While I understand that advice columns are there for the confused masses, there are way too many writing advice articles out there as it is. Sure, it’s find to share what’s worked for you, but at what point are you just blowing your words into the wind?
I think the advice that irritates me the most (personally) are the articles about what you should write in your blog. YOUR. BLOG. Do you see the caps there? Yeah. I don’t think you need advice about what to include in your blog because it should be your choice? Sure, you might write something stupid, but that’s okay. Sometimes we write stupid shit.
I write a lot about writing. It’s what interests me the most. I would write about my family, because I kind of like them most of the time too, but they’re not that interesting to other people. I write about my town, because Tweed is fascinating, and about current events, articles, industry shit, and sometimes just a post of tips designed to make you giggle. I now interview other authors and sometimes I write about nothing at all.
Apparently, I’m making ALL THE MISTAKES when it comes to my blog. It would explain why I’m not overwhelmed with followers, but I’m okay with the cozy few of you that enjoy my rambling enough to click the follow button. I’d love to have more, but would I change the way I blog to do so? Not likely. At least not in the ways I’ve been told to change it, because I disagree with most of the blog advice I’ve received so far.
As a writer I’ve been told my blog shouldn’t be about my family. Why not? I get 50% of my material from them. And my blog is where I connect with both writers AND readers, so it’s important to share a bit of my personal life in there. I love reading author blogs that offer some insights into the person behind the books. I don’t write often or in great detail about my personal life, but to say such posts are a mistake? Meh. I just disagree. While no one wants to hear about your adorable kids, hottie hubby, or your 58 cats every damn day; if it relates to the theme of your blog, I say go for it.
I’ve read advice that says we shouldn’t blog about writing. Well, what the hell am I, a writer, supposed to write about in my WRITER blog? You know, that makes no sense. Of course readers don’t care about writing, but they want to know a little about the author’s process. So go ahead, share now and then. I think the key is “now and then.” If your blog is all writing tips all the time, well that’s boring. Sorry. Chuck Wendig’s blog is the only place I’ve read about writing almost every time I visit and been thoroughly entertained. So, unless you’re Chuck, you should mix it up a little. Well, even he mixes it up. So there. Proof.
Moving on. Someone advised me to just write about what makes me passionate. This same person also said I shouldn’t write about writing.
Okay then. Sure you should write about the things that make you all tingly and shit, and if that includes writing, include it. If your blog ONLY includes writing, well maybe you should expand your horizons a little. Get a couple of hobbies. Make a friend. When you write about a single topic, such as your publishing journey and how hard it is, then folks kind of get annoyed. If you’re a downer all the time, no one wants to be around you, and they won’t read your blog. It’s okay to share a bad day. It’s okay to share your frustration. Rants are fantastic. Just don’t make that the only thing you share.
I should also say that this advice is sound, even if I disagree with in “in general.” You see, if you’re wanting a shit ton of traffic, you’re going to need a blog that appeals to a diverse crowd; readers, writers, doctors, lawyers, moms, dads, young adults, kids (if you like kids)—basically everyone in the whole world. But this doesn’t have to be limiting. Really, if you’re trying to appeal to a diverse crowd, the only “don’t” should be “Don’t limit yourself to one topic.” Write about books, writing, family, assholes, politics (not for the weak-kneed), sex, television, the skeevy guy at the post office; whatever floats your boat. Try to reach out to everyone. Now, you can’t do that with each post. My God, that’d be nuts. But you can reach out to a small portion with each post, so that over time, those posts combine to interest a range of reader types.