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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

Dr Strangelove

Want to write a blog? Unsure how to get started? Joanna Farrow, has 5 key tips for bloggers…

 

First, you have to start. It would be perfect if someone could formulate a blog with a specific purpose, a blog that had a clear identity and always needed updating, this isn’t how starting a blog usually works. It might start off as a mess and might end up as something completely different than what it started out as. My blog started off just reviewing a couple of books. Now that is only a section of the blog.

Blogs develop organically. Blogs change as the blogger changes and as they find out what they really want to communicate. It’s like writing a book: your first draft ain’t gonna be the final product. Once you’ve accepted this, it’s a lot easier to start.

Now that you’ve started your blog, when you blog you need to actually say something. No one cares if you are eating obscene amounts of chocolate or listening to Lady Gaga. It’s not a diary. A blog is a way of having a conversation with someone in more than 140 characters. A conversation where you read and connect and share with one another.

Who cares if I don’t blog everyday, just so long as…

I read blogs. Blogs about The Hunger Games, literary agents and various writers like Maggie Stiefvater and Veronica Roth, amongst others… stuff I’m interested in. Things that the BBC doesn’t care about because they’re busy broadcasting how poor Boris Johnson hasn’t landed any Olympic tickets. I learn about my interests from others’ expertise and get inspired for my own writing. It gets me thinking about things in different ways and allows me to…

Connect with others who have the same interests and goals. In my writerly life, it often feels like a very lonely world. I can’t count the number of times that an encouraging blog post from a blogger friend has encouraged me to keep going or helped me to see where I may be going wrong with my book, offering a solution. I take what I learn, apply it myself, and then…

Share. I know things. Things that other people want to know. I know about publishing and the editorial process and, generally, how to edit a book – take it from something rough, with potential, and make it  something polished and publishable. That’s just what I do and I know others want to know about it. I know it, not so much by the comments, but by the page views and hits. I link it on Twitter. A follower finds it interesting and retweets it. It turns out that a lot of people want to hear a lot of different things.

Joanna Farrow is a writer and editor of children’s and YA books. She’s a graduate of Hope College’s writing programme and City University London’s publishing programme. You can read her blog here: http://joannafarrow.blogspot.com/

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