Blogging and The Cowboy and the Trophy Gopher

29 Jan



I struggle when it comes to writing blog posts. I know. You’d think someone who can talk non-stop to anyone and anything would be able to put a few words down on a paper once a month. I panic just thinking about crafting an article on subjects the social media experts tell me are important. Among their suggestions are writing about craft, research, my process or my books. Heck, I have no idea what my process is, much less how to teach it to someone else.

I’ve resorted to trolling the websites of people I follow and scanning the newspaper for interesting ideas, but as soon as my mind hears blog post, it goes blank. The only time I have writer’s block is when I try to update my website or post here.

So when I read Kristen Lamb’s Blog titled Blogging for Authors, and How A Banana Slicer Saved My Marriage, I didn’t expect to have a light-bulb moment. It was more like a flashbulb moment. I’ve got to admit, I clicked on Kristen’s page to see what the banana slicer was all about, because she’s really funny and I was trying to write this and needed a laugh. Instead I realized I’ve been going about this blogging thing all wrong.

Thanks to Kristen’s eye-opening information, I realized my inspiration needed to come from the things I know and enjoy. Instead of struggling to blog about how to persevere, or setting writing goals, I have a treasure trove of subjects at my fingertips. Cowboys, rodeo, training horses, barrel racing adventures and misadventures with the best and craziest traveling partners on the face of the earth are all subjects I’m not only familiar with but have lived through, thank my lucky stars.  

To quote the question and answer that slapped me upside the head, Kristen asks, “Why are we trying to build a following/fan base for a right-brain product with a left-brain TOOL?”

Her answer: Craft, the industry, our process, and our research are our tools for our art, but they ARE NOT our art. Writers are artists. A writer’s expertise is looking at the world in a unique way mere mortals can’t. THAT is what readers (fans) gravitate to.”

Looking back on my miniscule blogging experience, my most popular blog is The Cowboy and The Trophy Gopher, one of the many true adventures I’ve had since marrying the Bronc Rider, oh so many years ago. Instead of blogging about a subject I’m still learning–writing, I am excited to write about all of the amazing, stupid, exhilarating and downright mindboggling things I done. What better subject could I have to write about than cowboys and cowgirls?

Is blogging hard for you? How do you come up with subjects to blog about?


Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Idaho


22 responses to “Blogging and The Cowboy and the Trophy Gopher

  1. Janis McCurry

    January 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    First, I can’t wait to go on the wild ride of your adventures with you at GSW.

    Second, I write about things that catch my interest. And it can be about anything. Words and language fascinate me and I usually find something along those lines. If I get caught up in something else, I write about that.

    I probably drive my son and DIL crazy because if it’s anything medical related, I call them. The last one was after I watched a TV show. I texted, “I need to talk about CF.” Don’t worry, I always add that it’s nothing personal. I’m curious.

    The hardest thing for me about blogging is the concern that nobody will be interested, or think I’m an idiot for writing about it. 😦

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      That’s the hardest thing about blogging for me, too. I think that feeling is called F.E.A.R. (false evidence appearing real). Sorry this is so late. I scheduled it a week ago and it didn’t appear.

  2. Paty Jager

    January 29, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    That is the perfect way to attack blogging- write what you know or are interested in. I use my research to write up posts and my farm life. And when you blog, put your name on the post so we know who is behind the great post. ;0)

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Hey, Paty. I love your blog. Name, I must remember my name. I’m lucky I got it posted today. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Corina Mallory

    January 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    What a great post Stephanie! And I think you’re right on. The things we have to say that are unique to us aren’t necessarily things about writing or craft. I always struggle with blog topics too and usually end up posting about something I’m curious about. But that’s not necessarily what *other* people want to read. I think it all comes down to what al social media advice should come down to: be authentic. Write about what interests you and you’ll get an audience that you find interesting. It might be small, but it will be uniquely yours. I look forward to more cowboy stories 🙂

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Thanks Corina. I hope blogging becomes easier this way.

  4. Jennifer

    January 29, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was surfing the internet for inspiration for my upcoming blog post when I remembered there would be a new GSW post today. I get ideas but then I think, “but how does that relate to writing?” I like your idea to basically just write about what you know, live, and love.

  5. stephanieberget

    January 29, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Jenn, I think this will make blogging more fun and not so nerve wracking.

  6. MK Hutchins (@mkhutchins)

    January 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    “Blog post” makes my mind go blank, too — this was a great post for me!

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      Thanks, when I read Kristin Lambs blog on how to connect with readers, this jumped out at me.

  7. Judith Keim

    January 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    If an interesting thought comes to me within a 10 day period before I’m due to write a blog, I start a new page with a title and then think about it. I try to tie it into writing but I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject. Each of us writes differently and what works for one may not work for another. On the other hand, it’s always interesting to read about someone else’s journey, whether it involves writing or not… Thanks, Steph!!

  8. stephanieberget

    January 29, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    You’re so right, Judy. Each to his own. I found the first plotting advice the other day that didn’t make me run for the hills.

  9. maryvine

    January 29, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Usually I blog about things on my mind. Yet, I’m still at a loss for my Feb post. I think it is because I started a new job in addition to the one I have, and am very busy until the end of May. So, that’s where my mind has gone.

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      It’s hard to be creative when you’re very busy. I’m sure something great will come to you.

  10. Lynn Mapp

    January 29, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Steph, fear is too mild of a term. Someone once asked me if I’d consider running for president of my local writing chapter. I told them no way. The reason, I didn’t ever want to write an article for the chapter newsletter. The thought was enough to send me screaming. I did end up becoming president of the chapter, but only because no one wanted to step up for the job. In the process I was forced to write an article every other month. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, BUT I did it. I feel the same about blogging. I try to write words to lift others up. That’s what I try to do.

    • stephanieberget

      January 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      I love your posts, Lynn. You do lift people up. And I can sympathize with your panic about writing articles. That’s why I chose to do this. To overcome my fear and learn something.

  11. ValRoberts

    January 30, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    A couple of years ago, I got fed up with clueless writers improperly naming their made-up chemical compounds; I posted a blog-rant about how chemical names have certain structures that mean something, such as the suffix “-ium” being reserved for elements.

    It was tangentially related to writing at best, but it was definitely something from my world view. Most people can’t pronounce chemical names, let alone parse them to be able to draw the molecules. People are still reaching that post at least once a week by searching for “anasazium,” which is the fictional compound that inspired the rant — and one of the worst offenders for not making any chemical sense.

    And it came about because I was myself and wrote about something that vexed me in other people’s published writing.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson (head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, emcee of Nova Science Now, People Magazines World’s Sexiest Astrophysicist) did a lecture a few years back for the annual meeting of the skeptics society that he called Brain Droppings — a collection of his thoughts and opinions on various subjects.

    That’s where good blog posts come from: brain droppings. Interesting stuff drops out of writers’ brains.

  12. stephanieberget

    January 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Brain droppings. That’s what comes out of my head. I began writing because I was going crazy trying to read western romances whose writers had the rodeo and horse information all wrong.

  13. Peggy Staggs

    January 30, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I’m going to Kristen Lamb’s website. It sounds great. I’ve look at blogging in the same way I did going back to work in retail. It’s something I need to do so I can better at it.
    I pull my blogging stuff from everywhere. I keep a file of things that catch my eye just in case. It’s always sparked something.

    • stephanieberget

      January 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      I think the point is, “things that catch my eye”. You’ll love Kristin Lamb’s website. She’s fun and talented and blogs on great ideas.

  14. marsharwest

    January 31, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Hey, Stephanie. I’ve heard Kristin. She was the lead speaker at my local RWA chapter’s writing conference last year. I bought her book, We Are Not Alone, that has a section on blogging. I’m about to start my own up. Shooting for the end of February or before. Depends on how long it takes me to get the 15 blogs done + the extra 5 for emergencies she recommends!
    I’ll not be writing specifically for writers. There are lots of good ones out there, and though I’m 6 books in, that’s not what I want to do.
    I love Lynn’s comment about uplifting folks. I am nothing if not a cheerleader (never as a teenager! though as a Mom I coached LOL) for the positive in life. Besides I’ve been around a while and have learned a few things about life.
    Kristin also suggests we each have our own blog–because it’s all about our brand. I will do that, but there are a couple of other blogs (besides yours) where several people comment and over time, I have a sense of who each person is.
    As one person, I won’t try to blog more than once a week and that will be hard. I expect to continue stopping by my favorite sites though. So y’all keep on writing.

    • stephanieberget

      January 31, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      Thanks for visiting, Marsha. I love Kristin. She has the best advice. I’ve got my own blog as well as posting on here, and I’m feeling my way through blogging. I like the idea of having 15 done ahead of time. Let us know when you get yours up and running so we can check it out.


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