Thinking of starting a blog? You are chock full of ideas and chomping at the bit to get things done? Good for you. I know how you feel. However, there are a few things you should consider before you get started. And in the interest of enlightening the public mind, I figured I would share some of the things I’ve learned from my blogging experiences. This is actually the third blog I’ve run, and it is, by far, the most successful, not that I’m swimming in cash because of it, or even have hordes upon hordes of followers because of it, but I have learned a few things along my journey and I have kept at this one longer than any of the others. So, without further ado (or is it adieu?), I present my list of three things NOT to do when running a blog.
1) Write An On-Line Novel: I see these things scattered throughout the Internet. Young writers burgeoning with ideas and enthusiasm want to get people hooked on their writing and begin a story that will span blog-entry after blog-entry. I never read these things. And I know why. Because I tried it once on my MySpace account several years back. I just started writing. I told a pretty long story over dozens and dozens of entries. I had a few followers, but not many. The thing is, it gets harder and harder to get new followers the longer and longer the story is, because each new follower must be intrigued enough with your writing and story to go all the way back to the beginning of the story and start there. I know when I’m reading things on-line, if there is much more than 1000 words on a post, I’m likely to lose interest. The idea of going back to Chapter One of a fifteen chapter story doesn’t appeal to me at all. Maybe it’s just me, and other people like that kind of stuff, but I was never very successful at it and I think the above is the reason why. So, unless you have god-like writing skills, I would advise against this approach.
2) Fail To Pace Yourself: This is one of the things I found out early on: pacing is everything when it comes to blogging. Anyone can start out and write one blog a day, seven days a week, for two weeks in a row. It’s week three that’s the problem. Then, week four. And so on. It will take some experimenting to find exactly the amount of writing you are comfortable with (in my case, it took several failed blogs) but once you do so, you can put your blog almost on auto-pilot. At the barest minimum, you should have a new post at least once a week. Anything less, and it probably won’t be followed.
3) Write Blog Posts As They Are Due: To be fair, some blogs, like political blogs, require this approach. You have to keep abreast of events as they occur in real time. No one wants to read your thoughts on the vice-presidential debate two months after it occurred. But some blogs, and mine happens to be one of them, benefit from a certain degree of timelessness. Novels can pretty much be reviewed at any time (well, this is mostly true: the early bird will get a few extra hits, but the late bird can still feed). Silly, random posts on what it would be like to be a Vampire Dragon J can be written at any time. If you recognize this, and you see the opportunities in your blog for posts like this, you can plan ahead and write out posts several weeks in advance. In my case, I have a cushion of about three or four weeks of blog posts pre-written that merely must be uploaded to my site. This saves me a lot of stress and energy. I highly recommend doing something similar, if you can.
Anyway, those are a few thoughts on blogging. I have more, but I want to keep this post manageable.