Lately, several of my clients and students have expressed an interest in blogging. “Where do I start?” they ask. Or, “What should I blog about?” Or, “How would I keep it going?” Let’s break down this process a bit, and I’ll share practices that have made my own blogging enjoyable, sustainable, and profitable. What follows is not the only or even the best way to approach blogging—it’s just what’s worked for me. So take what you like and leave the rest. At the end of the day, your way is the best way for you. Trust your instincts, and have fun sharing from your heart!
Decide how often you want to blog. For years I blogged a once a month, but it can be hard to gain traction at that pace, to keep the conversations going. It’s better than not blogging at all, but I recommend blogging twice a month if you want to see spikes in engagement, visibility, and business opportunities. Some experts swear by a weekly blog. You show up every week no matter what, and share what’s on your mind. I prefer a slower pace. I like to sit with my posts, go deep, and reflect on them. But this is a personal choice. Lean into what’s right for you. You can always change later.
Put deadlines on your calendar. This may seem arbitrary (and to a certain extent it is), but if you don’t have at least a rough posting schedule, you might find yourself doing everything but writing your blog. Respect the deadlines you set for yourself. Some people post like clockwork on the same day and time, and their audiences appreciate their consistency. I have learned to be consistent enough, which means my blog goes out once or twice a month, but I don’t fuss about the day or time I release a new post.
Scribble in Your Journal
Show up a couple (or a few) times a week to write in a journal. This allows space where you can write anything. You might be surprised how much of your “scribble” is usable blog material—or could become viable with a little editing.
After you write in your journal, review your entry. Highlight material that you might want to explore. Sometimes one sentence might suggest a theme or topic you can develop for your blog. Use Post-it Tabs to easily locate pages you want to go back to. I also use different colored ink to mark post ideas inside my journal.
Computer Ideas Folder
Type each idea you have into its own document—even if it’s just a title and a couple of sentences, then file these documents in a folder. I usually have over thirty documents at any given time, each containing an idea or “seed,” in my blog folder. This takes the pressure off when I’m approaching a deadline.
Type and Edit
Put aside an hour or so each week to type up your blog idea(s). Even if you’ve only got a title and a couple of sentences, that’s a solid place to start. Tinker with your idea with the same freedom you give yourself when writing in your journal. Write like you talk. Don’t try to impress anyone or sound like anyone other than your wonderful self. Imagine you’re talking to a friend. When I first started blogging over a decade ago, my posts ranged between 500-800 words, but these days I sometimes write as many as 1500 words. You may not think people will read a longer post, but if you’re offering something thoughtful and well-written, and especially if there’s something useful, people will read—and they’ll thank you for your post.
I am lucky to have an editor I trust and love. It’s worth it to me to pay her for her time so I can get her feedback before I publish. Sometimes she has few comments, other times she’ll have a question, or she’ll suggest cuts. I find this valuable. It makes my writing stronger. I’m never sure what I’ve got. Perhaps I think I’ve made myself clear, but I haven’t. Maybe my piece has typos or misspelled words. I take pride in my work and want it to be as clean as possible. Many bloggers skip this step because it slows down their process, or they don’t want to spend the extra money on something that’s just being published online, but this extra step shows your readers your professionalism, too. Perhaps a trusted writer or reader friend would be willing to look at your work? Consider a trade. This part of the process is not required but recommended.
Polish Your Post
Take in any feedback you’ve received and decide what makes sense. Trust your judgment. It’s your post and you decide which comments to accept and which ones to ignore.
Publish Your Post
Publish! When you first start, you need to get a blog on your site. Once that’s up and running, then you just publish your post to your blog. If you don’t yet have a blog, you can design it yourself or get help. Make sure to post to a domain that you own, and then send your blog out to your newsletter subscribers. If you don’t have a newsletter and you’re an author, it’s time to set one up. This is a great way to be of service, to share with people interested in your work, and to cultivate a readership. It’s also a great practice to post new blog posts to social media so you can start to build a following for your writing.
The best thing about writing a blog is that you get to share your writing with others. It’s wonderful when people respond. This might not happen right away, but if you stay in the game, your posts will be met with responses, conversation, and even friendship. Blogging is a wonderful way to connect and share, so dive in. Ask for help if you need it—and enjoy the journey!
About the Author:
Bella Mahaya Carter is the author of Where Do You Hang Your Hammock?: Finding Peace of Mind While You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book. She is a creative writing teacher, empowerment coach, and speaker, and author of an award-winning memoir, Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy, and a collection of narrative poems, Secrets of My Sex. She has worked with hundreds of writers since 2008 and has degrees in literature, film, and spiritual psychology. Her poetry, essays, fiction, and interviews have appeared in Mind, Body, Green; The Sun; Lilith; Fearless Soul; Writer’s Bone; Women Writers, Women’s Books; Chic Vegan; Bad Yogi Magazine; Jane Friedman’s Blog; Pick the Brain; Spiritual Media blog; Literary Mama; several anthologies, and elsewhere. For more information, please visit https://www.bellamahayacarter.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Your Free Book
What about that free book? The author has kindly alloted one physical copy of her book to be given away to one of you. All you need to do is leave a comment and tweet about it. It’s that simple. The giveaway runs from today, May 19 to May 24 (Monday). The winner will be announced on May 25, Tuesday. Simply follow the instructions in the widget below.
Note: the giveaway is open only to US residents.