Blogging for Writers
In talking about blogging for writers, I usually mention that blogging is uncool. I feel like it’s a fair place to start, really. I have an almost 20 year old daughter who agrees with this statement. But I think she would also question mark agree that blogging is so uncool that there’s also something cool about it. It’s not necessarily a young person thing, shall we say, though I know that I have a few readers who are young. A safe bet to say, though, that most of my readership is somewhere around my own age, give or take a decade on either side.
I’ve been blogging for over 10 years and some of you have followed me in my “Calm Things” days, and even in my “Capacious Hold-All” days. What is it that keeps me blogging, and as a writer, should you also blog? These are two of the biggest questions I get on the subject.
I think what keeps me blogging is this need to share both pictures, and stuff that I find uplifting or thought provoking or beautiful. Yes, I could share all of this on social media, but I like that on a personal blog, I can save it all in one place, as one used to do with a commonplace book. I like to think of the blog as a work of art unto itself, and one, that I really don’t think has been fully explored as of yet. What I’m saying, is that there’s room. There’s space. An openness.
If you’re a writer, and you’ve been considering blogging, I can only encourage you to give it a whirl. Will you make money and promote your books beyond your wildest dreams? I think probably not. But will you make interesting and good connections with like-minded souls that you would never otherwise have met, even if only virtually? Hell’sya.
A couple of tips. Your blog should not be about you so much as it is about something out past you. In other words, what do you love? What do you have to offer, share? What do you want to obsess about in a virtual form? What do you want to learn about?
I’ve told the story of how I started my first blog, Capacious Hold-All (now lost in the ether), without the faintest idea of writing about purses and handbags. The blog started with a line from Virginia Woolf, and from there I just followed a trail. I had a series where I asked writers to talk about what was in their handbags, and had them send a photo, too. I talked about literary goings-on, interspersed with cool handbag finds. There was a post, for example, on the Kate Spade typewriter bag. I eventually discovered the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam. And this led me to write, Rumi and the Red Handbag. So, you never know where a blog might lead you.
As a writer, blogging about books makes perfect sense and the best example I can think of is Kerry Clare’s Pickle Me This. Her blog is a wonderful example of how a person can blend the personal with the bookish. Another of my longtime favourite blogs is Chookooloonks by Karen Walrond, the author of The Beauty of Different. Her blog has evolved to include her coaching, speaking, online courses, podcasts, and more. She is someone who I would call a next level blogger, and I think you can learn a lot from her space, as a human being looking for light in this mad world, but also if you want to see an example of someone blogging with integrity and soul.
If you’re a writer who edits, a blog you might like to peruse is Ink & Grace. It’s clean, concise, and value added. (Check out the resources page). The whole site is about editing, including the blog. The photos are great, the text is easy to read, and it’s all of a piece. (Looks like a Squarespace site, as is this one).
If you’re not a big photographer, there are plenty of places to buy photos (I sell mine on Stockiste). But there are lots of places to get photos from, such as Creative Market. And free stuff at places like Unsplash. I’m fond of a clean design, a white background (my sensitive eyes won’t adjust to reading on a coloured surface very well and I can’t at all read on a black background).
In short though, (she says after a longwinded preamble), if you’re a writer, a blog is a great place to work out ideas you might have on a particular subject. It might be a place to share something you’re great at, or want to be great at. And if in the meantime, you gain a following there is the added benefit that loyal readers will probably buy your books, or donate to your blog. But I think the primary reason to blog is to connect. To not feel so alone in the world. To give something only you have to give. To share.
One last tip: I’m asked how I can blog so consistently, or come up with ideas on a regular basis. I keep a notebook, and jot down things that people mention, that I come across, or think would be something to ramble about at some point. I bookmark stuff all the time on my computer. And then, I take photos most days. The photo will act often as a writing prompt for the blog. I take a photo of pears, and the next thing you know I’m writing about pears that appear in poetry.
This is pretty much my blogging approach in a nutshell. But if you have any questions leave them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them.