You can’t write if you don’t read. You can’t write if you have nothing to say. Well, you shouldn’t, but many do. You know how burdened the internet is with millions of words but, the crucial question is: how many of these words are being read?
If, as is claimed, so few bloggers are actually being read why keep writing? It is the Communication Age’s 64 thousand dollar/pound question. If you’re writing and nobody is reading what’s it all about?
Web wisdom has it that the more single purpose your blog is the easier it is to attract and keep your readership. This is makes eloquent sense. If your speciality is 80s Rock n Roll then you simply write about that, nothing else. Easy. You blog often, make the necessary links to create traffic and your readers should find you and stay with you, providing you are presenting something that maintains their interest.
The problematic issue in terms of readership seems to be the all purpose writer, who is not a single issue blogger. But why should this be a problem? A lot of us want to share our wisdom on a range of matters. Does it matter that it takes time to build a following – either blogging or tweeting? I think one of the joys of blogging into nothingness for a while, as most bloggers do, is that it gives you the chance to find your topics, your areas of interest or expertise and, importantly, your voice. Remember that most novels don’t see the light of day until they have been through a rigorous drafting and editing regime. Most popular writers don’t attract a big readership with their first novel. JK Rowling was onto the third Harry Potter when she struck it big.
Take your time in the void of nothingness, enjoy it and consider the following –
Finding your voice – how? There’s nothing wrong with being a general blogger. This is a highly democratic environment and the freedom to express yourself never more true than in this domain. Use that freedom wisely and well in the early days of audience free blogging to develop your skills, play with topics, find your passion and you will find you voice.
The more you write the better you write – providing you are paying attention to Purpose, Audience and Language – the Why, Who-for and How of your writing, then you will improve your skills with every piece. This means crafting and editing. The more you do this the better writer you will become. Don’t be casual about what you send into e-space, you never know who will be reading.
The more you write the more you will find your areas of passion – a lot of blogs are general purpose blogs, like newspaper opinion columnists such as Caitlin Moran, or India Knight, which seems just fine to me. Blogging often will refine your areas of interest and passion. Feel free to set up sub-categories on your page. Over time – say 6 months to a year – I bet you’ll find you are writing about only a handful of issues/topics again and again. My own observations say I write about mostly Writing, Education & Lifestyle Matters. Certainly these are the blogs that gain the biggest readership. But I didn’t know this when I started and I don’t think many of us do. Nor do I think this is a bad thing. If a novel takes anything from 1 to 3 years to write, why shouldn’t bloggers take some time to find their area of passion?
The more you write about what you want, the easier you will find your voice. Style is a highly individual thing, be it in fashion, Art or Writing. Are you formal and precise, more conversational and cosy? It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you develop your own way of writing about topics. It doesn’t matter that a hundred other people write about this very thing, they won’t be saying it in the way I am. Your voice is unique: it is what will keep your readers coming back, your unique way of expressing yourself.
Be who you want to be. Write what you want to – but do it well. Eventually your ability will shine out. If you’re blogging to gain a following, people who will buy your novels, short stories or non-fiction, then be true to how you write, to who you are. Readers respond to real writers, people they feel they know and come to care about. If they like your blog they should want to read more of you and so buy your books.
Some issues to consider. 1. How do your readers know how to find you? 2. Does your blog name and topics tell them anything? 3. Are you giving readers value for money?
Cheap Advice. 1. Be patient, hone your skills. 2. Read other blogs like yours. 3. Consider the advice out there, but judiciously apply it to your own needs. 4. Blog because you want to, not because you feel you have to.
Through your writing shall you be known.