Originally I thought I would pass on to other aspiring writers some lessons I learned from self-publishing “Harnessing a Heritage”. Mostly I found out that what I learned wouldn’t be all that valuable. It was too me-specific. I have, however compiled five lessons I have learned that might have more general appeal to readers of my blog who may want to write their own blog. So here, just in time for World Blog Day, is my list:
· Have an “end” in mind before you start your Blog. Then write a story with a beginning, middle, and end to accomplish what you intend.
· Stay focused. Resist the temptation to bring in irrelevant points, no matter how humorous or interesting.
· Listen and read, to catch items that are relevant to the general theme of your Blog.
· Provide a hook in your Blog to tease your reader into watching for the next Blog.
· Follow other Bloggers.
My first blogs all began with the desired “end” of the blog being passing on a lesson I learned in preparing my book for publication. Almost immediately I found I had not enough information of value to sustain a twice-a-week presence. Mistakenly, I then began to use the blog as a conduit to pass on things I thought were interesting. But there was no continuity, not only between blogs, but between the start and end of any individual blog. As I began to correct for that and treat each blog as a complete story they became more interesting.
I have chosen to make each blog between 450 and 750 words. There is no way to stay within those guidelines unless you focus on the one or two things you want to impart. Keep It Simple, Stupid is a good guideline.
I now keep a list of facts or ideas that I could use as material for a blog. The yellow post-it notepad on Windows 7 usually has two or three ideas in the wings. If I haven’t used something that is current within a month, I drop it. Similarly, if I forget what the tag line on my post-it referred to, the topic is toast. The interesting thing is, I now read and listen more attentively, knowing that I may find something that would be of interest to others.
I’m unsure which of the blogs I now follow because of my friend Sonia Marsh (www.gutsyliving.com ) had this piece of information, but someone passed on to me how you can miss a chance of repeat readers by failing to tease them with the future. Most times now I have something specific in mind and post a teaser about the next blog.
In addition to Sonia, I routinely follow a dozen bloggers. Interestingly, some of them are famous and have responded to comments I posted. It’s exhilarating to get a personal note from a NY Times best-selling author. I like to think that some of them will follow my blogs, at least on occasion.
I just found out some interesting stuff on Alzheimer’s. I’ll share it and an update on Glen Campbell when I get back from Chicago.