In case you didn't know, Jennifer Daiker, Alex Cavanaugh, and I are blogging about blogging this week. Before we go any further, I feel impressed to share this poster from despair.com.
I LOVE THIS. Sometimes I really think it's true. Sometimes I'm sitting in my writing lair (aka at my lame card table), writing blogs, and I think, "There's no way anyone cares about this."
I worry about the post for days. I edit it mercilessly. I postpone it. Then I finally let it go live, and it becomes my most popular post in weeks.
So. Just know that we all go through the holy-brown-cows-what-do-I-blog-about?
Well, my take on this is simple. ANYTHING.
No, really. You can blog about personal things. Writing things. Outlining. Revisions. Causes. Your dog. Your fears. Even nothing. (Hey, they made an entire sitcom out of it. Ever heard of Seinfeld?) Blog about whatever you want.
The fact is, what you bring to your blog that no one else can bring, is YOU.
So let's move on to what the real problem with blogging is. In my opinion, it's not knowing what your purpose is. Let's examine.
Question: Why are you blogging? To get the word out about your book? To meet new people? To build a brand?
*cue personal stuff*
Here’s why I blog. Name recognition. If I held up a blue bag and said the items inside this package go great with milk, would you know what it was? We know. They have a brand. We can sing songs from our childhood about brand names. (Oscar Meyer, Big Mac, etc.) It’s all name recognition.
I want someone to be in a bookstore, browsing books and go “Oh, I’ve heard of this girl.” simply from seeing my name (and/or my title) online. That’s why I blog.
I want people to know me.
Now that doesn’t mean I tell them everything. I don’t name my children by name, or talk about my job that much, or discuss anything too too personal (unless it relates to writing). That’s not what people want.
Have you seen that Seinfeld where George is talking about all his worlds colliding? You can probably separate the parts of your life too. Teacher-Elana. Mom-Elana. Cook-Elana. Sister-Elana. Etc. Well, there’s a Author-Elana too. And that’s who people want to see. I dispel writing advice. I give query letter advice. I give blogging advice.
I let people inside my life. I show them my fears about publishing/writing. This is how friendships are made. It’s how relationships form. Through the emotional. Let people in a little bit. Not much, just a little.
You can share what you like. Things like TV shows and artists and stuff like that. It really only takes one or two things to make you distinct. Me? I talk about dying my hair a lot (Monday, baby!). And Adam Lambert. And Glee and Survivor. Don’t be afraid to do this.
I just want to pause here for a minute. I think this is a truth, through and through. You can disagree. But I think when you're blogging, you’re selling yourself, not your books. And when you stop and think about blogging like this, you should have a million things to blog about.
Okay, moving on. Other things you can blog about:
1. Books you’ve read – this is a great way to show support of the industry. Note that I do not get very many comments on book review days. Doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time – especially if the author of the book knows I’m doing it.
2. Things you’ve learned – I’ve been blogging about outlining recently. Not really giving advice, just things I’ve learned. Topics like this are great conversation starters, and that’s what you want. A place where people feel like they know you and can talk to you.
3. WIP Wednesday/Truthful Tuesday – if you can’t think of anything, fall back on these. At least they’ll help you get your content up for the day.
4. Blog chains – find or form one, and participate in it. For new bloggers, this is a great way to learn how to blog and how to respond to comments.
One more thing: If all else fails, POACH. That's right. If you see something you like on another blog, adapt it to yours. Don't copy word for word (duh), but adapt and give credit.
Okay, I've gone on long enough. Jen, Alex, and I are going to be conducting a little experiment. We'd like as many people to participate as would like. We're calling it The Great Blogging Experiment (yeah, we're that lame) and it'll take place on Friday, September 24. We're assigning a topic, and all you have to do is post on Sept. 24 on that topic.
The point? We'd like to see just how different every post is. We'd like to see what YOU bring to the topic. (Which is YOU, of course.) I'm willing to bet one kidney that there will not be two posts exactly the same, just like there are not two bloggers that are exactly the same.
The topic: Writing Compelling Characters.
Sign up below!
Whew. With all that out of the way, what do you like to read on a blog? What don't you like to read?