~ By Robena Grant
I realized I was intimidated by what I imagined the ChickLit Writers blog to be when first invited to be a guest blogger. I visualized a younger set of writers who were into high fashion—and probably high heels—maybe even multi-published. Yikes! All things I am not. I reserve the high heels for those “going out to dinner” dates where I climb out of a car, walk a few steps, sit down, retrace my steps, and then go home and kick the killers off. Then I thought about the authors who I know personally. They might write about those things, fashion and shoes, but they’re stories have so much more depth.
Based on that epiphany, I chose to write about jump-starting the brain when writing a short article, like a blog post. Thanks so much for inviting me.
I’ve been interested in how one drives readers to their blog. There is an information overload on the internet; so many blogs to visit. Who really has the time for all that reading? And how does an author make their blog stand out? I’m new to blogging. When I get readers who comment I cherish them, and so I analyzed some of my more successful posts. What was the subject? What were the comments? Were they detailed and engaging, or fly by night comments? Had I given my readers a reason to return?
When I write a blog post, I think in terms of threes: an opening, middle, and end, and then three things I can repeat to drive home my message. I keep the post short. Six hundred words are my sweet spot. I think in terms of entertaining my readers, but not trying to be funny. Seriously, my sense of humor is offbeat. I try to find a title that I hope is catchy, that will be easily picked up and pique the interest of readers on social media sites, RSS readers, and search engine results pages. Then I make the opening sentence something that will draw the reader in further. (I hope.)
I ask myself a few creative questions about my post, like, what is the point?
Do I need a point, or can it just be fun? Do I need more research? Does it fit the tone and subject matter of the blog I’m writing for? Have I engaged my audience and invited them to participate? There is so much to consider, but it should always be fun. Otherwise why do it, right? I write my blog posts in one free-flowing session, and then let them simmer before adding final touches. They’re worded to be read as “today’s post,” but in truth they could have been written weeks before, and several could have been waiting in the wings for a month. With WordPress I can choose the date and time of my post and it will be loaded automatically. I love that feature.
I am a writer, but for the most part I don’t write about writing. I write about life. How do I find my topics? They come from everywhere and from the strangest places: waiting in line at the bank, driving, going to the market, something I read about in a newspaper, or heard on TV. When I find questions that excite me, I know I have a topic to discuss. Then I have to delve deeper. By creating more levels to my articles, I hope they will become richer, more intriguing. And if I can, I include a photo, or some clip art. And I make sure that I post an announcement on my social media pages the day my blog goes live. I only blog once a week so as not to overwhelm my readers, so I have to give that gentle reminder. ; )
What about you? Do you have a successful blog? Any tips you’d like to share? Do you like to blog, or are you tapped out? Is blogging a thing of the past, or is it making a comeback?
Robena Grant is a member of RWA, LARA (the Los Angeles chapter), and the Palm Springs Writers Guild. She has finished three linked romantic suspense stories and the last story is a finalist in the Romantic Suspense category of the 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® contest. She has just completed a contemporary romance with a European flavor, and is working on one with a British flavor. And she never wears bunny slippers when she writes…her slippers are leopard print. www.robenagrant.com