I played Bridge yesterday afternoon with a woman whom I have met a handful of times. I knew more about her husband and son, both well-known football people in our state, than I did about her. The one thing I did know was that I had liked her the first time I met her and hoped to get to know her better as time went on. Yesterday, I did get to know her a lot better.
I had brought a copy of the newly released Chicken Sout for the Soul: My Amazing Mom book to give to my partner. That led to questions and answers from the other three. I learned that one of the women had started a blog on women and aging (my ears perked up--my group of folks!). She said that she had dived heard first into it without knowing a whole lot about what she was doing. I had done the same a good number of years ago. Long story short, we agreed to get together so that I could help her learn a few things about blogging. We're meeting the middle of next week at my house. A good incentive to clean up the office!
Our conversation got me thinking about blogging. Some of the questions that came to mind were:
- Who can blog?
- Should all writers have a blog?
- What does having a blog do for a writer?
- Why should writers bother with adding one more item on their To-Do List?
- What should writers know about blogging before they begin?
- What helps draw readers to a blog?
- How often do I need to post on my blog?
- Who will be the most successful at blogging?
Who can blog? Anybody. If you wanted to start a blog about pulling weeds on your property, that would be fine. There is no need to be a professional, or even hobbyist, writer. You're in charge; you pick the topic and a lot of other things.
Should all writers have a blog? I would encourage anyone who writes to try blogging. We hear the term build your platform in our writing world over and over. A blog is only one step in doing that. It gives you a place to promote your writing. I have done that here by making this blog about my writing world and giving tips and encouragement to writers. It allows me to help others and to promote my own writing.
What does having a blog do for a writer? As stated above, it helps get your name out among writers and readers. It can help draw readers to your writing, be it books, short stories, essays or poetry. It creates a regular time to write--you know how I am always preaching to write something every day. What better writing exercise than to write a blog post on a regular basis?
Why should writers bother with adding one more item on their To-Do List? It will reap benefits in the long run. You may not see them immediately but over time, you will. When I attend my state authors convention, a lot of people there identify me as 'a writer, a blogger, and a workshop instructor.' All those things add to my platform. I will also add that I have learned a lot about my own writing methods, attitudes and more because of what I post.
What should writers know about blogging before they begin? Google keywords like 'learning to blog,' 'how to blog,' and more. So many articles will pop up that you'll be overwhelmed. Don't attempt to read more than a few at first. Pay attention when a suggestion is repeated in several articles. There are people who dive into the deep end of the pool with eyes shut. I did way back at the beginning but I learned to read about what I was doing and to use the information.
What helps draw readers to a blog? I could write an entire post on this question. Instead, I'll give you a list of words: conciseness, photos, good writing, appealing topics, social media. These are only a few of many.
How often do I need to post on my blog? The more the better! The important thing is to be consistent. Post daily, 5 days a week, weekly, monthly or twice a year but have a schedule that readers will know about. Post 3 times in April and then not again til one day in June and you are going to lose a lot of readers. Figure out a schedule that works for you, but make it regular. I chose 5 days a week because I am more likely to retain my readers and it also pushed me to write something on an almost-daily basis.
Who will be the most successful at blogging? The person who puts the most into their blog is most likely to gain the most readers. She/he who stays to one theme (like writing) will usually be more successful. I occasionally veer off the path but try to have something to do with writing in every post.
These are all short answers to questions for those who either do blog or have aspirations to do so. It occurs to me that I could write a full post on each one of the questions. Someday, I may do that. Meanwhile, give blogging some thought but do a little research and reading first. One of the big negatives I see is that myriad bloggers lose interest and quit. Those who persevere will be alright. Oh look--one of my keywords for writers works for bloggers, too. Persevere!