One of the greatest assets of WordPress is getting to read the work of so many writers, both aspiring and established. Blogging is a perfect drug for writers. We get to type out our thoughts on the subject of our choosing. There is the satisfaction and simplicity of hitting the “Publish” button, and right away the world can view our prose. There is no nail-biting wait for a response or rejection letter. WordPress won’t give you the error message, “I’m sorry, your post cannot be published at this time. It is waiting in the slush pile. Please re-write and try again later.” Oh no. WordPress doesn’t care if we stink. Blogs are our friends.
Indeed nothing could be more true. Blogs offer us a great variety of benefits:
1. It gets us writing – Say goodbye to the terror of the blank page. Maybe all you wrote today was how great your coffee tasted and how much you hate getting up in the morning. Someone out there, I guarantee you, will relate to that. There is less pressure with a blog post than, say, a novel. Blog posts seem more manageable than a 100,000 word piece of writing. So stop agonizing over the enormous mountain of making yourself into a “writer” and write. When you click that Publish button, you are a writer. You wrote something didn’t you? Don’t be afraid to celebrate the small stuff.
2. Practice – If you aspire to be a writer, then I assume that you want to become a good writer. Regardless of the quality of work you produce in the beginning, writing on a regular basis will make you a better writer. Blog posting is one way to hold yourself accountable for producing actual pieces. If you pay attention, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. You will make mistakes, that is the point. In three years, you will be able to look back on your work and see how much better you have become.
3. Feedback – Blogging is a great way to get free feedback. First of all, you will learn what people like to read. If you frequently review your blog stats, you will see which posts got traffic, and which ones didn’t. Did your post titled “Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work” get a ton of hits and comments, but “Which Trash Can to Buy at Wal-Mart” flopped? Before you curl into a ball and cry over your poor trash cans, use this information. You just conducted a free and informative experiment with your audience. Examine your writing in both posts, compare the titles, look at your comments and feedback. This will help your writing improve in the future.
4. It builds your platform – Back in the day, when you sent your work to a publisher, that publisher decided if you were worth the effort based on your manuscript. Then began the job of building your platform, which was not primarily your responsibility. Gone are those times. When you submit your work, you will most likely be Googled. Publishers want to see if you already have a loyal audience. They want to know if you posted Playboy pictures on your Facebook page. They want to know what you look like as a brand. And, like it or not, you are a brand. Every comment, like, follow, click, etc. that you get on your blog builds your platform. It helps publishers realize that people already like your work, and are willing to take the time to read more of it. To a corporation, this means that you have people out there in the world who will already buy your book.
Blogging is your right as a computer-owning citizen. Blogging well is a privilege. Not to turn myself into a sales ad, but I have to share a dirty little secret here. If you are serious about making your blog (and even your writing career) a success, then you need to read Kristen Lamb’s book We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Honestly, her book is what started me on this journey. I’ve been blogging since 2002, back in the days when you had to be invited to create a blog on LiveJournal (still have mine). But I did not really understand how blogging affected my writing career. I didn’t even know what a platform was before I read WANA. This isn’t a shameless plug; if you buy it, I get nothing out of the deal. But you will, I guarantee it.
So keep on, writers. Don’t let one comment ruin your day. Celebrate every tiny step you make on your journey. Have a glass of wine when you get your first follower. Have a bottle when you get 1,000. However you choose to celebrate, do it. Don’t take any moment for granted. Hopefully one day you’ll be sitting in your spacious office writing your eighth novel (for which you’ve already been contracted), and you’ll say to yourself, “Gee, I remember when I got my first ‘like’ on my WordPress blog. I danced in my pajamas for thirty minutes. And now, look at me!”
I wish you all the best.
For more on this topic, visit Kristen Lamb’s Blog