I always answer with a resounding YES it’s necessary — blogging is a way to connect with readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers (and potentially, agents and publishers who, make no mistake, will come to your site and look for your blog to get a feel for who you are and how you write). As to what to blog about — that’s where most writers get tripped up, so let’s deconstruct.
I’m always a little fascinated by how there are millions of news stories and genres and topics that we talk about on social media and in our real lives every moment of the day, yet writers are at a loss what to blog about. Why is that? Why is there a disconnect?
It’s simple really: fear. Fear of criticism, of putting our opinion out there and having people disagree with us, of telling us we’re wrong (how dare you have an opinion!), of being called out about something. Well, I’m here to tell you, that will happen. So what? Who’s to say that because I love the color red and I write a blog post about my red love, a color you happen to hate with a passion, makes me right and you wrong? Or vice versa?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to blogging. It’s YOUR blog. You own it. So own it! Take a stand. Own your red. If someone doesn’t like your opinion, they can click off. Because there’s another side to that — they may love your red. Stop focusing on the hate and the worry, and focus on trusting your voice.
What are you passionate about? Then that’s what you should write (blog, tweets, posts, etc.) about. It’s really not that complicated!
Here’s a simple, practical exercise I recommend to my clients: what are five topics you are interested in, are an expert on, are passionate about? Doesn’t matter if you write about them in your books. Now list them. Here are mine:
- Childhood sexual abuse (advocacy)
- Social media
- Helping authors
Don’t spend hours, and don’t list more than five. If you can’t come up with more than three, then go with three. These are my ‘keywords’ or ‘key phrases’ — or anchors, if you will. Now, post them. Write them down and hang them on your wall, put them in your phone, have them somewhere handy. If I’m at a loss as to what to write about, I always look at these.
Not only that, I create a blog calendar from this list because I now have my go-to topics. No more wondering or searching for something, anything, to write about. How cool is that?
Keep in mind, these keywords can, and likely will, change. But this is a first step to finding YOUR voice.
As I mentioned above, you have to get over yourself. You have to find your voice. Blogging is a terrific way to do that.
Now you need to trust in yourself and in your readers. We can all spot a poser a mile away, right? If you’re writing surface kinds of posts, things that don’t resonate with people, you’ll lose them. So dig deep, trust in your ability to challenge yourself and challenge your reader to handle what you have to say, and say it.
It’s okay to be controversial if you write with feeling and passion. It’s okay to put yourself out there and have your own opinion — you are an adult, so write like one. Write what scares you, write what challenges you — people admire and relate to that!