Writing Tidbits From Aliya S. King: 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Updating Your Blog
Friday, December 2, 2011
April 15, 2011. That date stares me in the face, mocking me, each and every time I fire up my computer. My homepage is my blog. And April 15 is the last time I updated. Nearly five months ago.
Once upon a time, I was a mega-super-blogger. I blogged five days a week, (sometimes seven), and I went in on that blog. I begged writer-friends for exclusive quotes, interviewed my favorite photographers, told my whole life story, chronicled my world as a mother, wife and writer. I shot commercials for new blog posts. (No. Seriously.) I assigned and edited a weekly guest blog spot. I hired an ombudsman. And a graphic designer. And then had the nerve to hire an assistant too. I treated that blog like a full-time job.
And then, (surprise, surprise), I burned out. Completely.
I’m the energizer bunny when I have a new idea, whether it’s blogging, Tweeting, running or dieting. I don’t do anything halfway. So when I decided to blog, I went all out. And when I found myself with nothing left to say, I couldn’t force it.
I stopped updating my blog. You should not. Here’s why.
A writer, writes. Plain and simple. And writing is like using a muscle. You have to work it out. And sticking to a regular blogging schedule keeps your juices flowing. And it also helps with fleshing out ideas for current and future gigs. If you suffer from writer’s block, knowing you have to write your regular blog post may help you get over that hump with that short story or novel you’re working on. Consider blogging your warm-up for writing.
2. Your audience is out there. You can’t give up.
I know a lot of bloggers who get frustrated and throw in the towel because they don’t have dozens of comments and their stats are not off the charts. Forget about that. Be consistent, improve the quality of your writing and your audience will find you. That’s a fact. People want content. Lots of it. If you blog about what you have for breakfast each morning and nothing else, there are folks out there who want to know. If you’re passionate about whatever it is your blogging about, (and you’d better be!), then there will be others who share your passion. Don’t give up. They will find you!
3. Writers and Editors are watching.
You might think that when you Tweet the link to your blog out into the Internets, no one ever clicks on it or even thinks about clicking on it. Not true. I click on random links that come my way all the time. Do I always reply to the tweeter? No. Do I ever comment on the blog? Rarely. But I am reading. And I am paying attention. And I know for a fact that other writers are too. Sometimes people Tweet the links to their blogs and use my name so it comes up in my feed. Am I annoyed by this? Kinda. Do I still click and read sometimes? Yup, I do.
4. It could get your money up. No, really.
Young guy named Mario Lavendeira decided to start blogging out of his local coffee shop after leaving a fledgling acting career. Six years later, he’s pulling down 450,000 a month with his site, PerezHilton.com. Heather “Dooce” Armstrong blogs about life, love and her pets. And she’s earning over six figures. A month. You do the math. Even Overheard In New York, a simple blog devoted to crowd-sourced eavesdropping earns five figures a month. Do you want to know what they have in common? Those folks never. stopped. blogging.
5. Be a completer! Not a never-finisher!
When I meet people who have questions about writing, I’m always confused when they ask me to check out a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. If you’re an aspiring writer with little or no clips, your blog is your calling card! It tells me you can write! I have assigned stories to writers I didn’t know well at all because of the quality of the writing on their blog. If I Google someone who reached out to me and I see a dormant blog, my side-eye gets twitchy. Why aren’t you blogging? Why aren’t you consistent? I’m not saying you have to kill yourself over a blog you’re not feeling anymore. But understand that people will come across that blog and wonder what happened.
Believe me, I know.
Aliya S. King is an award-winning journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of the Faith Evans memoir Keep the Faith and the Frank Lucas tell-all, Original Gangster. Her work has appeared in VIBE, Giant, Uptown, Essence, King, Ms., Us Weekly, and Teen People, among others. She’s also held editorial positions at Billboard, Upscale and The Source. Diamond Life, the follow up to King’s 2010 fiction debut, Platinum, hits shelves in February 2012.