Monday, 1 August 2016
To Blog or Not to Blog ... that is the Question!
History repeats itself. Last year at our annual Writer’s Conference I spoke on SPEAKING. Today on CWD/ACW, I am blogging on BLOGGING.
What would you say is next? Should I read a book on READING?
The helpful aspect about speaking on speaking was that the material I used to prepare my talk helped me perform my workshop better. So perhaps my research into blogging will help me write a readable blog? My little offering today is for those who are considering the pros and cons of blogging on your writing journey and would like a whiff of its perfume in order to be convinced of its lasting fragrance.
4 ½ years ago, I began my belated blessed blogging journey with a few bumbling baby steps forward. I have now written 220 blogs to date. I must confess though that I came kicking and screaming into it. You see, I couldn’t see the point of adding my mite to the surplus of blogs out there. Who would read them? Google tells me that in 2013 there were 152 million blogs in the world. Not a small number. A publisher friend finally convinced me that I should dive in. Surprisingly enough, once I jumped in (with a mighty splash), you couldn’t get me out of the blogging pool. The lake was cool and refreshing, and I am still being invigorated by its healing waters.
So what is a Blog? A Blog is short for "Web Log" later turned into ‘Weblog’ and finally the simple four letter word: ‘Blog’. As recently as 1999, there were supposedly only 23 blogs on the Internet. The reason for there being so few was that 17 years ago, bloggers needed to be web designers who created everything from scratch. Thankfully, times have changed and we have easy access to free blogging hosts in the 21st century world. So what’s your excuse to not blogging? None!
But let me add that as a Christian writer, you will of course need to ascertain if it’s right for you at this point of your writing journey. “The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” Ron Dawson.
How does a blog help an Author/Writer/Would be Writer?
1. It helps build your platform
2. It gives credibility to your writing
3. It helps develop publicity for your writing
4. It can promote your work
5. It helps you develop a fan base
6. It helps you keep in touch with your readers
7. It helps agents and publishers take you seriously
8. It keeps you writing regularly
9. It lets your readership enjoy bite-sized flavourful chunks of your writing
10. It connects you to the world—writing can often be a lonely occupation
Some Important aspects to work out before you begin:
1. Name of your website/blog site—think hard. Think well. Let it stand out.
2. A page about yourself—allow your readers get to know you
3. Frequency of blog – daily/3 times a week/weekly/fortnightly/monthly/other
4. Subject matter – what would you like to focus on?
5. Make it readable – not only in content but also in presentation
New Old Stock
Free Nature Stock
What hosts are available? There are plenty of free hosting blog builders that will help you create your blog or website from scratch and with ease. I used Webnode.com and have been more than satisfied with their services—it hasn’t cost me a cent. Other sites like Blogger.com, Wordpress.com, SimpleSite.com, Tumblr.com, and Wix.com are used widely as you may know. If you would like to use your own domain name, you will need to pay for it. Here’s a useful site which shares information on blog hosts: Web Hosting Free Reviews
What kinds of Writer Blogs are out there? There are blogs that teach the writer’s craft, those that talk of the writer’s life, others that write about current issues, some which share their experiences, others that write how-to articles, some which focus on book reviews and more. Fiction writers may share snippets of their stories to hook their readers or even serialise their work through a regular blog. When I started blogging, what a blessing it was to discover that God made it part of my ministry. It was a gift from Him, and has grown me and shaped me as a writer. But we are unique beings—called by God to different tasks. So follow His heart for yourself, not for anyone else. Your blog and mine will be vastly different. And that’s exactly how it should be.
A few Good Blogging Practices:
1. Determine the length of your blog. 300 – 600 words is a good number.
2. Images will add to the blog—use them.
3. Ask a question at the end or lead them to take action
4. Make it easy for others to share—make it public on Facebook
5. Link up with other writers’ blogs
6. Create a free email newsletter
7. Invite other writers to write guest blogs on your site—a good way of joining hands (and words) with other writers!
I hope I've whet your writerly appetite to discover if blogging is something beneficial to you as a writer. Everything we do as Christian writers must be in response to a call from God. Is He calling you to start one? There are many of us bloggers on CWD and ACW who would be very glad to pitch in if you need a hand. So if you believe God is calling you to it, do jump right in. And may your expedition be God breathed, exhilarating and worthwhile.
If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.”
“Writing is its own reward.” – Henry Miller
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
Dancing in the Rain. She’d love to meet you.