Blog Tips: What I Learned from a Read and Critique Group

Last month I invited the Read and Critique Group to review 3 sample postings from eQuipsblog. I printed out the postings (including pictures) so it would be simpler for the prospective reviewers.  The sample blogs included Too Bee or Not Too Bee (August 26, 2017),  Uncivil Rights (February 25, 2017), and Taking Books to the People, Part 1:  Little Free Libraries (March 17, 2017).  Alibi—Word does not organize the postings as well as WordPress, so the examples did not look exactly like the blog does.

  1.  Use your own pictures.–I do when I can.  Sometimes I write about things that preclude me from using my own pictures.  I frequently use Creative Commons, if I can’t use my own pictures.
  2.  Give us a definite conclusion.–In Uncivil Rights, the critiquer  wanted a definitive answer on what constituted an uncivil right since I had failed to define the word.  She then spent several minutes letting the group know where she stood on the issue. The next critiquer wanted the reader to draw his/her own conclusion on where civility ended and uncivility began.   (Sometimes there is no definitive answer based upon the continuum of opinions.)
  3. Give us more information.  This mostly stemmed from the Too Bee or Not to Bee blog.  Many wanted more information on swimming  bees. According to  Bee Source, they swim on their backs and use their wings to drive themselves along. Someone wanted to know what size water container to provide for bees so theyHoney Bee Flight Path would not drown.  Other critiques wanted me to write about other pollinator such as bats or do follow-up bee blogs throughout the year. One wanted to know where I spotted the swimming bee-it was at the spa pool of the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville.  One person did not understand this sign because there were no bees in the picture.  The Honey Bee Flight Path ahead was taken at the Market at Grelen in Somerset, Virginia, which is now closed for the season until March 1, 2018.
  4. Where did this take place?  The question about the swimming bee was easy to answer.  Where are the Little Free Libraries located is a more difficult question.  The LFL pictures that I took are identifiable, but the ones from Creative Commons are more difficult.   Little Free Libraries does have a map which can make it easier to find local LFLs.DSC00721

Little Free Library at the Peaks of Otter Lodge near Beford, Virginia off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Little Free LIbrary-Ednam Forrest, Charlottesville, VA.jpg




Little Free Library at Ednam Forest in Charlottesville, VA


5 thoughts on “Blog Tips: What I Learned from a Read and Critique Group”

  1. That’s helpful advice, although I’d take the bit about “Give us more information” more as an expression of interest than a suggestion that the post needs more work. A good story does provide some definite conclusions, but doesn’t provide all of them. It leaves something to the reader’s imagination, or prompts the reader to do further research. If you could answer all of a reader’s questions in a single piece, then the topic is either deadly simple or your piece is encyclopedic. Your blog posts are a comfortable length and they almost always provoke me to think further. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your very generous comments. I realize I can’t always provide more information and in the case of finding out how/if bees can swim, it would never occur to me that anyone might want to know. If you have Internet connectivity to read a blog, you have access to Google or your public library. if you would like to learn more. You have been my earliest and most consistent cheerleader. 🙂


  3. I sometimes think that when you ask people to critique something, they get more critical than if you just asked them to read it. Advice says all blog posts should include pictures, which can be a nuisance. No images are better than ones that violate copyright, though. If I don’t have a suitable picture of my own, I often look in Pixabay for a free one. It’s OK to re-use a picture in a later post; once it’s in your image library on WordPress, you can insert it into future posts. If I need a really specific image, I’ve used Canva to create one; it’s pretty easy. As for length, I prefer a short, punchy post to a long, exhaustive (and exhausting!) one. Your posts are indeed what the other commenter called a “comfortable” length — good term.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for two more picture sources. I have never used Canva–may need to look into it. Thanks for calling my postings a comfortable length, I agree. I do re-use pictures in more than one posting, if they work. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, Audrey.


  5. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll
    just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d really
    appreciate it.


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