Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Been a Slice!

I started blogging with the Chicks when we opened on January 1, 2009. As I recall, it was a Thursday, the day Anita had picked to blog, so she was up first (correct me if I’m wrong, Anita). Friday was Janet’s day, and then my first blog went up Monday, January 5, 2009.

When we started I didn’t have a clue. I rarely visited blogs and I had only written one blog post before, for a guest blog I submitted to Romancing the Blog (which I see has also folded.)

But I was enthusiastic and excited about this new venture. Janet and I had talked about setting up a blog for some time, but I was hesitant because of the time commitment involved. I’d heard that to attract readers a blog needed a new post every day. There was no way I’d have that much to say! But we figured there was strength in numbers. What if we started a group blog devoted to everything writing, with an emphasis on romance?

With that in mind, we recruited fellow interested members of the Saskatchewan Romance Writers, and Anita, Susan, and Karyn signed on. We had ourselves a five day a week blog! Hooray!

It wasn’t all roses and lollipops. After a few months, Susan, who works full-time at a high stress job, found weekly blogging too much and had to bow out. So then we recruited a few more SRW members. Helena, Molli and Connie took turns filling the Tuesday slot.

By the end of the year, we were all getting tired. It was time for fresh blood. Hayley, Anne, Stephanie, and Joanne came on board in the new year, and I can tell you, it was a huge relief. It meant that I could go from blogging once a week to once every two weeks. Having such a large and diverse group was good for the blog as well. We all write different types of romance, from contemporary to historical, comedy to inspirational, suspense to paranormal. In fact, Hayley really doesn’t write romance at all. She’s a fantasy writer, but she liked us all at Saskatchewan Romance Writers so much that she joined forces with us. She, and all the other writers of this blog, have different viewpoints and are in different places in their writing careers. It makes for an interesting blog with much to say.

After nearly two years of blogging what have I learned? A lot. I knew nothing about Blogger when we started. Under Janet’s gentle tutelage I learned how to put up a post and how to schedule it. She did teach me how to do some of the maintenance of the blog, like putting up the names of future guest bloggers, but I confess that I didn’t help in that area (sorry Janet).
I’m now much better at research, particularly Internet research. I know I can meet a deadline. I am proud that over a year and ten months I have never missed a spot. In fact, I found that I am totally anal about deadlines. When the other Chicks talked about writing their posts the night before they were scheduled to go on the blog, I broke out in hives. Like any good Brownie (I didn’t make it to Girl Guides) my motto is “Be Prepared”. For the most part, I always had one to three posts “in the can”, ready to go, because I think I’d be physically sick if I had to scramble at the last minute.

I can’t say I have any regrets. Janet and I wondered if narrowing the blog’s focus to writing related posts limited our readership and also limited topics for our bloggers. As a published author, one of my goals was to gain more exposure. That’s been limited to exposure to fellow writers, however.

Still, I wouldn’t trade my time on Prairie Chicks for anything. Though we’ve had our trials and tribulations, working on this project with friends and with people who have become friends, has been a joy. All in all, I feel like a more confident, experienced writer, ready to take on the next challenge.

I hope that some of my posts have been useful to other writers. I’m pleased that Prairie Chicks will remain live, and I hope that my posts here will continue to be read by writers looking for information and inspiration.

19 comments:

Kate Richards said...

I hope you all have huge exciting plans! We are all super busy, I know, and it's hard to fit everything in that we do, but you have had a good site that I enjoyed and I wish you well...see you around anyway right?

connie said...

Hi Jana

I am off to see the Wizard - or at least Mickey Mouse - with Eldest son and the grandkidlets.I will have a lot read when I get back.

I will indeed be rereading your blogs in the future for info and they will be, as always, be a good source.

Did you buy an amarylis? I used to be able to spell that. I didn't this year as I will be away until Nov. 1 and although Husband is in every way first class, he can't remember to water plants until they turn brown and hang over the edge of the pot singing 'Cool Water'. Do you remember that song?

Hope to hear from you soon and find out when your newest book will hit the internet.

connie

Jana Richards said...

Hi Kate,
Yes, with families and day jobs and houses to look after, sometimes it feels like there's not much left for writing. We all worked very hard on our posts here.

But honestly, I don't expect to sit around eating bon-bons after Prairie Chicks is no more. Out of the frying pan into the fire. That's my motto!

Yes, I definitely hope to see you around. Maybe I'll even be active on the Got Romance Yahoo loop again.

Thanks for stopping by,
Jana

Jana Richards said...

Hi Connie,
It's been fun blogging with you these last several months. I'll keep you posted on my plans for the future.

No, I didn't buy an amarylis this year. I really don't have a lot of room in my house for plants. But I do so like them. I might just change my mind.

Have a great time in Disneyland with the grandkids.

Jana

StephB said...

Jana,
The Praire Chicks will be missed along with your wonderful posts. Thanks so much for sharing your trials, tribulations and successes.

Smiles
Steph

Liz Flaherty said...

I'm sad to hear you're closing up shop. I love this blog and loved guesting on it. I hope everyone enjoys everything they do from here on out!

Jana Richards said...

Hi StephB,
Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. My hope is that other writers have been inspired and helped by our posts, and that they continue to be a resource long after we're gone.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Thanks Liz. I'm glad you found blogging with the Chicks a rewarding experience. I hope you'll continue to follow me and the other Chicks on our new adventures.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Hi everyone,
One of my new adventures is participating as a presenter at the Muse On-Line Conference. (http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/forum All you need to do is register and then you can check out workshops from dozens of publishers and writers. The conference takes place all week and my workshop on Beginnings, Middles and Ends happens on Thursday, October 14. I hope you can stop by.

Jana

Celia Yeary said...

JANA--two years is a good run. I was co-owner of a Yahoo loop The Book Spa and it had about a two-year life. We had a "no-promo zone" Mon.-Friday, then promo on Sat. and Sun.(themed excerpts). M-F we each had a day and posted topic for discussion. It was like blogging once a week, and became very difficult. Moderators came and went, and each one added something valuable. In the end there were two of us holding it together--and by then each of us had new ideas we wanted to try, plus extra family obligations that landed in our laps.Even though one mod was responsible for one day, we all felt responsible and worked off and on 7 days a week.
We made the decision to shut the door before it died on the vine, and it was an excellent idea.
A group has remained friends, good friends, we feel we cannot do without.
I can't wait to learn what next for you. One door closed is another door opened, and I think it's wonderful to begin something new. Nothing lasts forever, and in this business--nothing lasts very long. That's fine and dandy with me. Good luck!

Helena said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jana. It's good to know that posting on a holiday Monday didn't impact your long weekend too much because of your penchant for having your blogpost prepared well in advance! Believe me, I have always admired you (a lot) for that. Of course, we appreciate that you are here to respond to comments today!

Thank you for giving a great summary of your involvement with Prairie Chicks. Even as a participant for part of that time, I enjoy hearing the story of the blog from another Chick's perspective, particular one of the founders. I didn't know that you were such a novice at the start.

I've learned so much from you, Jana. Your posts have been so informative that I know I will come back again and again. In fact, because I don't have time to join an online session right now, I will be reviewing your posts on Beginnings, Middles, and Endings instead.

Best of luck in everything you plan to do next. You will be telling us all about that in your final post?

Karyn Good said...

You're so right, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I've learned SO much from your posts. Always informative, well-written but at the same time easy to understand and 'get'. I know you'll do a wonderful job in your role as presenter for the online workshop! Sounds very interesting, btw.

Can't wait to hear about your future plans!

It's been a pleasure!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Celia,
Thank you for responding today and thank you for guest blogging with us on a couple of occassions. We enjoyed having you.

Yes, one door closes and another one opens. Like your group, we wanted to try something different. I'm really going to miss seeing what the other Chicks are up to on a daily basis. But I'm excited for the future as well. It's all up to me, which is both frightening and thrilling.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Helena! And yes, I wrote my post a couple of weeks ago.

You're going to to make me blush. I do enjoy writing the posts. I've written a few magazine articles and I try to give readers some useful, interesting information in each one. I try to do the same with my blog posts.

Like I said in an earlier comment, if another writer is inspired or informed by anything I've written, then I'll feel I've done my job. Thanks again for the very kind words. It's been so much fun blogging with you.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Thank you so much. I've loved your posts as well. They were always filled with humour and good information. And I loved the pictures you used. I can never find good art work like you do!

This has been such a learning experience and there are more learning experiences to come, starting with the Muse On-line workshop this week. I have to admit I'm nervous about it. First, I'm nervous no one will show up, and then I'm worried that I won't have good information or that people will be bored. I always obsess over these things.

But like I said in my post, I wouldn't trade my time with the Chicks for anything. It's been wonderful! And one of the best things has been getting to know you. Continued good luck with your own blog.

Jana

Lilly Gayle said...

I hope you will all continue to blog sometime, somewhere, even if it's just sporadically on your own blogs.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Lilly,
I do plan to continue to blog. More on that in my last blog here at Prairie Chicks in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for dropping by and wishing me adieu.

Jana

Anita Mae Draper said...

Yup, that's right, Jana. I think I picked Thurs because Wed was music lessons in the city day and we always got back late. This way, I could check to make sure my post went up okay. Of course I didn't know Jan 1st would be a Thurs and I'd be first up until the days were all alotted.

I enjoyed your posts.

Anita.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
I've learned so much from you. You always seem to be tuned into new and interesting things. One great thing about the last 22 months has been being exposed to ideas and concepts I likely wouldn't have discovered on my own.

Jana