Blogging regularly is part of my writing commitment. It’s a good way to connect with readers. This website is where I advertise my books, discuss the craft of writing, and talk about my life in general.
I have made a personal commitment to post three times a week on this blog, plus I contribute posts to three other blogs. I do this because each time I write an essay on the craft of writing, I clarify my own thoughts on those points. Also, posting flash fiction every Friday keeps me sharp and keeps me writing little bits of prose I might otherwise not have the chance to write.
I’ve mentioned this before (old people frequently repeat themselves): I first began blogging because my former publisher insisted. It was a struggle and I wasn’t good at it because those posts were pathetic attempts to write about current affairs as a journalist, something that has never interested me. For a blog to be successful, you should discuss what you are passionate about, be it travel, sports, cooking, motorcycles, books, or writing craft.
What I learned from that otherwise negative experience is important: it wasn’t until I stopped trying to fit into a mold someone else had designed for me and began writing about my interests that I learned to love the craft of blogging. When I made that connection and commitment to writing about what I enjoy, I began to grow as a writer.
I admit it’s a challenge. I have to work hard to proofread my own work and then publish it. When I’ve had a small success and am in danger of becoming too full of myself, blogging never fails to provide me with a sharp dose of reality. Nothing bursts your bubble of self-importance like discovering gross errors and bloopers several days after you published the post.
Regularly writing blogposts has made me a “thinking” author, as well as a “pantser.” I can write using the “stream of consciousness” method, or write from an outline of whatever interests me at the time. I do the research, and the post begins to write itself.
A good blogpost should have at least 500 words but not more than 1000. This means I have to keep my area of discussion narrow, and not get sidetracked. Also, flash fiction can only be up to 1000 words, so keeping it small is sometimes the issue.
Writing blogposts isn’t that difficult per se, as I can knock one out in less than an hour if I’m fired up about the subject. The real challenge of blogging regularly is finding interesting content. But that is part of the challenge.
The way I handle my blogging commitments is this: during the week I make a note of any interesting topic that might make a good blogpost. The only day I write blogposts is Sunday, but I write the entire week’s posts that day. If there is a lot of research involved I make footnotes as I go, and getting the articles ready could take the whole day. Usually writing the posts for the week only involves the morning.
For a blogger who only posts once a week, it should only take an hour or so.
I spell-check and self-edit my posts as well as possible. Then I go to each website, copy and paste the document into the body of the post, make any adjustments needed, add pictures, and edit the date for publishing so they are prescheduled for right publishing date. Prescheduling allows my blog to post a new article three times a week at 06:45 am my time (on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday) which is 09:45 US Eastern time. It updates without my having to babysit it.
I do have to be observant when I am scheduling these things. Occasionally I accidentally hit the “publish immediately” button, which means I end up with an extra post that week whether I meant to or not. When that happens I sometimes use naughty words, such as, “Sassafras!” And “Dirty Words!” When I get done cursing, I either skip the Monday post or write an extra one.
Having the ability to write each post ahead of time, edit them, and select the date for publishing allows me work the rest of the week on my true job, which is writing novels.
If you are an author, you really should be blogging too. If you want to know more about getting your own blog up and running, see my post of December 14, 2015, Blogging is Writing Too. That post has screenshots and step-by-step instructions. It also talks about how to use the new default system here at WordPress so that you can insert pictures and make a nice looking post.