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    • This is a panel of experts discussion on how you craft a personal story to share on Cake.

      I’ve invited a handful of regulars who are masters at building personal stories that captivate and fascinate the reader.

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      Dear Esteemed Panelists,

      Thank you for participating in this panel and sharing your wisdom with the influx of new users who have joined since Cake was profiled in USA Today newspaper (H/t @JeffersonGrahamPhoto).

      To make this as meaningful as possible,

      • Please share a link to one of your personal stories on Cake.

      • What made this story a good one to share publicly on Cake?

      • How long did it take to create this?

      What’s your typical writing process? (Outlines? Stream of consciousness first draft followed by proofread and editing?)

      • What specific advice do you have for prospective creators? (How to craft a title? How do you decide on a story? Is a photo or image required?)

      Note: I have a couple requests.

      One, that your first response be in paragraphs, not sentences: some people will put in over an hour crafting their response, so please put forth your best effort.

      Two, that you will create a new conversation if  an off-topic thought needs to be expressed.

      Sound reasonable?

    • What made this story a good one to share publicly on Cake?

      • How long did it take to create this?

      • What’s your typical writing process? (Outlines? Stream of consciousness first draft followed by proofread and editing?)

      • What specific advice do you have for prospective creators? (How to craft a title? How do you decide on a story? Is a photo or image required?)

      Insomnia is something that a lot of people can relate to, especially during the last several months. So I didn’t feel that I would be talking to an audience of none,

      As a writer, that’s important to me: I think people who create have a real need to have their creation seen. But with writing on Cake, the goal becomes raised to not only having a reaction to your reflection but to also start a conversation. It didn’t turn into a mega-thread lasting several months but it was a highly quality meaningful conversation with good peeps.

      I was dealing with insomnia past midnight when I wrote the above reflection in a stream of consciousness just keep writing without editing until you have nothing more to say. You don’t want your critical judge or editor to mess up the flow of your creativity. Better to get your thoughts down and then edit like crazy. I’d guess that piece took about an hour to craft, but I was in the creative flow while I was doing it so it could’ve taken a bit more or less—I lose track of time when the writing is going well.

      My advice? Whether you’re sharing a personal story in a comment, reply or conversation of your own, make it something that only you could tell. “I went to Puerto Rico to get a handcarved pipe” is more intriguing than “I went to Puerto Rico and here’s a photo of a sunset.” You are unique and so should be your stories.

    • Welcome to all the new Cakers or are we called “Cake makers” Maker being the word as we make conversations here. The story I’m going to share here is an ongoing story or a never-ending story. This is not my story but “our” story. On the weekends I become an armature photographer. Back when Google plus was an ongoing thing now defunked, there use to be many weekly themes you could join in on. I was a regular at one of these, not missing a week for many years. By shooting to a theme every week and aiming to improve on the last weeks shot I’ve improved my skill level. The idea of this story is for everyone to join in basically a community place so upload a shot taken each week to the theme of Mushrooms. I know Mushrooms are not everyone’s idea of something to shoot. Check out some of the shoots in the feed in this story. 

      My aim of this story is to give people the same opportunity I had posting in google plus, a weekly theme gives you a reason to get out and shoot each week. That weekly shooting will give you practice, and practice will get you a better photographer. There are a lot of good photographers here in the world of cake, All I’ve ran into online here are friendly and happy to help anyone with any questions you may have. This story is not exception, Come along join in add your shot each week. If you have questions, feel free to add them in to the story I’ll answer them if I can or someone else may. 

      As for how long this story has taken to create I’d say several years and on-going. Hopefully others will join in and post a shroom shot each Saturday.  Don’t be put off if you feel your image isn’t up to the level of others, it’s not a competition but an excuse to get out and shoot, practice and improve. Come along and join in the fun. The skills learnt here are transferable to any other form of photography. 

      Anyone can create a story here in Cake, a story can be a photo theme of your own to allow others to post to. My choose theme is Mushrooms, but you can create anything that takes your fancy. Come on in jump in the waters fine here in Cake. Create a photo theme and see what happens, or adda msuhroom shot to this one each Saturday.

      Glenn.

    • • Please share a link to one of your personal stories on Cake.

      This post was quite easy for me to choose since I don't often share personal stories on Cake. Most of the conversations I start are more informative and are meant to generate discussions, and I think this post on my trip to Penang is probably the most personal post I've written on Cake.

      • What made this story a good one to share publicly on Cake?

      Even though this is a slightly more personal story than I usually write, it's still quite informative, which is why I decided to write it. If I didn't have any insightful information to share from this trip I probably wouldn't have written it.

      Also, there aren't many Malaysians on here, and I think many people have never even been to Malaysia, so I thought it would be quite interesting to share this story with people from others countries.

      • How long did it take to create this?

      It usually takes me a few days to prepare a long-form post as I write in my free time when I'm not playing games, watching YouTube/Netflix, or reading, and though I can't remember exactly how long it took me to write this particular post, I think it was definitely a few days, probably a few hours of work in total.

      • What’s your typical writing process? (Outlines? Stream of consciousness first draft followed by proofread and editing?)

      Once I get an interesting idea in my head, I tend to ask myself if I have enough information to grow this idea into a full post on Cake. There have been times when I had ideas for conversations on Cake but decided against writing a post because I didn't think I had enough to generate an interesting discussion.

      Once I decide I do have enough to start a conversation then I just start writing. I don't really bother with drafts, I just write from my head. Once I start writing then I just see where my ideas take me and let the words flow naturally. I find this works best for me. If I have a draft or a skeleton to follow then I might end up forcing my writing into a certain direction, which could lead to a more disjointed flow of information and ideas, which I don't like. For me, any form of writing must be smooth and ideas must flow naturally from one point to another.

      I take this same approach to my academic writing. I'm currently writing a review paper for publication in an academic journal, and when I started I had no idea what I would be writing about. I mean, I had a title, but that was it. Then I just started writing, and as I was writing (also reading other scientific publications for reference) I got more and more ideas on how to grow the paper into what it is now - about 7500 words.

      • What specific advice do you have for prospective creators? (How to craft a title? How do you decide on a story? Is a photo or image required?)

      As Nike says, "Just do it". The best way to learn is to do. I've been writing for years, possibly more than 10 as I started blogging in my early 20s, and I feel like I'm much better now than I was 10 years ago. Everyone has their own creative process, and so the best way to figure it out is to create, and create often. Eventually you'll figure out what works best for you.

      As for the prompted questions, titles should be perfectly balanced between clickbait and informative. They should be "clickbait" in a sense that you want people to be curious as to what you wrote about, but should also be informative enough so people can know from the title if the content would interest them or not. Lean too much either way and you could lose engagement.

      Deciding a story, I think I've explained earlier how I decide what to write and what not to write. And as for photos, I've also shared my thoughts in this older post from over a year ago.

      Hope my insights were helpful to everyone here.

    • I tend to contribute two types of stories:

      (1) personal experiences often related to my work as an entrepreneur and angel investor, and

      (2) comments on important news that isn’t widely covered or appreciated.

      The contribution I'm highlighting is of the first type, based on advice I have been giving informally to entrepreneurs raising their first round of angel capital.

      What made this story a good one to share publicly on Cake?

      As an angel investor, I review anywhere from 25 to 50 pitch decks per month and most of them suck.  So, I wanted to post in a public forum what I think are the elements of a great
      pitch deck so that I can share that link with entrepreneurs who approach me for investment or advice.

      I posted a link to this post on LinkedIn and it has received quite a lot of likes and comments by entrepreneurs, which was nice since I rarely post on LinkedIn.

      How long did it take to create this?

      This post took some hours to compose, spread out over several weeks.  Once I decided to share my thoughts on pitch decks, it took a bit of writing and editing to distill it down into something cogent and quickly digestible by entrepreneurs.

      What’s your typical writing process?

      I typically conceive of a topic and jot a few notes in a Word file and then expand upon that over a few days as thoughts begin to gel.  “Land and expand” as they say in venture capital circles.

      For longer posts, I am a big fan of writing a draft, setting it aside for a day or two, and then subsequently editing it once or twice before I post.  When editing, I try to make my point as simply and quickly as possible.

      Finally, I try to keep paragraphs short so readers can quickly scan and absorb my posts, newspaper-style as it were.

      What specific advice do you have for prospective creators?

      Post what you know about.  I think your personal experiences are more interesting than opinion.

      Add a little humor whenever possible.  While humor does not always translate well on
      the Internet, it can keep posts from sounding too pedantic.

      Include pictures and article links if possible. A picture is worth a thousand words even on a text-oriented site like Cake!