Welcome to Thoughty Thursday! This is the day of the week that y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.
Today, I’m thinking about blogging.
I think it’s because I’m about to help train up a new blogger at Writers In The Storm. Getting ready for her made me remember the awkward pain of being a new blogger and struggling to manage this new addition to my already busy life.
My top blogging compaints in the beginning (my poor hubby!):
- Why does it take so long?
- Why is the formatting such a pain in the a$$?
- How do you get people to come visit you?
- What the hell do I blog about???
Everything got a lot easier when I did the following five things:
- Took Kristen Lamb’s blogging class
- Got on social media and found a community
- Started trying to entertain myself
- Made blogging part of my daily routine
I’m not going to lie to you. Blogging takes time.
But really, ALL writing takes time because most writers care deeply about what they put on the page. We’re not in this to just dash off a few paragraphs and slap it up on our blogs.
That being said, I want to delve into a few items on the list above that you can combine.
I took Kristen’s class in March, 2011 and again in June, 2012. To be fair, I took the second course partly to be a teacher’s assistant, but I also took it because she’s learned some great new stuff. But even though the content rocks, one of the biggest assets from Kristen’s class(es) is the community you will meet.
Kristen’s first book, We Are Not Alone, has become a bit of a mantra in the writing community. The WANAs hang together, play together and support each other.
When I think of my fave WANAs in the blog-o-sphere, I almost always think of them in terms of which blogging class they attended: WANA711, WANA1011, WANA112, WANA612. I haven’t met many of the WANA1012’s yet, but I can’t wait.
I know it sounds kind of cult-y, but your classmates become your peeps. They are your initial tribe. These people will be your beta readers and commenters and friends.
As all of you WANAs can attest, as you move on from your class and find your bloggy feet, your peeps help keep blogging fun. They also keep you from ripping out your hair along the way. Whoever your community is, you can bounce things off them. Experiment.
To get back to Kristen…
One of the coolest things she teaches nowadays is “High Concept Blogging.”
I’m not going to give away all her secrets. You’ve got to go to her if you want the nuts and bolts. But I’m going to give y’all the 50,000 foot view.
First off, let’s talk about “High Concept” and what it means in fiction. I’m going to let Scott Eagan, powerhouse literary agent, explain it. (Click here to also find out what it isn’t.)
When it comes to High Concept, we are talking about what makes your story unique from everything else out there. What is it that you are bringing to the table that no one else has done before? How can you provide a great new, and unique spin, on something we might have gotten used to.
Before you go hyperventilate or get all pressure-cookered over that last paragraph, think about what it means.
The key to High Concept is your voice.
There is no one else in all the world like you. No one else will see the world exactly as you do, and no one else will bring the same spin to a topic that you do.
(In other words, when Kristen says “blog about whatever you’re passionate about,” there’s a good reason why this is gonna work. Your voice will come through.)
High Concept blogging is actually faster, in my opinion. You get to the point faster because you know how you feel about “YOUR stuff.”
Let me give you an example…
Y’all know I’ve been crazy sick with shingles, right? Like to the tune of a 27-day headache (and counting – I still wake up with it daily, but it’s getting better).
Raging headaches do not equal “bloggy happiness.”
The crazy headache was the worst during the two weeks before Halloween and it forced me to make some changes here at the blog. Not only did I go through a lot of my reserve posts, but I cut my blogging time by at least half because I had to. I couldn’t hold up my head.
You know what the really awesome part is? I don’t think you noticed!
I employed Kristen’s High Concept Blogging techniques during those weeks for most of my posts — I literally cut my time in half. And my traffic stayed steady. (It might even have bumped up a notch.)
Example by the numbers:
The week leading up to November 1st, all of my posts combined to total 2306 words.
- 900 of them were repurposed from a much older post (a NaNoWriMo post)
- 600 words were copied from Twitter or Facebook (think of the Hurricane Sandy post or the Thundershirt post)
- I used 10 photos and 2 videos
That means across 5 posts, I wrote about 800 words.
I could be delusional, but I don’t think these were bad posts. They were just different. And a whole lot less work.
I don’t know what your goal is for your blog. Only you know that (unless you share it with us).
Maybe it’s to:
- Have a home for your words
- Connect with others
- Blog your books
- Practice your craft
- Teach others
My goal is to connect and entertain. That’s it.
To be more specific, my goal at More Cowbell is to give you a post that:
- Doesn’t require more than 5-15 minutes of your time.
- Entertains you for that moment. (Kind of like the comics section of the blogosphere.)
- Makes you laugh or think.
Deep thoughts and chuckling throughout the day are appreciated. Connection between all of you in the comments is hoped for.
But it’s really all about the moment around here.
I feel strongly that each moment is all we have and it should be as fun as possible. Let’s face it…some days/months/years just suck. My goal is to help you put the suckitude away for a few minutes and just be-bop around in your happy place.
When you think about blogging, think about what would make you happy. Do THAT.
Do you love blogging or find it to be a chore? How long does the average post take you? What do you feel is the optimum length for a blog post? If you could change one thing about your blogging, what would it be? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!