Got very overwhelmed lately, thinking about all the different ways that a writer can engage with peers and fans online to create a platform. To make friends, and to talk with possible readers, and to learn from other writers and mentors. There are so many different ways! Continue reading
The name of this blog is No Clue Writing Platform. The idea was to just get out there and get started and see what happens, figure it out as I go. I knew I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning. Now, having blogged for a while and researched a bunch of stuff and read a few books by people who know what they’re writing about, I know even less. This is life, of course. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” (Socrates).
But isn’t there supposed to be a stage between that where I at least think I have all the answers? Continue reading
This is an announcement of a change of pace.
I’m not sure what I’m doing with this blog exactly. I have yet to find my niche, both in terms of what I can write about and what people will read about. Also, I’m not good at SEO or any of that, and it’s something I need to work on. On top of that, I’m tired and I’m not getting my writing done and something’s got to change before I burn out.
To that end, I’ll be lowering my posting schedule to once a week for the near future. This will give me more time to write each post, which should in turn improve the quality of said posts, and should give me more time to devote to learning how to blog. There’s also updating the site and making that better, which has fallen by the wayside because, hey, I’m putting up posts and that’s all I’ve had the energy for anyway. This gives extra energy and time I can use to that.
There are basically two items on my to-do list for figuring out this blog. First is working out a posting schedule, and figuring out which days to blog about which topics. (This in turn involves figuring out what topics I want to blog about in general, which is a whole other pain in the neck but it’s important so it’s happening.) Second is reorganizing the categories. One thing successful blogs do is link back to previous (relevant) content, which I can’t presently do because I don’t have an organizational system that actually allows me to find things (and this can’t be great for people trying to look at my posts either, such as they are). This has to come second since the system will depend in part on what I post.
In the meantime, I’ll post once a week about some writing-related topic (this does tend to consume my brain, so it’s not hard to find something to babble about). I hope I can figure out what I’m doing, but even if I don’t I’ll still at least post updates of my work and a few occasional musings. Ideally it’s a lot more than that, but we’ll see where I’m at after this brain overhaul.
Anyone have advice for figuring this out?
Part of having a blog is finding the niche in which your blog belongs. This is essential for finding one’s audience, which in turn allows you to better interact with that audience because once you know it you can tailor your content to that audience. It also gives you an avenue to interact with other people who are in or adjacent to your niche, which allows for finding mentors and peers and all those good things that successful careers need. Continue reading
A platform is showing the world that I am, first and foremost, a normal human being except online, and one of the things that normal human beings do is interact with other normal human beings. Therefore, building a platform involves not just creating my own content but interacting with other people’s content. I am not a social person in real life. Thus, I am not a good online social person either. Luckily, there are a few workarounds.
Rule Number One: To build a platform, just reading other blogs doesn’t count. You have to interact somehow. Usually, this means commenting.
Step Number One: Make yourself do the thing. I have to schedule myself reading and commenting on other blogs. Someone else might not have to go to those lengths, but it’s something you have to do at least a little bit each week to increase the chances that one of those other bloggers will reciprocate. (Hint: it’s hard to reciprocate if nothing happens in the first place.)
Step Number Two: Even a “nice post!” comment will work. Think of what you would like on your own posts. The long comments and personalized details are nice, but sometimes it’s just good to have evidence that someone other than your mother is reading your words. (And when I say “you”, we all know I mean “me, but this could apply to someone else and I’m in denial a little bit.”)
Step Number Three: Yes, this is almost as bad as calling up a random person for no reason. Don’t ask me why. It just feels weird. Work through it anyway! Bare minimum, hit the “like” button when you enjoyed a post. Let people know their words did not go unheard.
Step Number Four: Reward self for going through traumatic activity. Read three more posts without needing to comment. (Unless of course you’re on a role and it’s good stuff and you really want to comment, in which case go for it.)
Step Number Five: Practice! Writing a decent comment is a skill, as much as anything else is.
Step Number Six: Build a collection of blogs you like. It is ten times easier to comment on a blog when it’s someone you’re familiar with, where you’ve commented before and they might actually know who you are. Take the time to search and find blogs you will find interesting in the long run, and not just follow whoever comes along. (Or if you do, at least organize it so you know which ones you’ll really want to read.) Keep in mind that not every post is always going to speak to you. It’s okay to follow someone for a particular kind of post. The other stuff might show you to something new and interesting.
Rule Number Two: Don’t go too far the other way. After a certain point, if you’re following or commenting on too many things, everyone will know you’re not really engaging. Being genuine is important, and also hard work, so don’t overextend.
Read other people’s blogs! It’s good for you. Expands the horizons, all that stuff. It also shows the internet and thus blog readers that you are willing and capable to engage and be worthy of the trust readers bestow on those blogs they like.
This week has not been kind to my sleep schedule, and it’s not even over yet. Which doesn’t make it a bad week, but it does mean I’m exhausted and I’m determined to conserve a little energy for the activities I have left, so this post will be short.
I’ve been reading about how to choose images for blog posts. Well, skimming, and only the top choices that come up on a Google search. (I am lazy, and while I’m a little ashamed of my lack of effort concerning research I am honest and I did say this would be a short post.) What I learned can be summarized in a brief list.
1. In today’s highly visual society, it’s a really good idea to have photos for posts.
2. It has to be a photo you can legally use.
3. It is better not to have a picture at all than use one that has nothing to do with the post at hand. It can be a stretch, but it has to have some relevance, even if you have to splice in an awkward reference somewhere.
4. Not generic, because that’s boring and like #3 would actually hurt the blog post by including it.
5. Don’t go too big. Again, make sure it’s relevant and not just a really big picture of a spectacular scene that will take forever to load and makes the blog look weird.
Well, I can honestly say I have not been considering most of the items on that list. But I want to improve my blog. I guess I’ll be working on this for a while.
Originally I was going to use a picture of a kitten with a flower crown for this post because it was cute, but that didn’t have anything to do with my post at all (aside from being an object lesson in terms of irrelevance to the topic at hand). So, to that end, this blog post has no picture because I just couldn’t find one that, to my mind, had any relevance to the topic at hand. I’ll have to practice inserting little quips and references and things into my posts in the future, but for today, this is enough.
Here’s the sites I got most of my information from on my quest.
On one hand, it can be very discouraging as a writer to look at the thousands and thousands of books available out there. Ecclesiastes comes to mind: “Nothing new under the sun” and all that. On the other hand, the state of literature and stories has been this saturated for a while and so there are thousands of blog posts out there declaring that while my plot might borrow from a lot of different tropes, it’s not identical to any of these other stories and even if it is I’ve got my own voice. But, even better than that, those thousands of books out there mean that if I need a helping hand, there will probably be a book for that. Continue reading