Over Lattes and a Laptop, a Literary Blog is Born

By: Marilyn L. Davis

 

“You can buy attention (advertising). Beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” ~David Meerman Scott

 

Why Can’t We  Create a Literary Blog? 

 

David Meerman Scott knows internet strategies and how to market. He brings intensity, passion, and solutions to the rest of us via his 11 books, online courses, and speaking engagements. I got introduced to his sage, but accessible wisdom in Cashing in with Content. 

Titles and content usually have a backstory that doesn’t always make it into a post. While many people relate backstory to fictional characters, there’s a story behind this post. Scott Biddulph has been a friend for over 25 years, and about six years ago, we’d sit and lament the plight of authors and writers. We believed that we could create a literary blog that would bring many of the ideas fostered in Cashing in with Content into practice.

Providing excellent content, whether it was a how-to for better writing, problem-solving for the writer and blogger, or contests designed to attract writers, could mean that our little literary blog might not be such a far-fetched idea. Granted, we had the enthusiasm for the idea of a literary blog, but we were both concerned that we couldn’t sustain the commitment to producing excellent content on our own. We both worked full-time jobs as well as writing for other sites, and each of us were feeling uncertain due to rejection of some of our writing. 

 

How Do We Overcome Fear and Rejection? 

 

At that time, I’d recently finished a 400,000-word recovery curriculum.  After 16 weeks of meetings with the judge, director, staff, and selected clients, the director, told me, “While it’s wonderful, has compelling information, and is correct, we think the vocabulary may be too difficult for some of our clients.”

There had been no mention of vocabulary in any of our discussions. I’d made the changes they asked for: 

  • Extra white space
  • Updated charts and graphs from horizontal to vertical
  • Tables in the colors the director wanted

I felt discouraged and frustrated. I’d jumped through hoops, and there wasn’t a soft landing. I made change after change and still got rejected. 

Whether I was just stubborn or correct, I would not change the vocabulary because I believed that all addicts and alcoholics needed to learn the words of recovery, just as we had to learn the language of addiction. Given that a workbook in the curriculum was the TIERS Glossary of Recovery Terms, I thought that clients had a way to learn the new vocabulary. While the judge and selected clients sided with me on that, I lost the contract. 

Scott also had writing rejected at that point, so we’d commiserate over coffee. But much to our credit, we didn’t complain or blame others. We both vowed to improve and keep plugging away at Two Drops of Ink.

 

Creating a Literary Blog for Writers and Readers

 

Over Lattes and One Laptop, a Literary Blog is Born marilyn l davis two drops of ink a literary blogI was waiting on Scott one day and I found this quote: 

“To enjoy and learn from what you read, you must understand the meanings of the words a writer uses. You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up. For me, reading has always been a quest for pleasure and enlightenment, and a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari.” ― Charles Harrington Elster 

Elster understood me, whether we knew one another or not. It also prompted a conversation between Scott and me about bringing new words and meanings from other writers here at Two Drops of Ink so we would be entertained, educated, and enchanted in the case of poets. 

 Specific ideas began to take shape, and our philosophy developed over lattes at Inman Perk and a single laptop between us. Two Drops of Ink would:

  1. Be open to publishing new, seasoned, or somewhere in-between writers
  2. Communicate with all who submitted 
  3. Create an encouraging climate
  4. Develop a community of writers
  5. Publish “how-to’s,” memoirs, grammar instruction, poetry, and essays
  6. Look for the bones in the submissions, even if a post needed editing 
  7. Not make people jump through unnecessary hoops
  8. Offer sound editing advice and see what the writer does with it by asking for a “revise and resubmit,” giving the writer another shot at publication
  9. Publish a variety of genres
  10. Respond to comments
  11. Become an online literary blog that provided good writing, whether advice, memoir, poetry, essay, or humor

Combining those eleven must-haves for a literary blog, we knew that what mattered most was original content, sound editing, images that conveyed the intent without being dull or too literal, and connecting with the readers. In accomplishing these things, we knew that we could create a place that showcased writers, helped them grow in the craft, and engaged readers.

 

Build  Blog – They Will Come, Won’t They?

 

Over Lattes and One Laptop, a Literary Blog is Born marilyn l davis two drops of ink a literary blog

 

Now that we had our absolutes, we launched several campaigns to attract new writers. We were confident that writers would flock to the site to submit a guest post. Perhaps we were naïve because the reality was that we had to prove ourselves, too. We worked hard, but as we say in the south, we were off like a herd of turtles – in other words, it was slow going in the beginning. But just as the tortoise beat the hare, we kept plugging away, writing, creating contests, and reaching out to other writers. All that effort finally paid off. 

Two Drops of Ink started getting noticed and winning awards:

  1. The Best Writing Blogs for Writers Awarded by PositiveWriter.com
  2. The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016 and 2017, respectively
  3. 4 Additional Awards in 2017
  4. 4 Awards in 2018
  5. Top 100 Literary Blogs For Writers and Publishing Agents, 2020

 

A Literary Blog for You?

 

With these awards, we’ve been able to satisfy many of our literary blog goals from the coffee shop.

But beyond satisfaction for us, what’s in it for you?

  1. Are you struggling with your blog or writing? We offer Grammar Shorts, how-to’s on better writing, and advice about getting noticed online.
  2. Not sure if you’re ready to start your blog? Our philosophy of collaborative writing means there’s room for you at Two Drops of Ink. Think about submitting today.
  3. Already have a published book? Would you like an additional platform to promote it? Then a guest post gives you that forum in your bio. 
  4. Want recognition at an award-winning site? Then a guest post contributes credibility to you and us.
  5. Poets sometimes languish in journals that the average person doesn’t read. Sad, but true. Since Scott is a poet, and I have poet-envy, we’ve partial to poets. 

We’re not finished yet… we’ll keep growing the site with your help. Two Drops of Ink’s is open anytime you visit, day, night, or somewhere in between.

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

 

We offer new and seasoned writers, poets, memoirists, and essayists a forum for their writing, so consider a submission. If you're looking for something to read, grab a coffee and enjoy Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog. Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

Our site is accepting submissions. Read our submission guidelines and enjoy seeing your post in the library at Two Drops of Ink. 

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5 comments

  1. Marilyn, I love you all at Two Drops of Ink. And I agree about leaving in the technical words. When we treat people like they’re smart, they rise to the occasion. In homeschooling circles, children usually have advanced reading and vocabulary skills because parents read real books to them. I discovered this while teaching my family. Thankfully, they turned out smarter than I will ever be. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Hi, Wendy. I also believe that when you give people the information and encourage them to learn, they do. What was ironic was that the people who supposedly weren’t “smart enough” to learn were the very ones who wanted the information so they could learn. Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to the people we’re trying to help thinking we know what’s best, when in fact, they should have a say as well. My 2 cents.

      In the end, without changing that component, and seeing the curriculum used elsewhere, that idea has been validated.

  2. Hi Marilyn, I’m glad you and Scott pressed on with your intentions to never stop writing. I’ve used this site as my own personal library since day one. Because of the privilege you two have provided for all of us. I found it necessary to submit some of my writing to keep my library card, so to speak, active. I’m thankful you all are here, otherwise I don’t think I would be writing. This place is contagious in a wordy way. Thanks for this motivational piece.

    • Hi, John. So are we. When one of us was discouraged, the other would step up and become the proverbial cheerleader. Thank goodness frustration didn’t happen for both of us on the same day. It’s been exciting to “discover” new writers, as well as give poets and seasoned writers an additional platform.

      Onward….

  3. Quite motivating. Perseverance does pays off. I have a question :
    You mentioned about the Book shelf. You just need a PDF format file or some other format book?

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