In A Single Bound: A Year of Learning to Blog
Those of you who have been around for a while in these parts will notice that my blog has taken a different direction in the past several months. If you’d visited a year ago (or eleven months), you would have seen daily posts on writing, the writing craft, and the writing business as I struggled to complete Novel Number Two of my trilogy and edit Novel Number One.
What I realised when I took Kristen Lamb’s blogging class is that, oddly enough, the people I’m trying to reach are not writers themselves. And non-writers don’t really give a head scratch about the writing craft. Why should they? They’re looking for stories, not how to craft the perfect hook or which agents are best for what genres. They want books.
Once I had that aha moment, I branched out to other topics.
And my blog views plummeted.
I had a moment of WTF. I came to believe (rightly, I think) that my readership could be a Venn diagram. Some people will be readers who are interested in the things I write about: vampires, zombies, fitness, Celtic snaz, history, languages, and being a general badass. Some people will be writers who are interested in those same things. Where they meet in the middle is my blog.
It’s been a slow climb back to where my stats were back in February. I know many writers still stop by here, but I’ve gained a few awesome followers who just like Buffy. Or Scotland. And they like what I have to say about those things. Which is awesome, because when I get my books published, I’ll be hoping for readers who like and care about what I have to say.
When I started blogging (way back in the days of Xanga and LiveJournal, then to Blogspot and ultimately my other WordPress blog), it was an outlet. It really was an online journal, for me and a lot of people. People talked about their days, their feelings, their emotions, and what was going on in their lives. It was an interesting time. Blogs provided a rare window-into-soul moment for readers, but most readers at the time knew the blogger personally.
I later blogged about politics and occasionally ranted about things. But I wasn’t focused on providing anything for anyone — blogging was, at that time, about an outlet still.
In the past year, my way of looking at things evolved. As I learned more about my craft and the business of writing and the rapidly transmutive arena of social media, I realised that the goal was not to barf my thoughts on everyone (though it’s kind of what I’m doing right now…sorry for the barf), but to provide quality content and to engage.
Most writers do what I did at first. They think, “I’m setting out on this writing journey. I SHALL BLOG ABOUT IT!”
It’s not the most wrong-headed thing in the world, because most of us have had our heads pounded in with the “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW” mallet so many times that we get twitchy when asked to branch out. But it is ultimately counter-intuitive, because by blogging about writing you reach…writers. You don’t reach your audience.
What does my audience like? Here’s a bit of a list of things that make up the most-viewed posts of all time on this blog:
- Authenticity. People respond when you open up about yourself, even if it’s painful. Not a rant-fest of pity partying, but using real experience to approach or tackle an issue.
- Pets. Buffy and Willow are both big stars around here, as well they should be. (For those of you who are unaware, Buffy and Willow are a Siberian Husky and a stripedy tabby.) They’re awfully cute and insane. I admit that I make stupid voices to have conversations with them. Forget I said that.
- Buffy and Spike. Joss Whedon created a world of win with all of his TV shows, and almost ten years after Buffy went off the air, she still captures the imagination of viewers. As well she should. She’s my hero.
- Zombies. People love zombies. Even if they say they’re sick of them, they still love them. I’ll probably never write a zombie book (unless it’s the ZAP Manifesto — I’ll file that idea away), but ZAP, the Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Fitness Programme has been awesome.
- Scotland. People rather like Scotland as well, and the subject of independence is something that many can relate to, even if they know little about the upcoming Scottish referendum in general.
Now. I love my writer-readers. I love reading their blogs and their writing, and they tend to be really engaged around these parts. But as I move forward in the direction of 2013 (anyone else get a bit weirded out by that?), the goal will be to continue providing what people want to see.
What you can expect from me this autumn:
- Fiction. I will post some short fiction for you! Some might be related to the book I’m about to start querying (for non-writers, that means steps 18-258 of 3,396 on the road to publication). Some will probably have to do with zombies.
- Another Flash Fiction Contest. With the raging success of the End of the World Flash Fiction Contest, I pretty much have to do another one. 🙂 Okay, okay, I’ll do another one. You don’t have to twist my arm.
- A Buffy Rewatch — with my commentary. It won’t be every episode. In fact, it will probably be every four or so (every disc of the DVD set). If anyone fancies a Buffy rewatch blog tour, let me know and we can strategise.
- A series on Celtic mythology. This started here, and will continue!
- Whatever YOU want. I have a Contact page, you know. I’m also on Twitter (@emmiemears) and Facebook (here and here), and you can use that snazzy, newfangled communication system known as email and, you know, email me. Tell me what you want to read. I’ll write it.
Autumn approaching always gives me a sense of renewal. So let’s get new. And to reward you for reading this meandering post, here’s a puppy picture.
And you should all click the first link in that last bullet point. (It’s a surprise.)
Posted on September 1, 2012, in life intervention and tagged Buffy, Buffy 'Vampire Slayer, emmie mears, fantasy, Joss Whedon, LiveJournal, Once More With Feeling, paranormal, superhero, superhero fiction, superheroes, urban fantasy, Willow, WordPress, writing, Xanga. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.