March 30, 2013 (42nd  CBW-LA meetup): Blogging Workshop with Arlee Bird

On the 30th of March, 2013, I had the immense pleasure of meeting in person awesome blogger and A-Z Blogfest founder Arlee Bird.

Arlee and I became bloggy buddies, thanks to his famous A-Z blogfest. I had no idea that Arlee lived in L.A.  Luckily, I found out about this fact, thanks to my fellow CBW-LA officer Alana (also a prolific blogger), who had interviewed Arlee for her local newspaper article.

I asked Alana to invite Arlee to do a workshop for CBW-LA, and Arlee kindly agreed.

Arlee’s workshop focused on how blogging builds author platform. Lee began the workshop by introducing himself, and talking about his origins both as a writer and a blogger.

arlee bird the writer


Blogger and A-Z Blogfest Founder Arlee Bird

His parents were professional jugglers, and soon he and sister became part of the act. His family spent their summer vacations touring and performing in front of crowds.  Lee developed his love for stories through the many intriguing folks he and his family met, thanks to juggling.

juggling jackson modified


The Juggling Jacksons, Arlee, his parents and his sister

When Lee decided he would try out blogging, he decided on the title Tossing It Out, as a reference not only to his roots as a professional juggler, but also as a reference to his love for juggling words.

During the workshop, Lee encouraged us to think about why we write—whether it be for fun, for self-expression, or for publication. He said that our answers will also define why we blog.

Lee answered the following questions during the course of his workshop:

What Is A Blog?

Why Blog?

What Is Platform?

How Can Blogging Help Establish Platform?

Is Blogging Enough?

Are the “Internet Time Sucks” Enough?

How Do I Start My Blog?

So I’ve Got a Blog–Now What?

arlee bird and cbwla

Blogger and A-Z Blogfest Founder Arlee Bird speaking to CBW-LA members

Lee defined author platform as:

Ÿ  Who you are

Ÿ  What you can do

Ÿ  Where you can be found

Ÿ  Who your audience or customer base is

Ÿ  What you have done


Through blogging, we are able to establish our author platform by:           

Ÿ  Building relationships

Ÿ  Displaying our abilities

Ÿ  Sharing our news

Ÿ  Creating a community via our interaction with other bloggers

Ÿ  Establishing credibility

Ÿ  And building our SEO skills


Lee discussed other social media venues where we can expand our following/author platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Triberr and Google Plus.

Lee also spoke about What Not to Do when blogging, such as tell people too much about our lives, get into fights, or leave comments on other people’s blogs that we might later regret.

In the second part of the workshop, Lee talked about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. He explained what the challenge was, and how he had come up with the idea.

arlee bird why i began tossing it out


Lee explained the benefits of joining the A-Z Blogging challenge. Not only was the challenge fun, it would also encourage discipline and creativity, since we would have to write up posts matching a specific letter for each day. The A-Z challenge would also help us network and get noticed, which would help our author platform.

Lee cited several of our bloggy friends as prime examples of the A-Z’s success:

Damyanti used the A-Z as a spring board for her works of fiction and later published her entries in an ebook entitled A-Z Stories of Life and Death.

damyanti book modified

Blogger Doris Plaster, inspired by her A-Z posts also published Home Sweet Nursing Home: An A-Z Collection of 50 Word Stories on Aging and Healthcare.

home sweet nursing home by doris plaster

We mentioned how Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh’s army of thousands of bloggers help him promote his Cassastar Series, and support him on his many challenges. (We also discussed theories on how Alex is able to balance blogging, writing, performing in a band, working and attending to his family, citing being an alien or a wizard as possibilities. :) )


Mini Alex and CassaStorm modified


Lee patiently answered a lot of questions on blogging and social media. He ended the workshop by encouraging the attendees to go home and start a blog tonight.

Thanks to his workshop, many of our members were inspired to begin their own blogs and join the A-Z:

Lucy Ravitch
Chontali Kirk
Michael Cahill
Kate Conrad
Christina Romero


And of course, our members who already had blogs, discovered ways to gain more followers and make more connections online.

Samantha Combs
Alana Garrigues
Jennifer Carson


Our big thanks to Arlee Bird for coming out and speaking to CBW-LA

If you’d like to know more about Arlee, check out his many blogs:        Tossing It Out         Wrote By Rote       A Faraway View         A Few Words         The Blogging from A to Z Challenge Blog



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23 Responses to “March 30, 2013 (42nd CBW-LA meetup): Blogging Workshop with Arlee Bird”

  1. That’s just too cool! I bet he was a great speaker. Good for those members who were inspired to start a blog and dive straight into the challenge – I hope they’re getting on all right.

  2. mooderino says:

    Great idea for a workshop, and great person to give it.

    Moody Writing

  3. Sounds like a great workshop. Wish I lived close enough to attend.

  4. Lee certainly knows his stuff!
    And as long as no one finds my cloning machine, my blogging secrets are safe.

  5. Sounds like a great workshop. “Why we write: whether it be for fun, for self-expression, or for publication” — all of the above!

  6. Arlee Bird says:

    Nutschell, it was such a pleasure! Thank you for this very nice recap of the afternoon. You and your entire group were a delight to might and work with and it left me with a highly favorable impression of CBW-LA.

    Thank you for the additional links to other blogs that I hadn’t heard about yet. So far I’ve been very impressed by Lucy, Chontali, and Michael’s blogs. They all have an aptitude for blogging and have created outstanding sites. Now I’ll go check the other ones.

    We are spreading the word about blogging and its advantages to writers!

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  7. Nicole says:

    Writers who are interested in blogging can learn a lot from participating in the A to Z Challenge and I’m glad that members of your writing group workshop were able to learn a great deal from Lee, about what it takes to start a blog and grow their readership. Having been familiar with a few of his blogs for some time, I was aware of his family history and juggling experience; it is amazing what can come of one idea…community, publishing opportunities, media attention (like Alana’s newspaper article) and friends who we can hang out with online and offline, all thanks to Arlee Bird and his founding of the A to Z Challenge!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with hosting the workshop with him. This is a nice feature that you posted here :)

    #atozchallenge Co-Host

  8. Jeff Bowen says:

    Very cool! Any video of the event?

  9. tcavey says:

    So much great information here!

    Juggling, that made me interested right off the bat and made me smile.

  10. Sunni Morris says:

    Wow Lee!

    I had no idea you came from a family of jugglers.

    It looks like your workshop was a success. I checked out some of the blog links posted.


  11. Wanda says:

    Way cool that you guys got to meet and learn from the A-Z founder. Arlee has done a great job expanded the challenge.

  12. Jagoda says:

    Lee has been a wonderful online mentor to many. I “met” him via a discussion thread on LinkedIn and am so grateful I did. I started my non-fiction blog ( at his encouragement. I also signed up for the A to Z challenge. He continues to visit and comment–a great supporter. Thanks for writing about his workshop. I’m not surprised he inspired people to start blogging.

  13. I bet Lee was awesome! Thanks for passing this along. The pic of his family is so cool!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  14. Stephen Tremp says:

    One of these days I’m going to hook up with Lee since we live so close. Great post and thanks for having Lee as a guest blogger.

  15. Al Diaz says:

    It must have been great to take that workshop. Arlee looks like a great person to meet face to face. Very good advice here for those (like me) who do not have plenty of experience in the blogging world.

  16. How cool is that Nutschel! It would be awesome to get to meet some blogger buddies face-to-face, especially Arlee!

  17. What a fantastic post, Nutschell. Really. This is one of the best I’ve read in a long time and how great for you to have Arlee present at your workshop.

  18. Stephen T. McCarthy says:

    Ha! Man, you look EXACTLY like a professor standing up there at the front of the class. Central Casting couldn’t have provided someone with a more appropriate look!

    I think I feel a new nickname comin’ on: Professor Boidman.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  19. Misha says:

    Sounds so great! Lee is one of my favorite bloggers. :-)

  20. Very impressive, Lee, what a nice presentation!
    I agree with McCarthy boy, you look very professional, just like a college professor. They couldn’t have chosen better guest speaker.

    Thank you for being such a great blogging and writing mentor.

  21. Daron Henson says:

    Thank you for this synopsis of the writer’s convention on March 30th. I was enable to attend do to time constraints, however, I will try to attend the next one and other similar writer’s conventions.

    Thank you.

  22. Stephen T. McCarthy says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Of course that one has been “dead” for a long time now. I still have a political blog that’s active, but I doubt that would be your cuppa…

    But thanks for reading and commenting.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  23. deniz says:

    Thanks for sharing Arlee’s workshop with those of us that couldn’t be there!

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