Following on from last week’s opener to this two-part series on blogging, I continue to share thoughts on the topic from some of my fellow writers.
Blogging can be a good place to start if you’re not sure what to write. I’ve found it to be a good way to make sure I write daily (most of the time anyway) and you can practice setting yourself a deadline or word count to work to. Both of these are excellent practice for submitting work to competitions where sticking to the deadline and required word count are vital.
A fun thing to do can be to create a blog from the viewpoint of your main characters. This can be part of the main author blog and written as a sideline from time to time. It’s another way of getting word about your books out there and shows something of the character to potential readers.
And from Dawn Knox, fellow flash fiction writer, Cafelit, Bridge House and Chapeltown author:-
Why I blog
I first decided to set up a blog as an experiment and set myself the challenge of posting daily for one hundred consecutive days. I achieved that without much problem and then found that all the photos which I’d used in the posts, had almost filled up the free space I was allowed, with the free WordPress blog. Having bought my domain name, dawnknox.com, I decided to upgrade to a paid blog.
I didn’t want to limit myself to one subject, so I called the blog The Knox Box of Miscellany and I post periodically about any topic, whenever I think I have something interesting or amusing to say. Generally, I try to use my own photographs which saves me worrying about copyright issues and since I take my camera with me almost wherever I go, that’s not too hard!
I use the blog to promote my books but try not to use it overtly for advertising because I assume that no one wants to keep hearing about the same thing. I would love people to find my blog entertaining and if I knew I’d brought a smile to someone’s face, I’d consider it a successful blog post.
Taking your own images is a good idea but there are free to use sites such as Pixabay and Pexels, where copyright will not be an issue. These sites will always say if they are free to use. If they don’t say, then there’s an issue – you will have to pay! Don’t use Flickr, Shutterstock etc unless you are prepared to pay and generally for a blog, it isn’t worth it. Using the free to use sites means sometimes having to think laterally about what images to use, but that is no bad thing!
And from recent CFT interviewee and fellow Chapeltown Books writer, Gail Aldwin:-
Why I blog
I started blogging as a result of encouragement at ‘how to get published’ conferences to develop a presence on social media. There is a long apprenticeship to the publication of a novel and although I’m not there yet, writing a blog has certainly helped along this journey. My most recently written novel is under consideration with two independent publishers so I am poised to transfer the marketing skills used to promote Paisley Shirt my collection of short fiction to the promotion of The String Games when it finally comes to print.
I named my blog after Carson McCullers’ novel (as there is no copyright on titles) and changed one word to read The Writer is a Lonely Hunter. I use Facebook and Twitter to attract readers to my posts – I particularly enjoy engaging with readers and writers on Twitter. As a result, I also Tweet on behalf of the Dorset Writers’ Network and the Women Writers’ Network. I use my blog to promote literary activities in Dorset to celebrate the creativity of the county and to provide updates on my writing progress.
Paisley Shirt – Gail’s collection of short fiction is published by Chapeltown Books and was longlisted in the Best Short Story category of the Saboteur Awards 2018.
Chair DWN: http://www.dorsetwritersnetwork.co.uk
And from Mandy Huggins, fellow Chapeltown Author, and with whom I recently discussed networking on CFT:-
Why I Blog
I have to admit that blogging isn’t one of my greatest strengths, but I’m striving to change that! There are so many forms of social media that it’s difficult to give everything the time it deserves. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, blogging demands something bigger than bite-size, and because of that it can get pushed to one side when you’re very busy with a number of projects. However, that extra ‘space’ to write means that blogging is a great way to shape and clarify your own thoughts, and to develop and share ideas. It’s also a good place to learn from those more knowledgable than yourself, and to offer up your own expertise in return.
Blogging offers opportunities for authors to open up about their writing and creative processes, to review books, and to learn a little more about each other. I really enjoy doing ‘blog swaps’ with fellow writers and inviting them onto Troutie McFish Tales for a chat.
Blogs are a great place to recognize amazing achievements and significant moments, and to share each other’s successes and disappointments. And sharing is the most important thing.
And from Aly Rhodes, fellow Chapeltown and Cafelit author (aka Alyson Faye).
I started my own writing blog with a basic free WordPress account, set up with help from my teenage son – and to start with it was just an on line diary for me to record my writing progress- the ups and downs. I didn’t really embrace the idea for 6 months or so from its start up and then once I started writing regular entries it became both addictive (I think in a good way), a way of expressing myself, a means of sharing tips and info on competitions and sharing advice from the creative writing workshops I began to teach in 2017.
I could refer students and writing buddies to my blog and a particular post if they had a query rather than emailing everyone- and I learnt how to add photographs and other visuals, which I now enjoy blending with my text. I extended into interviewing fellow writers, from my Otley group and on line writing friends, which led to more visitors I noticed, checking out my blog.
I don’t have that many followers, but some are in USA and Australia, which is rather lovely – to think that folk on the other side of the world get my blog posts. Looking back I’m amazed how many posts I’ve written and how long I’ve stuck at the blog- I thought it would fizzle out, but I still get a real kick from blogging.
Yes, I have a WordPress site myself (allisonsymescollectedworks.wordpress.com) where I collate my Facebook and Twitter posts and also link to my CFT articles. I find it easy to use and it is fascinating to see where some of the views come from. I can boast India and the USA from time to time!
Blogging should be seen as something to be done not as a marketing exercise but as something you enjoy doing and can keep going in the long term. It is way of showing something of yourself as author to readers (and marketing can be done this way. It is not “in your face” but a way of engaging in a kind of conversation, even if for the vast majority of the time, that conversation is one way).
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.