Blogging helps me to strengthen my writing muscles. The instant publishing and need to consider an audience is helping me to be both flexible and controlled. Like a gymnast!
I also learn a lot from reading blogs and trying to emulate what I see.
1.Have a Hook
When you communicate on Facebook you are appealing to the easy audience – friends, family, acquaintances, work colleagues – all people who will click “like” on your post because of any obscure reason.
A blog is a different beast. Writing a blog post requires you to hook your audience.
The same principles apply to blogs and short stories. The first sentence and the first paragraph should aim to hook the reader and let them know something of the journey they are about to go on.
When I am viewing my reader, or the blogs I follow I don’t have time to read everything. I read the title. Does it interest me. Yes, no, maybe. I read the first paragraph. Does it interest me. Generally yes or no. I am learning more about first paragraphs and titles by studying what reels me in.
2. Find the WOW title
I find it so hard to come up with good titles – but I know a good title draws me in. My post Jane Austen and Pulled Pork got almost instantaneous likes – I think because there is something irresistible about the juxtaposition. The title raised an intriguing question – how do those two things go together (they do).
3. Have a bank of posts
I have become a bit obsessive and find ideas for blogs posts pop up in my life – sometimes at 2.30 in the morning. I keep a list of ideas on my desk so I don’t forget them. Ideally I try and spend a block of time knocking out a couple of posts at a time so I can have them sitting their ready to publish as the week gets busier.
4. Write about what you enjoy
I didn’t always have a ton of ideas. When I first started out I thought I would focus on the topic of short fiction. I wanted to ‘build a brand based on short stories’. My enthusiasm waned. It felt like a chore. On a whim I started another blog rambling about things in my garden. I had so much more fun. I decided to combine the blogs and give myself the freedom to write about the things that interest me. I also think about the things that tie in with my soon to be published book – I have ideas about the weather, the 1980’s, tarot reading – and ideas flow from there (now I have to write them – hold on!).
5. Do what you are good at – but stretch yourself too
Sometimes I think I will write a blog post that is informative – that educates the reader about something – and then it comes out as something personal with a bit of knowledge learning thrown in. I am trying to accept this is my natural style and perhaps I should not fight it. I might aspire to be a blog full of informative evergreen content but maybe that is just not me – for the moment. I am more productive if I do not try and force content. But still I aspire and keep trying.
There is so much more for me to learn. I’d love to hear what other people have to say. What have you learnt on your blogging journey?