Blogging isn’t a mandatory part of being a writer, but sometimes it feels like it may as well be. Of course, if you ask agents – which I did – they’d rather you just write a damn book than do anything on social media. But still, the pressure to blog, to constantly put out words publicly even as you’re also busting your butt to put them out privately, is certainly there.
So let’s say you want to blog – great! What are you blogging about? Are you gonna be a book blogger, with a site completely dedicated to things like reviews and cover reveals? Are you going to have a personal blog that doesn’t discuss your writing life at all? Are you going to focus on the craft of writing, or the business of publishing? Or are you going to do some amalgam of all of the above? Or none of the above?
A little overwhelming, right? Personally, I like to blog about whatever comes to mind, but sometimes, when ideas are slow-coming, that means I could theoretically go weeks without putting something down on the (web) page. It’s overwhelming enough to come up with ideas for books; now we have to come up with ideas for posts as well?
Fortunately, there are a lot of people and sites out there that make this waaaay easier. So if you’re looking to start a new blog, or jumpstart an existing but lagging one, here are some ideas for ways to fill in the blanks until you’ve got your Mojo down (and even afterward)!
- Participate in sites with weekly questions posed – this is the perfect way to pick up both ideas and an audience, and one I highly recommend. Plus, there are examples for four different days of the week!
Monday – YAMisfits has Monday Pep Rally
Tuesday – Broke and Bookish has Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday – YA Highway has Road Trip Wednesday
- Interview! – Personally, I love interviewing writers and publishing professionals for my site, and obviously, I love giving interviews as well. I know it can seem daunting to ask people, but you’d be amazed at how many people are thrilled to talk about themselves, especially if it means helping other people. If you’re still nervous about approaching subjects, try asking a writer who hasn’t been interviewed yet; not only does it help take the pressure off you because they have no other interviewer to compare you to, but it’s a nice way for them to start the process of getting themselves out there!
As for what to ask, here are a few tips to help you out:
-Ask open-ended questions, not “yes or no” ones. You want to get people talking and give them the opportunity to open up on the subject.
-If you’re interviewing someone who’s been interviewed before, read their other interviews to ensure you’re not overlapping on questions. Answering the same things over and over gets tiresome for the person being interviewed and the audience.
-Unless you’re doing a blog series that specifically asks the same questions of every subject, make it personal – focus on that writer’s genre, that agent’s background and wishlist, that editor’s process. My favorite questions to get are the ones that make people step outside the normal “What was your querying experience like?” and ask about my copy editing or my blogging or anything else that’s (relatively) uniquely me. Plus, it’s just nice to feel like an interviewer’s doing his or her research.
- Get inspired by other blogs – See something you like elsewhere? Give it a hat tip and do your own. For example, I know that on YA Misfits, our Band Geek Thursday posts are some readers’ favorites. No reason you couldn’t go ahead and do your own WIP playlist post if you were so inclined!
- Follow indie and self-pubbing authors on Twitter – They’re so often looking for people to sign up for cover reveals or reviews, and if you’re into doing one of those things, the sky’s the limit!
- Pick something to feature – Create your own series by picking something you’d like to discuss weekly or monthly or whatever. It can be as simple as picking one book cover a week to focus on, or one new release to talk about.
- Share whatever expertise you’ve got – I talk about publishing because it’s what I know; I’ve worked in the industry in various ways since I was 18. But if publishing’s not your thing, talk about what you do know, whether it’s how you make time for writing as a stay-at-home parent, or what it’s like to be a cop, or the experience of teaching high school children at your day job while writing about them at home. You never know what’ll help – or inspire – readers!