I sometimes write about blogging from the perspective of an author: how blogging can help us develop our skills, develop a community of readers, and get us thinking in creative and new ways about the craft of fiction.
Today’s post is about blogging, but from the perspective of a blog reader. Following a number of quality blogs—and there are LOTS of quality blogs out there—is time-consuming.
However, an author who follows and interacts with numerous bloggers reaps a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits are less obvious, and others more so, but the fact is, the benefits are definitely there.
I got to thinking today about the wealth of resources blogs represent. In my personal experience, I can say that blogs are a goldmine, and I sincerely wish I’d started reading blogs sooner than I did! Here’s why:
1. READING BLOGS REMINDS US THAT WE ARE A COMMUNITY.
We can all have a tendency to think in terms of ourselves: How can I improve my novel? How can I find readers? How do I manage the world of indie publishing? Where do I find beta readers?
Reading blogs can help us answer those questions, but of equal importance, reading blogs gives us opportunities to answer questions. You might find a blogger, or a commenter on a blog, who has a problem you’ve faced and overcome. You can share your insight, pay it forward, and do something nice for someone else. And that’s great!
Heck, sometimes it’s even a great relief to someone when you can’t offer substantial advice but you can honestly say, “I’m having trouble with that too. You’re not alone.”
It’s easy to feel discouraged and talentless when your draft just won’t cooperate and sales just won’t come. We all know it helps when people let you know, “You’re not a failure. You’re not alone. You’re not the problem.”
It feels even better to be the person who says that to a fellow writer.
2. READING BLOGS WILL BROADEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
Reading blogs by fellow authors is a constant reminder that there is no one way to approach or define the writing process. It will constantly challenge you to reassess and to adjust your personal approach to writing and marketing.
Ideally, the adjustments you make will constitute improvements, but even if they don’t, you are gaining experience. Experimenting with new strategies is the only way to get better. Think of an author as a tree. If the author doesn’t branch out, she’ll never grow.
3. YOU WILL GET IDEAS FOR YOUR OWN BLOG (BECAUSE AUTHORS REALLY SHOULD HAVE BLOGS OF THEIR OWN.)
I don’t mean that you restate the content you read in your own words. But you can react/ respond to that content (with a gracious link back to the original.) I don’t do this nearly enough myself.
You can see what popular and successful blogs have in common: the layout of their post content, the layout of the site in general. You’ll start to see patterns, such as “busy isn’t good.” “Short paragraphs work best.” “Each post on a successful blog tends to have a similar structure to the other posts.”
4. READING BLOGS WILL ANSWER QUESTIONS YOU DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD.
I guarantee this. One of my favorite quotes is, “Average men learn from their own experience. Great men learn from the experience of others.”
Reading author blogs will help you learn from the experience of others. It will clue you in to what you might want to try and what you might want to stay away from or at least approach with caution.
5. READING BLOGS WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO GREAT AUTHORS TO READ. We writers are great bookworms, after all. I love that when I read a book I first heard about on an author’s blog, I can then interact with that author and let him or her personally know I enjoyed the novel.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been reading nearly enough lately, but once my life settles down a bit, I will be reading more books by authors I got to know through their blogs.
All that said, I feel a hearty thank you is in order to you guys. I appreciate you reading my rambling thoughts,and hope you get something out of them. This is trite, I know, but I cherish my interactions, healthy debates, and authorial commiseration with all of you.
One cool question to ask myself from time to time as a blogger involves putting myself in the shoes of my readers. I think, what is it I hope my blog provides for my readers? What do I want them to get from my blog in a general sense, to keep them coming back? What do I want to this particular post to give them?
My question for you guys is: why do you read blogs? And if you run one, what do you hope your readers take away from it?
If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to consider signing up to follow my blog by email. That way you won’t miss out on any posts that might be pertinent to you; the form is at the top right of the page.
You can also check out my other posts on how to be a successful blogger.