Tag Archives: help others

Learning More About WordPress

This weekend I’m attending Grand Rapids WordCamp, a fun, but intensive, two-day event about WordPress. The meeting is geared towards developers, so it’s mostly more technical than we writers need for our WordPress blogs and websites.

I went to last year’s event. Though much of it provided more detail than I needed, I picked up something valuable in each session. I’m still implementing the things I learned.

So, I’m back to repeat the experience. Plus, this year, I’m speaking as well. My session will be later today, titled “12 Tips For Better WordPress Content Creation.” It’s based on the series of posts I did earlier this year on blogging; see 14 Posts on Better Blogging.

I’ve also been part of a local WordPress Meetup group. While it, too, is more technical than I need, the people there are patient in answering my more basic questions. The third and most helpful WordPress resource I tap is Dustin Hartzler’s weekly WordPress podcasts at yourwebsiteengineer.com. While most helpful, he provides more information than a typical writer and blogger needs.

So how do we learn about WordPress (or any blogging platform) without being overwhelmed by technical details? That’s a great question and one I don’t have a ready answer for. I think the solution is to find other writers who use WordPress, and then help each other. Peter’s Law of Reciprocity reminds us that we all know something others don’t and everyone we meet knows something we don’t. The goal is to share.

How do you learn about blogging?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Seven Tips to Find a Mentor

A friend recently asked how to find a writing mentor.

Yeah, I’d like one, too!

One of my graduate classes was on mentoring, albeit focused on Millennials and spirituality. The principles I learned, however, apply to any type of mentoring, for most any age.

The reality is those good mentors are hard to find. The best-qualified ones don’t usually have time to mentor, whereas the people with time often have less to offer. Expertise and availability usually exist in inverse proportion.

Instead of just waiting for someone to offer to mentor you, here are seven ideas:

1. Look at Existing Relationships

If you have a connection with an author you respect, ask if he or she is willing to consider being your mentor. But don’t make this person feel obligated; provide the space for him or her to say “no.”

2. Form New Relationships

Network with other writers and see what develops. However, don’t approach this with an agenda; if you do, you will fail. Instead, seek to help others, give to others, encourage others, and support others. You may catch the attention of a potential mentor who will approach you. And even if that doesn’t happen you will learn, grow, and feel good about yourself in the process.

3. Be Patient and Pray

Yes, I said to pray that someone will offer to mentor you. I could have said “wait and hope,” but prayer is so much more effective and maybe your best option.

4. Consider Peer Mentoring

You can seek a peer mentoring relationship, where two writers help each other. There is strength in traveling the writing path with a friend. If one of you falls down, the other can pick you up.

5. Offer to be a Mentor

Often when we give to others, what we receive back is more valuable.

6. Use Books

Books allow mentoring at a distance, be it over space or time. Of course, the information is one-way and more general, but this may be the only way to receive guidance from a famous author.

7. Respect the Process

If you find a mentor, honor his or her commitment to you: prepare for each meeting, take diligent notes, follow through on every suggestion, be easy to work with, and seek tangible ways to give back. Also, always arrive early and never cancel.

If you don’t have a mentor, what are your thoughts on finding one?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Writing Conference Update

I’ve just returned from a two-day writing conference, the best I’ve ever attended.

Last year, I set a goal for this year’s conference, which I was able to meet.

I also had a long list of things I was looking forward to and everyone was met and most were exceeded.

As a bonus, I had the privilege to lead one of the conference sessions. I was blown away by the number of people who opted to attend my talk instead of the other options. I was even more blown away by all the positive comments and words of appreciation I received. It is so good to be able to give back.

I’ve already marked my calendar for next year’s Breathe Christian Writing Conference: October 18 and 19, 2013. (I’ll post more information here as the dates become closer.)

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!