How I Started Blogging and My Favorite Writing Books

Since I learned what letters and words do, I’ve put them together to convey ideas or just for fun. In college, I was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, I was an interning editor for an educational catalog/magazine for three summers, and even interned at a large hospital writing/editing their internal newsletter. All this meant that I was THAT person. You know, the one who has marked up style guides and grammar handbooks. I loved writing and creating my own publications and homemade books as a child. So, it seemed inevitable that I would take to blogging as well. Between my being super organized, a good planner, and a good writer, it was a natural fit.

I began blogging in 2009 to document my move to Ireland from California. That blog, Slainté Cork still exists though I don’t post there often. After a few years, I started focusing beyond expat/immigrant life to cooking and then to crafts. Sharing myself and my interests genuinely as if I’m writing to a friend. In 2014, I founded my publishing company, Anchor and Bee. It was a big step and it felt so huge, but it was just one smaller step in a massive process. I feel like I must be doing something right because I’ve won three national blog awards (two gold, one bronze) for EvinOK and was recruited to reshape and develop a tech company’s blog, which won a national award (gold) 18 months after I began the job. Through my work, there was much focus on the end readers, empathy, and meeting their needs. Considering who is reading my words and connecting with them as I would a friend or neighbour. In all my experience, which is more each day but I’m still learning so much, I have accumulated some tips I share when asked for advice.

My Blogging Tips

  1. Persistence and patience.
  2. Know your goals.
  3. Be flexible/adaptable.
  4. Plan your content.
  5. Share your content again and again, at carefully planned intervals.
  6. Build a community and practice empathy.
  7. Be gracious and acknowledge or refer others.


a bookshelf with writing and nonfiction books lined up


I’m sharing lists of books I rely on and find useful, as well as a few on my wish list that I know will be excellent. The writing process list of books is heavily influenced by my blogging content focus.

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links. None of the links are though. If you make a purchase through this link, I may get a small amount at no cost to you. I earn about £25 a year from Amazon Affiliate links and I use that money to buy more books, usually for my kids. Having said that, I strongly encourage you to purchase and order books from your local bookstores whenever possible. is a good resource for ordering from a local bookstore.


Writing Process Books

These inspire and get you thinking about your content and how to express it. Many of these focus on blog content, which is a prevalent platform.

Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley (sign up for her newsletter, seriously)

On Writing by Stephen King

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley

The Content Code by Mark W. Schaefer (definitely subscribe to his blog or follow him on LinkedIn)

Born to Blog by Mark W. Schaefer

Content Machine by Dan Norris

Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew or the latest version Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K Le Guin

Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell (also on by Andy Maslen

Findability: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying: + 21 New Rules of Content Marketing for 2013 and Beyond (also available from by  Mr Randy M Milanovic

Getting Started

English Grammar Workbook for Dummies (UK Edition)

English Grammar in Use Supplementary Exercises with Answers

Oxford Practice Grammar: With Answers


Grammar & Rule Books

These are excellent reference and resource books.

The Elements of Style

The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (Penguin Reference Books)

How to Ask Survey Questions: 2 (Survey Kit) – I bought this in 1997 and use it A LOT

The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, Third Edition, With Exercises and Answer Keys or the latest version The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, With Exercises and Answer Keys

Eats shoots and leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

The Little Brown Handbook or the latest version The Little, Brown Handbook

Oxford Guide to Plain English (Oxford Paperback Reference)

Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation

New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide (Oxford Style Guides)

The New Oxford Guide to Writing

Leave a Reply