Tag Archives: writing

Some Links For Writers

I am trying to get back into writing at the moment. It’s hard because I have come to loathe the laptop. I think that’s why I don’t blog as much or go on social media as much. I’d much rather read or knit or crochet.

But I’ve always loved writing. My blog has turned into a bit of a long to do list with the odd finished make thrown in. I think I need to actually write some stuff that’s worth reading. And one day I would love to write a book. That leads to the question, how can you become any kind of writer or publish ANYTHING if you write NOTHING at all?

So maybe a goal for 2018 and more specifically the next few months is to write more, both quantity and quality. I have been looking at some sites and Youtube channels and thought I’d share them as and when I come across them.

Today’s share is a Youtube channel called The Creative Penn, which has some useful videos about writing, marketing, publishing etc. Both the creative and business processes are covered here.

Check it out if you feel inspired…

The link below is about how to find and work with a book cover designer.


bloglovin’ vs Stumbleupon

Good morrow fellow bloggers, it is I, Ellen, here to tell you about 2 blog sharing sites that you may or may not want to join up with.

It’s kind of like the Matrix in one respect – “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Last week I signed up to both Bloglovin’ and Stumbleupon. One I love, one I hate.


StumbleUpon is a discovery engine (a form of web search engine), that finds and recommends web content to its users. Its features allow users to discover and rate Web pages, photos and videos that are personalized to their tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social -networking principles.     WIKIPEDIA

I joined this first and I have to say I was a little confused and non-plussed with it all. You sign up, make a tiny profile, choose some interests and click stumble. You get a random web page linked to those interests you specify. NOT A BLOG, BUT A PAGE. Yes you can continue looking around the site/ blog but you only get one at a time. You can like or unlike the page. The more likes a page gets the higher in the stumbleupon rankings it gets and therefore more likely to be seen by more people. You can add and share your own content, but who wants to be inundated with your followers pushing their own stuff on you all the time, you know? Press stumble button again and you get a new page.

I also found a lot of the pages were old, years old, some even when pages were grey and square/ rectangle boxes everywhere (I’m trying to say they wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1999!).

It’s all a bit overhyped if you ask me.


This one on the other hand is much easier to use, it’s much clearer with a more modern and cleaner finish to it.

Bloglovin’ is a platform that allows users to read, organize, and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop. It is a design-focused platform that aggregates feeds from sources with RSS feeds, allowing users to discover and organize content. As of April 2014, Bloglovin’ reaches over 16 million global users monthly. Bloglovin’ caters primarily to the “lifestyle” crowd. 90% of Bloglovin’s users are female.       WIKIPEDIA

Bloglovin reminds me of Pinterest but instead of pins, you get blogs and their pages. It’s very visual like Pinterest, so I imagine those posts with pictures do better on this site than just words.

Sign up and straight away you can search for blogs, I recommend searching for and claiming your own first. I find it’s better if you’re searching for blogs with the whole address on here ([example.wordpress.com]) but again you can search for your personalised interests on here.

To claim your blog, type in your address and click on yours when it comes up, to the right will be a little link that says ‘claim it’ and click on it. A little box with code in will come up, copy and paste this onto a html blog post (the last post I published shows you what the code does – it verifies you are the blog owner and provides a link for people to follow you). So you will need to have wordpress open in another tab ready and waiting when you claim your blog.

I couldn’t find a way to do this on the dashboard so I had to use the my site page to do this (when you see all your stats and have the option to use the reader you will see all the options on the left side, that’s the page I mean). Click on add new post and you will find a tab on the top right which says html, click on that and post your code there. Publish the post. Done.

Sounds complicated but it’s really not!

Bloglovin actually offers a useful help page so there are lots of screenshots to help you.

So, what next? I will keep up with bloglovin, but I think I may be deleting my stumbleupon account soon, it’s that horrible in my eyes. Maybe I could upload something, but it’s very difficult to work things out I think.

So, these are just a couple of options if you want more ways to generate traffic to your blog or just to reach out to more blogs, since they won’t all be wordpress ones.

Maybe you will have more luck than I on stumbleupon, maybe you will hate bloglovin. Good luck with both and hope to see you on bloglovin soon.

Ellen xx


Testing, Testing, 1 2 3

My discoveries with WordPress continue. But in this case I am seeing what a poll looks like on my posts. Just a look-see!

Here goes…


OK, so the white doesn’t show up as well as I thought it would and I need to leave a couple of spaces after the poll really, to be able to see what I want to write next. I guess this is a good way to get feedback, especially if I keep it open for a week (which I think is the longest I can anyway).

It’s something different. You can post videos, images and audio to go with your poll if you wanted.

Why use a poll? Got a new pattern/ idea/ project you want feedback on? Want to know what people would think is a reasonable price for something? A poll can be a useful way to get feedback for your crafty business plans (although not scientifically accurate as not all of your followers will vote) and it can offer something different for your readers who are used to just words and pictures.

Do you want to have a go at one? Dashboard – Feedback – Polls

It’s very simple to create and you get a choice of layouts too. Have a go, just to say you made one.

And did you know you can change the message at the bottom of your posts which says ‘leave a reply’ ? It’s right before the comments section.

If you want to customise that too, go to Settings – Discussion and take a long look at what comes up – you can even change how long you want people to be able to comment on posts (do you want to close comments after a day/ week etc?).

May the WordPress discoveries continue!! Ellen xx

Never Fear – SEO is here!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I have just been reading a book called SEO MADE EASY by Evan Bailyn published by Pearson.

I borrowed it from the library along with 5 other books, which, incidentally, is a good time to preach to the masses: USE YOUR LIBRARY!!! Think of all that knowledge and adventure that awaits inside (although, obviously with a book title like SEO MADE EASY…maybe not so much adventure but anyways).

It’s quite interesting for a lay person like me to read about ‘technical’ stuff. This blog is as technical as I get in many ways. And yet. I feel I am at that stage where I want to move forward and I have been reading around lots of different subject areas, more about which another time.

But it got me thinking. About searching the web and how people find this blog. I wish WordPress would let me see the unknown search terms (which usually denote someone using Google) as there are loads of these, but the search terms that I CAN see…well, let’s just say – quite logical actually!

So here they are: prepare to be amazed and astounded! Or not…


Unknown Search Terms: 18


Unknown Search Terms: 104

masham yorkshire flooding



sacred shawl women’s shelter


Unknown Search Terms: 65

“cast on foot”

scarf edgings

crochet a sitting cussing

my james brett jumper finished

deramores gemstone colours granny squares

where do knitting magazines get freebies from

attonment blog crochet


I have posted about flooding in Yorkshire, wearing a cast on my foot, I have used James C Brett wool before, I have cussed when I have been sitting crocheting but never written about it! So, it’s mostly all logical, although I have no idea where magazines get their freebies – sorry whoever searched for that!

So, what would the keywords be on this blog? Crochet, knitting and wool/ yarn I think would be on the list somewhere. Maybe also books and reading/ writing. Hopefully craft and hobbies too.

Writing this I just realised I haven’t posted anything about the allotment for a long time. I haven’t been for a while as the past few months have been a bit stressful but need to take some pics and see how it’s doing.

As I may have said before, this blog is just a hobby blog for me. It’s a good intro into the world of ‘online’ and I am enjoying it still. As a result of starting this blog I am active on Instagram and Pinterest (having found LOADS of money-making, crafty, writing and lifestyle ideas on there), am fairly active on Twitter, but this is still a bit of a headache for me. Facebook I have washed my hands of. It’s quite old-fashioned and doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid. I have come across lots of inspirational blogs and people and it’s nice to have a nosy at what other people are making and baking. When I was at primary school and we had swimming lessons on a Monday, I used to love looking out of the windows on the top of the double decker bus as it meant I could peer into people’s homes and gardens. I don’t think that nosiness has ever left me – I shall blame it on being female and that’s all! So, with blogs, I get to see into other people’s homes and gardens, except this time with pretty pictures, sometimes a video and always an explanation!!

But anyway…

What’s the most random search term people have used to find your blog? Do they match the content of your blog or are they way off?

Ellen xx





2017 so far

A while ago I posted these tiny goals for 2017

  1. Publish a pattern on Ravelry – free or paid
  2. Crafty goals – knit a hat and a pair of socks, crochet a corner to corner blanket, sew an item of clothing – Use up my crafty stash – fabric, wool etc.
  3. Start doing Yoga again
  4. Write 500- 1000 words every day
  5. Keep up with technology (those who know me are shouting HA! right now) and learn to use EXCEL and ACCESS properly
  6. Blog more often and take better photos and learn how to edit them

So progress? I have definitely blogged more often in the past couple of weeks and seen page views rise correspondingly. It’s kind of nice to have a distraction from stuff that’s going on here at the moment. I haven’t taken better photos I don’t think, but I am looking at websites with free photo editing software and thinking about trialling one or two.

I have written a list of things I have knitted last year, thinking about Ravelry and there isn’t really anything appropriate to put on Ravelry yet, but I am thinking about it, as I am with Yoga – the DVDs have moved from upstairs to downstairs so that still counts right?! lol!

One thing I have made progress with is the writing. For a long blog post with just writing and no pics, then yes, easily 500 words. But I have written close to 4000 words today and yesterday in an hour a night. I am writing a story that’s been in my head for ages, but we will see if anything comes from it…after all, how can you be a writer if you don’t write?! How can you ever hope to publish a book one day if you don’t put pen to paper and get some words down? So at the moment, the writing is going well.

I am finding that when it comes to writing, just getting down what is in my head is easiest, rather than thinking it through too much and spending ten minutes per sentence. I can always tidy it up later. I think I will write out the whole story or as much of it as possible before I start to properly edit and polish it. But it’s just a tiny snowball at the moment…I will see whether or not it ever becomes a giant one.

The rest of the goals…on my to do list!

Ellen x

On Writing Often

One of my goals / challenges for this year was to write 500 -1000 words a day. Due to some personal reasons I haven’t managed to get off to quite such a good start but the number of words doesn’t matter really…the point is to write more.

Here are a few links I have come across regarding writing…







See if there is anything here which takes your fancy

Ellen x

Things this week

Hello and Happy October to you all!

The nights are drawing in, the fire has been switched on for the first time this autumn, my candle is on at the moment (how very hygge-lish of me!), and best of all…mother returned from work yesterday with the Christmas edition of Let’s Knit magazine as a surprise! So, now I have to knit a robin for her with the free kit, but that’s ok…I can do that kind of thing now!

Have you ever visited a blog called http://www.meetmeatmikes.com ? Sometimes the lovely lady who writes it has a feature called Taking Stock where she summarises what she has been reading / up to. http://meetmeatmikes.com/taking-stock-october/

So, in a similar vein of things I thought I would share what I have been doing too.


My new favourite site.

Facebook you can take a hike. Instagram you’re pretty to look at but not that memorable. Snapchat – I have never met you so can’t insult you!

But Pinterest? You are awesome!

I see things and the boards just keep growing and growing! Job hunting, writing stuff, recipes, hygge things, funny things, sewing things, crochet and knitting things, Christmas things, Halloween things, Yoga and the good life things…

And so it was that yesterday that I made my first things that came directly from there…a mincemeat pastry Christmas tree. But before you start panicking…don’t! I only made it because the puff pastry was about to go out of date and we had a spare jar of mincemeat from last year. There are no pics coz although it was tasty, it looked a right mess! But here is the link…it says to use Nutella, but ew…gross!


If you have kids this would be a good project to try this winter.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet…you should! I have found so many good sites and blogged and have had some crazy ideas for projects after being inspired on here.


I am currently reading 20,000 leagues under the sea by Jules Verne. It’s slow going. That’s all I can say…but I WILL finish it. I am rarely if ever, defeated by a book and I will not be defeated by Captain Nemo of all people!


3 blogs I have started reading / following recently




You should definitely head on over to have a look at these lovely blogs!

My blog

I have been thinking about this blog recently. It started as a way to learn a new skill, to write, to read and connect with other people’s blogs, to share (maybe overshare sometimes?!!), to keep a record of what I have been up to. I have tended to focus on stuff I have made, stuff I have read or would like to read and totally random stuff that I have written or have found.

But I know it is kind of drifting in it’s direction a bit.

Maybe I need to define the goals of this blog anymore, but I quite like the general-ness of it, even if it isn’t exactly the most riveting read all the time! We all think our babies are the only beautiful ones don’t we?

I have been looking for free courses in blogging and improving blogging and here again for tips and inspiration, Pinterest is coming up trumps. I even noticed the Pinterest  link was broken on my sidebar and managed to fix that the other day after looking at what widgets I was using.

So, not a definite something here, but definitely something to think about for the future.

Clearing and sorting

Digital files deleted, emails deleted, spammers blocked and reported (HILARIOUS conversation with a spammer which took her ages to figure out I knew she was spamming me and wasn’t going to give out any details…she got quite ratty at the end with my vague answers and me answering her questions with questions of my own…the Ellen charm…LOL).

Packed up 2 big boxes of German, French, Japanese, Italian, and other language related grammar books. My heart is crying but the shelf looks better and less cluttered. It’s like Finding Nemo where the shark is saying FISH ARE FRIENDS. I always think the same about books  – BOOKS ARE FRIENDS (Yes, even grammar ones)!


Am making time to write a little every day. Aiming for 500 words which is nothing, but after re-doing cv, spending ages on covering letters, looking at applications, I just don’t want to look at the computer screen for longer than I have to. So, 500 words it is for now, with the eventual aim of 1000 a day.

NaNoWriMo is coming up soon but that’s not why I’m doing this. Eventually I would like to self publish a book and I have lots of ideas for some topics / themes. But we shall have to see. I do like writing…after clearing out a few boxes under my bed and taking 3 bags to the charity shop the other day, I found a typed up copy of a short story I wrote in my teens called The Adventures of Harry Hare. It’s interesting to see how I have progressed in my writing style now and also to see how my sense of humour has developed – I am totally seeing the influence of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and the like in there. Maybe I should type it here, who knows? Did you know that a book called The Carpet People was written by Terry Pratchett when he was a teenager and then revised and published by him as an adult many years later? It’s one of my favourite books, you should have a read if you can, very droll and creative!


7 books out this time. 2 knitting books, so shall have to see if anything worth asking for, for Christmas, or at the very least trying a new stitch pattern. Also a book for Yoga for Runners…hmm it’s interesting to see the sport side of Yoga, but I think that’s just pretty pictures for me at the mo!


It’s all books and reading and writing at the moment isn’t it? There has also been knitting, candles, designing, learning, and stuff going on but this post is turning into a book in itself.

Hope you have a productive and inspiring week!

Ellen xx