Advice to a new blogger

Over the Quak­erQuak­er forum, a new blog­ger asked “I am new at blog­ging. Do you have any sug­ges­tions for my site?” I’ll cross-post my answer here.

I think the suc­cess to any kind of writ­ing is to first and fore­most write about what inter­ests you. Don’t wor­ry about whether there’s an audi­ence or not: with mil­lions of peo­ple on the inter­net every day there’s bound to be plen­ty of oth­ers who share your inter­ests. Don’t be afraid to be per­son­al, quirky and idio­syn­crat­ic, as peo­ple come to blogs look­ing for personality.

The most inter­est­ing blogs have an inti­ma­cy and hon­esty to them. My blog posts are the kind of dis­cus­sions I would have around my din­ing room table. Friends have a ten­den­cy to down­play our opin­ions in pub­lic set­tings. The Quak­er blogs have giv­en us a place to be respect­ful­ly hon­est, open and inquis­i­tive. That open­ness has led many of us into sur­pris­ing friendships.

I’d also rec­om­mend that you keep your blog open to devel­op­ment. I was four months into my Quak­er­Ran­ter blog before I had the first post that I would now con­sid­er a “typ­i­cal” Quak­er­Ran­ter piece. It often takes time to find a voice you’re com­fort­able in and many peo­ple find them­selves inter­est­ed in dif­fer­ent top­ics than they ini­tial­ly imag­ined. Blogs often end up being very dif­fer­ent than the one they thought they were start­ing! Most blogs last about two months and are aban­doned: if you’re blog­ging because you think you should be, then the moti­va­tion won’t be enough to sus­tain you over the long term.

Final­ly, blogs are social. They’re con­ver­sa­tion. Encour­age con­ver­sa­tion on your blog. Respond to com­ments, on the blog and also in direct emails if peo­ple have pro­vid­ed them. Sign up to blogs you like using an RSS Read­er like Google Read­er or Blog­lines and read them and com­ment on thought­ful posts. Get to know peo­ple and try to attend the events we’re now list­ing here on Quak­erQuak­er. About half of my Quak­erQuak­er time is actu­al­ly pri­vate emails and IM con­ver­sa­tions with Friends and the com­ments I leave on blogs (some Quak­er, some not) are often more involved than my blog posts. It’s a social medi­um and the pub­lic blog is just one piece of that.

I’d love to hear what advice oth­ers have, either here on Quak­er Ranter or over on the Forum post.

  • Des

    Great advice. I start­ed this blog­ging jour­ney about a year ago just as a way to write my thoughts down and open them up for oth­ers to read. It’s been great so far and it’s good to get stuff out of my brain. BTW, I like the name of this blog. It sounds vague­ly familiar 🙂

    • Chris­tian­ran­ter, yes that is a lit­tle famil­iar! Tak­ing a quick peek over, it looks like most of the posts are get­ting com­ments, so you are find­ing an audi­ence. Congrats!