Join me today in welcoming author and blogger Robbie Cheadle to the guest post stage. In this write-up, Robbie explains how her blog Robbie’s Inspiration came to be, as well as chatting about her new website Bake and Write. You may recall her guest post last year about the dangers of over-exercising. Welcome back, Robbie! Let’s give her our attention now:
Why do I blog?
As far back in my life as I can remember, I have always made up stories and, frequently, acted them out for others. I have always liked to share my thoughts and ideas and for others to share theirs in return.
I remember when I was in the first grade, organising my entire class into a game that involved each child running away from an elected witch or else being caught and eaten. As break time drew towards its end, the game grew more and more wild and exciting, as the witch did her best to catch as many children as possible. The participants were so rowdy and boisterous that no-one heard the bell ring and none of us went to class. Naturally, as the ring leader, I got into trouble with the nuns and my Mother was told about my unladylike behaviour.
In the middle of the second grade, my best friend, Susan, and I had the bright idea of writing and producing plays for our class. The entire class would be cast and every child would have a role, of course, I have always been very inclusive. Our teacher was very accommodating; she gave us time each Friday to perform the plays to the other Grade 2 classes. Susan’s mother was a teacher at our school which may have been an influencing factor. These were very happy days and all the children were very enthusiastic to be part of the plays and performances.
As I got older I carried on writing but it changed to a diary and poetry which I no longer shared. Teenagers and young women in their twenties don’t go about wearing their hearts and thoughts on their sleeves.
As an adult, I suddenly started writing poetry again after years of only writing non-fiction books in my capacity as a corporate financier and chartered accountant. Quite suddenly, one morning, I was watching my son, Michael, and my niece, Emily playing with fondant when a whole poem popped into my head, almost ready made. This poem opened the sluice gates of my mind and poems started pouring into my head. I have always been fortunate, in that when I get an idea for a poem, the words just slot together and flow out of my fingers onto paper. I was enjoying sharing my poems with family and friends but there were so many that I felt I couldn’t keep inflicting them on my poor relatives. I needed a new audience. Preferably an audience who also liked reading and writing. I started my blog called Robbies Inspiration, a free wordpress blog.
The decision to start a blog to showcase my poetry and other writing coincided with the publication of Michael and my first book in the Sir Chocolate series. Our entry into the published world was fraught with mishaps and my learning curve was very steep. I had to up my skills on design, colour, photography, font, text layout and book sizing. I also had to learn about social media, self-promotion, writing author posts, participating in flash fiction prompts, photograph prompts and poetry challenges. I had to find out what haikus, tankas and haibuns were and practice writing them [that was so much fun].
I learned about photograph and backgrounds, high shots, low shots and colour enhancement. I discovered the art of editing and learned about characterization, building a fantasy world, writing a series and so much more. A lot of what I needed to know was out there in the blogoshere. I gradually became more and more drawn into the world of blogging and sharing. I discovered that bloggers are the most amazing people ever, they share and they care. The teach you, give loads of free advice and even pick you up when you feel low. I have come to love blogging more and more and am very involved with my blogily [to coin the phrase of a well know blogger].
One thing I learned about posts very quickly was that photographs and picture are big draw cards. I also soon realised that free wordpress blogs have limited amounts of picture space. Eighteen months into my blog I am already slightly over 40% into my picture space. I have learned some tricks like saving the picture, or better yet a picture collage, as a PowerPoint slide and then converting it to a jpeg. This reduces the size of the picture/s considerably.
I realise the importance of my blog to me as both a marketing tool, a learning tool and a meeting place for friends. That is why I decided to start another, paid blog so that I could use both, thereby reducing the picture content on Robbie’s Inspiration as I can blog on the new blog, Bake and Write, and post the link to my older blog. It is also a way of gradually transferring my existing friendships across to a more permanent home at Bake and Write.
I had Bake and Write professionally designed and I am delighted with the look and feel of it. The designer was able to do all sorts of things I would have struggled to do myself like include purchase links to my books and a live feed from Instagram. All my social media links are showcased and I can save my pictures directly to my Pinterest. I am sure some bloggers can do this themselves but I was finding it quite a struggle. The design of Bake and Write is also in line with my author business cards and author banner.
About Michael and Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, is now available.
Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s books
Sir Chocolate books are currently available in hard copy and as eBooks, with A5 format for children 6-9 years and square format for younger kids aged 2-5 years. Find them at Amazon or TSL Publications.
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet live in Chocolate land where you can eat absolutely everything. Join them on a fantastic adventure to find the amazing strawberry cream berry and learn how to make some of their scrumptious recipes at the same time.