Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are You Ready to Blog?


Definitely, yes.

Next post.


On a more serious note, the idea of starting a blog and "creating a platform" terrifies many an author.  For me, it's not the issue of exploring social media.  I'm comfortable on the computer, and there are plenty of sites and blogs with helpful how-to information.

The thing that stood in my way was - What do I write?

Funny that a writer would be stumped by this, but alas, it's true.

It's one thing to come up with a marketing plan for an object.  Showcase all of the wonderful things it does.  Point out the features, the advantages it gives.  Who are the target buyers?  What do they want to hear?  Seems easy for, say, the latest greatest cell phone.

But tell an author to do the same thing for their writing career and suddenly their house is immaculate, the car is washed, the laundry is done and the refrigerator is stocked with tasty treats, all done while throwing covert icy glances at their computer.

Let's be fair.  Maybe you don't know who your target audience is yet.  My current work in progress (WIP) is a women's fiction novel.  My next project is a middle-grade (MG) science fiction four-novel series.  Sum it up by saying that my audience is moms and their kids.  How am I going to market that?  No idea yet.

When I first started my blog, one of the setup pages asked me for a title.  I was struggling with a title for my MS, and this was a sore spot for me.  So I went on a rant for a few paragraphs about the difficulty in choosing titles.  And I named my blog, "Oh great, another title to think up..."  As my blog evolved, so did my title and the content.

Would you agree that your writing improved over time?  If so, then why wouldn't your blog?

Set realistic expectations for yourself, especially in the beginning.  Writing is about trial and error and figuring it out as you go along.  It's creative and evolutionary.  Why should blogging be any different?  Share your posts with family and friends and get used to writing for them.  As you get comfortable, you may find out a thing or two about yourself and discover a purpose for your blog.

Consider treating your blog like a diary you're willing to show the world.  Let people inside your head, whether you think they'll be interested or not.  Put your blog up everywhere.  I share my posts on my personal facebook page, my twitter feed, Google Reader, Google Buzz, and by email with some people. When I figure out how to share it on my facebook author page, I'll do that, too.

I've been blogging since last October.  Only recently did I decide to take a direction with my blog - define my audience, have a theme for my posts, and have some kind of schedule.  (I usually shoot for once a week, depending on how excited or apathetic I'm feeling.)  And I leave up those original, scattered, flight-of-ideas posts to show that no one's perfect right from the start.

If you can relate to any of this and are still hesitating, this is what I suggest:

1.  Pick a site.

If you have your own website, crate a blog page.  If you don't, Blogger and WordPress are popular.  I've only used Blogger, so I can't make any specific recommendations.  Don't get hung up here.  Pick one and move on.

2.  Pick any topic and write a few paragraphs about it.

3.  Publish the post.

4.  Start your sharing small.  Maybe your personal facebook page, maybe by email to friends and family.

5.  When you get into a groove and feel more comfortable with what you're posting, share your blog everywhere you can.

Optional (but recommended):

  • Follow other blogs to see what your peers are doing.

Some great blog posts to check out:

Cats Eye Writer:  Helping bloggers educate, engage and entertain
5 Ways to Pull Your Blog Visitors Into Your Content

Cats Eye Writer:  Helping bloggers educate, engage and entertain
Why Your Blog Doesn't Need an Audience of Thousands

The Internet Writing Journal
The Best Author Blogs

Steph in the City: Life. Love. And everything else.
How to Get More Blog Readers

Cats Eye Writer:  Helping bloggers educate, engage and entertain
10 Reasons Your Blog Readers Don't Hang Around


  1. Great advice :)

    I think there's a certain process of acclimation that one undergoes when they start blogging. Everyone is different; for me it took about three months before my posts stopped feeling wooden and forced. If anything I now suffer from being too scatter-brained.

  2. Brad-

    I agree. I had no idea where to start, so I just started. But the truth is, the more you do it, the better you get. Earth shattering, right? Good luck with de-scattering your energies!