It’s been a month since I started this blog, and I think it’s time to level with you, my readers. If you had asked me about blogging a year ago, I’d have laughed you off the stage. I barely use social media (Face-twits and Insta-pins). And people who blog always struck me as trying to call attention to lives that frankly just aren’t that interesting. I’m an old-school novelist sitting in a dark cave monstrously hammering out manuscripts… Not a hipster blogger enjoying a caramel mocha latte at my local coffee shop (I don’t drink coffee, so feel free to correct me if those three descriptors don’t go together).
I started this for selfish motives. To help build a community so that when my book is done, I’ll have an army of loyal, rabid fans eagerly awaiting the opportunity to pour a river of money into my dreams. Not worried about what they were going for. This is all about me. (I’ll pause and take a minute to count the number of people who cease following my blog at this point).
At the one month mark though, I’ve come to a pretty heavy realization.
I was wrong.
Wow, that’s a hard pill to swallow. By writing and catching glimpses into other people sharing on similar journeys at different stages, I realize that I’ve found people I can relate to. It may be hard to believe, but I’m not surrounded locally by a team of people all trying to write their first book. I don’t have a Wednesday night book club meeting in the secret room of the library nobody knows about where we gather and talk about how we’re doing on our Writer’s Walk. I have to keep generating my own enthusiasm, and while my imagination may at times feel bottomless, a lack of obvious progress beyond “Yep, another 3000 words” starts to get old.
Blogging and sharing in the blogs of others fuels me.
Firstly, I get to see some really creative things people are doing (and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that first?!”). Secondly, there is so much to learn from people who’ve been down this road before. I can see the successes they have, and the failures, and make sure I’m doing the best I can do. Thirdly (wow, I could have written the post as 3 things that are great about blogging!), tangential blogs are awesome. I can read blogs about inspiration and find inspiration for my work. I can read blogs that have dialogue lines and imagine how that can be fed to my own story.
So, with that preamble, I’d like to share 3 tips for the newly initiated blogger, coming from a newly initiated blogger.
1) Show your appreciation to your followers, likes, and comments. I love every one of my followers, and you should to. More than that though, think about what can you do for them? The easiest way to answer that question is to ask yourself: What do you appreciate on your blog? Followers, Likes, and Comments. What do you think they appreciate? Visit their blog. Do a little following, liking, and commenting of your own. You don’t need to repay tit for tat, and you’re certainly under no obligation to leave a mark while you’re there… But at least take a minute and give them the chance.
2) Draft, Edit, Revise, and Publish your posts. DERP! (Nice) I promise you that people can tell when you write a post that is literally an off-the-cuff rambling. I notice them. Worse, I can go back and read mine and notice which ones are guilty. After you type your post, go back and read it. Check spacing, add links, whatever. Give it more care than you’d give a forum post… Because the people who read it are investing time in you. Show appreciation by not making them have to work for it.
3) Write ahead and schedule your publishing. I had read this in a book written by a blogger, and took his advice when I started… Right up until I didn’t. When things are scheduled, you really don’t feel like the blogging is taking away from your ability to write your novel. As soon as an idea comes to you, script it out. Take your planned blogging time to read it over and DERP it. Then schedule the publish date. Keep this nicely fed queue of writings. That way when life gets busy and you miss a day, your blog doesn’t suffer. Because once you are behind, you feel pressured to churn out something; anything. And that’s not a good place to be. (I am pleased to announce I’m back on a schedule and this blog post was scheduled).
Thank you blogging community for opening my eyes to the value that is out there. Thank you for walking on your journey even as I walk on mine. Thank you for the pearls of wisdom, the dashes of inspiration, and the insights that show me how much further I have to go as well as how far I’ve come.
What have you learned about blogging? What lessons should I have learned that aren’t included here?