Friday, January 16, 2015

Knitting the Perfect Mitten! (Blog post that is…) By Patti Richards

You break out in a sweat each time you see it on the listserv: the call for (cue scary music)…a BLOG POST! You read the post, look away, wring your hands, shake your head and hit the delete button. “Not you,” your naughty muse laughs! “You’re not a blogger! Why won’t Kristin, Patti and Nina just leave you alone?!” Well like Uncle Sam, I’m here to say, “WE WANT YOU!”

Why Blog?

Writing blog posts offers valuable writer experience. Not only does it provide you with credits for your resume, seeing your name in print boosts your fragile writer ego and gives you the courage to keep going. It’s also a great exercise in working with an editor and under a deadline. Deadlines help move you forward knowing that others are depending on your content to keep the Mitten fresh, new and out on time. Working with an editor (because we will read and ask for revisions when necessary), helps you increase your flexibility and let go of the notion that every word you write is important to the piece. Trust me, it’s not. Blogging also helps you understand the value of writing to a set of guidelines. Just like all picture books are 32 pages, blog posts have word counts designed to keep the reader engaged and on the page.

Blogging Basics

Now that you understand the power of the blog, we really hope you'll give it a try. Here are a few tips to get you started:
  • Use bullet points. (See what I did there?) Bullet points direct the reader’s eyes to important take-aways in your piece. Bullet points get to the meat of the story and entice the reader to come back and digest the entire article later.
  • Use section headings. White space is important in picture books, novels and BLOGS! Section headings help create white space and let the reader know what’s coming. And a blog post with section headings is simply easier to read than a blob of copy with no breaks.
  • Stick to the word count. We like our posts that are 400 to 600 words. Any more than that and you risk losing your reader’s attention.
  • Use hyperlinks. Hyperlinks take the reader to resources you’ve used and websites you recommend. They boost your credibility and the online presence of other writers.
  • Include a bio and picture. A sentence or two about who you are, where you’re from and a bit about your writing history is fine. Here’s an example from a recent article I wrote about getting engaged at Christmas:

"Patti Richards is a full-time freelance writer, children’s book author and blogger. Patti has a recently-engaged son who proposed to his wonderful fiancé at—you guessed it—Christmas! When not writing, she is activity engaged in planning a rehearsal dinner and trying to decide what mothers of the groom wear to weddings. Learn more about her at Sensibility and Sense, A Perfect Blog for Imperfect Writers ("  

It’s Your Turn!

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to knit together that perfect post for The Mitten. Write about your experiences, books on craft, conferences you’ve attended, speakers that inspire you, or anything else you think might be of interest to this group. Trust your instincts and send in your best work. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Send your queries or submissions to:


  1. Blogging is also a great way to make blogger friendships with other authors. I'm not going to do a post now for you. My life is too in transition with looking for a new job. But maybe once I get one and am situated, I can help out.