffic. I've recently reached out to several highly visible bloggers to guest post or regularly contribute to their work. These steps should hopefully boost my traffic and readership, which may aid in marketing.
  • Monetization. Though it might not pay any of my bills, using the blog as a passive source of income could provide a few extra dollars for my savings and/or retirement. It may not seem like a lot now, but every dollar put away now is one I don't have to worry about in 40 years.
  • Connections. The connections I've made while blogging have been invaluable. It's been a way to connect with other writers and like-minded individuals. Like social media, it's a fantastic way to start conversations with those you admire. After the first connection is established and it's natural, continuing the conversation over coffee is easy. In today's world, that's how some true friendships begin. I love this aspect of the web-based world and will continue to seek out and build these relationships.

See Clair learn resilience (and fly fishing)

photo (1)About a week after we first started dating, Adam told me about his family's trips to Colorado. After briefly mentioning the beautiful scenery and windy roads, he moved on to fly fishing. I learned about the sport's meditative and frustrating aspects and his affinity for it. Any trips he took out West, it seemed, would include several days in waders and a vest. Though some of the information filtered through, I tuned most of it out because I thought I might be able to get out of it. This spring, we finally planned a trip to Colorado. All I knew of fly fishing was that lures were artificial and learning the sport would make Adam happy. When he brought home a rod to teach me how to cast without a lure, I put off scheduling our date as long as possible. I procrastinated so well, in fact, that I only got an hour's practice before the actual trip.

During our time in Colorado, we fished almost every day. On the fifth day, I lapsed back into messy casting habits. As the frustration and hanger mounted, I got mean. Then I got out of the water. After 10 or 15 minutes and a granola bar, I started moving again. Not long after, I caught a feisty rainbow trout.

As someone who has gotten used to doing well at her hobbies and work, learning to fish was a different experience. The most interesting lesson in it for me had nothing to do about fish, but about my approach to marketing my talents. I had been pitching ideas without an exact target or followthrough. In both fishing and writing, omitting these two steps belies sloppy technique.

Since I returned home, I have been gathering information for new story ideas and am currently in the process of drafting tighter queries and letters of introduction to editors. Though even the best worded letter or spooled out line may not get a hit, doing it well and often heightens the chances it will succeed. As the old saw goes, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again."