Sunday, 30 August 2015

Guests on my blog - Welcome Anita Hunt

How absolutely flattering and heart warming to receive the replies so speedily for my project - Guests on my blog.

After reading all the wisdom in the responses from Jeanette Levellie, I had to re-read and I took notes. It just goes to show how much talent, wisdom and valuable sharing happens with the input from experienced writers like Jeanette.

And I promise you, there is more wisdom on it's way. Fellow blogger and (first) name sake Anita Hunt, from her blog: Gathering the Stones, has also managed to divulge more pearls of wisdom and given insights into her source of energy, ideas and hints for bloggers everywhere.

Enjoy your read

With the utmost pleasure I present;

The 10 answers to questions from:
Anita Hunt from Scattering the Stones

1.     What came first- writing or blogging and how long have you been a blogger?

Writing came first. Journaling was and is still an important part of my personal relationship with God.

I have been blogging for 8 years. During this time, I have read a lot of material on writing and blogging, which has been helpful.

In 2007 I began a small business selling my personalised greeting cards that included my botanical photography and design. I began blogging as a way to complement my cards, and share information about plants and visiting gardens for my readers. I learned early on that blogging is a very important part of your marketing strategy.

In 2009 my children’s novel, ‘Matty-boy and the Secret Pigeon Racket’, was published, which has the underlying message – ‘If you are being bullied, please tell someone’. Blogging complemented this message and helped to build an audience, giving information on where to go for help if you are affected by these issues.

In 2011 I began Scattering the Stones Christian ministry, with a mix of devotions, courses and encouragement.

2.    As a blogger, how do you decide on topics and regularity to place posts on your blog? What would you not share – (e.g. specific topic?)

With each of the three topics I have written about – flowers, anti-bullying, and Christian devotions, I have learned how important it is to know and understand your ‘why’ before you begin. Why do you want to blog about this? If you are passionate and dedicated to the ‘why,’ it will help you write material for your target audience.

My ministry is focused on helping those who are hurting find hope through their difficulties, as well as specific Bible teaching in a devotional capacity. My posts will always be lined up with this focus. Occasionally I may share a post that falls outside of this structure, but will always connect in some way.

In terms of when to post, it’s vital to research when your target audience is most likely to read your posts. In the past I have completed various trials and analysed which specific days and times are best. Consistency is more important, so that your readers know when to expect a post from you.

A question I always ask myself before writing a post is – ‘Will this subject benefit my readers?’ if I’m not sure, I journal about it first. Through this process is helps you to see if it’s more of a private cathartic exercise rather than for public consumption. This helps particularly when going through a difficult time.

3.    Are reader’s numbers and responses important to you? Do these two items influence your writing?

Numbers and responses are always going to be there in the blogger’s life. There are a number of reasons why these may be important to you, particularly if your aim is to find a publisher.

If you read books, articles, and posts by marketing gurus and building your platform experts, numbers and responses will be key in analysing what is working and what isn’t. Sadly, it can either become an ego trip or a trigger for major discouragement.

Balance is key.

Numbers can all too easily become the guiding influence rather than the Holy Spirit.

When I graduated from Bible College, I was handed a piece of paper with the words – ‘For the audience of One’. This is probably one of the best things I received, because if God is leading me to write a post, I must be confident in the knowledge it is for someone or a group of specific people. I have to lay the results in His hands. I just have to trust and obey.

4.    The Blogger’s world has become ‘a place to be’ for non-published writers – I also see that a number of Bloggers now also use Facebook as a writing platform – do you also combine these two media options?

Blogging is important whether you are published or non-published.

If you have written and published a book, the journey has only just begun. No one will buy it, or get the chance to read it, if they don’t know it’s available. Blogging is a vital tool for marketing your material.

If you are seeking to become published, publishers will first look to see if you are building a platform, and whether you have an audience before they consider you, so building your blog first is crucial.

Publishing has changed hugely over the years. Self-publishing is much more common and the internet is the new publishing model. It provides, dare I say it, an accessible platform, to share your message from, but it can also be hard to be seen and heard when there are millions of other websites.

When I think about it, it still amazes me that within seconds of publishing a post, someone on the other side of the world can read it. Blogging can sometimes open more doors than focusing on the traditional paperback. This is where our responsibility as Christian writers is underlined, because what we write about will influence others, so we must be careful with what we write.

The internet has provided us with a number of other opportunities to grow our audience, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc… to video such as YouTube and Periscope, and each of these can be a useful tool in reaching our audience… Just because we have a variety of Social Media avenues it doesn’t mean they are the best for our particular community. We need to be where our niche is. If you don’t know, ask them J.

I do use Facebook, with a page for my blog, and private groups. For me, the groups work best, as a place where you can discuss and grow, building on from your blog posts. As Pages have become more monetary focused, it’s hard to build a follower base and share your content with them, due to Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm.

5.    Publishing- ( a multi question )

5a. Have you considered publishing any of your blog posts?
5b. In what form?
5c. If you have published – what process did you follow in choosing the ‘right’ material?

5a. It’s certainly an area to consider, but needs to be much more than just purely publishing your posts. Platforms such as Amazon prefer new material, or at least built upon work, so using your pre published blog posts as a structure to work from could be the way to go.

5b. I haven’t published my blog posts in book format. If I do, it will probably be in the format of a free report for my subscribers.

In the past I published an Advent Reflections eBook. After publishing it, I then built a specific website to complement the book with extras, and this worked well.

5c. In choosing material to publish, I have done a lot of research, to learn what is either missing or needed in my niche. There is no point in publishing a book no one wants to read, or has been done before, because the market is huge and often saturated with similar content.

6.    What is your motivation to Blog and share?

My main motivation to blog is to share the hope we have in Jesus, and what God places on my heart, to encourage others in their relationship with Him.

7.    Is writing your main activity or a much loved hobby?

It has become my main activity. I am working on building more material in various formats such as podcasting, and providing a range of services such as coaching. I am currently working on developing a Christian blogging website with a coaching format for new bloggers.

8.    Are there unforeseen repercussions due to blogging?

You have to be dedicated to your ‘why’ that I mentioned in a previous question, and put time aside for it. It can be wonderful, but also discouraging and exhausting if you don’t put strategies in place, and lose sight of why you are doing it.

9.    What are (if any) main hurdles to overcome- to start a blog?

·            It takes more time that you think to plan, write, and share.
·            It takes far more time to build a presence than it does to begin a blog.
·            You have to be prepared to persevere if you want to do it well.
·            It can be tempting to compare yourself with other writers.
·            At some point you will more than likely want to give up, so having a good support system behind you will help to look at the pros and cons of continuing.

10. Can you give beginner bloggers your 3 most valuable tips to a successful blog?

1.     Take your time in thinking and planning your blog.

*Why do you want to do it?
*What do you expect to gain from it?
*What does success look to you?
*Are you prepared to pray, plan, and persevere when the tough gets going?

2.    Don’t be tempted to be the next Sharon Jaynes, Ann Voskamp etc… we don’t need a copy; we want to hear what you have to say.

3.    Choose your blogging platform carefully. Free isn’t always best. I recommend a self-hosted blog such as with your own domain name.

Anita Hunt – Scattering the Stones

Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and insights into the world of blogging with me Anita. I have enjoyed getting to know you better. Your tips will also be referred to in future I am sure.

Thank you for asking Anita, I hope what I shared will be helpful to your readers. God bless.

Readers, believe me there is something weird about addressing someone in your own name. It makes me smile though.

Do you want to find out more about Anita and her blog contents- then go to the link:

Anita's blog: Scattering the Stones

Happy reading


  1. Hi Anita :-)

    Thanks again for your kind invitation to guest post on your lovely blog.
    God bless


    1. My pleasure Anita. Thanks too for your tips for aspiring bloggers.