4 Tips to Blog Your Best (and Make Blogging About You): No Matter Your Topic

1165446_blog_1Blogs and bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of different interests, but good bloggers share some characteristics in common, and that’s what this post is about.

I happen to be an independent author with a history of dissecting literature in grad school, so I blog about fiction: what makes good fiction, and what things we authors should avoid (for the most part).

That’s just me, though. People blog and read blogs about all kinds of things: some of my favorite blogs are faith-focused or philosophy-based, or comment on current events, because let’s face it, none of us has only one facet.

Now, marketing your blog is a separate subject. To have success marketing, though, you first need a solid product to put out there. Here are 4 quick tips to make your blog the best it can be content-wise:

1. DON’T BLOG TOO OFTEN FOR YOUR SCHEDULE AND YOUR LIFE.

I always tells authors they need to “write for you,” and that holds true for blogging as well. Blogging should be an enjoyable and pleasurable experience, one that challenges you but also brings learning and growth experiences.

I used to blog daily. I even wrote a post about how frequent blogging can help you break a perfectionism habit. Now, though,  I’ve cut back to twice a week. And you know what? That is a much better schedule for me.

Blogging regularly is ALWAYS a good idea, but “regularly” doesn’t have to me “daily” or even “weekly.” It all depends on you. We are all different people and all have different lives, with different obligations.

When blogging becomes a stressor–when “blogging” starts to mean “anxiety about finding time to write” and “constantly worrying about what to say or how to meet my self-imposed deadlines,” then it’s time to cut back.

Cutting back is NOT a bad thing! It doesn’t mean accepting defeat. It doesn’t even mean you’ll lose your community. The people who have connected with you will continue to drop by, I promise.

2. DON’T OVERTHINK THINGS OR BE A STAT JUNKIE.

When you make blogging about you, then you don’t worry too much about finding the “perfect” title for a post or getting SEO “just right.” A small dip in stats won’t bug you.

That’s a good thing! Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t take time to market your blog and increase your readership. Obviously, we all want that. But when attracting people to your blog takes precedence over how your blog is benefiting YOU, in my personal opinion, something’s wrong.

I’ve written posts from time to time to help me work through a problem with a work-in-progress. Through the process of describing what my issue is, I often figure out how to tackle it. If I don’t, sometimes a reader will leave a comment that helps me work through what has me stumped.

Those post aren’t nearly as popular as some other kinds of posts. And you know what? I don’t care, because those post are among the most beneficial to me. They help me grow as a writer. They help me confront my insecurities and doubts as a writer. And that’s way more valuable than a couple hundred more people dropping by my site.

I admit, I have been a bit of a stat junkie in the past, and I’ve written about how stat obsession is counterproductive both emotionally and in terms of my blog’s improvement and expansion. Because it is that.

Make blogging about the experience you create for yourself, not visitors whom you can’t control, and you’ll be a much happier blogger.

3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN “EXPERT” IN THE FIELD TO BLOG ABOUT IT.

Some people hesitate to start a blog, or continue a blog, because while they feel passionate about something, they don’t think they are an “expert” in the field. They worry about saying something silly or even downright wrong. They worry about embarrassing themselves.

Well, here’s the thing: you don’t have to be an expert to blog. NOT AT ALL. In fact, if you have a real passion for something and want to learn more, blogging about the topic is a fantastic way to spur yourself to research more about it and expand your knowledge base.

Just admit your novice status and explain that you are speaking from your heart, from where you are. People will connect with and relate to that (as long as you are a responsible writer, you fact-check, and your thoughts and/or argument is cohesive).

You see, blogging is all about community. Blogging will connect you with others who share your interests. Conversations will start that will show you new points of view and new approaches to the topic.

As for me: I’m no expert in creative writing. I don’t even have an MFA. (My Master’s is in Spanish, with an emphasis on Spanish literature. I did take a creative writing sequence as an undergrad, but still… No MFA.)

I just blog from the heart. I expound on my experiences and put my opinions out there. I know what I like to read, and I base my philosophy on what makes good writing on that.

And I LOVE when people share different points of view in the comments section (as long as commenters are respectful of everyone else). I am always seeking to become a better writer, and people who disagree, or see things with different eyes, help me understand that my way of reading and writing is not the only one. They reinforce that there is no “one way” to go about writing.

I love when I need to defend, or break down, or somehow further explain my point of view to someone who feels differently or doesn’t fully understand what I meant to say. It’s an exercise in exposition, for one thing. It also brings me to question why I think what I do about writing. Sometimes that leads me to tweak my approach to the written word.

4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING NEW: A NEW STRUCTURE, A NEW TOPIC, ETC.

This goes back to not overthinking. To blogging for you. Generally, it’s a good idea to have a set structure for your posts and a theme to your blog in terms of topic. If nothing else, it makes blogging easier on YOU, because you’re not starting completely from scratch when you need to write a post.

This doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t veer from your usual pattern. It doesn’t mean that when you feel inspired to do something different, you shouldn’t or you can’t.

Your blog is for you, first and foremost. And if you feel inspired to write about a different kind of topic, then there’s an emotional or psychological need for you to do that. Maybe you need to work through something. Maybe you need to get something off your chest.

Is journaling an option? Sure. But if you feel a desire to share those thoughts, even if they’re out of the ordinary for your blog, you can and should.

I don’t do this too often, but I’m from New Orleans, and this year on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I felt compelled for some reason to share my Katrina story (and especially the lessons I learned from the experience.) I was away in college, not in the city when the storm came, though my family had to evacuate. My experience was a bit unique that way.

The topic had nothing to do with creative writing. But the post was from the heart. It was raw and honest, and some people connected with it. Looking back, I don’t regret my decision to write that post at all, if only because it reinforced to ME the lessons Katrina brought into my life, and it had been a long time since I’d reflected on those.

Focusing on them again, at this new stage in my life, was something I needed to do.

So, what do you think about these blogging tips? Do you find you have been following them? Do you have a tip or two to add to the list?

If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up to follow my blog by email at the top right corner of the page. (New posts go live on Sundays and Wednesdays).

You might also find these related posts helpful:

  1. Why Writers Should Read Blogs
  2. Why You Should Be a “Selfish” Blogger
  3. How to Take Your Blog to a Deeper Level
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40 responses to “4 Tips to Blog Your Best (and Make Blogging About You): No Matter Your Topic

  1. Great post, Victoria! This confirms I’m (sort of) on the right path with my blog (roughly a year old in January!). Blogging’s been a huge learning curve for me.

    I’ve always admired your work ethic and attitude towards blogging. You’ve put in the work, and deserve the audience you’ve garnered in return! A post like this just confirms that you’re doing it for the right reasons.

  2. Great post! Great tips. 🙂 #3 especially resonated with me. I’m definitely one of those people who’d rather say nothing in case I say something silly. It’s one of the reasons, sadly, that I don’t talk/blog about my faith very much, since I learnt most of what I knew from a man who was an expert in his subject.

    • I would LOVE to start a faith blog under an alias (just so I don’t alienate people from my fiction, if that makes sense.) One of these I will, I hope. I just need to get my life together first, I feel 🙂 But I hear you. It is a scary thing to make oneself vulnerable that way, especially talking publicly about faith. I kind of feel called to do that though. One of these days!

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown

    You’re right, my blogging needs to be about me. I have started numerous blogs only to burn out on them. Recently I started a new blog that focuses on me as a story telling, I am after all, a novelist. One thing you didn’t mention though was the idea that you can reblog a blog you find inspirational rather than blogging for yourself. A reblog can benefit your readers the other blogger and you too!

    • That is a fantastic point, Cygnet! I have discovered LOTS of great posts through reblogs on blogs that I follow. I tend not to reblog myself but lots of people do and that is a GREAT way to reflect yourself from time to time: this post really resonated with me so I want to share it with you too.

  4. Love those tips. I’ll admit to always being nervous about missing a day, which is why I use the scheduler. I’ve begun jotting down topics when they come to me and spending time every night writing up the posts for the future. It’s oddly relaxing to be a week or two ahead on writing blog posts, so I can focus on my writing and then do spontaneous stuff when they come up.

  5. Stat Junkie. You should sing a rap song about this. It could go viral. 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on chrismcmullen and commented:
    These are four great tips. 🙂

  7. I was only a stat junkie for the first year. I got over it eventually. Great and informative post!

  8. Great tips from a veteran! I’ve been blogging for about six months and feel I’m both settling into my groove and constantly evolving at the same time. I think instinct is important when blogging and choosing topics so that’s what drives my choices. Maybe instinct and passion are one and the same…

    • I go by instinct as well. What I feel drawn to do, what I feel will bring me joy or teach me something if I blog about it…. That’s what I blog about 🙂 I think going by instinct is a very wise choice, haha! (If only because I do it too!)

  9. I’m starting to care less about stats and more about comments, and I won’t reach my year anniversary till the end of February. I’m torn because I love to put up original work, but publishers only want to look at unpublished writing. I can’t sustain both endeavors forever. I was hoping to have kids look at my work, but I don’t get read by kids as much as adults. It’s a puzzle, but I do enjoy blogging.

    • Do publishers consider material you post on your blog “published”? That’s good to know! I wouldn’t consider it that. Wow, that’s really tough…. Comments are great on a blog, though, for sure, i agree with you. I love getting a conversation going 🙂

      • Yes, they consider it published. Some places will only consider new work that has not been previously published in any form. I’m trying to write for my blog and write things to submit elsewhere, which takes a lot of time. I enjoy it, though, but as you say, at some point it may become too much.

        • That is tough, wow!!! I can’t imagine juggling that. I guess I’ve just never really published or shared fiction on my blog. Not poetry either to any large extent. Thank you SO MUCH for this heads-up!!!!! I needed to know this!

        • Unless you go viral like 50 Shades of Gray… Then I imagine they don’t mind.

  10. This is a great post. I think people get so caught up in the hype and stats and forget that writing should be pleasurable. I enjoy the challenge of creating my posts, and if people read them and comment on them, that is a lovely bonus. I post only once a week on one of my blogs, and the other, I post as they come, trying not to create pressure on myself, especially when I need time for all my other writing projects. Blogging should be fun and enjoyable.

  11. I’m about to give my blog a major face lift. I was feeling a little uneasy about it–then I read this article. Now I know I’m on the right track. Thank you.

  12. Letting go of the stats and my own expectations were both big things about blogging for me. Now I just enjoy the community and post when it suits me!

  13. I’ll echo everyone here, Victoria! I thoroughly agree with all of these tips 🙂 I’ve cut back on my blogging of original posts to once or twice a week. I do a fair amount of reblogs, but I don’t count those since they are not original and are always spontaneous. I was also a stat junkie for a while. But as you say, “blogging is all about community” and while getting a high number of views is always exciting, it’s the comments from the tried and true followers that really matter to me. It is the community that keeps me blogging. And it’s that community that makes it safe for me to admit when I don’t know what I am talking about. I’ve learned so much from so many others — another perk. And it can be fun and rejuvenating to step outside the usual topics of writing and publishing and blog about something completely different, like the bumper stickers on my truck 🙂
    Happy Holidays, Victoria!

    • I’m like you: I love that the community I’ve found makes me feel comfortable admitting that I’m not sure what I’m talking about, because i know they’ll help me learn and support me rather than tear me down. That is SUCH a wonderful feeling! Happy Holidays to you!

  14. marlenemariana27

    I see somewere in your blog that you have a major on spanish literature, that’s is amazing!!
    I find mysefl returning again and again to your blog, I’m a writter, and your advises fits me so well.
    Your words encourage me to begging blogging.
    Thank you so much!!

    • I do have a major in Spanish literature…. my focus is on Golden Age Spain, so lots of Cervantes and company 🙂 Don Quixote made a HUGE impression on me.

      I’m so glad you find the blog here fits you! I have learned so much from the comments from people who stop by and from our discussions.Your comment here made my day! Blogging can be a lot of fun and very eye-opening.

  15. Reassuring and somewhat comforting. This post gave decent advice while rubbing you on the back encouragingly, pushing you onwards. Thank you for this.

  16. Great ideas!!!!! I look forward to following you and sharing with my friends.

  17. Reblogged this on caseylove's and commented:
    Anyway to learn to become a better writer. Anyway to strengthen skills. Obtained from lonnietalouise.

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