For the past few days, I’ve discussed my experience with blogging, so have RAFrenzy and Servetus. So the question remains Dear Reader – should you blog? Some would say no; there genre is already too crowded with inane chatter and poor writing.
To that I say, so what? Every blogging experience is both deeply personal and unique. It’s a form of expression like any other media. It can be good, as well as bad. I think if you have a need to find your voice, to express your opinions and interests, to tap into your creativity in a relatively safe setting, then blogging is one of the ways to do it. Of course some unwanted commenters may find their way to you but the joy of it is you have total control over your blog; you can moderate, including and excluding as you see fit. You have license to speak and do whatever you want within legal reason; it’s your space.
That’s not to say that blogging doesn’t have its downside. As I said at the beginning of this series, blogging is much harder than it looks. It takes determination to start up and keep going. Even if you blog long enough to acquire readers and hits, sometimes you just don’t feel like writing. It’s important to set a schedule of posting daily or every other day or weekly so that readers will return expecting to see a post. Set your mind to it and stick with it.
Also be sure to have a specific purpose in mind. Is it about a crush, an interest, a hobby, a goal? It’s best to keep a focus so that you don’t chatter inanely and eventually peter out, resulting in the blog going defunct. It’s also the best way to keep the interest of your readers and become a good blogger. Do you have to be a talented writer? I would say you need to be grammatically competent in the language of your intended audience and to think logically, but you certainly don’t have to be a Stephen King.
After you decide your purpose, you need to find your own voice and style. Look at other bloggers. While it’s okay to borrow ideas when you’re first starting out, continuing to copy others is a bad idea. Readers want to discover something about *you,* not something rehashed from another blog. Hence it’s important to evolve your own voice. How do you do that? Experiment, mix it up. Does it work? Don’t be afraid to try and discard different ideas. If it feels right and clicks with you, it will do the same with your audience. You will also be able to maintain your voice if you plan your posts ahead, at least a day or two. If the post reads rushed, tired and unoriginal, it is.
Remember you’re writing for yourself. Even if the subject isn’t personal, the insights, experiences and opinions are yours. Is it something you want to explore and share? Then, that is what you need to discuss. You may ask “what about the audience? They have to read it.” Well, does the topic interest you? Is it something you would want to read? Then more likely than not, it will interest your audience. It’s natural to worry, but don’t place too much concern on how many viewers you’re getting when starting out. Once you’ve found your voice and focus, interested readers will come. Really.
Also, take pride in your blog. It’s a representation of you. Make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing with an appealing format. Use pictures and video to break up long text. Keep posts relatively short unless the subject warrants otherwise. Proofread, proofread, proofread even after you’ve published. (I’ve caught more mistakes after going live.) Nothing ruins a good post more than bad grammar, poor spelling and typos. Would you be proud to be given a bound copy of your blog? Then you’re doing a good job.
Of the thousands and thousands of bloggers on the internet, can you be a good blogger, even a great one? It’s hard to say unless you try. Don’t be in awe of your favorite bloggers too much; they had to start somewhere, usually with an goal and the will to write. You may succeed, you might not. But as the saying goes, if you don’t try, you’re guaranteed to fail.