Monday, March 2, 2015

A Look At Blogging For Writers

Oolala. One of my favorite things. Blogging! Some of you just raised a rallying cry, the others of you just rolled your eyes. I know, it's not everyone's favorite past time, but I do think it's important and I'll discuss why here today.

Who should blog? 
Everyone! Well, maybe not, but the option is definitely open. Anyone can start a blog, but the question is: should YOU start a blog (or write on the one you have)?

If you are a writer interested in creating or building a platform, then I think a blog can greatly improve your visibility. It can also put a "face" to your name. I go into more detail below on this, but your personality is what will draw people. It's your writing voice. A blog is a great way to find that voice, hone it, and show it off to the world in an environment that is less stressful than say...a hard cover copy of your novel ;) (Though hopefully that will come too.)

Why should you blog? 
There are some obvious reasons, like getting your name or thoughts out there, but there are also some awesome "side effects" or additional reasons for blogging:
  • Personal introduction
  • Relationship building
  • Create and cultivate community
  • Encouragement
  • Promotion
  • Taking a stand
  • Honing writing discipline and creativity
Emilie's tips for blogging...

Me :)
Speak For Yourself

Personality is huge! As I said above, your voice is what makes you uniquely YOU. That's a big deal. Don't spend time trying to make your voice sound like someone else. Spend time figuring out what you sound like. Honesty is huge in blogging and being able to share honest thoughts with your readers will create a connection like none other. Why? Because people who are brave enough to share what they really think and feel are rare and readers want to see that. They long for that type of real connection. To know that someone else feels or thinks like they do.

Ask: Was I honest? Do I believe what I wrote? Did I explain why or how?

Find Your Corner

I like listening to you, but why are you talking? I often find myself thinking that about...well, me. Ha! So no, I don't like listening to myself, but I do frequently ask "Why am I talking?" or, in this case, writing. Blogging is about finding your corner and accessorizing it. Making it look like you, feel like you, and sound like you. Your blog should reflect your personality, what you like and are passionate about, and ultimately I think it should give back (what I mean by this probably requires it's own post, but for the sake of efficiency I'd say that looks like sharing what you've learned or are learning).

Ask: What am I passionate about? What do I know? What can I share? Who am I writing to and what can I share with them?
Flickr by Gene Han

Say Something Worthwhile

Hold to your convictions. That's not to say: be angry and rant. There may be times where you feel like it and maybe give in to a rant or two, but I've found it's better to share gracious, well thought out, direct posts that tackle the tough questions without attacking. People want to read your thoughts on things if they are coming to you blog. Give them a reason to keep reading.

Ask: What am I saying? Is it worthwhile or am I just angry? Have I thought out my points? Are they accurate? Did I re-read?

Consistency is Key

My Blog Schedule
For me, one of the hardest parts of blogging is being consistent. I'm a planner so it continues to surprise me, but I make a great plan and then fail to stick to it. So frustrating. But the first piece of advice here is just that: organize! Make a schedule and get to color-coding (if that's you're thing - it's definitely mine). Then, set aside a day at the end of each month to look ahead (it may help to do this 2 months ahead but that will depend on your schedule and time). Decide what you'll post about for the next month, tentative titles/topics, and everything else that goes on your blog. Finally, get to work. That's the tough part, but it always helps to have a "road map".

Ask: How do I want to organize my posts? How many times a week can I sustain posting?

Keep It Relevant

It's important to keep your blogs and posts relevant. When you engage the blogging community with timely topics, people are more likely to share and comment on them. It's fresh in their minds and they want to know what you think. This gets tricky when planning, but you can always leave a "hole" in your schedule for relevant topics either weekly or monthly.

Ask: What is happening this week/month that my readers would be interested in? What am I passionate about that's current?

Blogging Friend - Kara
Invite Your Friends

My last piece of advice is, I think, the most powerful. The blogging community is just that - a community! That means there's a give and take. Inviting your friends to your blog means they bring their friends with them. Just like when you visit their blogs. It's a beautiful thing. So go make some blogging friends!

Ask: Who do I know that I could invite to my blog? Who's blog could I guest post on? 

Your turn: Do you blog? How often? Do you like it? Share a blogging tip with the rest of us!

Your challenge: Write a blog post that either: a)explains your heart for blogging to your readers, b)stretches you with being honest or c)is relevant to something trending. Then share with us!

(Don't forget to tag your posts with this hashtag^)

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