Blogging · Social Media · Writing

Why New Writers Should Consider Blogging.

Over the past few months, I have been hearing a lot from other authors about the need for a blog. Some believe that it’s just not worth it; that they are better off staying with social networks like Facebook, or that it takes too much time and effort, which would be better put towards writing. I understand their reasoning as I’ve been there before. I’ve been blogging on and off now for eight years and I’ve often wondered why I even bother. However, over that same length of time I have been reading popular blogs within the writing community and books on the subject. Recently I also attended some social media courses, including one on blogging.

Here are five reasons why I believe new writers should seriously consider blogging:-

1. Blogging Helps Create Your Own Community

A blog helps you to break out of your comfort zone and puts your writing ‘out there’. Readers of your blog, whether they are other writers, bloggers or future book readers become a part of your community. As a solitary pursuit, it’s comforting to know that you are communicating with others and forming friendships. Years ago, I joined a blog hop community that has since folded, but I have remained friends with people I met back then (some of whom have become my beta readers). More recently I have joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, another blog hop, and have made some new friends. Because you’ve created a community, when you are ready to publish your books, you’ll already have their support to cheer you on and help spread the word (and word of mouth sells books more than anything else).

2. A Blog Secures Your Place on the Internet

Don’t rely too much on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter when trying to secure your place on the internet. They have a tendency to change things and may even become obsolete in years to come. Having your own space on the internet is safer. Just like having your own website, you control your blog’s content, how it looks, etc. Claim your piece of internet real estate by buying your domain name. Not only does it help you get your name out there, it also proves you are serious when it comes to your writing future.

3. Blogging Allows You to Focus on Your Genre/Niche

I have found that as a fiction writer, blogging helps me to focus on my writing genre and can write blog posts accordingly. Blogging about your genre/niche helps to ‘test the waters’. Is your genre popular? Are your readers interested in your research? By focusing on your genre/niche, you are also focusing on your target audience and what appeals to them.

4. Blogging Helps You Get Used to Working to Deadlines

Whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish, you need to get used to working to deadlines. When you blog, you need to set yourself to a schedule and preferably it needs to be one which suits you (even once a week is acceptable). When you have subscribers, your readers rely on you to be consistent, so you need to be someone they can trust. Getting used to deadlines now will help you when the time comes to publish your first book. Google counts attendance, so the more you blog, the more your name gets out there.

5. Blogging Gets You Writing

My husband once told me blogging is not writing. I scratched my head on that one until I realised that what he meant to say was I always wanted to be a fiction writer, not a blogger. That’s true, however, blogging is still writing and it helps to test out our writing skills. Experimenting and trying different writing styles helps to make you a better writer. It may even lead to a different career path!

As you can see, creating a blog makes a lot of sense. The trouble I think some writers have is that they don’t know what to write about. I’ve had this problem too, but when you really stop to think about it, there are plenty of things to blog about (Anne R Allen has a helpful post to get you started). And when this happens, blogging becomes less of a chore and can be a lot of fun. And isn’t this what writing is all about? 🙂

* * * * *

While we’re on the subject of blogging, I have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award. It took me completely by surprise, so many thanks goes to Ronel the Mythmaker for thinking that my blog is worthy enough! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a blog award, so I appreciate the recognition.

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

I have also been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. To receive two awards in a matter of weeks comes as another pleasant surprise. It’s a recognition of all the work that goes into blogging (and yes, at times it can become consuming), so many thanks to Adam! It’s good to know that our blogging efforts are appreciated.

The Vesatile Blogger Award was created to feature and recognise blogs that have unique content, high quality writing and fantastic photos. The webpage about the Versatile Blogger Award says:

Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.

Receiving these two awards goes to show that blogging is not always a complete waste of time. Others recognise our efforts and appreciate what we do. Blogging may not be for everyone and we don’t know until we try. But if we are consistent, make it fun and make friendships along the way, then blogging can be an enormous benefit to us as writers in the long run.

Do you blog and if so, what has been the best part of blogging for you? Do you dislike blogging and what don’t you like about it? Do you think blogging takes too much time away from our ‘real’ writing? How do you balance writing with blogging?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Social Media

Is it So Hard to Be Nice?

handsRecently I posted something on social media, which got a smarmy response from one reader. My intent was to help others; this person’s was the complete opposite. When looking at their profile, I soon noticed their self-absorption and deleted their comment. Clearly they were not part of my ‘tribe’.

This got me wondering why it’s so hard to be nice. In a world where people tend to verge towards narcissism, being nice gets you noticed. I’m happy to say that the vast majority of people I’ve come across on social media have been great. 🙂

I just fail to understand the reasoning behind the need to be mean on social media. I was brought up to believe in the saying ‘if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all’. Is that really so difficult? Being rude gets you noticed for all the wrong reasons. There have been cases where authors lash out at their readers for bad book reviews, for example, which only creates more harm than good. Why do that to yourself? What does that achieve?

As a new writer, my reasons for being on social media are to network with other writers and hopefully make friends along the way. As I learn new things about both the craft of writing and the publishing industry, I share that information with others. By doing so, I’d like to think that I am helping other new writers, like myself, as well as spreading the word of those who are more experienced among us. Being friendly, helpful and showing acts of kindness draws others to you; you get satisfaction in helping others and you feel better about yourself. Sadly though, there are times when you can feel as though you’re being taken advantage of. That’s the time to walk away (I’ve been there once too often). You can be nice to others, but you need to ensure you set yourself some boundaries.

Being on social media means you are being sociable; that is, being friendly or agreeable in the company of others. The saying ‘don’t be a dick’ seems to be the general consensus but unfortunately some people have still yet to get the message.

Have you encountered trolls or bullies on social media? What are your thoughts on authors who lash out at bad reviews? Do you feel you have ever been taken advantage of when you’ve been nice to others?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Goodreads.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Social Media · Writing

3 Things Social Media Can Teach Writers.

social mediaLike many writers, I tend to get lost in the vortex that is social media. It can be an endless time waster, however, lately I have come to appreciate that social media has helped me as a writer in a couple of ways.

The two social networks that have opened my eyes the most are Facebook and Instagram. Here’s how:-

1. The Need to Get Out More

Instagram has been great in this regard. Instagram helps you to move away from your desk, out of your seat and moving. People don’t always want to see what’s going on at your writing desk. Get active and take photos of the great outdoors, whether it is a trip, your local coffee shop, out walking or just in your own backyard. Show what your life is like as a writer in more ways than one. Not only does this help you as a writer, but your readers/followers get to know you as a person through the pictures you take.

2. Learn to Get ‘Up Close & Personal’

As an introvert, Facebook has made me realise I need to learn to break down some barriers and get a bit more personal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find this to be the biggest challenge of all when it comes to social media. Of-course you need to set your own boundaries (I won’t show photos of my kids for example), and only post what you feel comfortable with. Again, your readers/followers will appreciate your efforts, pulling down that invisible barrier and making you more approachable.

3. Do What You Feel Comfortable With

Like getting up close and personal with what you post, you also need to feel comfortable with the social networks you are using. When told to start building a platform, many new writers tend to place themselves on numerous social networks. I did this myself, and speaking from my own experience I soon learned that (a) being on too many social networks can become overwhelming and (b) you get to learn which social networks you like best. It’s taken me a few years, but I think I’ve finally figured that all out, which goes to show that building a platform takes time.

What have you learned from social media? Which social media network/s do you like the most/least? Do you feel comfortable with being personal with strangers? 

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+. You can also find me on Goodreads, Pinterest and now on Instagram.