How I Blog in Five Easy Steps

by Cathy Baker 

Greetings! Today, I’m sharing how I bring a blog post to fruition, as well as what I’m learning along the way. Some parts of the process are more fun than others, but make no mistake—churning out regularly scheduled blog posts each week is hard work. But it’s worth it. Here goes!

It all begins with coffee and complementary music. I write upstairs by the window but it’s muggy hot in the summer. This fall, I hope to blog from the bench seats in Buttercup, our ’63 Shasta Airflyte camper. Wherever I go, Pandora music follows. Nothing boosts my writing power like George Winston’s station. Did I mention it’s free?

What I’m learning: Writing/blogging in the same spot on a consistent basis alerts the brain that it’s time to stop playing and get to work. I’m also learning that Starbucks Cold Brew provides a swifter kick to my energy level than a latte. Go figure. 

Brainstorm. I try to remain aware of how God might prompt a thought or idea. I also plan regular brainstorming sessions with Dee Dee Parker, my go-to stormer. A tiny Moleskin journal (with pen) is tucked in my front purse pocket to fetch promptings, random thoughts, and obscure words. Also, I’m beginning to use Evernote, along with the notes app on my iPhone. 

What I’m learning: I need to consolidate my ideas to two places max. Having them scattered in too many places breeds frustration. 

Peck away anyway. Sometimes an idea comes quickly and fiercely (love those!) but most take their own sweet time. I type anyway. More often than not, once I begin the process of pecking away at the keys, the idea begins to unfold in unexpected and delightful ways. Also—and yes, this is crazy—unless I use the Trebuchet font while working on a post, the idea tends to cross its arms, pout, and storm off. Silly fonts.

What I’m learning: Mentor and friend, Edie Melson, has advised many of us for years (I’m a slow learner) to first type everything in Word and then upload it to Blogger or WordPress. This prevents the loss of our masterpiece if something goes wonky on the site. {While typing the final few words in this post, my delete button became stuck, erasing all the words one-by-one. Um, Lesson learned.}

Spend quality time titling and formatting the post. I kid no one. I’m no Lori Roeleveld when it comes to titling blog posts. I do, however, try to allow plenty of time for developing the right title. For me, “right” would be pithy and SEO friendly, with a hint of panache. See below. 

What I’m learning: I stink at titling. I continue to study online and I’m also learning the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Check grammar, photos, and links. Then do it again. I usually save the photo search for last as I enjoy it the most. I currently use some of my own photos but plan to increase that exponentially in the coming months. For now, I pull from Can Stock Photo (buy credits at minimal cost), Pixabay, and other free sites. I’m always looking to promote others via linking in my posts and including them in the Labels section.

What I’m learning: No post is to be published until I’ve read it aloud at least once. Much is learned when reading our work aloud.

When you consider the above quote, what ONE word best describes your idea of a GREAT blog?

How Weight Watchers and Camping Can Go Hand-in-Hand

by Cathy Baker

Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business. Dave Barry

With an Eagle Scout for a dad, I was destined to become a camper, like it or not. 

Growing up, there were a lot of things I actually loved about it. Family time, the quietness of nature, lone walks on old trails, and bunking down at night in our tree house that sat ten feet off the ground (one of the benefits of having an outdoorsy dad and step-mom!) 

While scrambled eggs in the morning were hard to beat, I ate enough Beanie Weenies to last me a lifetime. Add bugs, bees, and outdoor plumbing and you have the reason for my choosing to stay in motels ever since. 

And then this happened: 

Buttercup, our 1963 Shasta Airflyte

With our maiden voyage just around the corner, and Beanie Weenies out of the picture, I’m now learning new recipes to take on the road! 

Here’s one I can’t wait to try. Thought you might enjoy it too! 

Thanks to Weight Watchers!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken Kabobs
PointsPlus® value | 5
Servings |  4
Preparation Time |  16 min
Cooking Time |  16 min
Level of Difficulty |  Easy

1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp unsweetened orange juice
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 large uncooked zucchini, cut into 1-inch-thick half-moons
2 small uncooked red onion(s), quartered through the root
Mix the chicken, orange juice, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.

Off heat, coat grill with cooking spray. Prepare gas grill for direct, high-heat grilling or build a high-heat charcoal bed in the center of the coal grate on a charcoal grill.

Divide the chicken, zucchini and onion among four large skewers, threading the meat and vegetables over the pointy ends and down the skewers.*

Set the skewers directly over the heat and grill for 16 minutes, turning about every 4 minutes onto each of the other three sides, so that all four sides are well browned. When turning the skewers, use tongs to gently grasp some of the meat at the center. Do not turn the skewers by their ends – or put your hands down near the heat source. Yields 1 skewer per serving.

I plan to marinate the kabobs overnight before packing them in the cooler the morning of our departure. We’ll add brown rice and voila! 

I’m learning that one way I can make this new adventure of ours a pleasurable one is to dedicate time and energy to finding new recipes and ways of cooking things—to see it as as a fun learning experience that we will laugh about in our old age (which isn’t now, Zach!)

Okay, your turn. Do you have a favorite recipe when camping? Please share. After all, I have a lot to learn!


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