Will You Marry Me? (Audience Engagement Strategies That Work!)

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

marriage-fearDo you want to know what the scares people the most?

Nope, it’s not spiders.

Nope, it’s not Freddy Krueger.

And no, it’s not even Donald Trump’s hair. ;-)

The big, hairy monster I speak of is fear itself… fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of being utterly, utterly, utterly alone in this world. It’s scary to put yourself out there and commit to the pursuit of a dream. It’s hard to know where to start in overcoming fear.

Whether it’s dating, starting a business, or in my case, starting my humorous blog in order to gauge interest in my writing, the beast I speak of keeps the average Joe from succeeding.

The reality? I had guts, and it paid off. My blog, Everyday Underwear, is more successful than I imagined it would be at this point and I’ve been given opportunities I could never have dreamed up. Still, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how scared I was when I hit “Publish” that first time…

Sure, I had guts, but my confidence was shaky. I wondered if I’d gone temporarily insane. Would anyone care about me, understand me, commit to me? Or would I just have fun for a while and get dumped?

I don’t sell anything at all… at least, not yet. I’m still in the “building a platform” stage of the romance. My strategies have worked well so far, and I’ve gone a long way in overcoming fear of failure. Someday, there will be books to sell; hopefully, lots and lots of books, and I’ll want people to buy them. After just over a year running my blog, I have a lot I’ve learned and I’m a sharing kind of gal, so I want to tell you what’s worked for me. I’ll keep this as brief as I can. Trust me, that’s difficult for me, but if I share what I know, perhaps you can get engaged as well! Exciting, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want anyone to turn into a lonely cat lady – or a lonely cat dude. That would just be sad, and unnecessary.

Have no fear! I’m here to save you from the possibility of a miserable existence.

Be Brave and Put Yourself on the Market

I have learned time and time again that if I don’t put myself out there, nobody will “see” me.

If you live in Timbuktu, you might have to utilize an online dating site in order to find the perfect mate. In my case, Timbuktu is just down the block from where I live, in the Middle Of Nowhere, just down the road from BFE. The town I live in has 350 people. Wait, scratch that… 354 since we moved here. There are no writing jobs, no big city opportunities, no way for me to become engaged in the writing community at large.

I had to get creative – just me, my laptop, and a zippy little DSL connection. Yes, that’s right, we made magic happen via a long distance relationship – me and the writing world.

Find Great Places to Hang Out and People to Hang With.

Join groups, forums, social media sites, and professional organizations.

Comment, comment, comment!

Tweet. Update. Contribute.

Meet people!

Get your name out there or it will never become a household name. Like, ever.

Make a good first impression, but don’t try too hard. Just start making your presence known and get to know who’s important in your field of knowledge.

It all builds from there.

Introduce Yourself, But Don’t Sell Anything – Yet

It’s easy.

Start that blog, open those doors, start up that start-up and say, “Hello world, I’m blabbity-blah-blah and I’m happy to meet all of you. Can I buy you a drink?”

What this really means is, “Can I earn some of your time and get to know you better? Perhaps we need each other and don’t know it just yet.” I want to state this again, for the record – if you don’t make your presence known in the circles you wish to be a part of, I guarantee nobody will know you’re there. You’ll sit in a dark corner by yourself, disengaged. And nobody puts Baby in a corner!

Get out on the dance floor and shake it like a Polaroid picture, baby. Show your prospects what you’ve got. Be confident. Get noticed with your Patrick Swayze moves and meet some people, but be careful not to jump into bed with them just yet.

That would be trashy and then you could get into trouble and have to ask your father for money and well… just don’t go there.

Be Brutally Honest

In the dating world, we tend to put up some monster pretences  “Why, no siree – a fart never escapes these lovely buttocks!”

Yeah, right.

I fart, so I talk about it. Have some cojones and own up to it! I burp, too. Ladies burp and fart, but most won’t tell you about it.

I will.

And I get male readers when I do.

I get upset, I talk about it. I like something, I talk about it. I have a problem with something, I talk about it.

I am who I am and if people don’t like it, they know exactly who I am and I never have to hide a thing. I’m raw, like steak tartare.

People like me that way and they appreciate it. People don’t want to wonder if you’re hiding any skeletons in your closet (or the office supply room).

Don’t Be a One-Trick Pony, But if You Are… Make Sure You’re a Thoroughbred

I don’t even know if a pony can be a thoroughbred horse.

See, that’s why I don’t blog about horses unless I want to tell a funny story about them. And trust me, I can. I was nearly devoured once by a herd of hungry… wait, I’m getting off track.

The point is, I’m no expert on horses and I don’t pretend to be. If your business is horse-based, by all means make that your focus and shine bright like a diamond in the sky. If not, show the world your many talents, as long as you have skill in each of the areas you highlight.

Don’t pretend to know everything. You’ll come off looking like a pathetic shlub.

When I met my husband, I was in awe of his talents. He could cook. He could juggle. He could play guitar. He could weld on tall buildings. He had a very diverse skill set. This made him very interesting to me and I was intrigued. If he could do all of those things, what else could he do?

I married him to find out.

I haven’t been disappointed yet. I learn from him. He teaches me how to be better, to strive for more, to try new things. He inspires me! Do you inspire your readers?

People will marry you to see what you can provide.

What do you have to offer now? More importantly, what do you have to offer in the future? How will you keep people interested long-term so they don’t go looking for other horse farms? Be fresh, be creative, but know what you’re talking about. Do your research.

Never be iffy. Putting false information out there, or even conjecture, will get you de-friended, un-followed, and ugh… dumped.

Make ‘em Laugh

Have a sense of humor, for God’s sake!

If you can make people giggle, you are providing more than a service. You are improving their health and their mood!

You might be selling widgets or fingernail clippers, but if you have a funny blog, website, or sales pitch, you’ll keep people coming back just to see what you have to say. It’s a great way to earn a second date.

ThinkGeek comes to mind for me. They are expert at being an interesting company. They draw me in with their humor, their customer interaction, and wit. Oh, and they have interesting stuff! They don’t e-mail me too often, so I don’t feel stalked, they say something funny to draw me to click on the link in the e-mail, and I buy stuff while I’m visiting the website.

Yep, just like that.

Make ‘em Feel Smart

Don’t just talk at people, talk to people and let them know that you want their input! Ask them what they like about you. Ask about their experiences and how they would handle situations. Make a testimonial page of good things said about your business/service/blog and give people shout-outs. Have contests. Give prizes for good input (that’s what they’re doing here, duh).

When you don’t know the answer to some life question you’ve lost sleep over, ask your readers!

I have gotten fantastic advice just by saying to a reviewer, “Hey, would you review my blog?” Sure, it’s scary to ask people to play truth or dare, but the information you receive will prove to be invaluable after the party. I have received great advice and insight from my readers when I ask them for comments on a post topic. They have taken the time to not only read my stuff, but give me their two cents. A penny saved is a penny earned. Two cents are all the better then, don’t you think?

If you show them you need their input and you respect it, they will respect you in return. Never ignore them. Always respond to their comments. You might even get to second base.

I started following a writing blog recently and I thought it was great.

The writing was great, the content was great, and I was enamored. The writer stated that he responds to all e-mails and comments. Really? I LOVE interaction! I decided to test him. I’ve e-mailed, I’ve commented, and I haven’t gotten the time of day from this guy. I’m ready to dump him. I have plenty of good “how to write better, smarter, faster, whatever” material in my inbox. I’m not important? Well then maybe you’re not either.

This brings me to another short point…

Don’t Throw Out the Baby With the Bath Water

Check your spam filter!

Mistakes happen and good people end up in the slush pile of your website’s security system. Check it regularly!

There might be real humans, new friends, and diamonds in the rough in there! And you almost threw them out… what’s wrong with you? Sometimes a website name will catch you up and throw you in the trash. Trust me, the web thinks my Everyday Underwear is dirty or lingerie or something.

My Everyday Underwear is clean, I swear! I have to have people whitelist me all the time just so I can be a part of the conversation on their blog. If you have a website and don’t know what whitelisting is, find out. It’s quite useful.

Share What You Know, But Not Too Much of It

There are many types of services.

Me, I’m in the entertainment business. I write stories to make you laugh, think, cry, spew coffee at your computer screen, or scream obscenities at a virtual person you’ve never met. More on that later…

I write non-fiction stories about my own life and my own opinions. My business is emotion. I am selling… well, me! That’s what a writer does. I write on things I think will interest people and will be entertaining. So naturally, I share what I find interesting and entertaining.

I mainly do humor, so I share funny memes and stories on my Everyday Underwear Facebook page for my followers to see, I share interesting photos on my Pinterest page, and I promote other bloggers I feel might rock your world by highlighting them with a mention, a link-up, or a peer award. I bare my soul to my potential “partners” by making it plainly obvious what I’m all about.

However, I guarantee you that if I stalk people with too much me too much of the time… they’ll leave me at the altar

Give them something to look forward to, but don’t give them the whole enchilada. Give ‘em cool freebies sometimes, but not all the time. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Well, the milk you buy might be a better grade. ;-)

Make ‘em Feel Loved

Create relationships.

Don’t just look at a comment, and read it. Phhht! That’s just being lazy.

Go a step further, without attaining stalker status, of course. Click on the user’s image. Find out what they blog about. Take a look at their website or blog and comment on it. Whatever they do, you might need it or at least a reference to it in the future.

If you find something useful they’ve done, a tweet you like, or a post that touched you, share it with your own readers.

Don’t be afraid to say I Love You (blogger/customer) early in the romance and prove it with the real roses of the internet… a mention. The right mention from the right person can get you a rock-solid audience engagement. And hey, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. You buy my book someday and I might just buy your widget, even if I don’t need one. “I recall that you asked me to guest post once and I gained 100 followers. Yes, yes I will buy your e-book!”

Don’t Be a Stalker

Your business might be different than mine, but it’s the same concept of audience engagement no matter what you sell.

If you are in the business of making widgets, share what you know about widgets. Other widget enthusiasts will love it. Put it on your website, start a widget blog, and tell the world why you are passionate about widgets. Give people a taste of what you’re all about, but keep them wanting more. Tweet about it, but not too often. Don’t try to sell yourself or your widgets with ten links a day to your “Wonderful World of Widgets” book. Don’t overload them. Give them space. Give them options.

If you blog five times a day about your widgets, it might be a bit much. Give your partners the option to receive a weekly summary. I don’t blog that often, but some do. I pass on probably 5% of the content I receive, so it’s a worthy investment for good material, but I just don’t have the time to read five separate e-mails a day about it. But if I only have to devote a chunk of time to sifting through it once a week, I’m much more likely to not hit delete without looking when I see who’s calling. Offer a daily digest or weekly newsletter. Nobody wants widgets in their face 24/7. There is a fine line between selling yourself and becoming an annoying spammer/stalker. Don’t cross that line.

Finally: Pop the Question

You don’t have to have a long engagement to make it work, just the guts to take the plunge. I married my husband four months after I met him.

Note: Danny proposed to his wife 5 and a half months after they met. She thought he was crazy, but still said yes. ;-)

People thought we were crazy and they seriously wondered about our sanity, but ten years later… we love each other more than ever and our relationship strengthens and grows with each and every year under our belts and every fat roll we accumulate.

I’m pretty sure it’s because I farted in front of him within the first few weeks of our courtship. I laughed really loudly at myself. He farted back. It was love. I digress…

In summary, if you follow the simple steps above, your readers will be enamored. When you get down on that one knee and pull out that box (of widgets), their hearts will skip a beat.

You’ll say softly, “I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you. I don’t have much to offer, but perhaps you’d be interested in this widget.” They will swoon. They will buy your widget (nail clippers, horse, whatever) – simply because they love you.

Cindy Brown, when not considering how to optimize her engagement, writes a humor blog called Everyday Underwear, head on over and check it out!

Comments

  1. says

    I really enjoyed this post Cindy! Great insight and tips. In particular, I love your analogy to a courtship/relationship and with the start of my blog I’m starting to see engagement in those terms as well. I love the way you infuse humor throughout the post. Off to put your ideas into action and pop on over to your blog : ) good Luck!

  2. says

    Thank you Cindy for a fun read with lots of clear advice that makes sense.

    Loved the part about farting the most, because in the german language ‘fahren’ is the verb for driving, there have been many jokes in our household over the years, me being originally from Switzerland.

    The other part I take on my new blog adventure about creativity (no it is not out there just yet) is to be myself from the start.
    Thank you!

    • says

      I could ask for nothing more than for people to find this a fun read and glean something – anything – from it! Thanks for taking the time to read. And bonus, I learned a new German word from you today! Good luck with your blog adventure. I have really enjoyed my blog. I would probably do it if there was no payoff at all. I just love to write, share, and connect.

  3. says

    Hi Cindy, the guest post you did for me this past summer is still getting page views, which means that you are really terrific! I have followed many of the tips you highlight in your article and it is also starting to pay off for me. I recently sent one of my blogs to a local publication and received an email back from the editor who was interested in publishing some of my stories! My resolution this year is to try to get published! The biggest challenge is finding the time to promote myself since I also work a full time job in public relations and marketing. Also, by the way, since the biggest fear you have is fear itself, your Bogart would turn into a Dementor! (It’s a Harry Potter referencee!!) Lots of ongoing luck to you! Lisa

    • says

      Thanks, Lisa! I hope I am able to be entertaining and helpful to people with my blog and experiences. I am so pleased that your work is being considered and that you are my online friend. Keep on writing… it pays off for you already. I can tell in your writing that it’s a pleasure for you to do it – a passion for you just like it is for me.

  4. says

    Your comparison of reader engagement to a courtship is spot on (and hilarious)! There is nothing more frightening than putting your raw self out there and then crossing your fingers in hopes of a positive reception.

    Thanks for sharing such great tips for getting that genuine reader engagement that we’re all looking for. I’m definitely going to put your ideas to use!

    Oh, and thanks for letting the cat out of the bag that women do in fact burp AND fart. I was hoping to keep that one a secret for just a little while longer. ;)

    • says

      Hee hee! We would explode if we didn’t burp or fart and that would just, well… NOT be lovely. Thanks for the comment, Sara. So nice to engage with you here ;0)

  5. Michael Kawula says

    This was a hilarious post and loved the way it flowed.

    Great content, tips/advice and kept engagement the entire read.

    Best of luck!

  6. Meachele Martin says

    Great!!!! I can say it works. In the early 80′s, I met my husband of 27 years who past away some 2 years ago, met with these pointers……It works….he asked me the night we met, “I wonder what it would be like to marry you.”. We dated for 3 months and were enaged shortly there after. The main thing is “putting yourself out there.”

    • says

      Wow, what a nice affirmation for those of us who took risks in relationships! I think I just “had a feeling” with my husband and to be truthful, some of my online partnerships with writing peers have been the same! I just clicked with them right away and was afforded writing opportunities due to those connections – all because like you said, I put myself out there.

      • Meachele Martin says

        Into the dating after 30 years, I’m trying to follow my heart once again. I allowed my head to guide me with the last two guys, and it just doesn’t work. I read to much into things, and I didn’t follow the heart. Like 30 years ago, I went with the one that everyone said won’t work. The heart was right and the mind decided to make it work because we both had a choice to love. Its time to let the real you out and follow the heart.

  7. Tolani says

    Great piece ! You got me cracked up .. I am the serious minded kind.. And I was shocked!!! farting is allowed?!!! My mom musn’t read this ! Smile
    You rock!

    • says

      Tolani, I’m always happy to crack a smile for the serious minded. That tells me I’m doing something right! I won’t tell your mom either…

  8. says

    Cindy,

    Right on. Great work with this post, and your blog. There is so much in here I’m bookmarking and will come back many times :-)

    Congrats and keep it up,
    Taylor

  9. says

    In reading these comments, I see that I didn’t break the record — my late husband proposed to me on our second date and I asked “Are you kidding!” because that was a first for me, someone creeping up to old maid-hood. We were married seven months later and had a great 33 year run. You know who is the “one” right away, I think. It’s like the “ah ha” when you’ve solved the mystery of what your business really is.

    • says

      Yes, I knew within one week of meeting my husband that I would marry him. I also knew pretty quickly after I started writing that it was my passion. I love it! I am still a relative newbie in the writing world, but am hoping for a long run at writing, growing and learning along the way just like my marriage.

  10. says

    Good stuff Cindy, I enjoy writing that tilts at the windmills of convention, political correctness and staid behaviour. I believe you do all of those very well.

    Here’s an interesting observation, after reading your post, I guessed your age to be similar to that of my sons or even younger, perhaps late twenties to mid thirties. (Yes I am one of Danny’s older followers).

    I was sufficiently intrigued that I followed the link to your blog, I am glad I did. I was also surprised to discover a reference to your age in an older post.

    I do not mean that your writing lacks maturity, quite the opposite, but it is refreshing to know that a blogger past the first blush of youth can still express the zest for life and sense of humour so often extinguished by approaching middle age.

    You are correct about honesty, I know the contrarian and politically incorrect flavour of my own blog alienates some more liberal visitors, that doesn’t worry me at all. I sleep well at night remembering the old maxim: “To thine own self be true”

    Good luck in the competition.

    • says

      Such intelligent commentary, Peter! Thank you so much for reading and enjoying my work. I am actually quite diverse in what I write and would like to do some more serious writing in the future, but I get a kick out of life and have a desire to share that first and foremost, at least for now. Funny that you thought I was so young! That made me laugh out loud.

  11. says

    Cindy,
    Love this post and great ideas! You are so dead on with your ideas and just like Danny says, Engagement is everything! Well you engaged me and I have “liked” your FB page and will be following your blog!
    Thanks from a new fan!

  12. says

    With a defect in my long-term bonding gene, and a malformed commitment organ, the title of this post immediately made me wince and start to run. I screwed up my courage and read to the end. I’m glad I did.

    A good analogy on an the intricate topic of building engagement.

    • says

      I love titles. I literally wrote saw this contest and had about one hour to do the piece. The idea came to me immediately and I just knew it was a good idea. Thank you for confirming it by reading and saying you were glad you did. I appreciate that!

  13. says

    Freaking brilliant post! I laughed my way through most of it.

    You sound a lot like me, and it’s always fun to find kindred spirits who walk the line between improper and refined, smart, and everything else. :)

    Your lessons sound very much like what I’ve learned in the last year. I deal with fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, as I’m sure every true entrepreneur does at one point or the other. But I finally tapped that part of myself that shamelessly craves attention (like on my infrequent trips to nightclubs) and decided to put that part of myself online. I agonized over it for so long, worrying that people wouldn’t like the real me, and realized that’s stupid.

    If they don’t like me, I don’t have to buy them a drink, and they can go on their merry way. (I love your analogies!)

    Now I’m having a great time and the more I look, the more I fun other fun marketers and bloggers to talk to.

    Thanks for your post – it was fun and educational.

    P.S. Your man and Danny’s wife are lucky. I made mine wait two years – until I was 18. We’re now over 7 years in and he’s still surprising me – and vice versa. ;)

    • says

      Wow, you do sound a lot like me! I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece and that we’ve had the chance to connect here. I love analogies and love it when people “get” them! Thanks so much for reading ;0)

  14. says

    So nice to meet you Blabbity-Blah-Blah! Say, is that your perfume I smell or is it … omg, say it is! ;-)

    Now really, with the length of your article Blabbity-Blah-Blah really fits! But, I’m glad you didn’t leave any of it out. All great stuff, Cindy.

    Humor is a tough thing – especially for a reading audience but you’ve done well, you brave soul. Congratulations! And great work on your article here. Very, very helpful to those in their early stages or contemplating that “publish now” button for the first time!

    • says

      Thank you so much for these comments! You are right, I am very long-winded. I am sometimes required to do posts which are 300-500 for submissions and I pull my hair out! It’s pure torture for me to write a piece that short. If I can keep a person’s attention (additionally, mostly strangers here since I am new to this forum) as long as I did with this article, I have high hopes that I can do the same with a book someday. I appreciate your compliments. They help confirm that I am on the right track.

      • says

        Boy, I agree! What can you really say in 300-500 words? Yet, it really causes you to think, doesn’t it? I mean, can you distill your message down to the relevant key points and still be entertaining and even humorous? Sometimes not!

        I just want to say that coming back here now and seeing the interaction you’ve garnered has really impressed me. Whether or not you “win the contest” is, in my mind, immaterial. You really should feel confident that you can write that book you have in mind and capture a great audience.

        Good luck to you Cindy! Stay the course! :-)

  15. says

    Absolutely loved this post Cindy! Thank you! And thanks Danny for featuring it on your site!
    You made some great points on engagement and I see your words in action everyday and I could not agree more. It is probably the reason why people love going to small stores where they are recognized by name and engaged with. You know, have a human talk to you and express interest other than just trying to make a sale.
    In fact, some big companies have also embraced true genuine people love and interaction in their daily operations. I still remember the day when the friendly checkout lady at Trader Joe’s broke open a dark chocolate bar and gave me a piece to try out just because I expressed interest. No sale requirement, just genuine interest and engagement.
    And that is the reason that I keep going back-for the experience. And for the positive engagement. Great companies and blogs and establishments really love to engage with others and offer them an experience. And oh yeah, they may also happen to sell products that we feel for and associate with. We buy not because we are made a sales pitch but because it feels natural to do so and then we broadcast to the world as to how great it was. I think that this genuine engagement cannot be pretended. It has to come from the heart with the intention of love and connection and giving true value and creating relationships as you mentioned.
    Thanks again for a truly wonderful post!
    Harish

    • says

      Harish, thank you for these comments! You are so right about the small store experience. If I get dark chocolate handed to me by a stranger, I am putty in their hands, LOL!

      • says

        Harish, you won $100 for this comment! I am beyond excited for you. Congratulations. Thank you so much for your words. Commenting like a rock star pays!

  16. says

    Great piece, Cindy! (If only my dating life could work like my blog life! Ha!) This is really great advice, and really nicely packaged in a friendly, memorable, and humorous way. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • says

      Thank you, Khara! I have so loved getting into writing and engaging in the writing world. There are so many talented people out there, yourself included, and it has been my pleasure to connect with everyone. Thanks for reading my piece and for the comments!

  17. says

    Nice Cindy.
    It’s time somebody broke the silence on rejection vs spiders.

    So tell us, how many times did your proposals get turned down?

    Keep up the good work, cutie.

    Lin

  18. Stacey says

    Great tips Cindy! Enjoyed this one and so glad to know your underwear are clean. I was afraid to ask.

  19. says

    Loved the use of relationship analogy. Love the talk about the big hairy monster of rejection. Looks like we have all taken Nair to it! Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • says

      I am getting really good at standing up to the big hairy monsters in life. I guess after you face them all, they’re not so scary anymore ;0)

  20. says

    Freddy Krueger and Donald Trump’s hair made me laugh but your take on fear had me pegged. No way could I stop reading! Great bits of useful information, thanks, Cindy. Now I have to look up the mysterious whitelisting thing to find out about dirty laundry. Does it need to be washed or not? That’s how green I am!

  21. says

    Cindy, thank you! My travel blog is about 8 months old and I marvel that people come back, but I’m doing some of the things you recommended. Great advice — thanks for sharing your success story! And for giving us permission to fart in public! ;-)

    • says

      I’m glad you got some confirmation. I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants (and even though that sounds like a fart reference, it wasn’t) after I started my blog, then started branching out and reading tips from other experts. I am always amazed that I’m already doing most of what they recommend. It takes a lot of time and work to keep people coming back, but I’ve found that it’s soooo worth it! Thanks for taking the time to read my piece ;0)

  22. says

    There’s a reason why I frequent Everyday Underwear. Cindy is refreshingly real. She’s honest, no matter what the topic, and she isn’t afraid to put herself out there. I love that. I can’t think of a better way to show people who you are. I really admire Cindy.

  23. Leanne Sparks says

    Proof that farts are always funny….period.
    Really enjoyed the blog! Great information for a writer just starting out on this journey. There are definitely tips in here I plan on utilizing.

    Leanne

  24. says

    Keeping it real as usual Cindy. I was thinking of you yesterday when another blogger I follow claimed 2013 as the “Year You Piss People Off” http://bit.ly/10ZMlv0
    Meaning you can’t worry about what anyone else thinks. You can’t let anyone else define what you say, or write about. You have to honest, open and you. That’s what I appreciate about your blog and admire about you personally.

    • says

      I read the piece, Lynne, and woo-hoo! I AM on the right track. Not to mention that it’s sort of freaky that there is a reference to a chainsaw carved tiki in the post because I have one in my garage – for real! (My husband does chainsaw carving and he did one).

      You know, in all seriousness, I have prepared myself for pissing people off and have run into it far fewer times than anticipated. I have a theory about that and it’s not that I’m lucky. It has to do with showing people the real me, like you said.

      I always appreciate your words, Lynne, and am glad to know you :)

    • says

      One thing at a time, Preeva! The key is to not overwhelm yourself. Just do what you can when you can and keep at it. Thanks for reading my piece.

  25. says

    I am in awe of your blogging ability, Cindy. I love to write fiction but when it comes to blogging, I find myself wandering aimlessly through my house while talking to myself and biting my nails down to nubs. You’ve given me inspiration; maybe there’s hope yet.

  26. says

    In awe? Wow, that makes me sound mighty impressive. I would go check out my blog myself if I wasn’t already writing it, LOL!

    And yes, there’s always hope and I am always happy to provide inspiration. Stop biting your nails. You need those nubs to type ;)

  27. says

    Coming across “Will You Marry Me?” today makes me think you wrote it just for me. I just started my own blog a few weeks ago and I have no clue what I am doing.
    I spent the last 2 days just trying to find some blogs, any blogs. Finally I figured out that there are blog directories where I could go looking for blogs. What I was looking for was to see how other blogs looked and how they worked. I hoped to find something that looked a little like what I want to do.
    That’s when I stumbled upon your blog. While lucking into your tips, which are useful for amatures like myself, I also got to see a lighthearted, fun blog, both attributes I hope my blog will have. The lighthearted, fun attributes, not the amatuer attribute.
    As soon as I am done this comment I am heading to your actual blog site to read other posts to see how you set yours up, and to laugh some more. For me nothing makes reading more enjoyable then humour and you are humorous.
    Now I will ask you a favor. I haven’t gotten anyone to read my blog who I can’t guilt in to it. And as you might think their evaluations aren’t to be trusted. So I am going to leave a link to a post I wrote a few days ago about fear. It’s titled, New Year, No Fear. The link is: http://www.blogfreemaine.com/new-year-no-fear/, I did it this way because I don’t know how to do it right.
    If you would take a minute to read it and let me know what you think, no false praise-see above, that would mean alot to me.
    Lastly I hope that my request doesn’t rate as stalking as I don’t want the first comment I’ve left on a blog that isn’t my own to be considered stalking.

  28. says

    Jim, I will be happy to look at your site/piece and get back to you. The longer I am a blogger, the more I learn and sometimes I forget how much I actually know! One tip I can give you right now is to get a great profile pic and use it fairly consistently everywhere you go online. I notice you don’t have one here. People want to connect, they want to know you, and they want to see that you are real and not a spam-bot. And don’t worry, I will give you honest feedback after I check out your blog :) Congratulations just for putting yourself out there in the blogging world! That is the most important step of all.

  29. says

    What a thorough and entertaining post! So often, these kinds of editorials stop short of saying anything USEFUL. They’re funny, yes, but they don’t share anything of worth. But this one is great. Really well written, Cindy.

    • says

      Gosh, thank you, Melanie! This piece just “felt right” from the minute I started it. Your comment gives me additional confirmation that it was right on. I appreciate that :)

  30. says

    My favorite split personality blogger friend scores a hit again! Excellent post, both with the engagement anaolgies and the oh-so-helpful advice and information!
    You are definately building a platform my friend, built on the sturdy foundation of your humor, your consistent reponses and ‘egnagement’ with your followers, and your steady stream of well developed posts. (Most delivered amonst a flurry of laughter, other than your few serious here and there.)
    Good luck! You should win, it will be well deserved. (Where’s those judges? Let me at em!)

  31. says

    Great article, Cindy! I really needed to hear some good, honest talk from someone who started out with the same feelings I have. I’ve found success with a humorous short story I wrote, and am currently working on a novel that I’ve been hacking away at since 2009. It’s almost ready for the editor, but today I got caught up in feeling doubt, worrying about the response to my mildly caustic brand of humor and possibly angering people instead of making them laugh. Your words were encouraging as well as informative – and I like your style. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks! It’s always great to hear when people really do get something informative, encouraging, or uplifting from something I write. Especially when they are perfect strangers. So nice to make your acquaintance – I look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere!

      • says

        Hi Cindy,

        Pursuing a dream takes guts, dedication and vision. When in your heart something feels so right, so real, initially one is amazed the rest of the world can’t recognize its glory. That’s often true in Love and Romance. Artists, wordsmiths, creative, we’re a lucky bunch, minds so rich and full of possibilities that we let it out. Ideas and feelings course through us from a place deep inside. Then comes a moment of enlightenment and we understand that in sharing our passion, allowing what’s within to flow free, we are not diminished. You express that so well. Thanks for sharing you strategies, your hints and truths.

        Fear of failure, or acceptance, wavers in confidence, are part of the process, part of the price to be paid for the opportunity to express our selves. Confidence comes in knowing that releasing one thought makes room for the next. ( yah, just like farting!)

        My eyes sparked at your references to the Romance of writing, the passions that drive and define you. It is a topic I have undertaken to explore through my blog at http://www.re-romance.com. There was a time, not that long ago when Romance was a way of life. At its core was the pursuit of a passion, about finding and fulfilling a dream. Romance was a mood, woven into our connection with our known universe and the feelings that reached deep in our soul.
        I invite you to visit my blog, offer your comments, expand the conversation and help share tools to allow people to rediscover Romance. From reading your post, I can tell you know that true Romance is not a fairy tale, a story that exists only in ancient times, far off places or other worlds. The real magic of Romance is here and now. When open to the possibility of Romance, its magic flows into the hearts of those who understand its nature.

        I look forward to establishing a dialogue with you.

        • says

          Well, I didn’t mention this engagement point, but your comment is an SEO dream. You mentioned the word “Romance” nine times – a full three times the magic SEO number – LOL! I will be happy to check out your blog when time allows. Sounds like you are very passionate about what you do! :)

  32. Kristina says

    Love the message,, I just had an article in my Precious Stones online magazine, the article is from a mans prospective, dealing with dating etc, If applicable I would like to put bits of your article along side it since some things are identical