7 Lessons from a First-Year Blogger

This month marked my first anniversary as a blogger. While my stats are hardly impressive, I have 111 posts and more than 5,000 views to my credit. In the process, I’ve learned a lot and would like to share seven key lessons:

1. Keep doing it. The blogosphere is littered with bloggers who started out fast and flamed out. If you are going to start a blog, you must make a long-term commitment. Take the long view. Are you really passionate enough about the subject to keep going back to it again and again. Do you have enough to say? Do you have enough time? Which brings me to my second lesson.

2. Your writing comes first. I have not found the right balance yet. I admit I have sacrificed my writing time in the interest of keeping up my blog and that’s a bad habit. I need to work on that.

3. Read other blogs. Bloggers must stay current on what is being written about their subject. What are the hot stories? What are the trends or books people are talking about? Writing books doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Writers are part of a vast world that includes traditional and self-publishing. Besides, reading other blogs will give you topic ideas.

4. Build your online community. My philosophy is to focus on making a few meaningful connections. This is best done by faithfully reading blogs you like and leaving comments. It also involves being nice to other bloggers, reading and reviewing their work and sharing tips and insights. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

5. Twitter is your best friend. I resisted Twitter for a long time, but a friend persisted in touting its benefits. Once I realized what it was all about and what it could do for a writer, I was hooked. Again, Twitter is about sharing and giving, not about self-promotion. If you follow the right people, you can get all your news about your subject of interest through Twitter.

6. Branch out. My blog started as a resource for new writers. All of my posts were focused on helping the novice writer. I wrote with an eye toward giving advice I would have found most helpful when I was starting out. I always knew it would morph into something more. I have added Author Spotlights on authors I admire and Book Reviews. I realize I am not only a writer, but an avid reading and reading is just as important to me as writing.

7. You own it. Fiction writing bloggers tend to write about the same topics, but what I find fascinating is that every writer’s perspective on these topics is so different. We all see writing through our unique prism. And that’s what the individual blogger brings to the table. Share your insights. Share your journey. Give knowledge to others. You will find it most rewarding. Now I need to go and spend some time on my Work In Progress.

What lessons have you learned as a blogger? Have you figured out the balance between blogging and writing fiction?



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8 responses to “7 Lessons from a First-Year Blogger

  1. Chris,
    Thank you – timely lessons for me as I am at the 3/4 year mark for my blog. I’ve found you blog very helpful and informative. At your recommendation, I will revisit the idea of Twitter. There must be more to the “stream of consciousness thought” – which is how I view it and have adamantly resisted it so far. I resisted blogging as well, wondering what I could say that would have worth for others to invest their reading time in. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the encouragement and comments I’ve receive. To date, I have not struck a balance between my blog and fiction writing. I suspect (and hope) it will eventually work itself out.

    • Amy,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Congratulations on your perseverance. You have made it this far. That is quite an achievement. The only other advice I can give is to stick with it. Thankful again.

  2. CG–

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your blog since first reading it, even when I don’t comment.
    As the keeper of four blogs, I agree with each and every point, and would add two more:

    Don’t just read other bloggers, but make a point of commenting in a meaningful way, when possible.

    Triple-check your grammar, spelling, and set-up. Although not every blogger considers themselves a writer, that is what comprises a blog, and sadly, many popular bloggers fall short when it comes to editing.

    In my opinion, if you want to put out words, you need to learn to use them wisely, carefully, and cleanly. I’m not saying you can’t speak informally– but a casual tone does not excuse bad spelling and horrible grammar. If you don’t know the difference between they’re and their, you’d best learn it before you presume to communicate in my blogosphere!

    • Mary,
      Thanks for those kind words. My background as a journalist has helped me to be a better blogger. Your observations are right on target. Bloggers need to take the same care in editing their posts as they would when writing a novel or an essay. I always appreciate your feedback and support. Thanks again.

  3. Hello Mr. Blake im new to blogging can you look at blog and give me some tips http://www.roykirkwood.com

  4. Pat

    Hi there First year Blogger. I am a 7 week blogger and still very new and fresh and enjoying it. Which I really didn’t think I would.
    I began because I wanted to join a ‘tribe’ (sorry if you hate the expression, many do) of like-minded people. I don’t have writer-friends and sometimes the world could be a bit lonely.
    I wanted to establish this elusive platform that everyone talks about, to which end I have also joined other social media. Not so keen on that side of things, but the blog is great fun. I pretty much write the way I speak, as if chatting to a friend over coffee. And I have found people to be lovely.
    Still don’t like Twitter. I have not got the hang of it at all. I chat, but my words disappear into the ether. I don’t understand how that can ever work.
    But I will listen and hang in there.
    Maybe one day all will become clear.

    • Pat,
      Thanks for your comments. I have become a Twitter fan after being a skeptic for a long time. There are a lot of thought leaders sharing great content on Twitter and a post links there to all my blog posts. Give it a chance. I think you will like it. Thanks again.

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