[Insert Great Idea for Blog Post Here]

Yeah. So. Um…

This posting a new post every week in 2013 hasn’t quite worked out, has it? I swore they’d never be two Sunday Coffee Reads back to back, but this week there was, and I’ve one very good reason and one pathetic excuse for that.

The Pathetic Excuse

I’m busy with other things.

For example, on my To Do list for today:

  • Add some words to The Novel
  • Add some words to The Non-Fiction Project
  • In a related task, write self threatening note and guilt-inducing word count chart to hang on wall behind computer screen
  • Carefully transfer all the details of Crazy Trip 2013 (4 flights, 4 different hotels, 3 countries, 2 self-publishing workshops—to deliver—and a train ride) to the corresponding dates in my Erin Condren Life Planner in pink pen; jazz up with stickers
  • Drink my own body weight in Robert Roberts Guatemala Blend
  • Tackle a mountain of e-mail I’ve let build up now for approximately a season (is e-mail the adult homework?)
  • Read all my favourited tweets, clear Google Reader backlog and Buffer interesting things accordingly
  • Spend a few hours on secret-ish thing I’ve been hired to do
  • Pack up the latest haul of books to go into my storage unit
  • Write a shopping list (only foods that make you instantly skeletal allowed)
  • Sort through the various bits of paper I’ve strewn around the place
  • Watch 5-6 hours of television
  • Eat
  • Sleep.

Seems like a lot, right? It is. But then yesterday, what I actually did consisted of:

  • Reading a book on my Kindle
  • Watching Got To Dance
  • Ordering hipster glasses from Lookmatic.

You can see my problem.


The Good Reason

I can’t think of any good blog post topics.

I hate posting half-arsed ones, so if I can’t think of a good one—a good one being an idea that strikes, and you think I’ll just quickly make a new post and write a line about this in there so I don’t forget it, and then an hour later you’ve written the whole post and it’s good to go—I don’t bother pretending that I did, or trying to convince myself.

I did start one about my stance against posting your work-in-progress writing on sites where people can vote on its promise, but that got a bit angry so I decided to abandon it, because I’m not being angry in 2013.

Then I had the idea to write a little story, in episodes: the story of my writing life so far. Because when I first self-published, which was three whole years ago now, I’d already been slogging along this road for a good ten years. I was going to give it the Mousetrapped/Backpacked treatment, i.e. let’s look back and laugh, a kind of Published. (Or rather, Not Published.) It would start with me bursting into tears circa 2003 at the news that Cecelia Ahern had got a six-figure deal, and then bring us up to the present day in installments.

But that would be kinda silly, wouldn’t it? And most of you know the story already anyway, me presumes.

Then I had the idea to do Self-Printed: The Blog Post Series, where for as many weeks or months as there are sections in Self-Printed, I post some excerpts of it with links to relevant posts, case studies, examples, etc. But that’s just recycling the book, and it might be boring for those of you who have read it already.

So, I’m asking you.

What should I blog about?

You can vote for an idea above—not the angry one though; that’s out—or ask me a question you’d like answered. Just for the purposes of this exercise, there are no stupid questions. Even if you think it’s pretty basic, go ahead and ask anyway. (People missing out on the basics is something I worry about, because of course new people are coming to self-publishing all the time.) Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

What would you like to see or read about on Catherine, Caffeinated?

If your idea is used or your question answered in a post, you get a e-book edition of Self-Printed.

(If you want one, that is!)

Have at it.

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26 thoughts on “[Insert Great Idea for Blog Post Here]

  1. writerlyderv says:

    You have it right there. Write about how hard it is to get motivated and what you’re going to do to get round it. May not be scientific, but always seems best to me to write about what’s uppermost in your mind.

  2. Sheena says:

    Might seem silly, but if every other self-pubber is like me, they have a pertinent question or two each week regarding some completely un-understandable aspect of Smashwords/Amazon etc etc, one idea might be to allow questions to be forwarded to you and then you answer one or two interesting ones each week as a post (NOT silly questions you have already answered in your book, but new questions….there are ALWAYS new problems/questions). Would also encourage/direct people to buy your excellent book?? And might be fodder for Self-P #3??Just a thought…..

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Absolutely but just not via e-mail. That’s what drives me crazy because people (not regular blog readers, usually) expect me to respond in detail to their e-mail, and then send me abusive ones if I don’t. I just don’t have time for e-mail, and what’s the point when only one person benefits from the answer? But maybe I could do something where at the end of each blog post, I mention something about leaving any questions in the comments, and then once a few build up I could answer them in a new “Questions” post.

      There’s no just no feasible way I can encourage people to e-mail me. More e-mails = me getting absolutely nothing done (as opposed to almost nothing now!) 😀

  3. joannexyz says:

    I’d be quite interested in the short story on your writing life thus far. I’ve only starting blogging and reading blogs quite recently so while I’m sure your older readers may know the story and I have read some of your older postings I definitely don’t know the full story and would love to read it 🙂 x

  4. Jon says:

    “This posting a new post every week in 2013 hasn’t quite worked out, has it?” :=)

    “Drink my own body weight in Robert Roberts Guatemala BlendDrink” lol

    Not easy to make time for blogging when there is so many things pulling us in different directions

    My list for today

    Doing work for clients ( copywriting)

    Write thousands of words in my new novel without painting the air blue with F-bombs

    Start a new project ( related to free books and bargains )

    Ring the phone company and try to get through to someone who doesn’t understand English ( more F-bombs )

    Find the time to breath

  5. alesiablogs says:

    blog about the first time you held a pencil as a child and how you felt about that. I always like introspection. I too am new to your style. Best of Luck. I do like your uniqueness to your site. Alesia

  6. Diane says:

    This might be a bit random, but I’m more interested in the meta aspects of your self-pub journey than how-to stuff. E.g. (Obvs without giving away the contents), when you started delivering workshops, what kind of stuff did you have to take into consideration, and as someone who spends most of her time alone indoors, how did you get into teaching mode and what challenges did you overcome? I’m also as nosily interested in finances, survival, and career building as you’re prepared to get into.

  7. Andrea "The American Roommate" says:

    There was a lot of information in this post, but what I’m most excited about is seeing your new hipster glasses! 🙂

  8. Sigrid Cook says:

    I so enjoy your humor Catherine…it puts a smile on my face early in the morning…well, early for us here…

  9. stephlaurajones says:

    I agree with Sheena. I’ve seen it on other blogs. People write an email to you and must have it titled something like “Catherine Caffeinated Question” and then you post the question on your blog and answer it. It can be about publishing, writing, marketing, pretty much anything.

    But also I know your story but think it would be nice to post it in a series, more about what you were thinking and feeling at each up and down in your life, so we can relate.

    • sondrabrooks says:

      I would love advice on creating a successful blog. Just started a blog a few weeks ago.

      Also, I’ve only been writing for a few years, and have to laugh at my damned ego and expectations. It seems we think our lives are suddenly going to change because, for example, one piece or book is published. I would love to hear of your experiences in this regard.

      I’ve heard it from other published authors: “I just expected it to be so different.” It seems we all thought there would be more “shine” to the experience. Have you written about this?

    • Katherine Amabel says:

      One thing I’ve always wanted to ask you, but been too shy because you’re so busy, is how you built your blog to be so successful. I’m fascinated by marketing and run an ‘Interview With A Blogpire Series’ on my blog where I talk blog marketing with different successful bloggers, and your story would be great because I see you only tweet once per post and spend more of your time posting other interesting things, yet your blog is huge. So my ideal post (and a long-time hope of mine) would be to interview you and be able to post that on my blog too. Is that selfish? I don’t mean to be. 🙂

      • Arlene says:

        I would also love to know more about how you’ve built such a large and great audience. I suspect I know the answer … you have awesome content and helpful content … but any other tips/advice for building your blog audience? Thanks!

  10. Marcie Lovett says:

    Catherine, you have more to say than you realize. Even if you wrote a few words about what you did that week to advance one of your own books, it would be worth reading. Every blog post doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.

    One of the things I finally learned is that having a year’s worth of blog posts planned out keeps me from having to think of something witty every week. Sometimes I do a book review, other times a blog roundup, sometimes it’s just a quote. I might read something or have an experience that fits right into the planned post or I might chuck the plan and write about something else altogether. Ironically, the plan allows me to feel free to write what I want.

    So, I guess that’s what I want to read – whatever’s on your mind, what you’re struggling with, what you learned.

  11. marilynslagel says:

    Please tell us your story again. I haven’t been following you very long and would love to know your beginnings in becoming published. I am a first time author of Dirty Laundry and soak up the stories of other authors.

  12. Anne Charnock says:

    I do sympathize with you over your to-do list. It’s one thing to know what your priorities are, it’s another thing to avoid going off on a tangent.

    I’ve already bought ‘Self Published’ but I’d still like to suggest a post:

    I’d love you to write about taking those first steps towards guest blogging (and blog tours). Does your guest blogpost need to be exclusive to the host blog, can it be based roughly on a blogpost you have already written, or does it need to be something new and shiney? Should you offer your very best material to a host blog? For example, if I’m working on a blogpost that’s going to take a good deal of time in terms of research, and writing, should I save that for my own blog or use it to tempt someone with a high-readership blog?

    Hmmm – guessing I can imagine your answers . . . but I’d still love you to blog on this.

  13. dianabletter says:

    Catherine, Thank you for inspiring me–along with everyone else here–to tell our stories. I blog about what matters to me: how to live (and write) my best chapter each day. I think it’s important to write and blog with a full heart about something we believe in. Thank you again!
    Diana Bletter, Author, The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle

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