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An author needs an online presence; if not a fully-fledged website, then at least a blog to showcase their (your) pizazz. No one would argue with that, particularly editors and publishers, God bless their pedantic little hearts.
Through the unique flavour of our blogs, we give readers a taste of what to expect from our books, articles, short stories and poetry; and by interacting personally with our readership we build a steady platform from which to approach, and impress, prospective publishers. We prove our popularity, and hence our marketability, by the volume of our followers. Add a link to Amazon or other online store that stocks our wares, and we have a neat hub from which to promote our work. Easy, yes? There’s got to be an App for that.
Sadly, no. Most of us muddle about for years, tossing half-begun blog posts into the cyber-trashcan at a rate that would accelerate global warming to critical levels if we were actually using paper. And it’s not just blog posts that are treated to the great delete, but entire blog identities too. I’ve ditched at least eight blogs over the years, eventually settling on two Wordpress titles based on different concepts. I decided to stay with these two for one simple reason - they feel like me. I’m comfortable at last with how I sound and with the way my followers respond. I no longer cringe when I re-read my work months after I’ve written it. In author-speak, I’ve found my voice.
As a tool for discerning your voice, the humble blog is underrated. I didn’t find mine and then begin to blog. It happened in reverse. If you’re in the early stages of your writing career, blogs offer you real freedom.
- Write under any name you like and hide your identity until you’re confident sharing it.
- Vary your writing style and subject at will.
- Wipe out all traces later on, if you decide a particular post (or entire blog) doesn’t make the cut.
- Modify your viewpoint, information and style, after feedback from readers.
- Relax. There’s no need to feel stressed when writing a blog. There are no rules, no limitations, no expectations, and no need for approval. If you want to write for an audience of one, you can. There are also no deadlines and no-one looking over your shoulder. Use this opportunity to let your pen or fingertips roam free. You never know what you might discover within yourself. Be bold. Our God did not give us a spirit of fear.
- Write on any subject that interests you, ensuring each blog has a central theme. Swing high and try to hit whatever it is you’re passionate about. A passionate voice is almost always irresistible.
- Experiment. Go on, give it a go. You always wanted to write humour? Here’s your chance. You want to take off on flights of fancy? Launch yourself from a blog page! If, like me, you look over your writing months later, only to discover you can’t even make yourself laugh, or that you’re infinitely more stable with both feet on the ground, then hit that merciful delete button and proceed to the next experiment. Set the ego aside and listen for the still, small voice that never leads you astray.
The time will come when people begin to thank-you for your insight, or encouragement, or whatever gift you’ve offered them through your writing. That’s the time to clear your throat and get ready to exercise your new-found voice.
Melinda has had a smattering of short stories, poems and articles published in magazines and anthologies. Keen to spread the word about protecting and nurturing the environment, she is currently working on two fantasy novels for middle school children, each with an environmental theme. She is also passionate about raising awareness about the devastating effects of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse within relationships. You can find her here: www.killingmesoftly.co