Monday, January 9, 2012

Blogging Along ...

Here we are, one week into the new year, so how are your New Year Resolutions going? Was one of them to do more writing? If so, have you considered blogging?

Many of my new students say they're thinking of starting a blog, and I often encourage them to do so, for several reasons:

Create Habits
It helps you to develop the regular habit of writing, or creating something. A blog is something that should be added to frequently. Therefore, it can help you create a writing routine. Don't set yourself too big a challenge. It's not necessary to blog every day, although, you can if you want. The subscribers amongst you know that I update this blog weekly. Giving yourself a regular time to sit down and write your next blog posting can help you to train your brain into thinking, "I'm sitting at my desk/chair/favourite windowsill, therefore I'm about to write." The more often you do this, the easier it will become. (Incidentally, I happened to be watching Country Tracks on BBC 1 yesterday, where one of the presenters went to Barbara Cartland's house. There, the presenter learned that Barbara sat down to write at 1.30pm. Not 1.35pm. Or 1.40pm. But 1.30pm. So that's how she wrote over 600 novels ... by sitting down to write at a regular time ... 1.30pm!)
Develop Style
The more you write, the more your writing style, or voice, will develop. This changes, subtly, over time. If you can, look back at something your wrote several years ago and compare it to your writing of today. You may be surprised by how much it has changed. Writing regularly encourages you to explain things, which can expand your vocabulary, whilst also enabling you to develop how you express your ideas. Your natural voice will come through. If you always see the funny side of things, for example, then the humour will come through in your voice.

Have Something To Say
If you're going to blog, you need to have something to say. However, I want to clarify this further. If you're going to blog, have something to say to your readers. Think about who your readers are, or could be. My blog is aimed at my Writers Bureau students, and also any other budding writer who happens to stumble across it. (I hope!) You can pick any topic, or one of your hobbies, and choose to write about that. Select something that interest you. As you continue adding to your blog, sometimes you'll realise there's a germ of an idea there that can be developed into an article or a piece of fiction.

But what if you don't know what to write about? What if you don't think you'll have any readers? You will always have at least one reader ... you. Those who keep diaries often find it easier to write, because they're in the habit of writing regularly. But a diary needn't be a physical book. So, why not think of your blog as your diary? Use your blog to write about your day, your thoughts, your observations. A blog does not have to be a PUBLIC document. When you set up a blog, you can make it PRIVATE, so it is for your eyes only. And the beauty of blogging is that you can tag each post. So, if you remember writing in your private diary blog that you visited a stunning beach location, but can't remember when it was, all you have to do is search for the tag (keyword) that you may have allocated to that particular post (such as beach, holiday, inspirational view).

A blog is what you make of it. You can use it to talk to the world, or you can use it to record you own innermost thoughts, which only you can read. But if you want to get into the habit of writing regularly, a blog can be a great way of developing that habit.

Good luck.

(Most people create blogs using www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com. Other blogging sites are available.)

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