Writing Advice from Web Wine Writers

At this year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference in Walla Walla Washington, I attended an advanced blogging session with Joe Roberts winner of the best wine blog award 1 Wine Dude, Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape which won two wine blogging awards, and RJ Hilgers. What follows is advice from Jeff Lefrevre at Good Grape. His four main points are: Continue reading

Tuesday Tips: Seth Godin on Blog Fatigue

“Do you ever get tired of blogging?”

Seth Godin answers, “No. All blogging is to me, is to write down what I’m noticing.”

So what do you notice? Can you turn an observation into a blog post? Sure you can!

What did you notice recently that seemed remarkable? Take a moment to write about it and see what you discover.

If you found something remarkable, it’s likely that someone else will too. Continue reading

How To Be An Effective Writer: 26 Tips from Meg Maker

In a session at the Wine Bloggers Conference titled “More Effective Writing in Your Blog” with Meg Houston Maker, Hardy Wallace, and Andy Purdue, Meg says there’s two ways to learn how to be a better writer: read and write. But you have to pay attention to what you read and write.

She  also offered us 24 Points on how to improve our writing: Continue reading

Wine Bloggers Conference 2010 in Walla Walla

On Wednesday morning, I flew from LAX to Seattle to learn more about Washington wine and to develop  my skills as a wine writer and blogger by attending (thanks to a  scholarship!) the 2010 Wine Blogger’s Conference in Walla Walla. I also won a pre-conference trip to visit the Woodinville area and to taste and learn about wines from Seattle to Walla Walla. The WBC or Bust bus was full of great writers, bloggers, journalists, wine enthusiasts and social media professionals so I learned a lot on the bus–not just about wine and Washington terroir!

At the conference, I will be “live” blogging many if not all of the sessions I will be attending. I will be taking notes during the sessions and posting them along with images immediately after each one.

Soon after the conference, I will post notes that may be of a general interest to my audience here. If you want to read all about the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference, head on over to my site, Wine Predator.

PS If you’re in the wine industry and want to learn more about using social media especially blogs, or if you’d like coaching, let me know because I’d love to help! I’ve attended all four wine bloggers conferences.

The Difference Between Coaching & Therapy

During my research into the coaching business over the past six months, I’ve observed that many life coaches are also therapists (or therapists are coaches!) and that some life coaches are also business coaches. While I haven’t seen too many writing coaches (therapists or no!), I did think it important to articulate the difference between what a coach does, particularly a writing coach, and what a therapist does. (Curious about the difference between an editor and a coach? Here’s a post I wrote about the distinction between coaching and editorial services.

Coaching and Psychotherapy

While there are some similarities between coaching and psychotherapy, they are very different activities and it is important that clients understand the differences between them.  Continue reading

Contract Between Writing Coach & Client

It’s important in a coaching contract to recognize that both parties have responsibilities and to articulate those responsibilities to make coaching a success. Here’s a a starting place. What would you like to see added or changed?

What The Write Alley Writing Coach undertakes:

1. I will not solve your problems.
2. I will work to help you make the changes that you choose
3. I will help you develop the skills you wish to master.
4. I will treat you with respect and consideration.
5. I will regularly review your progress.
6. I will keep your personal contact information private.
7. I will not disclose information about you

What The Write Alley Client undertakes:

1. I take full responsibility for resolving my own problems.
2. I will be punctual for sessions and give notice of cancellation.
3. I will pay the session fee if I cancel a session with less than 24 hours notice.
4. I will complete assigned exercises and homework
5. If I do not complete my work, my coaching may be terminated.
6. I will pay all fees, in full, at time of session or in advance.
7. When I am ready to end coaching, I will have a closure session.

It is also important to know the difference between coaching and therapy because a coach is not a therapist and a therapist is not a coach. This will be discussed in a upcoming post.

Tuesday Tips: Seth Godin on Writers Block

“Ever see a plumber who has plumber’s block?” asked blogger, marketer, and author Seth Godin recently in Boston on his book tour for Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? “Or a talker who has talker block? No! So? No writer’s block. It’s part of who you are.”

He makes it sound easy, doesn’t he? I think what he means is that we humans are storytellers–it comes naturally to us, it’s part of who we are as humans. And what’s a blog but a place to tell our stories? We just have to pick one and start!

However, I know most people experience writer’s block. For some people, it is constipatingly painful. For others, it passes quickly. What do I do about writer’s block? What do I suggest YOU do?

The main trick for me Continue reading

To celebrate solstice, inspiration from “Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

Today is the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter in the southern. Since I live in the north, I am celebrating the longest day and the shortest night!

Today is also the first day of my summer school class. At the top of my syllabus, I quote the last two lines of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” and I pass out a copy of the poem as well.

For your enjoyment, I am now passing it along to you. Please tell me what you plan to do with your own wild and precious life!

“The Summer Day”
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enourmous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I’ve been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

If you write poetry or like poetry, you might want to take a ride on the Poetry Train!

Intro to Blogging: Steps to take before you get started

What do you need to do BEFORE you register and get started blogging? This is the handout I sent along to tomorrow’s workshop participants and which I will be using with my college students next week. Let me know how it helped you!

Blogging 101: Intro to Blogging—From Your Head to the Web
with Writing Coach Gwendolyn Alley Continue reading

Intro to Blogging Workshop 6/19 & Tea By The Sea

One of the benefits of holding The Write Alley’s monthly blogging and social media workshops at Ventura’s Bell Arts Factory is the venue itself.

Formerly a Bell mattress factory, Bell Arts Factory opened in 2006 and swarms with creative energy, artistic people, and small businesses with big ideas like  Tea By The Sea, a sweet little shop that’s serious about tea and run by Cindy Yoshitomi. Continue reading