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Blog Exercises: What Do You Do?

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.What do you do?

These are the first questions you usually hear upon meeting someone after the words, “How are you?”

What do you do?

In this Blog Exercise let’s change this to “What do you do on your blog?” On your blog, with your blog, whichever works for you.

Do you know? What do you do with your blog or on your blog?

No one “just blogs.” We do something with our sites. We have goals, purposes, focuses, reasons for being on our blogs. What do you do on your blog?

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.In my workshops on blogging, social media, and web writing, I have participants go through a form similar to the form in Blog Exercise: Category Brainstorming. This narrows their focus and purpose and provides words they can use to create their blog’s mission statement and About Page information.

It also serves to give you the words you may use to define what you do on your blog. I call this the “Ten Words or Less” part of the project.

Using the categories created through the form, create a sentence that explains what you do on your blog in 10 words or less.

You are not restricted to 10 words. It is an incentive to edit and reduce your introduction to a concise and easy-to-remember sentence.

Memorize the sentence. Say it over and over again until you can say it at the literal drop of a hat. Stumble over words or phrases, they probably aren’t the right words. Edit them until it spills out of your mouth with ease.

Post your 10 words or less introduction describing what you do on your blog in the comments, or blog it and include a hat tip link to this post to generate a trackback.

If it really sums up perfectly what you do on your blog, publish it on your About Page, telling the world what you do on this blog in one sentence.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

41 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Stories about overcoming insanity as a late-in-life Christian.

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      LOL! That’s what I’m talking about. That says so much, Robin. Stories, overcoming insanity, late-in-life, Christian – those are words that catch the attention and make people want to ask more. The ten words or less, elevator pitch isn’t an end, a complete statement. It is an invitation to want to know more. That’s wonderful!

  2. Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    Best wishes to you for a great 2013. Here are mine (one for each blog).

    Primary blog – WordPress blogging tips focused on becoming a better blogger.

    Secondary blog – Skillful means for overcoming challenges and living a conscious life.

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      The first one is well defined, but let’s clarify the second one. Overcoming what challenges? I know your challenges, my friend, and I’d love to see this more specific. This is great but too vague. “Living a conscious life” is overused and I know that you understand completely and fully what that means, so how can you redefine that to be more specific within the “ten words” concept by adding a few nouns? I like “skillful means” but the rest needs tightening up to be clear.

      Don’t forget that the ten words needs to motivate people to want to ask more. To make them want more.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Here’s my second attempt:
      A personal development blog focused on living life to the fullest.

    • Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      That’s a bit better.

      I love your site, this time – this space. It’s a breath of fresh air amid all the blogging about blogging that I spend too much time on daily. Your description is too clinicial for such a powerful and influential, and highly personal, site.

      One of the quotes you use in the post, “Clinging to the Rock or Swimming?,” actually sums up your site better.

      “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” — Alan Watts

      The words that flow from your site are introspection, self-discovery, self-definition, peace, connection, inner-peace, life changing, meditation, self-help, nature, inspiration, power, smiles, joy, quotes, emotion…I could go on and on. From these words the description of your site flows.

      Your definition is clinical. It’s not about “skills” or “personal development.” That’s what life coaches do. You are a different type of life coach. You attract a community of peaceful supporters and encouragers, people willing to set themselves aside themselves, living an altruistic life. That’s a word that I think of when I think of you. Altruistic. You are the definition of that word.

      Does that help?

    • Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Thanks so much for the critique. I truly appreciate it but I feel more confused than ever now. Your are right, I’m not a life coach. I view advertising in such a negative light that and attempting to create a string of words to promote my personal site is yet another challenge to overcome. I’m the classic introvert, who must now go off into the forest and ponder how to create a 10 word description that truly fits.

    • Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      LOL! Maybe that is the description of your site: A trip through the forest of introspection. :D

      I don’t mean to confuse just help. It’s not about promotion. Put that thought away. It’s about perception, helping people know immediately upon arrival what they will find. It’s like a present wrapped in glass – no surprises. Tantalize but no surprises. Honesty. That’s a better perspective on this.

      Your tagline doesn’t have to be your ten word description. The intention is to get you to think about how you describe what you do to others, and that involves using words that say something to them.

    • Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Skillful means may have several meanings but I think most associate it with Buddhism and in the case of my blog that is the meaning I intend.

      “A trip through the forest of introspection” is less clinical than my choices. It does fit as the forest is where I live and where I meditate and where I go to heal. It has a nice ring to it too.

      Thanks again for holding hand through this the first of your blog exercises. Hopefully, I will be able to commit to 10 words some time soon and make it through the others too.

    • Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Skillful with Buddhism? Interesting. To the rest of us, skillful means skilled in, as in my husband is skillful as a woodworker. I’m a skillful blogger. LOL! Sometimes a little outside perspective helps.

      You are thinking and debating internally about all of this. There is no right or wrong way to do any of these. If the pot stirs, I’m happy. Thank you for stirring.

  3. jarlen
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Wow, it can probably be tough to condense your all of your thoughts about your project down into 10 words, but lets try, there’s probably some value to gain in trying to remind yourself about the important focus :-)

    Personal blog – About anything, but with emphasis on tech and open source.
    Beer blog – A blog about food, beer and food with beer.
    phpguiden.dk – Teach programming skills, and build a community around PHP.

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Come on, Jarlen. You can be more specific that that. Let’s pick on the beer blog.

      What kind of food? What kind of beer? What kind of social environment or location for the food with beer? Anyone can blog about food and beer. What is the defining description that makes your food and beer blog different from all the rest of the food and beer blogs?

  4. Cammy
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Thought-provoking exercise for blogging, which morphed into a thought-provoking exercise about business as well. I needed to revisit all three, so that’s good.

    For Tippy Toe Diet: Motivational and practical tips for changing to a healthier lifestyle

    For Serentipity: Practical life and lifestyle tips, hacks, and shortcuts

    • Posted January 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      @Cammy: Great for Tippy Toe Diet, but Serentipity needs work, like the other examples. Some more specifics. “Practical” means different things to different people. To me, it means conservative and boring. To others, it means getting their life back on track. What does that site really represent? What type of people?

    • Cammy
      Posted January 14, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      I agree, and I’m working on it. Serentipity’s description should reflect that happy little ‘oh-I-might-need-to-know-that-someday!’ moment that occurs when we find some tidbit of information. I just have to condense a little. :) Thanks for your input, Lorelle!

  5. Posted April 19, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    For someone that has a LOT of words to say, summarizing what I do in ten words was tough.. but here it is: Sharing faith, love, hope and passion in overcoming life’s challenges

    • Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure you’ve seen the reply I left on your site by now. To sum it up, these are great but you need to be more specific. I’m eager to see what your “specific” is once you clearly define it. Thanks!

  6. Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Ok…. This is as close as i can get for now. I will revisit it in time.
    I have come up with too many variations and many of them much wordier than this.
    So few words to choose, so very many to choose from.

    OVERCOMING TO BECOMING

    “I cried to the Lord and He heard me”, sharing faith, love & hope

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Good start! Just missing nouns. Overcoming what to becoming what. Nouns are important. We tend to skip over verbs as we read moving from noun to noun. Nouns are destinations, representative, something solid to hang our hats on.

      When we work on defining what we do, we often turn to sales pitches, slogans. This isn’t a tagline for your site. It is how you tell people what you do. I’m asking you to do is reach deep into your spirit and come up with something you can use to introduce yourself so people know exactly what you do when you meet and greet.

      “Hi, what do you do?”

      “Overcoming to being.”

      “Oh, great. That’s nice. Hmm, I see a friend over there…”

      While this isn’t your answer, one answer could be “I am a writer and poet covering Christian faith and courage issues for the evolving family market.”

      Sounds boring, but think about that as an example of a mission statement. Everything you publish, put it through the filter. Is it a poem and written word? Good. Is it a photograph? Well, photography isn’t part of the sentence but if you do enough of it, put it in the sentence. Is it a cartoon? Since you write not draw, think twice.

      Does the topic cover the Christian faith? Good. Does it focus on faith and courage or is it just a rant or whine or movie review. Does it support faith and courage? If not, don’t publish.

      Does the topic cover the family and changes in the modern family? If it is about your pets looking cute, maybe not, unless you can tilt it towards religion, courage, and family.

      So the “10 words” would boil down to “Christianity, courage, and family” and your method is publishing articles (call them stories or whatever) and poetry. Put everything through that filter before you hit publish and you will clearly define the purpose, identity, branding, and audience for your site.

      Does this help?

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much for the feedback Lorelle. Here is what I really feel is from the raw place and is what I want here. But it is a lot more than 10 words which seems to be my struggle from the beginning.

      “I cried to the Lord and He heard me” Christian writer & intercessor having overcome illness, severe depression, isolation and fear; sharing God’s love, hope and faith through poetry and life stories

      I know it is too much… I am just having so much trouble with the paring knife though. It just keeps bringing me back to all of the above and all the shortened versions miss key elements.

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      It’s not too much but it can be culled down. One of the things I learned from studying Buddhism, Tao, and Zen is that we all have suffering in common, so finding commonality with illness, depression, isolation, and fear means you are not alone but have a shared past with everyone on the planet. We all suffer at varying degrees. Some turn tiny pain into agony while others forge on in spite of agony.

      Find synonyms. Is it that you are a writer, poet, or storyteller that is more specific and identifiable with your message method? Start there, away from the emotional.

      “Survivor” comes to kind as you list what you have overcome. Consider that term. “Sharing God’s love…” that’s missionary work or evangelism no matter how you label it. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, called me the WordPress evangelist. I hated the term until I gave it time and some research and realized that he was right on. You are an evangelist as a survivor, using Christianity as your weapon against evil.

      Look at your audience, the people you want reading your stuff. Are they business professionals, the corporate types? Are they young, old, middle aged? Are they Christians or not? Are you trying to convert them with your message, or connect with them to let them know they are not alone with the same belief system as you? Or are you trying to bring them close to your experience by helping them to see how they can just step sideways on the path towards the enlightenment you received when you did the same. Who are these people and what do you want to give them, and what do they really want from you?

      Sometimes this is simple. “I tell stories to help Christians survive today’s world with a strong yet light heart.” Sometimes it is hard. I find that the deeper you dig and the harder the process, the better you will be on the other side.

      Don’t expect this to happen overnight. It has taken me years to figure out what my purpose is here today. It may change tomorrow, but it took years for me to get to this point right here. :D

      You’re doing great!

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Wow thank you for this Lorelle. This is what I needed to hear I know it’s going to take a lot of work but I think your messages bang on exactly the message that I need to get out there I just need to find a way to put it in my words. I really connect with the lights hard and strong faith that you had mentioned that sounds pretty much me. Thanks again.

    • Posted April 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      You are welcome and thank you for changing the font colors! :D

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lorelle,
      I hope that you are well. I have taken a few days and several re-writes and this is what I have.
      I know.. there is a little something missing and I will let it play quietly in the back of my head until it is there.
      Thank you so much for all of your time and sharing of your journey with me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

      “I cried to the Lord and He heard me” Christian writer & inspirer having overcome the darkness of fear, illness and depression, now living in love, hope, faith and joy; With a light and joyful heart, I share my life and God’s love through poetry and stories

      Feedback, as always is welcome. :)

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      This is great – as the tagline or description on your site. It sucks as an introduction and answer to the question, “What do you do?”

      Imagine someone standing up and introducing the great Ellen of EasterEllen.com with that introduction. While poetic, not appropriate.

      I’ve been trying to get you to boil this down to an introduction, cleaning up all the poetry and hyperbole. It helps describe you, the enthusiastic and passionate person, but it doesn’t really answer the question in public conversation.

      I have to say that I love your commitment to this. Your description is excellent for your site’s bio. It’s clear that you have given this some serious commitment and are getting closer to really creating your mission statement for your site, the purpose, the filter that all your content will go through before you hit publish.

      Well done!

  7. Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    You are great Lorelle, I cannot believe it, but you are just as determined and committed as I am to getting it right. I know.. I am not there yet, but it is getting closer each time. I will go back to letting it simmer in the background and attack it again in a few days.
    In the meantime, I am still (and I mean stillllllllll) stuck on the copyright and codex posting exercise. I figure if I keep reading it over and over (and perhaps when not on kidney stone pain meds), I will get it. At least I got the footer part right for comments although God help me if I can remember how :)
    Thanks so much for your perseverance… it is always wonderful to come upon a kindred spirit. I say that in hopes that there was once a time when it was all new and fresh and you were as html and blogging clueless as I am! Either way, I so very much appreciate your expertise.

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Here I go again.

      Words waiting to be written; Christian writer and inspirer, nakedly sharing my life through stories and poetry

      What do you think?

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Much better. Clear, specific, and I love the “nakedly sharing” part. That’s great. The “Words waiting to be written” isn’t something you would say to someone at a party, but the rest of it is absolutely ideal. You are doing so well with this. Love it! What a great example you set for so many.

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Leave a comment about the issues you are having on the copyright and Codex issues and I’ll hold your hand as always. Not sure what the issues are, but I’m here for you.

      Anything I can do to help. We’re all in this together. I learn from you, you learn from me. That’s the magic of how this all works. Thanks!

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      You are the best. I will face the beast of Codex next… my goodness.. it is such an intimidating word!

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Codex means “book.” Nothing intimidating about it. :D

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      ummm.. ok.. I will take your word on that because i trust you more than anyone when it comes to WP (or anything about blogging, for that matter). From font colours to codex (which I wish I could write in a wiggly font because it is intimidating simply by its name!)
      Big hugs,
      E

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      You are the one who is great… and tremendously patient, I might add.

      I think I have it…

      Words that well up and compel me: Christian writer and inspirer, nakedly sharing my life through stories and poetry

      I would say this at a party when someone asks what I do.. and I believe they would get it.
      Or should I perhaps switch the last phrase to the first – it is clearer..

      Christian writer and inspirer, nakedly sharing my life through stories and poetry with words urge me to write them.

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Again, that’s brilliant. Much better. Love it. The naked part will definitely stir up conversation!

    • Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. For this very long and tedious (for you) process. I noticed that no one else stirred up so many needy comments as they were striving to say who they are “just so”.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Lol.

      Much happens beyond the comment box with these blog exercises. Some days I think I’m learning more than you all are.

  8. Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Here’s mine: I blog about my reading life.

    • Posted June 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been thinking about this, and while it is good, it’s still a start. It leaves too many questions open, which is good to get the conversation going, but difficult when some specificity would help.

      Reading what? Your life reading or the books you have read through your life? New books? Old books? Book reviews or do you blog about the process of reading?

      There are no right or wrong answers, just encouragement to dig deeper, to help clarify what you really do with your blog. The clearer you are, the better you blog.

      Thanks!

  9. Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Just found your site, and I always have trouble making succinct and impactful statements. This is just what I need to do!

    Ekostories: Essays connecting stories I love to Nature, Culture, and Self

  10. My Zany Life
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Lorelle…I am coming to the party late but am here. We’ve already exchanged a few comments and I’m going to try to work thru your exercises starting here. So trying to sum up WHAT DO I DO? I’ve just started blogging so don’t feel comfortable saying I’m a Blogger…but that is what I want to do. I’m a story teller and have lots of short stories and anecdotes to post but have been building/tweaking site which is:

    marionvwinall.com – tag line: Life…In my own words

    and to answer what do I do… I’m blank. I plan to publish my stories which are about a variety of subjects…relationships, spouses & family, serious and funny & maybe some romance. I live in the Williamsburg area of Virginia and want to talk about places i visit in the ‘burg and we frequent the Chickahominy River and I have lots of stories about river life. Also I work for my husband and have LOTS of stories there. I don’t have 10 words to sum ME up…I honestly don’t know that any body will read my blog but family & friends but I’m going out there anyway.

    Any input you may have will be greatly appreciated Lorelle!

    marion

    • Posted July 26, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      If you are willing, you are a prime example for this exercise.

      I went to your About page, the page that should greet the world with a definition of who you are and what you do. This is what greeted me.

      This is one of my fave pics of me! Not that I think I always take a good picture, mind you, but I thought this one reflected the joy of the moment I was in…the rehearsal of my son’s wedding. I was thoroughly enjoying myself! And I think it shows! So now that you’ve found me I hope you will stick around for my opinions on current events, family life and a few funny stories thrown in!

      Remember, I am reviewing this as if I do not know you and I’m a first time visitor. Here are my thoughts.

      Narcissistic. I want to know about her not her picture. I’m thrilled you have a son and he’s married. At least he’s not single and still living at home, though he could be with his new wife. Hmm, wouldn’t that be tough, but maybe she’s that kind of person, a loving, caring, supportive, oh, wow, she’s one of THOSE mothers. Can’t let her kid go. Smothers him…where was I? Oh, she hopes I’ll stick around. Why would I? She’s a wacko mother!

      At the end of that paragraph you finally say your site is about your opinions on current events, family life, and you tell funny stories but you haven’t made me care about what you have to say because I have no information to qualify you as an expert essayist or political commentary. After the first round of random thoughts, I’m not sure I want to know about your family life. LOL!

      I’m being facetious, but this is how the human brain works. If you leave a hole open, their mind will fill in the blanks, often going down unexpected paths.

      Going back to your comment above, you say that you plan to publish stories about relationships, spouses and family, romance, and will do so with a sense of humor. Then you go off on travel and life on the river in Virginia, and I’m lost. So are you.

      So it is back to brainstorm.

      What is the single subject that connects all these things together? Is it the river? People who “live on the river” (to quote the famous song) have stories to tell about how the river impacts their lives. It is a carrier of history, then and now. It influences your movement through and around the area. Weather, bugs, storms, floods, people who live near rivers are tough people because the river made them so. Or lazy as the lazy river which rarely turns against them, but when it does, it does so with a vengeance, creating conflict and chaos, influencing the character of these people…

      I’m just running off but you can tell many stories about the people and lives of those people with the river as a backdrop – or find something else.

      Are you the rock in the storm of the family? Maybe this is your lens on the world around you as you stay strong while people go bonkers around you. Or maybe you are the troublemaker, the one who creates the storm, your entrance into the room enough to create a wave of crazy and this is your perspective on people’s reaction to you.

      There is something that ties all these things together. That is what defines what you write, how you write, and what you do.

      People call me the diva of WordPress and blogging. I say that it is my life’s work to help people have their say and make a difference in the world around them. Everything I write goes through that filter, and WordPress and blogging is the rock I cling to as part of my mission.

      What’s your rock?

      Does that help?


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