Advice From a Reluctant Blogger

Preface

I got into blogging reluctantly.  Now that I’m in it, I understand its importance for emerging writers.  It’s a necessary component in this uber-digital age we find ourselves in.  With that said, I’m having a hell of a time blogging about writing, music, and beer.  (Especially the beer part.)

Six Reasons Why I Blog

1. A literary agent told me:

-Publishers are interested in publishing authors, not books.
-Publishers want to see that their writer can write about a range of topics in a range of genres.  (They want to see that you have chops.)
-Publishers want to see that you’re living a life in letters.

2. It gives me a weekly assignment where I can practice craft in a quick shot.  I try to give myself different ‘assignments’ for each post to keep pushing my writing.

3. My blog is a place where I play with language, ideas, and content.

IMG_60874. It’s a great way to run a low-cost/no-cost website where people can read your work, bio, and contact information.  (Good to have when you’re sending your work to literary publications.)

5. It’s a great way to redirect someone to my publications and music pages.

6. More people have read my prose on my blog than have read my fiction.  For now.

Advice from a Reluctant Blogger

1. On your blog, you don’t have to do A+ work.  Don’t obsess over the perfect post.  People consume blogposts like fairgoers consume fried food.

2. Don’t let the blog distract you from the projects most important to your writing life.

3. Aaron Hamburger, one of my writing mentors, once told me that in my fiction I should only write what excites me.  So I blog about writing, music, and beer.  Those three things make life worth living.  I am always excited to write about each of those topics.

4. Be open to letting your blog evolve into whatever it wants to become.  This blog has evolved greatly over the past year.

5. Check your stats, but don’t become obsessed.  Computers are depleting our dopamine supplies through endless satiation; don’t let your blog rob your dopamine reserves.

6. Use the any writing you already have to give your blog an immediate injection of content.  As you figure out what you want your blog to be, you can delete old work.

7. Keep each post short.  I have a self-imposed word limit of 500 words.

JaphytheWonderDog8. Include images in each post.  Fact: humans like pretty pictures.  (Just look at that picture of Japhy the Wonder Dog.)  Write detailed descriptions of your images to help with your blog’s searchability.

9. Twitter is your best friend if you’re writing about someone or something else.  Try Twitter out, and as Neil Gaiman urges, if you don’t like it, don’t do it.  Find your relationship with Twitter.

10. Facebook is a good place to toss more personal posts.  Overall, Facebook isn’t a great place to grow your blog after the first few months.  I post less than half of my blog posts to Facebook.  It induces ‘social media fatigue’ among your cyber friends.

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