Friday Fun – I Have a Blog. Now What?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: We recently asked you what questions you’d like answered in our Friday Fun post. Today, we’re answering the following reader question:

FriFunQuestion1

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: I’m going to address my response directly to Connie, but I hope the thoughts and advice I share will also be helpful to others who are in a similar place in their writing journey – just starting out with a blog and wondering where to go from there. 

Hi, Connie. First of all – congrats on launching your blog and getting into a regular posting routine! I read your introductory post, Who Am I?, and loved much of what I learned about your interests and your intentions for your blog. You clearly have a great love for art, music, beauty, and animals (all things I love, too). Without the luxury of thoroughly reading them, I also scanned posts on your home page and saw that your recent writing covers a wide variety of topics: motherhood, music study, teaching, writer’s block, fiction exercises, artistic inspiration, grief, and the joys of a small closet.

In response to your original question, I had asked if you could give us a little more background about the kind of writing you hope to do and how you define “a little money.”  My recommendation for your next “small” step is to spend some time thinking about those two questions because once you can see the “shape” of your writing goals, you will have a much easier time reverse engineering the steps you need to take to reach them. Do you want to be a copywriter, a journalist, a columnist, a fiction writer, or something else? Are you hoping to make $100, $1000, or $10,000? In other words, what does your next version of writing success look like?

I would also encourage you to think about either narrowing the focus of your blog OR finding an “umbrella” idea that can help tie your posts together thematically (e.g., simplicity, the importance of art, slowing down, etc.). Look at some of the blogs you admire and see if you can figure out their focus and/or umbrella theme. This will help you get ideas about what your focus and or theme might be.

While you’re thinking these things through, here are some other posts that you might find helpful:

I hope that helps. Good luck!

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson:  What Jamie said. 🙂 She has great advice.

To bottom line a first (big) baby step — figure out what the purpose of your blog is. Once you know that, you’ll be able to focus the posts and build a strong foundation for your writing career.

So, Connie, it sounds as though your blog was to get you in the habit of writing regularly and you’ve achieve that goal, wonderful! Celebrate your success!

Now that you feel ready to pursue making money from your writing, you need to decide what type of writing inspires you – what type of writing you can and want to do that you enjoy. That’s a larger baby step. (I started with writing for the local paper so I could see my byline.)

What type of writing attracts you? What have you read that made you think “I could write something like that.” or “I would have written from this angle.” or “Why didn’t the author cover xxx in this article?”

Deborah Lee Luskin, M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin,
M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin: Jamie and Lisa’s answers are thorough and practical, starting with big congratulations to you for setting a goal and meeting it.

Self-motivation and follow through are critical professional writing skills: clients want you to figure out what they want, and they want it delivered on their time table. In my experience, if you’re going to be earning money by writing, you are going to be writing for someone else.

I’ve earned some money and more fame from publishing fiction, essays and editorials, and absolutely no direct income whatsoever from writing a blog. But money doesn’t always equate value, especially – unfortunately – in the arts. I blog to reach and build a wider audience. It’s writing profiles and science stories for medical centers that pays the bills. Some of it is by-lined, some not; it pays well. At this point in my career, I do as little of it as necessary, and spend as much time as I can writing what matters to me. Along with paying off the mortgage and living debt-free, one of the benefits of aging is gaining clarity on what matters. For me, it’s “advancing issues through narrative; telling stories to create change.”

So, in addition to all the advice above, I would recommend that you ask yourself the Big Question: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?  Only in the case of a writer, I’d amend the poet Mary Oliver’s question to What is it you want to say with your one wild and precious life?  

I’m a great believer in “follow your passion; the money will follow,” but first, you have to identify your passion.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: Hi Connie, I don’t know if I have much to add, after reading all the wonderful advice Jamie, Lisa, and Deborah have given you, but I’ll try. First, congratulations on starting and contributing regularly to your blog–that’s huge! Second, it sounds like you are at the point where you can narrow your focus a little bit. For me, the way to do that is to answer the question: Why? Why are you writing this blog? With my life coaching blog, my “why” was to help people feel a little bit better in their daily lives, because I believe more peace and joy in our everyday world leads to a more peaceful, joyful life. As a part of this blog, my “why” is to inspire others to write or keep writing, in whatever form that takes for them. Best wishes for your continued success!

 

 

15 thoughts on “Friday Fun – I Have a Blog. Now What?

  1. This is all great advice. After finally starting to blog and realizing that I love it, I now need to decide in what direction I want to go. My blog is about fiction writing, books, movies, etc, but now I’m seriously considering starting another blog about being a parent to a child with spina bifida. I’m a fiction writer and I love it, but I’m also feeling the need to do something a little more meaningful, something that impacts my life directly, and write about that. Thanks for these important questions to consider when starting a blog.

    • Finding your direction is so important, Tina. One of the best things, IMHO, about being a writer, is the ability to access different parts of our lives with our writing. Most writers I know have several different “writer identities” that make up different parts of their writing lives – they may do one kind of writing to pay the bills, another to feed their soul, and yet another to affect social change or educate. How lucky are we that our one skill enables so much in our lives?

  2. This sounds like a really fun and informative group of people. What a great idea. I have set up 4 wordpress blogs, each speaking to a different subject area. But, making 4 post a day (1 for each blog) is a little demanding, and I don’t meet my goal. Like the poser of the question above, I struggle with consistency. She overcame it, and I am still working on that.

    • Wow, Nancy! Sounds like you do a LOT of writing each day!
      As we’ve discussed in the post and other comments, you may be able to streamline your workflow by looking more closely at where you want to focus your efforts and/or at how you can roll your multiple interests together under an “umbrella” theme. Either way, seems like you definitely have the work ethic (and energy) to stay on task with your blogging.

      Good luck!

  3. You know once I got my little Blog going, I had an uneasy feeling every once in a while that I was spending MORE time writing about writing than I was writing! Hmmm. But, I think one has to find one’s on way in this digital landscape. I try to get a blog up once a week but sometimes it might be once every two weeks.

    But the “best” news is that if you don’t post a blog “on schedule” you can read other blogs and dialogue with your new friends. It’s a win-win situation.

    Happy Blogging!

  4. All of this is very helpful – thank you ladies. My main take-away is Jamie’s “umbrella idea” which is sufficiently large. I’m in the situation of trying to figure what I enjoy writing most / what readers seem to enjoy most – exactly where I’m trying to go to is still in the works 🙂 Anyway, the word “focus” I’d often come across has a closed feeling.

  5. Wow! all of you ladies have done a fantastic job in offering your advice. Just Like Connie, I sometimes feel there is so little i am achieving from my writing. But through constant advice that you have published in this blog,i have found a reason to continue writing hoping that someday my passion will attract money like Deborah said.

    However, I am glad to report to you that I am slowly getting my writing voice in social justice advocacy in Kenya and Africa .

    With the precious help you generously offer in this blog; i always look forward to every fun Friday for i know there will always be something good from you.Kindly note that i appreciate your effort.

  6. Thanks for the question and answers. This is all wonderful advice and I especially appreciate it as a new blogger (just a few weeks!). I agree with Bea dM about the biggest takeaway being the umbrella idea, narrowing, or focus for my blog. I know the importance of that, and understand, but it is so difficult for those of us who have so many passions. Maybe there could be a more in-depth post/discussion about this? Or maybe there already has been? Thanks, again! I am enjoying blogging so much and learning, too! Keep the information coming:)

  7. Oh, my, is one blog a day really the going-rate goal? Hah! I was just getting my feet wet; seriously, I spend most of my spare time actually working on the novel. I know that really slow-going isn’t going to build an audience for me, but maybe someday when I need to step it up–when I actually have something written to promote–I will have this library of early posts to set it up. Mean-time, it’s easier to comment and ask questions on other WordPress blogs. I guess!

  8. Thank you, all, for the great advice! I started my blog last May with the focus of reflecting on the lessons I have learned as a mother (and human) now that my kids are adults and have left to be on their own. It’s been a great journey and creative and cathartic in a way I did not think possible. I try to post every 2 weeks. But I am ready to branch out and yes get paid (just read Jamie’s piece on that!) It seems almost overwhelming. Do I approach with my unique perspective or am I letting them know I can write for you and here is a sample of my work? Do I only look at parenting jobs or aging or something else? Thanks again, ladies, for all the wonderful insights!

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