Writing for the Vintage Jewelry Team Blog: A Personal Journey

VJT blog – Journey

I really wasn’t thinking when I volunteered to write for the Vintage Jewelry Team blog. That’s not a negative comment. The team needed another writer for the blog, especially to do interviews of members, and I thought why not? Why not indeed? I have always been a writer, what I have never been was a speller or grammar person. We’ve got programs for those things now, right?

Tackling Spelling and Grammar Challenges 

VJT blog - scrambled lettersSeriously, I’m not kidding about the spelling and grammar. I remember once as a 5th grader studying five hours for a spelling test only to get a D. In the late fifties, no one thought that you could have a learning disability that effected spelling or for that matter, grammar.

Later, as a freshman in college in the early 70s, I had a progressive English teacher, who recognized that my problem wasn’t laziness or the lack of trying, it was something more like color blindness. I just couldn’t hear phonics to spell words or understand basic grammar like verb tenses. Since we didn’t have the ADA at that time, or computers, my professor took it upon herself to give me two grades, an A for writing and an F for grammar and spelling! I got through College English with a C. Without that professor, I’d probably still be trying to pass Freshman English.

So the first thing, I learned about writing for the blog is you don’t have to be perfect. We’ve got programs for the spelling and grammar, and an A+ proofreader. VJT member Lori from, Jeweled Rose 2, proofreads everything I write. Besides the other problems, I also leave out words. Lori catches every one of them and I am very grateful.

Learning to Drive

But back to the beginning; learning to write on the Blog was like learning to drive all over again. That is where our super knowledgeable and extremely patient blog administrator Bruce, our member from Estates in Time, came to my rescue.

First, Bruce insisted that I write on the blog, not in Word and then copy and paste. He was right. By writing on the blog, you can see the blog writing requirements and make adjustments while you create your piece. The blog is a different type of writing, not what I learned in college. The reason is Google’s AI robots, as mentioned in Marta’s article, “Positively AI: Artificial Intelligence for Human Beings.”

VJT - blog checklistA lot we do for the blog seemed silly to me at first. For example, each article needs a “keyword phrase.” In an interview article, we use the name of the shop being interviewed. The problem is that you have to use this phrase at least 20 times or more depending on the length of the article. This is a lot like someone who is constantly saying your name in a conversation. “Can I get you a drink, Margie? Margie do you like lemon in your water? That’s great Margie. I would be glad to get you one Margie.” Ugh. It’s awful, but necessary so that Google will see the article.

It’s a little like having a wonderful piece of vintage jewelry on Etsy. If you don’t do the things needed for the SEO to pick it up, customers won’t find it and you won’t sell it. So we all do what we have to do.

Words Counts

The blog loves counting everything. It also is good at telling you when you have too little or too much of a number of things they deem important.

Here are some counts on its hit list:

  • No more than 300 words before a subtitle.
  • Less than 150 words per paragraph.
  • Only 19 sentences allowed with 20 words or more.
  • Less than 10% passive voice sentences.
  • Need to use transition words in over 30% of the sentences.

And there is more. The blog wants the writing to be on the writing level of a 13-year-old. So, the blog counts how many three syllables words that are used. Sometimes, for technique articles, the writing level has to be higher level.

Passive Voice Sentences and Transition Words

I am still not sure what a passive voice sentence is in a practical way. I do know it is putting the subject at the end of the sentence.

An example of a passive voice sentence is: “I really wasn’t thinking when I volunteered to write for the Vintage Jewelry Team blog.”

An active voice sentence is: “I volunteered to write for the Vintage Jewelry Team blog without thinking.”

The blog wants more active voice sentences. But sometimes it is just not possible without changing the meaning of the sentence. Bruce is really good at getting the passive voice sentences under control within the meaning and the voice of the writer. I am still trying to figure it out how he does it!

I do understand transition words. They are supposed to keep the reader reading and push them further into the article. Sometimes they are just nonsense to me. How many time can you say, “therefore ” or “also” without wanting to scream? Regardless, we use them and need them.

Again, you don’t to be perfect or understand how the blog works. Bruce or I will help you.

Type of Articles 

On this blog, there are currently three types of articles.

VJT blog - CollaborationFirst, there are articles about a period or type of vintage jewelry. What is your expertise in vintage jewelry? What knowledge do you have that you are willing to share? I would love to see articles on Victorian jewelry and, primitive and folk art jewelry to name a few. Here is an example of this type of article: Jewelery Inspired by Celtic Styles during the 20th-Century

Second, are articles about an issue or information that could be helpful to members or other readers. These usually deal with online business issues or advice. What do you know about or have discovered that would help other business owners? Some ideas are: How to be a good online customer, how to win online auctions without paying too much, or how to inspire repeat customers. An example of a past article in this category: Photo Advice from VJT Members for Crisp Detailed Jewelry Photography

The third type of articles are interviews of a Vintage Jewelry Team members about their online shop. This is something I usually handle. They start with a series of questions that I will send you. You will answer the questions and send them back to me. I will put your answers in article form, add pictures and send a preview to you for your approval. Here an example of a team interview: The Hillbilly Hipster: Style, Professionalism, and Beautiful Jewelry

Opportunities for You

Currently, we publish four articles on the blog during a month. Two articles are written by a guest author or Bruce about vintage jewelry or online business issues The other two are member interviews.

If you would like to be a guest writer and have an idea you would like to write please contact me or Bruce and we will put you on the schedule. Then you will write it and pick out pictures to be used. Bruce or I will edit it for blog requirements.

If you would like your VJT shop to be interviewed, please contact me and I will send you the questions. After I receive your questions, I will schedule your article.

VJT blog – Be YourselfThere is another way you can help. You can become a regular contributor or editor. A regular contributor or editor will not only write but will responsible for following the blog writing standards.

Why Volunteer?

We all have busy lives. I get that. Here are my top reasons:

  • Share your expertise with others.
  • Promote yourself as an expert to customers and members.
  • Give your own shop some extra promotion.
  • Learn how to write on a blog or gain ideas that can help your own blog.
  • It is fun!

So let’s get back to my personal journey and what I have learned. I learned that I love to write and that I don’t have to be perfect. The best thing is that I have met some wonderful Vintage Jewelry Team Members who have become my friends. That’s a win in my book!

Margie Homan

6 thoughts on “Writing for the Vintage Jewelry Team Blog: A Personal Journey

  1. Darlene says:

    Margie ~ you have such wonderful writing skills, who knew so many considerations went into writing a blog, you do a fantastic job at it!
    Thank you! Bruce too! and all the contributors that make this an amazing blog!

    • Margie Homan says:

      Thanks, Darlene. It is my hope to encourage others to write for the blog. It sounds more complicated than it is. The important part is to have a good story to tell or meaningful information to share.

  2. marta estreich says:

    super cool~! glad i had you two experts to wrangle mine! now i am going to have to try to do this~! yikes!

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