Tag Archives: memoir

Setting up a blog

Image by Blaise van Hecke
Image by Blaise van Hecke.

What is your blog about?
In order to be able to write a lot of great content, you need to care about what you’re writing about. You also need to write about topics that interest people. Think about your own values and the kind of books you write (or intend to write). If your book is fiction, what are some of the themes through it? Is it a book about relationships, domestic violence, love or fitting in? They are all topics that you could talk about. Or are you writing a self-help book about parenting. Your blog could be about all things parenting and children. It’s worth having two or three main focus points so that you can mix things up a bit. This will be less boring for you to write and more interesting for your readers. As an example, my blogs tend to be about reading, writing and creativity.

Pick a name for your blog
You can write under your own name, and this is a good idea if you are aiming for recognition as a writer. But if you don’t feel comfortable with this, or if your name is common, you could come up with a name that encapsulates what you aim to write about. No matter what, keep it simple, as this will help people remember it. Ideally the name will have keywords in it that will help with Google searches. Register this name as your URL if you are not using an existing website.

Choose a blogging platform
Some of you may already have a website, with a page dedicated to your blog. But if you aren’t ready for a full website, you can set up a blog on a free platform such as blogger, weebly, eHost and Bluehost. Even a simple wordpress site is free and has templates.

Get writing!
It’s no use having a blog unless you contribute to it consistently so treat it like a business. Decide whether you will blog daily, weekly or monthly (or anywhere in between). Just remember that if you decide to do it daily you need to come up with a lot of content. Try to post a blog at a similar time each time you put it up. So if you decide it’s a weekly blog, choose a day, like Wednesday and post at the same time each week.

Blaise, the book chick

Spotlight on blogging

light globe onThere’s a lot of talk about blogging and that we should all be doing it. But why? Won’t you just become one of the thousands of other bloggers out there who are only read by three people?

Maybe.

But here’s the thing. As a writer, you need to step up and create a body of work and a following in order to get your work read. For a publisher to take you on, or for bookshops to stock your books, you need to have an online presence of some kind. This is where blogging can help.

Aside from the hopeful rise in your author profile, blog writing is a good discipline to improve your writing. Think about it. If you are writing an article every week for 50 weeks and each article is around 500–1000 words, you are effectively writing a whole book. This practise will see your writing improve rapidly and it will become easier. It comes down to good writing habits that will also translate well into your other writing.

Aside from that, you are putting your thoughts out there and learning how to articulate those thoughts. It might feel a bit forced or fake at the start but after a while you will find your groove. Who knows, you might start to inspire other people with these thoughts and create your own network of like-minded people. This is really important in terms of raising your profile because your aim is to have people comment, interact and share your work. This will take time because it takes time to build relationships. Be patient. Your blog may only have two readers in the early days but keep at it, and keep telling people that it’s there through your social network platforms.

All of this constant writing of content, while forming good writing habits, will build up your writing muscles and you will gain confidence in your writing ability. At the same time, you are building up a body of work. Your collection of articles (blog) can be used in other ways such as articles pitched to magazines and journals or collected together and published in a book.

If you stick at it consistently and for long enough, you will gather a following. Who knows, it could take on a life of its own and you could earn money from your blog in the future. In the meantime, see it as an apprenticeship to becoming a better writing. The payback will be that you gather fans and get your ‘real’ writing into their hands.

On the technical side, the constant uploading of content onto the web will mean that you are appearing often in feeds and your SEO (search engine optimisation) will improve.

In my next blog, I will look at ways to set up YOUR blog.

Blaise