Many students who start blogging as an assignment in one of my courses tell me they want to keep blogging after the course ends–only they aren’t sure how to find topics to write about or motivation to post regularly once they’re no longer blogging under deadline as part of a graded assignment. Here are 10 tips to help bloggers write and publish.
1. Identify what you have to contribute or share. Think of your writing as offering items of value to your reader. What do you have to contribute? What do you have to share that will be valuable to another reader? Often in blogs, what’s valuable is the thought process of the writer, the invitation your writing offers to others to think more deeply or reflect.
2. Read other blogs. One of the best ways to figure out what kind of blog you want to write is to figure out what kind of blog you like to read. I read blogs to learn more about the subjects I’m passionate about (education, children’s literature, books, cooking), to be inspired, to be entertained, to be pushed to think more deeply about my work and myself. What kinds of blog posts appeal to you? Lists? Long reflective posts? Humorous posts? Try to write the kind of post you want to read.
3. Know your target audience. My target audience is my students, most of whom are pre-service teachers, and other educators. Many of my most popular blog posts have been suggested by my students or written in response to other teachers’ questions or posts.
5. Post consistently. It doesn’t matter how often you post new content every week: it only matters that you do post consistently. Are you a once a week blogger, a daily blogger, or somewhere in between? Knowing how many days per week you will post new content helps you manage your writing life and helps your readers know what to expect from your blog. Blogging is a habit: once you establish the habit, it’s much easier to follow through and write.
6. Commit to a weekly schedule. Once you identify the types of posts you might write and decide how often you want to publish new content, commit to a schedule. I make sure I finish books every week so that I will have something to write about in my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts. I check the Top Ten Tuesday topic so that I can begin brainstorming my list. Throughout the week, I collect small moments that I want to celebrate on Saturday.
7. Prewrite and schedule posts. Once you know your schedule and what types of posts you’ll be writing and publishing, you can identify chunks of time when you can do more writing, draft posts, and schedule them for later publication.
8. Keep an ideas notebook. Once you start looking for ideas for blog posts, they’re everywhere. Since many of my posts are about reading and teaching, I jot down questions, observations, experiences, and topics I might blog about throughout my day at work.
9. Build an audience. It’s so much easier to find the motivation to write when you know you have readers who want to read your writing, who are expecting you to post, who will comment on your work.
10. Perfect is the enemy of done. Blogging requires a special kind of discipline for the perfectionist who wants to revise and polish a piece of writing endlessly before publication. Blogs are meant to capture thoughts about current events. It’s okay if they’re half-baked. It’s okay if they’re unfinished. It’s okay if they represent the best version of thinking you can do on that day–even if you know it’s not the best version of thinking you’ll ever do on that topic. If I were to write a list of top 10 tips for blogger next week, it might be quite different from the list I’ve written today.
At my blog, The Dirigible Plum, I’ve shared my own blogging process, How I Blog: Topics, Structure, Time.
Kelsey Empfield shares her suggestions for overcoming blogging writer’s block in Blogspiration.
Sacha Chua has identified every excuse you might make for avoiding blogging and come up with a solution. Her No-Excuses Guide to Blogging should inspire dozens of posts.