Regular readers know, one of my goals the last year or so has been to be more consistent with adding content to this blog. My goal has been three to five new posts each week, with a mixture of topics for fiction writers (craft/process/social media/review/etc.)
In order to keep up a steady pace, a blog writer has to (in my opinion) write about that things that they are passionate about. In order to have a growing reader base, a blog writer has to (this is NOT opinion, it’s a universal bloggy rule) present content that engages, informs, and entertains readers.
The trick, then, is to find where these two forces overlap.
This “sweet spot” of passionate content that readers care about isn’t easy to find, and sometimes it feels a bit like a moving target. As a blog writer, I can re-assess and re-aim from time to time, but I have to do so within the confides of the things that matter to me. For my words to have life, I have to talk about things that make me excited.
Here are my thoughts on blogging, as a writer of fiction:
Craft and Process
Craft and process blogs are the most fun for me to write, but they don’t seem to garner a lot of attention. Based on the stats for my blog, fiction craft and process posts aren’t the most popular, except for some of the photo-inspired writing prompts. For the most part, users are not linking in from Twitter or Facebook to read these sorts of posts.
Social Media Posts
Posts that connect the writer (fiction or otherwise) to social media concepts and strategies are a little more popular. Writers seem to want to know more about what they should be doing when it comes to building a personal brand (or tribe). A recent comment was that there is a lot of overlap between writers and the need to understand and utilize social media. That is absolutely true. I feel like I have a decent grasp of both sides of that equation, and I enjoy helping writers make some connections between their more-private writing life, and the more-public need to connect and interact.
The Three Minute Writer video blog posts are probably the most fun for me. They really focus more on the teaching element of my personality and I try to fill those posts with the content that I theorize will be the most important to other writers.
Unfortunately, those posts are probably the WORST received, based on internet usage statistics. If I post a list of books on sale or the monthly music bargains from Amazon, I get more response than I do from the video blogs. (Don’t worry. I’m not bashing getting response from the music or book posts, just pointing out the discrepancy between the effort and content.)
Secondary Reason to Blog
Trial and error. Hit and miss. Sometimes the things I think will be well-received are, in fact, virtually ignored. A post I like, but don’t feel is overly important (To MFA, or Not?) may be picked up by hundreds of readers. If my focus were only short-term gains of readers, I would be wise to focus on MFA-related posts, and hammer away at that topic until people stopped coming by.
The flip side of that coin is that I want my blog to be a gateway to my website and (fledgling) business: Words Matter Creative Writing Instruction. A lot of my blogging and PR energy is being directed at things that lay a big-picture, long-term groundwork for my business, so that next year, when I begin to really promote and seek growth in this area, there will be a large pool of information about who I am and what I can provide creative writing clients.
My methodology, then, is this: push forward with regular blog posts that both interest me and engage other writers, while keeping an eye on the long-term goals of having a profitable business that helps other writers find their words.